President-elect Trump's transition team is holding daily media calls to update the press on how the transition is progressing. We will be posting the transcripts from these calls after they happen. Below is the transcript from Monday's call.
THE TRUMP PRESIDENTIAL TRANSITION TEAM HOLDS A NEWS
BRIEFING VIA TELECONFERENCE
NOVEMBER 28, 2016
SPEAKERS: JASON MILLER,
TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM
REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE
OPERATOR: Good day and welcome to the transition daily briefing call. Today's conference is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Sean Spicer.
Please go ahead, sir.
SPICER: Hey. Good morning, guys. Thanks for joining us.
First of all, we're obviously continuing to monitor the situation at Ohio State and ensure that the president and vice president-elect get any relevant updates. So we'll roll through this and I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and we're ready for another very jam- packed busy week of meetings with the president and the vice president-elect.
So today, meetings begin in early afternoon. The first meeting that the two will have is with Ms. Fran Townsend. You may remember her from the national security staff of the last Republican administration. The next meeting is with Mr. Paul Atkins, the former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ms. Kathleen White, Kathleen is K-a-t-h-l-e-e-n; General David Petraeus; Mr. Dave Steward, S-t-e-w-a-r-d, who is the chairman and cofounder of World Wide Technology; Mr. Scott Pruitt, P-r-u-i-t-t, the attorney general of Oklahoma; Sheriff David Clarke, that's with an E on the end of Clarke, of Milwaukee County in Wisconsin; Mr. John Allison, the founder of Unio Holdings.
SPICER: And then tomorrow, the president-elect and the vice president-elect will meet Congressman (sic) Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee's 7th District; Mr. Pete Hegseth, the CEO of Concerned Veterans of America; the president and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America Ms. Marion Blakey, B-l-a-k-e-y; chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Bob Corker; chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Congressman Mike McCaul, M-c-big C-u-a-l of Texas 10th Congressional District; and from Pennsylvania's 11th Congressional District, Congressman Lou Barletta, B-a-r-l-e-t-t-a.
And then he will cap off the day with a meeting with Former Governor, Mitt Romney.
With that, that brings the president, vice president-elects total to approximately 70 individuals that they've had meetings and conversations with about potential positions within the Trump/Pence administration.
With that, let me turn it over to Jason to continue on.
MILLER: Thank you, Sean.
And to review with folks for announcements that were made on Friday before we took off for the weekend. The president-elect announced his intent to nominate K.T. McFarland to serve as deputy national security adviser, as well as Don McGahn to serve as assistant to the president and White House counsel.
Both come very highly regarded and we're glad to have them on the team or in the case of Don McGahn already, formally on the team and transitioning into a new role. In addition also, the president-elect issued a very strong statement regarding the death of Fidel Castro over the weekend, which I'll go ahead and read to everybody, here.
"Today, the world marks the passing of a brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades. Fidel Castro's legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights. While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endeared for too long and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.
Though the tragedies, deaths and pain caused by Fidel Castro cannot be erased, our administration will do all it can to ensure the Cuban people can finally begin their journey toward prosperity and liberty. I join the many Cuban Americans who supported me so greatly in the presidential campaign, including the Brigade 2506 Veteran's Association that endorsed me with the hope of one day soon, seeing a free Cuba."
And the president-elect also issued the following statement with regard to some of the recount nonsense that is out there and it being pushed by a failed candidate, Jill Stein. I'll go ahead and read that statement to you, as well.
"The people have spoken and the election is over. As Hillary Clinton herself said on election night, in addition to her conceding by congratulating President-elect Trump, we must accept this result and then look to the future.
"It is important to point out that with the help of millions of voters across the country, the president-elect won 306 electoral votes on Election Day, the most of any Republican since 1988.
"The president-elect also carried nine of 13 battleground states, 30 to 50 states and more than 2,600 counties nation-wide, the most since President Reagan in 1984.
"This recount is just a way for Jill Stein, who received less than one percent of the vote overall and wasn't even on the ballot in many states, to fill her coffers with money.
"In all three states, the president-elect won a large number of voters, especially Pennsylvania which has won by more than 70,000 votes.
"This is a scam by the Green Party and Jill Stein for an election has already been conceded. The result of this election should be respected instead of being challenged and abused."
MILLER: So that was the president-elect's statement. And on that note, we'll go ahead and open it up to some questions.
OPERATOR: Thank you. If you would like to ask a question, please signal by pressing star one on your telephone keypad. If you're using a speakerphone, please make sure your mute function is turned off to allow your signal to reach our equipment. Again, please press star and the number one to ask a question.
We'll pause for just a moment to allow everyone the opportunity to signal for questions.
SPICER: Hey, guys. It's Sean again. While we -- while we wait for that, I just want to -- I apologize. The meetings scheduled for today -- I missed one inadvertently on the schedule. So, the first meeting, as I mentioned, is with Ms. Fran Townsend. The second meeting is with Mr. Sandeep Mathrani, the chief executive officer at General Growth Properties. Then the next meeting would be Paul Atkins.
So, Sandeep is S-a-n-d-e-e-p. Mathrani is M-a-t-h-r-a-n-i. Sorry for that.
OPERATOR: Again, as a reminder, if you would like to ask a question, please signal by pressing star one on your telephone keypad.
We'll take our first question from Andrew Sitaf (ph) with Toth (ph).
QUESTION: Hi. Thank you for doing the briefing and I hope that you keep it in the White House, the gaggles.
My question is about the president-elect's plans for the future that we know are already facing some obstacles on the Hill. Reportedly, the Democrats are considering different ways of holding up his agenda, including his plans for better cooperation with Russia.
My question is how seriously do you think those plans -- have they been discussed between the president-elect and the Republican leadership of the -- of the Congress?
MILLER: Well, thank you very much for the question. We feel very good about the president-elect's plans and our ability to work with Republican leadership and we think actually some of the -- the plans will get significant bipartisan support as well. The president-elect recently released a video that outlined just a -- a portion of some of the day one activities that he'll be tackling once he's sworn in in January. Some of those are by executive action. There are other items that'll be coming up that they will be pushing forward very soon, such as repealing and replacing Obamacare.
But following such a -- a big win in this election, we think this really is a -- we do believe that there is a mandate to push forward for true substantive change, particularly in areas such as stopping illegal immigration, as I said repealing and replacing Obamacare, reforming our tax structure, reducing regulations so we can help spur the economy and create real job growth in this country.
And so we feel that there's -- we have the -- the wind at our back and we will have a -- a unified front going into January. So, we -- we feel very good about the prospects.
OPERATOR: We'll take our next question from Steve Holland with Reuters.
QUESTION: Hey, thanks for doing the call.
With the -- the Petraeus, Corker (ph) and second meeting with Mitt Romney, is it fair to say that the president-elect is nearing the end of his secretary of state search? And could you also give his reaction to what he thought of Kellyanne Conway's criticism of Mitt Romney?
MILLER: Thanks, Steve.
With regard to the -- the search process or the -- I guess you'd say the interview process as the president-elect works to come to a final decision on the secretary of state of front, he'll complete that and announce his decision when he's ready.
I wouldn't necessarily qualify where exactly the process that is. Obviously, he's met with a number of very well-qualified individuals and obviously through this week met with a number of well-qualified individuals and he's going to pick the person who he thinks will do the absolute best job.
With regard on the other front, I'll leave that to the president- elect if he wants to add any additional commentary, but I think he has a good game plan, as you see, where our administration is positioned is opposed to -- where other administrations have been positioned at this point of the transition process.
The president-elect is doing a very good job. I think he's ahead of schedule by all definitions and it's -- he's forming a very impressive government that the American people will be proud of.
OPERATOR: We'll take our next question from Blake Burman with Fox Business.
QUESTION: Hi, guys. Thanks again for doing this call.
Just to add on that, why does the president-elect feel the need for a second meeting with Mitt Romney and a completely separate question, if you don't mind.
With the passing of Fidel Castro, does that in any way push the issue of Cuba up the totem poll of importance or where he might tackle that issue along the line of his presidency?
MILLER: Yes. Absolutely, I'll go ahead and tackle these in reverse order here.
Clearly, Cuba is a very complex topic and the president-elect is aware of the nuances and complexities regarding the challenges that Ireland and the Cuban people face so this will be an issue that he addresses once he becomes president, but I wouldn't qualify it as far as changing up or down. I'd say this has been an important issue, it will continue to be one, and to be clear, the president-elect wants to see freedom in Cuba for the Cubans and a good deal for Americans where we aren't played for fools. Our priorities are the release of political prisoners, return of fugitives from American law, and also political and religious freedoms for all Cubans living in oppression.
Now, regarding -- back to your other question about the follow-up meeting. The president-elect is really taking these meetings very seriously. He wants to make sure that he's making the absolute best decision for all of the different positions where folks may be joining the administration and so I think he wants to make sure that he's absolutely sure on all of these and also, too, I think with the case of Governor Romney, the two quite frankly hadn't spent that much time together.
And so, this gives them a little more time do so but when the president-elect is ready to announce the decision then he will do so.
OPERATOR: We'll take our next question from Tamara Keith with NPR.
QUESTION: Thanks so much for doing this.
I am hoping that you could point to the evidence of millions of people who Mr. Trump claims voted illegally and also any evidence you have of election fraud that he claimed on Twitter happened in New Hampshire, Virginia and California.
MILLER: Yes, thanks for bringing that up.
You know, one of the things I'd say just, kind of, on the front end that I really do think that it's been ridiculous that so much oxygen's been given to the recount effort where there's absolutely no chance of any election results changing. This election's been decided, it's a conceded election, and I think even to the fact that, you know, Clinton's general counsel has mocked the McCrory recount effort in North Carolina, it's even a -- a much smaller margin.
You know, with regard to, you know, additional -- you know, but I think it's also important to point out that if so much time and attention is gonna be given to recount issues and some of the other things that Jill Stein has been bringing up, it's important to talk about some of the other concerns that are out there with regard to voting.
And in particular, I'd point to the 2014 Washington Post study that indicated more than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 elections indicated they were registered to vote, and that Washington Post story is important.
I'd also point out some of the other examples that we had raised during the campaign. Some numbers include the Pew Research study that said approximately 24 million, or one out of every eight, voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or significantly inaccurate. And in that same Pew Research study, the fact that 2.5 million people have registrations in more than one state.
So all these are studies and examples of where there have been issues of both voter fraud and illegal immigrants voting. So if this much attention and oxygen's gonna be given to a completely frivolous, throwaway fund-raising scheme by someone like Jill Stein, then there should be actual substantive looks at the -- the overall examples of voter fraud and illegal immigrants voting in recent years.
And so that's -- that's the -- the broader message that I think should be taken away here.
OPERATOR: We'll take our next question from John Fredericks with Jon Fredericks Radio Network.
QUESTION: Hey gentlemen, thanks for having this call. We really appreciate it. You guys have done a phenomenal job in managing leaks. It's hard for us in the press to fathom that Kellyanne Conway would've sent those tweets out against Mitt Romney without some sort of authorization. Does that really give us an indication (ph) of where President-elect Trump stands on making Romney secretary of state?
MILLER: Look (ph), I very much appreciate the second bite of the apple on this one, but, you know, as I said earlier, the president- elect is the one person who will be making the decisions here.
This is his administration and his government that he's putting together and he's going through a very detailed and thorough interview process for all of the key positions, not just the -- the one that you raise, but also with -- with every position. And when he is ready and 100 percent decided, then he'll go and make that public.
QUESTION: Thank you.
OPERATOR: We'll take our last question from Todd Gillman with Dallas Morning News.
At risk of being accused of taking a second bite of the apple, I wanna ask about the allegations of all the millions of people who voted illegally.
Jason, you -- you mentioned people who might have but not people who actually did vote illegally. Will there be a Justice Department investigation once Trump is president? And has he asked state or federal officials, election officials, law enforcement, to investigate these allegations that billions of people voted illegally this year?
MILLER: Well, thank you very much for the question.
So I think it'd be inappropriate for me to speculate as far as Justice Department activity following -- after inauguration or after swearing in and the transfer of power has been completed. So I'll go ahead and -- I'll go ahead and leave that one.
But obviously, I -- I do think that's an issue of concern, the fact that there's a concern that so many voted who were not legally supposed to.
And I think that one of the -- the key points -- I think there's a -- a responsibility from members of the media is to give an appropriate level of -- of attention to some of these different concerns as -- as we've seen from the Pew research study and the -- the report that was in The Washington Post and a number of others and -- as opposed to just chasing the -- the shiny object of the Jill Stein recount effort, which is really just a way for Ms. Stein and the Green Party to go and make money.
I think they've already raised -- I think the number I saw earlier was some $6 million. It's just completely ridiculous and I think anyone who looks at that on -- on face value just sees how -- how nonsensical it is.
So, I appreciate that, Todd.
OPERATOR: This concludes today's question-and-answer session. At this time, I would like to turn the conference back to Mr. Sean Spicer for any additional or closing remarks.
SPICER: Yeah, I'm good. Thank you guys for hoping on.
I think one -- one last point. Jason mentioned this the other day. If you do have media inquiries, the most expeditious way to get through all the clutter is just to e-mail email@example.com.
With that, Jason, do you have any final thoughts?
MILLER: Nope. I appreciate very much everybody's time. And everyone on the transition team is excited get back to -- to work today and every -- everything we have coming up and the great meetings that the president-elect has lined up for today and tomorrow.
And we will -- oh, the -- the one additional thing I'd say is I know usually I would get asked the -- the question about additional administration announcements. Do not have any announcements that are imminent, meaning like for the -- the rest of today as of this moment. But as soon as the president-elect indicates that he's ready to move forward with additional staff or appointments, then we'll make sure to get that out right away.
SPICER: Thank you all. Have a great day.
MILLER: All right. Thanks, everyone.
OPERATOR: This concludes today's conference. Thank you for your participation.