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Terror in New York; White House Press Briefing. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired November 1, 2017 - 3:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:00:02]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: All of this information coming in to us today as the man, according to police, behind the carnage was acting in the name of ISIS.

They say he left a note, a handwritten note, in Arabic in his truck.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MILLER, NYPD DEPUTY COMMISSIONER: Based on the investigation overnight, it appears that Mr. Saipov had been planning this for a number of weeks.

He did this in the name of ISIS. And along with the other items recovered at the scene was some notes that further indicate that. He appears to have followed almost exactly to a T. instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Investigators also say the suspect was not on the FBI radar, but a source says he had been in contact with someone who was.

This accused killer, 29-year-old father of three, came to the United States from Uzbekistan back in 2010.

And moments ago, we heard from the president calling for an end to the diversity visa program that actually allowed this man to enter the U.S. in the first place.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This man that came in, or whatever you want to call him, brought in with him other people. And he was a point -- the point of contact, the primary point of contact for, and this is preliminarily, 23 people that came in or potentially came in with him.

And that's not acceptable. So we want to get rid of chain migration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Our White House team is now trying to get more clarification about what the president meant regarding those 23 others. We have teams on the ground, of course, covering all angles of this horrific attack for you.

CNN's Ryan Young has just talked to acquaintance of the suspect. And CNN's Athena Jones is outside the accused killer's home there in Paterson,, New Jersey.

Athena, let me just start with you. I can only imagine that place is covered in investigators trying to understand why and if anyone else is involved.

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brooke.

Well, this street was blocked off when we arrived here several hours ago. And this street was full of investigators. There were at least a dozen FBI agents and other law enforcement out on this street.

We saw them going in and out of this red brick building you see behind me. This is where Saipov lived with his wife and children. We saw them carrying various items out. Hard to know exactly what those items were. One was a rather large rectangular item. At another point, it looked as though agents were coming out with perhaps a stack of documents. It was at least shaped like sacks of documents, about 8.5 by 11.

And then later on we saw FBI agents wearing blue booties to cover their feet to protect from contaminating the residence coming out with a large black garbage bag.

Several hours ago, they reopened these streets, but there is still a police presence here. And, Brooke, we have been able to talk to some of the neighbors in this immediate vicinity, three people, none of whom said that they knew Saipov well, but none of them described him as particularly remarkable.

Two neighbors said that they have been seeing him around this area for the past year or so, perhaps a little bit more than a year. One young man described -- or one 32-year-old man, I should say, described Saipov as pleasant. Another neighbor two doors down by the name of Carlos Batista (ph) said that he had been a peacemaker at one point.

This neighbor, Carlos Batista, got into a bit of an argument with two of Saipov's friends about six months ago when he, Carlos Batista, was riding a motorbike, a loud bike, late at night, and Saipov's friends approached him to quiet down. It was late.

Things got testy amongst them. And it was Saipov, this neighbor said, who stepped in and calmed things down. He was a peacemaker, in the words of this neighbor.

So, some interesting details we are learning from the neighbors of this man, this suspect, this 29-year-old Uzbek national. And we expect -- there's still a lot more questions to be answered. We know that police are talking to his wife, that she is providing information, talking to him.

But there's still a long way to go to put together all the facts here -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK. Neighbor says peacemaker.

Let's see what Ryan Young -- Athena, thank you.

Ryan Young has spoken to this acquaintance of this alleged attacker.

What does the acquaintance have to say?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it seems like we are getting a little bit of a different story. He actually talks about a little bit of a troubled young man, someone who was -- sometimes would get upset very easily. So that's something we heard from him, saying that every now and then, little things would upset him and he felt like he was troubled.

We have been talking to people in this community, Brooke, and they have been very worried because they of course are concerned about this entire community around here. They don't want any of the blowback from this. They believe this is a good community where they haven't had troubles before.

[15:05:00]

And now they are worried about people coming into this community trying to cause trouble. In fact, we went to the local worship center, and they are going to have a news conference around 5:30 this afternoon to kind of talk about the involvement in this area.

In fact, they said they didn't see had him in this area very much. Yes, he did play soccer here every now and then. He would show up to pray. But, outside that, he was not someone who they saw all the time.

We also talked to a man who is a fellow truck driver who said, look, he had see him around, he knew he had a family, but they never kind of like had their wives together or met like that. They would just see each other in the community. He said, look, he knew he was a troubled soul.

He moved away to Tampa. He didn't tell anybody in this community that he was moving away. One day, he just got up one day and he moved. And the way they figured it was the fact that he was in another Uzbek community and that's how they kind of connected the pieces that he had move on.

But I'll tell you this. People in this neighborhood are shocked by the idea that this could happen. We have seen investigators in this neighborhood this afternoon canvassing, talking to folks. We are hoping to hear more from some of the people this afternoon as these community leaders come together and sort of talk about the ramifications of an attack like this and the fact that someone in this community could possibly connected to all of this.

BALDWIN: All right, Ryan, thank you so much for talking to all those people. We know he was in Ohio, and then, as Ryan pointed out, down in Florida and then in New Jersey.

Let's talk through the investigative pieces with CNN intelligence and security analyst Bob Baer.

Bob Baer, the fact that he's alive and investigators are obviously trying to get him to talk, what are those key questions that they are going to want answers to?

BOB BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Brooke, the first thing, is there another pending attack? And that's -- the investigator always ask that first thing. Doesn't sound like there is at this point. But once they move on from there, they are looking for connections to ISIS networks, which might be Europe, Central Asia, Uzbekistan. It doesn't matter.

They are going through his cell phone. They are going through his notebooks. It looks like at this point he's a lone wolf, but they can't be sure about that until they actually talk to him. And Uzbeks are very difficult, insular people, so I don't think he is going to be answering questions right away.

He will resist. Over time, these people break down. But we will have to wait and see.

BALDWIN: How many years were you in Uzbekistan, Bob?

BAER: I lived there after the fighting in Osh in the early '90s. It was an awful place.

I went around the mosque and was speaking Arabic to the imams, a lot of them, and I actually got detained by the KGB there, and they took me to my hotel, and they said, stay here, don't go out, it's dangerous.

But I can tell you, the Uzbek Islamic movement is very, very difficult to get inside. As we know, they joined al Qaeda and they joined the Islamic State. They are ferocious fighters and they have caused problems in Central Asia. We don't know that this man is connected to those groups.

BALDWIN: We don't.

BAER: But on the face of it, they are suspect. It's profiling. It just happens, Brooke. But the Uzbeks are particularly susceptible to radicalization.

BALDWIN: Can thank walk me there? What do investigators say to him to get him to talk? What would that interrogation look like?

BAER: I think the best way is he will see a friendly face. And as the Israeli do so well, they will bring in a cleric to talk to him about Islam. Clearly, he wasn't very well educated in it.

Explain to him why he was misguided. And over time, he will break down. He shouldn't be sent to Guantanamo. You are not going to get anything out of him there. But I think the NYPD sent some investigators in there that know Islam.

And you might get somewhere. That's the best chance.

BALDWIN: OK. Bob Baer, thank you so much.

Again, we're watching and waiting for this White House daily briefing to start. President Trump has made news today on multiple fronts with regard to this terror attack in New York City.

So, let me just bring in CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash, CNN politics reporter and editor at large Chris Cillizza, and former Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary in the George W. Bush Julie Myers Wood.

So, good to see all of you.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to Washington.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Thank you. It's good to be here.

Gosh, as we wait to see Sarah Sanders, you know she's going to be asked about this visa program that apparently is how this 29-year-old got in the country in the first place, in 2010, I believe it was, and how President Trump is today saying, over.

What are your questions about that?

BASH: Well, one of my first questions is, he's saying, OK, we are done with this lottery. It's called a lottery. And it's supposed to be the--

BALDWIN: Diversity visa program.

BASH: Diversity visa program. And it's done on a lottery basis.

And the intent was to get people who are coming from countries where the U.S. doesn't have a lot of immigration into this country.

[15:10:10]

And -- but the way that the president described it earlier, it made it sound like there is just kind of a lottery, and if you win the lottery, you can pack your bags and get in, one, two, three, which is not how it works.

BALDWIN: Right. Right.

BASH: It works, or at least it's supposed to work the way other immigration and visa programs do, which is a lot of scrutiny, a lot of questions, and some basic fundamental rules that have to be followed in order to be able to get in here.

Now, if there is a problem with that system across the board, that's something that certainly needs to be looked into. But it seems to me, and certainly the more we learn and know about this particular individual, is that it's not necessarily where he came from. It's what happened to him when he was here.

BALDWIN: Right.

BASH: That he used the Internet and got radicalized. We don't know. But I think it just seems to me, and we will see what happens on Capitol Hill, that the first question is, is this just easy politics to do this, because it's something that people can quickly relate to and people can say, oh, good, we're going to at least -- we have a solution, but a solution to the wrong problem perhaps? Maybe.

BALDWIN: Right.

So, Jim Acosta was making the point, talk about injecting politics, right, not even 24 hours after this attack happened in Lower Manhattan.

And to you on how Dana pointed out this is a sweeping change that the president wants to make after this horrendous attack. No one is -- it's a horrendous attack in Tribeca in New York.

But look at that compared to Las Vegas, nearly 500 people hurt, 58 people killed. When the media was asking the White House over and over, what about changing gun laws, bump stock, you wrote about that recently, not ready to talk about it, not ready to go there.

How can they be both?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: The simple answer, Brooke, is when an event, a tragedy fits into his -- Donald Trump's preconceived sort of view of politics, policy and the world, then he speaks out on it quickly.

When it doesn't, when it's not in his interests, he doesn't. Gun control, domestic terrorism, Las Vegas, these are not things that Donald Trump talked about on the campaign trail. These are not things he put front and center.

ISIS, the threat of international terrorism, immigration law, these are all things he talked about extensively.

BALDWIN: Sure.

CILLIZZA: Go down to how he described the two people, the Las Vegas shooter, wires crossed in his mind.

BALDWIN: Wires crossed.

CILLIZZA: Some paraphrasing, but that's basically it.

Today, repeatedly, "this animal." Yes, there is no question that for Donald Trump's base, this is good politics. I always keep coming back to this, though. Being president doesn't just mean saying things that your base likes. Of course, a president -- this is true of Barack Obama, George Bush -- all presidents, first-term presidents want to win a second term.

So they're mindful of it, of the politics. But Donald Trump seems to think -- there has never been a difference between candidate Trump and President Trump in any meaningful way. And we have not seen that ever before in a president, and I'll say in the modern era, because I always put modern era, because I don't -- Zachary Taylor may have mixed politics and policy. I can't speak to it.

BASH: Oh, come on, you were there.

(LAUGHTER)

CILLIZZA: OK, it's true. I just aged extremely well.

But this is a different thing. I think it's important to pause in moments like this and to say, this is not a normal thing that we have ever seen before.

BALDWIN: How about the fact that the president said the justice system is a joke?

JULIE MYERS WOOD, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY FOR U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: Well, that's really an unfortunate statement.

And certainly, now, I hope that the NYPD, FBI, the others, HSI, who are there, can try to get this man to talk. We need all the information we can. And, certainly, there have been great successes in the criminal justice system. But I understand he's frustrated. We are all frustrated. It's a terrible tragedy.

And I would say, though, the diversity visa lottery system, that is not something that has been popular among Republicans, or even Democrats recently. It's rampant with fraud.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: It's had its issues.

MYERS WOODS: It's had its issues. It's time for it to go. Aside from this attack, it's time for it to go.

And so I don't blame him for raising that point. But I agree with you, there are kind of larger issues that need to be looked in terms of, how do we prevent these kinds of attacks?

CILLIZZA: And the point here is that when he does the we are going to get rid of this, he sorts of robs the conversation of the merits of this program, good or bad, and makes this broad, sweeping -- whereas, let's be honest.

If Donald Trump had said on -- the Las Vegas shooting was October 1. Let's say on October 5 -- Donald Trump was asked about bump stocks. He said, we will look into it. If Donald Trump on that day had said, you know what, we need to get rid of these, and I'm going to call on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to do it, right? That's the preferred method that Republicans want, to move it through that regulatory process, rather than legislatively. They would do it.

[15:15:04]

BALDWIN: Here she is, Sarah Sanders at the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good afternoon.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Let me just start by offering our thoughts and prayers today with the people of New York City, some of the toughest, most resilient people on earth, in the wake of yesterday's cowardly terrorist attack.

This attack underscores that the terrorist threat is real. As we defeat ISIS and affiliated groups abroad, we must be vigilant here in our country, as they seek other ways to attack the homeland.

Inspiring such attacks through hateful propaganda has always been part of ISIS and other terrorist strategy. This underscores the need for the most careful vetting of who enters our country.

There are hundreds of active law enforcement investigations into foreign nationals suspected engaging in terrorism. And we must vet those seeking entry into the United States thoroughly.

Last night, just hours after the attack, a million New Yorkers, including families with their children, marched through the city for a Halloween parade. Their message was heard loud and clear. The American spirit will never be broken.

Those who hope we will succumb to fear will never get what they want and those who seek to divide us will only bring us closer together.

In the midst of the attack, New York City's finest, our incredible police and first-responders, rushed to the aid of their fellow citizens. They did their duty. They ran into danger, so that others could run away to safety and they performed like the heroes they were born to be.

Specifically, officer Ryan Nash, a five-year veteran of the NYPD, was among the first to respond to the scene and fired the shot that stopped the attacker from continuing the violence. He's a hero. But that doesn't come as a surprise to most of his colleagues.

He's already received two awards during his young career, one for excellent police duty and another for other police actions. Yesterday, he earned something that could never be properly displayed by a ribbon or a medal. He earned the never-ending thanks of a grateful nation.

The president has vowed to defend our country, protect our communities and put the safety of Americans first. This is the oath he took as president and that is his sacred pledge to the citizens of our country.

And with that, I will take your questions.

John.

QUESTION: Sarah, in the hours and, in fact, days after the horrific shooting in Las Vegas, the president repeatedly said, now is not the time to talk about policy, now is not the time to talk about politics. That's for another time. Right now, we need to mourn the dead.

Yet, this morning, the president launched into a political argument with Senator Chuck Schumer on Twitter literally hours after this incident yesterday.

Why was he so quick to go the political route and point fingers at Chuck Schumer for the fact that this person was in the country at all?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Well, look, this wasn't about going the political route. This is something that, frankly, the president has been talking about for a long time. This isn't a new policy. This isn't a new position. This isn't a new conversation.

The president has been talking about extreme vetting and the need for that for the purpose of protecting the citizens of this country since he was a candidate, long before he was ever president. This isn't a new argument. This isn't a new position. And this wasn't new for the president to speak about it.

QUESTION: Sarah, we heard today about 11:30 this morning from the mayor and the governor of New York who said at that time the president had yet to call. Has the president called his mayor, his governor? He's a New Yorker.

HUCKABEE SANDERS: The president has spoken with both the mayor and the governor of New York.

QUESTION: Sarah, why wasn't Uzbekistan on the travel ban list?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: As we have outlined multiple times before, those are determinations made by several factors.

In large part, Congress helped play a role in determining a lot of those factors in placing specific priorities on different countries and that was -- would be the reason they weren't part of the--

QUESTION: Why isn't the president calling for Uzbekistan to be put on the list?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, that may be something that is looked at, but that isn't something that we have called for at this time, but certainly haven't ruled it out.

QUESTION: Because I'm just curious. Why?

(CROSSTALK) HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, I think -- again, there are a lot of different criteria that we use to determine which countries should be on there.

And they haven't been determined as one of the countries yet. But I'm not saying that that's been ruled out either.

Jordan?

QUESTION: Thank you, Sarah.

On Senator Schumer, can you tell us when was the last time he and the president spoke? And, more broadly, the president saying that he is responsible at least in part for this attack, does the president still seem him as someone--

(CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Before you go any further, let me be really clear. The president did not blame Senator Schumer and doesn't feel that the senator is responsible for the attack.

We believe very strongly that the individual who carried out the attack is responsible, and no one else. However, we do think that there are policies that could be put in place that help protect American citizens.

We have been talking about those a long time. And we continue to push and advocate for those policies.

QUESTION: Does the president still think Senator Schumer is someone he can work with?

[15:20:00]

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think we would love to work with Senator Schumer to pass legislation on extreme vetting.

And if he is willing to do that, we would absolutely welcome his support on it.

Jon Decker?

QUESTION: Thanks a lot, Sarah.

The president was asked a little bit earlier when he was meeting with his Cabinet about the possibility of sending this terror suspect to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and he said he is, indeed, open to that.

Does the president believe he has the authority, as commander in chief, to send this terror suspect to Gitmo? That's my first question.

And my second question is about Gitmo. What advantage does the president see in sending this terror suspect to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba? HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, the point he was making is that he supports

or would support that. But he wasn't necessarily advocating for it, but he certainly would support it if he felt like that was the best move.

QUESTION: Are there advantages in terms of sending any terror suspect to Guantanamo?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: That's a question I think we would have to dive into deeper and certainly talk with an interagency management before answering that.

Matthew?

QUESTION: Thanks, Sarah.

The president said last night that he had ordered DHS to step -- quote -- "our already extreme vetting."

I'm wondering if you could tell us a little bit specifically what extreme vetting entails and if there is any indication that it might have had an impact on preventing yesterday's attack.

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Sure.

Some of the specifics for extreme vetting would be enhancing the collection and review of biometric and biographical data, improving our intelligence streams, improve documentation requirements and verification, improving information sharing with partner nations and foreign law enforcement and intelligence services, and an overall heightened scrutiny and more thorough review procedures for CBP and other agencies that would play a role in that process.

Major?

QUESTION: Sarah, separate from the Guantanamo Bay question, does the president believe this suspect should be classified as an enemy combatant?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I believe we would consider this person to be an enemy combatant, yes.

QUESTION: Would the president therefore instruct the Justice Department not to charge him in federal court, and to therefore use the powers of enemy combatants and that status to treat him differently, not only in terms of interrogation, but prosecution?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I don't believe that determination has been made. I think that that's something we will wait until we get a little further into the process.

QUESTION: Is the president open to not having him charged at all in federal court.

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Again, I said we haven't made that determination, so I'm not going to speak to that yet until we've gotten-- QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) You said you're open to the enemy combatant

thing.

(CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I said we would consider him to be an enemy combatant. But in terms of how we would process, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: And on what basis?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I think the actions that he took certainly justify that.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Does the green card status in any way influence that determination?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Not that I'm aware of.

Crystal.

QUESTION: Sarah, I want to follow up on the question John was asking you earlier. You're making the case that these are not new policies he's talking about.

And yet the question still remains, he's delving into a policy and political discussion. And he and you were very clear after the Las Vegas shooting that it wasn't appropriate to talk about policy. So what is the difference now?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: I said it wasn't appropriate to politicize the conversation, which I don't believe we are. We're talking about protecting American lives.

And there are things that this president has consistently and repeatedly talked about, advocated for, pushed for, introduced executive orders for, supported legislation for time and time again since long before he was even president of the United States that support this position.

It's not a new position. There are facts that we know about this horrific tragedy that we know caused some of the things in this horrific tragedy that I think determine what those policy positions that he's been advocating for long before yesterday are very consistent with the activity that could have prevented something like this from happening.

QUESTION: The president invoked Chuck Schumer's name. So, how can you argue that it's not a political argument he's making?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, Senator Schumer has supported these opposing policies. And I think that is a very basic fact.

Margaret?

QUESTION: He's not unifying the country.

(CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE SANDERS: He helped implement them on the front end long before the Gang of Eight. And the Gang of Eight would have only addressed one part of that problem.

As we have talked about many times before, he may have helped isolate one part of the problem, but it would have exacerbated so many other parts of the problem that fall within our immigration system.

If you only address one part and not the totality of it of it and introduce a fully and more responsible immigration reform, like the president has proposed, like the president has outlined, then you're not addressing the problem. You're not fixing the problem. You're only making things worse.

Margaret? Margaret.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: What he's talking about, quicker, greater punishments, is he just talking about better enforcement of laws that currently exist, or is he talking about some sort of extrajudicial process?

[15:25:00]

And are you looking at doing an executive order that would empower him? Would he make something like that public? Or would you consider doing a secret order?

Very quickly, I also want to ask you, is he really serious about tying the Obamacare mandate stuff to the tax thing? That seems like it would just blow the whole deal up, blow right through that Thanksgiving--

(CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Very different questions. Let me try to address the first part in terms of -- I believe he was voicing his frustration with the lengthy process that often comes with a case like this. So I think that was simply the point he was making.

In terms of the mandate, we're focused on pushing through tax cuts and tax reforms separately. Obviously, we have never made it a secret that we would like to repeal and replace Obamacare. We would still like to do that. But we still think it's probably more likely to do something like that in the spring.

QUESTION: Sarah, John Miller, the deputy New York City police commissioner, said the suspect committed the attack in the name of ISIS. Governor Cuomo said the suspect was associated with ISIS.

How can the president make the case that we're annihilating ISIS, when an attack like this occurs? Are his policies emboldening the remnants ISIS?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Not at all.

We certainly -- I don't think there is any way that you could discredit the progress that has been made on ISIS with a total defeat taking place, taking away their strongholds in both Raqqa and Mosul.

But when that happens, as the president even said today, you have people that splinter off, go other places. Look, and we're meeting them in each of those places as much as possible and we're going to continue to do that. It's another reason this president wants to institute extreme vetting to help keep more people out of our country that want to do us harm.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: The president said earlier (OFF-MIKE). What did he mean by stopping the process?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Just that we're going to continue pushing for and advocating for getting rid of this program, something he's talked about.

We would like to see the lottery visa program not be part of any immigration system that we have in this country.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on Margaret's question, you said the president is not considering any broader criminal justice reform?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: As I said, we will look at other specific ways to deal with it. But right now, he was simply addressing his frustration with the lengthy process.

John Gizzi.

QUESTION: Thank you, Sarah.

A follow-up question on Jon Decker's question.

The criterion that you listed for enhanced vetting sounds very much like that for a national I.D. card, a subject that comes up every few years in Congress, but which has never been acted on. Is the administration in favor of a national I.D. card as part of the enhanced vetting?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, we have laid out what our principles and our priorities are. And we will work with Congress on determining the best way to make those specific pieces of legislation.

But the things that I outlined are what we would like to see. And whether or not -- what form that comes in, that is yet to be determined. But those are the principles we would like to see take place in any extreme vetting program.

QUESTION: You're not ruling out a national I.D. card as part of the--

(CROSSTALK)

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Right. But I'm also not saying that we're fully in. I'm saying that we have laid out the principles and the priorities that we would like to see and that we think are important in an extreme vetting program.

Blake?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) Between the time president sent this tweet out last night saying that he has called for a step-up of extreme vetting until now, can you lay out exactly what has been stepped up in that time frame?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, I think he's taken a call to action.

I know he's spoken several times with members of his national security team to look and see what specific things can be done. But we have put in place executive orders already since the president has taken office that help go as far as we can at this point.

QUESTION: On tax reform real quick, I if can. Do you mind?

It's possible that one of the things that Republicans are looking at right now is drastically lowering the cap for 401(k)s. The administration has consistently said that this tax plan has to help the middle class. So, how would bringing down the cap on 401(k)s help the middle class?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, we're continuing to work with the House. I'm not going to negotiate, as I have said I think every day this week, with you guys here in the media. I'm going to let the economic team here at the White Housework with the members of both the house And Senate to put forth the best bill possible.

We also are making sure that the priorities that we have laid out, including helping the middle class, are part of the final piece of legislation. We support where we are in the process right now. And we're going to continue working with both the House and Senate to make sure we get there.

Eamon (ph).

QUESTION: Thanks, Sarah.

On that tax cut bill, what does the president want that bill to be called? There are reports that he wants it to be called the Cut, Cut, Cut act. Is that accurate?

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Look, I think the president -- if it's called the cut cut bill, great.

I think that the biggest priority that he has is making sure it does what he has laid out are his priorities in that piece of legislation. That is providing tax relief for middle class. It's making it more fair. It's making it more simple.