Sent: Monday, January 6, 2020 9:57 AM
Subject: In town pool report #2: Kellyanne Conway gaggle
Transcript below from Kellyanne Conway's gaggle with reporters. Your pooler recommends monitoring CSPAN for video to check quotes.
Does POTUS favor a delay of the impeachment process to focus on Iran?
"It looks like Nancy Pelosi favors a delay in the impeachment process, because she hasn't bothered to send over the articles of impeachment from the House. Which is it? Is the president is an imminent threat to the republic, a clear and present danger who must be removed immediately? Or did she take a little mini sabbatical over the break and has decided when to send over the articles of impeachment?
"Why would he want to delay the trial? He knows the trial is going nowhere. He wants a full and fair trial, but that doesn't mean a lengthy one. Those articles of impeachment are very thin."
"They know their case is very weak. They know their case was very obtuse, was very weak, very specious, and she won’t send those over. So, delay a trial for what reason? I mean, let’s get on with it already."
Targeting cultural sites?
"Secretary Pompeo said yesterday that we will be within the law, and I think that Iran has many military, strategic military sites that you may cite are also cultural sites."
(She later clarified she was not saying Iran was camouflaging military targets within cultural sites.)
"So, I think the president's putting out the number 52 is significant for those numerologists in Iran who are listening to numbers. That's the number of hostages they took 40 years ago when — talk about a weak president — President Jimmy Carter. I wish him the best now, but he was a very weak president when it came to that. They took our hostages and they released them as soon as President Reagan took office, of course."
Cited commentary on the Soleimani strike from Jeh Johnson, Joe Lieberman and David Patraeus. "Those are significant voices and people who don't necessarily support the president and his party... They've said the president has been lawful and constitutional and strategic in what he’s done, and he’ll continue to."
Will POTUS declassify notification on attack?
She accused Sens. Schumer and Menendez of "chest thumping" with their letter this morning calling for POTUS to declassify the War Powers Act notification letter.
"They know that Congress will be briefed. It could start as recently as this week. But that's up to the Pentagon."
Why not declassify the intel and prove to Congress what the threat was from Soleimani?
"Prove to a Congress — you think that they’ll be satisfied? It sounds like they’re defending Soleimani and attacking this president, and that's on them. I'm a little tired of this hero worship of whoever the president has taken out."
"He's the commander in chief, and he did what a responsible, strong — not weak — commander in chief does when faced with the opportunity to take out one of the, if not the world's most wanted terrorist."
Will POTUS meet with members of Congress this week?
"It's possible, but he’s been talking to many of them over the course... but that's what he does. His door is open, his phone works."
"A lot of people just like to head straight to the cameras. Could you imagine telling the chairman of the Intel Committee, one Adam Schiff, that this was going to happen? Could you imagine? The man goes to bed with his earpiece and microphone on. So what would've happened?"
She suggested that if they invited Pelosi over for a briefing "she might leave in a fit," citing past meetings at the White House that ended abruptly.
Plans for White House to brief Congress this week on strategy moving forward?
"I know that they’ll be briefed in due course, and probably expeditiously. And they know that, too."
"Yes they will be briefed, but they also should calm down and celebrate, not denigrate, the fact that the world's greatest terrorist, who is single-handedly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans... they should celebrate not denigrate" that he was killed.
Does POTUS still believe it's possible to renegotiate a nuclear deal with Iran?
"He said he's open to meet. If Iran wants to start behaving like a normal country... sure. Absolutely."
How do you square that Pompeo and POTUS seem to be saying two different things on targeting cultural sites?
She went on to accuse reporters of “speaking in hypotheticals” when asked about whether the president is targeting cultural sites.
"He didn't say he's targeting cultural sites. He said that he was openly asking the question why in the world they're allowed to maim people, put out roadside bombs, kill our people, torture our people... he said that they identified 52 sites."
She later added: "And let me just clarify, the president has identified those dories and said it may happen if Iran retaliates in a certain way."
Anything in the works to declassify and make public information on the threat Soliemani had posed to US forces?
"It's possible. Well, are we going to do that or do we have to rush to Congress first? So, it’s possible."
White House reporter | The Hill
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