Fw: Travel pool report 2: arrival and gaggle

From: Evan McMorris-Santoro [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2015 04:09 PM
To: Allen, Jessica
Subject: Travel pool report 2: arrival and gaggle

AF1 was wheels down at 4:05 PM PT.

WH staff told us Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Ted Lieu were aboard today’s flight to L.A..

Deputy Press Secretary Eric Shultz gaggled for about 14 minutes early into the flight. Main topic was the Secret Service, though Ferguson, Afghanistan, the Senate human trafficking bill and the VA were also discussed.

Please check all quotes against the transcript.

On Afghanistan, Schultz read out a video conference between POTUS and Afghan President Ghani along with the country’s CEO, Dr. Abdullah.

On the Secret Service, Schultz said POTUS still has confidence in agency Director Clancy. Schultz wouldn’t comment directly investigations into the March 4 drunk driving incident. POTUS was “made aware” of the March 4 allegations “earlier this week,” and was “disappointed” at the news.

Asked for more detail about the timing of the president being made aware of the incident, Schultz said it was “it was absolutely before news reports” and said he would try to find out more detail about the “tick tock.”

On Ferguson, Schultz pointed to statements from POTUS and AG Holder about the shootings Thursday. Asked if the WH would be sending top officials to Ferguson as it did after the last round of strife in the town, Schultz said “I don’t have any travel announcements to read out.”

On the VA, Schultz was asked about POTUS’s trip to the Phoenix VA medical facility on Friday. He said the president would meet with “veterans, VA employees, veteran groups and elected officials” and that “everything’s on the table in terms of this discussion.”

Schultz would not directly address the rationale behind the timing of this visit – including why the president did not visit in January when he was in the area.

“Even though it might not be generating front page news, this is something that the president’s been focused on,” he said.

Finally, asked whether Obama would veto an anti-trafficking bill that includes abortion restrictions, Schultz said, “I’m not going to weigh in at this point,” citing ongoing negotiations in Congress.

He also declined to comment directly on a bill from Sen. Grassley that would limit benefits available to people affected by the president’s executive order on immigration.

(Special thanks to Politico's Sarah Wheaton for sending me some gaggle quotes and Bloomberg's Margaret Talev for taking a picture outside AF1 I sent to my mom. Breaking, via text: she liked it.)

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Evan McMorris-Santoro
BuzzFeed News White House Reporter
xxx-xxx-xxxx
@EvanMcSan

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