Fw: WH Travel Pool Report #5

From: Landler, Mark
Sent: Friday, February 12, 2016 12:09 PM
To: Allen, Jessica L. EOP/WHO
Subject: Fwd: WH Travel Pool Report #5

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From: Landler, Mark >
Date: Fri, Feb 12, 2016 at 3:09 PM
Subject: WH Travel Pool Report #5
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On the motorcade ride to the helicopter landing zone in Santa Monica, pool witnessed a motorcycle down at the side of the freeway. The White House confirms there was an accident involving a California Highway Patrol Officer. The officer sustained bruises.

Highlights from the Gaggle

On Obama’s announcement on public lands: “Today’s designation will nearly double the number of acres of public lands previously protected as national monuments by President Obama. … We are minutes away from flying over some of these designated lands. We are deviating from our normal direct route so you can get a glimpse of it. We’re deviating for the president and you all. This is a view that will feature Joshua Tree National Park and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail.”

Schultz said Obama will speak at the Toner Prize Dinner on March 28, named in honor of the first woman to be national political correspondent for the NYT. “He will not only pay tribute to Robin’s work, but also underscore her commitment to journalistic excellence. Robin … really represented the best of journalism.”

“I do expect the president to engage in a conversation about where our media is and the importance of making sure that we have thoughtful, reflective public discussions on a lot of the pressing issues facing our country.”

(on bear’s ears in Utah, which Native Americans want POTUS to designate as a national monument) Shultz had no updates on other potential monuments and in general said Obama has focused on preserving lands: “I do know this is something the president has appreciated and utilized his authority under the antiquities act.”

(On Congress’s North Korea sanctions bill) “Like many members of congress the administration is deeply concerned about North Korea’s recent action and the serious setback that this test represents. .. We’re philosophically and intellectually in the same place on this. This will not be a bill that we oppose.”

Referring to the agreement on Syria reached by Secretary of State John Kerry in Munich, Eric Schultz said “we have to accelerate and expand the delivery of aid, and that begins immediately.” Schultz cautioned, “this was an important step, but the work is far from over.” He said the United States expected all parties to honor their agreement.

“Russia played a role in this talks, but we’ve also seen Russia play a destructive role on the ground and from the air in Syria,” he said. “They’ve also been targeting areas where there’s very little or on ISIL presence at all. It is time for them to stop using the cover of going after ISIL to become more involved in the Syrian sectarian civil war.”

“Obviously, we have called for an immediate ceasefire before, and those calls were not heeded by the players involved.”

Schultz declined to say whether Obama held any other meetings in Los Angeles on Thursday night, after his fundraisers and the taping of the Ellen DeGeneres Show. On a previous trip to L.A., he met with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg after his official schedule had ended.

“I am going to protect the president’s ability to have private conversations, whether that’s with lawmakers, whether that’s with candidates for president, or whether that’s with Hollywood artists,” he said.

Referring to the DNC’s decision to roll back donations from PAC’s, Schultz said, “the guidelines that we previously in place at the DNC were guidelines that were instituted when Barack Obama, then Senator Obama, became the Democratic nominee for president of the United States. Those were guidelines that were modeled after his campaign for the presidency. Those were steps that no previous nominee or candidate had taken before him.”

“When Barack Obama became president, those guidelines stayed in place,” Schultz continued. “We’re now at the point where the fundraising for the DNC is going toward candidates who are on the ballot in 2016. Those candidates will have to make choices about the resources they are using.”

“Even under the new guidelines, there will no lobbyists or people representing PAC’s at events attended by the administration, “ Schultz said. That included the fundraisers Obama attended in California.

Asked about reports that an unnamed Iranian official requested that Iran delay the release of Americans held there until after the U.S. election, Shultz said, “We have to reason to believe that’s true.”

Asked about a report that Russia was behind a cyber-attack on Ukraine, Schultz said he could not confirm it. He referred questions to the FBI and the State Department.

Thanks to WaPo's David Nakamura

Mark Landler

NY Times

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