Fwd: Travel Pool Report #3 - gaggle

Begin forwarded message:

From: Michael Shear >
Date: August 1, 2016 at 1:03:49 PM EDT
To: "Gabriel, Brian A. Jr. EOP/WHO" >
Subject: Travel Pool Report #3 - gaggle

Principle Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz gaggled aboard the flight to Atlanta. There was no big news, though he confirmed that the US is sending a federal CDC team to Florida in accordance with a request from Rick Scott, the state's governor, so that they can better coordinate in the fight against Zika.

On ZIKA and Gov. Scott's request for federal help:

"The president is continually getting briefed on the situation in South Florida," Schultz said.  "A team is being deployed by the CDC in short order so that we will be able to work with Gov. Scott's team on the ground in South Florida."

Schultz said that  CDC has given out $2M in specific Zika response funding and also $27M in emergency preparedness funding much of which can be used for Florida's Zika response.

He said that HHS is assisting local governments across the country.

Schultz said that Congress's decision not to fund further Zika prevention efforts had hindered the administration's ability to fund more research and slowed the development of an anti-Zika vaccine.

On the trip to the VA, he said that POTUS will talk about "the necessary transformation underway at the Veterans administration, the progress we've made and the work still to be done." He said POTUS believes attempts to privatize the VA is "a misguided approach."

Schultz said POTUS has "made it a priority to transform" the VA, in part by bringing in Bob McDonald to lead the department.

He said there is more work to be done, but said I "reject the notion that we are just tinkering around the edges."

Schultz would not say whether POTUS would talk about the Khan family, other than to say that POTUS believes nobody has given more than gold star families.

Schultz said the DOD has confirmed that at the request of Libyian government of national accord, US conducted air strikes in support of forces. He said the strikes were authorized by POTUS at the advice of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

He said the strikes are intended to help government forces in their fight against ISIL.

On the downing of Russian chopper, Schultz expressed "regret for any loss of live in association wth this conflict" and said it is why the US government has been working on a political solution.

On the possibility of Russian hacking of the DNC, Schultz said he wouuldt get ahead of the investigation but said looking at previous hacking incidents, there are a "whole host of options open to us," including economic sanctions and law enforcement measures.

Back on VA homelessness: Schultz acknowledged that POTUS promised to eliminate veterans homelessness and has not done so. But he said POTUS "knew it was ambitious" when he set the goal, but is proud of the progress that they have made.

On the purge in Turkey, he said "we fully support the democratically elected government in Turkey," but believes that Turkey must respect its democratic institutions.
Michael D. Shear
White House Correspondent
The New York Times

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