Trump Talks Russia, Obamacare, Travel Ban at White House

President Donald Trump held a news conference Thursday to announce his new pick to lead the Labor Department, but he touched on a wide range of topics in the roughly 75-minute conversation with reporters, including:

  • Denial of Russia Contacts With Campaign: “Nobody that I know of,” Trump said when asked if members of his campaign, such as Michael Flynn or Paul Manafort, had been in contact with Russian intelligence officials before the election.
  • Obamacare and Tax Reform:  Trump said an Obamacare repeal could come in early March and be followed by efforts to overhaul the tax code. “The tax would be easier in my opinion, but for statutory reasons and budget reasons, we have to submit the health care sooner,” he said. “After that, we’re gonna come up – we’re doing very well on tax reform.”
  • Travel Ban: Trump said a new executive order on immigration will be rolled out next week as his previously-issued order remains snarled in the judicial system. “The new order is going to be very much tailored to what I consider to be a very bad decision,” he said of the court ruling.
  • Congressional Relations: Asked by a black reporter whether he would meet with the Congressional Black Caucus, Trump asked if she would help set up the meeting, and asked, “Are they friends of yours?” CBC members responded by releasing a Jan. 19 letter calling on Trump to work with them on issues affecting the black community. Trump also said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) canceled a meeting with him because the Maryland Democrat told him it might be bad for him politically. Cummings released a statement a short time later accusing Trump of making the story up.
  • The Leaks: Trump said the press should be “ashamed of themselves” for publishing information leaked from within the administration and the intelligence community. But even as he attacked the leakers, he insisted the contents of those leaks were fake. “The leaks are absolutely real. The news is fake, because so much of the news is fake,” he said.
Morning Consult