SEARCH

Saturday
Jul222017

In midst of Russia probe, NSA chief vows: 'I will not violate' my oath to Americans

Zach Gibson/Getty Images(ASPEN, Colo.) -- In unusually passionate and stark terms, the head of the nation’s top spy agency made clear on Saturday in Colorado that he will stand up to anyone -- even the president of the United States -- who asks him to use the U.S. intelligence community as a political prop.

“We are not about particular viewpoints. We are not about particular parties. We just can’t work that way,” National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers said at the Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado.

Rogers added that the U.S. intelligence community owes U.S. citizens “honesty and integrity.”

Saturday’s remarks come only months after Rogers and at least two other senior U.S. officials were personally asked by President Trump to publicly rebut news reports laying out details of the federal government’s probe into Russia’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.

Although Rogers has refused to publicly discuss his private conversations with Trump, he has previously vowed to keep politics out of his agency’s work. But his remarks on Saturday at the annual gathering of senior officials, reporters and others tied to the U.S. intelligence community were noteworthy in their intensity and passion.

Punctuating each word -- one by one -- the U.S. Navy admiral said, “I will not violate the oath that I have taken in the 36 years as a commission officer.”

Rogers’ face hardened and his voice cracked as he added: “I won’t do that.”

He went on to say that he often relays this message to his workforce: “We are intelligence professionals. We raise our right hand and we take an oath to defend the citizens of this nation and the values that are embodied in the Constitution …” he said. “Your integrity isn’t worth the price of me or anybody else. You stand up and you remember that oath that we take.”

Rogers’ comments drew a round of applause inside the room.

Nevertheless, Rogers added he has “never been directed to do anything that I felt was illegal, immoral, unethical or inappropriate. Nor have I felt pressured to do so. Nor would I do so.”

Rogers also said he’s more than willing to offer Trump his assessment even when he knows the president disagrees.

“He has never shut me down,” Rogers said. “He gives me good, direct feedback, sometimes, ‘Mike I don’t agree with that. Mike I’m in a different place than you are.’”

“That’s exactly the way this is supposed to work,” Rogers insisted.

Rogers joined other senior officials at the Aspen Security Forum in affirming the U.S. government’s conclusion that Russia is to blame for a cyber assault on the 2016 election.

“No doubt at all,” Rogers said.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jul222017

Politicians, celebrities react to Sean Spicer’s resignation

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sean Spicer resigned as White House press secretary on Friday, and members of the Trump administration, lawmakers, celebrities and Spicer himself quickly took to Twitter to comment on the move.

Spicer called it "an honor and a privilege" to serve the president and said he would stay on through August.

President Trump made a statement thanking Spicer for his service, which was read by the new White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“I am grateful for Sean's work on behalf of the administration and the American people. I wish him continued success as he moves on to other opportunities. Just look at his great television ratings. Sean will continue to serve the administration through August," the statement read.

In an interview Friday with ABC Kansas City affiliate KMBC-TV, political reporter Mike Mahoney said to Vice President Mike Pence that Spicer's resignation "sounds like it's a resignation under protest."

Pence responded, "Well, look, Sean Spicer has been a friend of mine for many years. He is a great guy. He served his country in uniform and served this administration in our first 6 months. And I respect his decision to step aside. I just wish him every continued success. And we’re just going to continue at this White House and to continue to focus on the agenda that carried President Trump to victory last fall."

Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, said of Spicer: "He's a military serviceman, he's got a great family, and he's done a great job," adding that "this is a difficult situation to be in and I applaud his efforts."

For her part, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, tweeted about Spicer before welcoming Scaramucci to the West Wing.

California Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat and outspoken critic of the Trump administration, was quick to jump on the news.

Comedians weighed in on Twitter, too.

Host Jimmy Kimmel wrote, saying Spicer should "immediately” write a book.

Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show on CBS, chimed in too.

Others lamented that Spicer’s departure from the White House meant actress Melissa McCarthy would no longer have the chance to parody him on NBC's “Saturday Night Live.”

Actor George Takei kept his message short and sweet, tweeting: “Spikey out.”

 Some were already suggesting replacements to fill Spicer’s role.

Prominent Black Lives Matter activist Deray Mckesson took Spicer's resignation as an opportunity to address the Trump team, tweeting, “It was clear that Sean Spicer was in over his head from the beginning, just like the entire administration.”

Others suggested they sympathized with Spicer.

David Axelrod, an Obama administration senior adviser, tweeted that Spicer “was in an impossible position from the start, trying to make sense of the nonsensical.”

Chandler Thornton, national chairman of the College Republicans National Committee, tweeted that Spicer "has been one of the strongest and most effective advocates" for Trump.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jul222017

Notable moments from Sean Spicer's tenure as press secretary

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned Friday after six months on the job as President Trump's spokesman, during which he became one of the most well-known presidential representatives.

From his first appearance in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, Spicer, who will continue in the role through August, gained a reputation for verbal stumbles and terse confrontations with reporters, making his press conferences a live staple on cable news networks and leading to his portrayal on Saturday Night Live by actress Melissa McCarthy.

Though his role was to speak on the president's behalf, Spicer often made headlines for his own words when he made missteps and for the absence of words, regularly conceding that he did not know the answers to reporters' questions or that he would "get back" to them.

Spicer faced calls for his firing, including from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., after invoking Adolf Hitler during a briefing in April, and recently responded to rumors in June that his role could change in the wake of Communications Director Michael Dubke's resignation.

The press secretary's resignation came the same day that financier Anthony Scaramucci accepted an offer to replace Dubke.

Here's a look at some of the notable moments featuring Spicer since Trump's inauguration:

Inauguration crowd size

In his first opportunity to address the media -- the day following Trump's inauguration -- Spicer unleashed a blistering attack on the press' portrayal of the size of the crowd on the National Mall at the event.

Spicer lambasted news organizations for using images "intentionally framed" to diminish the size of the audience and made several factually incorrect statements about the use of coverings on the grass at the Mall during President Barack Obama's first inauguration and metro ridership numbers from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority after reports the day prior noted that attendance appeared down from 2008.

After not taking questions while giving the statement, Spicer answered for his comments two days later, responding to inquiries about the information he provided by saying, "Sometimes we can disagree with the facts, but our intention is never to lie."

'It's not a travel ban'

As controversy swirled over the initial version of Trump's January executive order limiting travel and immigration from seven countries in Africa and the Middle East, Spicer found himself in a war of words with the media and -- indirectly -- the president himself.

At the press briefing on Jan. 31, April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks alluded to the order as she asked a question, referring to it as "this travel ban."

"Well, first of all, it’s not a travel ban," said Spicer, who attempted to make a point about the word "ban" only applying to an order that completely halts something, rather than merely limiting it, as the president's action did.

However, Trump himself called the order a "ban" a day earlier in a tweet referring to the executive order. After Spicer again protested the word's inclusion in a question from Yahoo News' Hunter Walker, NBC News' Kristen Welker called attention to the language in the president's own tweet.

"He says it's a 'ban,' " said Welker, to which Spicer claimed that Trump was only using the word because the media was using it.

"I think that the words that are being used to describe it are derived from what the media is calling this," Spicer said.

Exclusive gaggle

In lieu of a formal press briefing on Feb. 24, Spicer instead decided to hold an informal gathering with reporters known as a gaggle, and took the additional step of only inviting certain news outlets.

Joining the press secretary in his office were the Washington Times, One America News Network, Breitbart News, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, as well as television networks including ABC, CBS, Fox News and NBC, among others.

Those left out included the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Politico and CNN. After learning those organizations would not have a representative, journalists from The Associated Press and Time magazine boycotted the conversation.

Spicer defended himself by saying the gaggle was originally supposed to be composed of a smaller group and he simply chose to expand it, but the White House Correspondents' Association, which represents the press corps, cried foul, saying they disapproved of the way the situation was handled.

'Stop shaking your head'

Throughout his tenure, Spicer, who has been lampooned as a kindergarten teacher on The Daily Show, often chided reporters for talking over one another and dismissively referred to questions as "cute." He took his actions a step further on March 28 when he chastised American Urban Radio Networks' April Ryan for her body language.

As Ryan posed a question about the number of impediments the administration was encountering in its first months, Spicer cut her off, accused her of harboring an agenda and encouraged her to "report the facts." During his response, he also noted that she was shaking her head.

The pair continued their exchange, but shortly after, Spicer again took note of Ryan's movements.

"Please stop shaking your head again," said Spicer.

After the briefing, Ryan expressed her frustration with a tweet, writing, "Lawd!!!!" At the next day's news conference, in what appeared to be an act of goodwill, Spicer called on Ryan first.

Hitler comparison

In April, Spicer addressed the U.S. airstrikes in Syria, launched in response to a chemical attack in the country that was blamed on its government.

Seemingly attempting to justify Trump's order of the missile launch, Spicer compared the cruelty of the Syrian chemical attack to the actions of Hitler during World War II.

Spicer said Hitler "didn't even sink to using chemical weapons," neglecting the millions killed in the gas chambers of Nazi concentration and extermination camps. He further referred to the camps as "Holocaust centers."

Facing nearly universal scorn for the remarks, Spicer eventually apologized, telling CNN, "It was insensitive and inappropriate" and that he "shouldn't have done it."

'He gets beat up'

Commenting publicly about the difficulties faced by his press secretary, Trump defended Spicer and principal deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during a Fox News interview in which he also threatened to cancel "all future press briefings."

"You have a level of hostility that’s incredible, and it's very unfair," said Trump. "Sarah Huckabee is a lovely young woman. You know Sean Spicer -- he’s a wonderful human being. He’s a nice man."

Trump wouldn't go so far as to say Spicer should be replaced when prompted by interviewer Jeanine Pirro, but conceded that the aide faced his share of difficulties.

"He’s doing a good job, but he gets beat up," said Trump.

Covfefe

Just after midnight on May 31, Trump sent a tweet that read: "Despite the constant negative press covfefe." The apparent misspelling of the word "coverage" quickly became a meme as social media users joked about the meaning of "covfefe" and why the president published the incomplete post.

After an unusually long amount of time for a post containing an error -- a fact that fed the newfound meme -- the post was deleted and Trump himself joined in on the humor.

"Who can figure out the true meaning of 'covfefe' ??? Enjoy!" he wrote later that day.

When asked about the missive, Spicer responded: "The president and a small group of people know exactly what he meant." Many were left wondering whether he was serious or making a joke.

Rumors about his role

After Dubke resigned in June, rumors swirled that Spicer could relinquish his public role as press secretary to focus on communications in a behind-the-scenes capacity. Spicer held the communications director title at the start of Trump's presidency before Dubke took the job in March.

Spicer addressed the growing reports after he was asked about them at the June 20 briefing and whether he could share any changes to the communications team.

"I’m right here," said Spicer on June 20, adding, "We’re always looking for ways to do a better job of articulating the president’s message and his agenda, and we’ll continue to have those discussions internally. When we have an announcement of a personnel nature, we’ll let you know."

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jul222017

Jeff Sessions has no plans to resign amid reports of campaign conversations with Russia, source says

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions has no plans to resign after a report emerged that he engaged in campaign and policy-related conversations with Russia during the 2016 campaign, and he would only leave his position if President Trump were to fire him, a person familiar with the matter has told ABC News.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) denied Friday evening that Sessions had meetings or discussions with foreign officials "concerning any type of interference" with the 2016 election.

 The denial comes in response to a Washington Post report that the Russian ambassador to the U.S. told Russian officials that he and Sessions engaged in campaign and policy-related conversations during the period Sessions served as an adviser to Trump's campaign.

The report, published by the Post on Friday, does not accuse Sessions of discussing interference, as the DOJ release states, but reports that "he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow" with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The Post cites "current and former U.S. officials" familiar with the intercepted communications of Russian government officials.

There was no discussion regarding Russia's attempts to influence the election, and there were not any discussion of cooperation or collaboration between Trump associates and the Russians, the source says.

In March, responding to an earlier Washington Post article that publicly disclosed his encounters with Kislyak, the attorney general said that he "never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign." The DOJ portrayed these meetings as a regular activity for a U.S. senator on the Armed Services Committee.

The DOJ’s statement on Friday, and the refutation that Sessions spoke of "interference," mirrors testimony Sessions gave before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June. In that testimony, he also said that meetings and conversations "with any Russians" or foreign officials were not about "interference with any campaign or election."

Questions of Sessions honesty regarding his interactions with Russia stem from his January confirmation hearing. There he was questioned by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., regarding what he would do as the head of the DOJ if he discovered "evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government" during the campaign.

Sessions did not directly answer the question, instead saying that he wasn't aware of such activities, and that he, personally, never made contact with representatives of the country.

"I didn't have... communications with the Russians, and I'm unable to comment on it," said Sessions.

Giving misleading information regarding the nature of conversations with Kislyak led to the resignation of Michael Flynn, who stepped down as national security adviser in February after denying he spoke with the ambassador. Flynn's stance was repeated publicly by Vice President Mike Pence before the truth became public.

Friday's revelations about the subject of Sessions' discussions with Kislyak come following an interview by the New York Times with Trump Wednesday, in which he admitted regret over nominating Sessions to be attorney general after his recusal from matters related to the election.

Committees in both the House and Senate, as well as a special counsel appointed by Sessions' deputy, are investigating Russian meddling in the election and any potential links to or collusion with the Trump campaign.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul212017

Financier Anthony Scaramucci accepts Trump offer to head White House communications

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Prominent Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci has accepted the position of White House communications director offered to him by President Donald Trump.

Scaramucci is replacing Mike Dubke, who resigned in May only three months after being hired.

Axios first reported the planned hiring of Scaramucci.

In a statement Friday evening, Trump said, “Anthony is a person I have great respect for, and he will be an important addition to this Administration. He has been a great supporter and will now help implement key aspects of our agenda while leading the communications team. We have accomplished so much, and we are being given credit for so little. The good news is the people get it, even if the media doesn’t.”

Scaramucci said in his own statement, “President Trump has accomplished an incredible amount in a short period of time, and I am proud to join his Administration as he continues to deliver for the American people.”

Scaramucci will officially begin his role on Aug. 15, according to the White House. He will report directly to the president.

Senior members of the White House staff, including press secretary Sean Spicer, were unaware that Scaramucci was being considered for the post, even as Trump and first daughter Ivanka Trump were meeting with Scaramucci at the White House Thursday for over an hour to discuss the job.

Scaramucci, 53, is a major Republican donor and was a member of the president's transition team.

Scaramucci has also been vocal about his support of the president's embattled son Donald Trump Jr., tweeting earlier this month, "[Donald Trump Jr.] is a virtuous and honorable man. Virtue means the courage to act with integrity. Don does that everyday. #stopwitchunt"

In January, Scaramucci sold an asset-management business he founded, SkyBridge Capital, as it appeared at the time he would be joining the Trump administration.

The president had said he intended to appoint Scaramucci as director of the White House Office of Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs, but administration officials said soon afterward that Scaramucci would not assume that role and they would seek another position for him. A key issue was that the sale of SkyBridge Capital to a division of a Chinese conglomerate had not yet been completed, meaning it would take months for Scaramucci to be cleared of potential ethics conflicts.

Scaramucci -- who attended Harvard Law School and Tufts University -- made news in June when CNN accepted the resignations of three journalists involved in a retracted story about a supposed investigation into a pre-inaugural meeting between Scaramucci and the head of a Russian investment fund. CNN immediately apologized to Scaramucci. CNN said the story didn't meet its editorial standards and was posted without going through the expected checks and balances for a story of such sensitivity.

The Long Island, New York, native is a frequent guest on Fox News, and previously hosted "Wall Street Week" on the Fox Business Network.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul212017

Trump Jr., Manafort agree to cooperate with Senate panel and won't attend Wednesday hearing, Grassley says

William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort have both agreed to negotiate with the Senate Judiciary Committee to provide documents "and be interviewed... prior to a public hearing" in regards to its Russia probe, according to statement from the office of committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.

Representatives for both Trump Jr. and Manafort did not respond to requests for comment from ABC but previously said they are cooperating with the Congressional investigations.

The announcement comes a day after senators threatened to subpoena the pair in pursuit of their investigation into Russian election interference. Both Grassley, R-Iowa, and committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., had expressed confidence on Thursday in achieving cooperation with the president's son and former campaign chair.

“I’m not concerned, because if they don’t they will be subpoenaed," said Feinstein.

On Wednesday, the committee invited the men -- who have come under scrutiny for their attendance at a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in which Trump Jr. believed they would receive incriminating information about Hillary Clinton -- to appear at a hearing next week and turn over documents related to their contacts with Russian nationals. They will not appear at Wednesday's session in light of their willingness to cooperate, according to an aide to Feinstein.

Glenn Simpson, founder of Fusion GPS, a research firm hired by Trump political opponents to investigate the GOP nominee's Russia ties, was also invited to next week's hearing, but declined, according to the statement from Grassley's office.

"A subpoena has been issued to compel his attendance," the statement said.

"Simpson's attorney has asserted that his client will invoke First and Fifth Amendment rights in response to the subpoena," continued the statement.

While Trump and Manafort will be cooperating with the committee, the statement adds that the panel "reserve[s] the right" to issue subpoenas for each in the future.

Editors' Note: An earlier version of this story indicated that representatives for Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort had confirmed negotiating with the Senate Judiciary Committee to ABC News. They had previously said to ABC News that they'd cooperate but didn't respond on this specific matter.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul212017

Sean Spicer feeling 'relieved' after resignation as White House press secretary

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sean Spicer is feeling "relieved" in the wake of his resignation as the White House press secretary, he told ABC News Friday afternoon.

When asked how he's feeling, he said: "How do I look like I'm feeling? Relieved."

The reason for his departure?

"Organizationally, they need to get a fresh start," he told ABC News' Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega.

Spicer, 45, confirmed that President Donald Trump asked him to stay on.

It's no secret in the White House that Spicer’s departure was in the works. He said a new vision brought on to the communications team solidified his decision to leave.

Spicer said that his departure allows White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, whose role was announced this morning, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who will be taking over as press secretary, to "have a clean slate."

The former presidential spokesman reiterated the viewpoint in an interview with Fox News Friday, expressing that additions to the staff could've created confusion.

"I just thought it was in the best interest of our communications department, of our press organization to not have too many cooks in the kitchen," he said.

Spicer would not comment on his next steps or any formal plans to ABC News.

"I look forward to spending a lot of time with my family," Spicer said.

Trump expected to name Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director

Spicer initially confirmed his departure on Twitter over an hour after the news broke, writing, "It's been an honor & a privilege to serve @POTUS @realDonaldTrump & this amazing country. I will continue my service through August."

Sanders read a statement from Trump at the press briefing Friday afternoon.

"I am grateful for Sean's work on behalf of my administration and the American people. I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities. Just look at his great television ratings," Trump said in the statement.

Spicer has spent much less time in the briefing room in recent weeks, with Sanders handling more of the daily briefings.

Spicer did brief the press off camera on Monday of this week, and that was his first time doing so in three weeks.

Spicer worked as the communications director for the Republican National Committee before being named as Trump's press secretary during the transition.

His tenure got off to a rocky start when he made his first appearance in the White House briefing room the day after Trump took office and read a statement to the press about the size of the crowd at the inauguration.

The resignation comes the day after the Trump administration marked its first six months in office.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul212017

Susan Rice meets with Senate Intel Committee as part of Russia probe

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Susan Rice, former President Barack Obama's national security advisor, met Friday with the Senate Intelligence Committee for a private interview as part of the panel's investigation into Russian election interference.

“Ambassador Rice met voluntarily with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today as part of the Committee’s bipartisan investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election," Rice's spokesperson Erin Pelton said in a statement on Friday. "Ambassador Rice appreciates the Committee’s efforts to examine Russia’s efforts to interfere, which violated one of the core foundations of American democracy. She was pleased to cooperate with the investigation given its extraordinary national significance.”

Rice is among several former Obama administration officials who have appeared before Capitol Hill investigators looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Jeh Johnson, the former homeland security secretary under Obama, has appeared before both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. John Podesta, who served as counselor to Obama and, more recently, the chairman of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, was interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee last month.

Republicans have raised concerns that Rice and other Obama administration officials improperly unmasked names in classified foreign intelligence reports -- something Rice has strenuously denied.

The Senate Intelligence Committee will also interview Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and a top White House adviser, on Monday behind closed doors.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul212017

Scaramucci once had some not-so-nice things to say about President Trump

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- "Hack politician.”

“I don’t like the way he talks about women.”

No, these weren’t the musings of Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders about President Donald Trump -– they were remarks about Trump when he was a candidate from Anthony Scaramucci, his newly minted communications director.

Scaramucci, a Wall Street financier and now staunch Trump defender, was tapped Friday to replace Trump’s former communications director Mike Dubke, who served only three months in the job.

But in 2015, during an appearance on Fox Business, Scaramucci lashed out at Trump in response to remarks from the then-candidate about hedge-funders.

“He’s a hack politician,” he said. “He’s probably going to make Elizabeth Warren his vice-presidential nominee.”

Scaramucci called the remarks from Trump “divisive” and implored the Republican candidate and fellow New Yorker, “You’ve gotta cut it out now and stop all this crazy rhetoric.”

“I don’t like the way he talks about women,” Scaramucci, a Republican donor, added. “I don’t like the way he talks about our friend Megyn Kelly.”

Trump and Kelly, formerly of Fox News, had a very public spat during the campaign, with Trump infamously saying during a primary debate: “There was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

Trump and Kelly later reconciled.

"This nonsense is gonna end," Scaramucci said of Trump's White House run. "And I predict it will end before Thanksgiving."

During a White House briefing Friday, Scaramucci apologized for the comments.

“One of the biggest mistakes that I made because I was an unexperienced person in the world of politics, I was supporting the other candidate," Scaramucci said. "I should have never said that about him.

"So if the president is listening, I personally apologize for the 50th time for saying that. Here's a wonderful thing about the news media that was three minutes of my life, you've never forgotten it, he's never forgotten it.”

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jul212017

Sarah Huckabee Sanders named press secretary after Sean Spicer resignation

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- Sarah Huckabee Sanders was named White House press secretary Friday, hours after Sean Spicer resigned from the position.

The promotion for Sanders, who was previously principal deputy press secretary, was announced at the afternoon's press briefing by new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Scaramucci himself was offered and accepted his position earlier in the day Friday.

Sanders has regularly conducted briefings during the first six months of President Donald Trump's term, most frequently over the past month as the White House moved the conferences mostly off camera and Spicer faced questions over the possibility of his role changing.

The new press secretary is the daughter of former Arkansas governor and two-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and grew up with a fascination for politics.

“I always say that when most kids are 7 or 8 years old out jumping rope, she was sitting at the kitchen table listening to [political commentators] analyze poll results,” her father told Fox News in May.

Sanders has worked a number of political campaigns, including her father’s failed 2008 presidential bid, John Boozman’s Senate bid in her home state of Arkansas in 2010, and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s failed 2012 presidential bid.

She worked for her father’s second presidential bid in the 2016 election before joining Trump’s campaign after her father dropped out. She began working as a senior adviser to the Trump campaign in February 2016 but then joined the campaign’s communications team in September 2016.

Her husband, Republican strategist Bryan Sanders, posted a selfie of him and his wife at the inauguration, writing that he was proud of his "amazing wife."

The couple married in 2010 and have three children, including one to whom she gave a special shout-out at a press briefing.

“In addition to all of the big news happening at the White House today, it is also my daughter Scarlet’s fifth birthday. And since I'm here and you guys are, I get to wish Scarlet a happy birthday. And with that, I think her first birthday wish would probably be that you guys are incredibly nice,” she said at the May 10 briefing.

Sanders started playing a more public role in May when Spicer was fulfilling his naval reserve duties. She has since been giving the majority of the recent daily briefings, and there has been a shift from having those conducted in front of live TV cameras; they are now mostly required to only be audio recorded and not played live.

For her part, she is reportedly getting rave reviews from the president.

“The president loves Sarah. He thinks she's doing a phenomenal job and I agree with him,” Scaramucci said at Friday’s briefing.


Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







ABC News Radio