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In first press conference this month, Sanders criticizes GM

After General Motors announced impending layoffs and plant closures, President Trump vented his frustration over Twitter and in a wide-ranging interview with the Washington Post, in which he blamed Fed chairman Jay Powell for the auto giant's move. Sarah Sanders also criticized GM, in her first press conference this month. Judy Woodruff turns to Yamiche Alcindor, who was in the room, for details.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    For the first time this month, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stepped up to the podium to answer questions from reporters.

    Our White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor, was in the room, and she joins me now.

    Hi, Yamiche.

    So the president has made it very clear he is not happy with General Motors for announcing that it is going to close some plants, it is going to lay off thousands of employees. The president has just today, we're learning, given an interview where he's commented on that to The Washington Post.

    Tell us what you know.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Well, the president is make it abundantly clear that he is not happy with General Motors.

    On Twitter, he railed against the company, and he said that he was considering cutting all subsidies to the automaker, including subsidies that allow them to be able to make electric cars.

    He accused GM of wanting to make cars in Mexico and in China, instead of in the United States. And the White House top adviser, Larry Kudlow, came to the podium, and said that he had a lengthy conversation with the CEO of GM, and he personally expressed how disappointed he was.

    Now, the president gave a wide-ranging interview to The Washington Post, and in it he blames Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell for part of the reason why GM is closing those plants.

    Sarah Sanders, of course, put it most bluntly. She is, of course, the White House press secretary. She said that GM is simply making cars that people don't want to buy. So she is criticizing GM's business model.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Different subject, Yamiche. There has been a lot of speculation about whether the president would pardon his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who is very much in the news today.

    What is the White House saying about that?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The White House is saying that President Trump has not spoken to anyone at the White House about pardoning his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

    But the president has been going after Bob Mueller and the Russia investigation pretty tough. He tweeted today that Robert Mueller was — quote — "a rogue prosecutor" and that he was doing tremendous damage to the criminal justice system.

    But Sarah Sanders said that because President Trump has not fired Robert Mueller yet, and because he has not stopped the Russia investigation, that we should all look at that, reporters and the public included, as evidence that President Trump is going to continue to let Robert Mueller do his job.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Just last thing, quickly, Yamiche, the press at the White House, there's been a really contentious relationship there for a few weeks. How did today's session go?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Well, despite the tension, it was really business as usual at the White House. Sarah Sanders, who, of course, held her first briefing this month — which, of course, we are 27 days into the month, and this is the first one, which is pretty rare.

    But she took questions from reporters. She even called on Jim Acosta, who is, of course, the CNN correspondent whose hard pass was revoked and which — and then he got it back after the court said he had to be given it back.

    But she was allowing reporters to ask questions. She had had a new set of rules for reporters to answer questions and ask questions, but, really, everyone was allowed to do what they do, so everything went very smoothly.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    They could do follow-ups, apparently, at least today.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Yes.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We shall see.

    Yamiche Alcindor, thank you.

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