1. SOUNDBITE (English) Kevin Hassett, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers: ++STARTS ON SHOT OF REPORTERS++
"You know, I am not the secretary of state but I have been updated on what's going on, there has been a lot of progress at the talks and my understanding is that the minute the president lands and you guys know the time better me about 4.30 that he's going to be presented with the material progress and then he's going to put everything on the table and make a decision about next steps.
(Reporter: Is there a possibility, do you think, that he is going to decide to delay?)
I think it's possible that, you know, the president has all the options on the table but the talks have been very collegial, amicable and you know my briefing on them has been that there's been a lot of progress where our technical experts who have really taken a deep dive into what the Mexicans could do to help get out in front of the border problem that the Mexicans have agreed to do a lot of those things. But whether they've done enough to satisfy the president who knows this issue better than anybody is something that we'll find out when he lands at 430."
2. Cutaway, camera Wide Hassett speaking
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Kevin Hassett, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers:
"You know I think a 5% Mexican tariff would not be noticeable in the statistics.
(Reporter: At what point do you think it would start to ...)
I'd have, I'd have to do some more math to tell you about it but it would you know at the beginning it wouldn't be something that would be noticeable."
++SOUNDBITES SEPARATED BY WHITE FLASHES++
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Marc Short, Pence's chief of staff:
"I think we're encouraged that Mexico came prepared to put solutions on the table. But on Wednesday, I think we felt that they were wholly insufficient. They were a step forward but insufficient. As negotiations continued yesterday we were more encouraged that they came forward with some of the things that we put on the table Wednesday to say they were open to that. But Kristen there is a long way to go still. That's the bottom line. And so the legal teams are talking today and we'll see how that progresses. But it's it's clear that there's still a long way to go."
5. Cutaway photographers
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Marc Short, Pence's chief of staff: ++STARTS ON SHOT OF REPORTERS++
(Reporter: Marc, you guys keep saying that Mexico needs to do more? Can you be more specific, especially given the major concession they've already given changing or agreeing to change, its asylum policy?)
Well, I think that that's that's the rub, is it is that we have recommended safe third policies as you've heard Secretary McAleenan testify to that would say that if you're from a country south of Mexico and you step into Mexico, it would require that that's where your asylum proceedings have to take place as opposed to the United States, because our asylum laws are so broken. And that's really I think a focus of where negotiations are today."
Two White House officials Friday spoke about the ongoing talks between U.S. and Mexican officials, characterizing the progress differently as discussions continued on averting import tariffs.
The White House's top economic adviser, Kevin Hassett, told reporters "there has been a lot of progress at the talks," and once the president lands Friday afternoon he is going to "make a decision about next steps."
A short time earlier, Vice President Mike Pence's Chief of Staff Marc Short said, "there is a long way to go still, that's the bottom line."
President Donald Trump is still threatening to impose tariffs he tries to pressure Mexico into stemming the flow of Central American migrants across the United States' southern border.
Trump has threatened to impose a 5% tax on all Mexican goods beginning Monday as part of an escalating tariff regime opposed by many in his own Republican Party.
The frantic, last-minute talks underscore Trump's chaotic approach even when decisions have enormous economic consequences for both the U.S. and its closest allies.
Traveling in Europe, Trump told reporters that negotiators had made "a lot of progress," but continued to play coy.
It remained unclear whether any deal could be struck with Trump out of the country.