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tv   News  Al Jazeera  February 16, 2016 5:00pm-5:31pm EST

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what resource do you have if leader mcconnell blocks your nominee, and do you think if you choose someone moderate enough the republicans might change course and schedule a vote. as you consider that choice and who to nominate what qualities are important to you and is diversity among them? >> obviously, justice scalia and i had different political orientations, and probably would have disagreed on the outcome of certain cases, but there is no doubt that he was a giant on the supreme court, he helped to shape the legal landscape. he was by all accounts a good friend, and he loved his family
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deeply. you know, it's important before we rush into all the politics of this, to take stock of someone who made enormous contributions to the united states. we're grateful not only to his services but for his family's services. the constitution is pretty clear about what is supposed to happen now. when there is vacancy on the supreme court, the president of the united states is to nominate someone. the senate is to consider that nomination, and either they disapprove of that nominee, or that nominee is elevated to the supreme court. historically this has not been viewed as a question.
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there is no unwritten law that says that it can only be done on off years. that's not in the constitutional text. i'm amused when i hear people who claim to be strict interpreters of the constitution suddenly reading into it a whole series of provisions that are not there. there is more than enough time for the senate to consider in a thoughtful way the record of a nominee that i present, and to make a decision. respect to our process, we're going to do it the same thing that we did with respect to justice kagan's nomination and justice soto meyer's nomination. we'll find someone who is an outstanding legal mind. someone who cares deeply about our democracy and about rule of law. . there is not going to be any
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particular position on a particular issue that determines whether or not i nominate them. but i'm going to present someone who in indisputably is qualified for the seat. and any fair-minded person, even somebody who disagreed with my politics, would say would serve with honor and integrity on the court. now, part of the problem that we have here is that we've almost gotten accustomed to how obstructionists the senate has become when it comes to nominations. i mean, i've got 14 nominations that have been pending that were unanimously approved by the judiciary commit. so the republicans and democrats on the judiciary committee all agreed they were well-qualified for the position. and yet we can't get a vote on those individuals.
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so in some way this argument is just an extension of what we've seen in the senate generally not just on judicial nominees. the basic function of government requires that the president of the united states in other duties has a team of people cabinet secretaries, assistant secretaries that can carry out the basic functions of government. it requires the constitution requires that we appoint judges so they can carry out their job as a separate branch of government. and the fact is we've all grown accustomed to a situation that is almost unprecedented where every nomination is contested
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regardless of how qualified the person is. even when there is no ideological objection. certainly where there is no disqualifying actions by the nominees that have surfaced. the fact that it's that hard, that we're even discussing this is a measure of how, unfortunately, the ranker in washington has prevented us from getting basic work done. this would be a good moment for us to rise above that. i understand the pressure that republican senators are under, and the fact of the matter is the issue here is that the court is now divided on many issues.
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it would be a deciding vote. senators are going to be under pressure from various constituencies and many of their voters to not let any nominee go through no matter who i nominate. but that's not how things are supposed to work. that's not how our democracy is supposed to work. i intend to nominate in due time a very well-qualified candidate. if we're following basic precedence, then the vote will be taken and ultimately they will be confirmed. justice kennedy when he was nominated by ronald reagan, in ronald reagan's last year in office a vote cass taken, and there were a whole lot of
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democrats, i'm sure, who did not agree on kennedy's issues, but they did the right thing and confirmed him. they certainly didn't mount a filibuster for a vote coming up. this is the supreme court. the highest court in the land. it's the one occurred wil where we would expected elected officials to rise above day-to-day politics. and this will be the opportunity for senators to do their job. your job does not stop settle you're voted out or your term expires. i intend to do my job until january 2017, and i expect them to do their job as well. let's see who we got here.
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jeff. >> following up on that, should we interpret your comments that you're likely to choose a moderate nominee? okay? >> i don't know where you found that. you shouldn't assume anything about the qualification of the nominee other than they're going to be well-qualified. okay. >> all right. following up. >> yes. >> would you consider a recess appointment if your nominee is not granted a hearing? >> i think that we have more than enough timing to through regular order, regular processes, i intend to nominate somebody, to present them to the american people, to present them to the senate, and i expect them to hold hearings. i expect them to hold a vote. full stop. >> that means no recess. lastly, how do you respond to republican criticism that your position is under cut by the fact that you and other members of your administration, who are in the senate at the time, tried to filibuster judge alito
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in 2006. >> you know, look what is fair to say is how judicial nominations have evolved over time is not historically the fault of any single party. it's just become an extension of politics. there are times when folks are in the senate, and they're thinking, as i just described, primarily, is this going to cause me problems in the primary? is it going to cause me problems with supporters of mine? and so people make strategic decisions. i understand that. what is also true is justice alito is on the bench right now. historically, if you look at it
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regardless what votes particular senators have taken, there is a basic consensus and basic understanding that the supreme court is foreign. each--the supreme court is important. you let the vote come up, and you make sure that the well well-qualified candidate is able to join the bench. even if you don't particularly agree with them. my expectation is that the same should happen here. now this will be a test, once more a test of whether or not norms rule, basic fair play can function at all in washington these days. but i do want to point out this is not just the supreme court.
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we have consistently seen just a breakdown in the basic functions of government because the senate will not confirm well-qualified nominees even when they're voted out of committee, which means that they're voted by both parties. without objections. we still have problems. because there is a certain mindset that says we're going to grind the system down to a halt. if we don't like the president, then we're just not going to let him make any appointments. we'll make it tougher for the administration to do their basic job. we're going to make sure that ambassadors--we'll make sure that judges aren't confirmed despite the fact that justice
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roberts himself has pointed out there is emergencies in courts around the country because there are not enough judges and there are too many cases and the system is breaking down. this has become a habit. it gets worse and worse each year. it's not something that i have spent a huge amount of time talking about. the people on average are more interested in gas prices, wages and issues that touch on their day-to-day lives in a more direct way, so it doesn't get a lot of political attention. but this is the supreme court, and it is going to get some attention. we have to ask ourselves as a society, are we able to still make this democracy work the way its supposed to? the way our founders have intended? i would which will anyone who
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purports to be adhering to the original intention of the constitution coming up with a plausible rationale as to why they would not even have a hearing for a nominee made in accordance you had constitution with the president of the united states. with a year left in office. that's pretty hard to find in the constitution. you've gotten at least--you've got four now, jeff. >> thank you, mr. president. two different topics, first one syria. last year when president putin was about to enter into syria you said he was doing so from a position of weakness and he would only get himself involved in a quagmire there. now with aleppo about to fall, it seems that president putin is
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basically getting one of his goals, which is to bolster assad, and to take out the rebels, which the u.s. is backing. how do you respond to critics who say you have been outfoxed by putin and what is your plan if aleppo does fall. due plan to step up in action to help the rebels in syria who you say are key to taking on isis? secondly i want to ask you about 2016 as well. >> there are a lot of questions here. you asked me a big question right there. how about i just answer that o one. >> sure. >> first of all, if you look back at the transcripts, what i said was that russia has been propping up assad this entire time. the fact that putt-to send in his own troops, his own aircraft
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and invest in this massive military operation was not a testament to great strength. it was a testament to the weakness of assad's position. if somebody is strong, then you don't have to send in an army to prop up your ally. they had legitimacy in their country, they manage it themselves, and then you have good relations with them. you send in your army when the force you're backing is not effective. that's exactly what is happened. i said russia would involved itself in a quagmire. absolutely it will. if anybody thinks that the fighting will end because russia and the regime has made some initial advances, about three-quarters of the country is
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still under control of folks other than assad. that's not stopping any time soon. so i say that, by the way, with no pleasure. this is not a contest between me and putin. the question is how can we stop the suffering, stabilize the region, stop this massive migration of refugees who are having such a terrible time, end the violence. stop the bombing of schools and hospitals and innocent civilians. stop creating a safe haven for isis, and there is nothing that has happened over the last several weeks that points to those issues being solved. that is what i mean by a quagmire. now he may think that he's investing in a permanent
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occupation in syria. that's going to be costly. that's going to be a big piece of business. if you look at the state of the russian economy it's probably not the best thing for russia. what would be smarter would be for russia to work with the united states and other parties in the international community to try to broker some sort of political transition. john kerry is working with his russian counterpart as on paper said there is going to be a cessation of hostilities in a few days. this will test whether or not that's possible. it's hard to do because there has been a lot of bloodshed. if russia continues indiscriminate bombing of the sort we've been saying i think it's fair to say that you're not going to be seeing any take up by the opposition. yes, russia is a major military.
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obviously a bunch of rebels are not going to be able to compete with the hardware of the second most powerful military in the world. but that doesn't solve the problem of actually stabilizing syria. the only way to do that is to bring about some sort of political transition. we'll see what happens over the next several days, and we'll continue to work with our partners who are focused on defeating isis, to also see how we can work together to try to bring about a more lasting solution than aerial bombar bombardments of schools and hospitals is going to achieve. it's hard. i'm under no illusions that this is going to be easy. a country has been shattered. because assad was willing to
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shatter it. and has repeatedly missed opportunities to arrive at a political solution. and russia has been a party to an entire process. the real question we should be asking is what is it that russia thinks it gains if it gets a country that's been completely destroyed as an ally? it now has to perpetuate and spend billions of dollars to prop up? that's not that great of a prize. unfortunately, the problem is it has a spill-over effect that affects everybody. that's what we have to focus on. one thing i want to add, this
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has not distracted us from continuing to focus on isil, and we've continued. we have not stop. if we can get a political transition in syria, that allows us to coordinate more effectively with not just russia but other countries in the region to focus on the folks who pose the greatest direct threat to the united states. all right? andrew. >> mr. president, i wanted to ask you first of all if you think that military intervention to be effective in sirte and do you think by the end of your presidency the islamic state will still have geographical strongholds throughout the middle east. anand a third.
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>> the last for non-golfers, it's a reference to pga west. very nice course, very difficult. my score is classified. [ laughter ] with respect to libya i have been clear from the outset that we will go after isis wherever it appears. the same we went after al-qaeda, wherever they appeared. the testament to the fact that we're doing that already is that we took out isis, one of isis' most prominent leaders in libya. we will continue to take actions where we've got a clear operation and a clear target in
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mind. and we are working with our other coalition partners to make sure that as we see opportunities to prevent isis from digging in, in libya, we take it. at the same time we're working diligently with the united nations to try to get a government in place in libya. that's been a problem. you know, the tragedy of libya over the last several years is libya has a relatively small population and a lot of oil wells and could be very successful. they're divided by tribal lines, ethnic lines, power plays. there is now a recognition on th the part of a broad middle
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among the political leadership that it makes sense to unify so that there is some semblance of a state there. but extremes on either side are making it difficult for that state to cohere. if we can get that done, that will be enormously helpful. because our strong preference, as has always been the case, is to train libyans to fight. the good news in libya is that they don't like outsiders coming in and telling them what to do. there is a whole bunch of constituenties who are hardened fighters, and don't ascribe to isis or they are perverted ideology, but they have to be organized and can't be fight be each other. that's probably as important as anything we're going to be doing in libya in the coming months.
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carolee. >> thank you, mr. president. the democratic race to replace you has become heated and you have hillary clinton who has passed her as the rightful heir of your legacy while others are saying that bernie sanders has been disloyal to you. is she right? >> well, you know, that's the great thing about primaries that everyone is trying to differentiate themselves when, in fact, bernie and hillary agree on a lot of stuff and disagree across the board with everything that the republicans stand for. so my hope is that we can let the primary voters and caucus voters have their say for a while and see how this thing
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plays itself out. you know, i know hillary better than i know bernie because she served in my administration and she was an outstanding secretary of state. i suspect that on certain issues she agrees with me than bernie does, and on the other hand there may an couple of issues that bernie agrees with me more. i don't know, i haven't studied their positions that closely. here is what i have confidence in. that democratic voters believe in certain principles. they believe in equal opportunity. they believe in making sure that every kid in this country gets a fair shot. they believe in making sure that economic growth is broad based and everybody benefits from it, and if you work hard you're not in poverty. they believe in preserving a
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strong safety net through programs like social security and medicare. they believe in a foreign policy that is not reckless, that is tough, and protects the american people, but doesn't shoot before it aims. they believe in climb change. they think that science matter matters{^l" ^}. they believe in regulations to keep our air clean and our water clean, and to make sure that banks are not engaging in excesses that would result i in 2008. there is a broad convergence around those issues. i think what you're seeing is
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how do you deal with a political atmosphere that has become so polarized. how do you deal with a republican party that has moved so far to the right that it's hard to find common ground. that's the debate taking place right now. it's a healthy debate. ultimately, if i have an opinion on it based on both being a candidate of hope and change and a president who has got some nicks, cuts and bruises from getting stuff done over the last seven years, but for now i think it's important for democratic voters to express themselves and for the candidates to be run through the paces. the thing i can say
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unequivocally, carol, i'm not unhappy that i'm not on the ballot. [laughter] ron allen, nbc. >> conditioning the 2016 questions, a lot of your guests are intrigued by the fact that there is a candidate winning who is calling for a ban on muslims. what was the reaction. that's one of my--the point is-- >> ron, let's stick to two. >> the point is in the past you've explained that as anger resentment, insecurity, economic insecurity, the question is how much responsibility do you accept for that reservoir feeling in the country that's propelling that type of candidate. you cold matt lauer that donald trump would not win the
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presidency. do you now think that he will not win the nomination as well? and what will rubio and what about cruz? >> i think foreign observers are troubled by some of the rhetoric that's been taking place in these republican primaries and republican debates. i don't think its restricted, by the way, to mr. trump. i find it interesting that everybody is focused on trump primarily because he says in more interesting ways what the other candidates are saying as well. so he may up the ante in anti-muslim sentiment, but if you look at what the other republican candidates have said, that's pretty troubling, too. he may express strong anti-immigration sentiment, but
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you've heard that from the other candidates as well. you've got a candidate who sponsored a bill that i supported to finally solve the immigration problem and he's running away from it as fast as he can. they're all denying climate change. i think that's troubling to the international community since science is unequivocal. the other countries around the world kind of count on the united states being on the side of science and reason and commonsense, because they know if the united states does not act on big problems in smart ways, nobody will. but it's

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