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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  February 25, 2016 11:30am-2:01pm EST

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i strongly advocate that is a powerful way to have an impact. i am for trying to get rid of daesh as fast as is feasible without a major american, quote, invasion. by enabling, by using our special forces. by augmenting the syrian arab and other presence on the ground. i believe it is imperative for us to try to terminate this threat as rapidly as we can. >> has america, has the american government had discussions with saudi arabia, uae, amman or jordan? >> we are engaged in discussions with them regarding their offers to do so at this time. >> can you tell us anything about that? >> no. i think it's in a preliminary stage. it's in discussion. they've indicated a willingness to be helpful. this is in the fight against daesh. let me emphasize.
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and as part of our effort, part of the president's effort to explore every possibility that is reasonable of ways in which to have an impact on ending the surge of daesh, that is being evaluated. >> what about other countries in the region, pakistan, turkey, egypt, algeria, morocco, to send ground troops against isis? >> there have been broad d discussions with various mill to mill discussions. providing possible people in certain circumstances. >> can i ask unanimous consent request? >> yes, sir. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent that letter dated december 13, 2012, addressed to then secretary hillary rodham clinton be placed in the record. >> without objection. >> and i further ask that the
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response from the state department dated march 27, 2013, to then chairman darrell issa be placed in the record. >> without objection. >> lastly i would ask the news articles from the daily caller dated january 30, 2016 and the hill, dated 2-2-2016 be placed in the record. >> without objection, so ordered. polimr. issa is recognized. >> i want to congratulate you on naming ambassador jacobs as your czar, if you will, for foa request. i share with you the sympathy that the american people's desire to know things has outpaced the automation and process for foa from the state department. as a former businessman, i might suggest, as good as the ambassador is, perhaps you need to turn it over to somebody who is much better at getting data out rather than evaluating the
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details of state department communication. having said that, the information i put in the record is for a reason. in the last days of secretary clinton's administration, i sent her a letter specifically related to use of personal e-mails, and i did so not because of benghazi, not because of any other investigations you might be familiar with, but because in the investigation of the scandal at department of ener energy, we discovered a political appointee, jonathan silver, had been using personal e-mails to circumvent foa and the scrutiny. he went so far as to say -- this is in the letter to clinton. don't ever send an e-mail to doa e-mail with a personal e-mail address. that makes it subpoenaable. the letter went on to go through a number of those things.
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it specifically asked then secretary clinton whether or not she had an e-mail and whether or not any senior agency officials ever used personal e-mail account to conduct official business, have any senior agency officials ever used alias e-mails, that was a different investigation, and it went on. i know by now you must have been made familiar with this letter. approximately two months into your administration as the secretary, your agency responded to that letter by not responding. your agency sent a response that basically said here's the title and the rules. now, since it's been reported in those two articles that you personally communicated with secretary clinton, your personal e-mail to her personal e-mail, is it true that you were aware that she had a personal e-mail
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and that she used it regularly? >> i have no knowledge of what kind of e-mail she had. i was given an e-mail address and i sent it to her. >> did you look at the e-mail address? i mean, was it a dot gov? >> i didn't think about it. i didn't know if she had an account or what the department gave her at that point in time or what she was operating with. >> that's a responsive answer that you didn't know you were sending to her personal e-mail from her personal e-mail. do you know -- at least one of those documents now have been classified secret. do you know when that could be made available in camera to this committee so we can appreciate what it was about? >> i don't know specifically. >> you're aware it's been classified secret, is that correct? >> i am aware. >> okay. the letter which did not respond to the specific questions occurred on your watch. you've now had your watch for three years.
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are you prepared to answer the questions in that letter, including who all is using e-mail and what you're doing about it? >> well, congressman, in principle, i'm prepared to have total accountability and i think we do. >> let me just say to you, my direction from day one to the entire department has been clear. get the clinton e-mails out of here, into the -- >> i appreciate that, although it is amazing that we have -- we're still waiting for -- let me just ask a couple more quick questions, and then you can have the remaining time. in the case of the use of personal e-mail, we've discovered that additionally many individuals appear to be using text as a method of communication. do you use text as a means of communication or do you know of any of your senior staff who use text as a method of communication? >> congressman, let me answer your question by saying this to
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you. in march of last year, i wrote a letter to the inspector general that i hired for the department. >> i appreciate that you hired one and that your predecessor never had one. >> i asked the inspector general to look at all of the e-mail practices, communications practices, of the department. in order to deliver a review. we are working with the ig's observations which have been helpful to make sure that the department is living up to the highest -- >> i appreciate that. there's a pending question, mr. secretary -- >> i don't want to -- >> would you answer the text question please. >> congressman, i'm not going to get into an e-mail discussion with you here on the budget of our department, with -- >> mr. secretary this committee is entitled to know the communication -- >> and our communications process is thoroughly being analyzed by the inspector -- >> i have pending --
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>> and we have -- >> i appreciate that. it's a simple pending question. do you text or do you know of other individuals in your senior staff who use texts? >> i have no idea whether they do or don't. i occasionally text some of the people. >> and the final question, how are you seeing that that text, which by dech anything is required to be saved under foa requirements, under theed for records act, how are you seeing those texts are preserved? >> that's precisely what we're work on. by the way, i don't text anything regarding policy. i only text my top -- i only text my logistical administrative staff with respect to whether i'm arriving somewhere or going something. there's nothing substantive ever texted. >> i would certainly assume your
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private e-mail to hillary's private e-mail also was intended -- >> yes, that's secured. all e-mails are on the server that is the state department and it's all preserved, it's all pa part of the national records -- >> i appreciate that, mr. secretary, but hillary clinton's and your -- >> -- i don't know how many investigations there are. i think people are really getting bored with it, congressman. there's an awful lot of important discussions, policies and other things. that's what i'm here -- >> mr. secretary, i appreciate that. as i said earlier, this is not about any of the investigations. this is about the work that was being done related to the federal records act and compliance. it absolutely is more about whether the american people can get what they're entitled to under a law that you quite frankly -- >> mr. chairman, i would note that the gentleman's time has expired. >> i have taken unprecedented steps including with the inspector general to make certain that is fully adhered to. i stand by the -- >> thank you --
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>> gentleman's time has expired. appreciate the promotion. chair recognizes the ranking member. >> unanimous consent to enter into the record the memo of the inspector general. february 23, 2016, where he noted that secretary powell and secretary rice's staff used private e-mails as well. i really think we should be consistent and not just have a political attack on hillary clinton. >> as long as we can enter into the record mr. chairman the -- >> well, let me just say -- >> i reserve a point. i mean, the chair has recognized -- >> may i -- tell the gentleman this is not the oversight committee this is the foreign affairs. >> i appreciate that. the only thing i ask is -- >> gentleman's recognized. >> alongside that that the information that -- each of the former secretaries made their accompanying statements including powell saying they were not classified. i'm happy to have the record
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complete. >> mr. chairman, point of order. >> all right. >> mr. chairman, point of order. >> mr. keating's work niced. >> thank you, mr. chair. i just wanted to know for those of us waiting to ask questions. how much time is the secretary allocated to this meeting? >> he's here until 12:30 and so with that, chair recognized mrs. frankel for florida. >> thank you very much. mr. secretary, i want to just thank you for your service. i'm very proud to have you as ur secretary of state. i just want to -- most respectful way really object to my colleague's litigating the 2016 presidential contest here in this foreign affairs meeting. and i think there's some more important things to discuss other than hillary clinton's e-mails. specifically, i'd like to talk about what's happening in syria. i would first ask you if you
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could very specifically detail the type of suffering that is going on and how many people are involved. >> congresswoman, thank you. syria represents the most significant humanitarian catastrophe in movement of people, deprivation of rights, slaughter, since world war ii. there are 12.5 million people or so who are displaced or are refugees. about 4.5 million refugees. more than 2 million in jordan. million something in lebanon. 2 million or so in turkey. mass ive numbers of people.
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sometimes 5,000, 10,000 a day, trying to move across the border. but what has happened in syria trtz, the slaughter by assad of his own people. the bail bonds that have been dropped on schools. on innocent civilians. the torture which has been documented in vivid photographs, grotesque -- >> is it still occurring as we speak? >> well, the slaughter is still occurring. the innocent people being killed. the bombs that have dropped on hospitalized and on schools. that has obviously occurred. which is why we have pushed so hard to try to get a cessation of hostilities. the combination of torture, of not just the torture but of starvation, communities that have been laid under siege. people who haven't seen food supplies, medical supplies in years now. >> and children out of school. >> children out of school.
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people walking around looking like skeletons, like people in the liberation of the concentration camps of world war ii. this is horrendous. beyond description. and the beheadings. the death by fire and the elimination of certain people by virtue of who they are. this is really a sad tragic moment for a world that hoped we were moving to a new -- new order of rule of law and possibilities for young people and so forth so it's really -- >> so let me -- just follow up on that. so if you could give us a prognosis. how long do you think it will be until these millions of people
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can either get back to a normal life in any way? >> it will be when russia, iran, the parties at the table at the international syria support group including the united states and our european allies and our gulf state friends and turkey and egypt and others come to the table ready to implement the geneva communique which requires a transitional government which is precisely what we are trying to do. >> so let me -- >> that is the moment where things could begin to turn conceivably for the better. but it's going to be very difficult. >> and once you get to that point, is that where you then envision a -- trying to go after isil or daesh as you call them? >> well, no, we're going after daesh now as powerfully as possible given the difficult circumstances of the country.
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it would be much better if we were able to get a transition government in place according to the geneva structure, and then have the united states and russia and all of the parties focus on daesh and nusra and be able to join together. the difficulty with that is with asad there and the suspicion about intent by some countries simply to shore up assad, it's very -- it's impossible to be able to do that sufficiently until you have resolved this process or at least sufficient ly engaged in that process far enough down the road that you then can license the ability to have a kind of cooperative effort on daesh. the cooperative effort could end daesh very, very quickly. >> but that will require ground forces you believe? >> well, the ground forces are there. yes, the syrian army. if you have an ability to be able to bring people together around a transition government,
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you have plenty of people on the ground who can then join together and together the forces from the air and the ground can quickly deal with the problem of daesh. that's why dealing with the question of assad is so critical. people aren't sitting around caught up in this notion that just because people said assad has to go, that's why we're stick with the policy. it's because if assad is there, you cannot end the war. as long as assad is there, the people supporting the opposition, countries that are defending their right not to live under a dictator are going to continue to support those people. >> thank you. >> mr. scott perry of pennsylvania. >> i'd like to try to take it back to something regarding the budget. my question, first question, deal also with the united states relief in work agency. regard to our support of the palestinians.
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to my knowledge, the american taxpay taxpayer. meanwhile, unrwa staff unions including the teachers union are frequently controlled by members affiliated with hamas. the curriculum has long contained materials that are anti-israel, anti-semitic and supportive of violence extremism. now despite activities that compromise its strictly humanitarian mandate, its strictly humanitarian mandate, unrwa continues to respond united states contributions including $408 million in 2014. just wondering, if you could quickly, sum up for us how your department is using this funding
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and your budget to discourage these activities. taxpayers are loathe paying for terrorism, terrorist activities and supportive terrorism. i know you know this. >> absolutely. not only loathe it, just bottom line is it's disgraceful. we've made that clear. so have the leadership by the way of anra and -- and the united states. there is now -- has been very strict policy and procedure in place in order to prevent this kind of activity, to ensure neutrality, to prevent the funds and programs from benefiting any terrorist activity obviously. and we -- >> how does -- with all due respect, how is that manifested? we have policies in place, yet they continue to do it.
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the american taxpayer continues to fund this organization, so how -- >> well, yes, and the people who have done it need to be fired and -- >> but are they, sir? >> they should be. >> how do we ensure accountability? how accountability? how do you take that money and say to these folks, you're not getting the money. how do you use the -- >> we have pushed anra to condemn racism and assess every allegation brought to the agency about the behavior and misconduct. in those investigations where it occurred, that eve promised us that it's taking place. >> is it ever cord to withdraw the funding until we so a good faith effort? >> yeah, it's been considered and in a couple of cases it's been mandated and the problem is we don't get back. i mean we've lost our vote at u nes co, as i think you know,
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because of activities beyond our control, which the palestinians engaged in by going to the u.n. and seeking membership. and as a result of that, we are hurt. we don't have a vote. we didn't control their action. it wasn't a deter rent. but we've lost our ability to be able to protect israel and stand up and fight within thezjmy mechanisms. being draconian about it is not the best way to do it. we're being successful in being able to hold people accountable and i think that's the best way to proceed. >> i appreciate the effort. i see it differently. i don't think anybody is being held accountable and would beseech you that the federal government is $19 trillion in debt, the taxpayers are under siege and we don't have money to waste on organizations that support terrorism. and that's just how i see it. but i would ask you to consider that more than maybe you have. moving on, looking at your budget, it looks like last year
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we spent about $300 million on the united nations high commissioner for refugees and associated programs. and with what we see in syria, it seems to me that the american taxpayer is rightly -- i mean we want to do our part. we don't want to see anything -- we don't want to see the horrific things happen to these people, the women and the children and we want to do our part to be good neighbors and stew wards in the world. that having been said, these folks are coming to our shores and school districts and hospitals and taxpayers pay doubly. i sent a letter to the administration asking why we haven't pursued a safe zone in the border region of syria and turkey as some sort of a program or a strategy to make sure that that they're not refugees far from their country. can you enlighten us? i haven't gotten a response. is that even a consideration? >> it's been very much a consideration, congressman and it's a lot more complicated than it obviously sounds. if you're going to have a safe
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zone within syria itself, it has to be exactly that. it has to be safe. how do you make it safe? how do you prevent a syrian air force barrel bomber from flying over it. well, you've got to have aircraft in the air. take away their air defenses as a result. how do you prevent daesh from coming in and attacking or the syrian army from coming in and attacking. it has to berbbh safe. that means somewhere between 15,000 to. 30,000 troops have to be on the ground in order to make it safe. that's the judgment of the defense department. are we prepared to put that on the ground? i've heard calls -- >> i'm not calling for american troops to be in the ground. we're already flying in the area as you know. >> who is going to make it safe? right now safety is found by going to jordan or getting to the berm where there are 15,000 people trying to get into jordan and trying to make them safe there or getting to turkey or
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lebanon. that's safety. or trying to get to europe. we're trying to make it safe by getting a cessation of hostilities, getting humanitarian assistance delivered and a political process to end the violence. >> thank you, chairman. i yield. >> it doesn't require we hope thousands of troops on the ground to be able to provide a safe zone. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary. obviously this is a difficult time in the world. multitl complexities and challenges in the world. i'm going to shift to south asia where we certainly have opportunities but also some challenges. it is a time of unprecedented increasing relationships between the united states and india. so lots of positive movement there. one area of complexity is the pending sale of f 16 fighter to pakistan. and you know, given pakistan's
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given support of terrorism throughout the region -- certainly we saw recent terrorists attacks in india in january at the air force base. at a time where we're seeing progress in u.s.-india relationships, understanding the complexity of the region, understanding that we do have vested interest in helping pakistan fight terrorists. i would be curious from your perspective if pakistan is doing enough separating good terrorists versus bad tests enough domestically to fight the terrorist threats that not just threaten to destabilize india but also our interest in afghanistan as well. >> well, congressman, thank you. first of all, thank you for your thoughts about india and the sensitivity there and we acknowledge that. we've been really working hard
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building the relationship and trying to advance even the rep rash ma between india and pakistan. i think it's required courage by both leaders to engage in the dialogue that they've engaged in. needless to say, we don't want to do things that upset the balance. but we do believe that pakistan is engaged legitimately is a very tough fight against identifiable terrorists in their country that threaten pakistan. and they've got about 150 to 180,000 troops out in the western part of their country. they've been engaged in a long struggle to clear the area and move people out. and they've made some progress in that. is it enough in our judgment? no. we think that more could be done. we're particularly concerned about the sanctuary components
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of pakistan and we're particularly concerned about some individual entities in pakistan that have been supportive of relationships with some of the people that we consider extremely dangerous to our interests in afghanistan elsewhere. h the f-16s have been a critical part of the pakistani fight against the terrorists in the bern part of the country and have been effective in that fight. and pakistan has lost some 50,000 people in the last years, including troops, to the terrorists that have threatening pakistan itself. so it's always complicated. we try to be sensitive to the balance obviously with respect to india. but we think the f-16s are an important part. >> as one of the few physicians in congress i do have a real interest in global health and
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looking at the current threat of zika virus. we were grateful to have the doctors and representatives of usid in committee a few weeks ago. as we're looking at zika and gathering, you know, information, i know the president requested $1.8 billion. the one thing as a physician, you know, we know and very much so are recommending, if you're pregnant, if you're of reproductive age to take all precautions. obviously the one thing that we do know is making access to full family planning services available in areas where we know there's endemic zika. and you know, within usid's purview, within the $1.8 billion request, i'd be curious again the one thing is empowering women of child bearing age to have full family planning support services, whether that's
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birth control, whether that's -- we're seeing increasing cases of sexually transmitted zika virus as well. i'd be curious and i would want to make sure we are providing the full resources in these endemic countries. >> we're doing an enormous amount, congressman. i appreciate the expertise you bring as a physician and your concern about this. the president is extremely focused on the zika virus challenge. the white house national security council is actually coordinating the all of government response on this. and together with the world health organization with whom we are working very closely in its regional offices for the americas, for the pan american health organization, we're working with relevant international organizations and others. the president emphasized a need to accelerate researcher efforts
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to make better diagnostic tests available to develop vaccines, medicines, improve mosquito control measures and ensure that all citizens have the information they need to be able to deal with the virus. we are using multiple lines of effort, an all-out effort. we do not want this obviously to become as challenging as ebola was. as you know, we mounted a response to that and the same kind of effort is being put into this. >> morning, mr. secretary. congress recently passed a trade authority bill that among other provisions instructed our trade negotiators to oppose any boycotts of israel, including persons doing business in israel or in israel-controlled areas. and yet your spokesman recently said that the state department rejects that provision and does not believe that congress can conflate israel with disputed territories. so my question is, is why won't
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the administration honor congress's enactment? >> well, i'm not sure exactly what statement you're referring to or what happened with respect to that. i think we do honor legislation. but -- >> so you would say your negotiators, if a european country was saying they wanted to boycott people or businesses that are doing business over the green line, you think you would not fight against that? >> we do not support any boycott efforts. we've been openly opposed to them. we opposed them at the u.n. opposed labelling. >> so you don't -- well, good. maybe he was not -- >> that's why i said i don't know what the response was. >> okay. good. because i think that's great. the labelling, i would like to follow up on that. your spokesman, mr. kirby, said that the u.s. does not oppose labelling of israeli products from the disputed territories and said the state department does not view labelling as a
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boycott of israel. and the problem with that is once you go down the road of doing the labelling, that's really a precondition for countries to be able to boycott israel. so he suggested that the state department is not opposed to european efforts to require israel to label goods that are outside of the green line. are you saying that's not the positi position? >> no. that kind of labelling actually -- we require a labelling of where people send goods from. we require a labelling of goods -- >> but if someone sends it from a jewish community outside of the graen line and they said made in israel, the state department's position per him would be it's fine to force them to say that was produced in the west bank. >> yeah. labelling it from the west bank is not equivalent of a boycott. >> but it sets a precondition for a boycott. >> -- knowledge to people so that they can, you know, have information about where products come from, which we require also, by the way. you know, we have made in
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america. >> but these are disputed territories. and you have jewish communities where they're producing goods and label it as the being made in israel -- >> i understand that. which is why we're opposed to any boycotts or any efforts to isolate israel based on where something -- we're opposed to that. >> good. i appreciate you saying that forth rightly because i think we've been getting mixed signals from the state department. in terms of funding, over the last several years, about a million dollars has gone to this new israel fund, answer organization that supports bds. do you think it's property that money that the state department is dispensing in grants be used for organizations that support bds? >> i'm not familiar with that. it's news to me. i'll talk it under advisement and review it. >> we'll get that. there's a movement to boycott israel on a lot of college campuses in the united states. do you view that as helpful and
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do you think it's appropriate that u.s. taxpayers are funding universities that take an official position in favor of bds? >> i believe in academic freedom, i believe in student freedom to take positions. it's a time honored tradition in the united states of america that we don't punish positions people take at any. >> what about -- >> we as a government make our position clear, that we do not believe it is helpful to be boycotting. but people have the right no america, thank god, to be able to make their own decisions and we as a government do not punish students for -- >> i don't think it would be punishing statutes. if a university adopted an official position that they were going to boycott israel. would we want to subsidize that -- >> that's a debate for congress. i would not advocate or support any challenge to the freedom of the university to make its own decisions and i think punishing
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them would be inappropriate. >> now, money that goes to the palestinian authority directly under federal law requires to state department to certify that the palestinian authority is acting to counter violence against the israelis. the last several years the state department thaz not made that certification. is that correct?? >> i wasn't aware that we haven't certified the last couple of years. but we're following constantly the incitement issue. i just met with president abase and raised the issue with him a couple of weeks ago and we're working through our relationships and constant engagement on the west bank to make sure that the incitement is not taking plaus in any official ways. >> i think the worry is that certification has not been made so that would prohibit funds directly but the state department has been directing funds to the israelis to pay down the palestinian debts. this question is that trying to get around the spirit of the
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law? >> no. it's trying to sustain the one entity in the west bank that is committed to a peaceful resolution and to nonviolence and to state solution. the fact is that there are many, many difficulties financially in the pa's ability to be able to meet its needs for education, for health, for this standard process of trying to govern the west bank. and these have been particular ly difficult -- to read today that iran has agreed to pay the families of people who have engaged in violence and people who have been, quote, the
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martyrs of the violence that's taken place that's completely inappropriate and seems to lend some sort of credibility to that violence and to those choices. and i think it's the wrong choice by iran. and we strongly urge any kind of encitement of any kind. and that even in its own way can be a form of encitement. you've got to have internal support and the families will be fine and this is okay behavior. it's note okay behavior. but president abase is committed to nonviolence. he's the one leader in the west bank who has consistently, even in the middle to have violence, even in the middle of the gaza war previously condemned violence as a means of trying to achieve the two states. we believe trying to build the palestinian authority and give them greater capacity to be able to control their own security, be able to build their capacity is the way to ultimately mo forward solve the problem of the
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violence itself. >> i'll remind the members we need to stick to five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary for being here today. i'd like to follow up on dr. barrow's questions with regard to the f-16s in pakistan. judge poe and i recently sent you a letter expressing our grave concerns about this potential sale and asking you to consider stopping it. in our view rewarding pakistan with such a sale when in fact they have not changed their harboring and support of terrorists within pakistan, whether you talk about the 2011 statements by admiral mull lynn there, that the network is an arm of the pakistani isi or statements that the isi played a direct role in supporting the deadly attack on our embassy in
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kabul or the 2008 mumbai attack both for security reasons and their actions in supporting these terrorists as well as the relationship that you and others have focused on and recognize as important with india. is this something you would be willing to reconsider given all of these factors? >> well, congresswoman, i'd like to talk to you sort of in a classified setting if we could. because i think there are some consideration that i can't go into here. i would say to you that i share the concern, as everybody does. the president, all of us are deeply concerned about isi relationships, deeply concern abtd t
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about the has canny's network. and i think in fairness because of the nature of those considerations, i'll follow up with you and i'll definitely follow up in a way that we can discuss this. >> that would be great. i'd appreciate that. the last time i met with you in my district in hawaii we met at the east/west center. >> i remember it. >> it is a place that's instrumental in creating dialogues between leaders at a critical time when we're facing potential destabilization within the south china sea, north korea, island nations in the pacific and the challenges they're facing. the funding has been reduced this year for the east-west center. and i'm wondering if you can talk about why that is as well as why the funding was moved from its own lie item into education and cultural exchanges and what impact that will have on this center's ability to continue to play this important role in the asia pacific region. >> the reason, congresswoman, is
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there's no policy shift whatsoever in reducing the importance of or the commitment to the east-west center. but beginning in 2017, the funding was going to be requested under the eca appropriation rather than a separate east-west center appropriation as in previous years. and i think the president's 2017 request is $10.8 million. you're right, it's below the actual level of 2015 and appropriated level. but i think, you know, it reflects just tough choices that we have with the budget that we have. not everybody is getting as much as they did the year before. but it is not a reflection of some sort of downward trend put i reflects the difficulties of the current budget choice. and you know, we will maintain
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our consistent support for the east-west center going forward. i can guarantee you that. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i've got a lot more questions unfortunately we don't have much more time. one issue that i'd like to follow up with you and your staff on is the budget request within your budget that goes toward train and equip programs within both syria and iraq and the concern about how those funds are being used, who they're supporting in training as well as what coordination is occurring between state and the dod program and other agencies that are using this funding and toward what object ty. you know, the concern we've raised consistently over time about whether or not these funds are being used to overthrow the syrian government of assad versus fighting and defeating daesh on the ground there and other al qaeda and the other
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islamic extremists group. this is something i think is important that we want to examine as we look at the budget for the state department. thank you. >> great. look guard to working with you on it. thank you. >> thank you. we'll go to david trot of michigan. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, the capita christians have experienced some of the worst attacks in their modern history. we sent a petition to the white house urging that they designate the muslim broth hood as a terrorist organization. in response the administration said we have not seen credible evidence that the muslim brotherhood has renounced its decades long commitment to nonviolence. does the administration still believe that the muslim brotherhood is a nonviolent organization? >> as a whole it's very hard obviously to wrap everybody into the same pot. there are clearly muslim brother hood members who are engaging in
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violence. we know that obviously. >> so the administrations do not recognize them as a terrorist organization, the state department welcomed them on an official visit last year. >> no. no. there was a member or two who were part of a delegation that was -- that attended and nobody knew, you know, what membership anybody had with respect to that. >> okay. well days after their visit they released a statement calling for a long uncompromising jihad in egypt and two days later there was a major attack on the sinai peninsula. how shall i explain the administration's policies and actions with respect to the muslim brotherhood to the 750 christian families in any district. how can i explain the actions that we're taking to address the atrocities. >> we're leading the fight. i think you can tell them there's no country doing as much to fight against counter extremism as the united states.
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we're the ones that have put together the global initiative on countering violent extremism. it's a president obama initiative. he's led it at the united nations. we've had major conferences and meetings on this issue and all violent extremists are brought into the purview as a result of the initiative. we're leading the coalition in the fight against daesh, against al qaeda, against anybody appropriately designated as a violent broadly based organization. we continue to carefully assess the status of the muslim brooth hood writ large as to whether or not it meets the specific legal criteria as set forth in the terrorist organization, you know, designation requirements.
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that's -- you know, while there are individual members that have engaged in violence and individual branches, the organization writ large under its overall heading has not expressed a commitment to that kind of activity. it's difficult. how do you -- you know, we're looking at it. >> thank you, sir. let's switch to the president's plan to close the prison at gan tan mo. we've heard the cost estimate is 3000 to $500 million to do the construction necessary to move the detainees and hold them here. no explanation has been forthcoming on how you resolve the conflict between that plan and the band to move the detainees around the national defense authorization act. two days ago one of the former detainees was arrested in spain for apparently plotting to carry out an isis attack in spain. so at a high level, do you believe that closing the prison in guantanamo makes america and
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americans safer? >> yes, i do. i'm convinced it makes us safer because i think it's been an incredible recruiting tool and i don't think it adheres to the values of our country to have people held in a military prison 14 yeeshs after they were quote apprehended without any charges or any evidence. >> so you believe as far as the recruiting tool, someone gets radicalized and joins isis because they are singularly motivated by this terrible situation in the prison in guantanamo. is that what drives someone to make that decision? >> let me ask you something. do you remember seeing people in orange jump suits in the deserts having their heads cut off? where do you think the orange jumpsuits came from? they came from guantanamo. that was the image across the arab world. it was no accident. >> is guantanamo and the naval
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base, it is going to end up like the panama canal if we move the detainees out of there, is it -- >> no discussion. >> any plan to close that, to give it to cuba. >> i would personally be opposed to that. there's no discussion that i'm aware of. no, that is not what is at stake here. what is at stake here is living up to our values. i mean, it seems to me -- >> we can live up to our values without closing the prison. we can correct the mistakes that were made and make sure they don't happen again gh i think guantanamo now has such an imprint in the world. and as i said, those jumpsuits didn't come out of the imagination of daesh. they came out of the images of guantanamo. >> and last question, sir, since i'm running out of time. >> we're out of time but the last questions could be in writing. we go to brian higgins of new york.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, the continent of africa, you know, 55 countries, a population of a billion people. that population is expected to double by the year 2050. and a lot of failed states, particularly in central africa. we see the introduction of isis in libya, we see the terrorism of boko haram in nigeria and we see the tearing apart of the newest country in the world in sudan with the population of some 11 million people. the u.n. reported that in sudan soldiers with government uniforms were entering united nations mission in sal sudan, protection of civilian camps, firing on civilians and killing many of them creating great
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instability. so i think when you look at, you know, particularly the activity of nonstate terrorists actors, isis and in boko haram, which seemingly are now moving toward, away from some traditional ways of gaining revenue tour territory control, to charge protection of people, the continue innocent of africa i think posing great great challenge to the united states. what in this budget and what is the vision for the department of state with respect to containing and rebuilding that continent which i think has a lot of troubled spots right now. >> it's a great question and i really appreciate it. i would say just about everything that we're doing with respect to our development policy, our countering violent extremism policy, our aid policy, our military to military assistance policy is all directed at this.
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we're deeply deeply involved. the president was in africa, i was in africa. we have many of our cabinet secretaries traveling there. we're working on power africa because we're trying to get electricity into community that don't have electricity so they can begin to develop and provide health capacity, provide education and fill the void that exists for a lot of young people who otherwise get their heads filled in a very calculated strategy by extremists to reach them. when i was -- to give you an example, when i was in ethiopia i met with the foreign minister and i asked them how they manage their 30, 35% population that is muslim. and he said increasingly they were concerned about it because what happens is an extremist cell will go out and target young poor kids and pays them initially and they would pay them and then bring them in,
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fill their heads with this distortion and then they don't need to pay them anymore because they're ready to operate based on what's been, you know, washed into them. what's been inculcated in them. and then they go out and start replicating this recruitment process. and what he said to me is, they don't have a five-year plan. they have a 35-year plan. they'reç ready to keep building this. and so you know, we have to think about this, i believe, and this is what the president is trying to embrace in his countering violent extremism strategy. we've got to recognize that failed or failing states that have no revenue that can't build a school, that can't provide health, that can't organize the community, that can't even build their own security structure to fight back against these radicals are going to require some help. now after world war ii we had a thing called the marshal plan where we rebuilt countries that
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had fallen into absolute economic despair as a consequence of the war and even rebuilt our former enemieenemie japan and germany. look at the difference it has made today. that is the greatest success story statement about why investment and why this engagement is critical. in africa we need to engage more. we need to be able to help them. we're fighting help nigeria now deal with boko haram. we have a u.n. mission in somal somalia. it needs more help, more people, more assistance. we had al shabaab on the ropes last surnl but now with the reductions, they push back. this is a long-term constant struggle. and i believe that the security of the united states of america is absolutely at stake in the choices that we make in order to help fill these voids.
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not do it alone, but work through these global institutions in order to push back against this potential vacuum that invites failure and violence and extremism to fill the void. and i hope people will see this budget in that entire context. there's so many different things. what we're doing on aides, what we did with ebola. what we do in terms of our broad based entrepreneurial encouragement. what we do with the program the president started for young african leaders in order to bring them here and help them to train and learn. all of these things are good, solid investments for the long-term future and security of our country. >> we go to mr. lee sell don op new york. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, thank you for coming back before the committee. i wanted to discuss the iran nuclear agreement. the president has stated that
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the nuclear agreement is not based on trust but is based on verification. this past monday i received a letter from your talented assistant second fair for legislative affairs. i want to discuss a couple of components of that. thank you for the response. in the letter it says that the iran nuclear agreement, quote, relies on the unprecedented monitoring and verification measures. the letter further refers to, quote, an unprecedented iaea monitoring and survey yens and quote legally binding obligations under the additional protocol to iran's safeguard's agreement with the iaea. my first question, mr. secretary, have you read the iran safeguards agreement with the iaea? >> yes. >> and how can i access that in. >> well i've been briefed on it. put it that way. it was read by our staff when we were there. i didn't read the entire thing
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but i was briefed fully on the contents. >> has the president read it? >> i can't speak that. i don't. i don't think so because it's in vienna. >> if you visit the beb site they have a link to access the iran agreement when you click the link it goes to the next page and it's some type of a broken link. but i would be interested in reading that safeguards agreement. would that be possible? >> i don't know. i think that's a part of -- what? that's the part -- the safeguards component we were briefed on and we worked on and we were satisfied with. but it is part of -- it's a confidential -- it is always traditionally between every country, including us, we have an agreement. but ours is confidential. other countries can't go read our agreement with the iaea and that's the way it works. but we, as i say, were briefed on it so that we had a sense of
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what was included, what needed to be included was satisfied because it was critical in the context of this but we don't possess it. >> members of your staff have read it. you haven't asked to read it yourself? >> i was fully briefed on it at the time. i was in vienna, obviously on the last day. this was of high concern to us. i believe then undersecretary wendy sherman and others went other and met with the iaea and then they came back and briefed me out on it. but i didn't feel it was imperative at that point. >> and you feel comfortable stating that there's unprecedented iaea monitoring and surveillance and verification measures even though you haven't read it yourself? >> with one caveat, yes. with one caveat. there's unpress debted allowance for that full measure of
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intrusive oversight and access. the key now will be to plus up the iaea budget. we have the license for 130 or so additional inspectors to be permanently in iran. there's a permanent office in iran. but the iaea is going to need resourcing to meet this. we've always banked on the fact that's got to happen and it will happen. but i just want to signal that that is an imperative component of this. >> i'm just concerned when there are reports that start coming out that says that the iranians collect their own soil samples, that the iranian's inspect some of their own nuclear sites and we have this opportunity to have the secretary here in front of the committee and these very concerning reports, i would love to be able to get confirmation as to whether or not you've read that in there. >> we have the right, under the
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agreement, under the assumption of the additional protocol. the additional protocol you can read. that is a public document. the additional protocol was negotiated by the iaea, was put in place as a consequence of what failed in the framework agreement with respect to north korea. the lesson of that was there has to be the ability to follow up and have access in order to invest gate any suspected or -- >> mr. secretary. >> -- suspicious sites. >> i apologize. >> i'll just finish quickly. we have a right of access for any suspicious site not to be collected by the other. but they themselves are the right of access. >> why didn't you ask for a signature from iran on the nuclear agreement? why didn't you ask iran to sign the nuclear agreement? >> well, i believe they did sign it. >> well the letter that you sent said it's not a signed
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agreement. i mean, it specifically states, as a matter of fact -- >> there was a signed -- excuse me. iran did sign. the vice president of iran went over to the iaea and signed the agreement at the iaea he headquarte headquarters, signed it the morning before it was announced. >> the jcpa is not a tretty or executive agreement. >> that's after. >> and it is not a signed document. >> that is accurate. it's not a treaty. it is a political agreement. but the actual agreement between the iaea and iran is signed. and that is a legal obligation. >> but the iran nuclear agreement, the jcpoa, the p5+1, whatever we call it is not signed. >> that is a political agreement, correct. >> well the question is -- >> whoa. >> why didn't we ask iran to sign it? >> because it is a political agreement with force of law behind it, international law
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because it's been embraced in and fully adopted by the united nations and the united nations security council. that is why it has force of law and that is why the snapback is a particularly forceful position in this context. >> we need to go to mr. william keating of massachusetts. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you for your service, mr. secretary. as the ranking member, i want to focus on terrorism for the purpose of this questioning. and i want to really focus on the fact, this is a budget hearing. and one thing i'm aware of and i think most experts agree with, taxpayers get the most -- it's most cost effective for taxpayers and most experts will say most effective is the work that we do in those areas where terrorism is likely to incubate, maybe just starting to incubate or moving out and metastasizing.
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i just want you to comment on a couple of things. number one, we had king abdullah here talking to some of the members and he identified 17 fronts which is generally agreed upon in a world where isil and other groups are a great threat. but if you could, i just -- if you could comment on some of the areas where it's ripe for incubation or incubation in the world, what those geographic areas would be, indonesia, somalia, the areas we might not think of. how we approach that is important. it's important for this hearing this morning. i think the most effective things we can do in those areas, before things incubatincubate.
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i think in terms of human rights, if you could comment on how we're utilizing an increased role for women and mothers in trying to deal with this issue in those type of situations. and also, in terms of the narrative, the extremists, the counter extremists narrative that we really want to pursue, whether it's broadcast, social media, something i think we're getting beaten on a little bit now globally in some areas. those are the kind of things that we get the most bang for the buck. and those are the things that keep us the safest and where we're the most effective. if you could take a few minutes and comment on geographically where you think there's some areas of concentration we may not think of first off the top of our heads and how we can deal it with economically from a human rights perspective and from a counter extremist narrative. >> you know, congressman, i really appreciate the question an i want to try to answer it
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carefully because i don't want the -- i don't want the speculation or statement to become the father to the fact. >> i understand. >> so i don't want to run through a bunch of incubator locations that some people may not have thought of yet. but generically i would simply say to you that where you have a poor population, where you have a bad governance, where you have corruption, where you have a lack of opportunity, a lack of education, and you have a population that may be particularly susceptible to a religious extortion distorted narrative, you have potential obviously. and there are plenty of places where, unfortunately, what i just described is the fact
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today. now, the key here is the latter part of your question dealing with narrative. because the narrative, left unattended, can be very attractive. where you have corruption. and where you have lack of opportunity. and if a void gets filled with that narrative without the truth, without, you know, facts to the contrary, it could start to take hold and it has and it does. and we see that in various places. so we are now very, very focused. part of our strategy to fight daesh, al qaeda and others, is to do a much better job with the counter narrative. undersecretary rick stangel has been deeply involved in this working with different countries with working with our young best
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talented communicators in america beginning to fight back on the social media, for instance. there is a center that has opened in the air of emirates, in abu dhabi that the emirates is engaged in and supporting which has a bunch of young folks in there and obviously mostly arabic speaking and other english speak whog are able to communicate the counter nair tiff. we've taken people who have disaffected by daesh and put them on the social media who have told the story of how they were exploited, raped or made slaves. by the way, many of those have been executed when they try to leave. those that made it out, are powerful testimony to the contrary. so we're doing a lot of that. saudi arabia is about to open a similar communications center, malaysia will. others. there are lots of places where the communications effort is as critical as anything in preventing future recruits from
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being created and we're working very hard at that. >> thank you. >> we need to go to mr. jeff duncan op south carolina. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> secretary you have an affinity for iran that i don't share. they regularly chant death to america and recently tried to humiliate the united states sailors. they're the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism and we just gave them billions of dollars, upwards of $150 billion that they could use to continue to export terrorism around the globe. will we ever learn? i just hope that that lesson doesn't come at the cost of american lives through an act of terror backed by iran. i'd love to go back to something chairman mccall was touching on earlier and that's hr 158, the visa waiver program and terrorist travel prevention act. there were three areas that were
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exceptions under the law, military service, government travel and national security and law enforcement were exceptions for the visa waiver issue. during the negotiations, as the chairman pointed out, the state department asked for other exemptions and they were explicit lly denied in the law signed by the president. in that, mr. secretary, there are national security and law enforcement waivers. could you please define for me your interpretation of national security and law enforcement? >> sure. let me just, if i can, with your indulgence, i just want to make it clear. i don't have an affinity for any country that is engaged in activities that are counter to our values and that put our people at risk and that are supporting terror. no affinity whatsoever.
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my job as the secretary of state and as a diplomat is to try to find solution to problems that don't involve, if possible and we can achieve our goals sending young people into conflict, going to war. war is the failure of diplomacy to solve a problem. we looked at iran and saw them about to be putting us in a situation where they may have a nuclear weapon, which would be bad for everybody in the world, particularly our friends closest -- >> mr. secretary, i appreciate you making that clear. but i also understand you sent a letter after the visa waiver program law was passed -- >> explaining that it didn't violate -- >> explain to me -- define national security and law enforcement, if you don't mind. >> sure. we have an interest, obviously, in being able to gauarantee tha
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iran over a period of time ore any other country may be able to change, may be able to move to a different posture. and our belief is, from a national security point of view, that if people are able to do legitimate business, that over a period of time that changes things. we look at what's happening in vietnam today, for instance. or we look at what's happening in burma, other countries. transformation takes place. and we believe that transformation is in the national security interest of our country and some of it comes from entrepreneurial activity being able to take place where people begin to feel better about life, see that they're not threatened, do better, travel, see the world and so forth. >> that's a good answer, sir. let me reference -- >> we have people -- we have friends -- >> reclaiming my time. let me reference a white people
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that the state department put out, sir, that says as discussed in the legal paper -- which we've asked for a copy of the legal paper referenced in the white paper and have not seen it. as discussed in the legal paper this is a lesser standard. national security and law enforcement is a lesser standard, the department's words, not mine, that was imposed by other statutes that require a finding that a waiver is vital to or essential to the national security interest to have united states. furthermore there are no findings of fact or other determinations required to be made before exercise of the waiver authority. additionally as discussed in the legal paper yet to be scene, the national security quaver can be exercised by category, not just individuals. you're going to broaden this to other cat garrys that you asked for during the negotiations which were explicitly denied by congress. >> because. >> -- in the law. >> what we're doing, congressman, we're not -- i think we've had heard to the discussions that we had. we're not doing a blanket
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waiver. these are individual. case-by-case basis. we're not doing a blanket waiver. and i think that's frankly not only adhering to the standard but it's in our interest. we have people -- you know, the principle threat that we are concerned about of terror from daesh is not coming out of iran. it's coming out of other places. and if some european business person or an ngo that happens to be advocating human rights travels to iran and they have a visa waiver with us -- which by way has an extraordinarily rigorous standard before it's given. we don't lose any -- in fact we have greater insight with somebody with that than we do in other cases. >> i'm on homeland security. i've followed this issue for a long time. what this white paper looks like, maybe i would have a better understanding if you would provide us to a copy of
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the legal paper. mr. secretary, this looks like you were trying to find wiggle room to work around the intent of congress and the actual wording of the law. my time has expired. you can keep talking if the chairman will let you. i appreciate it. >> where did the white paper come from. >> it references in there twice that i know a legal paper which helped you determine your findings here. please provide us a copy of the legal paper and maybe this will be a nonissue. thank you. i yield back. >> mr. chairman, thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. and we will continue looking at your budget. your department has many good programs that need to be support ed. but even good programs may not be able to get the level of support we would all wish given our deficit. we'll work at doing the best job we can with embassy security a priority. and i for one as particularly
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support tiff of your initiatives promoting women's education and social status in the developing world. on the iran deal i'm afraid the dam has been broken with foreign investment rushing in and in the real world it will not be reversible in and when iran cheats. but that is a continuing discussion. mr. rohrabacher had a question for the record that will be submitted without objection. it's on the subject of the release of the doctor we all hope and want to see dr. freedy released immediately. the problems and threats but also the opportunities we face are great. the committee looks forward to its continued work with you to strengthen our nation's security. thank you again, mr. secretary, for being with us today. >> pleasure. >> we stand adjourned. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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also coming up on capitol hill, jam comey testifies. he was asked about the effort to force apple to unlock the iphone and here's what the fbi director had to say. >> the facts of the sender case are obviously pretty compelling in terms of wanting to know what's on that phone, whether there were other parties involved or other plans or
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targets of attack. and while that application, as you've pointed out, is focused solely on that phone, when i read the motion in support of the application, i don't see a limiting principle. and by that i mean if that argument is accepted by the court in this case, won't it lead district attorneys and other prosecutors around the country to essentially make the same argument in their cases and some of those may be compelling. i think you pointed to a pregnant woman who was murdered, i think, in arkansas and the phone may be the only key to who her killer is. but nonetheless, that application may be good in misdemeanor cases involving nonviolent offenses. and so while the result may only affect this phone, the precedent will be there for many others. and i guess what i would like to ask you is, is there a limiting principle here? is there a way through a
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negotiation that we can arrive at cases where it's appropriate to seek this relief and cases where it's not? do you acknowledge sort of the broader policy implications of a uniform application under the all ritz act. now i realize this may be muted by the next generation of operating system which may not allow this kind of relief. but nonetheless, if it is technologically feasible even with the next generation operating system for apple to help with the opening of a phone, it seems to me that the argument you're make in this case will apply to those new operating systems as well. is there a limiting principle here and is there any way to resolve this through negotiation. because at least the initial positions of the parties are we need access when we have legal warrant and the other side is saying we can never provide access because if we do here we'll have to do it everywhere. >> thank you. and i should say, i very much
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agree with the way you framed it in your opening statement. this case and all cases are very, very important but there's a broader policy question that is far larger than any individual case that we all have to grapple with. but to the case, first i think the answer would best come from a technical expert and a good lawyer. i'm neither of those but i will take a shot at it. i do think that it is potentially, whatever the judge's decision is in california, and i'm sure it will be appealed no matter how it ends up, will be instructive for other courts. and there may well be other cases that involve the same kind of phone and the same operating system. what the experts have told me is that the combination -- here's where i'm going to get well out of my depth of a 5 c and this particular operating system is specifically unusual that it's unlikely to be a trail blazer because of technology being the limiting principle. but a decision by the judge, there's a judge weighing a decision in brooklyn right now. all of those decisions will
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guide how courts handle similar requests. we've used the rule for hundreds of years so that the courts ask have their orders given effect. and how others but will be important. so i think that's fair to say. but i do think the larger question is not going to be answered in the courts and shouldn't be. because it's really about who do we want to be as a country and how do we want to govern ourselves. >> let me answer that broader policy question from the bureau's perspective. and that is can you live with a policy -- can law enforcement live with a policy that says only in certain cases whether they're violent crimes or other very serious cases, terrorism related that we would allow under the all writs act, and the congress could specify to which purposes all writs act or a change to calea would apply. is that something the law enforcement community, intelligence community, you
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think, could negotiate with privacy stake hoholders and wit the technology sector? >> i think conversation and negotiation is the key to resolving this. this is the hardest question i've seen in government and it's going to require a conversation but i've been keen to keep the bureau out of the policymaking business. i think we have two roles in this context. one is in the case we must do a competent investigation following the murder of 14 people in san bernardino. and we will. and we'll use whatever lawful tools are available to us. but in the larger conversation i think our role is just to make sure folks understand what are the costs associated with moving to a world of universal strong encryption. there's tons of benefits. i love encryption. i love privacy. when i hear corporations saying we're going to take you to a world where no one can look at your stuff, part of me thinks that's great. i don't want anybody looking at my stuff. but i step back and say, you know, law enforcement, which i'm part of, really does save people's lives, rescue kids, rescue neighborhoods from terrorists.
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and we do that a whole lot through court orders that are search warrants. and we do it a whole lot through search warrants of mobile devices. so we're going to move to a world where that is not possible anymore, the world will not end, but it will be a different world than where we are today and where we were in 2014. and so we just have to make sure that the bureau explains to folks what the costs are so that people don't look at us five years from now and say where were you guys when this happened. this is too important to let us drift. so my goal is to have the bureau be a factual input so we have a really robust conversation that's well informed. >> see that entire hearing on our website white house press secretary josh earnest is briefing reporters this afternoon. that's scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. eastern, about ten minutes from now. when it gets underway we'll have live coverage here on c-span3. coming up later today, the confirmation hearing for john king, the president's nominee to head the education department. he's been acting secretary since the end of last year when his
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predecessor stepped down. a confirmation hearing begins at 2:00 p.m. eastern live here on l c-span3.: coming up until today's white house briefing, from this morning's washington journal, discussion. >> joining us now representative john carney, a democrat from delaware, and also congressman jim renacci, who is a republican from ohio. about they're going to be talking gro about their bipartisan working group. good morning, gentlemen. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> te mel, week. gentlemen, whai this bipartisan group do? >> we try to get together at the beginning of the week to find ways that we can work together s on legislation. are so we talk about wor the agenda the week. we talk about members initiatives that they're workina on and have address lot of dial. how are we going to address thet problems andis challenges facin the country? i come from a state where allede bipartisanship is a great
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tradition. we have an event after each election called return b and at the end of that celebration the democrats and we the republicans actually bury a hatchet on stage.and it's symbolic for sure. the we're democrats and republicans, but we're delawareans first. let's represent the people. >> you founded this group, why did you think it was a good idea in 2011 to start this group?p? - >> well, i actually think it neg started both john and i were on the financial services leg committee. and i'm a business guy,islala not really -- i was a a mayor of my community, but not really a legislator. and i didn't realize why in the first hearing there was back and forth, you know, discussion almost like throwing stones bach at each other. and i finally just said, look, l when i hadd be a chance to spea this is really a hearing that we should be listening to the witnesses. and iifics. started asking the witnesses questions. and that was really the specifics. and then john walked up l t mee and said, you know what, you weh look like somebody who wants to
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get something done, so do i. and that was kind of a starting point. we had breakfast, had some e pee discussion. i realized there were people ne. both sides trying to getet someo thingspl done here.nt to and since then that breakfast group has grown to almost 26 people. >> okay. we want to get viewers in on this discussion about . bipartisanship in congress on dr the republican line you canat c2 in at 202-748-8001. democrats can call in at 202-748-8000. and independents can call in on our independent line 202-748-8002. congressman d timecarney, when group started, it was one of the most polarized times in congresc that was a few years ago. how have you seen things changee since then? has there been any change? i re >> well, apr little bit of chan, i think, in the house. most of the people that i , we represent in delaware wouldn't say that, but we i think at a personal level, at a member c
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level, recognize the change.e. both jim and i were elected in 2010, which was a very contentious off year election. and it was a wave election wherk the republicans took over the n house. and soso when weweco first starr meeting for breakfast, it was conversations were still a little awkward. we didn't talk so much about the really difficult issues. but as we got to know one another and as time went by we started jumping right in to the hard issues right at the beginning of the meeting. it changed a lot. we were very candid. vie we were very candid with one another. now we respect each other's point of view. andd leave that was kind of the from the beginning. let's try to leave our politicae differences aside when we come e in the door and look for common ground while we're around that table. >> okay. recently a "the washington post" piece usedto talk visualizationk about how polarized congress isw and it showed as if a cell was
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separating into two, how at first the amount of interactione in common votes between onnect republicansed and democrats ove the years has been pretty connected. but in the last decade or so no it's almost like two independent groups. not only do t they voteoget mor tightly together, more tightly e ied lor? -- ied lodge i. wh >> our problems are not democrat or republican, our problems are american problems. tho i think that's what's important. what i've tried to do is reach across the aisle and understand their ideas or thoughts..strong i go back to my district and i tell people for every person who believes everyone should be a strong conservative, there's strong liberals. there's different groups down here. so you have to be able to at least listen, get to understand the other side, gether to a understand the other position. sometimes even learn from the other side, believe it or not.t. and then hopefullyy come up wit
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a consensus to move forward. i think that's what's important. that's really been part of the e group. the group's s been a great hour every week to really understand the other side and what they're thinking and why they disagree or agree. and doesn't mean we're going to come out agreeing, but at leastu we're goingt to come out understanding. >> okay. >> we had a special meeting to t about ary year or two ago wheree wanted to talk about the different ideas that people had to try to reduce spending and get our budgethe deficits undero control. for me this was one of theunde helpful meetings that we had to understand the way my colleaguec on the other side of the aisle looked at each of these issues. and these were -- there's certainly common ground to be had among theot issues we lookee at, but you're not going to reach that common ground unless you understand what's driving the other side, what their perspective is. b from health care to military spending, whatever the question might be. we went down through a whole e list of things. it was really an eye opener for me and certainly helped me whatr understand, okay, where are the
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opportunities to make progress o on whatever thengress given iss might be. >> okay. we are talking to congressman carney -- sorry, renacci, i'm th going to get it righte before te end of this i but we wanted to bring our viewers into this session about. efforts to work in a more bipartisan manner in congress. first on our independent line we have richard from massachusetts. you're on with the congressmen. >> caller:elaw are yeah, congre carny, i know you from delaware, and i want to say hello to joe e biden out therest from delaware. but unusual question that i wanc to ask you, and it's like a definition. can you give me the us definiti of bipartisanship? >> well, for us i think, richard, i think it's a great question. i think everybodbipartisanship of our group is looking for es. common ground.. you know, everybody has strong feelings. we have our political differences. i believe in democratici m
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principles of the democratic s party. i know jim believes in his prini principles as a republican, as do the members of our group, bud in order to move the country go forward, in order to solve e problems and meet challenges, we've got to find the common ground. so to me that's what bipartisanship is. it's not way putting your value the side. it's trying to find a way to incorporate your values, work o with the other side and come up with solutions for all the people of our country.y want when i go back home, that's what people tell me they want me to m do. i mean, i really feel like i'm just doing what people in delaware want and expect me to do. the two things that i get back from people that they respond to the most today, and i think we see it in the presidential ttin election, richard, is that they're just tired of the ebt partisanship, not getting thing done. not addressing big things like f the national debt issues so with respect to health care, a whole
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series of things. that's what i hear. and secondly, they really respond positively when i talk about our bipartisan working ho: group. and at least our efforts to wor together even if it's on small things. thank you, richard. dallas, >> okay. up next on our democratic line we have ray from lake dallas, texas. ray, you're on with congressman carney and renacci. >> caller: thanks so much. i love big c-span, i watch it e morning. hey, guys, good morning. allow me to speak about the two big elephants in the room, okayd number one is money. it just seems to everybody, even lay people and those who know a little bit about how everythingg works that, you know, money drives congress.tting and mostan people feel that they're not getting anything eir done because the first thing that the senator or the
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congressmen want to do is get their money for whatever they need to get from these people who have an agenda. it's mostly big money leaving e all thet little people out.tham there's just no way for the little person to get their word across. and so that d makes me feel tha there's got to be something else that we can do with regard to, you know, how this works. you know, maybe change policy ok something. thee other thing is, you know, e talk about being bipartisan, and i think your group is a great idea. the problem is is what do you do about the majority whip? regardless of whether it's to democrat or republican, what't they say goes. so half the people that you probably want to reach out to o don't want to do anything because they feel like if they try to go against what the the wip is going to say, you know, you're not going to be able to
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reach out to them. you're not going to be able to t do anything with them. >> okay, ray, let's give let' congressman'renacci a chance to address that. >> sure. well, thank you for your question, ray. first off, when it comes to money, look, money is an issue.g i've always said that in campaigns, but it's never been an issue for me. i mean, my voting record will show that i'm going to vote faco pretty much withok my constituents. i am on facebook. i listen to my constituents on facebook. i have dialogue back and forth with individuals onth erfaceboo. and many of the social media ic issues. so there is a way for those that donate to talk to me and keep ia touch with me.y i think that's very, very important. it's interesting because peoplev say you're always going to votet with the way the lobbyists and g dollars will give you. that's so untrue.r i mean, i've had lobbyist who is said, you know, you're going against what our company believes. i say, well, i'm going for what's good for america. t those arehe the way i think we need to be able to move forward in the process here. and i'm a big believer in that.
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when it comes to, you know, licn votes, again, if you look at many of our records. times i mean, i voted against the republican majority many, many times. but i've alsoso voted with themv because, you know, the basis ofc what i believe inon is really conservative, fiscal ut i c conservative government. soan i'm not sure -- people bac home always hear that and they say those things, but i can tels you down here, you know, look at some of the votes. there are a lot of votes that go against the majority many times -- i'll just use 9 republicans for example. many republicans the boehner budget vote-- is aon perfect example. 159 republicans voted against leadership on that vote. so there's definitely issues where, you know, it's not just about what the wip has to say. n >> let's talk a. little bit abot public perception and look at a recent poll from rasmussen reports. it finds about 11% of the 0% rat americane public think congress
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is doing a good or excellent t job. where 60% rate congress performance as poor.the it also states that 9% of americans think the average reps member of congress listens toen the voters that he or she represents while 77% think members listen mostly to party leaders in congress. which goes to the last caller's question. what's your reaction to that? >> yeah, kimberly, that's what i mentioned a minute ago. i mean, that's what i hear fromi my constituents. i think it'sl terrible that thee institution is seen that way ann i think it's spilling over into this presidential i look, we've got the best system of government in the whole world. but nobody has any confidence in it. confi that's, i think, our effort, iso one that will help build confidence among people. to the last caller's point, all of our members at one time or ow the other, more often than not, have had to step up to against leadership to do what we think f is right for the country. and we need more people doing that. and we need the kinds of reform
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that ray was talking about in do terms of campaign finance reforc and political reform.i repr districts are just aligned too much overwhelmingly democrat or overwhelmingly republican. look, i represent the whole state. and my n't affect meo make district, but we need that kind of reform, i think, to make congress more responsive to the people and to a broad arrange of people. members of congress are being responsible to their respective sides, which is d overwhelmingl as i said republican or democratic. and that forces the points of view to the extremes.aware. okay. we are talking with congressman john carney, democrat from delaware, and congressman jim ok renacci, republican from ohio. they founded the bipartisan working group. we want tost take your calls. up next on the independent line is steve from chatsworth, illinois. go on, steve. >> caller: yes, you call
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yourself bipartisans, each of y you, but nothing seems to be accomplished in congress. no tax reform, no immigration ra reform, nothing seems to get done. it's frustrating that you both cannot find common ground on . anything anymore. and you say that we have the best system, but you guys can't -- >> okay, steve, let's give themu a chance to talkr about it. there is gridlock in congress. so how do you work with people outside of your group to rep. r actually get things accomplished? >> first off, to answer steve'so question. i mean,n, let's face it, when t founders put this country together, they did not want things to just move through easily. they wanted things to -- look,
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435 people in a room, i always tell people back home in my district, you put 35 people in n room and try and get an people agreement, and you'll have disagreement, you'll have discussion. but 435 people in a room you're going to have the same thing.toe so i think really what our founders wanted was a system that didn't allow things to mova quickly but did want things to move with compromise and ability to work together and get thingsr done. that's the problem. i tell people backleft in my district all the time, if you're far, far right conservative or far left liberal, that's not going to work as easy in congress because there's always that opposite side. but what our founders wanted was 435 members working together tod come upow with a compromise solution. i know compromise many times becomes a dirty word down here, but that really has to be the way we move forward.ican p as i said, we don't have republican and democrat w problems. we haveooked at american proble. we have to be able to work together on those. >> okay.rm, go ahead. >> yeah, we'veimmigr looked at
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of those issues that steve mentioned, tax reform, immigration reform as part of our group. and in fact this past several months our focus was on funding the highway trust fund and international tax reform as parn of that. and congressman renacci had a really good proposal we spent a lot of time talking about it, ws were part of theue discussion ad congress wrestled withid those a very important issues. i don't think either of those issues are dead. we actually did obviously pass a transportation bill. i wasn't happy with the way it was funded.d. i know our members weren't. we still need to do ide an international tax reform that hopefully will lead to tax renai reform on the corporate side and the individual side here in the u.s. congressman renacci and a couple other members on ways and means and this is an area i think we canwt"ññ help the debate in the congress and bring both sides
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together to something that will work. >> okay. ney axt call is on republican'e line. essex, .david fromndess maryland, david, you're on with congressman carney and renacci. >> caller: thank you. thank you for letting me talk. i just want to ask the gentlemen, i watched one of the committee meetings one time where i believe it was the d budget committee and they showe statistical data and the trend e line showed that the actual revenue income is actually maintaining historical 50-year revenue line. so in my mind it's never a revenue problem, it's always a spending problem. if we i always talk to my father and say we would gladly go back to clinton era tax rates if we went to clinton era spending rates. i would love to have a comment i on that. : >> well, david, i would tell you i'm on the budget committee. and quite frankly the -- we wile have the largest amount of revenue in the u.s. treasury
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this year in the history of ouri country. so thenues t revenue side contio grow. the spending side continues to grow as well. and that's the big issue.of it exponentially we have a spending line that is growing very, very rapidly. and a lot of it is because of some of the programs that were put in place years ago that were based on, i mean, people hate te talk about them but some of our entitlement programs they were based on people dying at age 65. and to the credit of this country and our health care system people are living until a in the 80st. now, which means tt many of our programs were set up and have to be looked at. now, again, last year we had 10,000 people a day retiring for the first time.until these are statistics that are changing and are also changing the scope of our spending. and until congress has the 30 ya political will to really take a look at some of these programs that were established 30, 40 years ago and say, okay, they to were established based on have statistics thata aren't correc today. we're going grows to continue t
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a spending line that is exponentially grows where a h revenue line that continues to grow but not at the same pace as expenditures. >> we are talking with congressmen jim renacci, republican, one of the founders of the bipartisan working group in congress. he was the first in his family to graduate from college and paid -- you paid your way through it by working in several jobs including a truck driver, a mechanic and on a road crew. and he's also a certified public accountant. we're also talking with , twic democratic congressman john carney of delaware who is twice. elected lieutenant governor in delaware and was formally secretary of finance and deputyi chief of staff under then governor tom carper. when it comes to finding areas of compromise, what areas has it been easier to get bipartisan consensus? are there specific areas? and what areas has it been tougher? >> yeah, i think the areas where it's been a little bit easier
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are things where there's just wh not a lot ofat difference in tes of do members around the table va and what's important.ave the perfect example is ourth veterans. you know, we've thought about ce having a veterans hour. we have a series of legislation two congresses ago and one of my successes here, small success but one we count as part of ourr group was to sponsor legislation with larry buchon who's a republican from indiana with lko other members of our group partt of that that would allow op military service folks to get a commercial driver's license on their base asas opposed to wher they lived, where they were e domici domicile. it's small thing, but support for veterans, differentehan, in patrick meehan who is in a district right adjacent to mine in southeastern pennsylvania at. workeded on a veterans court id.
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there's a lot of common ground in that. where it's most difficult i think is on the budget issues th that jim just talked about with respect to an answer to one of the questions. because they're just very rspect differentiv perspectives on the problem. you know, the revenue side and the expense side.. the reality is we've got to do gs i l something on both sides,ik in m view. i'm a numbers guy too. that's one of the things i like about jim. he's a cpa. -- i was secretary of finance and the numbers have to add up.trato so we have a lot of discussion about con my biggest frustration i'm going to be leaving congress at the od end of this year will be i thind not to be part of a group of cn members who stood up and passedd a fiscally sound budget that would really be good for the ndf country moving into the future. it's hard work. it will involve the kind of thing that jim and i try to do every week in working together. but it's absolutely necessary m for the future d of the country.
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and we act like it doesn't exisn from day today. it just drives me nuts. >> all right. our next caller is on our democratic line, aaron from chicago, aaron you are on with congressman carney and renacci. >> caller: yes. how are youas f guys doing? i was just wondering with the budget thing as far as how you guys are going about it, how if trump is elected and he's having irateness that he's having with his comrades, how would you guyd like go about the budget thing t for the elderly as well as the veterans? >> okay.e need t congressman renacci. >> well, thank you for your put question, aaron. again, in congress we need to put our own vision forward. this budget committee needs to t put their own budget forward, their own vision forward.and i think one of the things that people don't realize is we are e separate and co-equal branch, so
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we need to put our vision d work forward. whoever becomes president can put their vision forward. and hopefully we can come to some consensus and work together to get things done for the bests interests of the country. but it's about a congressional vision more than any of the onh presidential candidates' vision. that's what i know the speakersc talked about this year tedoing. putting our vision on the table this year so that whoever's elected president knows what congress' vision is. >> we are in the middle of t oft presidential election which is controlling a lot of the political discourse. in whaty to w way does that impe ability to work in a bipartisano way when you have this very strong partisan language going on surrounding the presidentiall race? >> it makes it hard. i mean,ot ld makes it harder because the two candidates that are thee getting a lot of attention right now are donald trump on the right, if you will, ted cruz ane bernie sanders on the left. and they're raising important oa issues. they're bringing outused o frusn that people have a lot of that frustration is focused on ave be congress frankly anden the inability of washington to get l
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things we ha we've been working against that trend for the last five years as we've tried to work together. so as we go out and campaign for re-election or in my case the next move,, we have to address those real concerns that people are feeling at a gut kind of level. i feel like very confident thati i can say, look, i went to washington for five years and here's what we tried to do working with jim and my colleagues to get something done. people are going to say, well, you didn't have much suc cesucc. well, small successes are th important. we tried to move the y and i think we did. campa an important way. but the country also is divided. and the presidential campaign by force i forcing the debate to the extremes isty of dividing peopl. frank lima jorty of america i think would share jim and my
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approach to solving problems as opposed to score iing. >> caller: i've just decided this year too sit back and look at everything from a neutral aspect, and that includes global observation of us. and i really would like to see someone write a book about the psychology of the herd mentality. i think it's very disappointing what's going on. these are not debates. these are reality shows. they're mud slinging. everybody comes up with an idea. none of these things will happee because there is a congress.eseh we do have a checks and balance system. and no one, not one candidate is saying how they will achieve what they're promising. and it's very sad. the other thing that i think is
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very sad is uniting us as a people and a country that we're supposed to be all of this is dividing us. the special interest groups, there is emphasis on race, ethnicities, we're all one people. and we're supposed to have the freedom, same thing with any . extremism either to the right or to the left is very dangerous. it is not good. giv >> okay,e co susan, let's give congressman carney a chance to respond to that. >> well, i hear that frustration when i'm in delaware. fortunately my constituents, the people of delaware, expect me to try to solve problems. -- do the hard work of a
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legislating. that's what our group is all ono about. it's hard work trying to find that common ground.. there are big differences. and we shouldn't paper over that. there are legitimate differences though. the points of view that are reflected on the other side, i mean, that's another part -- an important part of our group is to develop a real respect for the other members and the points of view that they bring to the table. and the thought process being, okay, so how can we as two members that represent different parts of the country, very different districts, how can we work together to solve this problem and to address really the big issues facing the country. and we tried -- we think our group is helpful in that effort. >> okay. congressman renacci, speaking about elections, youf spearheaded an effort to reform the federal election commission. talk a little bit about your bill and what you hope to achieve there. >> well, that actually came out of the bipartisan group as one of the initiatives that one of the other members brought up.
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i was very in agreement with. i mean, whenever you have a federal commission which is in a stalemate, three republicans, three democrats not getting anything done, we have to be able to fix that system. so what that bill basically does is put that seventh member in. we try and make it as nonpartisan as possible so that some of these election decisions can be taken care of instead of just -- i mean, it's amazing that they cannot even come to an agreement on, i believe, it's the legal counsel for the organization because it's three and three. i mean, this is the kind of stuff we have to stop. that organization should be moving forward to the best interests of the country and the organization. so it's a bill that i believe in, that we should be able to move forward on, but it also shows what the last caller talked about with some agreement. we can't have republicans and democrats in a stalemate all the time. >> what do you think the chances of that bill getting some
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movement? >> it's a common sense idea. addressing a problem that's kind of ridiculous, right? we've got a stalemate, the fec, which is an important institution, they're not doing anything. one of our colleagues from the state of washington, he focused on it and worked with jim and others in developing that piece of legislation. it's just kind of common sense in addressing an issue. excuse me. which is important. and which deals with this the political issues that many of the callers have talked about. >> okay. our next caller is on our democratic line. kathrine from mobile, alabama, you are on with congressman carney and renacci. >> caller: first of all, thank you for c-span and thank you both for doing work in a bipartisan way. i've been very worried about our country to the point of even getting nightmares. i was raised in the '50s in the south. and mississippi and alabama. and i see our country as scaring me again. i think something that would
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help you is we don't want to see this anger, rage, violence in our country. we want it to go to a peaceful loving country, the way it should be. we should kiss our ground and be thankful we don't have to deal with what these people overseas have to deal with every day. so maybe if you can get these people to take a civics test that work for the government and they seek american history, they might be a little bit more appreciative about their job. because i honestly don't think that some of them understand how our government is supposed to work. >> okay. thank you, kathrine, very much. do you want to respond to that? >> well, again, kathrine, i do appreciate the call. and i do appreciate the comments. i agree with you, we need to be able to work together. many times in my district -- good afternoon everybody. nice to see you all. before we get started, i know there's a lot of attention on the campaign trail today, as there should. particularly because michelle's network is hosting a big debate
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tonight in houston. suspect many of you will be watching. and there actually is a question that came to my mind that i thought i would put forward for consideration tonight. it's a pretty basic one. it's one republicans are quite intimately familiar with, it's simply this, do you believe america is better off than it was seven years ago? the case that we have to make that america is certainly better off than it was seven years ago is quite strong. and i've got a couple slides here to show you that substantiate that. let's try a little technology -- technological wizardry into this works. hmm. or not. or not. let's see if this one works. no. okay. so we'll give you the slides. there we go. there we go. there we go.
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let's go to slide number one. since the great recession, household wealth in the united states net worth has increased by $30 trillion. that obviously greatly exceeds the pace of the recovery from the only economic downturn that was worse than the one that we experienced in 2007 and 2008. that obviously is a testament to what american households have recovered from. let's go to the second slide. and you'll see that if you take a look at the growth of the u.s. economy, our recovery is actually faster than the recovery that was experienced by other advanced economies in the world. in fact, the u.s. economy has recovered faster than any other advanced economy in the world. let's go to the third slide. unemployment rate, this is probably the most accessible measure that people have used, but when you take a look at our
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unemployment rate, it has been cut in half. we're now down to 4.9%. that obviously exceeds the predictions that were made earlier on in our recovery. so it's not just that we've cut the unemployment rate in half. we cut the unemployment rate even faster than most people thought was possible. it's certainly faster than the previous republican nominee for president thought was possible. he famously vowed to get the unemployment rate down to 6% by the end of his first term. and already we've got the unemployment rate down below 5%. let's go to the next slide. the housing market has been the intense focus of a lot of evaluation. and we've seen the housing market in the united states recover quite strongly. and one way to take a measure of that is by looking at the number of foreclosures per month. the number of foreclosures in the united states by month
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have -- are only about a quarter of what they once were. again, that is a testament to strengthening of our economy. and certainly is a way that a lot of middle class families can relate to. let's go to the next slide. talked a lot about the success of the u.s. auto industry. obviously auto sales in the united states have grown by two-thirds since 2009. there are obviously a whole lot of jobs associated with this. the president made an important decision early on in his presidency, a decision that was not particularly popular, not even particularly popular in the state of michigan, that had a lot to gain. but yet we've seen the american auto industry come back stronger than ever. and one way to evaluate that is that auto sales have increased by 67% just in the last seven years. go to the next slide. one of the core investments of the recovery act was in
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renewable energy, and ensuring that the united states was well positioned to benefit from the clean energy economy of the future. one way to evaluate that is are the investments that were made in solar. and we've seen solar powered capacity in the united states has increased 25 times since the president took office. that is thanks in large part to an important investment that was included in the recovery act. but it's an indication of how much potential exists for the u.s. economy as other countries around the world start to embrace clean energy. and last but not least, there's obviously been a lot of discussion particularly on the campaign trail but even here in our nation's capitol about health care reform. one of the promises that the president made about health care reform was focusing on lowering health care costs. a lot of ways to evaluate that, but the way that most americans feel health care costs is
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understanding how much they have to pay in premiums. vast majority of americans get their premiums from their employer -- or get their insurance from their employer. when you take a look at premium growth among people who get their health insurance from their employer, premium growth has been cut almost in half. it's down to about 4.2% growth rate when previously it was up near 8%. so there are a lot of ways to evaluate this question. but in some ways the simplest questions yield the most information. and some cases this is a good example of that. i think by all the measures that i've just walked through there's no denying that the american people and our nation is in much better condition than it was seven years ago. but obviously see what the candidates have to say about it. so with that prelude, we can now
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get on to the main event. josh, do you want to start? >> great, thanks, josh. let's turn to the supreme court. just a little bit before you came out here this morning -- or actually this afternoon i should say, governor sandoval said that he told the white house he's not interested in this supreme court nomination. now that he's out of the running, so to speak, can you tell us whether he was actually seriously being considered? and is he emblematic of the type of mainstream candidate that the president feel ls might garner enough support to be able to be confirmed? >> josh, even after the fact i'm not going to get into a lot of details about who's on the president's list and who's not. in part that is because the list is not final at this point. so the work that the president and his team are doing to find the very best person in america to fill the supreme court vacancy is ongoing. and for the kind of criteria that the president will use in evaluating potential nominees i encourage you to take a close
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look at the blog that the president wrote on the scotus blog yesterday where he outlined how he will evaluate potential nominees to the court. >> the quad city times in iowa had an op-ed out this morning about senator grassley saying that he gripped the grenade, clutching it and pulled the pin and now it's only a matter of time before the whole thing blows up in the republican party's collective face. is that how the white house sees this? can you put this in the context of some of the hard fought senate and political fights that are shaping up for some vulnerable members being asked about this now? >> well, look, josh, that is some colorful imagery. i hadn't seen that this morning. look, the way that we see this is that both the president of the united states and the united states senate have a constitutional responsibility. and the constitution says that
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if there's a vacancy in the supreme court, the president should nominate someone to fill it. and the senate should offer their advice and consent about that person's fitness to serve on the supreme court. it's pretty straightforward. and this system with some bumps along the way has functioned and served the american people pretty well over the last two centuries or so. however, what we see now is we see republicans take what i think is a pretty unreasonable stand. and it does put republicans in a position of somehow suggesting that there's some sort of exception that's written into the constitution that the president's supposed to fill nominees -- fill vacancies on the supreme court except in an election year. and that doesn't really pass the smell test with most americans. i think people recognize that when they were voting in 2012
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for president, they were voting to choose the person who would have in their power -- have it in their power to fill supreme court vacancies that opened up in the next four years. important lly they are also votg for 33 senate seats. and they were electing the individual who represent their state in the united states senate who will offer the president advice and consent over the next six years to fill the supreme court vacancy if one arose. so that's why you've heard the rhetoric from here that it's simply about doing your job. the president intends to do his job. in fact, he's already started doing the important work to prepare him to do that job. and that is to evaluate candidates. and we expect that the senate should do their job. unfortunately, they are resting their case on insisting that they're not going to do their job. and so that the president
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shouldn't bother. that's not really the way that it works. the way this works is the president will do his job, he will nominate someone to fill that vacancy. and then there will be a responsibility that the senate republicans will have to decide whether or not they will accept to fulfill their constitutional duty to offer the president advice and consent on that nominee. >> how much progress has the president made in the process you're describing? is he narrowing the list? is he looking broadly at a whole bunch of candidates? where is he? >> he's still continuing to review material that was provided by -- that's been provided by his team. they have updated the material that all of you saw him carry home with him last friday night. he spent a lot of time over the weekend reviewing that material. and he's continuing to do that over the course of this week. the president's also continued to follow through on his promise to intensively consult members of the united states congress on this. the president as has been reported the president had an opportunity yesterday while
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senator hatch was at the white house for the bill signing to have a conversation with him in private about this constitutional responsibility that both men have. that was a useful discussion. again, is consistent with the variety of other phone calls and conversations that the president and members of his team have had. i can tell you that at this point the white house has contacted the office, at least, of every member of the judiciary committee, both democrat and republican. in most cases or in a lot of cases those were conversations with individual senators. in some cases it was conversations with members of their staff. i certainly wouldn't rule out future conversations with members of the judiciary committee, but at this point at least every office both democrat and republican has been contacted. and this kind of intensive consultation will continue. this is consistent with the way
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that the president consulted in advance of nominating individuals to fill the two previous supreme court vacancies that have occurred while he's been president. and he'll do the same thing with this one. the last thing i'll share with you process wise here is that the other thing that the president did shortly after the two previous vacancies occurred is that he invited the senate majority leader, the senate minority leader, the chair of senate judiciary committee and the ranking member of the senate judiciary committee to come to the white house and sit in the oval office and have a conversation to continue consulting about the process for filling that vacancy. and we're pleased that after a number of conversations, some more awkward than others, the president -- that the president will be convening a meeting on tuesday here at the white house with four individuals that i just described. again, this is what he did in 2009 when justice sooter
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announced his retirement, shortly after 2010 after justice stevens announced his retirement. and it's what the president will be doing on tuesday. >> on one other topic, i wanted to ask you about this agreement between the u.s. and china that we're learning about for the u.n. security council sanctions on knot korea, but what can you tell us about what those sanctions will look like? do you see it as a positive sign for our diplomacy that china seems willing to take these punitive actions -- top allies. >> josh, i don't have a lot of details at this point about what's included in the resolution. obviously this resolution has been the topic of extensive diplomatic conversations between the united states and china. and ambassador power up at the u.n. intends to submit for consideration a draft sanctions resolution that would be a
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response to north korea's flagrant violations of their international obligations. i do think it's indicative of how productive diplomacy can be. it's not easy, but it certainly is an indication that the united states and china when our interests are aligned can cooperate quite effectively to advance the interests of citizens in both our countries. i would point out that these kinds of diplomatic discussions have occurred at a variety of levels. in fact, just yesterday ambassador rice, the president's national security adviser, hosted a meeting here at the white house with the chinese foreign minister. to discuss this among other issues. so this is something that the president's national security team has worked assiduously to make progress on. ambassador power will present that resolution for consideration at the u.n. security council today. and once the u.n. security
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council has had more of an opportunity to formally consider the resolution, we can talk in a little more detail about what's actually included in the package. okay. jeff. >> josh, you mentioned the president's -- excuse me, meeting with senator hatch. senator hatch said after that meeting that the president has said he was seeking a very moderate candidate. is that accurate? >> well, again, jeff, there is not -- i'm not aware there was a transcript of the conversation. i think this was an opportunity just for the president to meet one-on-one with senator hatch. i think for people who are interested in understanding from the president firsthand about what kind of person he intends to nominate, i'd encourage them to check out the scotus blog because there the president did lay out in pretty direct terms what kind of nominee he believes will be most effective in filling the vacancy on the supreme court. and this includes somebody with
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impeccable legal credentials, somebody with the right kind of judgment and experience, somebody with a commitment to the rule of law. again, that's how i would describe the criteria that the president will use in choosing what he believes would be the best person to fill the vacancy. >> would you dispute senator hatch's description of their conversation? >> senator hatch is certainly entitled to share with all of you what he remembers from that conversation. but for those of you who are interested in hearing from the president firsthand about what criteria he'll be using, i'd encourage you to check out the scotus blog. >> nancy pelosi has said today she thought it's a good idea to look at both republicans and democrats. that said, is the white house prepared for the reaction from the base that elected the president if he were to choose a republican for this historic nomination? >> jeff, as i alluded to yesterday, there will be a number of questions that
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potential nominees will have to answer as they go through the vetting process. and as they have a conversation with the president of the united states about whether or not they are the best person to fill a vacancy on the supreme court. i can tell you that what political party do you support will not be one of the questions. the president is interested in choosing the best person for the job regardless of politics. and that's what the process will drive toward, and that certainly is what the president is interested in focusing on. this shouldn't be about politics. it certainly shouldn't be about partisan politics. this should be about fulfilling a constitutional duty to appoint someone to a lifetime appointment on the highest court in the land. and, you know, frankly this is an issue that has been increasingly politicized over the years. i understand that, and the president himself said that he understood, that politics are going to continue to have some influence on this process. but we can't allow partisan
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politics to dominate this process. in a way that prevents the president of the united states and the members of the united states senate from fulfilling their constitutional duties. the president is determined to make sure that that doesn't happen when it comes to his constitutional duties. that's why the president will put forward a nominee. and it will be up to the senate to decide whether or not they're going to choose partisan politics over their constitutional duties. and right now i think as you point out, you know, i guess this is maybe a bad pun but the jury is still out on that one. we'll have to see exactly what they choose to do. >> but it is about politics. and the president acknowledged this much in his remarks yesterday in the oval office in saying that it's tough and he has sympathy for the republicans because this could change the balance of power in the supreme court. are you saying that he's not taking politics into account at all when thinking about the possibility of having a court that would have five liberal justices instead of five conservative justices?
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>> again, i think -- well, listen, as i acknowledged in my answer to your first question, politics are going to be part of this, particularly in an election year. i don't think anybody disputes that. well, no, i don't think so. the president has made clear he's not on the ballot. and the president's interested in fulfilling his constitutional duty to appoint the person that he believes is the best person in america to fill the vacancy on the supreme court. and the president's not going to be asking that person who they voted for in the 2008 or the 2012 election. he's not going to be asking that person which party they're registered to vote in. the president's going to be asking them much more relevant questions about their legal qualifications. and about their view of the law. and about their belief in the importance of the rule of law. those are the kinds of questions that the president will ask. and those are the kinds of questions that should take precedence both in terms of who the president chooses to nominate, but those are also the kinds of questions that members
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of the united states senate should be asking the nominee when that individual sits down for a hearing before the senate judiciary committee. that's how the choice should be made. it's certainly how the president will be making his decision. and, look, the president also acknowledged yesterday in the oval office that the american people are going to have a view of this person. and i think most americans are going to be interested in that person's legal views. understanding their commitment to public service, understanding their commitment to the rule of law, understanding exactly how they apply their legal training and how it informs their judgment about a range of issues that are important and have an impact on the day-to-day lives of the american people. that's certainly how the american people will decide. and that's how they should. the question is are senators actually going to say -- or how many senators at this point are going to say, look, i'd rather put my partisan affiliation ahead of my constitutional duty. that would be a rather unfortunate choice and an unprecedented escalation of
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partisanship of a branch of government that our founders intended to shield from partisan politics. >> lastly, you mentioned the debate tonight. if you were advising establishment republicans who are concerned about the prospect of donald trump as the republican nominee, what would you advise them? >> well, fortunately for them they've got much more qualified people to consult for advice than me. i think, you know, the hand wringing has become public. and, you know, ultimately i think what's clear is republican voters are going to decide who they want to lead their party. and that will mean a fundamental question for the american people but also for leaning republicans about what kind of party they want to have. and i think what is true, the
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thing that has not worked is to essentially have establishment republicans try to adopt trump-style rhetoric, and prioritize trump-style values to advance their campaigns. it hasn't played very well. that hasn't worked. and i think the real question that will be on display in the general election is whether or not the american people either want to support mr. trump or somebody who won an election by pa parroting mr. trump's views or do they want somebody committed to building on the progress that our country has made over the last seven years of the obama administration. and i guess the question i posed at the top was a pretty direct and simple one, but the one that
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you're posing is much more of an existential question for millions of republicans. michelle. >> back to this best person for the job regardless of politics. i mean, the president is considering this person based on their likelihood of confirmation, right? >> well, the president is certainly aware that anybody that he chooses is somebody that will have to go through a confirmation process. that means it will have to be somebody who is prepared to face the public spotlight, somebody who's going to have to spend several hours answering tough questions under oath, on camera, before the american people on a range of complicated legal issues. so this is going to require a rather unique individual with a good mix of qualifications and
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cool under fire to win -- or to, you know, essentially win the approval of the united states senate. but look, that's true of anybody that's been appointed to the supreme court in the last 30 or 40 years. there have been lots of other tough supreme court fights too. both justice sotomayor and kagan had to withstand days and they also had to withstand a lot of intense scrutiny from all of you. all of you did a lot of stories about justice so to mayor's tenure as a judge and spend a lot of time scrutinizing arguments that then justice kagan made before the supreme court. that's part of the process. we would expect this to be a rigorous process. and the president certainly expects whoever he nominates to this job will be able to engage in that rigorous process and emerge from it having
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successfully described to the american people what their views are and why they actually are the best person for the job. >> but in a republican senate, many of whom are opposed to even bringing this person up for a hearing, the president has to consider politics to a large extent. i mean, how likely these same republicans are going to even give this person consideration, right? can't we just say that goes without saying that he's going to have to consider that? >> well, again, i guess i would say two things about this. the first is both justice sotomayor and justice kagan, when they were put forward as nominees by the president, they were confirmed with republican support. they both got republican votes. and that was when democrats were in the majority in the united states senate. so the president has a track record of choosing highly qualified individuals that deserve bipartisan support. so that's always been part of the president's calculation here.
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that's always been part of the criteria. but some of that is also a function of the question that senators face when they are considering a nominee for the supreme court. again, as i've mentioned, they're not supposed to base their vote base their vote solely on whether or not that person would have been their top pick to the supreme court. if they want to see their top pick sent to the supreme court, then they should run for president. because that is a job that the framers of our constitution gave to the president of the united states. some of them are, to be fair. but those who aren't should be using criteria to evaluate whether or not this person is qualified and can serve the country with honor and distinction on the supreme court. this is an important job and it does merit the serious consideration of members of the united states senate. but it should not be clouded by a partisan political
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calculation. >> -- he's not interested in being considered, if he were to be considered, is the white house disappointed in that message? >> no. he's obviously entitled to make decisions about his own career and i don't really want to serve on the supreme court either. so it seems like a really important job. there you go, scratch me off the short list. >> no earnest. >> do you expect more of that to come? do you expect fewer people to be going through that process? you can imagine if somebody was up for hearings, then the process is going to be pretty tough this time around. do you expect that to affect people's acceptance of consideration? >> i don't expect that it will. i think that people understand -- i think that the kinds of people who actually are
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interested in a job like this and are interested in serving on the supreme court in a lifetime appointment, they understand that this is a rigorous process and they understand what that entails. i think it certainly is understandable that most people wouldn't want to go through it. but i think the kinds of people who have the kind of passion for the law, that have the kind of extraordinary intellectual and legal skills are the kinds of people who are going to perform well in that difficult setting. so i'm confident that the president will be able to find the right person to fill that vacancy and that that person will be enthusiastic about the opportunity. >> on this meeting tuesday, mitch mcconnell has already said that he's going to use that time to tell the president that he should wait until the next president is in office.
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so what do you expect to come from this meeting? you've already mentioned that some of these conversations were kind of awkward to begin with. >> well, i say awkward because i think that there are some people who were uncomfortable with the position not attending the meeting. we obviously are gratified that they are going to attend. that's an important part of the process. the president is determined to consult with members of the senate about his constitutional duty. and hopefully there will be participants in that meeting who recognize the constitutional duty that they have, too. >> do you expect the president to consult with the 2016 candidates as he already talked bernie sanders and hillary clinton potentially if they want to make the appointment. >> at this point i would not
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expect the president to consult with them specifically about who he will choose. again this is not about politician. this is about the president fulfilling his constitutional duty. one of the interesting things here is obviously senator cruz is running for president yet he also has a responsibility to serve on the senate judiciary committee. so some may consider that a little ironic but he actually may be at least the first presidential candidate who is consulted about this. but look, i guess on the other hand, senator sanders continues to be the sitting member of the united states senate. the president's already consulted with a number of democrats but if that kind of conversation occurred, it would be solely in the context of senator sanders' current service in the united states senate, not because he is a presidential candidate. >> -- also ask about the meeting at state department today. can you give a little bit of an update or preview what the president might say? is this specifically about the cessation of hostilities?
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>> the meeting that the president will convene with his national security team today will occur at the state department. at the same time, all of the members of the president's national security team, senior members of his team, will be there. there will be a number of white house officials but also senior officials from the intel community, department of defense, treasury department and others that have an important role in our counterisil campaign. the reason the meeting will take place at the state department is obviously state department officials have been intensely focused recently on trying to successful implement this understanding about a cessation of hostilities. that's required a lot of diplomatic spade work and that work has really just begin. it is going to require a lot of follow-through to implement this successful if it can be implemented successful. so that certainly will will be an important part of the discussion. but the meeting agenda will not
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just be limited to a discussion of the cessation of hostilities. there will be the regular update that the president will get from his military advisors about the ongoing military efforts against isil. there will be a continued discussion of our counterfinance efforts against isil. there will even be a discussion about some of the work the united states has been doing to prevent isil from capitalizing on other areas where there is political turmoil and chaos. libya is probably the best example of that. but so this will be a rather wide ranging meeting but it will all be focused on our ongoing effort to degrade and ultimately destroy isil. the president will speak to you after the meeting so you'll get a little more of a flavor of what occurs there. >> -- how serious they are potentially coming up with a new operating system that would make it impossible for them to create
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this back door that they're fighting over right now. could that be a potential backfire on the fbi sort of coming hard after apple to get into this phone in san bernardino? >> well, i have very limited actual knowledge and technical knowledge of what apple's future plans are. i know that many people who work on technology issues focus on the realm of the possible. and at this point we've been pretty clear about what our position is in this specific case. but as it relates to apple's broader plan, you'd have to talk to them about it. >> finally, you mentioned the previous republican nominee. he said i think yesterday that there may be a bombshell in donald trump's taxes that haven't been released yet.
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since the president did engage in sort of this back-and-forth on taxes with mitt romney, does the president believe donald trump needs to release his taxes as soon as possible? >> to be clear, i wasn't making a reference to the president. i think the president has made transparency a priority and even as president he's released his tax returns every year and he certainly did so as a candidate. it wasn't just his current tax returns. it was his -- number of previous years as well. i don't recall the exact number off the top of my head. but i think the american people have the expectation that that's what the candidates will do, but ultimately i'm not here to issue challenges about what one candidate should or should not do. each of them will have to decide on their own what they believe is the most appropriate way to provide that kind of information to the american public. okay? ron. >> just to clarify, the statement that the president is going to make about the meeting,
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is that a summarization of what happened or is this sort of announcement about something new, a new policy, new proposal, new initiative? >> i wouldn't expect a major new announcement today. i think it will be an opportunity though for, once the president has received an update from his team about the progress that we've made against isil, he will share a version of that update with the american people. that will be the intent of the presidential remarks today. >> two parallel what we heard the other day from mcguirk. >> i think there will be some other elements that will be included in the meeting, including an update on our counterfinance efforts, i certainly wouldn't rule out discussion about isil's effort to gain a foothold in libya as well. the united states military took a pretty significant air strike
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earlier this week that targeted a leading isil figure in libya. that's not the first strike that we've taken there. but anyway, the confers will be somewhat broader the presentation that brett made earlier this week. >> on the supreme court reaching out to members of the judiciary committee, the president didn't make any of those calls, or did he? >> the president made many of those calls. not all of them. >> so he spoke to someone in etch ooh member's office? did he speak to any members directly? >> maybe we're talking past each other. someone from the white house has contacted every single office on the senate judiciary committee. many of those calls were made by the president of the united states to members. the president did not call any staff. the staff level contacts occurred from white house staffers to senate staffers. >> can you say how many members he spoke to? he spoke to all them? >> no, the president did not speak to all members in all of the ofes


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