tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN March 24, 2016 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT
the freedoms of our country, i think he might be on the right track. our propaganda, hate speech, it is just unbelievable. host: michael breen was justin jordan. guest: i have to strongly agree with your brother. we thank him for everything he is doing. i grew up in new hampshire, so it is great to hear good since coming from new hampshire -- from concord. got to visitly with our fighter pilots. they believe deeply in what they are doing. we are not sharing that effectively as we could be doing with the american people. you are right. this is a region that really does want united states to be its best self and put its best foot forward. dan, a democrat. good morning to you. caller: thank you. i have a question for mr. breen.
and for mr. volker. the disparity between european muslims and american muslims -- isn't it the truth that american muslims just do a whole lot better economically than the people in europe? breen, this area just seems to be alive with weapons. where do these weapons come from? thank you. host: a couple of questions. guest: muslims in the united states have partly come with high education and high skilled and been able to work successfully. partly, our society is more and they, more diverse have enabled to prosper here. in europe, it has been the opposite. income,ucated, lower
unskilled workers. they have larger communities that are isolated. societies themselves are less flexible, less dynamic, harder to integrate these communities into european societies because of the cultural differences. that has continued and perpetuated these disenfranchised communities. host: the jihadist fighters, of a young, male, unemployed? guest: yes, yes, yes. [laughter] still very disenfranchised societies. you will have new citizens that grew up there, people who are coming as soldiers out of syria to fight with jihad against europe. you got all stripes there. you talked about numbers and scale -- the scale here is extraordinary.
we are talking millions and millions of people, not just a few hundred thousand. you talk about the number of refugees in germany got up, in the last year, that a number of young men in germany as a silent seekers and refugees greater than the size of the western and eastern militaries during the cold war. that is big. host: mr. breen, the weapons? guest: the short answer is everywhere. this is an area of the world that has a lot of military hardware piled up in it. some cases, the military hardware has in that up in hands we did not want it to. there are lesser flows of chinese weapons. countries that purchased the weapons and distribute them. , dependingcivil war on how you account them between three and six different sizes,
are pumping tremendous weapons and fighters in training into the fight. russia now has ground troops. that creates an escalation. it makes it hard for the fight to stabilize unless we meet an agreement. easier said than done. what for the russians and iranians do. it is pretty difficult to ramp whenlevel of violence down you have the sheer numbers of weapons and firepower. host: cheryl, you are on the air. caller: i would like to make a comment. we are our own worst enemy. we have been buying oil from the middle east for centuries. this is the reason why isis and the taliban are so strong especially after the world trade center, we should have stopped
buying gas and oil from the middle east. for the percent of that money -- 40% of that money is going into the hands of the taliban. with the refugees coming into the country, who lost isis and who does not? they do not come with her certificates. account 7mething on -- a couple of months ago, they said there were two people who came over on one of these visas teaching them how to fly air force planes to protect their country and the disappeared and never heard anything on the news again. where are these guys? you have to know about this. thank you. [laughter] guest: sorry to disappoint you, but i don't know about that. -- first question was host: i am blanking as well. ray in texas.
ray, one second. now, i firmly believe the u.s. should do everything possible to invest in our supplies of energy and we should be having bit of -- we should be having their recalls of energy. that moneyot mean will stop flowing to the middle east because we have global energy markets. -- others will be buying iranian gas. that is just the way it is going to be. for the united states, i do believe it is important for us to invest in our own energy. guest: it is a great case for renewable energy, if you ask me. [laughter] guest: it is important, we talk
about this massive problem, it is important to talk about how different the situation in the united states is. the most embedded human being that gives off an airplane, anywhere they come, they are a refugee. most robust system we have for anyone who arrives in the united states. there are a little over 2000 syrians who came as refugees from the united states. 3% were males between the ages of 15 years old and 50 years old. the vast majority are women, children, and orphans. this is different than people showing up in an uncontrolled flow. easy to going to
a hysterical fear of refugees. 97% of them are women and children. system for at national coming into united states. host: ok, ray is next. hi there, ray. caller: good morning, i would like to say, fascinating discussion. it indicates why a simple response from our group of presidential people that are running for president is just so incorrect for them to do so. , want to comment on the fact why is no one talking about the fact that our current president has done a pretty good darn job keeping us safe domestically? thank you. ray, i apologize for cutting you off earlier. [laughter] that you are right that
these issues cannot be dealt with in soundbites. there are a lot of complex dynamics and you really have to think about it. i think we have good people on both sides of the aisle, republicans, democrats. unfortunately, that is not what gets filtered through the media. through the media filter, we are looking for these 10 second sound bite and you can get to the heart of the issues that way. in terms of our situation in the world, i think you make a good point when you look at the degree to which we have had attacks in united states. we have only had a few. we have san bernardino, fort hood, boston bombing and several other attempts. our law enforcement and intelligence is still on what i would describe as a war footing. focused on thely
fact that people are trying to attack us and doing everything they can to prevent that from happening and done a pretty good job. host: the wall street journal -- the muted reaction is by design and they said a ghost his believe that overreacting to a terrorist attack, elevates extremists groups in a way that exaggerate their influence. terrorism is overstated and the focus of it can become self paralyzing. buddy in texas, independent. good morning. caller: good morning. host: go ahead, sir. question or comment? caller: you have to understand that mohammed was the bigger murderer in hitler. they believe that he is one of the saints that wrote the koran.
is killing koran nonbelievers. host: buddy, have you read the koran? caller: yes, i have read a lot of it. it was converted to english. that theot to believe , the are thent ones that are radicalized. the ones doing the killing are the ones who believe in the koran. host: let your little bit about that with michael breen. most of the people being killed by these groups are muslim. most of these people fighting the terrorists are muslim. there are thousands android thousands of muslims doing this right now as we are talking. andhere are thousands thousands of muslims doing this
right now as we are talking. , frankly, i think a world where it is muslims against everybody else, that is the world that isis is working hard to create. this is what they want. this is what bin laden wanted. to create that hardline division. insist that most groups are killing people to make the choice. interesthy isis has an of creating fear of the u.s. and europe to help refugees. i don't know anybody who wants to live that way. we've got to offer them a third choice.
the strength of that third choice -- the attacks in the united states were mostly lone wolf. there are no networks in american communities that support mass casualty attacks. they don't exist in united states because american communities reject that entirely whether they are american muslims or christians. guest: i want to point out that with allies that are muslim turkey, they are not on a rampage killing us or others. albania, same thing. we have indonesia, the largest muslim population country in the world. rampaget on a religious going around killing people. i just am mechanically the religion with violence in a
direct way such as people have tried to do. it is not the case. it is the case that there are extremists terrorists, radicals awful people who are doing things in the name of islam. they need to be stopped. we need to go after them relentlessly. theyed to recognize that are also targeting muslims. muslims are also against them. we need to build that coalition. host: there is so much more to talk about. unfortunately, our time is up. ambassador volker and michael breen, decorated army captain. he is the president and >> american history tv on c-span3, this weekend on saturday afternoon at 2:00
eastern, law professor jeffrey rosen, talks about the influence of former chief justice john marshall. >> adams famously said, my gift of john marshal to the people of the united states was the proudest act of my life. and marshall has been widely praised for transforming the supreme court into what his biographer calls a dominant force in american life. >> at 10:00 on real america -- >> go. >> roger, roll. >> the roll will put the shuttle on its precise heading toward an imaginary target in space. >> the 1981 nasa documentary, space shuttle, a remarkable flying machine. on the two day maiden voyage on the space shuttle columbia. sunday morning at 10:00 eastern on road to the white house rewind, the 1968 campaign film for republican presidential candidate, richard nixon. >> i have decided that i will
test my ability to run and my ability to cope with the issues in the fires of the primary and not just in the smoke filled room of miami. >> at 1:00, a panel of authors on their recent books christianicling mexican american civil rights from the 1930's to 1970. a >> this coalition of labor unions, religious authorities, came together to protest the exploitation of the program and accelerated congress' decision to terminate it the next year in 1964. and i think this was a moment of blossoming for the chicano movement. >> for the complete american history tv weekend schedule, go to c-span.org. >> vice president joe biden is going to clarify his position on the senate considering a supreme court nomination during a president's final year in office.
opposition to the consideration's become known as the biden rule. because of the speech he gave in 1992 while he chaired the senate judiciary committee. we'll bring you live coverage of today's speech at georgetown law school at 12:30 p.m. eastern time. until then, a look at what some senators have been saying about appointing a supreme court justice in the last year of a president's term. here's senate republican whip, john cornyn, and senate republican leader, mitch mcconnell, speaking last week before the senate left on its spring break. >> we all know president obama yesterday exercised his authority under the united states constitution to suggest to the senate a nominee for the supreme court of the united states. states. during the announcement, president obama spent time talking about the serious task of selecting a supreme court nominee, particularly one to succeed a legal lion like justice scalia, whom the president appropriately called one of the most influential
jurists of our time. his point was that the supreme court of the united states, the highest court in the land, is an institution of unparalleled importance, and what happens at the supreme court affects the lives of every american. so lifetime appointments to this most powerful court in the land should not be taken lightly. as the president put it, our supreme court justices have been given the role as the final arbiters of american law for more than 200 years. of course today they consider and answer some of the most pressing and challenging controversies and questions of our time. agree with what the president said to that point. we all know that the supreme court is critical to our form of self-government and our democracy and the role it serves it an essential one. and when it plays a role that
our founders did not intend, it really undermines respect for the rule of law and for the court as an institution. so the selection of the next supreme court justice should be handled thoroughly and thoughtfully. so i understand the president is taking his authority seriously, but under the same constitution, the same constitution that gives the president the authority to nominate a person to fill this vacancy, that same constitution has a separate responsibility for the united states senate either to grant or to withhold consent to that nomination. and now with the passing of justice scalia, the senate must exercise its constitutional authority as well. and we all, i know, regardless of how we come down on the controversy of the day with regard to when this vacancy should be filled, we all take this responsibility seriously. and because of that, i believe
we should follow the example set by the minority leader, senator reid, the senior senator from new york, senator schumer; and vice president biden when he was chairman of the senate judiciary committee, their admonitions made over the years when they were in the majority and not move forward with the president's nominee at this time. i think it's only a matter of fundamental fairness to apply the same rules to the same situation no matter who's in the majority and who's in the minority. and when they were in the majority, they argued that these vacancies should not be filled at the last year of the president's term of office. they did that -- joe biden did in 1992 during the presidency of george bush, in 2005 george herbert walker bush; 2005 senator reid made that same
argument when george w. bush was president of the united states. in 2007, 18 months before president george w. bush left office, senator schumer, the heir apparent to the democratic leader, said that there should be a presumption against confirmation. so it's only fair to play by the same set of rules which they themselves advocated. and based on the conduct, based on the behavior of our democratic colleagues when they were in the majority -- well, first when they were in the minority, when they filibustered judges for the first time, and later when they were in the majority before they saw the majority flip to republicans, the democratic leader packed the d.c. circuit court of appeals by invoking the so-called nuclear option, breaking the senate rules in a raw display of political power in order to pack a court that many people called the second-most important court
in the land. so this lifetime appointment to the court is a critical check on the executive branch, a check that this administration has proved over and over again we need desperately. and as others and i have pointed out long before the president announced this nominee, this nomination will change the ideological balance of the supreme court for a generation. justice scalia served for 30 years. so because of that, because of all of this, i believe the american people should have their voices heard in the selection of the next supreme court nominee. we've already undertaken the process here of the democrats choosing their nominee for president. republicans are doing the same. there's just simply too much at stake to leave this decision in the hands of a president who is headed out the door.
a decision that will have dramatic consequences on the balance of the court and the direction of the country for a generation to come. so i believe we should listen to the voices of the american people and allow them to cast their vote and to raise their voice and determine who will make that selection. let me just conclude, madam president, i know there has been some members of the press who asked about well, if not now, how about in a lame-duck session of the congress, that is, after the election, before the new president is confirmed? i think that is a terrible idea. if you believe in the principle that the american people's voice ought to be heard, it makes no sense to have an election and then to do it and not honor their selection. so i know some have expressed some concern about that, but i for one believe we ought to be
consistent, and that consistent position is -- consistent principle is the american people deserve to be heard and their voice heeded on who makes that selection to something as important as filling this vacancy on the supreme court. madam president, i yield the floor and i mr. mcconnell: mr. president, the next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the supreme court and have a profound impact on our country, so, of course -- of course the american people should have a say in the court's direction. it is a president's constitutional right to nominate a supreme court justice and it is the senate's constitutional right to act as a check on a president and withhold its consent. as chairman grassley and i declared weeks ago and reiterated personally to president obama, the senate will continue to observe the biden
rule so that the american people have a voice in this momentous decision. the american people may well elect a president who decides to nominate judge garland for senate consideration. the next president may also nominate somebody very different. either way, our view is this: give the people a voice in filling this vacancy. let me remind colleagues of what vice president biden said when he was chairman of the judiciary committee here in the senate. here'here's what he said. "it would be our pragmatic conclusion that once the political season is under way -- and it is -- action on a supreme court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over. that is what is fair to the nominee," he said, "and is
central to the process. otherwise, it seems to me me, "chairman biden went on, "we will be in deep trouble as an institution." others may fret he said that this approach could leave the court with only eight members for some time. but as i see it, chairman biden said, the cost of such a result, the need to reargue three or four cases that will divide the justices 4-4 are quite minor compared to the cost that a nominee, the president, the senate, and the nation would have to pay for what would ainsuredly be a bitter fight no matter -- assuredly be a bitter fight no matter how a person is nominated by the president. chairman joe biden. consider that last part. senator biden said that the cost of the nation would be too great
no matter who the president nominates. president obama and his allies may now try to pretend this disagreement is about a person, but as i just noted his own vice president made it clear it's not. the biden rule reminds us that the decision the senate announced weeks ago remains about a principle and not a person, about a principle and not a person. it seems clear that president obama made this nomination not -- not with the intent of seeing the nominee confirmed but in order to politicize it for purposes of the election, which is the type of thing then senate judiciary committee chairman biden was concerned about, the exact thing chairman biden was concerned about. the biden rule underlines what the president has done with this nomination would be unfair to
any nominee and more importantly the rule warrants of the great cost the president's action could carry for our nation. americans are certain to hear a lot of rhetoric from the other side in the coming days, but here are the facts they should keep in mind. the current democratic leader said the senate is not a rubber stamp and he noted that the constitution does not require the senate to give presidential nominees a vote. that's the current democratic leader. the incoming democratic leader did not even wait until the final year of george w. bush's term to essentially tell the senate not, he said, not to consider any supreme court nominee the president sent. the biden rule supports what the senate is doing today
underlining that what we're talking about is a principle and not a person. so here's our view. instead of spending more time debating an issue where we can't agree, let's keep working to address the issues where we can. we just passed critical bipartisan legislation to help address the heroin and prescription opioid crisis in our country. let's build on that success. let's keep working together to get our economy moving again and make our country safer rather than endlessly debating a issue where we don't agree. as we continue working on issues like these, the american people are perfectly capable of having their say, their say on this issue. so let's give them a voice. let's let the american people decide.
the senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee the next president nominates, whoever that might >> live now to georgetown law school in washington, d.c., where we expect to hear from vice president gentlemen biden in just a few moments. the vice president expected today to clarify his position on the senate considering a supreme court nomination during a president's final year in office. [applause] >> hi, everyone. it's so exciting to see you-all here at my beloved georgetown. i have to apologize on behalf of the president who is off giving a speech over at the department of education and could not be here today and the dean who is traveling.
i'm victoria nurse, currently on the law faculty here. i teach constitutional law and legislation, as many of you know. but the real reason i'm standing here is because many, many years ago i was a baby lawyer like you guys are about to be, and i had the very distinct honor of serving a master of the senate. it was an extraordinarily lucky opportunity, and recently i came back from serving as his counsel as vice president. but it's because of that early experience which shaped almost all of my scholarship and my teaching and my students know this, that i know that he knows the roles and responsibilities of each of our three branches of government better than anyone, and that he knows how to forge consensus with that system has faced deep division. i saw it in the brady bill, i
saw it in the violence against women act, and i know it can happen. i also know for all of you lawyers out there who think that writing supreme court briefs is the hardest thing you can do, i did that my first year being a lawyer in new york. getting 535 people to agree to something is a lot different. it takes an enormous act of will power and persuasion. each day for 40 years, joe biden has served in his public life. he has lived up to both the word and spirit of the constitution. and the oath of office he swore to uphold. we are lucky that he's here at georgetown to talk about what that means to our government today. ladies and gentlemen, the vice president of the united states, joe biden. [applause]
vice president biden: how are you all? thank you. please sit down. thank you. my name's joe biden, i work for victoria nurse for a long time. and i mean a long time. i told the dean of students when i met him, i almost decided not to do the speech here. my son went to georgetown and my staff went to georgetown and my son did his first year of law school here at georgetown. he ended up graduating from yale. long story, but that's what he did. he did his first year and transferred to yale. feel a real intense loyalty to georgetown. five bidens have gone to georgetown. i went to a good school, i went to delaware. but -- i almost decided not to do it at georgetown and do it at
g.w. because you stole victoria nurse from me. i thought she had to go back to minnesota. that's why i agreed to let her go, but, victoria, thank you. you have been a great friend and brilliant mind. you have helped me negotiate an awful lot of very tough terrain. and i want to thank you for that. it's great to be back here. look, last week in the rose garden i stood by president obama as he fulfilled his constitutional responsibility to nominate the supreme court of the united states judge, chief judge, merrick garland. someone emnintly qualified. if you noticed, you heard no one, no one question his integrity. you have heard no one question his scholarship. you have heard no one question his open-mindedness. you found no one to find any substantive criticism of chief
judge merrick garland. i have known him for 21 years. i'm telling you, you will have a great difficulty finding anyone. which makes this all the more perplexing. as the president said, chief judge garland deserves a hearing. just as a simple matter of fairness before we talk about the constitution. but it's also a matter of the senate fulfilling its constitutional responsibility. yet weeks ago my friends, they are my friends, republican senators, announced that whomever the nominee might be, they intended to abdicate their responsibility completely. that's what they say today. that's what they said then. what republican senators say they will do, in my view, can lead to a genuine constitutional crisis. born out of the dysfunction of washington.
i have been here a long time. i have been in the majority, minority, majority, minority, i have been on both sides. i understand, if you read, most people say i have very good relations with the republican party as well as the democratic party. but i have never seen it like this. washington right now, congress, is dysfunctional. and they are undermining the norms. that gotsche how we conduct ourselves -- that govern how we conduct ourselves. they are threatening what we value most, undercutting in the world what we stand for. i traveled over a million miles since being vice president of the united states. i'm not exaggerating. i usually go because when gi to meet with world leaders, most of whom i have known before, they know when i speak, i speak for the president. because of our relationship. so i spend a lot of time, i promise you, this is what i hear.
whether i'm in beijing, whether i'm in bogota, whether i'm in the uae in dubai, i'll try to convince them of a position we have and they'll say, ok. and we'll shake hands. but i give you my word they'll look at me and say, but can you deliver? let me say that again, when the president of the united states speaks or i speak for him, world leaders will look at me and say, can you deliver? those of you who travel around the world or from other parts of the world, you know that the world looks at this city right ow as dysfunctional. that's a problem. going to be even more of a problem if it spreads beyond the congress. the great justice robert jackson
once wrote, while the constitution defuses power, the better to secure liberty, it lso contemplates that practice will integrate and disperse powers into a workable government. here's the important sentence, -- ays, it enjoins branches it enjoins upon its branches, separateness but interdependence. autonomy but reciprocity. separateness but independence, autonomy but reciprocity. my entire career, seven years as vice president, 36 years in the united states senate, half of those years as either the ranking member or chairman of the senate judiciary committee, of ve never seen the spirit
interdependence and reciprocity at a lower ebb. not among our people but our government. the bonds that held our diverse republic together for the last 229 years are being frayed. and you-all know it. whether you are democrat, republican, liberal, conservative, everybody knows it. the world knows it. t limits our peoples and other governments' trust in us. our trust in each other. this is not hyperbole to suggest without trust we are lost. without trust and give between the branches and within the branches, we are lost. back in 1992, in the aftermath
of a bruising and polarizing confirmation process, involving clarence thomas, who had been nominated by president bush with no consultation, just four days after the great their good marshall had retired, i took to the senate floor to speak about the supreme court nominating process. senate majority leader, he's my friend, mitch mcconnell, and other republicans, today, have been quoting selectively from the remarks that i made in an attempt to justify refusing chief judge garland a fair hearing and a vote on the floor of the senate. they completely ignore the fact that at the time i was speaking of the dangers of nominating an extreme candidate without proper senate consultation. they completely neglected to
quote my unequivocal bottom line. so let me set the record straight, as they say. i said, and i quote, if the president consult and cooperates with the senate, or moderates his selections, then his nominees may enjoy my support as did justice kennedy and justice suter. end of quote. i made it absolutely clear that i would go forward with the confirmation progress -- process as chairman, even a few months before presidential election. if the nominee were chosen with the advice and not merely the consent of the senate. just as the constitution requires. my consistent advice to presidents of both parties, including this president, has been that we should engage fully
in the constitutional process of advice and consent. and my consistent understanding of the constitution has been the senate must do so as well. period. they have an obligation to do so . because there is no vacancy after the thomas confirmation, we can't know what the president and senate might have done. ut here's what we do know. every time as the ranking member or chairman of the judiciary committee i was responsible for eight justices and nine total nominees to the supreme court. more than, i hate to say this, nyone alive. i can't be that old. some i supported. a few i voted against.
but in all that time every nominee was greeted by committee members. every nominee got a committee hearing. every nominee got out of the committee even if they didn't have sufficient votes to pass within the committee, because i believe the senate says, the enate must advise and consent. and every nominee, including justice kennedy in an election year, got an up and down vote. not much at the time. not most of the time. every single, solitary time. so now you hear this talk about the biden rule. frankly ridiculous.
there is no biden rule. it doesn't exist. there is only one rule i ever followed. -- followed in the judiciary committee. that was the constitution's clear rule of advice and consent. article 2 of the constitution clearly states whenever there is a vacancy in one of the courts created by the constitution itself, the supreme court of the united states, the president shall -- not may, the president shall appoint someone to fill the vacancy with the advice and consent of the united states senate. and advice and consent includes consulting and voting. nobody is suggesting individual senators have to vote yes on any particular presidential nominee. voting no is always an option
and it is their option. but saying nothing, seeing nothing, reading nothing, hearing nothing and deciding in advance simply to turn your back before the president even names a nominee is not an option the onstitution leaves open. it's a plain abdication of the senate's solemn constitutional duty. it's an abdication, quite frankly, that has never occurred before in our history. now i'm able to square their unprecedented conduct with the constitution, my friend, mitch mcconnell, and the chairman of the committee, he's my friend, the senator from iowa, senator grassley, they are now trying
another tact. they ask, what's the difference? what difference does it make if the court has eight or nine members? i'm serious. remember, they said they weren't going to fill any vacancies on the circuit court of appeals for the district for four years. remember that's what they said? that's not a actually created court. the supreme court is. -- that's not a constitutionally created court. the supreme court is. let me make clear for folks who may be listening at home. what happens, and you studentsal know this, but what happens -- you students all know this, but what happens at the supreme court makes a significant difference in the everyday life f the american people. article 1 gives the power to congress to fix the number of
justices. rom 1789 to 1866, the number waxed and waned between five and 10. but in 1869 the congress passed a law setting the court size at nine. and that law has not been changed since. as recently as 1992, i said on the floor of the senate, as pointed out to me, for me, that it was no big deal for the court to go through a period of 4-4 splits partly because the period wouldn't last very long. the exact number of justices was of less urgent concern. but i don't believe anybody in their right mind would propose permanently returning the court to a body of eight. or leaving one seat vacant not just for the rest of this year, but for potentially and likely
the next 400 days. that option wouldn't be much better. this is all the more true in a year where congress has become almost entirely dysfunctional. none other than the deceased justice scalia wrote, quote, if you have eight justices on a case, it raises, quote, the possibility that by reason of a tie vote the court will find itself unvrabel to resolve significant legal -- unable to resolve significant legal issues presented by the case, end of quote. if that possibility backs a reality in any given case, the justices would have to announce that they cannot decide either way. they would be left clear clearing the case from their docket or kicking it down the road to be argued under a new
court, when a justice is finally confirmed. pressing controversies, the that prompted the court to grant review in the first place, many cases because of different decisions in different circuit courts, would remain unresolved. the issues the court believes were too important to leave in limbo are going to remain in limbo. suspended in midair. more than two centuries ago, justice john marshall, famously declared that the court, quote, has a duty to say what the law is. not an option, a duty. a sotlem duty. -- a solemn duty. when the senate refuses to even consider a nominee, it prevents the court from discharging that cleartutional duty and so
divided court. we are saving the court by keeping the seat vacant for hundreds of days matters not just because -- certainly it perpetuates. because of the way it fractures our country. the framers designed our system to one supreme court responsibility to resolve conflicts in the lower courts. if those conflicts were allowed to stand, we end up with a patchwork constitution inconsistent with equal justice and the rule of law. federal laws that apply to the whole country will be constitutional in some parts of the country but unconstitutional in others. i don't have to go through the cases you know that are pending appeal. nd how controversial they are. the extent of your federal constitution, constitutional rights, freedom of speech, freedom to follow the teachings much your faith, determine what
constitutes teaching of your faith. the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. all could depend on where you happen to live. i think most people in this country would think that's unfair and unacceptable. we are, after all, the united states of america. either the constitution protects rights across the united states or it doesn't. a patchwork constitution is hardly a national constitution at all. in a divided supreme court, we would be unable to establish uniform federal law. that could mean, as you students well know, and you professors, claims of race or sex discrimination could come out one way in california and arizona, another way next door in utah and colorado. claims of government interference with religion could
have one fate in ohio and iowa, and another nearby in illinois and wisconsin. look at the cases. claims of unlawful policing might be resolved by one standard in nebraska and totally different standard next door in kansas. there's nothing implausible about these scenarios. the american people deserve a fully staffed supreme court of nine. not one disabled and divided. one that's able to rule on the great issues of the day. race discrimination, separation of church and state. whether there is a right to an abortion, if so, safe and legal abortion. police searches. ese are all actual cases before the supreme court of the
united states. before the courts. we have to make sure that a fully functioning court, supreme court, is in the position to address these significant issues. and a geographic happenchance cannot fragment our national unity. lest you think this is exaggeration, when you studied brown vs. board, remember chief justice warren had the votes to decide that case, but they waited to get one southern justice to rule with the majority because he knew what it would do in dividing the country. if that were not the case. extrapolate that to today. the same principle about one constitution. be it's important these laws
applied and the constitution be applied the same way everywhere in the united states. i realize it's not exactly analagous, but think of what it says. .bout how important it is alexander hamilton had the foresight to warn that such fragmented judicial power would, quote, create a high doctor end government from which nothing but contradiction and confusion can proceed, end of quote. even worse, a patchwork constitution could deepen the gulf between the haves and have-nots. under a system of laws, national in name only, the rich, the powerful can use it to their advantage the geographical differences and game the system. not available to ordinary people.
look, our democracy rests upon the twin pillars of basic fairness and justice under the law. being law students you're going to be asked to write essays and exams about what both those things mean, but every american knows in their gut what they mean. they understand it. it's intuitive. both these pillars demand that we not trap ordinary americans in whatever lower court's fate has chosen for them, while letting other more powerful selectively choose lower courts that best fit their needs. i know there is forum shopping now. look, the longer this high court vacancy remains unfilled, the more serious the problem we'll face. a problem compounded by turn by lance -- turbulence, confusion,
and uncertainty, about our safety, security, liberty, our privacy, the future of our children and grandchildren. in times like these we need more than ever a fully functioning court. a court that can he-k resolve diverse issues peacefully. -- that can resolve diverse issues peacefully, even when they resolve them in directions i didn't like. dysfunction and partisanship are bad enough on capitol hill, but we can't let the senate spread that dysfunction to another branch of the government. to the court of the united states. until not let it fester the vital organs of our botty politic are too crippled to perform their basic functions they are designed to perform.
and i think you probably think i'm exaggerating, but think of all the things that have not been actled on now unrelated to the court on the hill. -- have not been acted on now unrelated to the court on the hill that are profoundly important to the functioning of our foreign policy, our democratic policy. just left unattended. no action. we can't afford that to spread to another branch of government. contrary to what my senate republican friends want you to believe, the president and i are former senators and we take advice and consent very seriously, and we did when we served. we do so not just because it's our constitutional duty, but because we care deeply about getting past the gridlock that
left our people understandably frustrated and angry with government in washington. i wonder how many have been kidded when you go home, you go to school in washington? not a joke. they know georgetown's one of the great universities in the world. but i'm not joking. go home. i live in washington. serious. think about it. think about how we even laugh about it like, you know, yeah, we all know it's true. retty sad. look, we, you, we all care deeply about making this government work again. the president and i care about the letter of the advice and consent as well as the spirit of advice and consent. that spirit, that spirit of
-- mmodation and forebarons forebearence not a spirit of intransigence. that's why both of us, why our administration, spent countless hours meeting with, soliciting the views of senators of both parties, i sat there with the majority and the chairman of the judiciary committee in the oval office. the president and i spent hours together admittedly we sit down like the three other two nominees, and we are the last two in the room. but it hasn't been a closed process. we reached out. who do you want? who do you think? what type of person should we nominate? we did our duty. the president did his duty. we sought advice. and we ultimately chose the course of moderation because the government is divided.
the president did not go out and find another brennan. merrick garland intellectually, as capable as any justice, but he has a reputation for moderation. . i think that's a responsibility to the administration in a divided government. some of my liberal friends don't agree with me, but i do. it's about the government functioning. it's about the admonition of justice jackson. the president has fully discharged his constitutional obligation. so it's a really simple proposition, in my view. now it's up to the senate to do the same. as i might add, the polling data shows the american people xpect him to do.
we owe it to the american people to consider his nomination and to give him an up and down vote. look, the american people are decent and inclusive at heart. it's not our nation -- it's not our nature as a nation to shut our minds and treat those with whom we disagree as enemies instead of the opposition. it's not the american people who are going to blame for this dysfunction. politics olitics, our are broken. there's no secret the congress is broken. again, regardless of your political persuasion, i would love to hear one of you in class -- i'll come back if you invite me -- tell me how the system is functioning. [laughter] even the most serious,
persistent national crises haven't motivated the current congress to find a middle ground. we just moved to the side. we haven't addressed them -- they just moved them to the side. we haven't addressed them. end where i began. we're watching a constitutional crisis in the making, born out of dysfunction in washington. it's got to stop. it really does, for the sake of both parties, for the sake of the country, for the sake of our ability to govern. it's got to stop. the defining difference of our great democracy has always been, no matter how difficult the issue, we've always been ultimately able to reason our way through to what ails us and to act as citizens, voters and public servants to go fix it. this requires that we act in good faith in the spirit of
conciliation, not confrontation. with some modicum of mutual good will. for the sake of our country, the country we love, because of what we value. i mean, that's who we are. we can't let one branch of government threaten the equality and rule of law in the name of a patchwork constitution. we must not let justice be delayed or denied as a matter of fundamental rights, and we must not let the rule of law collapse in our highest court because it's being denied as full compliment of judges as they accept the refusal of a presidential nominee. i still believe in the supreme court of delivering equal rights under the law.
but it requires nine now. i still believe in the voice the people if we follow a constitutional path. the pass of advice and consent. the path of collaboration in search of a common ground. for obstructionism is dangerous and it's self-indull gent. in the greatest constitutional republic in the history of the world, it's a simple proposition, folks, not a joke. hink of this last statement. unless we can find common are the system designed by our founders function? not a joke. how can we govern if -- if he doesn't turn off that phone --
[laughter] if it's my staff, you're fired. but all kidding aside, just think about it. being we govern without able to find common ground? that's how the system is designed. it's worked pretty darn well for the last 200-plus years. one of the reasons i came to law school, the great law school to deliver these remarks was i want you when you go back to class challenge what i've said. look at it closely. take a look and see whether the argument i'm making is right or wrong. make your voices heard. make your voices heard. i want to thank y'all. god bless the united states of
>> vice president joe biden at georgetown law school in washington, d.c., and a speech clarifying his position on the supreme court nomination process and urging the confirmation of merrick garland to the supreme court to replace the late antonin scalia. of course, the republicans making a lot of a 1992 speech by vice president biden, then senator joe biden, who was chair of the judiciary committee, urging then president bush not to nominate someone to the supreme court
during an election year, and republican leaders calling that the biden rule. the vice president pushing back on that today saying that rule did not exist. his remarks taken out of context, in essence. your chance to call in now with your thoughts on the supreme court nomination process. what did you think of the vice president's remarks today, and do you think the senate should take up the nomination, consider the nomination of merrick garland? the numbers are on your screen. for democrats, 202-748-8920. if you're a republican, 202-748-8921. independents and all others, 202-748-8922. you can tweet us @cspan or leave a comment on our facebook page. several members of the judiciary committee already reacting to the vice president's remarks. a couple of tweets from judiciary committee member orrin hatch. this tweet, in 1992, senator
joe biden denied hearings to more than 50 bush judicial nominees. he also tweeted, while some may attempt to rewrite history to fit their current agenda, the record is clear, referring to the so-called biden rule. this from patrick leahy, though, the democratic senator, who is the ranking member of the judiciary committee. vice president led bipartisan consideration of eight nominees to the supreme court. all received a hearing and committee vote. do your job. again, that tweet from senator patrick leahy. we'll look for some of your tweets. remember, it's @cspan. now, let's go to your call. we'll start with johannesburg, michigan. ann joins us on the line for democrats. hi, ann. caller: hi. i'm just calling it to say i thought it was a great speech and i would just appreciate it if the senate would just do their job. >> what do you think has been the problem?
why can't the democrats get the republicans to talk about, to consider this nominee? caller: because obama appointed him. if it would have been any other president than obama, i have a feeling they would. >> so you think it's a matter -- go ahead. go ahead. caller: sorry. as soon as he became president, the republicans, in my mind set, decided to do anything against what he was for. period. >> so you think it's a matter of the president and not necessarily the qualifications of the nominee? caller: yes. definitely. they were all for the guy until he was appointed by obama. as soon as obama appointed him, then he became, you know, the worst thing ever. >> all right. thanks for your call. chief judge merrick garland, of course, the president's nominee to replace the late antonin scalia. let's go to richard in sedona,
arizona, on the line for independents. hi, richard. caller: yes, i would like to say i certainly agree with what joe biden had to say and i felt all along, even for the last several weeks, that the senate should simply go ahead and do their duty. and not delay for reasons that i cannot even understand because what if they really did wait until the next president makes a nomination, what if the next president is in fact hillary clinton who may well be the next president? what kind of a judge can they expect from her? so they should go ahead and vote on judge merrick garland, who by all accounts, is highly
qualified, impartial, broad-minded and i think they should -- and who might well make a great supreme court judge for many years. so they should go ahead and take him up. >> all right. thanks for calling, richard. vice president biden at georgetown law school today, and a speech clarifying his position on the supreme court nomination process during a presidential election year and pushing for the confirmation of judge merrick garland to fill the supreme court vacancy. josh is with us from huntington beach, california, on the republican line. josh, you there? caller: yes, i am. can you hear me? >> sure can. go ahead. caller: yes, i was calling to say i believe the republican senate needs to vote whether they -- needs to hold a hearing, at least. because they keep saying that, you know, the people need to decide but that's what happened in the 2012 vote.
and while i didn't vote for obama, he was elected. he stood president. he should be able to put a nominee forward and have it considered because we live in a democracy, and it's a shame to obstruct like this. >> thanks for your call. joe biden, as a member of the senate and the judiciary committee chair back in 1992, giving his speech on the floor about the nomination process during a presidential year. again, a lot of republican leaders referring to that as the so-called biden rule. let's show you a little bit of that speech from 1992 to give you a reference point between that and today's remarks from the vice president. [video clip] vice president biden: it is my view that if a supreme court justice resigns tomorrow or within the next several weeks or resigns at the end of the summer, president bush should consider following the practice a majority of his
predecessors and not -- and not name a nominee until after the november election is completed. the senate, too, mr. president, must consider how it would respond to a supreme court vacancy that would occur in the full throes in an election year. it is my view that if the president goes the way of presidents phil more and johnson and presses -- filmore and johnson and presses an election, the senate judiciary committee should seriously consider not consider confirmation hearings on the confirmation until after the political campaign season is over. >> again, then senator joe biden in 1992. should point out there was no pending supreme court nominee at the time, but the senator aying out the what ifs back in
1992. we heard the vice president today at georgetown law school in washington, d.c., continuing to clarify his position in light of merrick garland nomination to the supreme court that's pending. let's go back to your calls now for a few more minutes to get your response to what the vice president had to say today and what you think about the supreme court nomination process. tom in lancaster, pennsylvania, democratic caller. hi, tom. caller: hi. the video shows a real convenience at the time and i think the position of the republican members of the judiciary committee are taking is a similar argument of convenience. we as the american people don't have a direct vote in selecting our supreme court justices. we delegate that responsibility to congress and the senate, in particular, and it just seems to me there's no good reason not to move forward with
liberations and follow through as representatives to the senate. >> steve, salt lake city, on the line for independents. caller: thank you for taking my call. >> you bet. caller: i think mr. biden was spot on on his analysis of the dysfunction of the government right now. it plays right into the hand -- excuse me -- into the hands of the right-wing republican tea arty members who planned a long time ago just to obstruct everything that the government puts forward and this plays into the hands of the fossil robert gy barnse, the barrons who have corrected think tanks, academic programs, egal centers and issue
advocacy organizations that -- ote the ideal lg ideological efforts to make the government dysfunctional so that no regulations and little government is their goal. >> thanks for calling. get another call from laguna hills, california, on the republican line. dei -- dee joins us. dee, are you there? caller: sorry. >> go ahead. caller: i definitely think the vice president was right in saying that we should move forward on this nomination for the supreme court. >> dee, you're a republican caller. you disagree with the leaders in the senate? caller: yes, i do because i think the supreme court is not pposed to be part of the
republican party. >> all right, dee. thanks for your comments. dee, a republican caller, disagrees with the senate leaders. let's get a little sense of the senate leadership and how they feel about this nomination process. mitch mcconnell, the senate majority leader, has been adamant that the nomination will not get a hearing, will not get a vote. he spoke on the senate floor last week. let's watch. [video clip] senator mcconnell: chairman grassley and i told president obama weeks ago that the senate will observe the biden rule so the american people have a voice in this moment us decision. the american people may well elect a president who decides to nominate judge garland for senate consideration. the next president may also nominate somebody very different.
either way, our view is this. give the people a voice in illing this vacancy. >> that's the majority leader, mitch mcconnell, on the senate floor last week. and reiterating republican leadership that merrick garland, who you see on your screen there, will not get a hearing in the u.s. senate before the presidential election. time for just a handful of more calls. eric joins us from stevensville, maryland, independent caller. go ahead, eric. caller: yes, sir. yes, the senate republicans have been wrapping themselves in the constitution ever since obama was elected and now suddenly they're flushing the constitution down and invoking the biden rule which will be kind of laughable since it's a democratic rule. i mean, it's almost bipartisanship because they're saying suddenly that vice president biden invoked this rule even though at the time he was only a senator when he
proposed in rule and now suddenly this rule is almost unbreakable and nowhere in the constitution is the biden rule. that's what they're blaming everything on saying, oh, we can't go forth on the nomination because of the biden rule. it's just totally ridiculous. >> to pennsylvania on the democratic line. is it honest? caller: hi. and i am a rnest, scholar. i don't think there is anything in the constitution called the biden rule. what senator joe biden did at the time, that can't be justified now to stop the hearing of an outstanding nominee for the supreme court. and the constitution is very clear about that. so my opinion is that the senate ought to consider the nomination. thank you. >> thank you.
mandeville, louisiana, republican line. go ahead. caller: yes. i think we ought to stand by the 1992 speech by senator joe biden, vice president joe biden and go by what was originally stated because i think that would be best for the supreme court, best for the nation, best for our liberty and freedom as a free people in the world today. i believe in a very constitutional government. >> so you weren't convinced by the vice president's speech today? caller: well, he said one thing and then he said another thing. so what are you going to believe? are you going to believe what's best for the country? >> all right. thanks for the call. if you missed the vice president's remarks today, we will reair them tonight at 8:00 eastern time. vice president joe biden on the merrick garland nomination to the supreme court. his comments at georgetown university law school today.
8:00 eastern time here on c-span. now it's attorney general loretta lynch and f.b.i. director james comey, they announced today the indictment of seven iranian hackers working on behalf of the iranian government. ms. lynch says the seven individuals conspired together and with others to conduct a series of cyberattacks against civilian targets in the u.s. financial sector. here they are at the justice department. ms. lynch: well, good morning, all. thank you for being here today. now, before i again, i know at the forefront of all of our minds continues to be the terrible events that unfolded in brussels earlier this week. and let me just take a moment to reiterate that the entire obama administration and the american people continue to stand with the people of belgium, with the people of all
of europe and the world in condemning these appalling attacks and in offering our support, condolences in any way that we can. our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their loved ones, both those who perished, those who suffered, all who were touched by this and the department of justice is in constant communication with our counterparts in belgium. we are committed to providing any and all assistance as we move forward together with unity and with strength. now, i also want to make clear that while we have received no specific credible threats to the homeland, we will continue to remain vigilant in order to ensure that we can keep the american people safe from harm. thank you. now, i am joined today for this announcement by f.b.i. director james comey, by the u.s. district attorney, and the assistant attorney general for national security. we're here today to announce a major law enforcement action as part of our ongoing efforts to disrupt cyberthreats and to
protect our national security. today, we have unsealed an indictment against seven alleged experienced hackers employed by computer security companies working on behalf of the iranian government, including the islamic revolutionary guard corps. a federal grand jury in manhattan found that these seven individuals conspired together and with others to conduct a series of cyberattacks against civilian targets in the united states financial services industry that in total or in all, in sum cost the victims tens of millions of dollars. now, between late 2011 and mid 2013, the united states financial sector suffered a large-scale and coordinated campaign of distributed denial of service, or ddos attacks. this is a particular kind of cyberattack in which multiple compromised sources are used to target and overwhelm a single system. and through these attacks, the servers of 46 financial
institutions were flooded with traffic over the course of 176 days. as a result of this ddos attack, online services were disrupted, hundreds of thousands of americans were unable to access bank accounts online. these attacks were relentless, they were systematic and they were widespread. they threatened our economic well-being and our ability to compete fairly in the global marketplace. both of which are directly linked to our national security. and we believe that they were conducted with the sole purpose of undermining the targeted companies and damaging the online operation of america's free markets. in addition to the actions that we have detailed, one of the defendants is also charged with illegally obtaining access to the supervisory control and data acquisition system of the bowman dam in rye, new york. at the time of this alleged intrusion, the dam was undergoing maintenance and actually had been disconnected from the system, but for that fact, that access would have
given this defendant the ability to control water levels, to control flow rates and outcome that clearly could have posed a clear and present danger to the public health and safety of americans. and i'd also like to thank the department of homeland security as well as the city of rye, new york, for their assistance in managing that particular incident. in unsealing this indictment, the department of justice is sending a powerful message that we will not allow any individual, group or nation to sabotage american financial institutions or undermine the integrity of fair competition in the operation of the free market. through the work of our national security division, the f.b.i. and u.s. attorneys offices around the country can we will continue to pursue national security cyberthreats through the use of all available tools, including public criminal charges and as today's unsealing makes clear, individuals who engage in computer hacking will be exposed for their criminal conduct and sought for
apprehension and prosecution in an american court of law. this case is a reminder of the seriousness of cyberthreats to our national security, and these public criminal charges represent a groundbreaking step forward in addressing that threat. we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to investigate the malicious cyberactors so we can attribute their actions down to the government, the -- country, the government agency, the organization and the individuals involved and charge them publicly. now, i'd like to thank all of those who worked so diligently to bring the investigation to this point including, particularly the targeted private companies and others in the private sector who were integral partners throughout this investigation. this case highlights the significance of what we can accomplish by working together, holding bad actors accountable and protecting the american people. and at this time, let me introduce the director of the f.b.i., james comey, who will give us additional details on today's announcement. mr. director.
director comey: thank you, attorney general lynch. good morning, ladies and gentlemen. the challenge we face in investigating cybercrime is that cybercriminals often think it's a freeby to reach into the united states -- freewayie to reach into the united states to steal from us. they think it's a freebie because they're halfway around the world to use anone anyization techniques. we will work together to shrink the world and impose costs on those people so that no matter where they are we will try to reach them. no matter how hard they work to hide their identity and their trade craft, we will find ways to pierce that shield and identify them. that's the message of this case. that's why it's so important we bring this case. i want to say a word of thanks to the men and women of the f.b.i. who worked very hard on this for a number of years across the country. what's also interesting about this case is we did it virtually. we used the new york field office, cincinnati, chicago, san francisco and phoenix, all
working together. we found a reasonably good u.s. attorney's office to work with and together those offices contributed to a single effort in the southern district of new york to bring charges and impose costs on people who thought before this that it was a freebie. so my thanks to the u.s. attorney's office. my thanks to the national security division here at the justice. but the good folks at the f.b.i. for staying after this. people ask us, well, these people are in iran so how are you ever going to get them? the world is small and our memories are long. we never say never. people often like to travel for vacation or education, and we want them looking over their shoulder, both when they travel and when they sit at a keyboard. that's the message of this case. there is no place safe on this increasingly small world. so with that i'd like to introduce the u.s. district attorney for the southern district of new york. >> thank you, director comey, for introducing me and from whom i inherited a good u.s.
attorney's office years ago. so the charges announced today respond directly to a coordinated cyberassault on new york, its institutions and its infrastructure. as has been said, seven iranians engaged to discorrupt and disible mantle many institutions, many based in new york city. obviously obviously you heard about the infiltration of the bowman dam. as you also heard, these were not just ordinary crimes but calculated attacks directed by groups with ties to iran's islamic revolutionary guard corps and designed with the specific goal of harming america. the iranian defendants intended new york to be the epicenter of harm, because new york is the financial capital fled world, because new york has always been the blue chip target for those who want to harm our country. as i said, as the attorney general said, basically what occurred here was a group of
individuals, seven charged in the indictment, three who are members of a particular security company called i.t. sect team, and four others who were associated with the security firm called more sad company, each -- mersad company, each and together within their respective companies were engaged in ddos attacks. putting malware on computers around the world, seizing them remotely and launching attacks basically on at least 46 institutions, financial institutions around the country which caused, as the attorney general mentioned, tens of millions of dollars to damage and harm to those companies. separately, you also heard about the infiltration of the bowman dam which to our mind represents a frightening frontier to cybercrime. although no actual harm resulted from that infiltration, the potential havoc that such a hack of american infrastructure could wreak is scary to think about.
at the end of the day there's good news and there's bad news. cybercriminals working with an entity with ties to the government of iran attacked and shut down vast swaths of the u.s. financial systems at times. hackers infiltrated infrastructure as alleged, taking over computers that control the water levels of the dam near new york city. so those sounds like plot lines of a movie but they're not. they're real crimes committed by real people in the real world. so that's the bad news. the good news is that the department of justice and the f.b.i. and other law enforcement agencies are on it and they're working hard every day, and as this announcement today shows, we will investigate any perpetrators who seek to harm the united states of america. we will indict them. we will expose them, and then we will do everything in our power to apprehend and ultimately prosecute them in a court of law. we now live in a world where a devastated attack on our financial system, our infrastructure and our way of life can be launched from anywhere in the world.
just with a simple click of a mouse. whether such an attack is motivated by greed or directed by an arm of a nation state, it must and will be met with a strong law enforcement response. but beyond law enforcement, what we can and will do, these cyberattacks should serve as a wake-up call, a wake-up call for everyone responsible for the security of our financial markets and a wake-up call for everyone entrusted with guarding our infrastructure, our future security depends on heeding that call. now, i want to thank some people also. i know some people have been thaad. this was no -- thanked. this was no ordinary crime. solving a crime like this takes a lot of people in a lot of different places in close collaboration with each other. first, i want to thank my friend, attorney general loretta lynch for her guidance on this case and every case she oversees. i also want to thank my friend, john garland, assistant attorney general of the
national security division. and all the folks in his office who worked on thises case and brought us to this point. of course, the f.b.i. represented here by its leader jim comey. the sprawling investigation here, as director comey already mentioned, involved a lot of different f.b.i. offices. i want to mention and acknowledge and thank them also. they involved the field offices in chicago, cincinnati, new york, phoenix and san francisco. finally, i want to thank the fine men and women in my own office who made this happen, especially tim howard. supervisors, nicole freelander who lead our fraud and cybercrime unit. t me introduce the assistant district attorney, john garland. >> thank you. under his leadership there's no better partner in the country for the national security division that and the southern district of new york. as someone who has friends in
new york city i'm grateful he's there and those that defend against national security threats and i want to thank the for the f.b.i. for the investigation. and the victims who are sometimes not treated as victims when it comes to cyberattacks. we know that the bad guys are not you. the bad guys are the people overseas targeted your systems and that we can't confront these threats without your critical assistance. this case demonstrates the power when public and private do work together to confront the cyberthreat. for many years, nation states and their affiliates enjoyed what they perceived to be as a cloak of anonymity, a cloak they hid behind to break our laws through cyberintrusions and to threaten our security and economic well-being. they had had perceived cloak of anonymity because they thought we couldn't figure out who did it and they thought if we did figure out who did it we wouldn't say it. well, they're wrong. in a new approach, we have unleashed prosecutors and agents across the country
against national security cyberthreats. and that's why two years ago at this very podium we could announce an indictment against five members of the people liberation army. today, let this indictment reinforce that the days of perceived anonymity are gone. we can remove the cloak and we will. today's announcement proves once again that there is no free pass for those who conduct nation state affiliated intrusions. this week is a significant week when it comes to our national security cyberprogram. on tuesday, we unveiled charges against members of the syrian electronic army and yesterday, a chinese businessman in los angeles pled guilty for conspiring to hack into defense contractors and to steal sensitive information, including information related to fighter jets. and now today, we can tell the world that hackers affiliated with the iranian government attacked u.s. systems and we seek to bring them to justice for their crimes.
so no matter where a hacker is located or who he is affiliated with, be it china or north korea, be it the islamic state and the levant or the syrian electronic army, we can do so publicly, figure out who did it, say who did it and have consequences. and this is still the beginning of this approach. we will continue to pursue hackers affiliated with nation states or terrorist organizations, and when we find you, we will use every tool at our disposal to hold you to account. that means more public actions. it means nor charges. it means nor sanctions. it means every tool that the government can bring to bear to hold national cybersecurity hackers accountable. thank you. i'll turn it over to the attorney general for questions. >> attorney general, we know the brussels attackers were -- are you concerned that isis may target financial facilities in
the u.s.? how prepared are we against these threats? ms. lynch: this threat is of great concern to us. we're constantly working with our partners, both in the private industry and in local governments to relay information when we learn of issues or threats and also to make sure they have the most recent information about other hacking activities so they can protect themselves. at this point, you know, we think this case speaks for itself in terms of these actors. obviously we remain vigilant in the future against not just dams but all of our infrastructure. it is indeed a serious concern for us and we think this is another example in which the public-private partnership is really key. >> attorney general, also director comby they often say attribution is incredibly difficult in these cyberattacks. can you talk a little bit and give us more detail how you were able to trace these actors back to iran? ms. lynch: i can't give you
specifics on that because it would go into a lot of the investigative techniques we used. but what i can do is echo what you heard from this podium today which is an important part of our cybersecurity practice is to identify the actors and to attribute them publicly when we can. we do this so they know that they cannot hide. a large part of a successful cybersecurity attack in the perpetrator's mind is in fact getting in and getting out without anyone knowing who is involved. this cloak is being repeatedly pulled away. i'll defer again to the director if he can give you further information but we don't get into a lot of specifics on that. do you want to yesterday anything? director comey: we want them to know we can but not now we can. >> ma'am attorney general, what good is it to indict these actors if they are not likely to be extradited? further on that, have you seen any tangible effects from the indictment two years ago now into the five chinese military?
ms. lynch: well, with respect to these or any defendants whom we indict who are currently fugitives, our view is fugitives don't remain that way forever. we have a long history reaching out and working with countries where individuals may land and extraditing them and we also have a long history in keeping charges alive and in fact bringing people to the u.s. for justice. so, again, because they're not here now does not mean we will never get them. we do not let that be a barrier to bringing the charges, particularly where it is here. it is so important to let the world know we are aware of their actions. and your question about the five -- >> two years ago indicting chinese military hackers, again, people abroad, have with you seen any tangible effects on that indictment? ms. lynch: well, i think that -- i think there is a whole of government approach to this and i think we have actually seen some significant changes in our interactions with the chinese government in terms of cybersecurity norms and in terms of the way in which they have come to agreement with the u.s. on the parameters of how
countries should use cyberactivity with each other. but as we said before, this is the beginning. this is a very important arsenal in our cybersecurity. >> ma'am attorney general, fib director comey, any signs that -- madam attorney general, f.b.i. director comey, any signs that they have ties to people inside the united states first? secondly, how concerning is it hackers overseas were rooting around in the infrastructure of something like a dam which could in the future have the kind of damage that we're talking about here? ms. lynch: well, i think whenever you're talking about infrastructure, be it a dam, be it a highway system, be it an electrical grid, we obviously have grave concern as to the ability to affect millions of people quickly. certainly it's very similar to the concern we have, however, with the -- with the attempted impact here on the financial system. as we saw, locking people out of online access to accounts is incredibly disruptive. the work required by companies
to remediate that is incredibly expensive. literally tens of millions of dollars. so our concern has always been with cyberissues, and one of the reasons why cybersecurity is such a priority for this administration, for this department is because we are in a world where with literally the stroke of a mouse or the click of a computer pad, damage can be unleashed much, much greater, at a much greater level than an individual can perpetrate alone. however, this is something we're focused on and we're actively looking to prevent. with respect to your question on brussels, as you know, this is an investigation conducted by the belgian authorities. we're offering all assistance but it is their investigation. it is simply too early at this point to tell, certainly to provide information on the extra european links of the individuals at this point. i'll see if, jim, did you want to add anything? >> what assistance have you provided to european investigators, or if they asked for, have you provided
anything? and is there any sense this attack was brought by isis or an inspirational act like the one in san bernardino? ms. lynch: well, again, we're at the early stages of this investigation, and we are providing assistance. the f.b.i. has offered assistance. certainly d.o.j. through our legal department have offered assistance. and we stand ready to provide them with that. we are at the very, very early stages of this, however, and it is being conducted by the belgian authorities. we are in a supporting role here and it's just simply too early to provide that kind of information for you. i'm sorry i can't give you more insight into that. >> in terms of attribution, can you say beyond these seven individuals you indicted whether you believe this -- these attacks were directed by the irgc or by the iranian government? in terms of the long memory and powerful message being sent here, would you say this message more powerful or the
message from january when i believe clemency, pardons were given to seven iranians as part of u.s. and iran, would you say those actions send a more powerful message or the indictment you announced today to the fugitives? ms. lynch: i think if you are a computer hacker sitting overseas in whatever country you've chosen to hide in, this indictment sends a powerful message that the full force of the u.s. government will come after you should you seek to attack our infrastructure, our financial institutions or our people. that's the strong message of today's charges. >> and what about the attributions of the iranian government? ms. lynch: well, the indictment as set forth, these individuals work for two separate security companies and those companies and these individuals themselves definitely have ties, as alleged, to the irgc. beyond that i'm not going to comment on facts that may come out at trial or facts that aren't set forth in the pleadings. >> well, i understand the investigation goes on in
brussels. the fact of the attacker well-known. has it caused you, the f.b.i. to rethink american security based on the facilities that were attacked there? does this give you any second thoughts how american security should be changed? ms. lynch: we are always looking at american security, both in the absence of an attack and certainly following something like what occurred in brussels or in paris several months earlier. we're always looking at whether or not it shows any vulnerabilities in the american system, and we're always looking to make sure we shore them up as best we can. >> what have you concluded? ms. lynch: certainly at this point, as i indicated before, we don't have a specific credible threat against the homeland, but that does not mean we are not being vigilant in terms of reviewing cases that are already open, investigationes that are already open and looking to see these issues and how it can affect the u.s. as we said before, this is the cancer that is isil is a growing threat that is
currently looking at europe. they seem to be focused on europe, france, belgium and the like, but certainly we've seen individuals here who have chosen to become inspired by that type of terrorist thinking and have chosen to act on their own. that is also a concern of ours, and so we remain vigilant in that regard as well. as you know, we also have a very active program in prosecuting those individuals who seek to travel overseas to join the islamic state. we have prosecuted approximately 80 individuals to date, and we continue those vigorous investigations and prosecutions. >> yes, thank you. general lynch and f.b.i. director comby there's been a lot of commentary, a lot of reporting over the last three, four days with respect to the justice department and f.b.i. filing in the case involving the san bernardino phone and apple, whether the u.s. government actually exhausted all authorities and all opportunities to exploit that phone before seeking apple to
help you do it. can you describe how you came to understand there were offers of outside help and whether that outside help is vary baring -- bearing any fruit at this time? ms. lynch: as we review the case, the san bernardino case is a matter where we're trying to exhaust all investigative tools to find any information or evidence that will lead to insights or information about those individuals who perpetrate that had deadly terrorist attack in san bernardino. and in the course of that, we have focused on a number of electronic devices, in particular the phone of syed if a rook, have requested apple's assistance in that regard and when they certainly indicated they would not provide that assistance, we went to court to obtain that assistance. in every investigation we did not stop there. certainly at the time we did not have any further avenues of evidence or recourse and we
still may not. we don't know if the individuals or third parties who've come forward and offered assistance have in fact offered us a viable method for obtaining what evidence may be on that phone. so we are at this time hopeful that that is the case. it is always been our goal to extract the information that may be on that phone and determine what information or evidence that may give us about this deadly attack. and if we can do that, we will do that. but at this point, it's really too early to say how that's going to work out. we're hopeful but we don't know how it's going to resolve itself. jim, did you want to add anything? director comey: i like these press conferences where i don't have to talk. the only thing i'd add to that we tried everything we can think of. asked everybody we thought might be able to help inside and outside the government before bringing a litigation in san bernardino and we said that in our papers in san bernardino. the attorney general and i said it publicly. i said it under oath in congress so it's true. but what has happened is the attention that's been drawn to
this issue by the litigation, by the controversies that surrounded it, has stimulated a marketplace of creative people all around the world to try to come up with ideas. lots of folks have come to us with potential ideas. it looks like we now have one that may work out. we're optimistic and we'll see. but the notion that we said that we had no alternatives without having tried to exhaust all alternatives is silly. we did everything we could before bringing litigation. now people have come from all over the globe with suggestions and we're going to see whether that works, because the goal is, was and always will be to try to investigate a terrorist attack in a competent way. >> in terms of the isis front. are you sort of seeing perhaps where isis is getting a little more organized better at organizing these attacks in brussels, is there concern they're getting better at it, more experience, better at recruiting people, better organizing these kinds of
attacks? director comey: i don't think i give this group of satisfyages credit of getting better. -- savages credit of getting better. we worry here in the states about people being radicalized, responding to the poison. as we talked for almost three years now, we were worried about anybody on the globe to travel to syria, to the so-called caliphate, get the worst kind of training and flow back out. that's especially a problem in europe. so this is a manifestation of that problem. i don't think it reflects greater skill or organization on isil's part. >> director comey, may i follow-up with director comey? yes, may i follow-up with director comey on san bernardino and on isis? you said, sir, that you exhausted all possible avenues before you started litigation.
and there have been a number of photographer experts who came forward that said there are ways that possibly could work, including to basically make copies of the chip. you're shaking your head. director comey: i heard that a lot. >> it doesn't work. has the f.b.i. tried it? director comey: i don't want to say beyond that. we had lots of people come forward with lots of ideas. we now have one. >> and can you say when that company first approached you? director comey: i think we said in our pleadings, we learned about it this past weekend. and tried it on sunday. look, it might work and so we wanted to alert the court immediately. >> and it's not a company you have never worked before? director comey: i don't want to indicate who it is. >> with respect to brussels, is there any sense that encrypted communications played a large role in communication -- ms. lynch: with respect to the brussels attack, it's too early
to tell whether encryption played a role. we don't have that information yet. again, it will be up to the belgium authorities what they'll release. as a larger issue we've indicated for sometime we've seen as a terrorist platform those who are involved in terrorist planning, certainly here in the u.s. start on an open platform and then move to an encrypted platform to continue those discussions. certainly with respect to brussels, it's too early to say right now. i promised you and then coming back. >> director comey and then attorney general lynch. could you -- there's been a lot of discussion, especially by irector about the group in the united states who have sympathy to isil. how concerned are you incidents like this would tip them to move in one direction or another? looking at the history of incidents overseas that have
occurred, what's been the experience of either you learning about possible plans and moving on them before they hit? ms. lynch: i'll start and turn it over to you, jim. certainly as we've seen here, the threat here in the homeland has becoming most recently from those individuals who are based here, who are inspired by terrorists or jihadist thinking online, isil or otherwise. and so that's always a concern of ours and certainly a concern would be whether they would be inspired by similar attacks in brussels or elsewhere. and we remain vigilant as to that possibility. jim, do you want to add to that? director comey: i'd echo some of what the attorney general said earlier. if there is an attack overseas we focus two things. first, are there any connections into the united states to the people who committed the attack? second, is there any risk of subjects in the united states
see that as a copy cat opportunity? so we're focused on both of those things. so far we don't see an indication of that here. an optimist but i think we will have reverse effect. when you see men and women and children being slaughtered around the world, i hope you see they are not involved in some heroic, romantic battle on the side of good but see a bunch of savages occupying a place that's hell on earth right now. i think we see that reflected in the decrease of number of cases we're seeing of people trying to travel over to the so-called islamic state from the united states. that's a positive trend. we hope very much that it reflects an understanding of people looking for a center in their life, this is not the place to find it. >> just to follow up. so you haven't seen any connection between any of the suspects in brussels so far to anybody in the u.s.? director comey: i think i can say not yet. it's something we're looking at
ery, very closely now. >> two questions for director comey. on the apple thing. you've been way out in front on encryption for the last year and a half. on the san bernardino case, we're trying to get information off the phone of a dead terrorist and you find yourself on the defensive, having to -- defend yourself, accusations of lying. what is your reaction to that? are you surprised, are you disappointed? director comey: i don't feel way out there. i don't feel defensive, honestly. i do feel strongly when someone accuses, especially a major publication, the department of justice or the f.b.i. being dishonest. that can't let lie or sit there. we have to respond. our goal all along, the attorney general, the deputy attorney general and mine is to have a conversation between a conflict we all care about. san bernardino, say it for the thousandth time, it's about that investigation. even if this particular
technique goes that go away, that litigation, we still as a country have to resolve the conflicts we care about and we hope there will be an adult conversation about this where there won't be any demons, and there aren't in this debate, even between us and the federal government. >> if that works, will you share that with apple? coim i am not in position to comment on that right now. >> last question. >> let me ask you a question. what should we conclude from the fact you've been able to attribute the attack to these seven people? are you just more determined now to do it than you were in the past because now you see some -- are you better at it? how -- what does this represent? just a dedication to do this where in the past you thought it was pointless? what's behind this? >> i think it's the result of a new approach and what you saw was back in 2012 at the
department of justice we decided that we would take the same approach we've taken against terrorist threats which is we would make sure that the intelligence, that the intelligence community does a fantastic job of collecting is shared with law enforcement and vice versa and now we unleash prosecutors who are specially trained across the country to work with intel lawyers, f.b.i. agents and the community in order to see if they can figure out who did it and figure out who did it in a way that we can talk about it publicly and then, third, a determination on our part that once we figure out who did it, do it in a way we can be public about it. mr. carlin: we ensure there are consequences. this is now the last -- it's the third case this week alone where we've shown that unlike what some have said, national security state actors or rrorist groups are not anonymous. we will find them publicly and we will. >> so it's more a determination
than it is developing a new gasity? mr. carlin: these cases are hard but once you unleash the dedicated prosecutors and give them access to the intelligence, have them working together as teams, determined to disrupt it, they're going to continue to learn new ways to do tanned you see us getting better and better figuring out a way who did it that we can speak about it publicly. >> the iranian nuclear deal, negotiations, does it have any influence on the timing of this indictment? could you brought this months ago and you waited or did you bring it today because it was right? mr. carlin: i'll turn it over. our determination, again, is to have our investigators, and this has been the direction of the attorney general, have our prosecutors and investigators when there's harm against u.s. companies, as there was in this case between people are stealing from u.s. companies as there are in other cases and they break our laws, we're going to do what we normally do which is find the facts.
if we can conclude who did it, we're going to bring charges and we'll leave it to others to discuss other consequences. >> just echoing what john carlin said. we in our office and throughout the department bring cases when it's right to bring the case. there are a lot of considerations that go into the timing of unsealing an indictment. they go to operational concerns. they go to issues of fact, investigation and everything else. mr. bharara: the people that know me and my office, we bring cases when it's right to bring the case for the needs of the case itself. >> thank you, all. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] >> with congress in recess for
the easter break, lawmakers are meeting with constituents in their home district. representatives al-- representative alma adams invited house democratic leader nancy pelosi to discuss challenges and opportunities for women in north carolina with several female mayors. the mayors attending the economic forum are from cities in representative adams' 12th district and she sent out a picture of the meeting. >> book tv has 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors every weekend. here are some programs to watch for. this weekend, join us for the 22nd annual virginia festival of the book in charlottesville, starting saturday at noon eastern. programs include author bruce hillman who discusses his book the man who stalked einstein, how nazi scientist philippe leonard changed history. then saturday at 7:00, patricia bell-scott on her book "the