tv Politics and Public Policy Today CSPAN April 11, 2016 1:12pm-3:13pm EDT
pointing to serious issues that we need to address, but we learned an awful lot since we spoke and we need to learn a lot more because this is a very unusual virus that we can't pretend to know everything about it that we need to know. thank you. >> questions on this? jeff, do you want to start? >> thank you. doctor, you expected there to be hundreds of thousands of cases in puerto rico. do you have a range of how many you expect in the united states? >> most of our predictions come from what we saw with dengue virus and chikungunya virus and those viruses are fred into a the same mosquito. in puerto rico they range between 25% and 80% of the population getting infected with one or the other viruses over the course of one or multiple seasons. in the continental u.s., we have seen travel-associated cases of chikungunya or dengue. we haven't seen large numbers or
thousands of cases of locally transmitted disease from the mosquitos and we've seen dozens of cases, and we need to be ready. as dr. fauci was saying, everything we look at with this virus seems to be scarier than we initially thought and while we absolutely hope we don't see widespread local transmission in the continental u.s. we need the states to be ready for that and that was part of what our summit was about, learning all they could about mosquito control, what do we know? what do we not know and what can we do with the tools we have today and how to get ready for mosquito season and when they have a case of travel associated how do they look around for the mosquitos nearby. we want the traveling public when we come back from the caribbean or latin america to use repellent for the couple of weeks after they return because if they silently got zika infection and they get bit by a mosquito in the continental u.s. that mosquito can spread the virus. so i don't expect there to be large outbreaks in the
continental u.s. i can't give a number to how many cases, but i can say we can't assume we're not going to have a big problem. we know with other viruses we have bigger problems than expected and we'll take it seriously. >> what we -- what we know from the other viruses is the 25% to 80% of the population may get the infection. >> we know for instance, in puerto rico we're having dengue virus as well as the zika virus and that makes it more difficult to tease out what causes the people's fever and rash. in latin america they're known for high attack rates of the virus. in terms of pregnant women, we don't know yet when we have zika virus infection during pregnancy what percent of the time the baby will be totally normal and what percent of the time there will be a complication and that's one of the more important questions for us to answer and teams are working ing iing in brazil and panama because that's
the most important question for pregnant women. >> dr. fauci, two for you. one, can you tell us more about the zika prevention kits and what that entails and for dr. schuchat how concerned should american athletes be that may be traveling to brazil especially as the olympics come? are we working on something specifically for americans? i guess i should ask you another one, dr. fauci, about resources. are you confident that you have what you need to maintain this battle? >> i'll answer that question and get the prevention kit to dr. schuchat because that is a cdc thing. >> right. >> the answer is i don't have what i need right now. what i've done is take money from other areas of non-zika research to start. we coukcouldn't just stop and w for the money. we had to go ahead with it. if we don't get the money the president has asked for we can't take it to the point where we accomplish what we need to do.
so the answer is we really don't have what we need, but we're going full blast by drawing money from other areas. that's how we started. the money being transferred over from ebola account will help bring us a little bit further, but it's still not what we want. when the president asked for $1.9 billion. we needed $1.9 billion. >> the zika prevention kits are being given out to pregnant women in the areas where the virus is already spreading. so in puerto rico, u.s. virgin islands and american samoa there have been 5,000 kits distributed so far. they include insect repellent and information about how women can protect themselves and they include condoms because we know the virus can be spread sexually and not just through mosquitos. they include vouchers for screening materials to help people make sure they stay outside the home and not inside the home and those sorts of things. we were considering putting some
treated clothing, but then some of our surveillance for mosquito resistance in puerto rico revealed that it probably isn't effective so we didn't end up including that kind of treated clothing, but they're essentially materials and information to help women protect themselves. in terms of the athletes, we know the olympics is just a wonderful event and athletes have been training for their whole lives to go there. we really want to make sure that people know that if they're pregnant they should defer travel. we also want people to know that travel to the area may be -- may lead to silent infections or infections with symptoms and that following infections, it's very important to take precautions during sex not to spread the virus. so that type of information has been shared with the olympic committee and the cdc is working closely with the olympic medical committee about further advice. >> thanks, josh. for the doctors, are you concerned by transferring the money from the already-appropriated funds last week reduces the urgency on
congress to appropriate new funds? >> well, it shouldn't because as i just said it is not enough for us to get the job done. i mean, it's just a temporary stopgap. if you look at what we need to do both at the cdc and the nih, we have a lot of work to do and that may in some people's minds lessen the intensity of it, but in our minds it doesn't because we still don't have enough to do what we need to do. >> go ahead. >> i was just going to say that we also feel a sense of urgency about ebola and the global health security agenda. ebola is still circulating in liberia, guinea and many vulnerable countries in after qaa are having outbreaks right now and we than we have to be as a country, ready to support response to more than one outbreak at a time and that's very important and we're working as deeply and as quickly as we can on the zika response while continues to support an ebola
response and recovery. >> we know the zika virus is coming to the united states and they're expecting it summer or fall. is there any sort of mosquito forecast? any way of knowing if it's going to be a worse year than usual for mosquitos in general and also, what are you telling travelers, people who are going to some of these countries and returning? should they be tested and where can that be done? >> the issue of mosquito surveillance and prediction is a really great question and one of the problems in the past decade or so is that we've let the mosquito control efforts wither away and we don't have the great information we'd like to have or better modeling about where the problems might be and where they might occur and strengthening mosquito surveillance before you get human disease is a priority for us. so that is something that we're working on, and i know with more resources we could do a better job. i'm forgetting what the second
part of the question was. >> telling people -- >> testing people, right. if you come back from an area where zika is spreading and you're pregnant we recommend that you test whether symptoms on or not. we don't think they need to be tested, who aren't pregnant, but we think that they do need to take precautions with sexual contact, particularly in terms of sex with a pregnant woman. so we've put out updated guidance on that. we know a lot of couples were asking i'm not pregnant, but i want to get pregnant, how long do i have to wait? we put guidance out for waiting before trying to conceive and waiting a long arer period for men who have symptoms in terms of the potential that men can have persistent virus in the sem semen.
doctor, do you think the zika prevention kits, and do you have a spread of the zika virus in puerto rico and what happens when the stopgap runs out? >> yes. we do think the zika prevention kits are helpful in part of the u.s. and there is interest from them in the state health departments that attended the summit and do they have air-conditioning? we heard in parts of keywest it's similar to puerto rico and they like the windows open and they like the breeze and the mosquitos that can live inside the house are relevant here and the second question was for you? >> okay, good. >> yeah. we have a team working closely in puerto rico trapping mosquitos and looking where the mosquitos are that are potentially of concern and they're also test for resistance
and the human surveillance and we are seeing it in multiple parts of the island and it may be that the cases we're seeing reported are just a small percentage because we think some people can be asymptomatic and not have symptoms and the only people being tested are the people coming with symptoms and we're seeing it increasing across the island and we're worried that as it gets warmer it will be island wide. >> to be honest with you, i can't imagine that we're not -- that we're not going to be given the money when we reach the point when every time we come in front of you we tell you things that are more serious. if we reach the point where the stopgap money runs out, again, hopefully that will never happen, but hopefully we'll have to start raiding other accounts and very important research on other diseases is going to suffer and suffer badly. so i almost can't imagine that will happen because as we keep talking more, we just spoke to you about the very interesting
issue that we're learning. again, i'm not an alarmist and most of you that know me know i am not, and the more we learn about the neurological aspects we look around and say this is very serious. in the last couple of weeks not only do we have gill am barr and it's associated called afrmth d-e-m, acute encephalomielitis. it tends to resolve the way guillaume barreresolves. i can't imagine as we learn more and more things that are troublesome that all of a sudden we won't get the money. we do have to get it. >> how did this seem to catch us so by surprise? >> it caught us by surprise not
in the sense of we should have known because essentially since the virus was first recognized in 1947 and the first human cases were 1952, it was a relatively inconsequential virus in the sense of a rather mild illness, virtually no mortality, no hints of signals of other things that we're seeing now, for example, the microcephaly, the congenocide abnormalities and when it had its first outbreak and the first outbreak was in the islands and that's when it started to explode and only when it hit a vulnerable, big population with a lot of mosquitos with people who had never been exposed to this before did we then start seeing the unfolding of the scenario that every week, every month tends to surprise us more and
there was no reason that this would be bad and it was one of those viruses that had an illness. >> did they plan to continue to monitor this and then fund it as needed, why is that approach not appropriate for this virus? and versus getting it as it progresses and when is it too late? is it the first bite of local transmission or is it when you start to see the numbers swell? >> yeah. do both. >> i think as dr. fauci said, we haven't been waiting for the money to act because this is so serious. we've been searching our laboratory testing, there is a backlog on the laboratory testing to scale up takes time and knowing that resources are coming helps with the scale up. there are a lot of commercial partners that are needed with the scale up, will they help
without knowing that the resourcers are coming? the vector control, we have enough money to start on that and that's an expensive undertaking with the mosquito-control efforts and we're learning that not all chemicals or pesticides that are out there will work. there are multi-year studies that will be needed for these babies because we don't know whether a child that looks healthy at birth will actually not have the effect of the zika virus and there are longer term studies that will be needed. people are acting intensively right now, and if additional resources aren't coming we won't be able to commit to the long-term work that's needed. and the other thing is the places that the resources were taken from were areas where important work was going on, and i think we're quite vulnerable if we weren't able to meet the commitments on the global health security and the ebola response and recovery. >> just ditto what anne said and
something i mentioned to this group the last time we were here. we have a very important partnership with pharmaceutical companies and if they don't perceive us as a reliable partner they tend to back off a bit and that would be the worst thing because we won't be able to develop these countermeasures completely on our own and we need to partner with them and trust us, we'll give you the money later. that doesn't work in industry, trust us, we'll give you the money later. >> are you seeing hesitation from industry partners since the money hasn't come through yet? >> the answer is thankfully not yet, but i have experience back when we were building biomeasures for biodefense when we were trying to get vaccines for anthrax and things like that. unless we had the money up front that they knew we would be a reliable partner, many companies backed out and i don't want to see that now when we see a
vaccine and other countermeasures. >> when will it be too late? >> we held our summit with the health departments on april 1st because we know moss ditto season is coming and we didn't want to wait for money for them to get plans done, but they'll need to develop mosquito control efforts and surveillance and a lot of difficult tasks and knowing that there are some resources now is helpful and they're frustrated because some of the resources are coming from problems that they have. the mosquitos come and people get infected and it's several months before the mosquito is born and we're trying to protect every woman. you'll see the horrible effects on the child many months from now and we don't want to wait for that. we need to act before then. >> we have time for a couple more. >> first question, you said in the beginning that you were moving money around right now. >> right.
>> where is that money coming from? the second question is is there abstinence information in the kits? >> the fiscal year will end in the end of september and we have money that's planned for other things. that could be malaria and tuberculosis and we have the money that is going to go into the projects that will continue to progress the way they are. we're taking that money and now spending it on zika, and if we don't refurbish that money, those programs are going to stop when they reach the point that they run out of money. what we're trying to do is keep everything going, but you reach a point when you don't come in and back fill it that things stop and that's what i was referring to in my concern. >> what are those programs? >> well, there are several. i can tell you what we likely would do. one would be malaria and the other one would be universal flu vaccine and the other would be tuberculosis and things like that. >> the guidance we've issued for pregnant women and couples in terms of preventing the sexual
spread of zika virus include both condoms and abstinence. the actual wording in the materials for puerto rico we're not sure of because we were doing focus testing for the appropriate way to message. >> dr. fauci, can you tell us -- you insist about women want to become pregnant and pregnancy. can you tell us about the disorder the giuillain-barre syndrome and how appropriate is it? >> i'll have dr. schuchat talk about the recommendations that will likely come out. >> we are seeing the case reports of things we have not seen before with other similar viruses. i mentioned the acute mielitis in a young person and a young
man who developed men if meningoencephalit meningoencephalitis. that's the reason why you do these prospective cohort studies and surveillance studies which the cdc and others are trying to get exactly what is the extent of that? these just outlier cases are when you look closely are you going to see a lot of them? the concern is at the same time you're seeing clinical manifestations in people and everything we do in an animal model or in an in vitro cell line. when they put zika virus into neurostem cells they have organoids which is a pseudobrain formation get completely destroyed by the zika virus and a variety of other things related to the neurological system. it appears to be toxically ne o
neurotropic. how that relates to the clinical cases we'll see, we just have to see the surveillance up. >> just in terms of the additional travel guidance, we base our updated guidance on the best information we have. at this point we have enhanced travel recommendations for pregnant women saying that they defer travel or considered deferring travel. i can't i can't promise that we'll never have broader recommendations and we'll base it on the recommendation we have. so far guillain-barre syndrome in the population is fairly rare. if this is truly causing an increase it's still relatively uncommon and so an individual needs that information, but it may not lead to us saying don't go. >> john, i'll give you the last one and we'll let the doctors go. >> thank you, josh. dr. schuchat, you mentioned the spread of the epidemic in puerto rico and the seriousness. there have been reports from
haiti that it's growing very seriously and that the problem is compounded by a reluctance of people to report and say what problem they have at medical centers. what, precisely, are you doing with haiti given its proximity to the united states? >> yes, you know. haiti is a key country for us. we've been working closely with authorities in haiti since before the earthquake and following the earthquake on intensive support for the public health system there. we share concern about haiti. the mosquitos are there. the virus is there and the population is quite vulnerable and so we do have a cdc office in haiti and it's essentially the same principle that we're doing in puerto rico that people need to be protected against mosquitos and particularly pregnant women and of course, care is not going to be as strong there. we don't have a specific treatment and if you got guillain-barre syndrome it would be difficult and we're working
with cdc and the counterparts there. >> thank you, doctors, for coming. >> nice job. >> hopefully, all of that is useful and i suspect that's not the last time we'll have dr. schuchat and fauci to talk us to about this important issue and hopefully it serves as motivation for members of congress to pay careful attention to this top priority. so with that, kathleen, we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming here. >> a check on two topics and we have an a.p. request that's related to u.s. aid with the cuba story. >> i've heard about it. i anticipated you may ask about it. so if you got some emails last week and that's two years after
it was filed and it quotes that the organization planned on this delay as a way to manage the fallout of the program and i'm just wondering how that kind of two-year delay squares with the administration with the most transparent history and if you have concerns that you think delays to slow off requests and some of the requests become basically useless because it's returned. >> as we discussed in a much more high-profile setting, the individual agencies are responsible for responding to individual freedom of information act that they received from journalists or members of the public, but the guidelines the administration has put forward make it clear that a genuine effort to have a
bias toward openness and transparency is the approach that we would expect agencies to expect to use when fulfilling these requests. obviously, they have a wide range of factors to consider when being responsive to freedom of information act requests, but last year i think is a pretty good measure that 91% of the responses that were provided to freedom of information requests included the information that was requested. that's an indication that across the administration the response that you see is consistent with the approach that the administration as a whole strongly supports. i can't speak to the details of this particular case because ultimately it was the responsibility of that agency to comply with that request. i'm not -- i don't know what merited a two-year delay or
whether or not a two-year delay was merited, but i'd refer to the agency for the answer to this precise question. >> okay. andi wanted to go back to the comment the president said in the interview that ran yesterday. he said his worst mistake was probably failing to plan for the day after, with intervening in libya, and i wonder if you can expand -- >> it's one sentence, but it seems sort of meaningful. >> what is he blamed for it and is he saying that he personally should have done more planning or the u.s. should have done more planning with allies or what exactly -- >> the president talked about this issue a little bit more in his most recent address to the united nations in that speech
and the president noted that it should have done more to help the vacuum left behind and we have massing forces prepared to carry out an act of violence against the substantial and defenseless population and the international community led by the united states responded to prevent a good portion of that violence and that obviously, was a good thing. lives were saved. many lives were saved and what is also true and unique to libya is that they had a totalitarian dictator for two years and civil society and governing structures of that country a atrophied and it meant that once the dictator had been removed from power that
the regular structures typically in place in a country were not there to govern the country or to at least ensure some measure of stability in the country until a government could be rebuilt and until security could be restored. . so the unique confluence of events and the need for emergent action on the part of international community and governing structures that just didn't exist led to a scenario where the right decision was made at the beginning to prevent significant loss of life in that specific instance, but the rest of the international community did not have time and did not succeed in following through with a plan to compensate for the vacuum that was left behind and i think in some ways you could say that the president has tried to apply this lesson in considering the use of military and other circumstances that
asking the question about what situation will prevail and what sort of commitments from the international community will be required after that military intervention has been ordered by the commander in chief and that, i think, looking back at least in the words of the president in his conversation with mr. wallace is something that he regrets that the united states and the rest of the members of our coalition didn't do as it pertains to libya. >> and on that sort of notion then, secretary carter said flat president is going to be asking for more money to help stabilize and rebuild economic aid for iraq when he goes to the conference next week. i'm wondering, is that part of what he's going to do there? do you have details on how much aid and is this part of him
getting a more solid, long-term commitment? >> the president is traveling to saudi arabia next week where he will be meeting with many of our gcc partners who are making commit ams to the coalition. the focal point of our strategy all along has been building up the capacity of the government in iraq and eventually the government in syria to unite the country to confront the threat they face from extremists and there will be a series of discussions about what additional steps our coalition can take to press the case against isil in iraq and syria, and i'm confident that there will be a discussion about what additional commitments our gcc partners in particular can make to that ongoing effort. i don't have details about that conversation to preview right now, but that's something that we can talk about more next week. all right? jeff? >> why is the president meeting with fed chair yellin today? what does he expect to get out
of that reason for that and what is the reason for the timing of it? >> jeff, the -- president has met periodically over the last couple of years with fed chair janet yellin. that's not something they do regularly and the one they had was in late 2014 and it's been more than a year since they had a one-on-one meeting and chair yellin did have with financial coordinators in the government and the fed plays a regulatory role and she participated in the meeting. the goal is to discuss the current trajectory of the u.s. economy and also the global economy and i'm confident there will be regulatory issues, as well and the president has talked quite a bit about the top domestic priority is expanding economic opportunity for the middle class and obviously,
pursuing that policy priority involves having a broad understanding of current, economic conditions. obviously, chair yellen has spent a lot of times making her own independent policy decisions and it's an opportunity for them in some ways to trade notes on something that they're both looking at quite carefully even if the fed chair will continue to make the kinds of independent decidings thatty woo believe is critical to the successful functioning of our economy. >> what goes into the decision to appoint janet yellin. is he comfortable with that choice? >> that's an interesting question and i certainly don't want to say something that would implicitly call into question her independence, but i think the president has been pleased
with the way she has fulfilled a critically important job both as it relates to making policy decisions that have a significant impact not just on the u.s. economy and on the global economy and also making sure that the fed is following through on the important regulatory responsibilities that they have. so hopefully i didn't leave anybody with the impression that there is anything less than the utmost respect for the independent nature of her role and the decisions that she must make, but i think that independently people across the ideological spectrum at least when it comes to politics would acknowledge that she has filled this very important role quite well. >> separately, is the white house concerned about the state of events in ukraine after the prime minister stepped out on sunday and concerned about the
case of reform and what's going on there. >> the administration has been concerned about the situation in ukraine for some time there. and he's played an important role throughout the process as the country has gone through such significant turmoil. he's played an important role in trying to help his country weather those challenges and he obviously has been an important partner with the united states as we have tried to provide support to our friends in ukraine. this would explain why the vice president of the united states telephoned him yesterday and we are obviously pleased that he will remain on to ensure a smooth transition to his successor, implementing key, economic reforms in ukraine is going to be critical to that nation's long-term success and the economic environment in that country right now is difficult and has certainly not been aided
by the actions of the russians to destabilize the country and to violate their territorial integrity. so the people of the u krab and the nation of ukraine is enduring quite a lot. the united states will continue to stand with them and support them as they endure these challenges and that also means that the government of ukraine will need to follow through on the critical economic reforms, some of which you alluded to, and we are hopeful that the commitment to implementing those reforms will continue in the mind of mr. yaksin yuk's successor. >> the classification of the so-called 28 pages and the last chapter of the 9/11 report? >> bill, for the details related to the declassification process i would refer you to the office of the national intelligence. his office is responsible for the declassification exercises
and they'll make the necessary decisions about which of the materials and how much of the materials can be declassified. i think the president has made clear that trying to prevent bureaucratic overclassification is something that we've identified as a policy priority and there are a number of steps we have taken in recent years to make clear that that is a priority even in the national security context where classified material preserving classified material is entirely legitimate. a couple of examples of that, the first is the administration did support the declassification of the key elements of the senate's report on the former cia interrogation program. this is what's often referred to of the rdi board and there is a vigorous debate in congress
whether about whether or not the report should be declassified and they did support the declassification of the report. this is something that we've been talking about in the last few weeks which is the commitment that the administration has made to making public instances in which non-combatants are killed in counter terrorism operations overseas. there's more work to be done on this, but this is something that the top counter terrorism adviser discussed recently. so we would anticipate that we'll have more news about how that information will be released in the coming weeks, but i think it does reflect the important progress that we've made over the course of the administration. you'll recall, bill, that in the early years of this administration that individuals who are standing where i'm standing wouldn't even acknowledge that those counter terrorism operations were taking place and now you have a situation where the administration is laying out a key system for not just acknowledging that those
operations took place, but also disclosing more detail about the consequences of those actions. >> back to this particular case. >> yes? >> when the declassification began because in the nfc statement today they said they hoped to have it done by the end of the administration, but how long is it supposed to take when you have members of the 9/11 commission, at least three of them and two former members of intelligence committees and according to the former congressman and even the saudis saying it should be declassified. bill, i've not seen the 28 pages and i don't know what it contains and i'm not ready to explain what the factors are in their ongoing review. i don't know when that process began. >> is it to the end of the administration? >> again, it may, but without having seen those materials it's hard for me to explain whether
it will or why it would if it does come to that. because you did mention the 9/11 commission, there is an independent investigation that was conducted into 9/11. this was you had experts who had previously served in government who led this effort and they did release a report that was declassified. we, the public, does have a lot of insight into what led to the attacks of 9/11 and what steps were taken to try to counter -- prevent it from happening again. >> the last chapter of that report was never released. >> yeah. this is a separate report. this is the report put together by congress. yes, that report has not been released but it is currently being reviewed by the office of the director of national intelligence for potential release. but i just don't have an update on other ongoing efforts. >> the president supports the release of this? >> i don't know that the president has reviewed those 28
pages. i can tell you that the president certainly does support being as transparent as possible. but he also believes that these national security officials have an important job to do to make sure that secrets need to be kept, if they need to be they can be. so i don't know that the president has voiced an opinion in this particular case, but we can check on that. >> of all of these people who have read the report, or many of them, suggest that it should be released, then what's the hang-up? i mean these are people who's seen the classified information, this he know what's in it, and according to roemer, even the saudi government supports it. so why the hang-up? >> bill, i think that we have seen -- there have been some high-profile champs in texample news recently -- of how well-intentioned patriotic national security professionals can arrive at different conclusions about what information can be made public without damaging our national secure and what information must
be withheld. and this is always part of a vigorous bureaucratic debate. i know the bureaucrat being often has a negative connotation. i don't necessarily mean it that way. i just mean that there are well-intentioned individuals with different points of view who can can arrive at different conclusions, or at least engage in a debiate that leaves them o different sides of that debate about what information can be made public without risking u.s. national security. i can't speak to the nature of the debate in this instance because i haven't read the 28 pages, but the president is certainly hopeful that this is something that they can resolve, consistent with a widely shared view about the need to be transparent, but also the need to protect secrets that critical to our national security.
pam. >> the review has been going on i believe since 2014. so why does it take two years to review 28 pages? >> again, pam, i haven't read the pages so i don't know what's in it but you can try to check with the office of the director of national intelligence who will oversee that process. is overseeing that process and may be able to provide you some greater insight into what kinds of factors are affecting the ultimate decision here. >> is the president bound by the outcome of that review? could he decide on his own to say i'm going to release it anyway despite what you're recommending? >> well, i don't know the answer to that. i know that people often discuss the fact that the president does have the ability to decide on his own what information can be declassified. will you obviously there is a process in place to consider the various points of view about
releasing sensitive national security information. in some cases there is a conclusion reached that this information can be released without damaging national security, and other situations that conclusion is reached that the information can't be released because, for example, it could reveal sources' methods through which information is obtained. so they need to protect those sources and methods often as justification for not releasing that information. but again, i don't know whether or not that's relevant of the context in this situation because i haven't read the 28 pages. >> if the information included evidence or indications that the saudi government or other institutions in saudi arabia had some other support for the hijackers, would the president feel that he could release that? >> i think that's a hypothetical that's hard to address from here. i just don't know whether or not that applies in this case. >> on the issue of the wall
street reform, the president said when he had janet yellen here in early march that the wall street reform has worked. today there was another settlement as a result of the financial meltdown. why has there been no major criminal actions for people who were involved in that, the savings and loan crisis which was a smaller financial crisis, there was something like 1,000 major criminal referrals out there. >> let me start by saying that any sort of decisions about a prosecution for financial crime would be made by an independent federal prosecutor. so that is -- those kinds of decisions are made by prosecutors. the reason those decisions are not made by people who are in political jobs is because we have an expectation in this country that the law is going to
be applied fairly and evenly without regard to political considerations. so in this case, those kinds of decisions are made by federal prosecutors and i'd refer you to the department of justice to -- for an answer or update to the extent they can provide one about ongoing investigation. what i can say is that people who have taken a close look at the financial crisis that this country endured in 2007 and 2008, many of them concluded that the problem was not predominantly that individuals were engaged in legal activity, but, rather, that the risky bets that they were making were entirely legal, and that was obviously a problem, because when those risky bets went bad, it shook the global financial markets, it weakened confidence in the u.s. economy, and it reverberated around the world. that's a problem obviously.
and that is why the president working closely with members of congress was committed to reforming wall street in a way that would not leave taxpayers on the hook for bailing out a bank or other financial institution that made bad bets. the reform legislation also included measures that prevented, or at least reduced, the riskiness of the bets these financial institutions were allowed to make. for example, one of the chief reforms that were considered by the law and implemented successful is increasing the capital buffer that many banks have to maintain. essentially they need to keep in hand more financial reserves to leverage against bets that could go bad. and that has brought greater
stability to our financial system, and the irony is this is that we saw many of the leading advocates of banks and traders and people on wall street said that those kinds of reforms would throw a wet blanket over the economy, that they would inhibit innovation and inhibit the kind of investment that's critical to the dynamism of our economy. but i think that the kind of strength and sustained strength that we've seen in our economy over the last several years indicates that they were wrong, that it is possible to implement the kind of wall street reform that would protect taxpayers, that would protect the global economy, without overly inhibiting the ability of the u.s. economy to continue to thrive. and the president's been very satisfied that not only is it possible to strike that right balance, but that this reform --
that these reforms succeeded in striking that right balance in terms of protecting the american people, protecting the u.s. economy while allowing our economy overall to thrive and to become the envy of the world. >> well, those reforms are protecting things going forward. do you think that the fact that there have been no -- or very few criminal prosecutions of any major players in the meltdown is a factor in the simmering anger that a lot of americans have that nobody was really punished for what happened? >> well, i don't have them in front of me, but there are certainly some statistics that we can provide related to settlements that were obtained by the department of justice and other actions that were taken by the department of treasury that indicate that there was important accountability brought to bear. and that is important. the president has spoken to how important that is.
what's also important though, and what is also critical to building confidence in the financial system, is demonstrating that laws can be put in place to prevent those kinds of things from happening again and we've been very gratified over the last several years to see wall street reform be implemented over the strenuous objections of many on wall street. in a way that has succeeded in making our financial system safer and more stable without inhibiting the growth of a thriving u.s. economy. >> do you have any update on when the tpp trade agreement is going to be submitted to congress or has the supreme court nomination thrown off your schedule? >> i don't have an update for when this would be provided -- or submitted to congress. obviously the text of the agreement has been public for quite some time and it continues
to be available for public review and for review by individual members of congress. but for an official submission to congress, i just don't have a time frame to lay out for you. at this point it is not clear to me that that would in any way be affected by the ongoing effort to get members of the united states senate to do their jobs and actually give chief judge garland the kind of fair public hearing and timely yes or no vote that he surely deserves. >> thanks, josh. in trading notes with the fed chairwoman, will the president discuss the level of interest rates right now? >> i would not anticipate that even in the confidential setting that the president would have a conversation with the chair of the fed that would undermine her ability to make these kinds of critical monetary policy decisions independently.
so the conversation hasn't occurred yet so i don't want to prejudge too much. but i know that the president cares deeply about preserving both the appearance of, and the fact of, the independence of the federal reserve and the chair. and i'm sure the president will keep that priority in mind even in the context of their private discussion. julie. >> want to go back to something said over the weekend with regard to the issue of classified information. he seemed to make a distinction when he was walking about hillary clinton's e-mails between classified information and really classified information. as if there was some sort of grey area between whether something deserved to be kept secret for national security reasons or not. but this administration has been pretty absolute about going after leakers of classified information of whatever it might be and going so far as to prosecute them for divulging
some of the stuff. i guess i'm wondering like which is it? does the president actually believe that there is some classified information that's more deserving of protection for national security purposes than others or does he believe that in all cases you have to follow the law and classified's classified? >> well, that's an interesting question. let me try to answer it in a couple different ways here. i think what is true is that there are always going to be, always have been and will be in the future, there will be disputes in the national security bureaucracy -- again, i use that word not pejoratively -- about what information can safely be release and what information can't. so why don't i just give one general example that i think has been discussed in this context. when i say discussed in this context, i mean reported by all of you publicly, which is the question about whether or not information continues to be
classified even though it's been publicly reported. there are some in the national security establishment who would say, well, it doesn't matter if it's been reported by "the washington post," this information is still classified because it could, if confirmed by the u.s. government, undermine our ability to protect sources and methods. i think other people -- probably many other people -- would conclude that there's not significant interest that the u.s. government has in keeping something secret if everybody can read about it in the "washington post," just to cite one example. and this is part of a debate that goes on not just in the context of secretary clinton's e-mails, but in the context of making decisions about releasing information that's requested as a result of a freedom of information act request. and considering administration responded to more than 700,000 freedom of information act requests, just last year, i think that should be an indication to all of us that
this is a conversation that happens quite frequently. so that's the first thing. i think the second thing is -- and this is something the president did allude to in his answer -- there are secrets that are critical to our national security. there are secrets that i think that even journalists occasi occasionally would acknowledge should be kept secret in order to protection the american people. now how to keep that secret and for how long to keep that information secret is surely the subject of legitimate debate. but at its core there are some things that i think we all acknowledge should be kept secret, and that means when information like that is not kept secret by people who have taken an oath to protect it, that those individuals should be held accountable.
now, when it comes to prosecutions by the department of justice of people who are accused of leaking classified information, violating the pledge that they signed to protect that information, those are decisions that are made by independent prosecutors. so i can't weigh in at this point about whether or not those prosecutions were justified or whether or not they were legitimate or even handled appropriately. many of the investigations that you refer to were actually begun by the previous administration. i think that should be an indication to you about how serious this administration takes the responsibility of ensuring that those kinds of investigations are insulated from political influence. the fact that they were commenced under a previous administration i think is an indication that they aren't subjected to second-guessing by people who have politics in their job description. that's a good thing for our country. that's a good thing for
inspiring confidence in the ability of our investigators and prosecutors to make decisions on the merits to make decisions in pursuit of justice and not in pursuit of a political agenda. i think that's why you saw the president draw such a hard line with chris wallace in the interview, indicating that he could guarantee that there will not be any political influence in the ongoing investigation of secretary clinton's e-mail system. and that's an important part of preserving the integrity of the justice system, and protecting the generally accepted notion of what justice actually is, that this is a decision that should be made by federal prosecutors with regard to the law, not with regard to politics. and the president believes in that principle quite strongly, and i think that's why he was so categorical in discussing it with from wall also. >> two things. you seem to be suggesting that
the president and this administration is not supportive of some of these leaked prosecutions that have happened. >> i think the point that i'mmakering is it doesn't matter whether or not we support them, they're going to move forward because the decisions that are made about those investigations are made independent of the preference of anyone with politics in their job description. that's how it should be. so whether or not the president or some other elected official approves of or disapproves of those investigations, is irrelevant. these are decisions that are made by independent federal prosecutors and that's the way in this country that we ensure that our system of justice is conducted with regard to the law and to evidence and facts, not politics. >> to get back to the key
question of whether -- i mean he seemed to be saying that there can be a debate over what's classified and what's not classified. he said that earlier. but if that's the case, then how can this administration expect compliance with the law? i mean is something classified if it's marked classified? is it classified if the president or somebody else decides that it is really vital to national security? i mean it seems like there is a distinction there that's not being captured by the classification process. he's trying to get at, that it's not clear under the law. >> i think that the president is just making the observation. and i think you're drawing a pretty clear illustration here, too, of how complicated this picture is. obviously there is a need for individuals who sign an oath to protect classified information to protect that information. i signed that oath. that's something that i abide by, even in the context of these kinds of discussions that we have. it is not uncommon for me to be asked about classified information. i certainly do my best to try to
help all of you work on your stories, but i also do so with the knowledge that i need to protect that information and. i'm certainly not the only official in the government that has that kind of responsibility, and it certainly is a responsibility that i take seriously and i think it is a responsibility that the vast majority of government officials take quite seriously, and i think as the president alluded, secretary clinton has acknowledged that with regard to this information, none of which was stamped classified, that she was a little careless. and that if she had an opportunity to do it differently and handle this information differently, she would have done that. but what's also true is she has said from the beginning that none of the information that she received or sent from that e-mail account was stamped or marked classified. and i haven't read all the e-mails that have been released. many of you have.
but i haven't seen any evidence publicly that what she's saying about that was wrong. and considering that we're talking about tens of thousands of e-mails, i think that's a relevant fact. okay? >> i can just follow up on that? so the president also said he doesn't believe that hillary clinton put the national security at risk. so just to be clear, is this a belief or is this knowledge based on knowing the e-mails or being briefed that these e-mails did not put national security at risk? >> well, let me be clear about this, suzanne. the president has neither sought nor received a confidential briefing or confidential information about the ongoing investigation. the president's knowledge about this situation is based entirely on public reporting. this is one of the benefits of the approach that secretary clinton and her team have taken to dealing with this matter. secretary clinton said, well,
let's just make all the e-mail public. all of you in your news organizations have spent -- god knows how many hours -- reviewing all those e-mails. some of them interesting, most of them mundane. but it does give the american public some insight into what is included in those e-mails. and when you hear the president's public comments on this matter, it's based entirely on the reporting that you and your news organizations have done on this matter. >> so he's confident that there is nothing that is missing in any of the report, and that he is absolutely confident that he has all the information that he needs to come up with that conclusion? >> well, i think the president was asked a specific question and he shared his view based on public reporting on this that has been done. at the same time, the president was careful, both at the beginning and at the end of the questioning, to acknowledge -- and this is sort of goes back to what julia was asking -- to
acknowledge that the opinion that really matters is the opinion of the independent investigators that are taking a close look at this. the president does have confidence that those prosecutors and other investigators will exercise their independent judgment, that they'll set politics aside and focus on the facts of the case and they will allow the facts to guide them as they pursue their investigation and that is certainly what the president would expect. and it is consistent with what both attorney general lynch and director comey had to say about their investigations. >> just another point on what the president talked about with fox. you said regarding the worst mistake, probably failing to plan the day after the u.s.-led invasion of libya. there are a lot of people who criticized president bush and his administration for their lack of planning after intervening in iraq and not having sufficient understanding, historical understanding of the sectarian violence there between sunni and shia.
does the administration -- does the president, do they see any parallels, do they see any kind of inherent risk in the administration leading a coalition in the middle east in a volatile situation such as that, and in terms of his own thinking of lessons learned? >> well, i think it is difficult to compare the two situations because obviously the previous administration ordered a military action as a result of intelligence that didn't prove to be true. intervention in libya was different. the intervention in libya was based on an emergent situation where you had a blood-thirsty dictator vowing to slaughter thousands, if not tens of thousands of innocent people, and the president of the united states led an international coalition to try to prevent that from happening, and by and large, they did. so i think it is difficult to
compare these two situations. >> in terms of post planning, in terms of not understanding or having the commitment of allies come through, is there any kind of parallel that the administration sees in the risk, the inherent risk of working and depending on those allies and having it fall through? because you talked about the power vacuum. >> yeah. well, i do think that the point that the president was making is not that our -- that any specific ally of the united states had utterly failed to follow through on a specific commitment that they had made, but rather that the united states and our broader coalition had not succeeded in mobilizing the necessary resources to bring about the scenario that we would have eventually liked to see. now, the good news in libya is that we have made some important progress in recent years. it's just taken a whole lot longer than we planned for. i think that's the point that the president has made. obviously the united nations has
done some really important work in building up this government of national accord that is now in tripoli and working to establish itself as the legitimate government of libya and to persuade the militias on the very militias on exercise significant influence over that country to lay down their arms and to support the government of the country. that can eventually try to bring the security situation inside of libya under control. this is going to be a long process, but the united states certainly our coalition partners at that time and the broader international community have been critical to the success of this effort or least the progress that they've been able to make thus far. >> thanks, josh. so lieutenant commander edward lind charged with espionage and
attempted espionage. given that he was a high-level officer and the type of information he would have access to, has the president been updated on this case? does he express any sentiments regarding it? and how damaging is the information he had access in the hands ever the japanese and taiwanese is that for national security? >> i can't speak to the substance of the allegations against the naval officer that you've just described. the department of the navy may be able to provide you some guidance around that. as it relates to the -- to this investigation and potential prosecution, i am quite limited in what i can say because the department of navy has indicated that this individual's been charged with violations, including espionage, under the uniform code of military justice. and there is a risk that saying much of anything about it could be perceived as the commander in chief influencing the chain of command with this matter. so there is very little that i
can say. i can just confirm for you that this -- that these charges have been filed, that the -- that there is an officer that is in custody at the naval consolidated brig in chesapeake. but other than that, i'd just refer you to the department of navy for additional steps that will be taken. >> you confirming the president has been updated about the case or expressed any interest at all -- >> i actually do not know whether or not the president has been briefed on this particular matter but we'll see if we can get you on information on that. >> then in north carolina, the controversial law making it illegal for a transgender person to use a bathroom of their choice, new york governor andrew cuomo banned non-essential travel to the state. the boss canceling his show there. would the president consider not traveling to north carolina as a result of this law or its impact on federal employees traveling to the state? >> i'm not aware of any decision like that having been reached on the part of the president or any
other federal government official. but obviously we've seen some of the other leaders in entertainment and in business come forward and express their significant discomfort with this law that state of north carolina has passed and the governor has signed into law. i think -- again, i talked about this a little bit before but i think it is relevant, particularly in this case, in light of some of the more recent developments even, that the state of north carolina over the last couple of decades has really thrived economically by aggressively marketing a friendly business climate. they've talk about how they have really been able to harness the innovation in the research triangle, to create an environment where small businesses with a good idea can succeed, and we've seen big businesses look to try to get in on the action and to try to
capitalize on that kind of environment to ensure the success of their business or to even advance their business model. i think what is also true though is you're detracting from the business environment if you essentially are going to make it legal to discriminate against that business's employees or customers. and i think that is a question that the governor of north carolina in particular failed to account for, but one that ultimately he'll have to answer for. dave. >> thanks, josh. when you said earlier that the president was taking the lesson of libya and trying to apply it in other situations since then, were you referring to syria or isil or what were you talking about? >> i think this is the kind of lesson that can be applied in a variety of situations. i think there are some relevant lessons to draw in thinking about the situation in syria. for example, the president has received sustained criticism
from predominantly from republicans but not just from republicans, for not ordering a military strike against the assad regime back in 2013 once the intelligence community had concluded that the assad regime had used chemical weapons against innocent civilians. i don't know if the president had the situation in libya in mind as he considered what should happen next, but there is a relevant analogy to be drawn in asking the question about what would happen next in syria after that military strike was taken. and i think understanding the longer term consequences of military action is important for the commander in chief to consider. and, frankly, it is the kind of
thing that the commander in chief should consider before ordering military action. and it certainly guides the decision making that president obama has made in the context of responding to isil, both in iraq and in syria. >> is it accurate then to say that libya made him more reluctant to go into syria, or he wasn't predisposed to go into syria in the first place, was he? >> well, i don't know about -- well, i guess i don't know entirely what you mean by "predisposed to go into syria. . you started from a position of not wanting to get involved with syria and going into their civil war. >> that's certainly what the president would have preferred, being in a situation where he had to order a small number of u.s. special operators on the ground in syria. that's true. but, look, that's also true that he would have preferred to not be in the situation which the
united states was carrying out air strikes or providing assistance to fighters on the ground inside of syria. but because of the failure of the assad regime to effectively govern that country, it created a vacuum and we saw an extremist organization like isil attempt to set up a safe haven inside of syria and that led to some significant problems. the president has every turn has focused on the kinds of decisions he iss imaking to counter isil are consistent with our long-term national security interests. the premise of your question i would disagree with, the president hasn't done so reluctantly. the president has understood that at least in this case it was important for him to order military action in order to protection the american people and protect our interests around the world. of course he would have welcomed a scenario in which that use of military force was not necessary, he would certainly have preferred an assad regime that was much more effective in respecting and protecting basic
human rights and effectively governing that country. that's not what we've seen. and the president has not hesitated to use military force where necessary to take isil fighters off the field, to try to have an influence over the battlefield against isil so that we can degrade and ultimately destroy that terrorist organization. >> briefly one other thing. does the white house have any comment on the $5 billion settlement payment by goldman sachs that was finalized today in the mortgage crisis? >> i don't think i have a specific reaction to it. i think this obviously goes back to pam's question from earliyie. obviously decisions about prosecutions and settlements are made by prosecutors at the department of justice. so i wouldn't second-guess th r their -- the conclusions that they have reached. but i think obviously the president believes that people should be held accountable for their actions, and that's
particularly true if there is a situation which your actions may have been a contributor to the worst economic downturn since the great depression. kevin. >> thanks, josh. interesting conversation from the president from with my colleague, chris wallace, on sunday. president used the word "careless" to describe secretary clinton's use of her private e-mail server. i'm wondering if he feels like there is a difference as a constitutional lawyer, scholar, as the president, between the words "careless" and "negligent." are they not the same under the law? >> well, i think it is hard for me to parse the president's answer on this. i do think the president was not careless in choosing which words to use in answering this question. but why he chose one word over another is not something i don't think -- is not something i can speak to. >> do you see them as the same? >> well, i guess the point here
is that in some ways it doesn't matter what i think. the most important way it doesn't matter what i think because this is something that is being looked at by federal prosecutors and they'll take a look at how the decisions were made about setting up the e-mail system and they'll ultimately make their own conclusions and they'll make their own determination about what are the appropriate questions to ask. and again, that is the way that we instill confidence in the public in our criminal justice system, that the questions that are being asked by independent federal prosecutors are questions that they themselves decide to ask. they'll decide who should answer them and they will reach a conclusion about what consequences that means for the law and whether or not a prosecution should move forward. that's a process that has served
the american people quite well. this is not the tradition in many countries. in other countries, there are situations where a political officials are essentially in charge of the justice system, or wield inordinate influence over the justice system such that people with different political views are treated differently within the criminal justice system. and we value the political independence of our justice system in this country because it gives us all confidence that people are going to be considered fairly under the law without regard to their political views. this is a principle that is worth protecting. and sometimes it does mean that i, for example, will not be able to answer your questions in as detailed a fashion as i would like because it is not just this is a principle that we want to protect. i think all of you, for example, take the attorney general at her
word when she testifies before congress that she's, quote, aware of no efforts to undermine our review or investigation into this matter at all, or when director comey says that he's taki taken a close look at the case and being regularly updated on it because he wants to make sure, quote, there is no outside influence. so they've been able to -- the individuals who are responsible for conducting this investigation have been able to publicly conclude that they don't feel like they're subject to influence. you've heard the president of the united states say definitively in the context of his interview that he would guarantee that there is no political influence that was going to be brought to bear in this kind of situation, and i think the combination of those three comments i think can give people a lot of confidence that everybody who goes through the criminal justice system, whether they are as well known as secretary clinton or not, is going to be treated fairly, and
that the public interest will be served by the fair treatment of those individuals. >> just to -- couple more, very quickly. if the president e-mailed the secretary on her private server -- or her clinton e-mail dotcom address, would he not then have an obligation to at least somehow report that? because you are talking about government business going to a private e-mail, presumably unsecure e-mail server. would he not have to at least report that? >> kevin, the point here is that while the president was certainly aware of her e-mail address, he was not aware of the system that had been put in place to support it. there's -- there are many reasons why an individual might have -- particularly somebody in a position like the secretary of state who might have an e-mail address that cannot be easily guessed by the general public or by our nation's adversaries. for example, there is a reason
that she was not at hclinton @state.gov. and so i think that is the reason that no one who e-mailed with the secretary of state -- at least that i'm aware from the white house -- knew of her private e-mail server arrangement. they certainly were aware that she had a different e-mail address that than other state department employees, but i'm not aware of anybody at the white house who knew of the arrangement that she had in place. >> is it also then fair to say that no one at the white house makes it a regular occurrence -- the president at least doesn't make it a regular occurrence to e-mail private e-mail addresses conducting government business? >> that's true. the instructions that the white house has provided to all federal employees is that they should use their government e-mail for government business. and if there are isolated situations in which individuals had to use their personal
e-mail, that information is transferred over to the official system so that it can be properly archived and used to respond to specific inquiries. there are a variety of situations where this could come up. if your blackberry stops working which has happened on more than one occasion, or if you're traveling overseas and you're having some problem with connectivity, you may have access to your personal e-mail. but what's important is that this is a situation that's not the norm, and that in those rare instances when it is used, that those personal e-mails are properly maintained on the official system by either cc'ing the official address or forwarding the exchange over to your official account. >> just so i'm clear, no government busy should be transacted between say the president's account and some private account. >> well, certainly when the president's doing business, and he does not do very much business over e-mail. as you would expect, much of the business that the president's engaged in would reasonably be
described as either classified or at least sensitive information. so when the president is doing that kind of business, yes, it is generally over government e-mail. >> 8 of the 11 remaining obamacare health insurance co p co-o co-ops,/cording to reporting, are likely to fail this year. i'm just curious if knowing now what we know about the dollars spent, about the commitment made, was in the right strategy for the american people? >> well, kevin, the focal point of the affordable care act was making sure we expanded access to as many people across the country as possible. when i say access, i mean access to quality, affordable health insurance. we've seen that some 13 million people now have taken advantage of the affordable care act to get coverage. this is good, quality affordable coverage. the vast majority of cases that
they didn't previously have access to. and our goal here was to use competition and we have seen positive progress in building competition in individual marketplaces. so in individual states, in 2014, average number of issuers per state was eight in -- in 2013 it was eight. 2014 it was nine. this most recent year it was 10. we've seen an increase in the average number of issuers per state in these national marketplaces. the premise here is that by increasing competition, we can create an environment in which individual insurers are competing for people's business. that means that individual insurers are going to be competing to drive down costs and to drive up benefits. and that's how we've arrived at a scenario where more people have access to quality affordable health insurance than
ever before. what -- the consequence of that is that when you do see situations where particular health care arrangements don't pan out, the good news for the customers of those arrangements is that they've got lots of other options. they've got lots of other viable options where they can get quality affordable health insurance on the private market, something that was not previously available to them. >> you're okay with $25 billion invested in 2010, and 8 of the 11 remaining failing, that's okay because the ends justify the means? >> i think what we would like to see in general is increased competition. that's exactly what we've got. we were also looking to save money and there over the next ten years we will find -- this is even something that the cbo has concluded -- tens of billions of defense fit reduction as a result of the aforlable care act. there is no denying millions of americans got access to quality affordable health insurance for the first time because of the
affordable care act and american taxpayers will see health care costs that are paid by the federal government limited in such a way that we're actually going to reduce the deficit by tens of billions of dollars. that's a significant achievement, one that our nay sayers long thought was not possible, and that's probably why many of those nay sayers now won't even acknowledge the important progress that we've made. >> thanks, josh. you talk a little bit about three, four months into the year the state of the president's relationship with speaker paul ryan? does the president think that he's doing a good job? >> the president certainly does continue to respect speaker ryarya ryan. no one underestimates the challenge he has undertaken. they do speak with some frequency. oftentimes those are conversations that we don't
disclose. so i can't tell you the last time that they spoke. but it certainly is not unusual for the two men to trade phone calls. that's typically how they'll communicate. i don't want to leave you with the impression this talks every day or every week even, but it is not unusual for them to engage in conversation. the president certainly respects the important responsibilities that speaker ryan has as the leader of the republicans in the house of representatives. speaker ryan is somebody who has demonstrated that he takes quite seriously the responsibilities that he has. he's somebody who's been quite thoughtful about his views and his prescription for how to further strengthen the country. obviously the two men have some pretty significant differences of opinion. what we've tried to focus on our areas where there is common ground. passing funding to make sure that our health care professionals have the necessary resources to fight zika is
something where democrats and republicans should be able to find common ground. hopefully speaker ryan will take action on that. speaker ryan has talked before about how expanding the earned income tax credit could be a powerful way to fight poverty. the president has considered this a reasonable and maybe even promising policy approach. hopefully democrats and republicans in the congress can work together to arrive at an expansion of the earned income tax credit in a way that could be good for our economy. democrats an republicans along the campaign trail have certainly spent a long time talking about how to fight heroin abuse and opioid addiction. president obama believes this is a priority. you'll recall he traveled down to atlanta a couple weeks ago to talk about this. hopefully this is something -- the president was actually introduced by the chairman of the house appropriations committee, republican from kentucky, hal rogers. hopefully mr. rogers and mr.
ryan can work together to advance this important priority the president would certainly welcome that. speaker ryan made clear that the house would begin to take action to help puerto rico address the significant financial challenges plaguing puerto rico. the president's played an important role and we've seen democrats and republicans come together to begin to make some progress. there is a lot of work that remains to be done but they are onniously off to a good start and we're pleased about that. so there is no shortage of opportunities for speaker ryan and president obama to work together. in a way that doesn't require either of them to capitulate on core principles. but there is an opportunity, and a requirement, that both of them put the interests of the country ahead of more narrow political considerations. i think it remains to be seen how serious house republicans are about setting aside the grousing that they may find in
some corners of their party for cooperating with president obama so they can actually find some common ground on something that democrats and republicans agree would be good for the country. >> on politics, does president obama have a position on the possibility that the republicans could have a brokered convention? >> he does not. >> so hypothetically, if paul ryan were to be part of that brokered convention, he would have no feeling on that either. >> my rudimentary understanding of the republican nomination process is that as the speaker of the house, speaker ryan actually is the chair of the convention. so if an open convention or brokered convention does come about, it does seem that speaker ryan would, whether he likes it or not, play a prominent role in that prospect. >> finally, does the white house believe it's strategy to approve merrick garland? >> we've certainly made a lot of important progress in getting the senate, frankly, to do its
job and to give chief judge garland a fair hearing and a timely yes or no vote. this is a good opportunity for me to talk about what i think will be a pretty important week in this nomination process. i'm not aware of any meetings that chief judge garland has today on capitol hill but over the course of this week he'll be meeting with 14 different senators, six of them republicans. and starting tomorrow he'll have breakfast with the chairman of the senate judiciary committee, chuck grassley. you'll recall that just hours after the announcement of justice scalia's untimely death, that leader -- republican leader in the senate, mitch mcconnell, announced that the senate would not be considering a presidential nomination to fill a vacancy on the supreme court. so the fact that judge garland is meeting this week with six different republican senators to discuss his nomination i think is an indication that we have made important progress and let
me explain to you why. after meeting with these republican senators, i guess by the end of the week he'll be up to nine because he's already met with three different republican senators, collins, kirk and boes m man. but after those meetings an obvious question will be begged of those republican senators, and it's simply this -- if you've had an opportunity to hear from chief judge garland directly, why shouldn't your constituents? after all, you're the one making the case that the people's voice should be heard in this process. so why shouldn't the people have the opportunity to hear from chief judge garland about his views, about his record? he obviously has spent 19 years on the federal bench serving in the -- what's often described as the second highest court in the land, the d.c. circuit court of appeals. he has more federal judicial experience than any other supreme court nominee in history. so he certainly has the capacity
to answer these questions. he's prepared to do it on camera, under oath. he's prepared to take whatever questions democrats and republicans on the senate judiciary committee may have to put forward. he can handle it. i guess the question is why can't the people asking the questions handle it? i suspect -- i have a theory. to the extent that i'm able to divine much insight into the republican -- mind of any republican senator, i think this is what republicans are concerned about. they're concerned about getting him that opportunity because if they do, it will be clear to the american public that he's deserving of a lifetime appointment on the supreme court. and it is going to make it a lot harder for them to justify blocking him. so that's why you've seen leader mcconnell try to shut this down at the pass. but the fact that at the end of the week chief judge garland
will have met with nine republican senators is an indication that we're making some important progress. there is a long way to go, but it certainly is going to, as chief judge garland does these meetings, it is not going to reduce the number of questions that republican senators are facing about why they're blocking this nomination and refusing to do their job. it is only going to increase the frequency of those questions, and that's significant because we know, for example, that this is an accusation that chairman grassley himself is pretty uncomfortable with. he himself has said that he resentence the notion that he's not doing his job. but the fact is, as the chair of the senate judiciary committee, he has as much influence as anyone over whether or not chief judge garland is going to get a fair hearing. he'll have as much say as anyone about the way this senate judiciary committee reports out his nomination. and that will have a significant impact on how individual members of the united states senate vote
on his nomination. so, look, these tough questions of the senators are just getting started. and it's ironic that in the back halls of congress, you see a lot of republican senators sort off ducking questions from members of the media about why they're blocking chief judge garland's nomination, while at the same time you see chief judge garland eager to go out in public, under oath, on camera, and answer all the questions that these senators can think of to ask. that is why the position that republicans have adopted is so difficult to defend. both as a matter that's central to their constitutional responsibilities, but it is also why, frankly, as a matter of politics it is a tough question for them to answer. >> angela? >> thanks, josh. on the topic of the meeting with fed chairwoman, the "l.a. times" reported last year that there is a federal reserve job, the vice
chair of supervision created back in dodd-frank but that's never been filled. now chairman shelby is holding up other fed nominations saying that this job hasn't been filled is the reason for those holds. does the president have any intention to ever nominate somebody hob the fed's vice claire for supervision? >> well, listen. i think it is -- i don't have any personnel announcements to make at this point in terms of individuals who may be considered or when a nomination could be put forward. but i think it is a tough case to make for senator shelby to say that he's not going to fill any vacancies on the fed until one specific vacancy has been fill filled. i don't think it sort of matches people's common sense about how the senate should fulfill its duties, particularly when you consider that there are two individuals, highly qualified federal reserve nominees, that have been put forward almost a
year ago in one case, and more than a year ago in the other case, to fill important positions on the board. and we're going to continue to make a forceful case for these two individuals, and chairman grassley -- i'm sorry, senator shelby doesn't exactly have a strong record to stand on when considering nominees to the senate banking committee. it obviously is -- his failure to act expeditiously in this area is something that has already garnered strong criticism of his conduct. and his continued obstruction of two highly qualified federal reserve nominees is only going to enhance that criticism. >> does the white house have any
comment on ka nad canadian paci decision to abandon -- >> i don't have a specific reaction. don't know anything about that if that's something that just broke. >> has the president had any conversations with congressman wasserman-schultz about her pay hike pending bill? >> not that i am aware of. i don't know the details of the legislation that she has put forward. obviously the president has put out a statement announcing his enthusiastic support for her re-election. but i'm not aware of any position the administration's taken on her legislative proposal. >> her legislative proposal sort of undermines the rule a year ago. >> why don't i do a little work on learning more on her legislation and get back to you. all right? okay. thanks, everybody. as this white house briefing comes to a close, quick reminder that if you missed any of the
briefing, you can find it online at our website, c-span.org. as you saw at the top of the briefing, there was an update on the zika virus from the principal deputy director for the cdc. watch all of that discussion on our website at c-span.org. the u.s. house will be back to take up zika legislation tomorrow when they return from their three-week spring break. specifically members will be dealing with a bill to make zika virus vaccines eligible for fda priority reviews. the u.s. senate meets today at 3:00 p.m. eastern. they'll resume debate on a bill to extend funding for the federal aviation administration. lawmakers will also take a confirmation vote on a judicial nomination that happens at 5:30 eastern. see the house live on c-span and the senate of course on c-span2. coming up tonight at 8:00, a look at the implications of the
military allowing women to serve in combat roles. current and former military officials talk about troop morale, recruitment and training, and how other countries have integrated women into combat situations. here's a preview. >> as a recruiter, and as an officer, you know that these standards -- you said you were not a good shot until last year. what stopped you from being a good shot? >> i was convinced that i wasn't a good shot. and when i told myself that i was going to hold my kree kruts to a higher standard, i said it had to start with me. so i forced myself to go to the electronic pistol range for a month of before i went to qualify so i could become more confident in my weapon. it worked. for the first time i shot expert. so it can be done. >> how long were you in the service? >> almost 20. >> 20 years of service. >> that's right. >> and it took you that long when the a the basic schooling, you know, we went to the basic school together. we all qualified right there and then there and there was nobody telling you at that time you couldn't shoot. >> so clearly you are not
familiar with language expectancy. because if it were the case that women -- you can roll your eyes, sir. but the point is that if >> i was never told that through my entire -- through my entire four years -- >> the point is, if you look at decades of shooting results at paris island, it's clear that was the case when we changed that dynamic, we saw the results. >> you can see all of the event on women in combat 8:00 eastern, c-span3. >> tonight, on "the communicators" federal communications commission chair tom wheeler in his first interview with c-span since being nominated by president obama in 2013. he talks about issues facing the fcc, including net neutrality, set top boxes, expansion of the subsidized lifeline phone program to internet, regulation of the internet, and privacy. and the spectrum incentive
auction that's just beginning. mr. wheeler discusses how he views future of telecom and the internet. he's joined by brian fong, technology reporter for "the washington post." >> what i was fortunate enough to be able do in the cable industry and wireless industry was to be involved as they were bringing great change to the american economy and the way people lived their lives. and that's what we're dealing with at fcc, because we're now in the middle of one of great network revolutions of all time and the job of the fcc is to say, okay. how do we deal with the kind of changes that are happening all around us as a result of new technology? >> watch tonight 8:00 eastern on c-span 2. the brookings institutions recently host and event with former state department legal adviser harold koh.
mr. koh criticized presidential candidates for suggesting use of waterboarding and carpet bombing calling tactics illegal. a panel discussion was held after his remarks. >> certainly more settled event here at brookings in comparison to the one we had yesterday maybe some of you -- i see a couple of heads nodding around here. we were honored by having the president of turkey here and we were not so honored by having some fairly vigorous protests outside, up and down massachusetts avenue yesterday. so today, we're going to step back a little bit from some of the more angry and fear-driven issues of the day and look at the world from the standpoint of
international law. and let me say a couple of words about the origin of the stephen breyer lecture here at brookings. the associate justice himself is a friend of this institution. he is a friend of many of us who work here. he is certainly a friend and admirer of our lecturer today, harold koh. he has, over the years, had various connections with brookings including writing his first book under the imprint of the brookings institution press. i think it was about 35 years ago, maybe even longer than that. and we've had events for him when his recent books have come out. and back in 2014, the brookings institution entered into a partnership with the hague institute for global justice and
we decided to work together on an annual lecture, followed by a discussion of the sort that we are going to have today. and i'll come back to the institute which is represented here and i'll say a word or two about him in a moment. but i would like also, because of my own personal background with harold, to say a few things about him. i had the distinct pleasure of working with him in government during the clinton administration, when he was the assistant secretary of state for democracy and human rights. and as we all remember from the 1990, there were challenges on virtually every continent on these issues. and harold was not just a
thought leader, not just somebody who brings the discipline of his profession to diplomacy but he was very much an activist and a superb diplomat. and i might add, his diplomatic skills were often evidenced inside the united states government, because making sure that human rights and democracy is a key part of the american foreign policy agenda has not always been an easy task and an easy challenge, and he was more than up to it. when the clinton administration ended, my late wife and i went up to the groves of academe in new haven, connecticut, and nobody was more helpful it, hospitable, and a better mentor to me during the academic year
that we spent at yale than harold. and i will always be grateful to him and to his wife and to his family for taking care of us then. and, as you all know, he has been active again in government. in the state department and has now returned to yale, where he is a sterling professor of international law. and it is hard to imagine somebody more suitable, both to the topic today and also to the time that we are living in. after harold speaks to you, he is going to be joined by michele coninx, who is the president offyer just an acronym that
makes pretty clear what it's all about, and abi williams who is the president of the hague institute, who will be part of the discussion and also moderate the discussion that the two of you will have with harold. and now, it is my great pleasure to welcome here to the lectern ingrid von engelshoven, who is the deputy mayor of the hague and who is, therefore, representing the other half of the partnership that is bringing this event to you today. you'll have a few words for our guests. and then, we will have the pleasure of listening to harold. so please, ingrid, come on up here. thank you so much. ladies and gentlemen, good morning. it's my honor to welcome you here on behalf after the city of
the hague. and i want to start with thanking justice breyer for giving his name to this lecture. it's our honor to be able to use his name. i always want to thank brookings for its hospitality and i want to congratulate you on your centennial. it was in 1916, when robert brookings worked with government reformists, to create this first independent institution devoted to political study, top fact-based study of public policy. fact-based. that's so needed in these days. and today, it's an honor to listen to such distinguished speakers as michele coninx, president, professor koh, already introduced, abi williams from the institute of global justice will be our skilled moderator today.
and you all expected to hear the minister for justice and security. but the minister has decided to stay in the hague, in view of the letter to parliament that has to come and the many questions that need to be answered in the run-up to the debate next week about the brussels attacks and, of course, we regret very much that he is not here but as a politician, i understand fully why he stayed in the hague. the brookings institution is most influential, most quoted, and the most represented think tank in the world. so this is the place and this is the time to discuss crucial matters together. i think it's excellent that this meeting is being jointly hosted by brookings and the hague institute for global justice. our mayor, and the former madeleine albright, be as the founding father and founding
mother of the institute. and earlier this year, our mayor had a personal conversation with the secretary-general of the u.n., mr. ban ki-moon. and during this meeting, he said that the city of the hague is promoting u.n. sustainable goal 16 for peace, justice, and strong institutions. and in this area, the city of the hague has a reputation to maintain. we are internationally known and recognized as a legal capital of the world. we have a strong tradition in the areas of peace, justice, and the institutions. and we see opportunities for development. and, therefore, we cooperate with, for example, the renowned institute on international role. these days, there is much interest in the development of knowledge in the field of cybersecurity. and this is exactly what the hague can contribute.
in this field, are we are the gateway to europe. thanks to collaboration between businesses, government bodies, and knowledge institutes, regional, national and international. and the use of this triple helix cooperation is a condition for success. in fact, the message these days is very straightforward -- do cooperate. commerce, think tanks, government bodies. if everyone stays inside their own safe environment, no innovation is possible. but if you put your hand above your own organization's fence you can come up with solutions no one ever could think of. today, the topic of the justice breyer lecture on international law is the emerging law of 21st century war.
a subject that really matters. i could mention the recent atrocities in brussels and turkey, the continued strife and unrest in the middle east, and the conflicts in africa. there is a time for reflections. time for new insights. time for new initiatives. there's only one way to emerge from this crisis. cooperation, national and international. the hague security delta already has a wealth of knowledge in the field of cybersecurity. the cyberworld promises many benefits. we very an incredible amount of digital information available to us. and a smart user of this data, for instance, big data for humanity or for peace, as it's known can be used to avert conflicts, maybe even wars. and the hague wants to take the lead in all this. but digitalization brings new problems, as well.
critical infrastructure comes under pressure if criminals take control of it. we need new international regulations and laws in a digital world. and another question today is how do we protect digital privacy in a world without boarders, where terrorism has to be dealt with? there are many more questions popping up in this respect about our topic, the emerging law of the 21st century war. so, let's share our vision, be open to each other. brookings can help us to bring our very best qualities to the surface. and we will need to do that to get closer to a safer and more just world. and the city of the hague wants to be your partner in this. i wish you a very pleasant lecture, and i do invite professor koh to the stage. thank you so much. [ applause ]
>> thank you, madame deputy mayor. thank you to the sponsoring institution, the brookings institution with whom i've had such a wonderful cooperation over the years. the city of the hague, which i visited and admired for decades, and the hague institute for global justice under its brilliant leader, abi williams. it is a great honor to be here to deliver this lecture. my own perspectives, as strobe described, are having been an international law professor for 35 years, 20 years as a human rights lawyer, 10 years in the u.s. government and 5 years as dean of a law school. don't add these up. some of these are overlapping. but in each of these capacities
i've had the great honor to work from and learn from justice stephen breyer, who is our great transnationalist justice of this era. he follows in a tradition of justices mentioned here, just to single out two, melville fuller and former president william howard taft were founders of the american society of international law almost 100 years ago. and it is justice breyer in his various works and his most recent book "the court and the world" his opinions has sought to give the decent respect to the opinions off mankind, that the declaration of independence originally mandated. if there is a core idea that drives his transnationalist
this, that there is a transnational public law emerging rooted in shared norms that have a similar meaning in every national system. for example, the idea of cruel or degrading treatment, society displaced and the emerging law of transborder trafficking. what i want to talk about today about is the emerging law of 21st century war, which i think has been in many ways the most discussed and the least understood of these bodies of law, and here i am again going to pay special tribute to my talbott, with whom we had worked together during the clinton administration, particularly during the kosovo crisis. but when we got to yale in september, 2001, one of the first discussions we had after 9/11 was about whether this would be a situation where law would be abandoned,
or whether law would be modified to address the whole range of emerging problems. and it was strobe's commitment which i very much shared that the law might change but there would be law. we would not enter what you could call a law-free zone. what we've seen in the years since is that new tools of 21st century law have emerged. cyberconflict, drones, special operations, private security contractors, now increasingly discussion about autonomous and semi-autonomous robots and people ask the question, what are the rules? what is the emerging law of the 21st century? and there are two basic competing notions that come into play. a notion put forward by some is the notion that we are in a law-free zone, that because these technologies did not previously exist that there is no law to apply,
or that there is a world of legal black holes, places like guantanamo or tribunals which don't have to answer to law like military commissions. but the other view, which is the one that i think has prevailed, is the notion that we are in a moment where we translate what montesque calls the spirit of the laws to the present-day situation. there are many interpreters but it's extremely important that are that translation exercise occur, in particularly because we are in a time when both the domestic and international legislative systems are in stalemate and peculiarly paralyzed. so, if there is law to be applied, it is law that derives from the spirit of the laws that governed 20th century and 19th century conflicts. and what it takes only a moment of reflection to see is that there is a big difference between a black hole and a
translation exercise. and a black hole, you're operating outside the law. in a translation exercise, you may debate whether the translation is correct. but there is no doubt that we're operating within the framework of the law, not denying application of the law all together. what i want to argue today very quickly is that in these particular areas, a body of law has emerged which is transnational little shared with other developed nations, particularly our european colleagues. now let me start with the basic question which is, is the obama administration's approach the same as the bush administration's approach? this is a simplistic idea sometimes set forward by media. let me suggest six ways in which there are crucial differences. first, that this administration does not speak of a global war on terror. but the notion that there are military operations outside of
hot battlefields against terrorist networks that are contained by international law principles of state sovereignty. secondly, under domestic law that we do not operate on unenumerated constitutional powers of the president alone but on congressional authorizations plus constitutional power. that, as a matter of international law, these domestic authorizations are informed by the laws of war although there are those in even the d.c. circuit who disagree. that we do not use an either or approach, is this war or law enforcement, but that we combine them into a hybrid paradigm. so what may be appropriate for an isil leader in syria may change from a war approach there to a law enforcement approach if
that isil leader is found in, say, brussels. fifth, that we do not simply operate based on labels. calling someone an enemy combatant doesn't suddenly say that anything against that person goes. instead, it is a fact-based inquiry, as the deputy mayor said, about who the individuals are who are being subjects of military action. and finally, an absolute commitment to humane treatment, both in the detention and interrogation. these are important differences and they fit into what i would say is a broader obama administration legal theory of an integrated targeting and detention approach as part of a general strategy of smart power. you've heard this from in this administration repeatedly, particularly secretary clinton a notion that targeting should be lawful, detention should be both legally authorized and done under lawful conditions, with
the fruits of the -- of i legal detention not being used in subsequent proceedings. and lawful cooperation with other estates who are also at war and relying on law enforcement authorities. and i know that my colleague from euro just will say more about this in the discussion session. so where do these legal rules come from? three sources, international criminal law as it's developed since nuremberg, particularly now in the international criminal court rome statute which addresses genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and after 2017, the crime of aggression. conflict, sometimes known as international humanitarian law, and international human rights law whether it is not ousted by other bodies of law as a controlling. what does it mean to be in an armed conflict? we're in an armed conflict we're in an armed conflict when he we're fighting with an organi