tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN November 7, 2016 2:18pm-4:19pm EST
problem. sure, it's not just one individual, though of course he is the decisive figure in russian politics. it is a regime. it's corrupted the whole political elite to a large extent. i wouldn't say we have a russia problem. i don't think we have problems with russians, we have a lot in common with russians and a lot has been done through exchanges. we have the problem with the leader of the country who demonizes the west, belittles us and threatens our allies. that's the problem. similarly, it isn't a lack of communication, how many times has john kerry met with sergey lava. it is not lack of communication. chancellor merkel, how many meetings has she had? phone calls with putin. it isn't a lack of understanding of what we're dealing with here, the problem isn't the kremlin. >> let me ask you, david and
elena. what's the alternative universe that you want to create? so tom and paul are making a case that we have a lot of interests, may not like everything that russia does, but we have to talk to them and get done what we can and tom had a list of things which if those are on your list to do, russia could play a role. what's the alternative? >> well, the alternative is that we have some sort of tougher policy towards russia. there have to be consequences for what it has done on the international order for it's invasion of sovereign country, it's mass murder of civilians in syria. that tougher policy will be a mix of. includes ramping up sanctions which we have in place. reinvesting in our relationship with our allies. standing up to russia's human rights abuses, and of course, investigating russia's best export to the west. which is corruption. russia needs to clean up it's own act. and it's not about telling them what to do, it's our way or the
highway, that is absolutely not what this is. but the point is that the russian people and people in any country should have the choice as to the path their country takes and the russian people do not have that choice. so containment has worked before and it can work again. >> and i'll just add because we have a little time and you said don't waste time, but let me explain. i think it's critically important that we bolster russia's neighbors. that we support democratic economic security development in all of these countries. whether they are nato members with article 5 guarantees which i think does put them on a different level or aspiring countries and having countries in the gray zone. countries like ukraine and georgia and moldova. in this gray zone is incredibly
dangerous. aempb what i think we were to argue is we try to erase this gray zone, make it clear that they are welcome to join our institutions and i think the other side would argue we should focus on u.s./russian relations. >> let's hear -- >> i won't speak to you. >> with respect to the gray zone, i don't want a gray zone either. the problem is that we ourselves created this gray zone because we declared at the nato summit in 2008 that ukraine and georgia would become members of nato. it was quite clear there were serious differences within the nato alliance about making that happen. so we created a situation in which there was a strong incentive for russia to take advantage of that gray zone.
now it was their decision to do it. it wasn't our responsibility that they chose to do. but we created that situation. i think we have to be honest with ourselves about that. >> the only point i would make is russia is in the gray zone. and so the question is, what do we do at this point in order to in fact create the opportunities for the types of space that you're talking about in ukraine and georgia? and i think finding a way that you can take this and minimize the geopolitical competition and engage with both ukraine and georgia and other countries is vitally important. that's the chaj today. it's not wishing that we didn't have gray zones, we've got them and russia happens to be in them. >> let's be clear here, we did not create the gray zone. that is just absolutely not true. we have to remember what nato is and what the eu is.
these are voluntary organizations that countries must petition to join and must need certain requirements, nobody is strong arming these countries into joining nato or even the eu. they feel threatened by russia, and they seek to join these institutions because they feel threatened and they feel that their security is at risk. so the assertion that we the west, the u.s. is creating gray zones is not frup because it seeks a buffer zone to protect themselves from what they see is a threat but that perception a also a false one. >> can i just add quickly -- >> real quick. >> and i'd like to respond to that. >> okay. >> go ahead, david first. >> yeah, just picking up on that point, paul. ukraine and georgia applied for a membership action plan. we supported it. as we all know, it wasn't offered. and so the language that chancellor merkel was a
compromise, pretty forward-leaning compromise, i'll grant you that, but it was ukraine's and georgia's choice. their right to determine their future and their orientation with your institutions. in contrast, russia leaves countries no chase but to join the economic union, they hold literally a gun to their head and that's why you saw a media back out of the eu agreement in september 2013 before ukraine did, and other countries so there's a huge difference between the way we treat those countries and russia does. >> paul, come back -- >> i think there are two separate issues here. look, it's the right of yauk or georgia or anybody else to decide that they want to be an ally of the united states or that they want to be an alie of nato. it's the right of the united states, specifically under our constitution something that's assigned to the u.s. senate.
to deciden whether or not we want a particular country to be our ally. those are two separate decisions. so i fully respect the aspiration of the governments of ukraine, georgia, or anyone else to be an american ally. but it's our decision on the basis of our assessment of our interests. whether or not we want a particular government to be our ally or not. secondly in this particular case, we created actually the worst of both worlds. because we made a commitment that these governments would become members of nato. in a situation of which it was very apparent for the reasons that you've acknowledged because there were disagreements inside the alliance that it wasn't going to happen any time soon.
so we created a situation in which from moscow's perspective, there was a danger that in the future, ukraine would become a member of nato, which they viewed as very threatening, but it isn't now. >> so would you reers is the decade's also policy of nato to close the door and consign these russians? >> i'm not saying that we should close the door on anyone or consign someone to a russian influence. it is an american decision. who is our ally. and what i don't want to do is to outsource to other governments the decision about who gets to be an ally of the united states and when. >> what paul, you're saying, we
created the gray zone. because we said they could be members of nato and we didn't follow through. so, now they aspire to that, russia doesn't like it and they're just kind of in this limbo, but underneath that, is -- i would argue a question as to whether russia has a legitimate say or voice is to what these countries ought to do, because the only reason it's an issue. the only reason nato allies are uncomfortable is because of their relationship with russia. it's giving russia an assent that says you can decide what these countries get to do. >> i would argue that russia did decide. it's not for us to say whether or not russia has a veto, russia actually has in reality a veto which it exercised. neither of those countries is ukraine or georgia and a member of nato. either one likely make any progress toward becoming a
member of nato in any politically relevant time frame. that's been pushed far to the future. if you ask what i want, i would want a situation in which russia's concerns are discussed in some kind of a mechanism that allows for united states and allies to address them for other kinds of interaction rather than russia taking unilateral steps which from our perspective, i think are much more counterproductive. >> that's not what i'm talking about. >> look at that, countries -- >> disagree. >> countries all the time.
we talk with european allies and the russia. we talked to the ukrainians about it. and so on. that's natural. i think the issue here is what are you trying to achieve and how are you best achieving? >> whether we agree with what russia has legitimate interest or not, the russians have told us for the past 25 years, ukraine is a red line for them. they would react. they reacted. we weren't prepared to deal with that reaction. that's poor policy making, that's poor state craft. so you need to understand what the other side is doing. how they think about it. how they might react. and that needs to be factored into your policy. if we want to bring ukraine into west, we don't have to achieve that today or tomorrow, but we need to have a real plan that takes into account russias attitude, russia's possible reactions and put that in place and eventually get there over
time. >> the set of actions, we've got a russian response, and we're caught flat footed. that's poor policy making. that's what we need, we need to engage russia and have a better idea of what they're really thinking about what their capabilities are and then a policy. that gets us where we want to get. if not tomorrow, over time. >> and it's been bad for us, but also bad for ukraine because we're in a situation where we made this commitment that we are likely not going to follow through on any time soon, and at the same time, ukraine has had crimea taken away. has been stoubt this very brutal conflict. it hasn't worked well for either -- >> and elena, david, address
this very important point. it might be nice. it might be even right. te say that if ukraine wants, it could be a member of nato. if georgia wants it could be a member of nato. if we don't have the stamina to follow through. and we know that russia reacted in this case in ukraine. isn't that getting down a track that isn't going to be productive? >> to sign a deep and comprehensive trade agreement with the eu and association agreement with the eu. nobody, nobody was talking about ukraine and nato in 2013, yanukovych had no alliance, or no joining nato policy. what bugged putin was a sudden epiphany that having ukraine sign this deal would be bad for russia, after saying, publicly, on the record, he didn't care if the eu signed these deals with his neighbors. he had never viewed up until
2013, eu deals with armenia or ukraine or georgia or moldova has a threat. he has viewed nato differently. so it was a change on putin's part, not a change on our part. and again, ukraine and georgia wanted to sign these agreements. we didn't press them into doing it. they were criteria and adjustments they had to fulfill. this was a choice of moldova and not something we forced. >> and to follow up in ukraine at the time, 2013 before the revolution, there was almost -- there was very, very low support for joining nato among the population. and now the situation has changed dramatically. exactly because of russian aggression against ukraine and invasion and takeover of crimea. >> germans and others are even less inclined to support that.
>> to support -- >> ukraine joining nato. perhaps there's much greater interest in ukraine. but there's much less interest -- >> actually the point i'm making is that putin from his perspective was in a better position with ukraine before he invaded it. there was almost no support for nato and there was a very split support for the eu. and those negotiations for the dcfta has been going on for some time urnd yanukovych. the placing the blame on the an exuation of crimea on the west, on the united states -- >> i'm not doing that. >> but that's what is implicit in your argument, i think. >> not really. i don't think so. it was a decision of the russian leadership. i said in my first statement that it was a decision of the russian leadership to respond in that manner to that -- >> let's look forward. today russia occupies -- >> i can see the past so much easier. >> yeah, right. >> today russia occupies parts
of eastern ukraine, parts of two provinces in georgia, an exed crimea and it is still actively involved militarily in these places. does take away territorial sovereignty of these countries. what should be the goal of the united states -- whasht our objective be? paul and tom. >> do you want to -- >> well, i mean the first question you have to ask is what time period are you looking at? you know, i think if you put this inside a broad term, obviously there are strategic objective should be to return the restore the territorial integrity of those things. the question is, how do you get there and what time frame? what se kbens of steps to do we take to get us there or have the best chance of getting us there? and again -- >> so you're going give us the steps to say. you're saying our goal should be stored given the framing.
i don't think you would disagree with that. >> yes. >> tell us your pathway. >> you know, i think the problem that you have with this is that you can't put this simply in the limited context of ukraine. the problem we have with russia is that you can't solve these issues and isolation. everything's going for the russian. syria is linked to ukraine. europe is linked to what they're doing in east asia. and so i think we need a holistic, comprehensive approach. we have to decide how we're going to deal with russia in various parts of the world. where it's in our advantage to cooperate with them, where we need to push back. how do we incentivize them to do things we want? how do we create for them to do things or not to do things that we don't want them to do. think of the complex problem, the problem is we put it isolate it inside of ukraine. so what are we going need ukraine?
well, and then you get all of these questions and it never works. i need to think about this hoe listically. you know, my -- where you want to be, i think, on ukraine, is whereas i said, you removed it from geopolitical competition that the point. you've gotten the russian forces out. ukraine zits undertaking the types of reforms it needs to be a viable independent state over time. we need to diffuse is in some way. i don't think piling on sanctions gets us there at this point. >> i think it is a reality. >> i'm not saying impacts on how
they think about us on another. you know, it's a fact of life. we need to think of all these things in the interconnectiveness. the real challenge to policy making is coming up with that balance of competition and cooperation that best advances our interests globally. not necessarily specific issue at any specific time. where do we want to be? >> just very quickly. i agree with you about ukraine as he was pointing out. that is the end goal we should be aiming to effect. however, i do think the sanctions can work. the problem is that our sanctions and our response to ukraine and also our policy on syria has been very weak. and you're absolutely right that the way we act in various global theaters effects how our allies
and our enemies perceive us. and i think the message that we have been sending with a relatively weak sanctions response, there are many other tools swekd used in ukraine to sanction russia. we used some tools against iran for example the that were effective at the end of coming to the negotiating table. sends the message to the russian loim that the u.s. is not willing to be a global actor, leader in the world. the way we change this relationship, change the calculous or stop reacting to russian action and start studying the agenda is by taking a stronger leadership role in the world because putin what we know about him is going to respect a strong u.s. and be willing to come to the table
that is a weak country. >> sanctions have had an impact. i think they have kept russia fro from going deeper into ukraine. tom used the phrase piling on sanctions. we have not imposed a single sanction on russia for failure to comply with a agreement signed in february 2015. there've been additional sanctions. we haven't been piling on and that is the mistake. the target of sanctions has to think he's going to get hit with more sanctions if he doesn't change his behavior and what we've done instead is have this conversation with the europeans will they renew current existing sanctions? not where we ramp up sanctions against russia for it's failure to comply. the deal should be very simple. russia, get out of ukraine. respect ukraine's sovereignty territorial integrity, we don't need a bigger discussion and argument about that. we even offered putin the mh 17 was an opportunity for him to pull the plug. he's not interested. he wanted to destabilize ukraine
so ukraine is unattractive and unappealing to the west so we lose interest and joouk an unstable place which by the sway not in russia's interest to have a destabilized ukraine on the border. >> let's hold it there. i'm going ask about syria and come to the audience after that. be thinking about what questions you would like to ask. now about syria, we have a civil war. we have an isis stronghold. we have a regime that has killed a lot of owen people but a war that's out of control. russia has come in militarily, after taking away some chemical weapons. but they did come in militarily. they argue that they are going after terrorists inside syria and they include in that the optician to assad and they need to reestablish security as the first pryty and the only sway to work with the government. so that's kind of the russian argument on this. it's unsavory for those of us who would like to see a better outcome, but there is an element
to which vooush doing is aimed at least at tackling a real problem. so, i want to ask first, tom and paul to comment on that. i've tried to pitch it in the fairway to you, how would you explain russia's actions and what we should do about syria and relationship to russia. and i want to pitch it to david after that. >> intervened in syria to protect it's national interests the way they saw those national interests. and protect a regime they've had long standing relationships with, that's one. two, i mean their argument at a certain level of placability is that if you remove the assad regime, the most likely replacement that the time was a bunch of really bad guys. >> we're going to support this regime, we're going to bolster and try to work to some sort of
political transition to keep this regime in power in some way, but allow us to focus the attention on attacking the real nasty people, over time. not necessarily immediately. so again, i think i can -- you can understand that from moscow's standpoint. the question again for us is what are we trying to achieve over what period of time and what resources are we, the american people, really prepared to achieve then? russia's there. they're on the ground. you're going to have to deal with them. there's no way around it at this point. there's humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in morrow at this point. but i don't see where we have many better options and trying to deal with the russians and at least create humanitarian corridors that the point. we want to put a lot of troops on the ground, go ahead and see how much support you have in the american public to do that that the point. so, it's a difficult situation
we face bad, alternatives but you've got to work with what you have. you have to understand what the russian interests are and fashion something that stops the bloodshed in an around morrow at this point. it's on a political track where there is some possibility of political transition. i think you need to drop as a condition or even what sung a final goal is assad has to go. that is something you can work out later on, real challenge now is get into a political negotiation where you have at least the opportunity of coming to some sort of resolution of the crisis that stops the bloodshed, stops the flow of mie graduates into europe. and focuses the real activity. >> what about the argument to draw that out as well, russia is
duping us. >> and they're doing for completely different reasons. they're attacking the people that we're arming, they're trying to get their position established in the middle east. what about that argument? >> look, we have a problem that we understand terrorism in different ways. we think about al qaeda and isiss a the epitome of terrorists. russia would argue that anybody who's fighting a legitimate or legitimate government using means that approaches terrorists, mean it's a terrorist group and you can't separate them. what's their argument about alnusra? we all agree it's a terrorist organization, but they're intertwined with the moderate opposition. we have promised to separate the moderate opposition from them. have we done that? no, can we do that? no, because we don't really
control the situation on the ground. so they're going to continue to attack. again, i understand where they're coming from. i don't think we have to like that, but that's the reality and you've got to deal with that reality the best you can at this -- under these circumstances. again with resources, if you're prepared to go to the american people and ask for in order to do that. >> david, give us your analysis on where we are on sierra and what we should be doing. >> when it comes to syria, both russia and the united states deserve blame and responsibility, but for very different reasons. the united states it's the decision not to do anything. failure to create a safe zone, safe haven to save thousands of lives and leaving a void that putin came in and filled and not following through on the flet assad used chemical weapons. assad is one of the bad guys.
civilian centers, remember the contrast after we hit accidentally syrian forces. we adds mitted it the very day it happened. russia two days later, syrian planes with russian support headed convoy and still deny responsibility. so we're talking about countries that have very different interestings. i don't see how you bring these together. i think they're completely incompatible and it isn't for lack of trying again, how many times has john kerry talked about to sergey about this issue? russia is not interested after going after the same people we're interested in. >> and to add to that, let's not forget who left the negotiating
table on the syria ceasefire? >> after multiple meetings, multiple conversations, multilateral support, it was russia who broke off this negotiations, and then continued his brutal attack on morrow. and it's not about definition of terrorism being different, it's about the fact that russia specifically targeted civilian targets and doesn't seem to care if they can separate between civilians or terrorists. this is not our values in the u.s., our basic understanding of human rights and this is again not something that we can find common ground on.
>> we may have military conflict whether we like it or not. if they keep buzzing our planes or ships and an accident is going to happen before too long. >> paul, did you want to say something? >> if i may. >> i think the rail tragedy of this situation is that things that could have been possible in the past are no longer possible now. >> right. >> and that really has foreclosed a lot of our opportunities. and look, let's be realistic, when you have a civil war oh do you get a negotiated solution to a civil war. you need all of the parties,
simultaneously to be strong enough that they're comfortable negotiating, but weak enough that they think they might lose if they don't. you need everybody in the same statement and i don't see a situation it that's going to get us to that place. largely for the reasons that tom has described which i think david actually you would agree with. >> okay, thank you. all of you. question from the audience, please stand and introduce yourself. >> today a lot of lot of time h spent discussing ukraine, georgia, and syria and all the other parts of the world. but it seems to me the time has come to talk about the things
that are in our backyard. in europe, so my question is to paul and tom, what is your red line? what russia should do in the united states for you to change your attitude of engagement to at least containment and i would say maybe self-defense? >> please, pass the microphone to the right and the question again is, is there a breaking point to what you're suggesting? >> you know, i think there's saernl breaking point. let me be clear about what we're talking about here. we're not talking about kind of unconditionally engaging with russia, we're not talking about giving away things to russia. we're talking about defining american national interests and then defining a strategy that we think will be the most effective way to satisfy those interests
with respect to russia. so what we're talking about is about the united states of america. i want to make that very clear. secondly, look, i am entirely supportive of being quite firm in dealing with moscow. the kbe is when, on what issue and with what goal? and is it a goal realistically that you can achieve through the meenls that you have chosen to pursue the goal? i would argue that it's not a good idea to set unachievable goals and then fail to accomplish them. that makes us look ridiculous. and it puts us in a much weaker position to deal with russia. we're in a much stronger position to deal with russia when we define clearly what we want. we define what the consequences are if it doesn't happen -- and we define what we want and what
we're prepared to do about it in realistic ways that they will realistically have an opportunity to live up to and that we will realist click enforce if they don't. >> i'm not sure we would need much more to argue. i said at the beginning, how many more countries does russia have to invade before we adopt the line that we're arguing? how many more people does it have to kill? >> i think assigning blame is important. i think accountability is important. and i think you have to look at what russia has already done in order to determine trends and patterns and then figure how how to handle it there. >> i would tud that we have offered, not many off-ramps, but
areas of cooperation particularly on syria and offer negotiations on the ceasefire to share intelligence information. against the desires in the u.s. government. and russia has refused to take us up on that offer. >> and just a. point of agreement with paul. president obama in the state of the union address in january 2015 bragged about how the u.s. led the isolation of russia. that i agree is ridiculous. >> go ahead. yeah. >> we can isolate russia. and you can isolate russia. >> i didn't say we did, but the president bragged that he did. but you're talking about containing russia and isolating russia. and that's great, if you could
do it. but china won't let you isolate russia, india won't let you isolate russia -- >> it's not about isolationism. >> it's not about containment. the problem that we have is we have this focus on europe and what you're going to do in order to prevent russia from doing things we don't like in europe. they are going to drive russia. china is taking advantage of a weakened russia at this point. a russia that doesn't have an option in europe. and china is a strategic competitor if we're looking at our interests over the next 10, 15, 20 years. east asia is extremely important. now all i'm arguing is that you need to take what you're proposing in europe and think about what the consequences are in east asia and you've got to mitigate those in some way. and we continue to take this
policy and isolation, and we create perhaps a better deal in europe while we create a larger problem for ourselves throughout asia. that is not good strategy. >> thank you, and i think we got your point. in the front row, your question. >> hi, may name is karla. i have a question for paul and also for david. obviously we're going to have a administration, mr. trump has already said if he is elected, he will go and meet with putin before the inauguration, if you were advising either one of mr. trump or mrs. clinton and you were the last person to talk to them before they went to the ring with putin, what was the one thing you would say to them if they could only accomplish one thing, just one, what is it that they should say to putin in their very first meeting?
>> not sure that that's really a good idea. no, i understand. i'm just -- that's the first thing. you know, i think that for from my point of view, the most important thing in this relationship right now is not to tray to envision all of the great things that question cooperate on in the future. we don't have a relationship to sustain new cooperation. i think that's very clear. there are a lot of obstacles to that. what we need to do now, to my mind, as a matter of highest priority in this relationship, is to try to prevent it from getting worse. because if it gets worse, there are some really grave risks to the united states. you know, i was a teenager in the 1980s i remember what it was like growing up in the early 1980s. and what people really thought about the risk of nuclear war
and it was kind of part of your daily life. it's not something that people think about today. i don't want to live in a world where americans have to think about that. so i think we need to avoid just try to have some kind of engagement that will try to event from from getting worse. >> david, your response to the same question? >> first i agree, don't go, but if you are going to go, deliver the following the message, get out of ukraine and respect your neighbors, sovereignty and integrity, stop bombing and stop cracking down on the human rights of your own people. last, don't give any gag gifts. >> do you think poout listen do any of those things? >> if he does, then you will have a much better relationship with the united states, if you don't, sanctions will stay in place and get ramped up, and you will not have a productive relationship with the united states over the next four years.
is not in the national interest of the russian people as a whole. what putin has established is a system of repression, censorship, and brutal, brutal op registration as you well know. and i think there has to be consequences. the kremlin murdered through poisoning a critic of the regime in a western country in england, right? it continues to do so. yet, we just threat happen. despite overwelcoming evidence that happened in the potentially direct order of putin himself. so again, what kind of country are we dealing with, right? we're not dealing with a trust worthy dip willmatic partner. we're not dealing with a leader who cares about human life, and we're not dealing with somebody who cares about ever seeing democracy or any sort of freedom in his own country. and there have to be some consequences for this along the
line was what we've outlined. >> let me broaden the question a little bit though, because i think from a u.s. policy maker point of view, first of all, i don't think anyone here on the stable is going to disagree that putin has an awful regime that he abuses human rights and he's killed people and this is awful. the question for the policy maker is, how much does that impact your decision making about how you engage russia on issues of national interest to the united states? and that's what i want to ask elena -- >> can i -- in a slightly different way, the question is you care about human rights in russia, how do you create a situation where it gets better? >> act successfully inside
russia is limited. we don't understand how russia works, we don't understand the complexity of the society, much of what we've tried to do out of very good intentions over the past 25 years is counterproductive. that's one. two, i think it's a fact, historical fact that the room for human rights, democracy building, in russia for the development of these ideas and the spread of these ideas is better when u.s.-russian relations are better. and you go back to the soviet period as well, for example, of that. and so, we've got on one hand a group that wants to promote and take human rights are valuable as we do, and wants to do all of these nasty things that are going to worsen our relations with russia. what is putin's reaction going to be? is he going to say thank you, i now see the light. i'm going to open up and allow
free press, real debate in this country? what he's going to doed is what he's done over the past four years. he's going to crack down. now, there's a policy question of how we should do that, there's a moral question for all of us. the people who defend human rights in russia are heroes. as they go out and they risk their lives every day to get it done. the people sitting on this stage who are going try to help you are not risking a damn thing. and our responsibility here is to try to create a situation that is most conducive to getting done what you want done.
>> i can't do half of what you and your compatriots do. the least i can do is to be a voice for you and others to try to bring about some sense of accountability for gross human rights abuses, not let rotten people and the russian officials come to the united states, send their kids here to study, invest in whatever properties they want. it is not a right to come to the united states. it is a privilege, and if you abuse human rights a in russia, you shouldn't step foot on u.s. soil. and it is critically important that the united states stands by it's values and it's principles. we've done for decades, if not centuries and to abandon russians like you at the greatest time of need would, i think, be an abomination. >> okay. elena quickly. >> just very quickly. paul you were saying you grew up
out '80s and you remember leving with the threat of nuclear war. i grew up in the '80s on the other side, the soviet union. i remember living with that threat as well. one thing is profoundly different. the zimpbs that nobody believed in the soviet system at that time. there was widespread cynicism and why was that the case? the system corrupted internally before it fell apart from the top because the u.s. still for it's values. we invested in our public diplomacy. we invested in securing the information space. we had a brand, right, blue jeans and all these things, popular culture. this is what everybody in the soviet union were looking for, right?
>> during the period while we waited for it to work, we regularly engaged with the soviet government on a variety of different issues. >> okay. >> we have way more questions in the audience than we will ever be able to handle. >> and e deflect the issue. >> we'll see about that. i will ask the audience members just do as keep it brief if touk get back and another twe or two. >> so, as the relationship between baltic states and russian federation directly depends on the direction on the relationship between united states and the russian federation. and it is not good at the moment. and right now, loses hundreds of
millions of dollars because of economic sanctions and in effect, both the states became a target for military point of view for russian rockets -- >> question? >> the question is, what benefit would regular citizen get out of de-engagement with russia? >> what's the benefit to the citizens of the baltic states if the u.s. takes a harsher line like you're suggesting? >> you have article five garn feeps i am not complaisant about baltic security, but lithuania ra in a much better situation than ukraine, moldova and others not a part of nato. >> and so, if you follow our recommendation, you will still have article 5 security guarantees. that doesn't change at all. i actually think putin does respect article 5 security guarantees and that's i don't think a military countries like
me. >> we're not arguing for isolationism. they are not the same thing, even if you may want to claim it, you're simply not. it's not about deengagement. and the baltic states themselves consistently asking for permanent battalions and troops to be stationed within iowa stone ya, lithuania, for a reason. it's not again, the baltics having strong armed and bullied into having permanent troops on their land, is that they are asking for your government to asking for it all the time in washington, d.c. and i think that singles to the fact that nato actually works. >> okay. can we take another question from the audience? maybe oned aimed at tom and paul. >> in terms of after the u.s. election time to reengage, i can see where the red line is drawn there. so my question is directed at sanctions and i guess my question is in terms of reengagement on one side, would
you lift certain sanctions and on the other side, would you impose more having seen the sanctions affect on cuba since 1960. i wonder what additional would be added to impact on russia. >> would more sajss really make a difference? tom and paul, do you want to start with that? >> yeah, i'll start with that. i mean, i think that we don't need more sanctions that the point. i think we need a policy now or an agreement now that will ease sanctions in return for certain steps by russia. i think the problem that we're in now is we've got the sanctions at least as they refer to full implementation of the agreement. linked to specific steps, again, within a broader overall policy towards russia, has a chance of
getting ukraine and broader relationship with russia. >> yeah, i don't think that's the answer here. first of all, there are more sanctions that we can impose. financial sanctions on broader swath over the russian financial centers. those are the ones that are going to hurt in the long-term as russia faces it's own economic decline. and easing sanctions that are tied to concessions. is not going to work. and let me quote, not me by the prime minister of georgia who just recently said, russia never appreciates when you concede or make a step forward, a compromise. they always take it for granted and georgia knows this well. if we start talking about weakening sanctions rather than adding sanctions. we're sending the wrong message. >> okay. we have another question in the back there. >> hi, ben perkins, my question is how do countries that are not directly engaged in what the
u.s. and russia are doing, how do they stlu sort of stalemate that we've had? not really any movement in the last few years and my worry is that we just look like morons because, you know, that's my question. >> david and lena, let me turn to you first. and phrase the question this way, other countries are getting on with business, is that not leaving us out and isn't aid approach where we say we're containing but we're keeping ourselves out actually help russia make the problem worse. >> look, it depends on which countries we're talking about. i don't think a lot of countries like the idea that the united states and russia are in the state of relations that we are right now. i don't like the fact that we're in the state of relations we are in right now. but i think a lot of countries want the united states to show spine and solidarity with countries that are coming under
attack and threat. for china, you know, mentioned about driving russia into china's hands, you know, i've been hearing that for a long time. i don't buy it. there's so much distrust between the two. and that would be the end of putin, i think, if russia became part of china inc. i don't really worry that we're going to cause all these problems elsewhere in the world, of course it would be nice if we got along. i wish the red sox were in the world series, but that didn't happen either. >> let me just respond really quickly to david, the russians are selling weapon systems to the chinese that they were never prepared to sell them in the past. they're selling them much more advanced technology, including the s-400 missiles that they have in syria. that's something they were never willing to sell before. that has real consequences for the united states and actually for our young naval officers
here if china has those systems. it makes a difference. secondly look, hitler and stalin didn't trust each other. and germany and soviet union could not have any kind of long-term sustained alliance. for two years, from 1939 to 1941, they kind of cooperated. and it created a lot of problems for other people. >> okay. we are going to start moving to our final phase here which is a rapid fire set of recommendations so if drk as we had an earlier question, one minute or less, just give us your one policy recommendation what do you think the united states should do right now? and let's start with tom. >> all right done it. you open up the panel to communication and then i think you take a holistic look at
russia policy, and at russia, and the questions are, what is it we to want achieve? what do we absolutely have to have on any given issue. what is russia's role, what role do we want russia to play, and how do we construct a policy that gets us to where we want russia to be? >> very good, paul. >> i'm very concerned about the break down in military to military communication, the impact that that could have in a krooiz situation. i think that's where i'd like to start so in that if we get into a bad situation, we've got a channel to try to deescalate before it gets worse. >> very interesting. david. >> i would make it clear that pressure on russia will be rampd up if it doesn't get out of ukraine. if it doesn't respect it's neighbor's sovereignty ander it toerl integrity, if it doesn't stop what it's doing in syria. also make clear that if russia were to change on these things in the united states is prepared to partner with russia on a range of issues. but until putin changes a
behavior and the track record is very long, of bad behavior. there are no bright crosses between the u.s. and russia. >> lena, you have the final word. >> just to go back who to what i think i opened with, there are many things that russia could do and putin could do to prove their trust worthiness, and as long as he chooses not to do them, in regards to syria, then i think our policy has to be what it is now. and in fact, i think we should ramp up sanctions, i think we should have sanctions related to what russia has done in syria specifically. there is no way forward if we start giving concessions, that's a sliply slope. >> very good. thank you. there's one take away we can all come away from here, this is complicated and hard. our next president, whoever he or she may be is going to have to deal with this and we certainly hope they do it the best way possible. join me now please in thanking
our debaters. [ applause ] please tell your friends and colleagues about the mccain institute, about the mccain institute debates. check us out online and we'll see you at our next event. thank you. tonight on c-span 3, american history tv and past election eve programs, spanning four presidencies and six campaigns beginning at 8:00 eastern with dwight eisenhower in 1956 at 9:00 p.m., 1964 and lyndon johnson, half hour later, 1972 and richard nixon. also from that year, george mcgovern at 955 and then from 1976. jimmy carter at 10:25 followed by jared ford. all of this tonight on american history tv on c-span 3. the election night on crashesspan. watch the results and be part of
that national conversation about the outcome. be on location at the hillary clinton and donald trump election night headquarters and watch victory and concession speeches in key senate house and governor's races. starting live at 8:00 p.m. eastern and throughout the following 24 hours. watch live on c-span, on demand of a c-span.org and listen to live coverage using the app. remarks flou billionaire venture capitalist and paypal co-founder and support for donald trump. he if i believely endorsed mr. trump at the republican convention. also, the future of media is with others in civil cone valley and other issues.
welcome to the national press club. my name is thomas burr. i'm the washington correspondent for the salt lake tribune. our guest today is tech pioneer. i would like to welcome our public radio and c-span audiences and to want remind you that you can follow the action live on twitter using the #mpc live. npc live. today's format follows the same tradition with remarks by our guests and then a question/answer session concluding in an hour. and reporters in the audience. peter is a man who wears many hats. he helped on paypal and volunteer tech nols. venture capitalist, successfully sued gawker and rare supporter of donald trump in silicon valley. that's what he's here to talk about today. till, a billionaire used his money to invest in electing trump as america's next president. for before garnering headlines,
he funded facebook. yelp and other companies associated with the so-called paypal mafia. and his own teal foundation and teal fellowship. he plans to donate $1.25 million towards the efforts to elect trump. the new york times called him toxic among technology invests and entrepreneurs. but mark zuckerberg, a democratic donor said it would said a bad press don't cut tie because of political views. he laid out his support for the republican presidential candidate and prime time speech at the republican national convention in july. he didn't donate until earlier this month. announcing the contribution and shortly after revelations and comments about trump made about women. he said he liked to contribute through a culmination of direct getting to the campaign and the superpakistans. including $1 million doe days to the make america number one. in media circles this news
website ended up closing it's doors in august after filing for bankruptcy si because of the ruling in the case. he had long feuded with the site. till is a stanford alum who builds him as a con tear and politician. he's also the offer of books. multiculturism and political intolerance on campus and 0-1 notes on start-ups and thousand build a future. please help me welcome to talk about his political choices and motivations, mr. peter til. [ applause ] everybody knows we've been living through a crazy election year. real events seem like the rehearsals for "saturday night live." only an outbreak of insanity would seem to account for the unprecedented fact that this year a political outsider
managed to winarty nomination. s to the people who are used to influencing our choice the leaders to the wealthy people who give money and the commentators who give reason why is. it all seems like a bad dream. donors don't to want find out how and why we got here. they just want to move on. come november 9th, they hope erin else will go back to business as usual. but it is just this temptation to ignore difficult realities endull jed on by the citizens that got us where we are today. a lot of successful people are too proud to admit it, since it seems to put their success in question, but the truth is, no matter how crazy this election seems, it is less crazy than the condition of our country. just look at the generation that supplies most of our leaders. the baby boomers.
are entering retirement in a state of bankruptcy. 64% of those over the age of 55 have less than a year's wort of savings to their name. that is a problem, especially when this is the only country where you have to pay up to ten times as much for simple medicines as you would pay anywhere else. america's overpriced health care system might help subz diced rest of the world been but that doesn't help the american whose can't afford it and they've started to notice. our youngest citizens may not have huge medical bills, but the education bills increase. adding more every year to our $1.3 trillion mountain of student debt. america has become the only country where students take on loans they can never escape. not even by declaring bankruptcy si. stuck in this broken system, millennials are the first
generation who expect their own lives to be worse than the lives of their parents. while american families expenses have been increasing relentlessly, their incomes have been stagnant. in real dollars, the median household makes less money today than it made 17 years ago. nearly half of americans wouldn't be able to come up with $400 if they needed it for an emergency. yet, while households struggle to keep up with the challenges of every day life, the government is wasting trillions of dollars of tax payer money on far away wars. right now, we're fighting a war in iraq, syria, libya, yemen, and somalia. now, not everyone is hurting. in the wealthy subherbs that were in washington, d.c., people are doing just fine. where i work in silicon valley, people are doing just great.
but most americans don't live by the beltway or the san francisco bay, most americans haven't been part of that prosperity. it shouldn't be surprising or left in the race. very few people who vote for pith have ever thought of doing something so extreme as running for president. the people who run are often polarizing. this election year, both major candidates are imperfect people to say the least. and i don't agree with everything donald trump has said and done, and i don't think the millions of other people voting for him do either. nobody thinks his comments about women were acceptable, i agree, they were clearly offensive and inappropriate. but i don't think the voters
pull the lever in order to endorse a candidate's flaws. it's not a lack of judgment that leads americans to vote for trump. we're voting for trump because we judge the leadership of our country to have failed. this judgment has been hard to accept for some of the country's most fortunate, socially prominent people. it's certainly been hard to accept for silicon valley where many people have learned to keep quiet if they dissent from the coastal bubble. louder voices have assent message that they do not intend to tolerate the views of one-half of the country. this intolerance has taken on some bizarre forms. the advocate, magazine which once praised me as a gay innovator, even published an article saying that as of now, i
am, and i quote, not a gay man, unquote. because i don't agree with their politics. the lie behind the buzz word of gersty could not be made more clear. if you don't conform, then you don't count as diverse. no matter what your personal background. faced with such contempt, why do voters still support donald trump? even if they think the american situation is serious, why would they think that trump of all people could make it any better? i think it's because the big things that trump gets right. for example, free trade has not worked out well for all of america. it helps that trump -- helps trump that the other side just doesn't get it. all of our elites preach free trade. the highly educated people who make public policy explained
that cheap imports make everyone a winner according to economic theory been but in actual practice, we've lost tens of thousands of factories and millions of jobs to foreign trade. the heart land has been devastated. maybe policy makers really believe that nobody loses or maybe they don't worry about it too much. because they think they're among the winners. the sheer size of the u.s. trade deficit shows that something has gone badly wrong. the most developed country in the world should be exporting capital to less developed countries. instead, the united states is importing more than $500 billion every year. that money flows into financial assets, it distorts our economy in favor of more banking and more financialization and it gives the well-connected people who benefit a reason the status quo. not erin benefits and the trump voters know it.
they are also tired of war. we have been at war for 15 years, and we have spent more than $4.6 trillion. more than two million people have lost their lives and more than 5,000 american soldiers have been killed. but we haven't won. the bush administration promised that $50 billion could bring democracy to iraq. instead, we've squandered 40 times as top of bring about chaos. yet even after these bipartisan failures, the democratic party will is more hawkish today than at any time since it began the war in vietnam. harking back to the no fly zone that bill clinton enforced over iraq before bush's failed war. now hillary clinton has called for a no-fly zone over syria. incredibly, that would be a mistake even more reckless than
invading iraq. since most of the plain planes flying over syria today or russian planes. would do worse than involve us in a messy civil war. it would risk a direct nuclear conflict. what explains this eagerness to escalate a dangerous situation? how can hillary clinton be so wildly overoptimistic about the varieties of war. i would suggest that it comes from a lot of practice from a lock time our elites have been in the habit of denying difficult realities. that's how bubbles form. the hard problem, but people want to believe in an easy solution. they'll be tempted to deny reality and inflate a bubble. something about experience of the baby boomers whose lives have been so much easier and their parents or their childrens has led them to buy into bubbles
again and again. the trade bubble says even's a winner, the war bubble says victory is just around the corner. but these overoptimistic stories simply haven't been true, and voters are tired of being lied to. it was both insane and somehow inevitable that d.c. insiders expected this election to be a rerun between the two political dynasties who led us through the two most gigantic financial bubbles of our time. president george w. bush presided over the inflation of the housing bubble so big that it's collapse is still causing economic stagnation today. but what's strangely forgotten is that last decade's housing bubble was just an attempt to make up for the gains that had been lost in the decade before that. in the 1990s, president bill
clinton presided over enormous stock market bubble and a devastating crash in 2000, just as the second term was coming to an end. that's how long the same people have been pursuing the same disastrous policies. now that someone different is in the running, someone who rejects the false reassuring stories that tell us everything is fine, his larger than life persona lacks a lot of attention. nobody could suggest that donald trump is a humble man. but the big things he's right about, amount to a much needed dose of humility in our politics. very unusual for a presidential candidate he has questioned the core concept of american exceptionalism, he doesn't think the force of optimism alone can change reality without hard work. just as much as it's about making america great, trump's
agenda is about making america a normal country. normal country doesn't fight five simultaneous undeclares wars. in a normal country, the government actually does it's job. today it's fornt recognize that the government has a job to do. voters are tired of hearing conservative politicians say that government never works. they know the government wasn't thauls broken. the manhattan project, the interstate highway system whatever you think of these ventures, you cannot doubt the competition of the government that got them done. but we have fallen very far from that standard. you cannot let free market ideology serve as an excuse for
decline. no matter what happens in this election, what trump represents isn't crazy and it's not going away. he points toward a new republican party beyond the dogmas of reaganism. he points even beyond the remaking of one party to a new american politics that overcomes denial, rejects bubble thinking, and reckons with reality. when the distracting spectacle of this election season are forgotten and the history of our time is written, the only important question will be whether or not that new politics came too late. thank you. >> thank you. appreciate you being here.
we have a few hundred questions. let's talk about the campaign here. your candidate has talked a lot about how what's wrong with america, there are a lot of dissatisfied voters out there right now. do you see this election as anything more than a contest to see who will be the next captain of the titanic? >> i hope not. i have always had a bias favoring outsider candidates. i supported ron paul in '08 and 2012, i supported carli fiorina early in this race. after i strong bias for outsiders. i think the insiders are often much more polished, they are talented politicians and a lot of what they do feels like rearranging deck chairs on the titanic. it's precisely that i'm worried about that we need to think a little bit outside the conventional policy box and we need to have a broader public
debate about the kinds of things we might want to do. but certainly, i worry about decline. i take it very seriously and one of -- i think i would have liked to see a race between trump and sanders. because i think both of them, this really felt the decline and they very much disagreed about what caused it and that would have been a different sort of debate. we have a debate between one candidate who says everything is more or less fine or as it can be. and another one who says that we're on the titanic. it's about to sink. and i prefer the second one. >> there also something to be said and get things done. >> you know, we've been trying that for quite a long time. on the kinds of issues i talk
about today with a trade bubble. the war bubble, globalization bubble, various bubble policies, the insiders have been getting it wrong for a wrong time. they were asleep at the switch when we had the dotcom bubble in the '90s. they were more asleep at the mousing bubble in the last decade. and the insiders have somehow been doing very much policy adjustments. a point that hillary experienced bad experience, somehow resinates with me a lot. >> as your supporter of mr. trump effected relationships or close business relationships in silicon valley? >> you know, it's certainly is generated a tremendous amount of discussion, gotten a lot of pushback from people to say the least, but i think my friendships, close working
business relationships, i think all of those are very well intact. >> do you have any other silicon valley businessman who are more privately supporting mr. trump but don't to want say it publicly? >> you know, it's one of the strange things of this doing this has surfaced, you know, not a large number, but a small number of those people who, you know, can't stay in public and what not. and are, you know, happy that i've done it. it's sort of been con injured out of that, yes. >> let me talk about that for a second. what have you learned about silicon valley's appetite for political difference? >> well, it's more polarized than i realized. i certainly -- you know, i thought of silicon valley has a fairly liberal, fairly democratic place, overwhelmingly back to obama in 2008, and -- but i didn't think -- i didn't think it was going to be this --
that this sort of vis ril reaction where again, you know, most of the larger tech companies, you know, most -- many of these people have not said it, you shouldn't be able to back trump or anything like this. it's surprising to me that anybody would say that if you're beyond the pale for taking a position that's held by half the country. there are positions that are beyond the pale that are extreme fringe views. i've often supported life abstention or the setting which are minorities. this is the first time i've done something that's conventional. it didn't feel contarian. it was the first time i've done something big in my life that was just what half the country believed in. and it's been the most controversial thing ever. that really surprise med. >> have your companies suffered any blowback because of your position? >> i don't think -- i don't think so. that will be a crazier thing. it's like -- i'm not trump.
you know, the founders of the companies i invest in are not me. their employees are not the founders and if inflate two, three, four groups of people like this. that is a crazy thing to do. you know, perhaps we should occasionally be held response, partially responsible for people of one degree of separation from us. if you hold people responsible for two or three degrees of separation. and that is insanity. >> but just to clarify, no blowback from consumers or other venders you deal with because of your position? >> not in any meaningful way. >> in your convention speech, you said where i work in silicon valley, it's hard to see where america has gone wrong. do you think silicon valley understands america and what's that source of disconnect there? >> silicon valley has been extremely successful over the
last decade or so. but it's been a success that is a success of specific companies. number of which i've been involved in, and the story people in silicon valley always want to tell is one in which there are specific success is individuals and as companies gets con flated with a story of general success and general progress in the united states. so we're doing well, therefore, our whole civilization is doing well, serve doing well. the whole country's taking the next level. and so that's the narrative people love to tell. specific success linked to general success. and i think the truth has been more on a specific success, but more general failure prp i've ban critic of twitter for example where on me website we've said, you know, it promises flying cars and all we got was 140 characters. but you know, it's not a critique of twitter as a
company, it's a perfectly good company, you know, that people who work there have well-paying jobs. it's a perfectly great company. it's just not enough to improve living standards for 300 million-plus americans. >> while we're on the topic. how do you think the disdmekt some ways shape the companies and the protects that are created there. >> it's, you know, this gets very speculative, i would say that -- and the internet software has been there around those kinds of industries, but then, you often have less good of an understanding for the sort of industries that involve and atoms that have involved in building things, real estate that trump is in, stereotypical
industry involving atoms. those are ones much more heavily regulated than the world of that. so if you're in the world of atoms, you might be very concerned about government regulation. if you're in the world of bits which is much less regulated, you might be much less concerned about government regulations. there is this big separation just in terms what have they do. i wouldn't blame that on just a blind spot silicon valley. i think that's a little bit too easy. perhaps silicon valley has focussed on the world of this. actually been hard to do things in the world of atoms. there's still a lot of engineering fields you could study in the 1980s. it was a bad idea. it was a bad idea to become a chemical engineer or mechanical engineer. these are all designs because they were getting outlaud, regulated to death. nuclear engineers, irresponsible to let you study that in the
1980s. >> that's the boundary between atoms and bits. that was a good field from a decade, not so much anymore. computer science, not even an engineering field, that was the only sort of scientific technical field that actually had a future in the 1980s. >> let's go back to mr. trump, we'll have more questions about silicon valley in a minute, but was the timing of your donation in any way related, the donation related to the revelation of the access hollywood tape about mr. trump? >> i think the tape was -- the tape was extremely, extremely poor taste, extremely inappropriate as i said. i didn't -- you know, i didn't think about the donation as i should have. my general perspective on this, on this year was that money actually didn't matter that much. the candidates who raised the most money on the presidential level did incredibly badly.
i didn't even think that trump needed my money. they haven't asked me for money, that's when they asked me, you know, i wasn't sure they needed it, i thought i'd write them a check. i didn't think that much of this connection. and of course, i didn't think anybody would think that who would donate is the worst thing they've done. you support candidates nvrmly because of the things you like about them, not the things that you dislike. and it's odd -- like i think this is voting for trump are voting because of the sense that the u.s. is very badly off track and that perhaps we have to do some things to fix it. >> you mentioned in your speech that mr. trump is not necessarily humble. but are you concerned about some of the personality traits, the comments about women, more bomb baix style, are you concerned what that says to younger americans and says to our political discourse today?
>> well, i think we're, you know, i think we've been pretty clear this year that there are a lot of things that are beyond the pale and there are things that trump said a decade ago that even he would no longer say today. getting policed a kwatly and released a kwatly. i think that the temperament, you know, the kind of place where i worry about that most on a policy level is do we get into more wars or not? and i'm not sure that's a matter of temperament or more matter of world view, but, it's certainly -- i would worry much more on that with hillary getting us into wars, the nuclear one is the most dangerous, probably involves a confrontation with russia. and i don't think, you know, i don't think hillary clinton has accused trump of being overly
hostile. >> are you concerned about mr. trump's temperament when it comes to the nuclear code or not? >> i don't think he wouldn't get us into a situation where it would be even close to to that. if you look at the specifics, where if something happened or went wrong, i would think that in some ways, hillary's much more dangerous than trump. i don't think hillary will get us in a nuclear war either. it's a much more confrontational foreign policy. >> what about the temperament with north korea, china, that could pose some trouble if he were elected president because of how he responds. >> well north korea, you know, has been a problem for a long time i think at this point, it's more of a problem for china and for the u.s. it's a pure state of china -- i don't like the way china is managing it. change things around than tolerate that there. but i think china will keep it,
you know, a very bad, very unhappy, but a very low volatility situation. >> let's get back to domestic politics. as an entrepreneur yourself, where do you place donald trump's economic plan against hillary clinton's plan? what key factors in this plan do you think will nurture small business assertion versus secretary clinton? >> well, i think it is -- first off, it is just this general way in which it is rejecting this sort of bubble thing. and i think what we have to acknowledge is that the publics that we've had in this country since the 1990s have been catastrophic. or the tech bubble that i experienced firsthand in the late '90s in silicon valley was extremely exciting. it seems to accelerate things tremendously. but then after it crashed, back to banking, and i think the whole thing led to an enormous
misallocation of capital, even worse an misallocation of talent, people went to new industries, they lost their jobs, their careers went sideways for many years. and so i think that this sort of bubble history has been very catastrophic. and that's sort of an honest assessment of our economy and what to do would start with talking about that. temperamentally, i think that trump understands viscerally understands the ways in which government regulations are, you know -- they're not that bad for big business. big business often has the resources to deal with them. sometimes they regulation because it knocks out the small businesses that might compete. but it's catastrophic for small businesses and there's been, you know, there's been much less formation of small businesses and in the last decades. relative to the historical baseline. you can debate why this happens, why questions are always hard to
answer, but my instinct is that it does have something to do with the toughness of the regulatory climate in this country. >> mr. trump built himself as a big, good businessman. yet there's been a lot of stories recently about the bankruptcy saturday and his companies -- the fact that won't release his taxes and won't actually contributed to charities. those raise any concerns in your mind? >> well, you know, i think he's been a successful -- he's been very real estate developer. there's no question about this. we can debate how many zeros exactly that he has in his net worth, but he has a lot. he has a huge number even. i think that so it's not when i consider myself that expert at evaluating the specifics of what someone has done. i think it's a fairly zero sum business, it's a very tough industry, especially in our big
urban cities like manhattan or san francisco, and i suspect that in many ways, you know, what trump did was par for the course in that context. you know, we have an enormous amount of transparency on our political leaders, i think that's a good thing. on the whole. there's always a question where there's a point where it gets pushed too far. you know, i would worry that we ask so much -- examine people under a microscope if you're running for dogcatcher in this country. and at some point -- i do think this is the single biggest reason that more talented people do not run for political office and do not get involved. there's a transparency in some ways and often gets taken in this toxic direction. i don't know whether or not trump should release his tax returns, but i think, i think at
this point, the american people know far more than enough to make up their minds about the two candidates. >> you do believe though that the vetting process for american political candidates should be strong and thorough. >> it should be very strong. and it is very strong. far enou information. it is very strong. but i also believe that there are a large number of -- in some ways we have a less talented group of people today versus 40 or 50 years ago. the vetting process was tough when kennedy was running for president in 1960. somebody like kennedy would be electable in today's world. >> has mr. trump given you any private assurances he wouldn't undo the rulings for same-sex marriage nationwide? >> i haven't had a conversation with trump on that specific subject. i think he represents a seed
change from republican party of bush 43. just think about the way bush 43 was speaking negatively about gay marriage at every single campaign event in the 2004 election. it is something where trump has -- everything has indicated he would be quite expansive on gay rights. >> lastly, another topic, do you personally support mr. trump's comments and rhetoric about banning muslims from traveling through the united states? >> support a religious test. i wouldn't use -- i certainly don't support the specific language trump has used in every instance. but i think one thing that should be made distinguished here is that the media always is taking trump literally. they never take him seriously. i think a lot of voters who vote for trump take trump seriously but not literally.
so when they hear things like the muslim comment or things like that, it's not -- the question is not are you going to build a wall like the great wall of china or how exactly are you going to force these tests. what they hear is we're going to have a saner, more sensible immigration policy. we're going to try to figure out a way to figure out how do we strike the right balance. immigration is not all or nothing. it is not that we should let everybody in. not that we should let nobody in. they are exclusive but not exhaustive. i think there is something -- there's an immigration bubble where say it's all good. you should not ask questions. i think we could have a better policy. i would like one like canada or
australia. i think those countries have much better policies than our country. we could become better than we are. >> switching subjects, you're sitting here at the national press club surrounded by journalists. do you believe you set a precedent in the hulk hogan video, and are you engaged in any other lawsuits? let's start with that precedent. is that a dangerous precedent to set? >> i don't think so. let's start with the facts of the case. it involved a sex tape. if you make a sex tape of someone with their permission you are a porn grapher. if you make a sex tape without their permission we are told you're a journalist. i would say that is an insult to all journalists. this is not about the first amendment. it is about the most egregious
violation of privacy imaginable, publishing a sex tape from the privacy of someone's bedroom. to hide behind the first amendment, behind journalism, that is an insult to journalists. that's why, that's why it was so catastrophic at the court in tampa, florida. they had all these abstract theories. we kept focusing on the facts of the case. a question of a.j. della rio. we said is there a sex tape you couldn't publish? well, maybe if it was a child. what age child? well, if it was a 4-year-old child. there were gasps at that point. it was like an aspiring child
pornographer. that's not what journalism is about. i strongly believe in the first amendment. they play an important role in getting our checks and balances. but these were not journalists. >> do you think what happened to gawker happen to other news publications? could wealthy people seek revenge against someone they didn't like and use their influence and money to take them out? >> you know, wealthy people shouldn't do that. i think if they try they won't succeed. gawker was a filmsy business.
they lost because of an enormous verdict that came in against them. that's why they lost at the end of the day. picking a fight where the loss was over privacy. that was the way i wanted to make clear in the hogan case that it was not about the media. it was not about the media. it was more general. >> are you engaged in any on other lawsuits against news organizations? >> i'm not -- >> i've been involved in the gawker case. nothing else. they were a singular ly sociopathic bully.
>> tell us how you got involved with hulk hogan's lawyer and why you did this secretly. >> it was a multiyear year -- i have to be a little bit careful since the litigation is still yon going. but i got involved over a number of years. and it was one of these things where as you got involved you came to believe in the justice of the case more and more. there were so many different people that you interacted with who had been destroyed. in most cases it was not super prominent people or super wealthy people. it was people who couldn't afford to do anything. and one of the striking things is that if you're middleclass, if you're upper middleclass, if you're a single digit
millionaire like hulk hogan, you have no effective access to your legal system. it costs too much. and this was the modus operandi in large part, to go after people who had no chance of fighting back. you know, we can debate about whether the more appropriate thing for me would have been to be transparent all the way through. but my judgment was that mr. hogan deserved to have his day in court and that that would have distracted from his day in court. it would have turned it into this very different narrative, into the gawker narrative. it is the billionaire trying to squash the first amendment rather than what i think it was actually about, what was an egregious violation of privacy with the sex tape.
one other perspective is i have been involved with the internet the last 20 years. i'm generally in favor of the internet. i generally think it has been a very good thing. but i think there are some parts of it where things have gone wrong. and one kind of phenomena that is new that can take place on the internet is this transparently and anonymity combined. we have these mob -- flashmobs that get directed at specific individuals. that is a very new phenomenon. and gawker in some ways perfected you. you pick on people and you would destroy their lives. you would rather nasty stories. they might add comments to generate a mob that would go after these people. there were many different targets. they had silicon valley as targets, celebrities as targets. but one big target they went
after is people in the media. one class of people they especially hated were other reporters, other writers. and, you know, as we were building up to this case, some of the people encouraged me to keep going were some of my friends in the media. because they knew how much gawker had specifically targeted more successful writers and reporters over the years. >> you had over a decade. when did you decide funding another person's lawsuit would be the best way possible to take down gawker. and when did you set this in motion? >> it would have been roughly the period of time the firm started to work with hogans four or five years ago. my initial view was what you were supposed to do is you were supposed to take your beatings, crouch down, go into fetal
position, and then hope they moved on to someone else. sort of around 2011, one of my friends convinced me if gawker could get away with this sociopathic repeat behavior over and over, it was a tragedy. nobody would ever -- they would continue to ruin lives one after another. and there were many people that did things to far worse than me. so i was convinced if i didn't do something nobody would. >> the candidate you're supporting, mr. trump, talked about changing the laws so he could sue these outlets, especially stories he doesn't like. where do you draw the line? >> i don't think the libel laws need to be changed. there are certain questions about how we -- the facts and circumstances are a little different.
it is is always good to ask questions if you're the child of a celebrity, do you get subject to the same scrutiny of the celebrity? if you're a public figure, can your sex tape be made public? i don't think so. if you're a tech ceo and a start-up with 12 people, should be we subject to the same level of scrutiny as a presidential candidate or other figure. i think there are corner cases like this we should explore and there are ways the internet has changed these boundaries. i think we need to examine some of these corner cases. but i think on the core principle of something like the "new york times", that obviously should stand. i don't think that needs to change or should change. >> charles harder has been the go-to attorney for the rich and powerful. he represents roger ailes.
melania trump against the daily mail and other clients. as a libertarian do you feel this is freedom of the press in any way and how would you characterize what he does? >> i'm not going to speak to -- i'm not familiar with the details of all the litigation. i'm not underwriting any of those lawsuits, just to be very clear. i do think what actually matters in litigation is what happens at the end game. sort of like -- it's like in chess. you have to start by setting the end game. do you actually ultimately win or lose? and that's -- if you bring a harassing lawsuit or lose, that also sets a precedent. that is a precedent for greater press freedom over time. so i think that when one brings litigation, you have to think all the way through the end game.
and i wouldn't do it because, number one, i think the first amendment should be respected. but, number two, many of these sorts of cases i think that -- it is very different from gawker where we have a high level of certainty if we had at our day at court we would win. >> let me ask is about your concerns about the media today. what do you think of the problems with the media, the news media? and that do you think that means for society and what would you do to fix things? >> well, identifying the problems and how to fix them are two very difficult different kinds of questions. i always am fixated on economic questions. and the real challenge is the business models companies have are not working as well as they used to.
you had this cushy position because you were a local monopoly. and the internet inadvertently eroded these business models. you actually have more power. the stories you write reach more people. the stories are more powerful than ever. but it is economically not doing as well. and i think that is a big challenge. i think the monopolies we enjoy were a good thing. even though we don't want them
in many case, they they were positive for our society. and that's sort of the core challenge. it is not the self understanding people have. i normally don't like to say i'm working a mondopoly company and that's why we're working so well. >> do you think it is the responsibility of folks like yourself who have the resource and the ability to help fund good journalism out there, and would you do so? >> i wouldn't want to compete with jeff besos ever. i think he is the toughest person in the world to compete with.
i have no nothing with the washington times. i think sort of getting -- i think it's possible that's a direction the media will change in where it becomes a nonprofit under taking. i'm not sure that is the healthiest way the industry should go. a lot of nonprofit organizations are not that effective. they're weirdly distorted. they do good. but it is is often -- they're often not managed all that well. i'm not sure that's the solution to the problem. >> what do you think can help increase people's individual freedoms? >> well, i think it is -- the
ideological libertarian answer to that is always the government. and then probably from a civil libertarian perspective it is government fighting too many wars. it is government incarcerating too many people in our society. it is is government regulating the economy too much. and then, you know, i would like to see less involvement by the u.s. and -- less of a u.s. global police. i would like to the see fewer people in the jail. it's another place where the u.s. is an exceptionally crazy country. where we have incarceration rate completely out of sync with the rest of the world. if we had one like western europe, australia, canada, that would be a good direction for us
to go in. i think parts of libertarianism, i think the issues i would want to focus on are ones where the u.s. actually just becomes like other developed countries. >> back to your national convention speech. you said our nuclear bases still use floppy jets. our newest fighter jets can't fly in the rain. you're talking about less government and more libertarian things, how does america fix that stuff? >> well, this is where i think -- my idea would be a smaller government that does more with less. and not -- the ideological debates in washington, d.c. are always more with more versus less with less. it is runaway spending with no controls for austerity where 300
pounds and we'll chop off your thumb as a weight control measure. that's the weird public policy debate we have. and what the technology industry about is always doing more with less. and i think that would be a healthy perspective for us to have in d.c. so the question is can we have -- whatever we spend on the military, can we achieve the same for less? so if you have an f-35 fighter jet that doesn't fly in the rain, maybe you could -- is there such a thing as a less expensive jet that can fly in the rain? i suspect there is. and this is where i differ from libertarians. because they might be excited about the f-35 jet and just shut down the whole government. and i think we should take as a challenge to work better. if you can never do better as
the f-35, that is super libertarian. you have to shut everything down. you should just down everything in this town and have everyone go home. but what i always point out is that there is has been a decline. libertarianism would not have sold as well in the 40s or 50s or 60s in the u.s. if you are a libertarian, it was fringed today. it was super fringed in the 50s and 60s. that is a society where the public couldn't do anything. didn't make sense. the libertarian party got started in the 60s and 70s in the u.s. that's when it took off. and the 1970s is when things stopped working in this country, especially on the governmental side. so i think the steep link are our governmental institutions. >> a quick reminder the national press can club is the world's leading organization for journalis journalists.
for more information please visit press.org. a quick reminder about upcoming programs. november 30th, general manager of the washington metropolitan transit authority will be here. december 2nd, mgm resorts chairman james murray. i'd like to ask the audience to remain seated until the guests. >> thank you very much. >> what's your future in politics? after this race is over, how do you decide which candidates or perhaps political parties you are going to support? >> well, you know, i think my future is going to continue to be in the tech industry. that's what i'm good at. that's what i enjoy doing. i always have this view, schizophrenic view of politics where it is a horrible business, incredibly destructive.
a lot of it is like trench warfare. crazy amounts of carnage and nothing ever changes. that's one part of my schizophrenic view. the other is it is important. there are some problems that can't be solved outside this arena. i occasionally get involved but don't want to make it a full time thing. >> thank you. appreciate it. >> thank you very much. [ applause ]. tonight on c-span3, american history tv and past election eve programs spanning four presidency and six campaigns. beginning at 8:00 eastern with dwight eisenhower in 1956, at 9:00 p.m., 1964 and lyndon
johnson, a half hour later 1972 and richard nixon. also from that year, george mcgovern at 9:55. from 1976, jimmy carter. 10:25, followed by gerald ford. all of this tonight on american history tv on c-span3. . election night on c-span. watch the results and be part of a national conversation about the outcome. be on location at the hillary clinton and donald trump election night headquarters. and watch victory and concession speeches in key senate, house and governors races live at 8:00 p.m. eastern and throughout the next 24 hours. on demand at c-span.org, c-span radio app. >> c-span. where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a
public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. . and now law professors and former house and senate staffers on congressional overnight powers of the executive branch and overcoming the tension of the two branches of government, especially in information gathering. i am linda gustitis. we are one of the sponsors of today's event, along the with constitutional project. and the others -- and senatorst
carl levin -- i'm being joined today by joanie sloan, the president of the constitutional project and senator carl levin, who is the chair of the levin center and the distinguished legislator in residence at wayne state university law school. the person who is supposed to be presenting these remarks is jocelyn benson, our executive director. she is flying in from new york this morning and has not made it yet. so i will assume her position here. we're here today to examine the struggle between the congress and the executive branch over access to information. we titled this conference a right to know, k.n.o.w., on the part of congress. and that is a right to documents and witnesses in the executive branch as part of i legitimate inquiry into congress into what the executive branch is doing and has done verses a right to
no, n.o. we will have additional welcoming remarks from jenny sloan and opening comments from senator heavy in. from 9:15 to 10:30, we will hear from a panel of individuals personally involved in the case of house committee government oversight versus holder, fresh, lynch. it is now the lynch case, which involved the fast and furious program and the case involving harriet miers. we'll break at 10:30 for 15 minutes.
we will give serious thought to how the congress and the executive branch can work through these challenges demands and relationships. we will have a brief wrapup at noon and adjourn at 12 #:15. >> thanks, linda, good morning. i want to welcome you all here today on behalf of the constitution project. thank you to mark rosenberg who has written the original when congress calls calling and now has updated it or is in the process. we'relm