tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN December 20, 2016 9:15am-11:16am EST
we're not qualified to give that. i'm not a hippa expert, a mental health expert or a psychologist. i'm not the appropriate person to do interventions. there are examples of people, this happens almost daily in our schools and throughout the country and locally in montgomery county where there is an opportunity, where there is trust. where there is a relationship and where we can do intervention? maybe a kid that wants to harm somebody and has taken additional steps to do that. so how can we be effective in navigating through those things but we're not the primary ones leading this effort. we prevent violent acts or in a
way that we maybe prevent somebody from going to prison. the example was given earlier. i thought it was a great example. i don't know all the details of that case. had something been done earlier on. maybe that individual didn't have to go to prison for 25 years. maybe there is something that could have been done to deal with that in a different way. this is another descriptor about the montgomery coupenty model. there are others that have an trchlt p model. the idea of the community and building relationships, the university of maryland is the administrator of the program. there are some grant moneys that have funded this. it involves hhs, the chaplains and the ngo community. it involves a very, very large swath of the faith community. we are one of many, many
partners. we are a piece. we are not the main piece. the idea is we would have an ombudsman. when there is march challenging hippa type of situations where somebody needs more training and expertise, where there are privacy issues, somebody else would deal with those rather than the police. that's a segue at least into our efforts to try to navigate this in a way we are not creating harm, in a way that actually if we do it right, we are doing a better job of protecting the vulnerable communities we have in montgomery county. we are doing a better job of developing trust, which i think as was stated today is in disrepair to a large degree in our country, particularly post election. finding that balance. the last thing i will say, as i was listening, one of my favorite quotes, i've been to the holocaust museum many times. every time i go there, i learn something new. there is a quote that says, evil
prevails when good men remain silent. there is evil in this world. dylann roof in my opinion evil. what he did, i can't -- it's hard for me to fathom having been in law enforcement almost my entire career. people like that should be dealt with. if we are successful, maybe in the future, those people would survive and maybe that event doesn't occur. we have an obligation to do what we can to focus on and use our resources in a positive way to not create harm but to keep our community safe. it is a very, very difficult time to do that. >> thanks so much. i am going to moderate a privilege to ask the first question. when a program gets started, there is usually some kind of catalizing event.
are you familiar with the background of where this montgomery county initiative came from? was there something specific that happened that made folks in the county government, within the community, maybe we need to take a look at this and think about that? was there a catalizing event? >> i think more from a leadership perspective. there was a recognition being in the national capital region, knowing that terrorism was a real concern, knowing that violent extremism on a whole lot of different levels was a concern. the whole division with the muslim community, we have a large division in the muslim community. anecdotally, i have heard about it today. one of the things that has
touched my heart more than anything is that children are fearful, post election. children are being bullied. all kind of things going on, just because of the very fact that they are muslim. so i think to answer your question, what was the catalyst? it was more general. it wasn't a reaction to a singular, big event. it was more a leadership recognition from our county executive. a lot of this comes from the top down. cve aside, how can we build bridges with all of our communities actually funded a position in his cabinet for somebody to actually kind of collaborate with and partner with and coalesce with the faith community to have a greater recognition and to hear them. he actually has meetings with them fairly regularly to hear how we can do better. the police are just one of many, many service providers in montgomery county. we have heard very loud and
clear that there is a gap. there are lots of needs and we can do better. >> mike, duid you have somethin? >> one thing i want to address is this concept of warning signs. it comes up over and over again in this context. unfortunately, what we find there is this spot in hindsight but they are not predictive. there are plenty of alienated people out there. a tiny minority of them ever commit any act of violence. there are plenty of people with ideas that i find ab who are ent, the neonazis or white supremacists, the vast majority of which would never harm a fly. it is trying to put a model of predictability on to something where there isn't one. the perfect example. the fbi with all of its intelligence tools and
analytical capabilities investigating tam arlin tsarnaev and omar mateen and david heavily and they didn't predict these individuals were going to go out and commit violent acts. if the fbi can't predict who is going to be violent, how does this program suppose that some lay person is going to be able to predict who is going to be violent. in the second place, when you look at the the models that have been promoted like the fbi's radicalization monitor, once indicator of potential dangerousness was growing a beard. shaving your beard is also an indicator of dangerousness, which is hilarious. what is laid on top of that is there were a lot of very common behaviors in the muslim
community, increased ledge religion osity, wearing muslim garb. the national counter terrorism released a four-page checklist. one of the things the teacher and social workers were supposed to evaluate was whether there was sufficient parent/child bonding. now, first of all, i'm not aware of any study that suggests that terrorists don't bond well with their parents or do bond well. i am not sure whether 5 was good and 1 bad. all of these are out there. if lay people are going to try to apply these sorts of indicators to people they think are dangerous, they are going to be misidentifying and misdirecting resources and reporting the wrong people to law enforcement that can cause all kinds of harms like the sting operations that are
directed at people who are identified by law enforcement as potential extremists. it's easy to say, in hindsight, we knew there was a problem there. it is not easy to say, this person that was alienated is going to commit a crime. i really liked the framing that you had about looking at all crimes, that it is suicide, any kind of violent action. any kind of assistance some person needs in the community. that's not what cde is. from the beginning when the white house started talking about this, maya and i and a bunch of our colleagues, went to the white house and agencies and said, don't focus this on terrorism or on one community. broaden it out. look at all problems. they refused and they refused to take it out of department of
homeland security and the fbi as the lead actors. it is law enforcement and focused on one very narrow slice of violence that affects our society while ignoring the others. the only third thing, i think it is crucially important that community policing happen and that you have strong relationships with the community. it should be about understanding from the community what their problems are not telling them what the problem is and asking them to respond. one way of building trust is transparency. we at the brennan center have been engaged in a two-year foia campaign trying to get information from these programs. it is pulling teeth to get information. we would think that if somebody has warning signs of terrorism, they would be published broadly. they hide them, because they know they won't withstand public scrutiny. when i started to look at this generally, one of the questions that popped into my mind is, how
does it work with gangs, an ms-13, or any of these other violent gang organization that is we think about? how does that contrast essentially with this problem. how does mafrn lamerican law enforcement in dealing with the gang problem, is there anything to draw whether it is lessons learned that should be applied or should not be applied. >> i agree with most of bhawhatu just said. first of all, it is an evolution and there are a lot of lessons learned, whether they are desired changes to occur, i know a lot have occurred. there air lot of mistakes made. a lot of what you described, many would say is accurate and we need to do things differently. dealing with gangs is similar. so education, prevention,
building relationships, having the ability to communicate. most people are good people, right? in a very small number of people in certain communities, they are gang members, committing crimes, violent, we should be focused on that small number, not everybody. we shouldn't be creating harm and havoc in our communities just because of those people. we shouldn't be violating people's rights, et cetera, et cetera. so good old-fashioned police work, talking to people, making sure that people are reporting when they are vim tctimized. there are a lot of communities that are afraid to report they have been victimized. even things like violent rapes and homicides. how do we build that rapport? a big part of it is having respect for people, treating them with dignity and respect, not violating their rights, being out there, even when we arrest somebody, being
respectful and patient and kind to them. maybe those same people are the ones that are going to tell us about what's going on in the communities, giving us information so we can do better with those investigations and focus on the right people. i don't know if that helps. it can't be a shotgun approach, throw the spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks. we have to be sensitive to our community, the people we partner with and the people we serve. we need our community. we have almost 1,100,000 people in montgomery county and less than 1300 cops. of that, 800, 900 in patrol and almost 500 square miles. do the math on that. on any given day, we have six districts, there are not a lot of cops out in the community. a lot of them are in court or on-calls for service or doing investigations. we don't have some huge number
of people to resolve many of these serious, complex, challenging issues. we have to rely on the community. we can't do it by ourselves. we only have so many eyeballs and so much of a presence. we would be fools, i think the old school police thought they knew what they were doing. we recognize that is not the case. we have to partner with the community to be successful. >> i think we have time for two or three questions at the outside at this point. stella is giving me the high sign there. so, please. sir? >> is this on? >> steven keith, retired state department even they kato still shows me state department. i have had a beard for ages. kooe keith, this is to a certain extent directed to you. anyone else that wants to comment on it.
i was listening to you talking, for example, about the children and how they are being traumatized by people discriminating against them for being muslim and harassing them. i am sure your heart is in the right place but i think a lot of what you are talking about goes way beyond at least what i expect from the police department. i don't think the police department can deal with a whole range of issues in our society. when we talk about preventing violence, to what extent do we start moving more in the direction of big brother, which is what i think some of the other panelists have been talking about. wouldn't it really be better to focus your resources more on traditional policing, looking for individuals who we have a reason to believe are going to commit a crime or people that have already committed a crime, rather than going in this haystack type way where we are really going after entire
groups? eve whn y even when you are reaching out with the best intent, the fact that you are reaching out to the group may make them feel stigmatized. your best effort may have the opposite effect. >> great question. >> i agree with everything you said. if i'm any measure of an outcome, one outcome, i can't tell you how many meals i have shared with my muslim brothers over the last five or six years, how many celebrations i have been a part of, how many people i have been welcomed into their mosque and their inner sanctum, conversation that is wouldn't have otherwise occurred. i see that as a huge positive. i am fairly ignorant. i have been in policing most of my life.
to have empathy, understanding, to be better capable. the one thing i think is being alluded to is that the police are some overwhelming force that are kind of pushing in the space that we are not really qualified for and really shouldn't be. i don't disagree with that. i think we are trying in montgomery county, a lot of the things that i have heard that have occurred around the country and federal and state and other levels, i hope we are not doing in montgomery county. i can assure you we shouldn't be doing some of these things. it is not a part of our approach or our program. i would say we have to find a balance. that's our challenge. i don't disagree with what you just said. >> my conference organizer tells me we can take one more question at this point in time. >> sir? >> hi. i am with x lab. you mentioned the fbi had p
investigated folks like one of the tsarnaev brothers. that hadn't resulted in anything productive. has there been any indication from the fbi over the years about how they might be changing the way they react to or prepare for these kind of events. as a lay person in the public, it seems like a black box and we discuss these issues. have you seen any indication they are changing things in a more productive way or acknowledging when certain things haven't worked? >> unfortunately, no. i was interested on the first panel when a couple off the pamispa panelists said they were concerned that the fbi might try to expand the investigative authorities. under the 2008 guidelines, the fbi was given the authority to do the type of investigation they call assessments, which allows the use of recruiting and
tasking informants. it allows overt and covert interviews. it allows a lot of intrusive surveillance, not electronic surveillance. the standard is no factual predicate necessary. no factual predicate necessary. you need no facts to suggest the person you want to investigate has done anything wrong or anybody else has done anything wrong. all you need is the subjective opinion that what you are doing is for the good of god and country. that gives you the authority. after the recent bombing in new york and new jersey, a lot of commentators were coming forward saying the fbi has to expand its time limit for investigations. do you know what the time limit is for investigations?
no time limit. it can't be expanded any further. i have been argue before those guidelines were put in place that reducing the guidelines just increases the flood of information. that's what's happening. these agencies are being so flooded with information, see something, say something. they feel they have to go out and respond to these silly, buying a pallet of water. if he is middle eastern and he bought a pallet of water, we better go interview him. nonsense work that's being done. it is like having false alarms going off constantly. in our counter terrorism world, we are setting false alarms, going constantly and creating this huge workload that is undermining their ability to focus on what is real evidence of harm. unfortunately, i wish it was
true that there was warning signs. i wish the fbi when i joined gave me a gun and a badge and a crystal ball. they don't. their ability to predict is no better than anybody else's. what they need to do is focus on facts, not these debunked theories like radicalization and certainly not chasing every silly thing that somebody has said just because they said it. >> with that, we are concluded for this panel. let's give it up for our panels. >> we will have a brief intermission while we do a little bit of rearranging and we'll get under way with our next session. >> don't take intermission too seriously. it is just letting our panelists get on mike. there will be a break after the next series of flash talks.
as this panel makes fairly clear, electronic surveillance, digital surveillance is not just something that three-let der agencies do. it is not just nsa, cia. with increasing technical sophistication, something that local police forces are engaged in. tho cover that in another block of flash talks, we have in the constitution project. can i ask folks to take the conversations off stage? we have constitution project talking about body cameras, a technology that can be a powerful tool for accountability of law enforcement under government authorities to communities but also a potentially additional form of
in conjunction with face recognition technology. body cameras are rapidly being deployed. we have had a debate whether they are good, bad or whether we want them. the fact seems to be that body cameras are coming. a recent survey of the nation's largest police force found as many as 95% of our law enforcement agencies have already gun to incorporate body camera technology or committed to doing so in the future. like it or not, body cameras are coming to a police department near you. we need to figure out how we want these devices to be used. the purpose is to increase accountability. to make sure police are acting properly. to make sure that there are disputes or use of force to figure out what happened. without the proper rules and regulations set forth on how they should and must be used. these devices could also be
coopted for surveillance purposes to try to make sure we are actually using body cameras for the former and not unrestricted manner for the latter. we need guidelines and rules for how they need to be used. that's an issue that the constitution project where i work just took on and re-released yesterday set out guidelines. we set out a set of near two dozen recommendations for how law enforcement agencies should use their body cameras to make sure they preserve accountability without becoming a tur vasurveillance tool from committee on policing reforms. this is composed of civil liberties, advocates and law enforcements. hopefully, it can guide to common sense and census solution that is we can take on in the future. i want to talk about one specific area we look at in the report, which is, how should we use body cameras with facial
recognition. specifically, we recommend that judicial authorization should be required for the use of facial recognition for body cameras. that police department should also strongly consider plymouthing the set limiting the set of crimes they apply body recognition and facial recognition to. you should say, is this some sort of risk of future harm? i think the answer is, no. body cameras are certainly coming. facial recognition is certainly coming to body cameras. in some systems, it is already in place. strategic systems alliance, they incorporate facial recognition to the body cameras he is wearing. when he walks around, he is checking all the faces he is walking past and notify fg they are on his watch list. i don't know why the ceo of a body camera company has a personal watch list.
he is free to advertise his products how he likes. the taser ceo announced plans for facial recognition in the future. at the point when taser's body cameras has built-in facial recognition, most will have facial recognition set in for it. with this type of planning coming, it seems little less sci-fi and a little more like a real future when taser's vice-president promised that in the future, one day their technology will make every cop robocop. what i want to talk about is how exactly can facial recognition be used with body cameras, what different manners, what are the risk and appropriate restrictions we should put in place in light of those risks? in the first instance, the least controversial is the idea of emergency situation. if you have an amber alert, body cameras could be deployed with the face print of a child or if
you know it, the abductor and used to scan to try to find them. this is something police already do. they use you. they sensor your phone and you send out to find somebody. automating it doesn't seem like a huge stretch. it lisalso is fairly consistent with the rights we have for privacy. circumstances are pretty commonly accepted circumstances. you can look into someone's electronic devices or their house without a warrant. having a situation where you can readily feed emergencies, face prints into body cameras seems fairly reasonable from a privacy standpoint. it gets a little more complicated from there. the next scenario would be seeking a fugitive at-large. police could develop a face print of a fugitive, send that to body cameras or log a set number of fugitive face prints into body cameras and have officers on the beat constantly scanning for matches and
notifying them if they encounter a fugitive at-large. this could take most "wanted" posters into the next community. you could have the body camera doing all the work for them. automated process notifies them whenever there is a match. you have independent oversight and a guy built-in check. this seems like a fairly proper use for this type of technology and combination. there are some serious risks to what seems pretty common sense. two in particular i want to talk about. first, accuracy. facial recognition can be prone to misidentifying individuals as we have noted at the lunch discussion. this is far more likely to occur with minorities. it can happen to a very high extent in terms of misidentifying individuals. you don't want police officers
at the behest of their body camara tacking someone who they think is a dangerous fugitive only to find out it is an innocent look alike. we should have independent verification of the match before p programming them in. the second is overuse. using it to identify violent offenders seems like a common sense solution. what happens when you have outstanding warrants for petty offense. that could give police immense, perhaps too much power. cities sometimes have a disproportionate arrest for minor crimes. the d.o.j. in ferguson found 16,000 different arrest warrants for individuals in a city with 21,000 people. that's a huge portion of the population. that means if all crimes were included in terms of body cameras scanning with facial recognition for active arrest warrants, officers could effectively have arrest-at-will authority that could be targeted
at minorities, protesters or someone an officer has a bad interaction with. so, in those cases, it seems there is a logical step where we should limit the use of facial recognition and body cameras to serious violent offenses rather than petty offenses. the next issue that becomes more troubling for privacy is using body cameras and facial recognition for real time identification and tracking. it has become a fairly common police tactic. at a minimum, it requires reasonable suspicion and court approval thanks to the work of a lot of groups. we are moving towards the system where many states require a probable cause warrant for a location tracking by police. hopefully, that will continue to incompetent crease in the future. body cameras with facial recognition could offer a new unchecked means of automated tracking. new rules could occur entirely without judicial oversight or suspicion. to explain why this could occur, we have to look at the scale of video surveillance body cameras
introduce. cities like chicago and d.c., which both have body cameras, have on average 50 police officers per square mile. let's compare that to the current video surveillance technologies, which are ins whi are themselves somewhat controversial. d.c. has five per square mile. even chicago which has a controversial blue light cc tv deployed throughout the city they only have 13 per square mile. when we're talking about changing to a system where every officer has a body camera, like this, map of chicago. combine this with facial recognition and you could dramatically increase law enforcement's ability to tag the location, identify and even track specific individuals. because this is an automated
process, there's virtually no limit to the number of people who you can do this for. it doesn't require to you assign several officers to tail someone you put in the algorithm who you want to id, track, and let facial recognition do the rest. given restrictions we have on gps trackers, even as a policy matter sting rays it seems consistent necessary for privacy going to allow location tracking for body cameras and facial recognition we should provide probable cause. this would give law enforcement some means for tracking. it would ensure if you're doing it, it's directed at suspects directed at investigations and isn't subject to abuse you might have if police have a freehand for this type of technology to track whoever they want whenever they want. now, the final area i want to talk about is identification
from stored videos. mostly i've been talking on what happens if you have police officers who on the beat with a body camera can have facial recognition with that camera. we have to think about beyond searching for face prints in realtime facial recognition with body cameras after footage is recorded, stored and logged with the department. police could take footage from body camera and run it against existing databases. at any point on interaction throughout footage of their shift or build a profile of metadata. take a person going into any event, at any street corner and say this is person x. person x at a certain location at a certain time and log that with the hope of iding them later or maybe building a larger profile if you see that same person at an id at future events. this can play out two ways.
first individual identification. this can in some cases be beneficial. notably if you have a suspect fleeing scene of the crime you could use recognition from body camera to identify them. also for individuals not engaged in activities like protests or religious ceremonies. that's where it becomes very, very problematic and worrisome. to prevent this type of use, again, authorization, check of independent oversight and approval with probable cause could be an effective check to allow for these properties but cut off the type of miss uses we would worry about. finally most troubling is the idea of this same type of identification on a mass scale. in recent years they have targeted black lives matter and muslim. these could take the scale of cataloging individuals engaged in activities to a truly unprecedented scale.
police on a beat outside a religious ceremony, at a protest, it could be used to log every single person at an event. if they wanted to they could send officers to the event with the goal of recording individual's faces and cataloging the future list. you could have a sort of digital version of j. edgar hoover style enemies list by sending cops to religious ceremony, protests. thinking about the type of surveillance we've seen in the last decade that has been most objectionable, surveillance of black list matters, muslim communities. either not hard to figure how this could play out. if we don't have dystopian future where they get targeted for mass surveillance. it's a chilling effect. imagine you go to a protest. you see a police officer there. their goal is to keep the peace, make sure everything works right.
they have a body camera. the purpose of the body camera making sure they are acting properly, accountable for everything they do. if you know that body camera is recording you and can be used to scan your face to catalog the fact you're at a protest and use that information in some way are you potentially a little less inclined to go there? are you going to second-guess that basic type of first amendment speech. again, we think in this context developing face prints from body cameras, it should require judicial approval, should be based on probable cause and should be individualized so you can have proper uses for this type of technology at the same time prevent misuse directed at activities and surveillance that has tried to in some times focus on vulnerable groups. i really hope you'll look into the full report on this, it's available online. there's a bunch of copies online. facial rec anything is the one
area i focused on but we take on a full set of how police should be using body cameras. whenever i talk about a somewhat ominous topic like this i like to end on cartoon. for the face of facial recognition i will do that. thank you very much for your time and i hope you enjoy the rest of the conference. >> all right. that was terrific. thank you so much to julian for having me here. i'm going to be talking today about the use of social media by law enforcement. we're not a place with recommendations of what that looks like but a fair amount of work on the landscape and raising issues. so that's what i want to talk
through with you today. i am seeing this in front of me but not up here. what am i doing wrong? is there somebody who can answer that question? anybody? anybody? there we go. now it's come up. thank you for bearing with me. so three or four years ago the brennan center released a map. what the map looks at is 135 jurisdictions across the country. cities, counties, police departments that use some kind of social media and monitoring technology in some way. this is specifically ones that release 15,000 or more since 2010. we call it smart secure, a prescription to it. we were able to do searches for a bunch of companies we know provide social media monitoring
sort of functionality, which means being able to look at social media postings in a lot of ways. we pulled out, if you go online you can see what those nifty colored pins are if you search for brennan center and social media map. we br them down into spending bans, who was spending less, who was spending more. we looked at eight different counties, cities, police departments, but breaking down what these are. if you click on a locale it pops up information about what the company is, where it's based, what we might know about in the city. how much spent and links to the procurement for the city so you can dive down into that. there are a few figures i want to highlight. the first is among jurisdiction i looked at 155 jurisdictions
since 2010 they have collectively spent $5 million on social media monitoring. the highest announcement single jurisdiction florida department of law enforcement spent $200,000 and a few below. you can see mostly large jurisdictions, county of l.a., harris county, texas, where dallas is, a county in michigan and department of emergency management. they have all spent a fair amount of money to be able to monitor social media. i should say from the procurement orders, we don't know precisely, so we can't say we know they are using this to monitor what people are saying on twitter about x but we know they are buying a service as one of its main functions provides monitoring to law enforcement. and a lot of them bought a couple of different services. they might have bought media
center and snap. they tried different ones, maybe a few at once to try them out. at the same time very few of them have publicly available policies about how this information is used. so a number have policies on how they affirmatively use. if you're a police officer and want to know how can i put out there on twitter or instagram an invitation to a block party we are co-hosting. pictures from our latest toy drive. that there are a fair amount of policies on. if what you wan to know is how can i track a particular suspect or person of interest, how can i use an undercover account to connect with somebody. how can i apply technology to do link analysis to figure out who is connected with each other. very few jurisdictions have public policies on that. they may have them somewhere but by and large they aren't available to the public, which means very little transparency
about how these services are being used and how that impacts civilians. so we do know there are a variety of ways that law enforcement -- social media used by law enforcement. could be community outreach and engagement. could be countering anti-government messages online. that's often more likely to be on the federal level, so just panel on encountering violent extremism. that's a tool to put other messages out there. it could be investigating individuals. so often social media companies won't hand over information directly to law enforcement so this is seen as a way to access that information if it's public or undercover accounts being created. could be investigating groups. there are a couple of slides i'm going to show in a minute that dig into that in a little more detail. maybe monitoring hash tags, pictures in common or people in common, situational awareness or link analysis, seeing who is
connected to each other. so the international association of police does a survey now every year. this is a regular survey to hundreds around the country asking how they use social media monitoring and technologies overall. so the 2015 report, which is the last one that's out, there are 509 law enforcement agencies that responded. of those, the actual teeny tiny number down at the bottom, that's the number of agencies that do not use social media tools. it is a very small percentage. more than 96% of law enforcement agencies that responded said, yes, we use social media in some way. it could be outreach, could be a number of other things. you can see the number on the top and the type is small. almost 90% use it for criminal investigations. over half use it for listening or monitoring and three-quarters
use it for intelligence. so quite a number of these law enforcement agencies using it not just to put out a public face but also to gather information. they provided specifics with respect to how it's used in investigations so we know a number of them will develop undercover identity and they find ways to facilitate that. over 92% could review social media profiles or activities of suspects. what you don't see here, and one of the areas where i think there is more concern or additional concern is in terms of monitoring of groups. especially if you're thinking about protesters or activists. so this is an e-mail that was obtained by the aclu of northern california, a fantastic to look at context of how these tools are being used and especially how they are being marketed to law enforcement agencies.
this is an e-mail and i should pause to say after these e-mails became public twitter especially has cut off access to at least three companies that provide social media monitoring. this one highlighted here and two other companies no longer allowed access to the kind of data that was allowing them to market themselves as we can see everything and kind of help you track down anything you want. but there are a few interesting things that come out of this. one marketing covering protests, covered ferguson and michael brown with success. account linkage. how many can be in the database for private users, there's no limit. this is an area as well very little visibility about what exactly it means to create fake accounts but clearly functionality that's available to law enforcement and just to
kind of -- monitoring investigations. monitoring for protests especially and civil liberties concerns coming out of that, what does it mean to be monitoring protesters, activists often engaged in perfectly lawful and protected activity. there's one more piece of that, funding request from the police department obtained by daily dot. the one interesting piece i wanted to identify here, the second highlight down says this tool asks you to identify potential witnesses to a crime after an event which can assist in the investigation of a terrorist threat or act. it says this was successfully done after boston marathon. on the one hand a perfectly legitimate point after terrorist attack. this might be a legitimate way to find witnesses.
on the other hand the immediate linkage of a crime to let's think about terrorism because that's often kind of terminology rolled out to use these monitoring tools. so i want to highlight, i know we're about out of time, a couple of access to social media monitoring. there are a few examples of successful and potentially relatively innocuous uses of social media. somebody who put up a video of himself rapping about murdering somebody including the name of the victim. posted that publicly on social media. adventure the 2011 riot to figure out who was involved. a variety of ways, somebody threw a football at a squad car but a friend of theirs put up a
misuse. that is a very quick overview of issues with social monitoring. we will be keeping up the math and gathering more information on this and also very much thinking about issues related to policies, transparency and principles to help guide how this is happening. [ applause ] tonight on american history tv, attacks in civil war, chickamauga, battles of wilderness and spotsylvania courthouse in virginia. all tonight 8:00 eastern on c-span3. this week on c-span, tonight at 8:00 jerry greenfield, co-founder of ben & jerry's ooigs cream talks about creative and responsible business practices. >> the idea that we couldn't sell enough ice cream in the
summer in vermont to stay in business, that forced us to look for other markets. >> wednesday night former vice president dick cheney and leon panetta under the future of the defense department under donald trump. >> i think the challenges are very great. i think we have unfortunately over the course of the last many years done serious damage to our capabilities to be able to meet those threats. >> living in that period. there are a lot of flash points. a new administration is going to have to look at that kind of world and obviously define policy that we need in order to deal with that. but then develop the defense policy to confront that kind of work. >> thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, a look at the career of vice president elect mike pence. >> we have stood without apology for the sanctity of life, the importance of marriage, and the freedom of religion.
>> on friday night beginning at 8:00, fairwell speeches and tributes to several outgoing senators including harry reid, barbara boxer, kelly ayotte and dan coats. this week in prime time on c-span. sunday january 1st, in-depth will feature a live discussion on presidency of barack obama. we're taking phone calls, e-mails and facebook questions during the program. our panel includes april ryan, american radio networks, author of presidency in black and white. upclose view of three presidents and race in america. princeton university professor eddie glaude. and pulitzer prize winning journalist and associate editor of post david maranes. watch live sunday on book tv on c-span2.
now, white house and political reporters discuss challenges of covering the trump administration including reporting on executive actions during first 100 days and president-elect trump's potential financial conflicts of interest. >> hello. thanks a lot for coming out. my name is chris adams. i'll be leading the program today. first i'm turning over to jason dick from cq who is going to lead you through a discussion about the -- what will be happening with one party controlling events on capitol hill. the second panel will be dealing with presidential authority and executive orders and what president trump can do from the authority of the oval office without dealing with congress. the third panel will deal with the relationship between the administration and the press and
what legal precedents might be being set. for each of these panels, discussion from the moderator but a lot we want to set aside time for questions from the audience. when it comes time to q&a i believe we'll have a microphone going around. we want to make sure you talk into the microphone. moderators standing at the mitch because recording everything. everything in the room on the record, being broadcast on c-span. it's also streaming live on facebook. the other thing i wanted to keep in mind for half the room are paul miller fellows, early career d.c. journalists. the other half of the room and many other people coming in aren't paul miller fellows, so i want to give a recognition to our paul miller fellows and also to the fact that at least two of our panelists, on the first panel is a former paul miller. we always like to see paul miller's do well and they have.
leading it, the panelist, he will give more on them. christina peterson from the "wall street journal" and two others. so jason. >> thank you very much. thank you for university of maryland hosting this. just a quick psa. we're talking in microphones. you won't hear amplification. we will project. it's primarily for cameras and transcription and recording. it's been a worldwind month since the election for those covering it. it was a whirlwind a year and a half, two years for spending a lot of time in iowa corn fields and nevada and preparing for the election. politics never sleeps, though. we're already seeing contours of future races.
it's easy to get distracted with that. what we want to talk about is congress. one thing we've noticed as journalists and scholars covering congress, congress is always sort of omnipresent in our lives but necessarily not in the public's eyes. so we want to talk about how it's always relevant but how do we make it resonant for people reading our stuff and watching our news reports. so i want to first start with christina and everybody talk a teeny bit about themselves and then we'll get into questions before handing it to q&a. christina. >> i covered congress for about four years. "the wall street journal." previously i covered the fed for a little bit and tax policy and the stock market and i'm from maryland. >> professor bender. >> sarah bender, scientist, half of me lives at brookings think
tank, the other half of me, usually left right, top bottom, a professor at gw political. i study congress. i've been here 20 years. every year it gets slightly worse so i'll leave it there. >> i'm a congressional reporter at polit co-focusing on senate and immigration policy. i've been at "politico" since 2009 and covering congress since 2011. my first foray during debt limit fight was a nice welcome to congress. >> let's start with our paul miller lumina. we were talking a little before we started the proceedings here just about what happens under unified control.
we haven't seen that since obama admission 2010. before that bush 2003-2007 and for a short time 2001. the tendency is for people to make more in politics. it makes sense. you exaggerate the magnitude it may have under your specific agenda. let's talk about what sort of burden that is also? >> i think if you remember at the beginning of the obama administration, the democrats -- once al franken sworn in you had 60 votes in the senate, control of the house and obviously president obama in the white house. they got very ambitious with legislative agenda. passed health care law, dodd/frank at least the house at the time passed an energy bill. it will be how the
president-elect will handle -- first of all, do they see a mandate that was handed to them and also what they do with that. i think what's really going to help guide that is the philosophies of the two republican leaders in the house. christina and i were talking about this. it's interesting how speaker ryan and mitch mcconnell had different views on what they see as quote, unquote, mandate of the election. paul ryan immediately after the election talked about what he thought republicans this. voters for the first time in many years handed republicans full control of washington, but mitch mcconnell's own press conference said, look, i've seen from histories in elections past there's a attendance to overreach. he's going to try to do that. how do they collide with ovechkin with a broad are
agenda, what does that mean for desire for health care law, infrastructure bills, immigration and how the president-elect see this. i think that will be interesting to see how it can be. >> the health care is a good example. in the house 50 something votes to appeal affordable care act. but now that they are playing with real issue, how do you -- it's become something of a land mine. will people feel comfortable repealing health care law before they know what they are going to replace it with you don't need democratic votes to repeal it but you do need democratic votes to replace it. those are two different procedures to go through and i think you can just see them
grappling now with how tricky that's going to be. it's a lot easier to say we want to repeal obama care than figuring out a working way to do that. >> this is for you and your levels of expertise with what we're talking about for procedures. even in our newsrooms people with experience, procedure, floor procedure in the house, open rules, reconciliation instruction instructions, everybody is going to be -- this is starting as soon as we get back, faced with these questions. what are some of the ways you would advise we need to look at procedure and be able to explain it in a way that gets beyond a bunch of geeks like us. >> perhaps it would be helpful today and thinking how to cover procedural or institutional
questions. i think briefly, let me say one thing about why we should care about the rules and, second, think about why the house and senate looks so different and maybe that will get us up to speed. keep in mind, this seems obvious, it's important to realize majorities and coalitions don't just materialize. they don't say tax reform and suddenly there's a tax reform coalition. those coalitions have to be built from the bottom up. the ways in which they get built depend on the rules of the game. the rules of the game are going to dictate, first of all, who has agenda setting power, who puts proposals on the table. the rules of the game will basically tell us which party has easier time with their policy proposals in committee and on the floor. the rules of the game will tell us how many lawmakers are required, majority, two-thirds, three-fifths. the rules of the game matter. this isn't political scientists
playing egg head geeks here about the rules of the game. so just to be clear, it is important to kind of familiarize yourself, perhaps not so much why they are different but certainly how they differ. just i guess the briefest of sketches here, for the house, it's evolved into an institution that is largely driven by the majority party, assuming the majority party is cohesive. the one instrument to keep in mind for your reporting is to keep your eyes on the house rules committee, which really we think of it as an arm of the majority party leadership because the speaker appoints the nine in this case republican members. the democratic leader will appoint the four democratic members. you might think, wow, hmm, nine republicans and four democrats. we know that the house senate majority is 52, 53% of the chamber. i don't have an exact number. so that rules committee is stacked in the favor of the majority party and stacked in
the favor of the leadership. rules committee decides what's the structure of bills going to the floor. will they be open? that is can anybody essentially get a vote, offer an amendment on the floor or will they be closed? will there be no amendments? a tax reform package if it were to come to the floor, no amendments. it's closed. you don't want to start unraveling the carefully together package versus somewhere in between. somewhere in between is where most bills are. somewhere in between tends to treat minority party from their perspective somewhat unfairly and tends to advantage majority party assuming they are unified and assumes it usually knocks out any ability for bipartisan coalition to come to the floor or to allow a minority member to offer to split majority party. if we look at the house, wow, majority rule really works there. majority party rule. but that's dependent on the rules and dependent on the majority party sticking together to protect those rules.
>> doesn't always happen. >> as you guys watching. >> when they can't get their rule, adopt the rule on the floor, more than likely the bill gets ripped from the floor. majorities don't like to air their dirty laundry. none of us do. on the house floor. turning to the senate, i think the thing to keep in mind here, there's one rule in the house that is the critical thing for understanding the senate. the house, previous question motion, all have you to know is when a majority is ready to take a vote in the house, move a motion, ready to vote, all you need is simple majority and you take a vote. in the senate if you open up senate rule book, no previous question, there is no ability except in some circumstances reconciliation, no ability for the majority to decide, hey, let's vote, except for nominations that we can come back to. you have to get a bill on the floor.
mitch mcconnell for unanimous consent, senators, all democrats as well as all his republicans or he needs 60 votes through cloture process. sixty. we know there's probably 52 republicans. that means he needs all 52, rand paul, john mccain, susan collins. >> ted cruz. >> ted cruz. >> so they have to stick together and they need eight democrats to come over. eight democrats, we're a very partisan politics these days, to get eight you probably need to get 20 or 30. you don't usually get eight to peel off. joe manchin, a hand full of moderates up for election in red states, but there aren't eight that will cross over. why is it important? you need 60 votes to get stuff done. that means to replace obama care, to do immigration reform, defense spending, all sorts of big ticket items on the republican agenda are going to
need 60 votes. finally where you started off reconciliation, there's a bunch of procedure. we don't need to get too far into it. there is a bunch of procedure, does allow majorities to work with 351 votes in the senate because you can't filibuster these packages that come out. there's strict rules about how you can get to reconciliation and what can go in it. it's much easier. tax reform will probably be done that way. it's not clear. rules matter especially in the senate where otherwise you get crickets. >> moving on to some of the personalities we run into on a daily basis in the house and senate. congress can be a very intimidating place. it's not just more than 500 members of congress, it's their staff, a big place. it's like a small city. there are 27,000 people who work for the legislative branch in the united states. it's a big apparatus. how do you start just developing sources there?
>> i think you just kind of start with a different -- start with a focus, start small. if you cover -- you work for a publication, washington correspondent for a state newspaper, obviously start with your local representatives and local -- and the two senators. if you cover a policy, members of the committee that has jurisdiction over that policy, not just committee members, in terms of the lawmakers themselves but staff members on the committee and staff members for members who sit on the committee. i think i kind of came in to congress as a general assignment reporter. i was kind of a newbie, so i was being tossed everywhere, kind of whatever -- whichever breaking news story was going on at the time. but when i transferred to covering immigration kind of exclusively late 2012 and really focused on members of leadership, members of the gang of eight, members of the judiciary committees on both sides of the chambers, that's when i became sourced up in the
capital, which not only helped me with immigration reporting but also how to help me kind of broaden that expertise to other policies and kind of helped me to where i got today. i think if you look at congress as like oh, my gosh, i have to get to know all these 535 people, get to know their staffs, agendas, you are going to be overwhelmed. it still overwhelms every day. if you start with a small focus, develop a niche, home state or specific policy beat, interesting coalitions if you want to cover progressives in the house and senate, a great one for the next few years, i think if you tackle it like that, it will be -- that's the way to kind of dip your foot in the water and get going that way. >> i think that makes a lot of sense. since it is a new session of congress that's about to start, there are new lawmakers and they want to get to know people. so that can be a good toe hold into this.
since we do have one party controlling both chambers of commerce and the white house, there are more issues moving, so i do think there are more industries and fields with advocates like immigration or health care policy or tax reform where they know a lot and are happy to talk on background with reporters. so that's a good opportunity to start chatting with people from different angles. i think what's nice about the hill is there are so many different ways to get into every story and every beat. so you can be a white house reporter and covering the administration from the hill side, because, you know, we just have so much access and ability to bump into people and talk to different people and lawmakers and aides. you could do the same on a foreign policy beat. so it's just a great place to be able to have so many interactions on a daily basis. >> i think, you know, you can't
emphasize enough the fact that there are no small beats. >> yeah. >> your background covering the fed will probably come in very handy when they start talking about a new federal reserve chair, chairwoman. >> immigration, which covered a lot, senator jeff sessions was a key person in that because he was a very vocal critic of legal immigration at the time when it wasn't being voiced very much in congress. now he looks likely to be the next attorney general. so really interesting how people you talk to years ago end up in a different role. >> professor behinder -- binder, how important is it to know just how this -- this sounds like a squishy term but the culture of congress and of washington. washington has been disparaged like no other place in the universe the last couple of years in this campaign, so it
may be difficult to think, oh, i'm going to spend time getting to know the people or the city. how important is that forming the basis of the context for developing an expertise and covering congress and a new administration. >> so, since i'm wearing the science hat i'll give you two contradictory answers. i think i believe the second one more than the first one. most scientists tend not to study culture of interactions, personality, all that you described as the ways in which life gets done and happen on the hill. >> probably what we do more of, better at it than what we would be. so we don't try. but the reality is, though, particularly in a period of polarization where you can't just count on some broad political center to come together to mold political coalitions, the only way for congress to do big stuff is for people on opposite sides who don't typically interact with each other get to know the other side, right? just think about this.
if politics were just a single pie, and we're going to divide it up, you get two pieces, three pieces, zero sum, you wouldn't have to know anybody. right? democrats wouldn't talk to republicans, send somebody over, divide up the pie and you're done. big deals don't look like that. immigration reform, even if it didn't make it to the house, i think of it as enlarge the pie. you really care about the path to zcitizenship, great. you really care about border security, fine, we're going to knit them together. as barney frank told me, he said, you know, in congress the ankle bone is connected to shoulder bone. i'm not a doctor -- i guess i am a doctor but not a medical doctor. they aren't anatomy but you can put things together. the only way they put things together is if they know what the other side wants. so your ability to try to figure out what those relationships look like i think is pretty important. education, alexander, patty murray, budget deals patty murray in the past, paul ryan, right, some of these folks are
getting to know each other. some of them have dealt with each other repeatedly over the years, but you don't get big stuff in unified party control. you don't get big stuff unless you bring along the minority. >> before we get into questions from the audience and conversations there, i do want to go over to the flip side of it, which is polling, data, following money trails and so forth. polling took a real like sort of beating in this particular campaign. how important is it, how much is part of your repertoire as reporters? also, in the academic world to look at those polling numbers and data trends and so forth. >> yeah, you know, that is a really good question. i don't know how things shake out with polling. it is something during the campaign year we've relied on a lot. i know from covering senate races, we looked at real clear
politics average of polls. i will say broadly, i do think data is important. on the hill, things that have been very helpful are congressional research service reports, cbo reports, congressional budget office that gives dollar figures on legislation. gao reports. these are sort of very well respected, independent agencies that i think -- i hope still buttress our stories by giving us facts and analysis that both sides tend to agree upon, at least in the past. so i think will trump -- will president-elect trump say gao said that so i'll back down or cbo scored the bill this way, i don't know. in the past those have been very helpful resources for hill reporting. >> i think i agree with everything she just said. also on point, i'm not a polling expert either. i rely on the numbers the same way christina does when we're covering senate races, especially the battleground
states. my one personal lesson from this is that in terms of pitching story ideas, i was polling based on story ideas. actually in the last week of the race, we were pondering kind of a bigger story to do on the wisconsin senate race. but i think i thought that, look, you know, russ feingold may be closing in -- losing his lead over ron johnson but look at the polling. we assumed he was going to be one of the republicans gone. the polling -- the closing as an outlier. we should have done more on that race. i think we were probably -- i was probably too reliant on polling for the entire time. now i know for the next cycle where to go for where the numbers are. as we can see there's much more to that -- much more to reporting on these races than getting a sense of where the numbers are. so it's going to take away from the cycle. >> did we overuse polling,
professor binder? >> christina very kindly reminded me today we talked on the phone at 4:30 on election day and by 9:00, 9:30 when she wasn't going to be saved by alaska, probably -- >> that story got written through several times on the course of election night. >> so i would just offer one way to think about polls in terms of legislative contest or legislative politics. maybe the example of the 2013 government shutdown would be helpful. so october 2013, the government was shut down for two and a half weeks. it was all over the spending bills which you will eventually come to terms with why it's so important. but ted cruz, senator, had basically taken the spending bills hostage for an obama care repeal. in terms of partisan battle, keep in mind democratic senate in a republican house.
who was going to get the blame, right? were republicans going to be blamed for trying to take the government hostage by going after obama care or would democrats be blamed for their inability to govern? it takes a little while for that but i think it was a messaging battle to play out. if you looked at the polling results, not just your approval of congress but what do people think of democratic leaders, what do people think of republican leaders, you kind of see even amongst republicans this dive that happens by the second, third week in october in the public and republican perceptions of republican leadership. i think members -- i think mcconnell and i think boehner, i k they understood it all along but clearly understood once numbers tank they can go to their members and say, look, we're being blamed here. we're losing the messaging battle. we've got to go to the table. because they lost the messaging battle, they didn't get anything. there was no obama care repeal, raised debt limit. they had a budget deal.
i actually think despite my whole discipline is having a little issue about polling, i think leaders will still be relying on them and it may help determine the direction these battles go to some degree. >> that's a really good point. candidates still use polling a lot. even if journalists reduce our reliance to some extent, they are still really important behind the scenes shaping legislative battles, campaigns. we're not done with polls for sure. >> we'll probably have more of them. it was a staggering amount of information to sift through. also a caveat, a lot of the polling at the national level, you know, predicted the margin on the popular vote. where they missed it was with the turnout in the battleground states. >> in some cases the margin of error was large enough that what occurred was still technically accurate. the poll was still technically accurate.
>> that does tend to get lost a little bit. it's no fun to state margin of error and how much you can discount the polls. >> right. >> right. >> with that i'd like to get into some of the questions with the audience because i know there are probably a lot of questions. at least we hope. who wants to go first? >> i can restate the question. >> that will be good. >> ma'am? >> i had a question -- couple questions for dr. binder. first you talked about how what was going on in the senate with the majority and that 52 republicans, they need at least eight democrats. you said you'd really have to peel off 20. i was a little confused how that would work. >> the question is just getting
into explanations of the majority, there are likely going to be 52 republican senators, but you need 60 to cut off debate on any kind of legislation. and professor bender's statement if you need eight, you really need to aim a lot higher than that, 20 to 30. >> so to clarify, yes, technically on a rule you need 60 as jason just said. the thing is, let's say everybody was lined up left to right, liberals to conservatives. some of these issues coming down the pipe will not be left to right, so i'm not being very helpful. your left, my right. i'm spatially challenged especially when we're talking different directions. the problem here is not the problem but the challenge is here that democrats and republicans are reasonably cohesive. so republicans are probably over here on the right. democrats are scattered over
here. there isn't anybody in the middle. to have to go all the way over to attract your 60 votes, you go manchin west virginia, heidi heitkamp, if she doesn't go with the administration from north dakota. mccaskill, donnelly. the further and further you go, you're going to hit some liberals, right. to get to eight you're going to hit liberals. in other words, the eight probably agrees with the person lined up at 80. that's when in essence it's not that you're aiming to pick up -- you may be. it's not that you need 80 votes but the fact is the moderation of your bill, changes of your bill you need to get to 60, those changes are probably going to be amenable to other democratic senators near them. so you're not just peeling off -- you're not just buying individual votes, you're probably making concessions to
bring everybody over. >> i think also there's a tactical element to this. with schumer, who is going to be the next senate democratic leader, he may let four or five of his most vulnerable democrats vote with republicans on certain issues, those are the people in the middle that professor binder was talking about but democrats may not want to let eight or nine go and give republicans a legislative win unless it's a big bipartisan topic for which you get 20 democrats on board. so you could see six democrats vote with republicans when it helps them but you don't get that whole -- you won't get to the number eight to pass legislation unless it's good for a lot of democrats. >> so i think the last major legislation in the senate at least, where they got right around 60 was a trade promotion authority in june 2015. it was like we were just kind of up there counting. who is going to be the democrat. who will be the 60th vote. i think those situations because of the political dynamics tend to be a bit more rare than you would think. >> that was a democratic white
house lobbying democrats hard to get those votes. >> for sort of a precursor to some of these battles next year, this week in the senate on the 2 21st century legislation that gets to user fees, sounds like a chewy topic. but there's a little division among democrats. you might be able to see this play out on the floor, where liberals like elizabeth warren are not super happy about it. the white house wants this bill. they have sent out a statement of administration policy stating they want this signed into law, they want the senate to pat it. it's already passed the house. seeing those divisions and how you get past. tune in this week. the white house feels so strongly about it they said vice president will preside over the vote tomorrow.
>> since the election everyone in the republican party has been more or less on the same page, at least a lot more than they were during the campaign. what do you think it would take for house republicans or senate republicans to start picking fights with trump again? >> the question is we're seeing a cohesion among republicans during house and senate we didn't see during the campaign and how long can we expect to see this peace until someone tries to pick a fight in the republican party with the president-elect. >> it's a really good question. we're talking about it this morning on the hill because the house majority leader kevin mccarthy held a pen and pad and talked with reporters. we were asking him about president-elect trump's tweets over the weekend about imposing tariffs on u.s. companies that ship production offshore. and you know, this is a difficult question for free market republicans who they say, well, our answer is overhauling
the tax code. but they didn't want to directly answer the question of would you pass legislation imposing tariffs because republicans don't traditionally believe in interfering with the free market and have been reluctant to impose tariffs. it was this real moment of discomfort with what trump was tweeting, but we did see a reluctance on the part of mccarthy to say directly he disagreed with trump. i don't know how long it's going to take until people do voice their concerns more candidly. so that's a point i'm going to be watching for. what do you guys think? >> i do think we're at a point right now, in a honeymoon of sorts, republicans are ecstatic they control all levers of government, or they will early next year. i think they are -- i think that's natural to have a
receipt -- reticence to criticizes or tweets things you don't agree with. i think when you start digging into policy fights and he does send infrastructure plan to the hill or immigration plan, i bet whatever immigration plan he sends, if he sends one, you will have people like jeff flake, dean heller, lindsey graham voice their objections. if it looks like we imagined an immigration plan from trump would look like. >> they have. >> they have already but that's going to be amplified more once it's knee-deep, a reality of what these policies fights are. i think the infrastructure plan -- this i have much less knowledge of. but if infrastructure plan has more spending than what they
would like, you'll hear more from the freedom caucus than perhaps right now. >> yeah. i do think, and maybe this is true in sort of every administration, but it's very clear people who were early supporters of trump are being rewarded. they are on the transition team. they are able to talk to his staff much more closely. >> attorney general nominee. >> they are being discussed for cabinet official posts. there is a price to pay for criticizing mr. trump. you can be the subject of a tweet storm. i don't know how much that will factor into people's political calculations going forward. >> i would just add in, lawmakers sometimes vote for things they disagree with idea logically because it's good for their own electoral reputation back home or the party's brand name. vice versa, sometimes lawmakers will vote for things they oppose or oppose things they prefer to see them enacted into law. again, their recognition back
home or what the party is trying to put together for the brand. as someone said, look, it's really early here. but i think one of the most valuable lessons i took, after being wrong so much about the election, is not to forget that pattern. this remarkable glue across the branches and within a chamber. there will be a lot more sacrifice than we might expect. we'll be demanded of some of these republicans, particularly on crony capitalism issue and many issues. as christina said, we don't know what it will take to crack. my guess it cracks first in the senate because, a, keep in mind two-thirds of them did run on the same ticket with trump. a third of them will never be on the ballot because of presidential term limits. they don't owe him anything, they weren't elected on the same issues. house is much harder, i think, to get that distance from trump. >> their terms are shorter.
>> facing voters and campaigning. >> in six months. >> yeah. it rachets up pretty quickly. >> one thing i think to note, too, there has been a lot of emphasis on the challenging political environment for democrats in 2018 in the senate. there are 25 democrats up to eight republicans. some of those democrats are running in very republican states like west virginia or indiana or north dakota. what we sometimes neglect to mention, too, two people just mentioned. dean heller in nevada is up also, and jeff flake is up in arizona. they have both been a little more moderate on immigration, to say the least. donald trump has threatened to campaign against jeff flake. they are cognizant of the fact their states are heavily hispanic and that's where the demographics are heading. so it's not to always divert toward the political situation but it is helpful to know the context of what people are making decisions in like this.
next question. yes. >> a narrative come out that senate democratsre going to really try to hold back on trump's nominees because of what's been going on with garland this year. how successful can they conceivably be with that. >> the question is how successful can democrats be if they want to halt or delay the nominations of donald trump's cabinet officials or judges and so forth because of the way the republicans refused to even hold a hearing for merrick garland, president obama's nominee for the supreme court. >> there's very little they can do to stop it. senate democrats triggered so-called nuclear option in 2013 and helped change the level. like basically you need 51 votes
for all nominees except the supreme court. as we noted earlier, republicans will likely have 52 seats next year depending outcome of louisiana senate elections saturday. what's more important to stop ne is if you have someone like rand paul or susan collins or a jeff flake or a small kind of coalition of those republicans standing up against a nominee. democrats can make it definitely painful. they can insist on roll calls for nominees. if you recall, there were, you know, at least half a dozen obama nominees that were confirmed right on january 20th, 2009, just to make sure he had at least parts of his cabinet installed immediately. i don't see that happening with this -- or next january, except for perhaps elaine chao, who happens to be married to the majority leader, and also she was very noncontroversial when she was announced. you already have senate democrats in the judiciary committee demanding long hearings for jeff sessions and demanding kind of a drawn-out
process that way. so, in terms of stopping a nominee, there is very little they can actually do because of the lower threshold. but in terms of just making it painful and making it kind of annoying for republicans, eating up floor time and eating up committee time that republicans would rather be using to enact their legislative agenda, democrats can certainly do that. >> i think the one exception is general mattis will need a waiver, which will be legislation. and senator gillibrand has already said that she will insist on a procedural vote that requires 60 votes. so, but he also seems to have the most democratic support. so he's the one that democrats actually want in. so, that's sort of the pro and con for them. i think we could also talk a little bit about the supreme court nominees, which is the one category that has the potential
to get really interesting this year. whether if democrats do object to trump's supreme court picks, whether republicans will change the rules again so that it only requires a simple majority to confirm the supreme court nominee. and i think it's hard to tell on, in his press conference the day after the election, leader mcconnell seemed to dwell on the peril of overreaching when you're in the majority, which -- and he is an institutionalist, so that seemed to suggest that he and some of the more veteran republicans might be reluctant to do that. but if democrats don't go along, i can also see there being a lot of public pressure to confirm the supreme court nominee, and maybe they would. >> professor, we're talking about a small universe of supreme court nominees that have faced that scrutiny going back
100 years. some of the examples, abe fortis, lyndon johnson's pick on the supreme court faced a filibuster. i mean, there were procedural votes on samuel alito, but this is relatively unprecedented, correct, for the supreme court to filibuster a nominee for the supreme court? >> yeah, except there have been -- i guess there were cloture votes on the most recent ones. and i'm sure alito was less than -- >> 58. >> -- 60, 58. i think the others got -- i think some of them were more unified. so, yeah, i don't know that the fact that there's less precedent for it is as consequential as the fact that this is kind of the reality of contemporary american politics, which is these are pretty tough, polarized parties, and they disagree on quite a lot.
and certainly, a supreme court lifetime appointment, particularly in a world where congress hasn't been legislating very much and we can see the courts weigh in on health care, they weigh in on immigration reform on overtime pay, right? there are all sorts of ways in which the court is immensely important and increasingly important, and so it makes sense to me that the parties would fight over it. it makes sense to me that majority members might be a little circumspect about going nuclear, thinking that the shoe could eventually be on the other foot and having republicans facing a democrat in the white house maybe making appointments. having said that, republicans solved that problem in the last congress by not doing anything. >> one thing i feel compelled to mention, too -- and we're focusing on covering congress and the new administration, but we've got that other branch of government across the street, symbolized by the supreme court. but there are other -- i mean, the ways that the judicial branch influences the decisi
decision-making in congress and pressures on the white house and so forth, this seems to me -- i don't know if you feel the same way as an academic, as fellow reporters -- that the judicial branch may be the most undercovered part of government that we have. is that -- do you think that there's any merit to that? >> i would just -- well, i guess i'd answer yes. i mean, for many of the reasons that it's just -- as you sort of talked about in terms of the ease with which one might cover congress, which is just access, obviously, is very, very tough to come by for the court, unless you're in there or listen to the tapes later, right? it's hard to know. and you don't ever see the negotiations in conference or the exchange -- they do most of their work by exchanging. so there's a large black box, both for reporters and for academics. i think the thing to keep in mind here is that we do have examples during unified republican control where the courts put a wrench into the
republican administration's court cases that came up the works through them. in particular on the war on terror and the use of all of the detainees in guantanamo bay, habeas corpus questions. there was a series of supreme court cases starting in 2004, '06 and '08 that really put the screws in the administration and, remarkably, forced congress to actually come to the table to figure out what are we going to do about treatment of detainees? will there be trials? will there be commissions, military commissions? like, how are we going to deal with this? what are we going to do about the torture? the court forces, really forced congress to the table there. and keep in mind, john mccain is still there and he's not forgotten. so, the court can kind of shake things up for the administration in ways they were probably not anticipating. >> the courts are going to be a really interesting venue, too, for democrats to push back on the administration. i'm kind of thinking more -- you know, democrats, they have been wiped out in congress and
obviously the white house, but you're going to have pretty high-profile and a very influential state attorneys general that i guarantee will use the courts as a venue to push back against some trump policies. the one person first and foremost in my mind is congressman javixavier becerra, outgoing member of house democratic leadership. just announced he will take over as the california state attorney general for kamala harris. you obviously have -- i have a personal focus on immigration, but you're already seeing a lot of what the california legislature, universities in california are doing to push back against trump immigration policies. he will be a key person kind of pushing that and kind of being that antagonist to trump on the state level. so that, the courts -- or the legal field will be a very interesting venue and an interesting story line in that way as well. >> and also if you see medicaid changes coming out of an overhaul of obamacare, that will be interesting to see democratic governors push back, although
there are also fewer states now where democrats have control at the state level. >> and you're also seeing some republican governors even say -- >> right. >> -- hey, wait a second. >> right. >> before you get rid of the medicaid grant to my state -- i mean, my home state of arizona, the governor there was right out of the gate after the election saying, before anything takes hold, we need to figure out how to keep people covered. >> good point. >> coming from a very, you know, republican-like pedigree. questions? yes? >> as a health care reporter, i wanted to ask about budget reconciliation, because i keep hearing conflicting stories about whether it can be used in the votes to repeal obamacare or overhaul medicare. so, if there's any kind of tips on what to watch for there? >> yeah, the question is, is the reports on republicans using the budget reconciliation process, which requires fewer votes in the senate to get through, how
much of obamacare or the affordable care act could be repealed -- >> and medicare. >> -- and medicare. how many changes could you make to that using budget reconciliation process? >> i guess the one principle to keep in mind before i try to answer the question -- the principle is that the reconciliation has become used for measures or provisions that cut the deficit, right? and so, the overall package can't be increasing the deficit. and so, provisions are reviewed and judged by the parliamentarian on whether or not they can go into the package. and if there is -- >> the deficit as opposed to just dealing with -- >> cutting the deficit. there has to be a budgetary implication of the provision to make it into reconciliation. the language is, if the purpose of the provision is incidental to the budget, then it can't go in.
so in a world where they wanted to repeal the requirement that you're allowed to -- the requirement to cover pre-existing conditions, i think that would be judged to be incidental to the challenge. it has no direct budgetary implications. so, just an example. so, this is the easiest, and i don't know if there's a parallel to health care reform. when they did tax reform under bush, it was a very costly package because tax cuts actually cost money. but the way they got around it was to sunset. so, in ten years, when -- you have to score all these provisions that went into the bill. they just reinstated all the taxes, so it looked neutral. it's just, the whole thing looked neutral. so, there are some smoke and mirrors here. there are ways in which to get things into a package to make it budget-neutral over this ten-year window that they're in.
and just to keep in mind, if things go into reconciliation that somebody wants to challenge a budgetary issue because it's violating the rules, duke a point of order, and that's a 60 votes. so yes, 51 is the final threshold for passage of reconciliation, but it would have to pass all these 60-vote thresholds that might be lobbed against the reconciliation, provisions of the reconciliation bill. >> so, i think what i -- oh, go ahead. >> well, i was just going say that in 2015, they did pass a repeal of aca through a congressional resolution -- >> reconciliation. >> yeah, but it was vetoed by obama. but it did actually go to the parliamentarian a couple of times, and initially, they couldn't do as much as they wanted to, and then they had to sort of rework how some of it was structured in order to sort of make it, to protect it from these points of order. >> so, i think, yeah, if i were a health care reporter and we
kind of are sometimes when it comes to congressional stuff, i would go back to the template that senate and house republicans laid out in terms of what they did with the reconciliation bills in 2015. so, what that was back then was, it repealed the individual and employer mandates, it repealed two taxes in the health care law, also -- when it went to the senate, i believe it also ended up rolling back the medicaid expansion. and that kind of package, that's not the entire health care law, obviously, but republicans -- enough republicans felt that it gutted enough of the health care law to be sufficient to them, and it passed muster with the parliame parliamentarian. and in addition, it also defunded planned parenthood. so, that's kind of what we're going to start with in terms of how we guess they're going to repeal it, are those kind of core tenants of the health care law. >> and i remember one, like, tiny detail from that was that in getting rid of the mandate, they actually, i think left it in, but set it at zero. and that was how it made it
through the parliamentarian -- >> they left the mandate in, but they got rid of the penalties, the taxes. >> so they effectively got rid of it, but in order to get through all these parliamentary hoops, that's what they did, at least at one point. >> that's why the senate parliamentarian is one of the most powerful people. >> yeah. >> it's also -- i mean, it's important to point out, too, that the parliamentarian is a political appointment. the majority makes the decision of who is the parliamentarian. and so, they're usually not going to put them in such a dire situation that they have a face-off with the parliamentarian and the majority in there. but they can make for some very interesting times as they sort of say, well, will this work, will this work, will this work? >> they have been fired, so. >> question. >> i was curious, how much time and energy do you think lawmakers will spend worrying about policy and governing when the new congress comes back,
versus worrying about re-election, fund-raising and those rigors? >> the single most quoted phrase in the history of people who study congress is, members of congress are single-minded seekers of re-election. it's just, it is -- we never really separate them, right? the politics and the policy. they're just like, they're intertwined, right? and so, we have these notions, yes, you can govern and think about policy, then you can think about re-election. i think that re-election motive, it's the proximate goal, it's the first thing you bump into every single morning. everything is seen through a prism of how is this going to affect my electoral reputation and my ability to get re-elected, right? and keep in mind, they may have policy goals. i want to work on health care, i want to work on immigration reform, but you have to get re-elected in order to do that. so, in the house, particularly, primaries, within six months they're already worrying about filing and whether people are going to run against them. so, i think there's no more
honeymoon. i think it's really gone, even in the senate. a little more luxury of time, but even so, they're raising money to scare off people from running against them. >> it was kind of interesting. congressman rick nolan was re-elected in 2014, and his previous stint in congress had been 30 years ago, i think. and so, it was really interesting talking to him when he came back to capitol hill after three decades, and what he said the biggest difference to him was that people just had to spend so much more time fund-raising now and less time legislating. and i will say that they have put out the house calendar for next year, and they are supposed to be in d.c. for more days, so maybe on the margins that affects something, but i think you're right, that politics and re-election fights are just a constant. >> it would be one thing, in the context of this year -- this year congress was in session the fewest number of days in my memory. and part of that was they
stacked the political conventions before their august break, which was sort of departing from the last few cycles. so you had this seven-week-long break in the summer. and then just the political calendar itself has been extended. people are always running for re-election, but i think we saw an extreme version of politics just completely subsuming the policy agenda and the policy world last year, and these odd-numbered years are a little bit better for policy reporters. you do get a chance to get to know people a little better and get to know the issues better before the next political cycle starts to take over. >> and maybe the fact that we have single control, which makes these policy fights richer, because something could potentially happen increases the potential, at least. >> and one other thing to keep in mind, though, one thing that does threaten to shorten the policy calendar a little bit is, right now it looks like from all
accounts, you know, congress is going to try to leave this week and wrap up the lame duck. it will be one of the, you know, it will be, in terms of previous lame ducks, probably a little less productive. they're going to probably in the next day or two or three pass a continuing resolution to fund the government just into probably late march, april or may. now, that may seem like, oh, just give the new administration a chance to get, like, their say in things, but that tends to push everything else that you might have had on an agenda starting in january to decide. we also have all these nominees for the cabinet. we'll have a supreme court nomination. the debt limit has to be addressed in march. so, it should be a more policy-oriented year, but at the same time, it's, all of a sudden, we're talking about may as the time when the slate will be clear. so keep that in mind in terms of booking, say vacations. yes. >> yes, i had a question about
immigration. and it seems like the administration is going to come in and focus primarily on deport, register, build a wall, and they won't get to visa security or the work visas until later on in the year. is that an assessment you would agree with or do you think visa security and the visas for work compliance will be something that they could address sooner? >> the question is how deeply, how quickly and how deeply will they get into substantive issues, immigration, coming in? >> it's hard to tell right now. i do think just having talked to a lot of people, right now the transition is so focused on getting the personnel appointments and kind of getting the cabinet nominees vetted and chosen or announced, that they haven't really thought through the policy part of things. and i don't know what plan trump will send to the hill. is he going to send just support the wall plan or will he send a broader plan than that?
but i think it will be interesting to happen because of -- i mean, a border bill will not pass democrats. democrats won't allow it. there will be republicans that want to put other things on there. there will be other issues to address, including what happens with obama's 2012 executive action involving the dreamers. so, there's just -- it's never going to be like a singular kind of piece that comes out. >> i think, just to add on to that, i think we both, when we covered immigration earlier, there was always this traditional calculus that republicans got the border and democrats got path to citizenship and h1vs and work visas sort of got jumped on to train. now the question is, does that calculus still hold? i mean, i agree that i don't think a border-only bill can pass the senate, but that doesn't mean they won't try. and could that put pressure on democrats? i guess just do the rules that have traditionally bound what
makes an immigration package, have they changed? >> and i think the problem with kind of gauging trump's plan to impact beyond just wanting to build some sort of barrier along the mexico border -- because there are so many other parts, i cannot tell you -- and i follow this stuff -- i cannot tell you what his stand on h1v visas are. all the things he said in the campaign, during the debates, what it says on his website, who his advisers are and who they believe in the visas, and you've seen how trump has backed off from saying, you know, everyone must go, versus the "60 minutes" interview after he was elected saying, two to three, we'll focus on the criminal aliens first. so, that's the other difficult part. like, i'm not -- just because trump has been such an unorthodox nominee, it'd be very
hard to see -- or it's hard for me to kind of look at the crystal ball right now and see what kind of a plan he will actually push. and that's why his cabinet nominees will be so critical. we've already seen jeff sessions out there for ag. he's very clear on where he stands on immigration. and as attorney general, even dhs, that's kind of the main immigration agency, i mean, as the ag, he'll have considerable powers over immigration, but that's also why we'll be watching who he picks as homeland security secretary. will it be someone like chris kovach, who has an extensive history on immigration that's very clear where he stands, or a mike mccall, who's been a little bit more not as hard-lined? so, it will kind of -- that will i think set the tone a lot for where trump eventually goes. >> i think we have time for one more question. yes. [ inaudible question ] >> anything that you check every day or alerts you receive or anything -- how you monitor
that? [ inaudible question ] >> the question is for specific tips. what do you do? how do you start and end your day? >> well, die this, and i know you do this because i run into her. we both just kind of walk around the capitol a lot -- >> a great way to get your steps in. >> basically. we're like professional stalkers, you know. we just walk around and try to bump into lawmakers. we both go to votes often, because that's a great place to catch lawmakers and chitchat with aides. and one really good piece of advice that someone gave me when i was starting on the hill was not to stand in one spot too long. and i think about this all the time and i'll have been in one spot and i'll say i should quake around. and you'll turn the corner and there's a scrum of reporters talking to a lawmakers on something i hadn't even thought about. and that's what's nice is you have your ideas, but you're also in a place with other reporters and lawmakers and someone is
always asking the better question and then i'm like, i should write about that. so, i will just say -- i would say just keep on walking, and the capitol is a really beautiful place to walk around, so it could be worse. >> yeah. i think that's really an important point, especially for those of you who want to cover congress or cover a policy issue that requires you to be on capitol hill for a certain extent. i mean, i'm obviously biased and christine i'm sure feels the same way, but congress is by far the best beat in washington. like, the white house is not the best feed. covering the courts is not the best, or it's covering the agencies. it's covering congress. and it's primarily because -- i mean, obviously, you have 535 animated, crazy characters with all their own agendas and their stories and kind of their own ambitions, but also, it's just the access that you get to
principles is just unparalleled. and i can be hanging around in the ohio clock corridor, which is the second floor of the senate -- second floor of the capitol on the senate side, right outside the senate chamber, and i could just be hanging out there because i have nothing else to do. i turn the corner and i catch harry reid going into his office. so i was like, leader reid, i have a question for you on "x" topic, and he'll make news that way. very few other beats in washington, maybe no other, do you get access to principals like that. so, i think -- >> you can use that for other beats. >> definitely, yeah. >> i'm always encouraging our beat reporters to come up and cover lawmakers. if you're covering health care, it's a great way to come up and spend a tuesday. >> you know, they don't call it art of one for nothing. >> thank you so much, christina, appreciate it. appreciate your time and thank you again, the national press foundation, for hosting us.
tonight on american history tv, programs on "great attacks of the civil war," including longstreet's attack at chi chickamau chickamauga, battles of the wilderness and virginia. it's tonight at 8:00 eastern here on c-span3. this week is authors week on "washington journal," featuring live one-hour segments with a new author each day, beginning at 8:30 a.m. eastern. wednesday, author carol anderson talks about her book, "white rage: the unspoken truth of our racial divide." and thursday, author james kitfield with "twilight warriors: the soldiers, spies and special agents who are revolutionizing the american way of war." also on friday, author kathy kramer with her book "the politics of resentment: rural consciousness in wisconsin and the rise of scott walker." but on saturday, two authors will join us, tom gelton with "a