tv Attorney General Loretta Lynch Announces Settlement with Volkswagen CSPAN January 11, 2017 7:11pm-7:54pm EST
they did a very poor job. they could've had hacking defense which we had and i will give reince priebus credit because when reince priebus saw what was happening in the world and in this country, he went out and went to various firms and ordered a very strong hacking defense and they tried to hack the republican national committee and they were unable to break through. we have to do that for our country. >> you can watch all of of donald trump's news conference later tonight on c-span3 and online at c-span3.org. loretta lynch $4.3 million cement with volkswagen. -- settlement by volkswagen.
>> good afternoon, everyone and let me thank you all for being here this afternoon. i'm joined today by a group of people who represent the outstanding cooperative work and efforts that led to the results that will we are now seeing this afternoon. the deputy attorney he general sally yates, no better leader and friend could an ag have. leslie caldwell, john cruden, ben lisner, barbara mcquaid, andrew department of homeland security russell deo. customer and border protections kevin mclenan.
i'm not sure there's a portion of the country that i've left out. but we are here today to announce a number of significant developments in the federal government's ongoing investigation into volkswagen's attempts to dodge emission standards and import falsely certified vehicles into this country. an egregious violations of our environmental protections and financial laws. now for years volkswagen he advertised its vehicles as complying with federal antipollution measures, calling them clean disease wille but our investigation has revealed they were anything but. because, in fact, hundreds of thousands of cars that volkswagen sold in the united states were pumping illegal levels of night trin ox yied into our atmosphere. up to 40 times more than the amounts permitted under federal law. what's more, these vehicles were equipped with software that
masked the true amount of the poe lieu tants the car's released. to be clear, volkswagen knew of these problems and when regulators expressed concern volkswagen obfis indicated, they denied and ultimately lied. and today the department of justice, the environmental protection agency and the u.s. customs and border protection have reached ail global resolution with volkswagen that carries both criminal and civil penalties. as part of this resolution, volkswagen is pleading guilty to three felonies. conspiracy to defraud the united states, to commit wire fraud and to violate the clean air act. obstluks of justice and impouritation of goods by false statements. now the agreement also requires volkswagen to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties. one of the largest clean air penalties ever achieved and also
requires them to take specific measures to prevent future violations. these sanctions are in addition to the more than $15 billion in settlements with vw that we've previously announced. as part of this criminal plea, v.w. will be placed on three years probation. it will retain an independent monitor to oversee it's ethics and compliance program and it will fully cooperate with our ongoing investigation into the individuals responsible for these crimes. further more, we are today announcing the indictment of six former high level volkswagen executives. now these individuals all held positions of significant responsibility at volkswagen including overseeing the company's engine development division and serving on the company's management board.
over the course of a conspiracy that lasted for nearly a decade, they seriously abused those positions and today they are being charged with a range of crimes including conspiracy to defraud the united states, violations of the clean air act and wire fraud. now today's actions reflect the justice department's steadfast commitment to defending consumers, to protecting our environment and our financial system and holding individuals and companies accountable for corporate wrong doing. with this announcement does not mean that our investigation is complete. we will continue to examine volkswagen attempts to mislead consumers and deceive the government. we will continue to pursue the individual's responsible for orchestrating this damaging conspiracy and we will continue to vig or russly enforce the laws of the united states. now of course, this is a group effort as you can see. it required the ongoing
persistence and dedication and skills of a number of agencies and components within the department of justice and i want to thank all of the men and women from the department of justice, from epa, from customs and border protection who have worked tirelessly to secure this resolution and who continue to carry this investigation forward. at this time i'd like to invite the epa administer to the podium to say more about today's announcement. thank you. >> thank you, attorney general link for all of your tremendous leadership. as well as for all of the hard work. i am truly proud of the partnership that you see standing before you. especially that between epa and doj in our mutual interest to protect public health and the environment. i want to thank you u.s. attorney bob mcconveyed for helping to deliver it important
settlement today. to our partners at the california resources board and environment canada i want you to know that we could never have accomplished any of this without your tremendous technical support, every step of the way and it goes without saying, how proud i am of the team at epa including our criminal team led by special agent lance ear rig. the team has diligently pursued this case from the start and to all other tireless public servants the epa working on the volkswagen case, led by cynthia giles, i want to thank you for your tremendous work. at its core epa is a public health agency and the american people demand a strong and active epa to protect our common right to clean air, clean water and safe healthy communities for our families to live and work and to play. this fundamental and indispensable role is put into stock relief in moments like
this when company's choose to break our nation's environmental laws and they admit pollution in levels that pose a threat to the health of american families. selling more than half a million cars with illegal devices is a violation that cannot go unnoticed or unanswered. today we mark another milestone in this landmark case that's delivered billions of dollars in clean air act protections. but don't be fooled into thinking that delivering pollution reductions like this is easy. it's not. it's a lot of hard work by men and women who work tirelessly to address these issues and it takes collaboration between the federal agencies and partnerships with states, tribes and local communities and in this case coordination even with our neighbor to the north canada. no, it's not easy but the work is well worth it. since 1970 our environmental rules have resulted in cars on
the market today that are 99% cleaner and travel more than ten miles further on a gallon of gasoline. making them better for our health as well as our pocket books. and that success has relied on a strong and robust enforcement to deliver on the promise of our rules, including world class technical and legal expertise, to repair the damage that companies like volkswagen has done to our air and to automobile marketplace as a whole resulting from false claims of cleaner diesels. markets like this don't manage or police themselves to ensure that the products they produce, protect the health and well-being of the people that we care about. we as a society do that. that's why we have environmental laws. that's what they are all about. and that's why epa focuses so much attention on compliance and why we have cops on the beat so cheating doesn't pay and
polluters are held accountable for the costs of their noncompliance. this past summer i stood here and outlined how we had delivered a settlement that required volkswagen to spend $14.7 billion to get the polluting cars off the road. to fund projects to reduce pollution across the country and to promote the growth of 0 emission vehicles in the united states. last month we delivered again, when epa and doj announced that another 83,000 three litter cars would be recalled. 2 it 25 million that brings the total to nearly $3 billion that will be put to use by states to cut pollution in communities. now todayed we're delivering again for the american people. volkswagen is admitting to crimes for lying to epa and deliberately evading their obligations under the clean air act. individuals with volkswagen are
being charged to show that serious crimes have serious consequences. both for the company and for the managers who cheat. volkswagen will pay a combined total of $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties for their failure to follow the law that protects our clean air. additionally, we're requiring certain corporate actions to ensure it doesn't happen again. today epa is once again delivering for the american people, we're showing that our laws have teeth and that companies that break the rules will be held accountable. that's what the public expects from epa and that's how we will help level the playing field for all the responsible companies who always do the right thing. we all have a basic right to breathe clean air and epa is there to protect that right. thank you. now i'll turn it over to deputy director mccave.
>> good afternoon. thank you all for being here. this announcement is the culmination of a 16 month criminal investigation and that investigation began when researchers at the west university of west virginia were awarded a grant to study diesel cars for the international counsel on clean transportation. during their study they found that despite volkswagen's claims that their clean diesel cars were among the most fuel efficient and environmentally friendly the numbers just did not add up. the researchers tested and retested. they asked volkswagen officials some tough questions. at first, volkswagen officials denied any wrong doing. but they now admit that the company created illegal software to defeat pollution tests and to make it look like the cars were
emitting far less pollution than they actually were. volkswagen's actions defrauded the united states government, defrauded the united states people and violated the clean air act. it is now clear that volkswagen's top executives knew about this illegal activity and deliberately kept regulators, shareholders and consumers in the dark and they did this for years. so why does this matter to us? well, it matters for many reasons. american investors expect that when they choose to invest in a publicly traded corporation the corporation is operating in a transparent matter. they have to believe the information the corporation provides, to the investors is accurate and frujful. consumers, also expect that companies tell the truth about their products. so if environmental conscious buyers are told their purchasing green cars, they should actually be getting, in fact, green cars.
not cars that spew out pollution in excess of federal and state regulations. in the environmental impact is real. and there are economic impacts as well. these crimes threaten the integrity of our financial markets, they defraud our consumers and they hurt the environmental and as a result people are hurt. today's settlement announcement means that volkswagen is pleading guilty to criminal charges so as you all know we can't put companies in jail but we can hold their employees personally accountable and we can force companies to pay heflty fines. settlements like today's shine harsh light on illegal behavior and we believe they have a powerful deterrent effect as well. we along with our law enforcement partners will continue to hold responsible those companies that break the law, misrepresent their products, endanger financial markets and defraud customers. so a few thanks before i go.
i'd like to thank in particular our detroit field office which led the fbi's efforts in this case and of course our criminal investigative division here at fbi head quarters. i want to take a opportunity to thank hour federal partners including the doj fraud collection, the epa's criminal investigative division, the department of homeland security and the customs and border protections service. big cases like these do not happen without collaboration and partnership and this case is an extraordinary example of that sort of collaboration in its absolutely most preducktive sense. just one final word. this case is also a great example of the fact that no corporation is too big, no corporation is too global, no person is beyond the law. we will continue to take on these complicated challenging
investigations and we will pursue them as far as we must to bring justice for the victims involved. thank you very much and thanks to my partners again. i'll turn it over to russ deo. >> thank you. thank you deputy director mccabe, i'm pleased to be here on the department of homeland security. first i want to join my colleagues in thanking the department of justice, the environmental protection agency and all of our federal partners for their work on this important case. it really was and is a model of collaboration. i also want to thank the cb b's office of chief counsel along with the office of trade and office of field operations, the legal team has worked tirelessly to reach these settlements. they truly are to be commended for their outstanding work. u.s. customs and border protection enforces over 400 laws on behalf of 40 other u.s.
government agencies. these laws protect our economic and homeland security as well as the health and safety of u.s. consumers. volkswagen's actions over the course of many years violated criminal and civil u.s. customs laws through a combination of false statements and omissions, volkswagen fraudulently represented the cbb that nearly 590,000 vehicles complied with all applicable environmental laws. the $4.3 billion criminal and civil penalties that volkswagen has agreed to pay demonstrate how seriously the u.s. government ruse these violations. the civil penalty imposed on rone to satisfy cb b's and epa claim is the largest under the custom laws in u.s. history. the largest under u.s. history. cpp's relationship is based on trust. these settlements demonstrate
that cpp will not tolerate the breech of that trust or violations of u.s. customs law. we work closely with the importer community and consider them to be valued partners but importers who wish to trade in the united states have responsibilities. there are consequences for those who seek to defraud the united states and introduce prohibited merchandise. again, let me thank our federal partners for working together to reach this resolution and finally let me also acknowledge cbp's officers and trade enforcements. in ports here in united states and across the world they work every day to protect american citizens and american economies against threats to our security. thank you very much. >> thank you, russ and all of our speakers and for questions.
>> the first question would be for you. i have two questions. so usually the department of justice is criticized for not putting cuffs on individual in corporate cases but here you got six. why is that? that the fruit of the yates memo? what was different here? >> i think you saw the fruits of a wonderful investigative team and there's been a continuing emphasis on holding individual accountable which has always been the focus of the department of justice whether you're in the u.s. attorney's office or here. you will see individuals being held accountable as well. sally, the question was partly at you? did you. >> far be it from me to jump in here. >> you need a microphone. >> i think what you saw today i recall after the volkswagen case was announced the investigation was announced a lot of folks, maybe some of you, were saying well this is going to tell us whether or not this new policy is real or whether it's just a
paper policy. and i think the fact that we are announcing charges today against six high ranking executives at volkswagen, not just six employees, but six high ranking executives at volkswagen demonstrates that this is not just a paper policy. this is really a reflection of the fact that faceless, multi-national corporations don't commit crimes, flesh and blood people commit crimes and that we've sharpened our focus to ensure that we're doing everything from the very beginning of an investigation, to hold those individuals accountable and build out from there. and so you see an indictment of six individuals today and a corporate resolution. >> the second question is for mr. mccabe. what if anything can you tell us about the fbi's efforts to investigate the president-elect or his associations his ties to
russia? >> i'm not here to discuss that. >> have said that there is some sort of inquiry there if that closes with no charges, will you make a public accounting and clear him as you did with secretary clinton. >> i understand it's the news of the day, just not the news of this press conference so i'm not going to comment on that. thanks. >> general, five of the six people you charged are in germany, what are the prospects for their returning given their treaty obligations with germany? secondly, did you find any evidence that the misconduct was higher than that? would you anticipate bringing charges against any higher level executives? >> what i can say about this, five of the six individuals are currently outside the u.s. they are in germany. i will say that we've always worked very well with our german colleagues on various law enforcement matters. it's too early to predict right now how matters will be resolved there. we have had a number of cases in
other matters where we have been able to reach resolutions. i won't speculate right now. with respect to other individuals, other people or other parts of this investigation, as i indicated in my remarks, this investigation is ongoing. it will continue. and we will continue to it look at individuals and because of that we're not able to comment on any one in particular. so i thank you for that. >> what do you think went wrong? was this a failure in the culture of the company or just a decision to break the law or cheat to move ahead in the u.s. market. >> i don't want to speculate on motivations other than the profit motive. volkswagen's a very popular car. large market for them and certainly there's large market for clean cars, particularly clean diesel cars and the u.s. is a market that's growing in that as well. whatty would say this is a case that illustrates a company that at very high levels and close to
continue with this fraudulent behavior. we work with companies all the time who present to us situations where they may say it's a particularly unit over here or rogue employee. we look at all of those factors as well. but here we saw a company where this knowledge and the choice that me made went to the executive level and that did set it apart from other companies. >> just another factor. i take a look at the injunctive relief that required from the corporation because it actually requires things like separating the individuals that design vehicles from those that test them so there are some structural changes that we're requiring so there's less ability for these types of things to happen and so i take a
look at that. it requires independent audits, it requires a committee to be established in volkswagen. it requires additional testing of vehicles. so part of this could certainly we know the intent in terms of the cover-up but how it happened could have been also a result of the way in which the company structured its business and we have asked them and they have agreed to make some significant changes in how the corporation operates in order to make it less able to have these types of problems arise in the future. >> i'm just curious whether you watched senator sessions confirmation hearings yesterday how you thought he did? if you had any discussions with him over the course last few months and what advice you'd give him upon taking this job? >> well, that's a lot. >> i only get one shot. >> i was only able to see the hearings off and on due to the
press of other business and travel. so i don't have a comment on the hearings or how he did. nor would that be appropriate for me to make. my conversation with senator sessions was early on and simply ail congratulatory and holiday call. when his nomination was announced but beyond that nothing, no. >> what advice would you give him? >> i don't -- i will say that i've been asked that in the past, i don't give specific advice to the incoming attorney general. what we are doing is working very well with the transition team that is been at the department for several weeks now working extensively with components and leadership to let them know not only the wonderful work that we're doing as evidenced by the case you see here today and other cases, but also the depth and breadth of talent here at the department and to also talk about the initiatives that we have found to be successful and helpful and point them to evidence that they could look to to see their
advocacy. so we are working and we are committed as the president has directed to ensuring a smooth transition. the department of justice transition is going very will well. and so that's how we're handling that. >> i promise to come back to you. >> thank you. this does appear to be the largest criminal fine ever levied against an auto maker, larger than two recent cases where the auto maker had safety flaws. does that speak to the level of premeditation and cover-up with volkswagen? what was different here? >> i'll ask leslie caldwell to speak to that. i will say as we discussed however we did see a level of knowledge and intent in this company that definitely set it apart. leslie? >> thank you. so yes, i think you hit on it partly the level of premeditation was significant here and at a very high level of the company. also, this is a company where lower level people actually expressed concern along the way about the fact that these defeat
devices were being used and question whether they should be used and higher up people decided to continue using them and of course volkswagen lied to the regulators and also obinstructed justice once our investigation started. i think that's what distinguishes this. we don't see major multi-national corporation that decide at a very high level to knowing what the u.s. law is to violate the u.s. law in a systematic way as she said for nearly a decade. >> volkswagen ceo said that this was a couple rogue engineers responsible for this. your investigation appears to dismember that. can you add detail on just how high in the company you believed this conspiracy went? >> as the attorney general said we're continuing the investigation but the allegations and the indictment include individuals who are very he senior in the company including one individual who oversaw more than or approximately 10,000 people so these are very significant people within the company.
>> the questions from my financial editor. just to clarify, so this is you consider these the senior or high ranking executives who are charged and you anticipate -- do you anticipate that there will be ashl even higher level executives being charged, how high up does this conspiracy go? >> because the investigation is still open and ongoing, we are not able to conduct on any one else in particular. but i will stress that we are looking at individuals who were involved and would have had knowledge the of the same information that's currently being charged. >> more senior than those charged. >> we don't describe them. i'm not going to speculate on that. >> does the three year probation include. >> i'll have leslie give you
some specifics on that does the probation include just the monitor or other business restrictions? >> so the independent monitor is something that is going to be imposed on volkswagen for up to three years. at the same time, the volkswagen is going to have to comply with a lot of additional restrictions and directives from the environmental side of the case and those things are joined at the hip, so we anticipate they'll be one monitor overseeing compliance on the criminal side and on the environmental side. and there are very significant restrictions. volkswagen is also required to continue its cooperation in the government's investigation and the types of cooperation that it's required to continue are laid out in the documents. >> and final question for you general lynch, were you aware of fully aware of all of the documents that were briefed to
president obama and president-elect trump last week? >> what i'll say about that is as you know the president ordered a review from the intelligence community of information relating to the issue of russian attempts to gain some sort of influence or traction within our election. and certainly we participated in that review and so we were able to provide that report to the president as well as to members of congress and then we were able to provide the unclassified version to the public so people could be aware of the importance and significance of these issues. >> the version that went to the president and to president-elect trump included a two page appendix. you're aware of that as well? >> i'm not going to comment on the specifics of anything in a classified briefing. as you know we don't discuss those specifics but what i can say is that the report that the president asked for was depleted and was provided to him as well as to members of congress and the unclassified version was
made available to the public. >> from watching the hearing, the hearings yesterday for the incoming -- the next attorney general, the impression we get is that he believes strongly that there's got to be a turning of the page with regard to the relationship with ploipts around the country. if it appears to be an inhernlt criticism of the way your department has handled those relationships and the handling of civil rights investigation. would you care to tell us what you view as perhaps a defense of your the way you've handled it? >> i don't have a comment on any of the comments the senator in the hearing. i think the issue much police and community relations is an important one for everyone to consider. regardless of whether you're in the department, out of the department or soon to come in to
the department. what i would say at anyone is to talk to the police community, talk to the law enforcement community, talk to community members, talk to people who have worked with us on these matters and learn about the positive and strong working relationship that we have with law enforcement across the country in terms of providing support both technical assistance, both financial help with body worn cameras, help with equipment, help with benefits for officers who are tragically cutdown as well as help with policy. police departments come to the department often. collaborative reform is a way in which that is often done. that has been an expansion and a growth in the practice frankly that i have seen from my early days in the department when i worked on these matters. it's been a positive development so we look forward to providing the null attorney general and his team with that information so that they two can have the benefit of all the of the
information and the changes and all the ways in which we've been able to craft a stronger relationship. that also includes holding law enforcement able accountable. and helping them learn how to interact with police in terms of working at the local level on getting involved in policy, getting involved in training, crafting the relationships that have led to improvement in a number of communities. those of you who covered by community policing tour know that i could talk about endlessly but will not for all of our benefit but we took great pains to highlight places that have had very challenged relationships but have worked very hard to, in fact, improve those relationships and present as situations where both law enforcement and community can comp together. it doesn't mean there's not more work to be done. we look forward to sharing that information with the incoming team as well so that they can also work on these issues. >> you disagree then that the
portrayal of your department as being sort of antipolice and being too quick to embrace the criticisms of police, you disagree with that? >> well, again i don't comment or characterize anyone else's views. i would say that is not how we have carried ourselves or worked with law enforcement across this it country. >> i wanted to follow up on the questions you met about the report on possible interference in the election. is that sort of it? it just gets put out as a public report and people can evaluate it as they see fit or is there some sort of ongoing effort to get to the bottom of it because some of it seems to indicate u.s. laws and break into people's e-mails and would you consider before you leave office
appointing a special counsel who would look into this because it seems no matter which campaigns were involved, political appointees are going to be involved it seems like one of the simplest things might be to appoint someone who's above reproach to look in to it? >> so what i'll say with respect to actions that will be taken arising out of the report. as we discussed previously the report itself is one of the actions it's taken in response to the situation. the public disclosure and public attribution of a nation states attempts to involve themselves in our electoral system is something we take very seriously. in october when the intelligence community first made this attribution we noted that we rarely do these types of attributions for a variety of reasons but it was important to do so in this case. we also noted and the president has stated that the united states will have a response to these actions. some of those responses will be visible and some of them will
not be visible. reporting has already occurred on many of the response that's we have taken but as the president has indicated you may not necessarily see every action that will be taken in response to that. with respect to ongoing investigations which have been previously discussed also, we don't comment on those so we're not able to give you any kind of update on that except that that work does continue. >> what about putting beyond the reach of politics by naming a specific person? >> i would say that i continue to have the upmost confident in the career men and women in the department of justice of the fbi, of the department of homeland security and all the agencies that will be called to bear. >> without commenting on any specifics or matter, what responsibility do you believe the justice department and the fbi have to tell the public
what's going on when the president or people very close to the president are being investigated? >> i think obviously we've discussed the fact that we don't comment on ongoing matters. we've also discussed the fact that we try and keep the public informed as it is appropriate. that is the case by case determination and depends very much on the facts of every situation. so it's impossible to give you a blanket policy there. except to say that we work independently and we work in confidence to follow facts and law and as we indicated with respect to the russian matter, there are a number of things that go on that we don't discuss publicly. so unfortunately i don't think i'm able to answer the question as asked. i can tell you that information is conveyed to individuals if we think they may be a victim obviously of any type of influence and so we do that it -- we evaluate every situation very, very carefully. >> when you make the evaluates
is that the justice department call will or fbi's call? >> we work as a team. everything would be to be evaluated. every situation is so different but so that's all i'm able to give you on that. >> looking at the homicide data in chicago specifically, the numbers there continue to climb. and last year's numbers were as reported staggering. what do you view is behind those numbers? has the doj reached out to members of cpp to offer any federal assistance and on the other side, the pat or practice that doj is undertaken now is there any kind of timeline as to when that would be released. >> i'm not able respect to your last question on the timing except to say that it is a matter that both people here at main jufgs and the u.s. attorney's office in chicago
have been working on very diligently. with the city with the police department and so we do intend to push through and give the city of chicago both law enforcement and the communities the help that they deserve so that they can in fact work on these issues. but i'm not able to comment on timing. with respect to the violent crime issue in chicago, it i think is part of a larger pattern we're looking at where we see upticks in violence in any particular city. we are working with chicago with specific measures. chicago has been a part of what is called our violence reduction network. and that is a program we have at the department of justice that works directly with the police department elected officials as well as individuals who work depending upon the specific issue maybe in the community or in other areas to look at the root causes of violence. we gather a lot of information
from our local partners there and marshall federal resources there. the violence reduction network is up and running in a number of cities that have seen this and chicago is one of them. we are working very closely with the chicago police department on such matters as, for example, without going into a lot of the specifics because it's on going that looking at how they handle the intelligence involving homicides and gang data. and providing what information insider resources they may find useful there. making sure they have access to other law enforcement resources, other cities in similar situations, for example, that have been able to tackle this issue. and so we've will, in fact, an ongoing effort with them as well as providing the police department through our grant program and through the cops office with additional resources as well. both in the sense of allowing them to hire additional officers, we've recently provided a grant that will allow
them to handle additional police officers as well as obtain more equipment into this will be the last question. >> reporter: my name is mark. i'd like to ask about remediation, an area where the department has been focusing more. did the department seek personnel changes at vw in vw management as part of the settlement and do you expect vw to make management changes now? >> so again, i will have leslie caldwell address the specifics of that question. but as far as future efforts again, we won't comment on that because the investigation is ongoing and we are continuing to look at the company and individuals. let me ask leslie to respond to that. >> so we did not as we generally do not ask companies to make specific remedial changes about personnel. but volkswagen has made a lot of changes. internally, they have interpreted some people, suspended other people, disciplined other people and also changed the structure of
parts of their company and their management and their board. so significant changes have been made and the plea agreement with volkswagen as you'll see outlines some additional changes that will be happening in the future. >> thank you all very much. today, donald trump held his first news conference since july. we'll bring that you event in its entirety later tonight on c-span. here's a part of the event where the president-elect answers a question about repealing the affordable care act. >> you're going to be very, very proud as not only the media and reporters, you're going to be very proud of what we put forth having to do with health care.