Skip to main content

tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  October 31, 2015 7:00am-10:01am EDT

7:00 am
republicans to impeach irs commissioner amid accusations he misled the public and ♪ it saturday morning to you. it is october 31. the white house has announced it will deploy special operations forces to syria to aid in the battle there against the islamic state. it marks the first time troops will be on the ground full-time there. obama administration says it will not be engaged in direct combat, still, it is being called a major shift in strategy for president who vowed to not put boots on the ground. we want to know what you think. how involved should the u.s. be in syria? if you support that decision, .ou can dial (202) 748-8000 if you oppose, you can dial, (202) 748-8001.
7:01 am
you can also let us know what you think on social media. our twitter handle is @cspanwj. we are on facebook at facebook.com/cspan. or, you can send us an e-mail at journal@c-span.org. now, white house spokesman josh earnest was at a news conference on friday to explain the president's decision. here is what he said. [video clip] our efforts have improve their performance on the battlefield. it has yielded progress. the president wants to identify that assistance that we are providing. one way to intensify that assistance is pair them up with experts, some of the smartest, bravest, most effective fighters in the united states military. that is exactly what we're doing. i do expect that will improve their performance on the battlefield. they will not be in a combat
7:02 am
mission. >> [indiscernible] they could find themselves in a combat situation. >> there is no denying the amount of risk they are taking on here. they will be equipped to defend themselves. host: we are talking about the u.s.'s decision to send special forces to syria. the story made headlines in many of the major newspapers this morning. here is the article from "the new york times." the story says, while the itloyment is small in scale, was large and important for a president who had refused to commit american ground forces inside syria beyond quick raids. the white house officials said adviseops wer would thel forces fighting i islamic state.
7:03 am
it goes on to say, the move was meant to bolster diplomatic efforts by secretary of state kerry who, on friday, reached an agreement in vienna with countries with opposing stakes .o explore a nationwide effort meanwhile, in "the washington ost," the headline was, "obama seeks to intensify operations in syria with employment." they write, their main focus advising syrian arab and kurdish forces who have fought this law mcstay. the u.s. troops are expected to remain largely at the headquarters level, where they will assess the local situation. the story goes on to say that appointment of special thattions forces suggests
7:04 am
the ministers will also soon intensify. the white house plans to send a 10 planes and at 15 fighter jets jets.5 fighter the heavily armored a-10s, which fly low and slow, are built to back combat. in "the wall street journal," there was an update of peace talks, or host of peace talks, .n vienna the reporter writes, the agreement was leaked on friday after seven hours of discussion, which meant restarting talks opponentsria and its on a new constitution and elections, which are now backed by allor the first time regional and international
7:05 am
u.s.,, including russia, iran, and saudi arabia. state institutions will remain intact. assad is not excluded from the process of drafting a new constitution, and organizing your and supervised free elections. the statement did not call on of side to stop the use barrel bombs. the statement from secretary of state john kerry, make no mistake, the answer is not to be found in a military alliance, but in a broad diplomatic solution. we want to know what you think. you support or oppose this move. our first caller will be jim from north dakota, who opposes this move. good morning to you. caller: how are you doing? host: what is your thought this morning? caller: i just have to repeat -- i hate to be a one note guy, but i want to set the tone by
7:06 am
reminding everybody. the last time i called was an issue surrounding something like this. i wish you would talk more about what i'm going to say because it matters more than just what is or westg in syria africa. that is at this point, there are hundreds of thousands of muslim refugees marching through wheatfields, heading to europe. germany is going to take an 850,000. they were forced to buy the eu. riots going on. eastern europe, which probably has more the memory of life under the ottoman empire, as i said before, the word lav,"e" comes from "s and i think they have a memory. that is why romania and hungary
7:07 am
are going to secure their borders. we are worried about these attacks on the periphery of the west. it does not matter because it is demography. it is people. it is the fact that they are different. the fact that they will not assimilate, and it will simply conquer. this is the third and final invasion of europe. senator,ick durbin, a foring on the senate floor 100,000 muslims to be set here, refugees. host: you are worried that if ofre is an intensification ground efforts in syria, it will drive people to leave the country and moved to other parts, the u.s., europe, etc.. moving here are anyway. that is the policy put in place. this month is the 50th anniversary of the immigration
7:08 am
and nationality act pushed by ted kennedy and other people. it is finally coming to fruition. that is the final plan, the demographic shift. it is more of a racial thing than religious. simply a cultural genocide against the white race. jeffreyr next caller is from michigan, also calling to oppose the decision. good morning to you. caller: yet, i opposed the war. i'm old enough to remember world war ii. instead of world war ii, we have continued wars, continued wars. we will have wars forever. ma'am, it is awfully strange talksny time someone
7:09 am
about social security, it is always going to run out, we do not have enough money for it, but we always have enough money for the military industrial complex. we are going to fight for ever. thank you, ma'am. host: that was jeffrey from michigan. our next caller is mike from maryland, also calling in opposition. good morning to you. why do you oppose the decision? caller: i hope you will give me a minute. i want to verify what i'm talking about -- prove what i'm talking about. i'm against involvement in syria israel, andica, other allies are the ones who are supplying and training the isis forces in order to topple the regime. basically, isil and al qaeda are the cats paw for nato.
7:10 am
go to this website called full voltairenet.org. or, google isil meeting in france. newas attended by generals, gingrich, joseph lieberman, as well as european international leaders. it is a website, and shows how the west supports isil and the terrorist organizations. isil and al qaeda is a front group for nato, in order to topple regimes. all right, we hear your thoughts this morning. our next caller is dan from wyoming, who supports the move into syria. why do you think we should be sending troops into syria?
7:11 am
caller: i think it is a positive thing. what happened earlier this year, we took out the leader of isis. that proved that special forces have it under control. put themhink they will in a really bad area where it of combathold bunch .oing on host: we are taking your calls on the decision to deploy special forces to syria. support, (202) 748-8000. if you oppose, (202) 748-8001. you can also send us a tweet, we are on twitter, the handle is @cspanwj. you can find us on facebook at facebook.com/cspan. or, send us an e-mail at journal@c-span.org. here is some reaction from
7:12 am
lawmakers on capitol hill. speaker ryan on the announcement, here is his statement. host: also on twitter, lindsey graham broke, president obama is americans at risk without a clear strategy. meanwhile, chris murphy, praying that the in the talks produce cease-fire. one more from senator angus king, he tweeted, congress needs to meet its responsibility and consider the author is an -- administration. yesterday, indiana, secretary of state john kerry mentioned the differences of opinion in the
7:13 am
situation in syria. he talked a little bit about how that should be handled. [video clip] >> the state's position is that there is no way president assad can't unite and govern -- unite and govern syria. our goal is to work with syrians from many factions to develop that choice. we cannot allow that difference to get in the way of .he possibility of diplomacy that is the significance of the decision made here today. even though we acknowledged the difference, we know it is urgent to get to the table, and begin the process of real negotiations. we are deploying a two-pronged approach. we are intensifying our counter-dash campaign and our
7:14 am
diplomatic efforts in order to end the conflict. we believe the steps are mutually enforcing. that is why today president obama made an announcement about stepping up the fight against dash. he authorized a small complement of special u.s. operations forces to be deployed to northern syria in order to counter dash. at the end of the day, the united states, and our coalition partners believe that there is absolutely nothing we went do ash then find as thatical solution sidelines the person that tears terror
7:15 am
attracts terror. host: if you oppose this decision, you can call us at (202) 748-8001. .f you support, (202) 748-8000 our next color is en, calling from maryland, in opposition to the decision. i'm a democrat, and i voted for obama. i'm really disappointed in a lot of his decisions. this is a really, really bad one. when i got through to c-span, -- i got through to c-span when they were talking about going to to begin with. my comment was that machiavelli quote -- everybody is fighting everybody, and you go in there, and you have 10 different sites that you are fighting. isis has to be taken care of.
7:16 am
we are starting to get ms over here. our own cities are starting to look like more zones because they are falling apart. host: what do you think should be done? is this a situation where the should pull out and not get involved at all, or is a shouldon where the u.s. send more than just 50 special forces? where does it and? they will end up fighting. i doubt the people they are training will fight. we trained all these fighters in iraq, and then left, because we had to. host: all right. we hear your thoughts this morning. a few comments now from twitter as well. keeperson writes, now we taking ourselves deeper. another person writes, we should not spend a single penny more in the middle east erie finally,
7:17 am
the moderate rebels are fighting to overthrow their president, like if iran sent 50 soldiers to help overthrow president obama. the "washington post" provided a few more details as to what the special forces might be able to provide an syria. here is what the article says. fewer than 50 special operation advisers to be deployed in syria , the small number of troops, though seemingly and nokia's, and decades a significant escalation in the united state'' efforts to defeat the islamic state as it effectively dismisses the white house's notion of "no boots on the ground." though it is unclear which syrian groups the u.s. commando , the kurds and
7:18 am
syrian arab coalition have received u.s. material and close air support. in the past, the for special forces group has led the syrian train and equip program, make it for their knowledge on the ground makes them a prime candidate for the mission. again, we are taking phone calls . you can let us know what you think of the move. (202) 748-8000 is the number to call if you support the idea. if you oppose it, you can call us at (202) 748-8001. send us a tweet, the handle is @cspanwj. you can find us on facebook at facebook.com/cspan. send us an e-mail at journal@c-span.org. a few other headlines for you, before we get back to the conversation. .reaking news from nbc a russian passenger plane has disappeared from radar over sinai.
7:19 am
the story says that a passenger plane with more than 200 people therd disappeared from radar on saturday, officials say. federal air transportation agency spokesman says that a search is underway 79,628 which was operated under the metro jet -- d and was bound for 24, which tracks air traffic, said the missing plane was around 18 years old. updateolitico," this debate on the republican debate. for inl partner with nbc
7:20 am
november debate. a letter fromotes the rnc chairman which says, the cnbc network is one of your media properties, and its handling of the debate was conducted in bad faith. we understand that nbc does not exercise full editorial control over cnbc, however, the network is an arm of the organization, and we need to make sure there is not a repeat performance. after the debate, the candidates lineout at cnbc for their of questioning. the february form, scheduled for february 26, at the mercy of houston, was the only republican primary debate said to be kos cohosted by a hispanic news organization. a debate will still occur on the debate, and the national review will still be a part of it, but he did not say whether another
7:21 am
spanish-language media organization will be involved. also, "politico" has an here's what they had to say. republican candidates are scheduled to gather sunday power from theve hands of the republican national committee. not invited to the meeting, anyone from the rn d, which many -- rnc, which many candidates have criticized. on thursday, many of these thatigners told politico the rnc, which has taken a greater role in the 2016 debate process, has felt to take their concerns and account -- in account. at least half of the candidates discussing began among themselves how the future debates would be organize, not
7:22 am
leaving it up to the rnc or television networks. we are taking a thoughts on whether or not we should be sending troops into syria. our next call is eric from pittsburgh, pennsylvania, calling to oppose this move. caller: asking christian muslims too train fight other muslims, they are going to put on a good show, but their heart is not in it. host: all right. a few more headlines for you now in the news. the state department has released the latest batch of clinton e-mails. the state department on friday released more than 7000 pages of democratic presidential clinton'shillary e-mails. is the sixthdump of its kind this year, following a lawsuit under the freedom of information act.
7:23 am
it is the largest single release of clinton's e-mails. as of friday, 51% of the e-mails identified as work-related have now been released to the public. between 200-300 have been classified as confidential. president obama back in 2013 made the case for the u.s. to begin airstrikes and syria. here is what he said back then about the possibility of sending troops into the region. [video clip] , what doesyou asked put us on a slippery slope toward. one man wrote to me that we are still recovering from our involvement in iraq erie a veteran put it more bluntly, this nation is sick and tired of war. my answer is simple. i will not play american boots on the ground in syria. i will not pursue an open ended
7:24 am
action like iraq or afghanistan. i will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like libya or kosovo. this would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective, deterring the use of chemical weapons, and to grading assad capabilities -- to degrading assad's capabilities. host: that was present obama in 2013. part of the debate is over what and howcombat means, exactly these forces will be used. in "the washington post," there is this analysis of what that .erm means as i said before, american forces in iraq will not have a
7:25 am
combat mission, however, the story says that 3300 u.s. troops that are stationed in iraq are helping local forces battled the extremist group. u.s. planes have been flying bombing and surveillance missions for over a year. in keeping with obama's promises to keep u.s. troops out of another prolonged ground war, the pentagon has given american troops a limited mission in iraq, consisting of primarily advising local forces and rebuilding the country's hollowed out army. the mission is very different from the 2011-2013 war. yesterday, when josh earnest was asked about combat operations in iraq, he said that the mission is to train, advise, and assist, and that differs in the long-term sustained ground operations that took place over after the invasion.
7:26 am
fromext caller is norma west palm beach, florida, calling in support of sending troops into syria. you are on the air. what are your thoughts? the president's request. he has said this from the very beginning that he would train and support the iraqis no matter where. -- you know, it is very important for us to defeat isil. they keep calling it isis. they are not a state. it is isil. have dash, which is
7:27 am
even worse than isil. we need to support the iraqis in fight, along with the other countries that are fighting with us. host: do you think that 50 troops in syria is enough? largeruld we have a presence? .aller: i do think it is enough i think it is working well. i was listing to the press secretary. if people would only listen to the press secretary went all the reporters are questioning him, then they would get a lot more
7:28 am
information about what is going .n host ast: the next caller is manual from los angeles. what you think about this move? you are on the air. caller: thank you for c-span. listen, i really think it is a until the people in the middle east come to grips that they should find some type of peace among each other, even if they agree to disagree, or if the united nations come together and have one defined objective to what needs to be done in syria. it would be a different thing. in the meantime, it is just a .ot of perpetual war, confusion all it ends up doing is spawning
7:29 am
more groups of people to come out against the dictator leaders, who they oppose and their own country. host: you may have missed it earlier, but we showed this story from "the wall street ," looking at the talks going on in vienna. do you think that the decision to send special ops there, into in opposition to what is happening in vienna? if assad wasnk then told agreement with the talks, and involved in it, maybe we could come to grips, and find some common ground. of thed is not part
7:30 am
discussions, then it makes you wonder what is he going to turn around and do? host: that is a manual from -- emanuel from los angeles. peter, you are on the air. caller: i'm not calling to oppose anything. thank you for c-span. sending 50y you are troops, correct? host: that's right. caller: that is so not true. you cannot send 50 people to a place where there are so many contingencies with that country, it is ridiculous. it is not sending a handful of people. either we are going, we are not, correct? that is peter from
7:31 am
california. in "the new york times," there is this editorial. the military escalation in iraq and syria. the weighed in to say pentagon continues to call the campaign in syria and iraq and mission, aadvise character he sent -- characterization that was misleading when the campaign now absurd. before contemplating a more forceful plan, congress and the administration must confront the fact that the current one, which includes airstrikes and support for select brands of rebels, left a legal framework and an goal.inabl attainable
7:32 am
instead, many are calling on the administration to take even broader steps that range from establishing a no-fly zone over parts of syria to using american st assad. to oud doing so would almost certainly be catastrophic because it would put the united states directly at war with russia and iran, which aid him militarily. from twitter, this person writes, go large or go home. another person tweets, there are two forces fighting in syria, the arab army and the russian forces, not some moderate rebels. from facebook, this comment --
7:33 am
now, russian forces are going into control the conflict, and the u.s. is in the south china's see, stop wasting our tax money on endless war. we are taking a thoughts on whether or not the u.s. should be deploying special forces to syria. if you support the decision, you can call us at (202) 748-8001. if you oppose the move, you can let us know at (202) 748-8000. you can also send us a tweet, the handle is @cspanwj. you can find us on facebook at facebook.com/cspan. or, send us an e-mail at journal@c-span.org. today" earlier this week had an article about the peace talks in vienna, and the inclusion of iran in those discussions. here is the headline -- "and a first, iran to join talks of ending syria's civil war."
7:34 am
this country is in the fifth war of the civil war war that has ,illed more than 250,000 people displacing half of its population. the story goes on to say that iran is a key ally to a si assa. russia launched airstrikes in september. the u.s. says the airstrikes are assad'st a side path -- foes. white house secretary josh earnest spoke at a press conference yesterday. here is what he had to say. [video clip] reequip them,hem, conduct airstrikes in advance of their ground operations. element of our strategy has yielded progress.
7:35 am
the president wants to intensify that assistance that we are providing. one way you can intensify that assistance is given up with experts, some of the smartest, bravest, most effective fighters in the united states military. that is exactly what we are doing. i do expect that will improve their performance on the battlefield. >> [indiscernible] >> they will not be in a combat mission. >> they could find themselves in a combat ration. -- a combat situation. e riske is no denying that ris they are taking on here. host: we are take your phone calls. next is dennis from florida, calling to support the move into syria. what do you think? caller: good morning. i support the move with one provision. that would be that for every ground, boots on the
7:36 am
50, that we have 500 support -- ps from the gulf states if it all kicked in 500, not only would we have a force of 20 25,000, and 50. that could do some good. host: do you have an opinion on the role that they play, whether in a combat position or a training and advising role? caller: if the conditions were we had 25,000, we could move on to a elections, assad out. the 50 people will just not do it. is gus fromp
7:37 am
shreveport, louisiana. you say you oppose this decision, why is that? we always have to be world police? we are not doing a good job here in america. i am a veteran, 73 years old. i think we are playing too much world police. we need to clean our own backyard. host: a few more comments from twitter. the only boots on the ground in syria should be arab boots, one person writes. also, as long as you are fighting isis, and refusing to vote on it, shut up about the national debt already. tony says he is understand -- undecided. caller: good morning. my problem is i neither support nor oppose the move, however,
7:38 am
and world war ii, during the normandy invasion, we sent 6000 , and thel of men germans had no idea we were coming. , we we are sending 50 men are telling what their mission is, where they will be, you know what i mean? it does not make sense to let them know all of this information. do century,f we we should not be announcing it, what you are saying. caller: yes. stop putting these guys in more danger than they are already in. host: do you think the president should go to congress to ask for specific authorization to send troops? do you think it is within his power to make this decision? he kept going -- i, i,
7:39 am
i. it is not you, you, you. us, us., as, -- us, host: in "the hill" newspaper, hearing a story on a this week. on tuesday, said his lasted president obama strategy as .ncoherent discussed at the senate armed services committee new strategies in iraq and syria, .he carter says that the coalition hopes to strengthen the syrian coalition, and target more isis leaders.
7:40 am
if done in concert, as we intend, these actions should help shrink isil territory into a smaller and smaller area and create more opportunities for targeting isil, carter said. that is our discussion on whether or not the u.s. should deploy special forces to syria. we will talk about this a low times"th "military correspondent, andrew tilghman. he will discuss the pr president's announcement yesterday. later, we will have a roundtable discussion on the report linking process meets to cancer. ♪
7:41 am
>> every weekend the c-span network features programs on politics, nonfiction books, and american history. tonight at 9:00 eastern, politics and internet experts on whether social media hurts politics, and its effect on the 2016 campaign. then, texas officials look at the 2016nic vote in and 2018 elections. today, on booktv, starting at noon, it is the 27th annual southern festival of books in nonfictionfeaturing authors' presentations. sunday at noon, on "in-depth," a
7:42 am
live three-hour conversation with economist walter williams, as he shares his life and career, and responds to your calls, facebook comments, and tweets. on c-span 3, today, historian don doyle looks at the perspectives of foreign foreign soldiers who joined the civil war cause. an, on "oral histories," interview with clarence thomas on his upbringing in the segregated south. get our complete we can special onweekend schedule c-span.org. >> c-span has your complete on the road to the white house 2016. this year, we are taking our road to the white house coverage the classrooms across
7:43 am
country, giving students the opportunity to discuss what important issues they want to hear the most from the candidates. camlow c-span student contest and the road to the white house on tv, on the radio, and online at c-span.org. >> "washington journal" continues. back, andre continuing our discussion on the u.s. strategy in syria. we're talking with andrew the military the pentagon -- reporter for "the military times p ago how may people are we talking here, and what exactly might they do? guest: the headline was that there will be up to 50 special operations troops. that is the first time we have had any kind of remotely permanent presence in that
7:44 am
country. it kind of runs counter to things the president said several years ago in terms of his real reluctance to put boots on the ground there. just a small number, a couple dozen. providing advising, assisting, and training. ultimately, they will probably be encountering some combat situations, but the white house does not really describe it that way. they maintain that it is still and advise and assist mission. the other component is that there will be more fighter jet moving into turkey. a smallmer, we sent numbers of turkey because turkey had previously not allowed combat aircraft to use their facilities. summer.six this and a couple of weeks, we will have 24 there. that is a big increase in combat
7:45 am
power. host: why did the mr. should feel that a shift for -- or evolution, as they might strategy was- and necessary. why do we need more power their? guest: there are all sorts of reasons. has really problem been more severe in europe. the elephant in the room, the russians are involved, and have set up a significant presence and air base near the mediterranean coast, and have been flying their own combat .lanes in support of assad to some degree, the announcement yesterday was coordinated with secretary of state john kerry going to some preliminary peace talks, and the hope is that by american advisers, that would strengthen the hand of the american state in those
7:46 am
talks. basically there is the sense that the situation has been deteriorating, the fight against isis has not been making much progress, and something needed to be changed. it looks like, for now, this will be the change. in and joinn call in as well. we are returning to phone lines, split up by party. republicans can call in at (202) 748-8001. democrats can call (202) 748-8000. independents, (202) 745-8002. we do have a special line opened the segment for those who are active oteri, if you want to military, iftive you want to call in, (202) 748-8003. we are also on twitter, @cspanwj . we are on facebook, facebook.com/cspan. and you can send us an e-mail at journal@c-span.org. we're talking with andrew , a pentagon reporter for "the military times." bit thediscuss a little
7:47 am
evolution of the strategy in syria. we played a clip of president obama, speaking to thousand 13, making the case for limited airstrikes at that time, saying, no troops on the ground, today, we are in a different situation. guest: one of the important things when you look at the 4-5-year context of the war, initially it was a situation of al-assad, and leader that the u.s. opposed. some years ago, there was a question whether he was using chemical weapons, and whether the u.s. would take action against him. that was a couple of years ago. what has changed is the rise of the islamic state. in the middle of all of that chaos, you have seen the rise of isis, which has taken significant amounts of territory in syria. the u.s. issue in syria has
7:48 am
become less of a response to al-assad, and the u.s. mission now is an anti-islamic state, anti-isis fight. that is the difference. there is much more focused to the issue then there was a few years ago, and a much more clear military component. host: defense secretary ashton carter was on the hill earlier this week talking about how the defense department is using grade in order to make progress in syria. here's a little bit about what he had to say. [video clip] signaling that we will not hold back from supporting capable partners and opportunistic attacks against such attacksucting directly. last week's operation was led by kurdish forces with u.s. support. one of the accompanying advisers heroically acted to ensure the
7:49 am
overall success of the mission, and lost his life in the process. tole our mission in iraq is train, advise, and assist our toqi partners, we want support our partners, and we will. , thee same time, the raid strikes most recently, should all serve as note that once we locate them, no target is beyond our reach. host: we are talking with andrew tilgham. i would like to hear thoughts on the secretaries comments -- secretary's comments on the hill earlier this week. to important are the raids the u.s. strategy and how important is his leadership in determining where the u.s. goes next? guest: sure. i think that raids are emerging
7:50 am
as a significant part of the strategy. on october 22, a week or so ago, there was a raid that resulted in the death of an army special forces master sergeant. that was really the first folder to be killed in iraq and more than 3.5 years. that would really crystallize the change in policy. the administration acknowledged the nature of this raid and the involvement of the troops was not something that they had done before, and something that they planned to do more of. they had been very specific the terminology for going in and doing something with a specific target, and immediately coming out. they are really making effort to draw the distinction between raid and just putting more troops on the ground. to your point about this
7:51 am
defense,r secretary of this is the for secretary of defense under the obama administration. if you remember, earlier and firedear, the president his previous secretary of defense, chuck hagel, for not providing enough aggressive options in dealing with the islamic state. chuck hagel was a vietnam , hadan, and infantry man been wounded a couple of times, and had very strong views about being cautious about the use of force. when he came in several years ago, that is what the obama administration wanted, but as merge,lamic state and chuck hagel's views were kind of out of step with that. ashton carter was brought in to do something different, to make y would take a more aggressive role against this
7:52 am
comic state. large combatking missions. this is a significant change, and to some degree, was somewhat expected. host: we will turn now to the phone lines. jack, who is also active military. caller: thank you for what you do for "the military times." it is maddening, as a veteran of iraqi freedom from 2008-2009 -- it is maddening to watch everything we fall for in iraq fall apart across the middle east. there is no real plan. there is no real strategy for the mess that we created over there. the islamic state is nothing more than the next evolution and outcropping of al qaeda, and
7:53 am
yet, we have become tacitly allied with them in their fight against assad -- even though we claim that we are not. the real problem is this pandora's box of democracy that we tried to open up in iraq. the invasion in iraq is goin to go down as one of the i, if thethe fatal blunder, of american experiment. we are seeing the results of it play out. i do not know how we get away from this other than to completely disentangle ourselves and just walkaway. guest: things a lot. i appreciate that. i have to say that the caller's views are very similar to things i hear around the pentagon. there are two sentiments that i
7:54 am
hear from a lot of people. that is that what is going on is maddening, as the caller said, and there is extraordinary disappointment to see the whole region collapse in the way that it has. at the same time, there is, in no way, a consensus of an alternative solution by the pentagon. this is a tangled mess that has roots that go back at the very least 10 years, if not more. in the past, there has been tension between the white house and the pentagon, in terms of what they might do. to pentagon clearly wanted send more troops into afghanistan, and the white house was cautious about that. dynamicot have the same with iraq and syria. i do not think that, at the pentagon, there is a clear vision of what an alternative strategy could be. host: there were several proposals that the pentagon was
7:55 am
considering, can you walk through some of the other ideas around the american involvement in syria? well, i think there has been discussion of various levels of advise and assist. i think there has also been a debate as to how you structure that. for well, there was the idea that we would create our own allied force, one by one, bring them out of the country, train them, and send them back to form complete and whole units that told be connected and allied us. that did not work for a whole variety of reasons. maybe just aago, few weeks ago, they decided they would scrap that, and look for functioning operational units on the ground now, and provide them support, which is a pretty big change. what i saw was the idea that the vetting of syrian forces was
7:56 am
just too difficult. there are not many moderate opposition forces there. almost everyone is fighting -- everyone fighting has ties to al-assad, or one of the extremist groups that we oppose, it is for a difficult or almost impossible to find whole units of people that do not have the connections that we are not happy with. as a result, we're -- a couple of weeks ago, we dropped ammunition on rebel groups that no one had ever heard of before -- the syrian arab coalition, i think the pentagon is calling them. i removed thinking, who is this coalition jacoby gave them 50 tons of ammunition -- who is this coalition? we gave them 50 tons of ammunition. host: next up is john.
7:57 am
go ahead, you're on the air. caller: good morning. my question is what are the countries in the neighborhood, such as saudi arabia, israel, iran, turkey -- what are these countries doing to fight isis? shouldit that the u.s. be involved? militaryost a lot of people, a lot of money in the area. why are we still involved? i voted for the president. i'm totally against what he is doing. he should be walking away from this. our military always feels like bacon cure any disease in the yet to bet, which has proven true. i wonder what other countries in the area are doing great thank you very much. guest: i think militarily, the , not much.
7:58 am
realistically, 90% plus of the airstrikes being run are from american aircraft. americans are clearly the overwhelming majority of the money and combat power behind this mission. i think the caller makes a point thet i hear a lot -- countries in the region ought to be involved more. they're not for a lot of reasons great on the one hand, there are politics involved. if you brought in saudi arabia, which is a shiite country, you might inflame tensions with iran. also, the fact that these countries are not very militarily capable. they spend billions of dollars ,o buy american-style hardware but i'm not sure they have a
7:59 am
huge crew of pilots and maintainers that can operate them. that is a practical reason why we do not seek as much involvement from them. , john, calling on the republican line. go ahead. caller: good morning. the statement your guest just the small input from other countries, when they are supposed to be a coalition, inc.'s lanes exactly what is wrong with having a former community organizer as the commander-in-chief. we spent hundreds of millions of dollars, ended up with 5-6 people trained to go into fight, and he said, several weeks back, they decided that did not work, so they changed their tactics.
8:00 am
this is exactly what is going on. you cannot make military , one afterilly-nilly the other. one week you are doing this, one week you are doing that. ofmi am personally kind conflicted, because my son has just left for his fourth two are -- tour, and when he left i asked him about what they were going to be doing. he said dad, this is not too bad. because it is a humanitarian mission. i thought, oh my god. this is going to be the worst, because this changes their whole ability to defend themselves. what they have to do before they can protect themselves. obama has changed -- every time
8:01 am
something is not going he people.the pentagon that is why they don't have any cohesion in the pentagon. you have got all these generals that are wanting to be big shots, and he is shelling out the really selling out the really good people and putting be fixing font in power -- the sycophants in power. obama is just totally incompetent. it is because my son is over there. i am just scared to death of his incompetence. host: that is john from new mexico. quite what not sure mission the collar is referring to as a humanitarian mission. the pentagon and the white house have been pretty clear that the situation in afghanistan and iraq -- we are calling it and advise and assist. increasingly there is a lot of about the fact
8:02 am
that it has been widely conceded that is what these servicemembers are facing. to the broader point the caller makes, and i think this is important, there are not a lot of alternatives that we are hearing about of the pentagon from the senior military leadership. when there is a disagreement between the white house and the pentagon we hear about it on background and off the record conversations, and this sort of thing. there is concern about what is nong on, but there is widespread support at the pentagon for sending the 82nd airborne to syria. there's just not. i think the idea that somehow there is this plan on the shelf to send three combat brigades and solve the problem that way -- that that's just on the shelf and waiting for someone to pull it off, i just think that is to
8:03 am
over civil fight the situation. i think military leaders find this just as fraught as everyone else. lou is on up, mary the democratic line from ohio. good morning. what do you think about this? caller: good morning. been you for you, i have listening to nothing else for the past three or four months. i am totally opposed to our sending advisers into vietnam. i want to remind the american meane of the quagmire -- i , i am opposed to sending the troops to syria. i want to remind the american people that the quagmire indian beganwith -- in vietnam with sending and advisers. i would say that from all the people who have called this morning, the american people do not want this war and this should be put up to vote.
8:04 am
i have had much to much more. i am almost 87 years old and i lost my sweetheart, my brothers went to war, one in japan, one in germany. they both came back ruined. my husband was in the army of occupation. i have had four sons served the united states of america, three grandsons, and i look into the eyes of my little great-grandchildren and it rings in my years that this could go on for 20 or 30 years and i think why? what is our interest in the middle east? i -- host: mary lou, from ohio. think her sentiments are shared pretty widely, and i think one of the things relevant thehis conversation is -- president possible very limited very the president's
8:05 am
limited involvement here really reflects that. the american people don't really want to see a large commitment in syria. they are not sure we should see a larger commitment in iraq. that is why the president made an announcement yesterday that when we talk about sending troops to syria we are only talking about a few dozen. that is a pretty significant depressed than what we saw 10 years ago. the army was in iraq literally 10 years ago and i think there were 160,000 servicemembers and probably 50,000 or 60,000 contractors. it was an extraordinary operation. what we are talking about here is a few dozen guys. these guys are very eager to go into this mission. it is just a very different situation than what we had. that is largely supported by the american people. host: the caller did bring up a good point. here is a tweet that touches on the same question. where is congress on this? should work a declared or no?
8:06 am
doesn't this violate international law against invading a sovereign nation? under what authority is the president making these decisions. guest: that's a good question, and i think some lawyers would have to do some pretty creative thinking in order to make this are to be a completely legal and authorized operation. the president is working under a couple of things, one of which is the 2001 authorization of the use of force mainly after the attacks of september 11 during the bush administration. that is still being applied to some of the attacks on isis, which is a stretch, obviously. there are some other authorizations that congress has made that are being applied here, but congress has not weighed in on this in a really significant way, partly because it is politically a lose lose situation. congress on the one hand do not want to be authorizing wars
8:07 am
which the american people largely opposed. on the other hand they don't want to be on the record for not doing everything they could to fight the threat of isis, or they have basically sat on their hands and allowed the president's lawyers to kind of craft whatever interpretations of the existing authorizations they have and to carry on. that is pretty much what is going on. host: south carolina senator lindsey graham spoke earlier this week about how he feels the u.s. should be handling its involvement in syria. here is what he said. [video clip] [crosstalk] >> the people that we are equipping our people who come from isil occupied territory. >> did they want to take a side them? have you asked them? is,e know what their intent and it is to fight isil.
8:08 am
>> you know as well as i do -- both of you know -- that the average citizen not only wants to destroy them, but they are intent on destroying us on because he killed -- on destroying a sod -- assad because he killed 250,000. how do we leverage his leaving when russia is going to fight for him, iran is going to fight for him, has the law is going to fight for him. we are not going to do a damn thing to help people. host: that was senator lindsey graham, clearly impassioned about u.s. involvement in syria. we are talking to andrew tilghman, he is the pentagon reporter for the "military times ." talked little bit more about the decision yesterday to send forces into syria. how much support is there for this on both democratic and republican sides? guest: i think your clip is very telling.
8:09 am
lindsey graham is a candidate for the republican nomination and he has always kind of -- is always kind of a cultural critic. he was in rare form this week. i think he is just kind of banging the drum and looking to get a little bit of attention. across the hill i think you see the back that we do have a presidential election coming up on the horizon and i think that some of these views on this particular issue are inflamed by that. you have democrats who are not saying a whole lot in support of the president, then you have some republicans that are voicing concern about how this is not enough, that the president should be doing more. on the other hand, you don't see the republican congressional leadership putting forth any specific ideas or taking any further action to authorize additional actions. ithink one of the things
8:10 am
thought was interesting is this tension between fighting isil and fighting assad. that is one of the reasons the syria training" effort -- the isia training equip effort compensated is because the pentagon did author -- offer money to fight isis but that did not equip those who are fighting bashar al-assad. it is hard to find people were only opposed to one and not opposed to the other, and because of the legal requirements they had to disqualify a fair amount of people. it is when they said well, are you also going to fight bashar al-assad they said, well yes, sure. he had kind of like a jury selection, going to strike them off the list of possible rebels eligible for support. that has been really one of the central competent factors. host: next up, sarah from vernon, new york, is calling on the republican line. go ahead. caller: hi, how are you?
8:11 am
host: we are good. go ahead. caller: i have been listening to your callers this morning, and they did not hear any of them mention when president obama came down the driveway about three years ago and wanted to go into syria because they were serious bombs in syria. not only was isis hiding there, but bashir al-assad was killing his own people. now they have displaced over 2 million of them, if not more. on the other issue of special forces, i am all for that. joining the tribes together, the errant -- arab tribes, along with the people that have been doing the against aver in syria
8:12 am
assad and against isis is a good idea. i think it should be a limited number. i don't think it should be like president bush's war, where he sent thousands and thousands of people. i cannot tell you how many. but that is my opinion, and by the way, the lady that talked about vietnam -- my brother did two tours in vietnam. i am very proud that he went recently. he died but he did not die in vietnam. and he was proud to serve. so on that, i leave it to you guys to discuss this.
8:13 am
and thank you for taking my call. host: all right, that is sarah, from vernon, new york. we are talking with andrew tilghman from the "military times." i wonder if you could break down for us some of the complicated allegiances in the syrian region. who supports him, who are we fighting? guest: i have been trying to keep track of this for months. even full time is not easy at all. and one of the things he saw at the white house press conference yesterday when they announced they were going to be sending dozens of special forces troops to syria -- when josh earnest was asked, who exactly are they going to be working with and supporting, he said well, i can't tell you for operational security. i can't tell you who we are supporting. which is a little bit absurd if you think about it. there is this big announcement that we will be providing military support, but exactly who we will be supporting is not disclosed. there is an extraordinarily
8:14 am
tangled mess going on in the region right now it has to do with some of these -- the and thebetween assad rebel groups. some of the rebel groups are what we would call islamic extremists, which we oppose, and some of the groups are supposedly moderate, that we support. the reality is that the groups that we would categorize as moderate are very small. that is one of the big challenges. there are other issues going on. there is the kurdish issue, you have kurds in iraq and kurds in syria, and they are kind of fighting for their own ethnic enclave. fight is dog in this the support and protection of what they would call cortisone -- kurdistan. then you have turkey coming in here, and turkey is a nato ally but they have long tensions with the kurds. we are a kurdish ally, they have
8:15 am
been very successful in fighting isis, but turkey is very much opposed to supporting the kurds. so then we find ourselves on opposite sides with our nato ally, and that does not even get into the issues of cities and -- has -- sunnis and she has shias in iraq. it is sort of a chessboard. you can look into it further and make it more complicated. even within the groups i'm talking about, you can break them down even further into factions and categories. extremely intractable problem, we are sitting across from the capital and i don't think anyone in this town has a clear vision of what the alternative policy should be. host: secretary of state john kerry was in vienna just this week. apparently there was an agreement to start some type of peace talk, the headline in "the
8:16 am
washington journal" powers agreed to back u.n. talks in syria. is this a diplomatic solution, and what is the best case scenario for these discussions? guest: well, yes. you are going to have to have some kind of political resolution at some point with these factors, and i think these talks that john kerry was out yesterday are extremely preliminary. the at the root of this is the fact that some of these national borders don't really make sense anymore based on the politics on the ground. you talk to a lot of military officers and they will quickly sort of point back to the ottoman empire and the agreement which drew the line of the current middle east. it is a bit esoteric but it is
8:17 am
also very true. the border between iraq and syria does not only exist on paper, it does not exist in reality today. there are borders between turkey and syria which are getting very porous. i think at some point the final solution for this is going to have to be a pretty significant grand bargain among all of these factions to try to sort of rearrange how things work in this region in a way that makes everyone feel better. up, buster from dallas, texas is calling on the republican line. you are on the air. caller: hello. .ood morning i am 89 years of age, i am a real live walking history book. anything that has happened in the past 80 years, call me. don't look it up on youtube. bush's decision to go in
8:18 am
and start a war in iraq and afghanistan will go down in history, will the written by historians in about 10 years as one of the worst decisions anyone in american government ever made. and for all of you sweetheart democrats out there, please keep in mind that hillary clinton voted for it. ready to send what, 100 men, soldiers, to syria. our soldiers. now thereonths from will be another 500 sent. i turn on the television and i see hundreds of thousands of able-bodied men, syrians, marching through europe
8:19 am
demanding that european countries take care of them. why aren't those men fighting for their freedom and fighting for their families rather than chickening out in germany or whoever will put them on welfare? it is an absolute disgrace. children, andew you see very few women. the majority of those people going into europe are able-bodied men. host: that is buster from dallas, texas. just to be clear, the of ministration has talked about sending 50 troops, or fewer than 50 troops into syria. we're talking with andrew tilghman. buster talks about the idea that maybe we might have 500 troops going in a few months from now, and mission creep is always a concern for everyone at
8:20 am
the pentagon. presidentat this seems to be clearly kind of double down on not allowing a lot of troops to go into the region. yes, the answer yesterday was that we are sending special forces into syria. it is a big deal but they are only 50. he has not raised the troop levels in iraq for over a year now. i remember reading a story about a year ago that said oh, obama will that's really have 15,000 troops in iraq within the year. that was proven wrong. i think he is double down on the idea that he is not going there. he was elected to office as a going to make progress in the middle east, that is his policy. the real question is, there is going to be a new president in 15 or 16 months, and that president is going to have some major decisions to make on this
8:21 am
policy. that is when we will see if there is going to be a significant expansion of the operation. host: we heard from lindsey graham earlier. hearing from other candidates about where they fall and how involved we should be in syria? guest: there are not a lot of specifics. the republicans in general like to bash obama, but you don't care very much specific information other than vague rhetorical calls for war. the democrats don't really like to talk about the vote that had in had a 2003 -- 2003, it continues to haunt her. the topic really doesn't come up as much as you might think because it is not in anyone's party, toin either launch into a big policy position on this because it is a no-win.
8:22 am
up, bob is calling on the independent line. you are on the air. caller: retired special ops officer myself, i have a question that basically has three parts. i will try to be fair about it. first of all, a small number of special ops going in, there is a risk that their -- they could be -- because they are supporting the anti-assad forces, they could be subject to russian aerial attack. i wanted you to address that. the second is the question of extraction for people who may come into harm's way and other unfriendly fire. it does not see thing -- seem like things are very clearly aligned. that leads to the third part. that is, if you suspect -- expect to sustain even a small number of u.s. casualties, the -- doesn't that wretched of the sugar point for bringing in additional troops?
8:23 am
guest: bob brings up a really interesting point with the russians. among the many tangled factors over there, one of the ones you have is the russians conducting airstrikes in support of bashar al-assad, and you have the united states sending special forces and to support rebels who are fighting bashar al-assad. so it is not an implausible scenario to think that you have forces on the ground with a syrian rebel unit with russian aircraft overhead dropping bombs on them. this is a question that white house spokesman josh earnest got yesterday. would we consider that to be an act of war if russia jobs -- dropped bombs on american troops on the ground in syria? it was a really interesting exchange. he said that that was a hypothetical situation and he
8:24 am
was not going to talk about it too much, then he said he thought there was a very low likelihood that that was going to happen because -- and i have heard this from others -- that where the russians are operating is within syria geographically somewhat different than where americans are focusing their support. so yes, the white house is probably right. disturbing toetty think that this president could be confronted with a situation to consider whether or not this is an act of war from russia. host: low likelihood also does mean that there is some likelihood. is,ess part of the question what is the definition of combat according to the white house, and is it something specific in a policy sense or is it something that is defined by the environment? guest: that is a question we have all turned over and over again for the past week since the death of master sergeant
8:25 am
josh wheeler who was on a train, advise, and assist mission where he was engaged in a firefight with the enemy. that is what most people would continue -- consider to be a combat mission. the secretary of defense tried to talk about this, he wasn't really combat -- a lot of lawmakers and reporters really pressed him on this. he kind of conceited as a semantic manner. a stock term not in the military. it is permitted a kind of soft, squishy definition, manipulated a bit in the political environment. you will often see the white house say, they want to talk about combat missions or combat saying that you can be in a firefight with the but you can still be in a train, advise, and assist
8:26 am
mission even know what you are doing at that moment would clearly be defined as combat. it is kind of an interesting debate. the white house did not really ultimately give ground on it yesterday. the kind of stood by this they are not in combat while saying that they really are. it is kind of a question this president has locked himself into because of a statement he made a few years ago. is bob fromp baltimore, maryland, on the independent line. what do you think this morning jacket -- what do you think this morning? caller: what probably really matters most is these people from these other countries -- this john kerry, this hillary clinton -- we know what they are and what they have said in the past.
8:27 am
the united states military, calling them names, looking down on them. let's the deal -- what is the deal that obama made with the russian guy, patent -- putin? you've got all these able-bodied men running around in europe. there, going to happen them,g them, --raping changing their laws, telling them what to do. guest: i think you mentioned the morement with putin, it is of a military to military agreement that was reached about 10 days ago. it is a very limited agreement about protocols and aviation safety that is going to allow them to hopefully operate --
8:28 am
u.s. and russian aircraft operate in the same airspace without having any mishaps or miscommunications. a couple of weeks here you did have situations where u.s. combat aircraft pilots were flying around over syria and we literally see visual contact with russian aircraft. that created a potentially volatile situation. there is no military to military is a militaryhere to military agreement between the two even though everyone has been clear that it is not really a diplomatic or far-reaching agreement, because the u.s. very much opposes what russia is doing. host: ok, time for a few more calls. next up is chris from milwaukee, wisconsin, on the independent line. good morning to you. would like to know about the covert actions that were going on before the syrian civil war totally broke out. it seems to me that there is a
8:29 am
picture of mccain with a man who is supposed to be a good guy, and turned out to be an isil leader. israel trying to get us to go to war, giving us misinformation years back. i had told my husband that syria was going to be next before the civil war ever broke out. this is very important if we put our noses in everywhere, because we have covert operations going on in venezuela, everywhere. and afghanistan. we've asked the russians, we backed the callanan, and now we find the taliban. i just don't understand any of it, and i want us out of the middle east. thank you. host: chris in wisconsin. interestingare
8:30 am
points. i think that one thing i would like to mention -- because we spent a long time talking about syria because of the announcement yesterday -- another dynamic of this is clearly on the iraq side of the border. the president made a call to thei prime minister -- iraqi prime minister yesterday. there has been a lot of concern about that because the iraqis have not made much progress at back to theng isis territory did they have seized over the past 18 months. i think that that is a pretty significant factor. there is a lot going on with the syrian civil war and the united states wants to be able to have them influence there, but they are also concerned about iraq, 30% or 40% ofr -- the country right now, some of its major metropolitan air he is are under the control of items -- islamic militants. there have been some pretty
8:31 am
significant statements from u.s. officials about how, oh, it's but it justpen soon hasn't happened. i do think there is a lot of tension between the united states military and the iraqis, with the u.s. military base of a saying come on guys, we are providing you with daily airstrikes, billions of dollars, several thousand boots on the ground. you have to take the fight to these guys, and they just have not. so that is underlying all of this, the fact that things are kind of -- it is hard to say they are not stalled in iraq right now. host: our last caller for this conversation will be wayne from mortal beach, -- on the , onpendent -- myrtle beach the independent line. caller: it is another more about the economy. where would our work -- our economy be without the words? you are telling us that they are using chemical weapons, where is
8:32 am
the evidence of that? guest: i think there has been a of testing out forensic evidence on the ground. i think that is not to much an issue anymore these days, that is from a couple years ago. the issue these days is just basically these tribal actions, warring andue to be metastasizing as time goes on. host: andrew tilghman, he is a pentagon reporter for the "military times." take for joining us. next up, we will have our roundtable discussion about the report from the world health organization that shows a link between processed meat and cancer. and later, sarah westwood will be here to tell us about the medical examiner.
8:33 am
all persons having business before the honorable supreme court of the united states are required to draw near and give their attention. c-span'seek on landmark cases, we will discuss the historic supreme court case of shank versus the united states. in 1917 the united they've entered world war i, patriotism was high. some forms of criticism of the government were a federal offense. generalschenk, who was director of the united states socialist party, produced leaflets against the draft. were00 copies of this produced. the point was to encourage men not to register. the language in this flyer is particularly fiery.
8:34 am
it equates construction with slavery and calls on every citizen of the state to resist conscription laws. >> he was arrested, tried, and found guilty under the recently enacted espionage act. he appealed and the case went directly to the supreme court. ruled,t how the court weighing the issues of clear and present danger and freedom of speech. our guests include attorney thomas goldstein and beverly gage, professor of history at yell university. that is coming up on the next "landmark cases." radio and-span c-span. on background information each case as you watch, order the companion book. it is available for $8.95 plus shipping. >> c-span. the best access to congress with live coverage of the house and senate. here you are comments and
8:35 am
tweets. votehan tweets, excellent graphic makes c-span look more like espn. and mitt romney tweeted, i got the first speaker -- speaker selfie. tweeted, why yes, i am watching john boehner on c-span. does this surprise anyone? australia, very inspiring speech. we could use a ryan. and, how can a member of the minority party run for house bigger? tweeted, keeping an eye out for those colorado representatives. what morning would it be without a predictable houseboat? and shauna tweeted, i am watching c-span on a plane. this really is the future. the best access to congress is on c-span, c-span radio, and c-span.org. and go behind the scenes by
8:36 am
following our producer on twitter. >> "washington journal" continues. aboutwe are talking now hotdogs and whether processed meat might cause cancer. that was the finding of a world health organization report. we are joined by michael jacobson, he is executive director for science in the public interest. we are joined by janet riley, she is senior vice president for public affairs at the american institute, and also the president of the american sausage and hot that counsel. thank you for being here. will start with you. can you tell us exactly what this report said? guest: the report was published by the world health organization and its international organization for research on cancer, it is probably the world's most authoritative audie that -- authoritative body that evaluate kansas -- cancer
8:37 am
studies. agency fornational research and cancer concluded that processed meat and -- processed meat is a definite human carcinogen, and red meat is a probable human carcinogen. results say to cut back. host: tell us a little bit about your organization. guest: my organization is a wash a group that focuses on nutrition. we are the ones that got nutritional labels on food packages and calories on restaurant menus. riley, yournet organization has called this report alarmist. why do you disagree? guest: we do think it is alarmist.
8:38 am
the international agency for research on cancer did what is called a hazard assessment or it they are looking to determine whether something ever could possibly pose some sort of hazzard. of 940 different agents they have reviewed in their history, only one -- a chemical in yoga pants -- has ever been fully cleared of causing cancer. we were concerned that there was not enough context, but the world health organization did come out with a remark to clarify that they never intended to suggest we should not be eating processed meeting, and clarifying that it is a part of a healthy balanced diet. host: was there a certain amount in a report that they found might be detrimental? guest: there is not a particular amount. it really included the less -- concluded the less you consume, the lower your risk of cancer would be. it was also clear that this was not as powerful a carcinogen as
8:39 am
tobacco smoke or asbestos, but that it does lead to an increased risk of cancer. they never said, don't eat processed meat or fresh meat. said eating it increases your risk of cancer something like 20% if you eat one serving of processed or fresh red meat by itself. it is really a matter of the less the better. yes, you could even occasionally . you called it alarmist, but the tone of the report is clearly very moderate. they couldsaid -- have said, but they did not say -- never eat red meat again. never eat processed meat again. the less the better. it should not have been a surprise. hasamerican cancer society been recommending that people
8:40 am
cut back on meat consumption for about 30 years. and people have been cutting back somewhat. i should say, it is not just cancer. processed meat, like hot does in bacon, contain a lot of salt that increases blood pressure and the risk of heart attack and stroke. processed and fresh meat also contain a fair amount of saturated fat that increases the risk of heart disease. if you put all that stuff together, i think the obvious recommendation from this conclusion is, eat less. host: so janet riley, the you agree? -- do you agree? is there an amount over which you believe people should not eat processed meat? guest: the government recommends that we too are three servings from the protein category a day. right now we are already eating
8:41 am
less than two ounces a day of processed meat. so eat less. eat less than what? what if someone is not eating any, are you telling them to be less than that? what if someone is eating six ounces? eat less is not very clear. but i think it is important when you say the report was not alarmist -- putting tobacco and processed meat and red meat in that ises together, alarmist. that is of the world has come out and clarified, and they told "the irish times" this week that absolutely, meat has nutrition benefits. when you pick up a package of cigarettes you see a warning label. when you pick up a package of meat you see a nutrition label. the only thing they have in common is that they are both smoked. societyamerican cancer actually does have a page that says, this is hard to understand. just some -- just because
8:42 am
something is on the list does not mean you should consume it. tamoxifen which can increase the risk of uterine cancer but decrease the risk of breast cancer. guest: what exactly is processed -- host: what is ugly as processed meat? guest: something that has been coats, treated, cured. often they are ready to eat but not always, whereas fresh meat is a stand-alone product that does not have any seasoning or ingredient added to it. host: you can call in and join us as well. we are dividing the phone lines by region. if you live in the eastern time zone collis at (202) 748-8000. if you are in the mountain or pacific time zone call us at (202) 748-8001. we are on twitter and facebook, or send us an e-mail at journal@c-span.org. caller,get to our first that is ellen from indiana.
8:43 am
what do you think? woman: as an 82-year-old who is very sick with numerous 40eases -- when i was about and i was in a doctors -- at the doctors all the time, it was very expensive, i was on a lot drugs, and different procedures that were painful. company thatered a totally changed everything. if you arehat alkaline you are healthy. if you are acidic you are going to get diseases. they were starting a long time ago by a group of doctors and medical scientists who wanted to
8:44 am
find out why some people in the places, live very long and healthy and in other places they don't. you changelen, did the amount of meat that you ate as part of this effort to become more healthy? caller: yes. is, if your body is alkaline you are healthy. if it is a acidic you are going to have disease. even cancer. host: all right. ellen from indiana. we will go on to our next color which is lee from toledo, ohio. good morning. caller: how are you doing? host: good. what is your question or comment? is that i'momment glad that finally the world health organization is starting to look at the problems we are having with foods. i used to work for general mills corporation, i am a retiree. back in the 70's we looked at
8:45 am
bread and our cereal products, as well as sugars. sugar is one of the biggest pressure,the blood which i have high blood pressure. i had to go through a process, cutting down the red meat that i eat, even in the chicken that we today, some of the fish. they are pumped with hormones and everything. it is really sad. my doctor and i really had a whether i would have to stay on the blood pressure medication for the rest of my life. i told him i'm not going to do it the rest of my life in we went through a process of me losing more weight, i had to lose 10 pounds. walk more, drink more water. host: lee, the you eat meat? caller: i really cut back.
8:46 am
eating is probably less than 1% or 2%. i eat more fish, fish that is not farm great -- farm raised. even the fish from the lake has led and it -- lead in it. the biggest thing is sugar and salt. host: ok. we are talking to michael jacobson from the center for public interest janet riley and janet riley from the national meat institute. michael jacobson, can you talk a little bit about how the study was conducted and how they came to this finding? the bosses of the study said that they reviewed 800 scientific papers, animal studies, human studies, and studies that looked at the setsstry of physiological
8:47 am
in meat. they found either strong evidence for human studies that processed meat was correlated with cancer increased -- increased risk of: cancer -- increased risk of colon cancer and estimated that it was causing thousands of premature deaths from colon cancer. the evidence was less strong for human studies of fresh red meat. but there are all kinds of other studies which suggest that the things in red meat, lake hemoglobin -- like hemoglobin -- host: that is the iron, right? guest: it increases the risk of cancer through a mechanism -- or the formation of cancer-causing chemicals from meat when it is in the body.
8:48 am
their report was very measured and it was not alarmist at all. something we already knew, because the american cancer society has been warning people for 15 years to reduce meat consumption and to say, people don't know what "less" means, i think they do. if they don't consume meat, they can't consume less, they don't have to worry about it. for people who are consuming one bologna sandwich every two months, that is the only meat they consume -- that is not a concern. the risk is negligible. but the more you eat, the greater the risk. so if people are eating two or three servings of meat a day, getting those 10 ounce hammer is at a restaurant, they should rethink how much meat they are eating. host: janet riley, you mentioned earlier portion size. forhere a recommendation
8:49 am
processed meat? guest: the recommendations talk about meat and poultry specifically. a typical portion, a three ounce portion, is about the size of a deck of cards. i just want to respond to the findings and what was in the abstract. it is important to remember the for example, they talk about the human studies they found. in one they are called cohort studies. they say that half of them found an association between meat and cancer. that means a half didn't. so how do you come out with such a strong statement? they did not find significant -- sufficient evidence at all, and i think it is important to understand that this was far from a unanimous vote. from what we understand it was a very split decision on the panel , and so there is not consensus out there and i think we need to take a long hard look. it will be interesting to see
8:50 am
what comes out when they publish the link to their monograph. the u.s. department of agriculture published a pick paper in 2013 and he said that there was insufficient evidence to link me to cancer. he recommended a healthy, balanced diet. i think we can agree on that. eat meat ate to say every meal. if you are eating meat at every meal, you are probably under consuming fruits and vegetables. eat what is recommended. we are not talking about a diet exclusively of meat. host: so have the usda or any of the other dietary associations in the u.s., have they changed their guidelines all or are looking to address their guidelines as a result of this finding by the who? guest: that is a great question and we will have to wait and see what they are going to do. the secretary seemed to feel that he is heard from his scientific advisory committee,
8:51 am
and he sounds like he is going to rely on that information. how people wrote -- will react remains to be seen. i think it was very helpful that the world health organization clarified. the committee that you are referred to, the dietary guidelines advisory committee, recommends that people eat less meat, and when they do eat meat it should be lean. the meat industry has been putting tremendous pressure on the department of agriculture and the department of health and human services not to recommend that people eat less meat. this has been a battle that has been going on for almost 40 1977, the senate nutrition committee recommended that people eat less meat. the meat industry dumped on them ped forced -- jumps -- jum on them and forced them to change "eat less meat" into "eat
8:52 am
lean meat." everyone is on pins and needles to see, did they say eat less meat or eat lean meat? guest: i think it is important to know that when the dietary guidelines committee looked at what we actually ate, they found that protein was the only nutrition that was consumed at the accurate level. it is also important to note that when we changed our dietary direction and wage the war on that in the early 1980's, we saw obesity go like this. people began to substitute cards for high quality protein. i would argue that that kind of shift has been a real health problem. we need to be very careful in the recommendations we provide. host: next on the phone lines is melissa from montana. what is your thought this morning? caller: thank you so much.
8:53 am
thank you, good morning america. i am so grateful for c-span. what an incredible, and lightning platform probably best to be able to call in. it is actual democracy in action. this ismy comment is -- a wonderful study, i really appreciate it, but nobody ever talks about the inhumane treatment of the animals. neither one of these people is going to comment because they are going to both say they don't know anything about it, but i know that they do. the meat industry makes it so you can't even report on it, it has become a crime to report on the inhumane treatment of these animals. please. there are two sides of the story but the other side never gets told. please have people on the talk about the inhumane treatment of these animals in confined quarters -- i don't even know all the details but i know it is extremely inhumane. please let them talk about that and please have a program on that. i would really appreciate it if janet and this other gentlemen
8:54 am
would please comment on this treatment. america, we can do better. we need to take a long hard look at ourselves about how we treat these animals. ofis not necessarily 100% the time about our health, human health. how about the animals? they have feelings. it is about whether they can suffer. janeti will take it to first. guest: i am happy to come back and do an hour on the treatment of animals because i actually happened to run a welfare committee. i will tell you that there is an economic benefit to treating animals humanely, and that is what we work to do every day. if the animals are stressed, in pain, or comfortable -- uncomfortable there are quality deficiencies in the meat. so we have an economic benefit, in addition to a moral imperative, to treat animals humanely. i don't recommend -- represent the people who raise the
8:55 am
animals, i record -- represents the people who freaked them -- process them. we are relying on the best advice we can from the world's leading expert. host: michael? guest: i think that glosses over a lot of things. there is an expose of animals that are sick, dying, and being dragged through slaughterhouse floors. that has been cleaned up to some extent, better than it was in 1991 when you started on that. cattle, specifically set high grain diets, unnatural diet that are not good for their health and they suffer because of those diets. ,hey are crowded into feedlots very unnatural conditions, and
8:56 am
hens are crammed into little crates for their entire lives. that really is inhumane. things are changing slowly thanks to groups like the humane society of the united states and various other ones, and now food processors and restaurant , ours, like mcdonald's improving their practices because of the public pressure. ist: next on the phone lines sonja from washington. good morning to you. you are on the air. hi.er: how are you doing? thank you for c-span. i have a question. i have addison's disease as well as celiac disease as well as a host of autoimmune. well,f that is from --
8:57 am
not from meat, but there are many things in the meat that can actually trigger allergies in me or cause symptoms because of what they are eating or if the animals are stressed and their body is releasing cortisol. if it is slaughtered that way it stays in there. issues everhese brought up, concerning what can happen to a person's autoimmune system. allergies, a lot of these allergies are actually coming from foods themselves. how do you test to say ok, we are doing this, but we are not sure this is going to be an .llergy induced how do you determine what is
8:58 am
healthy? cal: i think the collar -- ler brings up a good point. a few years ago people were saying eat meat at part of a protein rich, active diet. now we are hearing, don't eat meat, because it could cause cancer. is there anything left for people to eat? what is your response? guest: there is a lot of confusion about what to eat, what not to eat. i think what people need to rely on is advice from the american cancer society and the american heart association and the federal government, where the advice gets sifted through many looksists taking careful at what the evidence is. eateneral the evidence is more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood. eat less sugar, meet, salt, , includingverything
8:59 am
less meat and poultry. that has been the consistent advice for the last 30 or 40 years. yes, there are newspaper your newspaper "the washington post" comes out with really misleading information based on very poor evidence from meate with biases saying and milk and cheese and salt are perfectly healthy. but the thrust of these expert committees is, eat more fruits and vegetables. cut back on meat. less sugar, much less sugar. much less salt. that is what people should listen to. they may be wrong on some things, as science does change, but for the last 35 years the dietary guidelines for americans have basically said that.
9:00 am
saturatedn foods with fat, salt, and sugar. eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. guest: consumers have been eating less red meat and we have seen an increase in obesity. to notink it's important eat less meat. how much are you eating? when you go to the meat case and you look at the processed meat options out there, you've got low-sodium, fat-free, gluten-free. important to look at that nutritional label and make the choices that are right for you. we have had people call in with different medical issues and not every a diet is right for everyone. there is a chart in this magazine. of the headline was the war on a
9:01 am
delicious. they show how much meat we eat here in america as compared it to the rest of the world. we are not the largest consumer of pork, china as that title. in terms of exports, we are number four. we are the second in terms of exports of pork. can you talk about how big of a business the meat industry is in the united states? does that make a difference when people are waiting nutritional guidelines? guest: it's an $80 billion industry. on what we are able to produce around the world. i think that when you are looking at how much meat people are eating, if you looked at a similar chart of nutritional deficiencies around the world, countries that don't have access
9:02 am
to the meat supply that we have have anemia deficiencies. that's only part of the picture. host: the next color is sally from birmingham. is she including kosher meat? host: excuse me? caller: is kosher meat included? guest: it is. there is no nutritional difference between meat that is kosher and the rest of the meat. host: the next color is from texas. caller: both of my people lived into their late 90's. only cancer ie have developed his prostate cancer. one can ofys had
9:03 am
beer every evening. he would come home from work. we ate a lot of meat. doubles --t of much vegetables. i think as long as you get a balanced diet you should be fine. i hear a lot of us were exposed to agent orange. that lead to cancer. about five of my good friends to neighbors died due prostate cancer. hear cuba has an injection from cancer. host: we will move on to dan from a texas. -- from texas. i wanted to put what i
9:04 am
think is my opinion into the food chain. it's just a theory. -- iieve a long time ago am 73 years old -- when they exploding nuclear bombs, all of a sudden they quit your then they were doing it below the surface. i think a lot of the radiation particles got into the food chain. right, cancer has always been around. i have seen it escalate. they might have had a way of diagnosing it that her. i believe they already knew how to diagnose cancer.
9:05 am
if this can go halfway around the world, i believe nuclear particles can go all the way around the world. host: business insider told us that california considers adding meat to the cancer alert list. we talked about some of the federal guidelines and if they might change. can you talk about states efforts and what they might be doing? guest: california is the interesting place. there is a law that allows the onte to put a cancer warning products that cause cancer in more than one and 100,000 people. i think processed meats would qualify for that warning. some people are pushing for it. i am not certain whether that's a good idea or not.
9:06 am
some concern about having warnings on everything. i think it deserves debate. people in california will be debating this. i think there would be a beneficial effect. it probably comes down to having warnings. it will be interesting to see what happens. you seen other states pursue similar efforts? is there any sort of ground movement? guest: i haven't seen anything. new york might be a state that would consider it. it has considered warning notices on soft drinks, not for cancer but for obesity and diabetes. guest: proposition 65 is an interesting question. you do see warnings.
9:07 am
andwalk into a restaurant there are so many signs. we are federally inspected with meat. sectors in our plants at all times. we have federal preemption. the lot is preempted. we will not be forcing a product label. we don't think it's appropriate at all. we will have to wait and see what happens host: a few comments from twitter. it, butthey overstated the prices will come down. need government agencies to tell them how to eat healthy? next on the phone lines is larry
9:08 am
from new york. go ahead. caller: i can't believe i haven't had more comments like this. i eat three times a day. it is an enjoyable part of my life. i don't want some goody two shoes telling me how to eat. we are living longer. eating is like sex to me. it's something we do on a regular basis. we are designed to enjoy it. to go unhealthy diets from time to time. if i had to live on a healthy diet i would probably commit suicide within three weeks. host: going to our earlier question, is there a danger of becoming the food police? guest: i can't believe that
9:09 am
people don't want to hear about scientific evidence that suggest that these foods are healthier and these are less healthy. why stick your head in the sand when you can live a longer and healthier life. ignore thatree to information. gorge yourself on bacon and ham if you want. there is scientific evidence that indicates that sugar rock your teeth and makes you fat and meat increases the risk of heart disease and cancer. chicken and fish are neutral in those regards. let the information,. the food police are not lurking in a people's homes. it's information. point andt's a good people will exercise their right to choose in the marketplace.
9:10 am
we have seen this making the rounds on social media. not want to take this report lying down. i do think it's important to recognize that this report was not based on evidence that was unequivocal. it was based on evidence that was quite equivocal. these are 22 cancer experts who came to the conclusion that processed meat is a human carcinogen. who are viewers going to listen --?uestion mark guest: there was a mixed vote. guest: there is always a mixed vote. society american cancer and the american heart association come to conclusions that mitt increases the risk of cancer and heart disease.
9:11 am
people should eat less. nobody's going to take away somebody's bacon. are eating, people less meat. substituting paltry in place of red meat. i think a big game changer in the coming years will be vegetarian substitutes. i'm not a vegetarian. many people are eating veggie burgers instead of hamburgers and that will increase in the future. that is based on ethical concerns. there is a bunch of science that processed meats increase the risk of cancer. people are recognizing that.
9:12 am
it's not painful to eat less meat. there are so many substitutes. your bacon or your hotdog if you want. nobody is going to take it away. the less, the better. guest: it's the right amount. poise --er, my growing boys, they have come to rely on the satisfaction that red meat provides in controlling hunger and helping them think it's cool because they are satisfied after a good lunch. it includes processed meats most days. i feel very good about it. when my kids are camping and , we rely on things like
9:13 am
beef jerky to powerless. kids need these foods. reports like this cast doubt that this can be part of a healthy diet. host: what do you think? caller: thank you. i would like to make a few points. for that gentleman that just that food isaid comparable to sex. i don't know. we are omnivores. for protein.ngs there are eggs. if you want to treat animals humanely, stop killing them. why can't we use the sheep for wool and the cows for milk? ashamed ofld be themselves for eating a be animals.
9:14 am
80 -- baby animals. a friend of mine said they were cutting at meat because muslims don't eat meat. i don't doubt it. they do everything else that they want to do. host: all right. janet from west virginia. my industry produces many kinds of meat. muslims do eat meat, they just don't eat pork. nobody is trying to take away the meat for religious reasons. i don't know where to start on this. people are recognizing more and
9:15 am
causede health problems by meat. the environmental problems where raising beef in particular and to a lesser extent pork and poultry has major environmental besequences that will increasingly important over the years. there is the animal welfare consideration that people are learning about and expressing concern about. not going to become a nation of vegetarians, but we will move in that direction very slowly. report, ick to the think the less the better. if people don't eat red meat, that's fine. if they want to eat some, that's fine also. your son can have a hot dog if he wants. the less the better is what the message should be. host: we've heard a lot of
9:16 am
callers with questions about the details of what the report actually means. but do you find is the biggest misconception about what this report actually says. conceptione is some that it proves cause and effect which it doesn't. they relied on studies that don't happen in labs. they are relying on what people reportedly eight. these are notoriously inaccurate ways of determining cause and effect here in a --. i think people need to because and. guest: i will get back to what i said earlier. want to believe cancer
9:17 am
experts or the president of the national hotdog counsel. misconception, it may be that recommendation was not to eat any meat. the committee did not say that area they leave that up to the consumer. the question in the united states is will the terry guidelines -- dietary guidelines say eat less meat or leaner meat or switch from red meat and poultry? host: there is a full report due out. can you give us more information? guest: they published an abstract. that's how the process starts. six to 12 months later there is a full monograph that will
9:18 am
outline the science they considered during we will be interested in looking at that. there is one of their misconception. we talk about the mediterranean diet. it's very well-respected around the world. our government looked at what people actually consume. consumed twice as many processed meat as we do. it's interesting to think about italy and france and spain where they are enjoying cured meats -- that say and a salami. life expectancy is a complex thing. i'm reassured that they live long enjoyable lives. host: lorraine is calling from new jersey. good morning to you. caller: i just want to say that a couple of years ago i bought
9:19 am
the book the china study. every household should own it. i think it's wonderful. your guest said that the boy scouts and they are eating all of their meat, wait till they get to be 61 strokes start. the cattle industry is very strong. they want people to eat meat. you do get enough protein with a plant-based diet. i started it two years ago. i think it's wonderful. i have chicken once in a while. i've lost weight. you have more energy and it's wonderful.
9:20 am
one caller talked about the inhumane treatment. it's absolutely true. the chickens don't see the light of day. it's awful. the plant based diet is the way to go. host: we have some related comments to twitter. i am a vegan and i have never --. healthier area robin is in pennsylvania. caller: i have a few things i want to say. i am against animal abuse. as far as red meat goes, what about dear? -- deer. my granddaughter is a vegan. she is 100 pounds. she is always getting a cold. she won't eat any animal products.
9:21 am
i don't think it's good. what about people who don't want to eat that? wordrying to think of that . they get sick because they don't want to get that you -- that. -- fat. host: that was robin from pennsylvania. can't base national nutrition advice on the experiences of your son or this woman. you have to look at the science typically research in a large population to come up with advice. there are six begins and healthy vegans. some people will live to be 100 and smoke cigarettes every day. that does not mean anything.
9:22 am
you have to look at scientific research done over years and pulled together with different kinds of studies and see what the thrust of the research is. that's what the agency for research did. advice ofup with the eating less meat. that on mycan't base son's experience. i think mothers collectively have an experience and they know the value of meat in their children's diet. i agree with the collar. vegetarian diets can be healthy. they take very careful balancing to get all of your amino acids and iron. b12 is only found in animal projects. b12ns need to supplement for they will have mental function problems.
9:23 am
i was shocked at some studies. it showed the health problems in the eating disorders that are highly associated with girls who adopt vegetarian and vegan diets. they need to be watched very closely. the data shows unequivocally that most people who have become vegetarians consume meat again at some point in their lives. very few people were able to maintain a vegetarian it diet or whole lives. it's very difficult to do. from the next collar is nebraska. all puti think this is up by the government. you follow the money. let this out of the bag when he said the environmental impact of animals. it's all just put up by the
9:24 am
government. these scientists are paid to scare people into doing what the government wants us to do. thank you. ridiculousink that's , frankly. these scientists who made these recommendations are independent. we should listen to their advice. they are careful reviews. this is according to the world health organization scientists, there were not conflicts of venture -- interest. listen tot to conspiracy theories, the facts are not with the collar. host: go ahead. caller: thank you for taking my call. aty are not looking closely what is being fed to the animals. it's not necessarily the meat,
9:25 am
it's the hormones, the antibiotics, all of these chemicals being put into the food of the animals is the problem.using the other thing is they keep out toohe cows give much methane gas. if that's the case, but update develop something for them? my final words are i hope that consumers will take time to read the abstract from the world health organization. they will see the this is very mixed results. they should talk to their doctors and find out from their own position about what is best for them. don't take my word for it. talk to your physician and use your own it common sense. i think they will find a balanced diet is best.
9:26 am
guest: i agree that a balanced diet is great. best ifed diet would be it was high in fruits and vegetables and whole grains and seafood and some poultry. meat, maybe not. meat andard less red less processed meat. find the food that you think are delicious are also healthy. host: thank you both so much for being here this morning area next up, house republicans moved to impeach the irs commissioner. sarah westwood will be here to tell us why. our guest this week is kevin brady. he is looking to become the new
9:27 am
chairman of the house ways and means committee. bytalked about efforts republican presidential candidates to transform tax laws. >> this is exciting that we've got candidates running for president with specific progrowth tax proposals. this has not happened in a long time. that is appropriate. .e have a lot of ideas rather than just pick one it, we want to lay out the ideas that we've heard from members. we have another proposal that has a lot of progrowth aspects to it. we are going to reveal them in detail. we invite our members to weigh in on this. we are going to lay a foundation
9:28 am
for tax reform. i cannot tell you how complex it is. our members need to have that foundation. they can help us reach the right solution. these are the principles i am looking at. i want to tax code that is held for growth. i want to make sure that the principles are that it is fair, flatter, and simpler. we need to lower exemptions and loopholes. i want to make sure that small businesses don't pay more than large businesses. i want to make sure that all of our companies are no longer uncompetitive when we compete around the world for profit, sales, contracts. the final principle for me as we are not going to tell out washington's spending problem through the tax code. thatis doing it in a way
9:29 am
encourages investment. proposal, the draft the world has become more competitive on the tax side. we're going to have to go bolder in our tax reform. there are a number of ways we can get there. i think the right approaches to his -- allow everyone into this discussion. landmark presents cases. historics at 12 supreme court decisions. landmark cases features introductions and the impact of ach case it is written by supreme court scholar.
9:30 am
landmark cases is available for $8.95 plus shipping. get your copy today. >> "washington journal" continues. >> we're joined by sarah westwood an investigative reporter for the "washington examiner" and here to talk with us a little bit about why the gop is moving to impeach the i.r.s. commissioner. sarah westwood, thank you so much for being here. guest: thanks for having me. host: give us a little background. why are house republicans taking this effort to such a strong measure? who is really leading it? guest: congressman the chairman of the oversight committee is really leading this charge. the oversight committee as you know has been investigating the i.r.s. for now two years because of the allegation that the i.r.s. was going after
9:31 am
conservative groups. department of justice opened a probe. the senate finance committee also had its own separate probe. and just last week the department of justice decided not to pursue any criminal charges against anyone involved in the conservative targeting scandal. host: that includes lois lerner the former director of i.r.s. guest: exactly. perhaps frustrated with that move it could be read from at least the timing of this impeachment resolution from these 19 republicans they are now saying commissioner john koskinen should be removed because he has failed to comply with these multiple investigations. host: so go back a little bit further for us and sort of lay out what exactly the controversy was over how the i.r.s. perhaps targeted or addressed conservative political groups. guest: the allegations were that the unit that oversaw whether or not groups got tax-exempt status, that was a unit headed by lois lerner,
9:32 am
whether they used criteria found in tea party groups looking at key words like patriot, tea party, what have you, to keep these conservative groups from getting tax-exempt status. and placed extra scrutiny on these groups when applying for tax-exempt status for the first time so perhaps they wouldn't be able to get that status and do the same kind of work in the political sphere. keep in mind this all started happening after citizens united supreme court case that allowed these groups to have a more active role. in electoral politics. so whether they have the tax-exempt status was a big factor and whether they could operate and play a major part in swaying the election. that is why this is a very crucial time for the i.r.s. to be targeting these groups in the first election in the post citizens united era. host: what happened to lois lerner after these allegations were brought? guest: well, she hung on to her position for a little while.
9:33 am
she went before the oversight committee, very infamously invoked her fifth amendment rights not to speak. that angered a lot of congressional regimes. eventually there was so much scrutiny she just had to step down with her retirement benefits which did anger some republicans. up until last week she was still under investigation from the department of justice who was determining whether they were going to press charges against her. hat didn't end up happening. now this is a chapter that is essentially closed for her but now john koss inen, now the commissioner, this is still an ongoing issue. host: why is he wrapped up in this? these are allegations of actions that happened during her watch. why is he being threatened as well? guest: he is being impeached for something separate from the conservative targeting scandal. he is being impeached the republicans say because he failed to comply with congressional subpoenas for
9:34 am
documents, that he lied under oath when he testified before congress about the status of ose documents, and that he overall did not foster a culture where employees were encouraged to cooperate. for instance, there was this issue with lois lerner's hard drives maybe crashing, maybe destroying all of her e-mails. the timeline of when he knew -- when told congress is the timeline when he said the i.r.s. is doing everything we can to get these e-mails to you, congress and then when the physical hardware was turned over to the inspector general they were able to just very quickly discover those e-mails and the question was raised, how hard did the i.r.s. actually try to retrieve these e-mails? so there are a lot of questions wrapped up in this but basically he is being accused of covering up the misconduct that lerner facilitated while
9:35 am
in office. host: you can join our conversation as well by calling in. 202-74 -- call at you can also send us a tweet at c-span wj. find us on facebook@facebook.com/c-span or send an e-mail. we're talking with sarah westwood. she is an investigative reporter with the washington examiner. what has the response from the democratic party been like to this movement among top republicans to impeach the commissioner? guest: democrats obviously don't think it's a good idea. they think because john koskinen was not with the agency when most of this misconduct took place and because whatever coverups there may or may not be were promulgated by people lower down in the agency not by himself personally. at least there is no evidence that, you know, commissioner
9:36 am
koskinen was burning documents in his office or anything like that. they're saying there is no real reason to take such drastic steps that he's done nothing but try to reform the agency since coming into office. and they're saying this is really just a political stunt by republicans for retribution against the department of justice for failing to press any charges against i.r.s. officials. host: senator widen spoke recently at a hearing on the hill and asked i.r.s. commissioner koskinen what is eing done to ensure future e-mails and documents aren't deleted. >> the backup tapes, though there is no evidence they were deliberately destroyed to hide evidence now there have been some reports that employees didn't own up to their mistakes when investigators came knocking. what is the irs doing to ensure that its employees in the future keep e-mails and records safe?
9:37 am
>> again, several things. first of all, we discovered that it was a mistake that shouldn't have happened and it obviously did not help our response to the investigation. what we need to do is when we have a document protection and retention request, what we learned is you can't rely on sending it out from the top in a large organization, 85,000 employees, and assume it will automatically be transmitted accurately through the bottom. we have made it clear going forward those retention requests will go individually through the chain of command. secondly, we are training our employees as to what it means to retain all media within a particular area. but the broader issue is that we're dealing with is we should not be depending upon individual hard drives and disaster recovery tapes as a a backup system. host: we are talking with sarah westwood an investigative reporter for "the washington examiner." can you tell us a little bit about some of the changes that the commissioner was talking
9:38 am
about in terms of policy around how e-mails and communication is kept at the agency? guest: that is the biggest thing that koskinen is working on is this policy that makes it illegal for i.r.s. employees to use their personal e-mail addresses for official business. that's been quite a high profile issue in the government lately and it's something that lois lerner did to shield some of her e-mails from investigators. obviously there was an investigation going on at the time she was sending the e-mails but it complicated efforts to obtain documents that were necessary for congress and presumably the department of justice to look into this issue. so that's something that he has pushed. congress is behind him on that, something republicans and democrats want. but some are saying those reforms just don't go far enough to change the culture at the i.r.s. host: our first caller for the segment is paul from danville, virginia on the independent line.
9:39 am
paul, good morning to you. caller: good morning y'all. you know, the lady there said that she is denying it, that's why the tea party was formed. no, the tea party was formed because of the policies of obama's administration with the tax policies. that's why it's called tax enough already. and the other thing is lois lerner did not claim the fifth until after she made her statement. if you claim the fifth you're not even supposed to make a statement at those hearings. that's why everybody got upset. and one last thing. when the tea party that other people formed because they're tired of these policies, these socialist parties, schumer and reid and a bunch of them, these far left, extreme leftists, said the tea party needs to be investigated because of their actions. thank you. y'all have a nice weekend. host: all right. that's paul from danville,
9:40 am
virginia. guest: paul, the reason citizens united court case had an effect on this i.r.s. scandal is only because it allowed nonprofit groups to play a greater role in politics by opening up doors on what they could spend money on in politics. it did not create the tea party. you're absolutely right. but it created the ability for tea party nonprofit groups to play a larger role. that's all it did. as far as democratic attacks on the tea party, those are definitely real. those did happen. but, you know, there was misconduct perhaps on both sides of the aisle there. tea party groups did suffer as a result of the i.r.s.'s actions whether those targeting actions were the result of malicious political targeting or the result of just lax oversight in the agency. i mean, that's what was under investigation. but, certainly, the end result was that tea party groups suffered. host: here is a comment, a question from twitter. ultimately what governed whether a political group will
9:41 am
be granted tax-exempt status? aren't tea party groups currently tax-exempt? guest: tea party groups can be tax-exempt. ey aren't supposed to be having a specific political agenda, not to be supporting specific individual candidates. they can present a world view, a conservative view of the world, values, that sort of thing in a general political sense, but it is harder for those tax-exempt tea party groups to gain that status if they're breaking rules in the way they're going about participating in elections. host: and the 501 c 4 is that right is the status? guest: yes. host: caller, go ahead. caller: yes. i just wanted to point out that there has been no legal or court fipedings that lois lerner -- findings that lois lerner was guilty of anything.
9:42 am
all it talks about is all about what the politicians on those committees said. they're not real lawyers. they're just talking politics, when a person can claim immunity or not, fifth amendment, and, also, the guy who is head of that committee, he is the one that jumped out a week or so ago wanting to be . eaker of the house he's always attacking the internal revenue service, the government, obama. his partner from utah he thought was going to beat obama. he didn't. this lady is just talking a lot of hoopla. also, the i.r.s., it was found that that department that lois lerner worked in was scrutinized and not only the conservative groups but they were scrutinizing all of the groups who were applying for
9:43 am
those tax-exempt statuses. this lady with that examiner, that newspaper she works for, that's a bunch of trash. host: all right. we'll have to leave it there. sarah westwood? guest: well, the criteria that the i.r.s. used to go after political groups, it was called the bolo list, the be on the lookout list, that existed within the i.r.s. tax-exempt unit that lerner oversaw. there is no question there were more tea party terms on that list, lake patriot and some other ones that alerted i.r.s. officials to when they were dealing with a potential tea party group that needed to be scrutinized in an additional manner to perhaps another political group. that did exist. there is no question the conservative groups were subjected to extra scrutiny. i mean, the treasury inspector general, which oversees the i.r.s., did find that there was inappropriate criteria applied
9:44 am
to this scrutiny of political groups. whether that was motivated bipartisan drive, whether that was motivated by the fact that lerner was openly hostile to conservatives, which she was as some of her recovered e-mails do indicate, but, still up for debate conservatives would like to say that, yes, this was all out of, look, lois is biased against conservatives, and others are saying, no. this just happened because the unit inside of the internal revenue service was dysfunctional. employees didn't receive the proper training. they just, you know, things got lost in translation and it ended up conservatives happened to be the groups that were scrutinized more but it wasn't a nefarious motivation. that's where the tension lies. there is no question that tea party groups objected -- were subjected to more scrutiny. host: let's hear what senator pat roberts had to say at the hearing on capitol hill this week. >> the justice department, lord knows how many other people
9:45 am
have investigate this had with over a hundred folks and found absolutely nothing wrong. that is just not the case with regards to people that i know in kansas who have been targeted and not only targeted but also audited. i just find that rather incredulous that these two things don't match up. >> let me just say wup point if i could, mr. chairman. i think it's important. as i noted even in the limited resources we'll do a million audits this year. we'll audit democrats. we'll audit republicans. we'll audit independence. we'll audit conservatives. we'll audit people who go to church, don't go to church. >> probably audit some members here. >> right. all of those people will be selected by objective criteria, the g.a.o. has reviewed that with us. all of them need to feel the only reason they're hearing from us is because of an issue in their return. >> but that was not the case with lois lerner. it just wasn't. it just wasn't. and now she has been cleared and is just collecting the
9:46 am
pension. has anybody involved in this been fired, fined, reprimanded, denied a bonus, slapped on the wrist or even talked to in a stern manner? you're just saying everything is fine. it's not fine. >> it is not fine but it is not the problem of political targeting. it is a problem of in fact the recommendations you make, the recommendations we're implementing is we need to have a better operation to ensure it doesn't happen. lois lerner had political views that she was, had a right to. she had no right to have them expressed during her working hours. host: and that was irs commissioner john koskinen on capitol hill. we're talking with sarah westwood, investigative reporter for "the washington examiner." question from senator pat roberts was, was there any sort of any person who took any fault or blame for the actions that occurred? were there changes made at the i.r.s.? guest: there were. the biggest example would be lerner stepped down. there was a new i.r.s. commissioner put in place. i think you wouldn't envy the
9:47 am
position he was put in coming in when it was under such a cloud of controversy and to try to reform that is a huge challenge. one of those big things they did do which was perhaps, doesn't have that big an effect on the operations but certainly appeased a lot of conservatives was the cutback on the employee bonuses that they were giving to executives sund this cloud of controversy because that was angering conservatives. they were saying how can you be targeting republican groups and then receiving these big bonus checks? not necessarily any kind of correlation there but that's something that they -- that was done to sort of ease at least the p.r. aspect of what was going on. host: and the bolo list, the be on the lookout list, has that been changed at all? guest: that has certainly been addressed and they've sort of taken out a lot of those terms that were unfair to certain groups and perhaps, you know,
9:48 am
implemented some standards that make it more universal the way they look at these groups and not so ad hoc when they're going about scrutinizing. host: next on the phone lines gregory from pennsylvania is calling on the republican line. gregory, go ahead. caller: thank you, girls. i have an observation about the internal revenue service. the very nature of the service is internal and the exposure that it's getting presently is a reflection of the broken system that we got that our new hairman of the house described. what nobody seems to be saying is the sharper -- we hear flat tax. eliminate the corporate tax. make it more competitive with foreign countries.
9:49 am
why don't we have something harper, something that disciplines our main street community and contributes more to the well being and stability of our government? so that we don't have to keep alking about a broken house. host: all right, gregory from pennsylvania. a related question should we eliminate tax-exempt for nonprofits and let people just get out -- give out of passion for a cause? guest: that is certainly -- there are a lot of people who don't think it has any business in a democracy like this. there are others who say that these groups allow free speech to be given a bigger platform because the groups can push views and positions on issues that people care about and these groups give them the vehicle for being able to contribute to what their
9:50 am
passion is about. host: so there is a lot of controversy on both sides about the power of these groups. guest: for the moment they are playing a very big role. host: next up michelle from tomah, wisconsin. you're on the air. caller: hello. thanks for taking my call. i am calling because i feel it was a good thing lois lerner stepped down. there was some dirty business going on there. nevertheless, to go as far as start to impeaching people, the republicans have already made it perfectly clear that during the debates last time and this time that they just want to abolish the i.r.s. all together. they don't even want that to exist. so i'm afraid that this is just one step of them trying to make the i.r.s. look bad in all cases and just to get rid of it completely. we need the i.r.s. to keep
9:51 am
track of everything. to abolish it and get rid of it would be a tragedy to our country. i think this is just a way -- this is just a political move for the republicans to try to dirty the i.r.s. more so than ever. host: all right, michelle. we hear you. sarah westwood? guest: there are some republicans who would agree with you that impeachment is taking it too far because it is such a rare congressional move. it hasn't been used successfully since 1876 when the secretary of war was impeached by the house and he wasn't even impeached by the senate when they finally went about holding his trial. even though his misconduct was arguably much more severe than john koskinen's. impeachment is supposed to be reserved for only the worst crimes and misdemeanors that a federal official can make. some have argued that yes while perhaps john koskinen didn't handle this investigation as
9:52 am
well as he could have, he didn't engage in any criminal behavior. and this is clearly a tool by the tropical storm try to keep this i.r.s. controversy going. i mean, whether there was real wrongdoing or not, that's still up for debate. but impeachment is not supposed to be used as a do over for republicans who didn't get the results that they wanted from the department of justice investigation, so some are saying that this impeachment is doomed to fail from the beginning. host: here is a tweet from moments ago. we saw papers to impeach i.r.s. commissioner koskinen's destruction of evidence and false statements under oath among the charges. "forbes" magazine also has this headline. i.r.s. commissioner koskinen impeachment trial would be historic. as you mentioned it hasn't happened in a very long time. what exactly would be involved in the impeachment process were
9:53 am
it to proceed? would the authorities go forward with it if other republicans don't agree? guest: now that 18 other members of the oversight committee have supported the impeachment resolution it moves on to the house. congressman darrell issa who was the previous chairman of the oversight committee, probably safe bet to say he supports this impeachment resolution of john koskinen. it is expected to maybe do well in the house judiciary committee. then the new speaker of the house paul ryan has the authority to decide whether he wants to bring this impeachment resolution up for a vote on the house floor. so up in the air. there is no timetable for when they're going to go about doing this. the house did pass articles of -- if the house did pass
9:54 am
articles of impeachment it would move over to the senate for an impeachment trial. this process is used so rarely it is not even entirely clear what exactly would happen in the senate but the most likely scenario is the president pro tempore would oversee the proceedings. senator orrin hatch also oversees the committee that investigated the i.r.s. in the past. if the senate voted with a two-thirds majority to impeach john koskinen he would be removed from his position but that is a lot of hurdles. host: next on the phone lines, katherine from mobile, alabama is calling on the democratic line. good morning to you. caller: good morning and thank you for taking my call. my question is, the c104 law to the best of my upsing was written and had -- my understanding was written and had no tax exemption status in it to begin with so i don't understand how it got that in there in the first place. i think they should do away
9:55 am
with any exemption for political contributions, period. this would end the problems. i as an individual contribute and i can't deduct my money so why should they be allowed to pack up together and put this money into our system? another thing about the irs. i'm going to tell you i'm over 60 and i've been audited twice in my life. once by the federal government. and once by the state government. and if you don't have anything to hide, it's really not that bad. these people are trying to do their jobs. they are basically accountants and, you know, they do work, bookkeeping work, and if they put search words into a computer and they were young they just probably didn't know any better and were looking for a faster way of pulling up all things that might be questionable. so i guess that's my point. i thank you for taking my call once again.
9:56 am
host: all right. katherine from alabama. sarah westwood? guest: well, what we're looking at here in this i.r.s. controversy that started in 2013 was not audits per se but groups that were applying for tax-exempt status for the first time. their applications were being given extra scrutiny. and so those groups, there was a lot of anecdotal evidence at least to suggest those groups were given questions to verify that were unduly burdensome that other groups weren't given to name their donor list and said in their ey meetings and some anecdotes that were floating around. questions that were perhaps considered inappropriate to be asked of a group when applying for tax-exempt status and that's where the controversy really started. host: next up is sam from crystal springs, mississippi on the republican line. sam, good morning. caller: good morning, ladies. how are you? host: good. what is your question or
9:57 am
comment? caller: yes. i just think the i.r.s. is just another tool from the corrupt administration that we have, obama, and it goes down to the justice department and the i.r.s. and the commissioner with his smug attitude that he has just illustrates anything that we think about the i.r.s. itself and i just think that this was by design. everything that happened. and anybody, especially these two from mobile, alabama thinking otherwise, are complete idiots. but this is completely a corrupt administration. host: all right. sam from mississippi. sir, can you give us -- sarah westwood, can you give us a little background on commissioner koskinen and his experience and how he ended up taking over from lois lerner? guest: he has a reputation for being a fixer. he went into freddie mac and cleaned things up. he oversaw the office of professional management during the clinton era. this is something he is expected to excel in is cleaning up the i.r.s. and, you know, there are obviously
9:58 am
differences along party lines and opinions on how he has handled himself as commissioner of the i.r.s. give president obama credit in the faith that he has in john koskinen shall the oversight committee republicans started calling for his removal, writing a letter to the white house in july of this year. and president obama said koskinen is not going anywhere unless -- he could have easily removed the commissioner and replaced him and done away with the controversy but he didn't so that speaks to the faith that the white house still has in commissioner koskinen despite the controversy. host: our last caller for this segment and for the show will be susan from culpepper, virginia on the democratic line. susan, go ahead. caller: i didn't think i was going to get on. okay. i just wanted to comment about those tea parties and the hysteria in which they grew up, the financial crisis.
9:59 am
there is a ton of money being poured into these organizations that sort of came out of nowhere. and if you look at the finances of these things, they started paying these huge salaries. i know that jenny martin, head of one of them, makes about $450,000 a year. i mean, i think the i.r.s. is in its rights to say, you know, where is this money coming from? where is it going? especially when they start wanting the tax-exempt status. host: all right. that's susan from virginia. sarah westwood, a last word? guest: perhaps it would be appropriate to ask those questions of all groups, to ask why are you paying your leaders such generous salaries? where do your donations come from? maybe those are fair questions. that's another debate. the question here was why are you asking those questions of some groups and not of other groups? if you were to ask all of those questions of all groups, maybe that would be a fair policy and that's, you know, a different
10:00 am
argument. but when you're just going after groups with a certain ideological bent because of what they believe and you're just asking those groups about those problems and just scrutinizing them, for their high salaries or for their donor list or what have you, then that's where it gets unfair. host: sarah westwood, an investigative reporter for "the washington examiner" thank you for being here this morning. guest: thanks for having me. host: that's our show for today. join us again tomorrow. we'll be talking about the two-year and $80 billion budget agreement passed by the house and senate this week and also talk about open enrollment for 2016 and the future of healthcare in the u.s. we'll be joined by joseph antos from the american enterprise institute and dr. alice chen from doctors for america. don't forget to turn your clocks back tonight. we'll see you tomorrow. ♪

209 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on