tv Senator Bob Corker Delivers Remarks at a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast CSPAN January 9, 2017 2:36am-3:35am EST
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relations committee chair at bob corker of tennessee on the future of foreign policy under the incoming administration. this christian science monitor event is one hour. >> how do you like that airtight discipline, sir? just impressive, isn't it? here we go. thank you for coming. i am david cook. our guest is senator bob corker, senator of the relations committee and a member of the imaging committees. very appropriate given the age of your post. his last visit was last february and we thank him for coming back. he is a south carolina native, grew up in chattanooga. construction own company. he sold it by the time he was 40.
sen. corker: 37. [laughter] mr. cook: should have said before turning 40. we'll know for next time. in 1994 our guest made his first run for the senate finishing second in the republican primary to bill frist. later that year he was named tennessee's commissioner of finance and administration, in 2001 he was elected mayor of chattanooga, in 2006 was elected to the senate and one won re-election handily in 2012. thus endeth the biographical persian of the program. now on to the compelling recitation of ground rules. as always, we're on the record here. please, no live blogging or tweeting. in short, no filing of any kind while the breakfast is under way to give us time to actually listen to what our guest says. there's no embargo when the session ends. to help you curb that relentless selfie urge, we'll email several pictures of the session to all reporters here. as regular attendees know if you'd like to ask a question, do the traditional thing and send me a subtle, nonthreatening signal, and i'll happily get to as many reporters as we can get to.
the time we have with the chairman this morning, as you can tell this is one of our , best-attended sessions in recent memory. of course, all of my memories are recent. [laughter] mr. cook: we start off by offer our guest the opportunity to make opening comments and then move to questions around the table. with that, thanks for doing this, the floor is yours. sen. corker: thank you. i enjoy being here always, out of respect for those of you who have come early i want to answer , your questions and not spend a lot of time on the front end. it is an exciting time. i'm a minute late, two minutes late, talking with a trump transition official this morning about a topic and look a lot of change is underway. my sense is that this could be a very dramatic period of time for our country. and look, i hope we will move through it in a very thoughtful, pragmatic manner and make sure that we create policies that are going to be good for the long term. with that, i'll stop. mr. cook: i'm going to do one,
and then we are going to move around the table. so far, people have asked in the following order, patricia from reuters olivia, francine, tara, bbc, michelle from ncr, michael, karen, tracy, zeke miller of "time" magazine, michael from yahoo!, and john gizzi sitting right next year from newsmax. that should get us through a chunk of the morning anyway. let me ask you just one thing. as you know, your committee held a closed-door classified meeting meeting yesterday about the suspected russian hacks with officials from state, treasury, and homeland security. "wall street journal" quotes you as saying afterwards that every senator in the room from both parties was, "very negative on russia," and "very concerned
about where that might go." at the senate armed services committee, they asked whether what russia did was an act of war. do you consider what russia did an act of war? sen. corker: i think we're all waiting to see this report. we are all anxious to see this report next week. i think all of us understand that hacking is a tool that is used by sophisticated countries around the world to gain information. i think we just need to pause and take that in. so the issue then becomes, what was the intent? typically, gathering information is standard. that's what we do when we, well, when countries around the world listen to phone calls and when countries around the world do things to gain access to information, it's a very efficient way of gaining information. the question is, what was the intent? and i think each of us is
looking with expectation to the report that will be coming out next week. mr. cook: ok, we go to patricia. there you are. of reuters. patricia: two things. i waso you think -- talking to the trunk transition teams morning. what do you think is going to happen with the iran deal? sen. corker: my sense is, look, the iran deal from my perspective was flawed. it was not negotiated in a good way because i think all of us know so much leverage was given up on the front end. that's why there was bipartisan opposition to it. at the same time, because so much was given up on the front end, you've got a choice. i mean you can come in and , figuratively tear it up. we all realize there's not really a signed agreement, it's a nonbinding political
agreement, and you can create a crisis on the front end by doing so, or you can understand that we have lots of challenges to deal with around the world. what you think may be the crisis that we're going to be dealing with first is likely not the crisis we're going to be dealing with first. what you can do instead is begin to radically ensure that it's being implemented properly. i mean we know violations, all , of you know about the heavy water violations, the conventional arms sales violations, the missile testing violations, and to me, the prudent course of action is to make sure you enforce it, that you hold the u.n. security council accountable, and in the event the agreement falls apart, it's someone else that's causing it to fall apart, not a president coming in on day one and ripping out the agreement. in spite of all the flaws in the agreement, nothing bad is going
to happen relative to nuclear development in iran over the next few years. just not. and so, the other piece of this that has been missing i wrote , about this in an op-ed in "the washington post" at the time, is that unfortunately, the iran agreement has become our middle east de facto policy in some ways. the element missing right now is again the strong pushback that was to accompany this relative to their terrorist acts, their involvement in the region that has been destabilizing. so pushing back strongly against that, holding the u.n. security council accountable to really enforce the agreement as it is, over time, iranians could well hang themselves, the u.n. security council could show themselves to be feckless and -- feckless in actually implementing.
those all would be means, reasons, for the united states to not be a part of the agreement anymore, but to tear it up on the front end in my opinion is not going to happen. instead, we will begin to radically enforce it. mr. cook: slightly out of order. olivia knox from yahoo!? >> there's no mic, i'm sorry. >> sorry. >> senator, another hot spot, north korea. you've been talking to the trump team for a while now, even before the election. what is your sense on what they want to do about north korea and how urgent would you say, how high on their agenda would you say north korea is? sen. corker: well north korea is , a nuclear country. we know that. that's no longer a question. they will be able to deliver an icbm to our country on the course of their own over the next two or three years. this, look i'm repeating
, something that's almost cliche now but at the end of the day, north korea is all about china. that is the only way it's going to be dealt with in a proper way. as you sit down and talk to rex tillerson and others, i think there's an understanding of that. certainly, the president-elect trump knows that. so the whole issue of north korea in the beginning has to be dealt with in conjunction with the overall approach we take to china. >> we are going to go next to -- from politico. >> do you agree with the g.o.p. leadership who wants to repeal obamacare but delay replacing it , or you think the party should have a replacement before they repeal the law? sen. corker: great question. i'm glad you asked it. i think the president-elect's position was the right position. again if you look at some of his , quotes recently, he continues to offer caution as it relates to this. that, in fact, during the campaign, he said repeal and
replacement should take place simultaneously. that to me is the prudent course of action. as senators, we have a vote, you know, a lot of times, things have a life of their own. there are two complicating factors on doing it simultaneously. i hope they can be overcome. one is the tremendous desire by republicans to just repeal immediately, huge push there. you know i voted to repeal it. , i thought it was, again, a flawed concept. at the same time, what you have on the democratic side is a desire, and i've talked to several who i consider to be thoughtful, they have no desire to look at making changes unless it's repealed. in other words, they're not really going to participate so that's a problem. right? i mean we have republicans who , want to take a position, so in some ways, you can look at what's happening and say,
you know this is risky business, , right? i'm going to get to some of the riskier aspects of it in a moment. it's risky business. on the other hand, is there a case for some of the more pragmatic, thoughtful democrats to actually come to the table to work on what i would say are three important things? one is, doing away with the mandates that exist both on the corporate side and also on the individual side in replacing it with auto enroll. is there a willingness to look at the 10 essential health benefits and to change, i mean, the big pushback on this was the government demanding both on the mandate side but also establishing what the 10 essential benefits were for everyone and not tailoring it to people. that's one of the most major pushbacks and one of the things that's caused the health care
arena to be not dynamic as it is today. so is there a willingness to look at that? and is there a willingness for people to sit down and give governors much greater flexibility on medicaid? i mean if you look at those , three things that would be monumental as it relates to causing what has occurred to work. it really would. and so is there any impetus, short of repeal, to cause democrats to say, "we'll sit down and work with you on those issues?" at present, i don't see that. i don't see that. although, if that could occur, that would be the very best for our country, right, to go ahead and replace it with something that works and repeal it at the same time. the last piece that's going to be tough for me to handle is if you think about where we are today, and hopefully this is evolving. i'm getting very, very good comments, by the way, from people's discussions with tom price. people are, you know, sit down
and talk with him, planning to do so today on the phone, really believing that he understands the risky business of this, but also how it needs to change to work. here's one of the problems we have. right now, the track we're on, the repeal process is going to repeal all revenues, but keep in place the subsidies for three years. now, when people realize that you're basically taking $116 billion and throwing it into a mud puddle -- because that's what you're doing, you're taking $116 billion by our calculations and just throwing it into a mud puddle by continuing subsidies without revenues. so i hope that what's going to happen over time, over the next few weeks, is that people will deal with this on a fiscally sound basis, too.
ok? i'm sorry, i know that much of the repeal piece is about making a political point, much of the repeal piece is about, you know, drawing a line in the sand. and as i mentioned earlier, part of it is actually necessary because i think it's very difficult to get democrats to the table to begin working on these three issues that need to be worked on without that. on the other hand, for people like me who care about our country's deficit, to do so by throwing $116 billion in a mud puddle to make a point is something i hope we can overcome. >> on the tillerson nomination next week, i was wondering if you could address, how legitimate are the questions are the ethical questions about him? just how legitimate do you think those are? conflicts of interest, whether they be the business or the personal ties how legitimate are , the ethical issues? sen. corker: so based on my conversations, we're going to
have a long hearing, ok. i've committed to schumer and ben and others, and all the committee members, people will have plenty of time to ask questions. i mean this is going to go on , for a long time. we're starting at 9:00 in the morning on next wednesday and we'll have a follow-on day the next day if it continues. so i want everybody to ask questions. based on my discussions with him, which have been a phone call long meetings, i've had , discussions with him throughout the years and been impressed with him. i think that i predict that he's going to be overwhelmingly supported. i predict that people are going to see what a distinguished individual this person is. i think people are going to view him as a great patriot, personally. this is a guy that's an eagle beent out a young age,
at the same company 41.5 years, has risen. i think they're going to see how substantial this person is. and i think the sensibilities, i think democrats are sitting down with him and realizing that this guy is a scientist and an engineer, an engineer that believes in science. and so, on some of the issues that you know they care about, i think the answers they're getting are much different than they thought. i think their understanding of the difference between having relationships with people. but i built shopping centers all , over the country in 18 states. you know i dealt with people, , sometimes, you know, i didn't really -- they weren't my favorite. [laughter] sen. corker: but you know, we had to do so to build a project. and look, he's had the deal with people, unfortunately, as you know, oil resides in many places where autocrats exist, and to interests, company's you deal with people you develop , relationships, and you develop trust by always doing what you
say when you say you're going to do it. my guess is people are going to realize that his views on russia are not in any way out of the mainstream. and again, i think that the conflicts issue, what he's done, i think you know the exxon board met two days ago. they have created this mechanism so they can be true to their shareholders, meaning these guys get paid out 10 years after the fact, so all of his shares if he's confirmed, will be gone. they'll be sold. and the payout from that will take place over a 10-year period but he won't own any exxon , stock. i think actually when you look, this is a guy, i think, who, the majority of his net worth is in exxon. could be one of the cleanest financial disclosures ever as a result of that. i mean this is a guy that's been , at one company. so i think at the end of the day, again, i go into this as a
chairman. my role is to conduct a committee hearing that's thorough, that gives everybody a chance to fully know who this person is. you know, i make my own decision after this is over. i mean there may be things that , come out that i'm unaware of. but based on the interactions i've had thus far, i could not be more impressed, and i think he brings something to the table that's very different. look, i had a luncheon yesterday for john kerry in our committee just to thank him for his service. been a lot of contentious issues, especially recently, but , you know we appreciate his , service and his lifelong commitment to foreign policy. i mean, 60 years ago, he, you know, signed up to be in vietnam, and since that time, he's played a role in our country's foreign policy in small ways and big ways. secretary clinton, obviously, been very involved.
i think, and many other secretaries of state. most of whom i've talked to diligently over the last six weeks, eight weeks. >> bless you. sen. corker: i think having someone come in who has developed these relationships personally with people, maybe over a 20-year period, even, and knows them well, knows how they think, knows what it is that causes them to make decisions, is something that actually we haven't had in a long time. so i don't think there's going to be a conflict issue personally. we're doing everything we can to make sure that senator's questions are answered. i think you for asking. >> can i do a real quick follow up on that? according to news report he is said he'll provide tax information but not tax returns. does that give you any kind of pause? sen. corker: no. here's the thing. look. you know some committees have a , tradition, like the finance committee, with the treasury secretary, to get a tax return.
here's all i'm trying to do. what's happened, look, my friends on the other side of the aisle -- and i say that, they are my friends -- you know, let's face it, shot a hole in the foot with the nuclear option. it's something that i opposed. i voted to try to, in many cases, to try to keep that from happening through the years. worked with senator reid and others. "please, don't do this." and they did it and now they find themselves in a place that they wish they were not. ok? i think we all understand that. and so all of a sudden, what's happening in these confirmation processes is because the 60-vote threshold does not exist, things are changing. what i'm saying to my democratic colleagues on the committee is, look, just because, i think if you'll go back, you won't, it's too boring, but if you go back and look at c-span, not that
you are boring we're boring, but , go back and look at committee hearings, i don't know, it seems like every single month, my democratic colleagues were thanking me for so expeditiously moving nominees through over the last four years. so expeditiously moving them through. and all i'm saying to my democratic colleagues is, look, just because we were so overwhelmingly helpful to your nominees, doesn't mean we want to change the standards for our nominees. so this tax return issue, they'll clearly state this, if you'll get them off record, is all about the presidential election, because the president didn't put forth tax returns, all of a sudden, this is -- look, we understand this. and it's fine, by the way. i'm ok with that. some of them will make an issue out of it during the committee hearing, and that's fine. i mean that's what people do. , but what i don't want to do is change the standards of our committee, ok? now, tillerson, my guess is he
will -- when you come, you know, you're -- you cannot tell untruths to a committee. so he's under oath, in essence. and i think that to the extent he's asked questions, he will be very forthcoming. i think, by the time this is all -- there may be other accommodations we make -- but i think by the time this is all over there's going to be no questions about any of this. we realize some of this is political. some of it is real. i think ben cardin's questions are real, and we've had multiple conversations about them. but you know if you think about it, john kerry's wife was a billionaire. i mean she makes him look like a pauper. ok? and if you look at where his net worth has been generated, it's been generated at one place for 41.5 years. i've gone through his disclosure, and at the end of the day, again, i just don't want democratic nominees to be
under one standard, but because things changed under the nuclear option and people are looking at , other routes, i don't want to change the standard for republican nominees. i want to be judicious. i want to treat everybody the same. we're not stuffing anybody, giving everybody plenty of time and i'm going to be the same , committee chairman that i was under obama that i under trump. am by the way, i will have the same tough questions about issues like russia and other -- look, this is my job. it's not my job is not to -- my job is not to feather the nest of somebody on my side of the aisle coming into office, my job is chairman of the committee is to make sure our portion of government does its job as it relates to foreign policy. >> from the bbc. >> you talked about building relationships, the shopping centers you built. tell me about the relationship you have with the trumped transition team and the
president-elect. you were saying before when it comes to hacking that it's an effort and we should pause and think about how sophisticated that effort was as opposed to like, some sort of quick twitter, you know, response to events in the world. sen. corker: yeah, so, the trump, the relationship is very good. i talked to jared this morning. what you find out about the trump team that i wish the american people knew this, maybe you'll help them know this in a few minutes. i've never seen anything relative to access like exists. unbelievable. [laughter] >> good access? >> yes. [laughter] sen. corker: so -- >> really? sen. corker: so getting any of them on the phone, the president as you know still answers his cell phone number. >> what's the number? [laughter]
sen. corker: but it's an amazingly accessible group of people. it is really beyond belief how accessible. sunday, i needed to talk to him about something, i called him on his cell phone, he answered, and we talked. by the way my phone says no , caller i.d. i'm not saying that it has anything to do with me. nobody knows who it is that's calling when i'm calling. so they're incredibly , accessible and the , relationship is very good. the relationship is very good. and let's face it, i was with them for a period of time on the v.t. thing. i was spending an extraordinary amount of time on the secretary of state thing. all those things, you know, build relationships and knowledge of people, and so seriously, it's very, very good. i try not to bother them unless it's something that's important. i try to be brief. the other thing about it that's outstanding, instead of going to some committee and discussion, dealt with.
so it's, i would just say very, very good. and highly refreshing. that you're able to deal with people, get an answer, move on. i don't think there's likely been a white house like this maybe ever, but certainly in modern history. >> npr. >> thank you, i'd like to go back to the russia question. in addition to hacking, there's been this -- a lot of harassment of u.s. officials overseas, u.s. diplomats in moscow. and that was against one of the topics yesterday. can you talk about what you think the obama administration, how it's handled it, whether it's not handled it well, do you think that all ends when the trump transition -- when the trump president comes into office and also real quickly on tillerson, do you get the sense that he's going to have a lot of say over who he gets to pick as top officials? sen. corker: i think he's going
to have huge freedoms to put in place the people that he thinks will best serve. actually, that part also to get back to the last question, is very refreshing. as a matter of fact, nikki haley was in yesterday, same thing is true for her. which is not typically the case. i mean, typically you've got , folks who come in, they say by the way, this is going to be your deputy. some people come into cabinet positions are not prudent enough and in previous administrations, to say, "i'll take the job but i need to have my own team." some people who don't do that end up in a place where they're very ineffective. i won't mention names, but that happens. i think these folks, obviously tillerson, having been the c.e.o. of a global enterprise with 70,000 employees understands you can't function , well without a team. he's been granted those freedoms to put the people in place he
needs to put in place. on russia, if i could just for a minute, this isn't asked, i want to take the opportunity to say this. this whole -- people are very concerned about where this all goes. i mean, there's sophistication in dealing with this -- their sophistication in dealing with this since 2013 has risen dramatically. the spear fishing they do to get into people's systems. the framing of people that could occur. they get into your system, you're a person that's annoying them, and you're writing stories or you're a politician that's , opposing them. they can spear fish, they can get into your system by talking to one of your colleagues here that may be emailing back and forth. they can get into your system. and they could, for instance, they could down load a bunch of pornographic material into your
website and then tell authorities that you've been involved in doing something very grotesque. ok? you know a lot about it. i will let you talk about it. the fact is, this fake news look, i don't want to be, you are my friends. i love talking to you and coming to these meetings. you all are participants. -- blurring of close to theurces transition, unnamed say this, it appears in a blog, what they are doing is waiting for one of y'all to legitimize it and you do. i'm not saying anybody here necessarily. i do know one case where that happened. know, the media that we rely upon, all of you that are here. all are here because y'all are people we respect, but y'all are
participants in this and the rush to get headlines and news, you all are participating in making this fake news thing even more credible and damaging, i might add. it happens here. big moneyed interests who may differ on policy issues. you all participate in that. i say y'all, not necessarily anybody at the table. we all have a responsibility here. we have a responsibility on the legislative side to figure out how to counter this. how do you keep it from happening? let us say in the middle of an , important campaign, something like i just said happened to a leading candidate. by the time its over, they're over. so, look, this is going to be growing in sophistication. other countries are going to be doing the same thing. we want to protect against that and almost every, i
mean, you look at foreign relations committee has a role in this because we don't want france's elections to be affected, we don't want germany's elections to be affected. they are really good at this. the russians are really good at this. the russians are really good at this. as far as what their intent was here, we had to figure out the way of making sure we understand what their intent was. my guess is their intent evolved. you know, it's kind of like, you know, once you begin to have some successes and things begin , to evolve in a certain direction you build momentum in , a direction and i can say this because i haven't read the report yet, so this is my is theirg landscapelved as the evolved and they began to see success. look.
that isa thing bothersome. first of all, let me go back to this last point. this has been going on since 2014. reporter: can you answer that? on. corker: no, i'm not harassing it. this other stuff has been going on since 2014. i'm kind of concerned it has been going on since 2014 and nothing was done about it. ok? secondly, why have we waited so long? tapes of what they have done to beat, physically beat up our personnel in russia. long?d we wait so we have these bank facilities here, we know people here, we know they are intelligence
officers under another name. why have we waited so long? that is the thing i think people will -- yesterday?ered that sen. corker: we have people who are testifying, some of whom are going to stay, some of the people are going to leave. look, i think there were internal debates within the administration over what was most prudent. there were other equities, you know, that didn't want to be disrupted, and so you had this interagency dispute over whether to take actions. png folks, get them out of the country retaliate, especially on , the hacking side, and it just didn't happen. >> we are going to go to michael collins from u.s.a. today. reporter: senator, as you know, president trump has recently cited julian assange to say that
the russians weren't involved in the hacking. i would like your thoughts on whether he and should be considered a trustworthy source on the issue? sen. corker: i don't know the gentleman. i guess he has been in a facility for some time in europe. i certainly have a very low regard for what his organization has done in compromising u.s. intelligence, compromising u.s. diplomats and citizens and our ability to communicate with other embassees. there is a trust level that has been lost through all of what has occurred through the years over the last four or five years. so i do not know the gentleman. i certainly, based on what i know, have a very low regard for what he and his organization have done. i think we are going to have
some other leaks. you realize that yesterday, we had a hearing, and the f.b.i. couldn't come, they were told not to come and the director of , national intelligence told not to come, told not to come, not to have a representative. and while waiting until next week for this classified report , and we really are. we hope most of it is not going to be not classified so all of you can see it and we are dealing off the same deck, but michael, and i'm digressing, i know, so i'm sitting here, i can't get an intelligence person , but i can read one of your publications this morning who is leaking out this information. so i believe the russians have done very nefarious things. ok? i want to understand and what
-- to what extent and what the intent is. i will say when you have a highly classified document that is coming out or a highly worked on document coming out next week and we are denied access to intelligence officials until it comes out, but then i read in one of your publications this morning what it says or what portions of it say, it does make it feel political. ok? i mean this shouldn't be , happening. i'm not knocking the organization that got it. i hope it's real and not fake is, but in't think it will say this. michael, there is a lot about all this that is unfortunate. but i do think -- i do think and i believe, based on what i know the russians gave the , information. that was reported this morning as part of the leak, but i want to wait and see next week. i'm not ready aim-fired guys and
i like to read the facts. next week we will have the , opportunity to do so. my sense is, it will be very incriminating. >> we are going to go next to karen deyoung of the "washington post." reporter: thank you. senator you talked a number of , times what the intent of the russians was, and i'm a little unclear of whether you are feeling about whether sanctions or expulsions were warranted is dependent on what the intent is. if you have hacking, if you have distribution of fake news and harassment, which i gather i real, in are all sense, what does it matter what the intent was? sen. corker: let me answer that. then we ask you this, so are you , so ito say -- let's just can be careful here, let us divorce our country from this.
country, if you have two countries doing the same , collectingh other information, how can one country accuse the other country of an act of war if you are doing the same thing? so when you have put in place , sanctions, you have to make sure you are sanctioning a country for doing something that you, yourself, are not. that's pretty important. and so, it's very important to understand what -- so countries do things to gain information. it is really simple to sit at a computer and have hundreds of
people hacking and getting information and understanding -- that's how you gain intelligence. i mean it is a lot more , efficient than having someone in a trench coat standing outside of a hotel. but the intent, what you do with that, typically when intelligence agencies do that, they do that to gain intelligence and insight. it is not to take offensive actions, right? so that matters. it matters greatly, what if any, , those offensive actions were. so, the intent matters a great deal, and you have to make sure when you do things to other people, you are not sanctioning them for actions that have become commonplace, if you will, in the intelligence community. so that is a very important distinction, and then to take it , to the point of some people have said to declare it an act of war, you have got to really -- you have got to really dig deep and go way beyond just
initial intent before making those kind of declarations. does that make sense? apparently not? [laughter] did you have a follow-up? reporter: i did. it was also on russia. the president-elect has talked about cooperation with russia in syria against the islamic state and has implied that the effort to remove president assad is of lesser importance and not something that should concern u.s. policy at this point. going back to what you said about iran, president assad's closest ally is iran and many would argue that syria has been headquarters to iranian aid to terrorism in the world. would you make that kind of cooperation that the president-elect has outlined contingent on iran removing
itself from syria? think, atr: well, i the minimum, look we have all , kinds of iranian-backed contingencies that are there. we have hezbollah. certainly, they have played a big role at a time when assad was really down, right? i mean played a major role when , the momentum was against him. you have got militias in the country, but then you have got regular iranian folks at a minimum, they got to get out. at a minimum, you have to get the regular r.g.c. and others that are direct iranian combatives, if you will, intelligence officers, you have got to get them out. to me, that is very important. when you say that president-elect trump's policy that assad is going to stay, is that any different from our current president? i mean you can say things, but , it's very evident. as i said nine months ago when
when russiao, stepped into the vacuum that we left this will be decided on russia's terms and now the turks have joined in. i mean what putin has done an excellent job of while we have been -- and michael, that is not he has donee him -- an excellent job of, look, showing people you can trust him in the context and in the backdrop of us demonstrating that you cannot trust us on some of these issues. ok? that's what he has done, and he is continuing to do it and built clout for himself on a world stage where the vacuum is there. and of course, the western part of syria anyway is going to be settled on terms that russia decides, that iran decides, but
more russia and turkey and certainly the syrian government. >> wilkinson from the l.a. times. reporter: thank you. i wanted to ask about tillerson. you said he has been granted huge freedoms to appoint who he wants to in the state department. has he been granteded huge freedoms to pursue what is the mainstream policy? his own boss does not seem to have a mainstream policy? sen. corker: i for obvious reasons talked to former secretaries of state. and former national security advisors, and i think all living folks have done that, ok, at least over the course of the last year, but over the last six weeks, very intently. i think what every one of them will say to you is that secretaries of state are only successful when they are carrying out the president's policies.
i mean, i think you can watch some recent history and know that a secretary of state may be out pursuing something that a president is not embracing and see how it doesn't work. so when you are talking about secretaries of state, and i know tillerson knows this well ok, , what you are taking on is the tremendous responsibility and privilege of sitting under the hood, helping shape that policy, helping shape that policy, but at the end of the day, the president is the one that determines what the ultimate policy is, and only way to be successful is to carry that out. you know there has been times in , history where a secretary of state has been under the hood, has been helping -- has been giving those opinions with the security council leaders and other agencies and there has
, been times when the president's policy diverges so much from them that they have to step down right? , but generally speaking, when you take on this role, you understand that you are going to argue your case, and i think in this particular case if trump's , orientation towards business , his respect for business dealings, the fact that rex tillerson was the c.e.o. of a global, respected enterprise, i as it relates to business i , think tillerson is going to have the ability because of those relationships and knowledge of people inside the countries, my guess is he is going to have a very substantial role in being able to shape those. i think all of us have been concerned about the growth of the national security council and having 400 people at the white house and knowing the president walks by the national security advisors desk almost every day so the proximity deals that to have a great
of influence. i think in this particular case, though, and you know, they should have influence. the president wants to carry out his own policy, and the national security agency put that together. the council puts that together. i think tillerson is going to have a big impact, and i think he understands very well. he is a smart guy. think about this. this is a guy who wrote from being an engineer to the ceo of . global enterprise this is a guy who understands corporate politics. i think this guy is a guy who will understand how the palace guard operates around the president. i think this is a guy who is deal to understand how to with that and help make sure that when he is ready to make his case, things have been set up in such a way that he has an effect on foreign policy.
effect, the kind of effect he want to have on foreign policy in taking this role. mr. cook: new york times. reporter: thank you. the president-elect on wednesday will be holding a press conference. he's trying to separate himself from his vast business empire. are you concerned that his by not leaving his businesses in a blind trust, the top officials will follow him into the administration -- that it will put him at a disadvantage in the world? concerned about his daughter serving in the image should -- in the administration? the corker: i will start at end. having spent a great deal of time and having the privilege doing that it is of some of the things i mentioned earlier, i
see the tremendous reliance that the president-elect has on , and i also see the highly mature, thoughtful manner in which jared kushner at 35 years old has never been in the public arena handles , himself. so to be honest, i want our country to be successful and therefore, i hope there's a way that a mechanism can set up to avoid some of the problems that you are talking about. he has access to jared kushner on a daily basis because i think that is something that helps him govern in a much better way. or, in a good way. i think jared is a valuable resource to this president. and so, i hope that is the case. obviously all of you -- one of the things -- the purpose of
the media is to make sure that conflicts and things like that are things that don't cloud judgment or policies. i mean, that is why we have a free press and media. that is why it is so important to our country. i'm hopeful they will set up a mechanism, to answer your question that avoids all that , because it is difficult to , govern over a four-year period if every day, people are questioning what the motives are. i'm hoping that's the case. reporter: senator corker, if i could go back to obamacare briefly. you have heard from some democrats, i'm wondering if there were any concerns among republicans about the possibility that, what we are calling "repeal and delay" turns deadlinething like a every couple of years that we are scrambling and you guys are scrambling to deal with. sen. corker: yeah, great
question. i should have done a better job when i'll talk about health care earlier. $116 billiont the mud puddle. here is the other issue that comes up. think about it. i think it's standard republican understanding right now that in all likelihood, there is going to be some assistance beyond the repeal to deal with people who are lower-income citizens and need to buy health insurance. so whether it is a refundable , tax credit or whether it's a continuation of subsidies, it has become part of standard republican orthodoxy that some assistance is going to have to be given to people to help buy what we hope will be a far more free market health care system than what we have under the present obamacare. so if you repeal the revenues on the front end, so all the --
and you are going to pay subsidies for three years than $116 billion in a mud puddle, to continue past that, if you transition to a plan where you are doing refundable tax credits or transition to a plan where you are giving subsidies, that means republicans would have to vote for a tax increase. y'all have been around here for a while and understand how unlikely that is. so, you are exactly right. there has been tremendous discussion about this turning into exactly that, where not well, it was the same. wherens into a situation you keep spending. i don't know many of my republican friends, including me, that is anxious to vote for a tax increase, but if you repeal it all in the front and three years,eyond
that is exactly the box canyon you find yourself in. you could well end up in a situation where the policy just keep being extended out of inertia and we keep piling up deficits for our country, and you have been able, in the interim, hopefully, because of people like tom price, with a flick of a pen, who can change much about the 10 essential benefits. that is a place where tom price is going to make a huge difference for americans as it relates to their ability to buy more taylor made -- tailor-made insurance. there has been a lot of discussion about that. you know about that because you roam the hallway and hear people coming out of much meetings. mr. cook: we have a minute left. from yahoo! back table there. ,>> two questions first to , follow up on syria. the u.s. government has been supporting moderate syrian
training arms. , given the way you have described events in syria, do you believe that support makes sense? talked about replacing the authorization of using force which dates back to 9/11 to have something that reflects the world we are living in today. isn't that effort dead? >> we have had some great meetings with white house to try to tailor the 9/11 more to connect -- for those who are not following closely, the authorization for the enforcement was implemented with 60 words on september the 18th after 9/11. i believe like the administration has believed that does give us legal basis to get
us to do what we need to do against isis. everyone testifying on behalf of the administration does. would it be a good thing too updated based on the events that have occurred? yes there were some people who wished to do that. there were people who were more concerned not about the authorization telling it more to today, but making sure the next president was limited. to make sure they were constrained, to make sure that some person they consider to be some war hawk could not get -- could not go to the extreme. that is where it started breaking down. most people want to give the president freedom to do the things that are necessary to do -- to deal with isis. i don't think anyone believes that trump is going to be one of
those people who wants to invade with massive infantry. i don't. i don't think there's anybody else that does. my guess is much of the policies that will be carried out toward isis will be much of the same, except more robust. will the present ask --? it would not be my first request . maybe over time, it is something that is relative to moderate opposition. over.western syria is 500,000 people have been killed. people's genitals have been cut off and torture camps. the greatest humanitarian
.isaster of modern times the west has set on its hands -- has sacked on its hands. i'm sorry. i have had a good relationship with every administration. i think everyone knows i wake up every day never intended to stick a stick in somebody's eye. but i got to tell you, the august-september time frame of 2012 is the lowest point in the last eight years in u.s. foreign policy at a time when there was a modern opposition by the way and became more radicalized and couldn't get help from us like we said and refugee camps and looked at them in the eye and telling them help is on the way and never came in time when it mattered. him so it's a question, should
we continue, where is this russia, turkey discussion going to go? i think it's questionable right now. senator corker: what's that? we said we weren't going to do what we were going to do and left them hanging and over time they became radicalized and if you are in a village and your young girls and wives being raped and people are being taken to torture camps and turn to al qaeda or necessary ra or some other group, that's just what happens and we let that happen, we let that happen. so now that it's over, now that western syria is over, i don't know that policy is something we need to look at.