tv Newsmakers with Representative Eliot Engel CSPAN July 16, 2017 6:00pm-6:35pm EDT
the tools of corporate branding themselves. president obama was a fantastic brand. he was incredibly cutting-edge marketing techniques. a lot of us thought there was -- behind the claims that he was leaving this the change in transformation, that there was not enough change. that also help set the table for trump. >> watch afterwards tonight at 9:00 eastern on c-span2's book tv. >> here on c-span, newsmakers is next with democratic congress meant eliot engel of new york. that is followed by the national governors association meeting yesterday in rhode island to discuss education policy and disaster preparedness. after that, a look at efforts to protect the u.s. energy grid. --8:00, q&a with greta: joining us from capitol
hill this week's representative eliot engel, democrat of new york. the top democrat on the foreign affairs committee. joining us is along the shore from politico and foreign policy reported with cq roll call. i wanted to lead up by asking about russian sanctions. the senate passed a bill with 98 posted is installed in the house for quite a while for multiple reasons. this morning, minority leader pelosi said democrats were only to drop procedural objections over their own power to let it move forward. that would be a big development. is that true? if so what sparked the change? ,rep. engel: let me first of all say what i did is put in a bill which mirrored to a word the exact bill passed by the senate. 98-2.
mitch mcconnell voted for it. the republican leadership voted for it. even though there were certain things i would like to have changed, i thought the best way was to take that bill that the senate passed, put it in as my bill, hopefully pass it in the house, send it to the senate, and get a bill that would have sanctions on russia for interfering in our elections, sanctions on iran for terrorism and ballistic missiles, and this is something that everybody claims they want. all of a sudden we are hearing this bill is not good enough, there has to be certain kinds of changes made. and we don't want to play games, so i think that the nancy was saying what nancy was saying was , that if the republicans were serious and they said if you make this one change we would support the bill, then we would probably go along with it, but the problem is this. it has to go back and pass the senate. right now by taking the exact
, language of the senate will, -- bill, it does not have to pass the senate. so any change we make no matter how minor has to pass the senate. of course that is another level of bureaucracy and who knows what can happen once it is sent back. that is my big fear. bottom line for me is i want a sanctions bill on russia and on iran. the foreign affairs committee, in a bipartisan way we have said we wanted it. we ought to just do it. i think the cleanest way is to pass my bill, which mirrors the exact language of the bill past in the senate. but if we can change one or two things and pass the bill and knew in advance that the senate had signed off, then we would not object. but it is difficult talking about it in the abstract because one million things can happen. you change one little word and the whole thing can unravel as we have seen many times with both the house and senate, so that is my caution.
if we could pass the bill with minor change, i would say do it, but we would have to have assurances. elana: to be clear your , explanation of leader pelosi's comments was she was offering to give in on this house democratic procedure related issue if she could get assurances that the senate bill could pass, but you don't believe that is the case? rep. engel: yes, nancy pelosi has said many times we want a bill, so that if there is a change that has begun so we are , flexible. what we are not flexible about our games where both houses get to pass different bills and everyone came go home and say they voted for tough sanctions, when in reality it did not happen. so the best way -- the leader believes as i do, the best thing to do would be for the house to pass my bill, which by the way
with o -- our whip are also sponsors of my bill. >> isn't there a time sensitivity issue because of concerns the trump administration could give back the seized russian diplomatic compounds. if time really is of the element , there may be some changes to the which is the act -- don't you believe the current bill that would allow the senate to bring forth a resolution that considering it passed overwhelmingly, but there are significant assurances that should the trump team want to lift sanctions that there would be a move to disapprove? why is it so important for a house democrats to bring a resolution of disapproval? rep. engel: we feel something of this importance is important for everybody to participate in.
i don't a start negotiating in the press, but there are lots of compromises if we are serious about it that can be had. if we are not serious, then we can nitpick it to death, and impugn our motives, and on and on. i just recently heard that republicans in the house want to add a north korea sanctions bill on top of this bill. we have already passed the north korean sanctions bill in a bipartisan way out of the foreign affairs committee on the floor of the house overwhelmingly, and the senate unfortunately has not passed it, but i heard recently that they are about to mark it up or they are seriously considering marking it up, and if they pass our bill, we have korean sanctions. there is no need to add it on top of my bill. it is the same thing here.
we can nitpick it to death, but the bottom line is the you want a bill that sanctions russian or iran, or do you not? i again think what nancy pelosi was trying to say is that if that is an impediment, we won't -- we will be flexible, but the worst thing in the world is to pass to different bills and everybody can go home and say we try to pass the bill but it was the other have to do not do it and everybody can play political games. the bottom line for me is i am not interested in political games. i am interested in sanctioning russia and iran. you have to wonder with the administration's ties with russia and all the things we have been hearing out of the white house and what happened in the trump campaign over the past several weeks and months you , have to wonder if there is any pressure from the administration on the republicans to not pass a sanctions bill on russia. i don't know that. i don't know it for a fact one
way or the other, but you have to wonder. otherwise, why would we not want to do this as quickly as possible to the race any doubt -- erase any doubt that the house and senate are united as one in passing a sanctions bill which targets russia and iran? >> in fact the white house acknowledged it one significant changes to parts of this bill. it has not outright said we oppose the bill, but these changes are major and they have gone on the record saying so. being that they are putting the pressure house republicans do , you feel like they can possibly negotiate in good faith with you? rep. engel: i would hope so. on the foreign affairs committee, we pride ourselves as chairman ed royce and myself in the ranking member as being the most bipartisan committee and -- in the congress. we have passed a lot of bipartisan sanctions and other legislation, more than any other committee. i certainly believe that if this were between myself and chairman royce, we would put our heads
together and come up with a compromise, and there would be tough sanctions. pullsey're all kinds of and tugs and constraints games, , and everything that happens, and it is one of the reasons why the american people are sick and tired of what they see in congress. we are just talking and talking and blaming the other one and pointing fingers. the bottom line is that i think strongly there ought to be sanctions against russia and iran, and i know ed royce believes the same way. so i hope that we can move that along. the republicans control the house. it is very hard for democrats to maneuver unless we have republican support. in the house, we don't have the safeguards that the senate provides its minority party, so all we can do is push on this. this should not be a partisan issue. this should be an american issue. it is important to do it.
congressman still staying on , the russia issue, there was a minor only inside the beltway when it was field that the russian government linked attorney who met with donald trump jr. last year was in the front row seat of a house or an -- foreign affairs full committee hearing last summer. given that row of seats is usually occupied by witnesses, family members, and staff, do you have any understanding how that might have happened and is , it unusual? rep. engel: it would be unusual because the front seats are generally marked with specifics as to who can sit there. if someone comes in from the outside from the hallway and walks in and sits in that seat, there is a chance that nobody would pick it up and it would happen, particularly if there are other empty seats, so i could see an instance where someone walked in and walks to a
seat and sat down, so it is hard to know why that happened or who arranged for that to happen. it certainly wasn't me or the democrats, but i don't want to say for sure what happened because it could be someone walking in and sitting down in a seat. >> are you interested in looking into how that happened? rep. engel: i think it is something we will review. this lawyer is now saying she has no ties to the kremlin. i find it very hard to believe. what is so troubling about this whole thing is that russia is now unfortunately an adversary of the united states. it did not have to be that way after the soviet union fell, and i was on the foreign affairs committee then and i remember are chairman was tom lantos, the ranking member at the time. he said and we talked about the
u.s.-russia relationship as a very important relationship, and we had hoped that being a child of the cold war as i was and others were that it would be wonderful to have the united states and the former soviet union working together, but mr. putin came along and with his old kgb ties and unfortunately we are adversaries again. i think that is too bad, but it is what it is, so i think that if someone had come to me during the campaign that had russian connections or was part of russia, i would have alerted the american authorities. i am scratching my head as to why this was not clear and apparent to the trump campaign, that when something like that happens, you report it to the authorities. we may be political adversaries, democrats versus republicans,
but we are all americans and stand for the same thing and care about this country and want to see this country flourish and be protected from other countries or people that would do us harm. it is important to win a presidential election, but not as important as allowing another country like russia to subvert our election process. i am as outraged as i would have been if they were trying to help hillary clinton. it does not matter to me. i don't want any country interfering with our election process. it is amazing to me that the trump campaign would not have reported anything like this to the fbi or some other agency. >> still staying on last summer's hearing, there has been open speculation that one congressman or one of his staff helped facilitate that front row seat given the congressman's
position as the only lone defender of vladimir putin. do you give any credence to that speculation? rep. engel: it is speculation. i don't know. has many timesr on the committee expressed sympathy for russia and putin. his attitude is that the people of russia elected putin and therefore we have to work with the elected people. he does not like the change in leadership in ukraine because he feels that people elected somebody else. i think the change in leadership and ukraine was a brave thing on the part of the ukrainian people and i think the united states has an obligation to stand with ukraine, and it was a mistake that ukraine and georgia were not admitted to nato in 2008. but that has been dana's thinking, and it is just speculation.
i would not know if he had anything to do with it. if i wanted to get somebody into a seat, i've probably could. so i guess he could, but maybe it wasn't. it is all just speculation. >> turning to north korea, in the wake of the successful icbm tests, there has been growing discussion among analysts and ex-officials that the time has come for direct negotiations and the united states should prepare the nuclear weapons program as a given and that it is not going away. do you share that belief? that we should just negotiate and except nuclear weapons and negotiate a freeze? rep. engel: i don't think we should accept nuclear weapons from a regime like north korea. it is easier said than done. there are no easy answers or solutions. we let this get too far out of control. i am scratching my head for the same reason i scratched my head with iran, and we had the jcp oa negotiations with iran.
how did we allow, our country and the west, how did we allow north korea to get to this point where they have such advanced capabilities with nuclear weapons? how do we get -- allowed a run to get to the point where they were less than a year from developing a nuclear weapon? we should have responded to these things years ago when a military option might have been possible. nobody likes a military option. not me certainly, but if there is something you are going to use a military for certainly , rogue regimes getting a hold of nuclear weapons is something gives a danger to the world, and that is the time you should act. we did not do it. we did not do it under democrats and under republicans. we just did not do it. the problem now with north korea is that we are much stronger
than them, but the korean peninsula is divided. we have an ally in south korea, seoul which is just a few miles from the border with north korea. so north korea could at any point probably do great damage to seoul and to the people there, and we have a lot of american military personnel there as is. it is not a matter of taking a military option. that is easier said than done. on the other hand there were , discussions with the bush administration and north korea, where north korea pledged to stop the proliferation of weapons in exchange for a lot of goodies that we gave them, and they lied and snuck behind our backs. the question is how could you trust them not to do the same thing? that is where china comes in, because perhaps, but maybe not,
the only country that can affect north korea's behavior is china because they need china, the order, and they need china's help for a lot of things. it was disappointing that chinese leadership seemed like it was willing to talk to us about helping, but then it fell apart. i did not think the president dissing the chinese was not a smart thing to do either, because if your going to ask them for help, then what you don't do this kind of insult them. i don't like the chinese regime , i don't like what they stand ne andut they are sa unlike kim jong-un of north korea, the chinese understand what is at stake. >> to pivot back to north korea, there is the sanctions bill we discussed earlier in the program. now you have the majority leader saying, i want to add it to the russia bill.
but also the senate potentially preparing to market up. how do you want to see this result? i'm sure you want to see the olved? this res i'm sure you want to see the senate work its will? rep. engel: i see no reason to add north korea to the russian-iran sanctions bill. we have party passed a north korea sanctions bill in the house. if the senate is going to go a long, and we have indications they are, then all we can do is pass our bill, which passed overwhelmingly in the house. i don't know why we would want to complicate the russia-iran bill, which is complicated enough, which is stalled enough to throw korea onto it and make it more complicated when we have this other vehicle of a korean bill passed by the house. >> to you think this gesture by congressman mccarthy is
another effort to stall for time while the white house exchanges? rep. engel: perhaps. i don't know. i have my suspicions, but i don't know. to me it is pretty simple. do we want to sanction russia and iran or don't we? pretty simple. we know what they have done and believe it deserves sanctions, and you can always hide behind procedure and all other kinds of nonsense. i would hope the republican leadership would do it. paul ryan said he's hawkish on russia. that is a quote. congressman mccarthy said he wants it passed. i take them at their word. i am willing to do it with them, in we as the democrats are willing to do it with our leadership. they have to be serious and not just have this thing be bounced back and forth like a ping-pong ball. the cleanest thing would be to pass the north korean bill in the foreign affairs committee
and in the house, and to take the russian-iran sanctions bill that i dropped in and pass that, and then we have a bill. >> of course, of course. to give it to talk about pivot to talk about something unrelated, the budget. the trump folks have been seeking major cuts. secretary tillerson has been instigating a multiyear re-organization that would involve cutting a lot of positions. what is your feeding on how much of this can actually fly? it's like a 14% cut, but the senate has yet to decide. rep. engel: first of all, the trump budget where it is concerned with the state department is a disgrace. the cuts were 31%. they talked a good game about hillary clinton and benghazi, but in that bill is money cut for embassy security by 63%.
secretary tillerson in my opinion, his response has been disappointing. he should be fighting for every last for the state department, dollar and for diplomacy, and usaid, and the programs around world and help america around the world and do the right thing for people who are starving or have other problems around the world. yes the president is proposing to cut back on all of it. the house as the power of the purse, not the white house and yes the president ishopefully n majority in the house will fight against all those cuts. i would fight against every one of them. >> do you think republicans are up soenough to plus it far? rep. engel: i don't think they are doing enough because the president seems hellbent on this, and i hope democrats and republicans will say, hell no. we had a here in, a bipartisan
hearings in the foreign affairs committee earlier this year about the proposed cuts. both democrats and republicans did not like it in both said it was terrible. we had expert witnesses that said every morale at the state department is at an all-time low. there are so many positions in the state department that have not been nominated not been , filled. they like to say the senate or whatever is installing it, no, that is not true. the president has not nominated high-level people for diplomacy. it is now july, seven months into the administration. i just came back from a trip overseas and we have excellent people who are acting ambassadors or dcm's and we don't have the ambassadors. and he wants to cut usaid, which is absolutely imperative for the world and the united states. the president has a disturbing
pattern of nominating people to be secretaries who want to cut the department. usually a secretary would protect the department and you would not want to see the cuts. department,tate foreign affairs, it is to an education, it is true in o the other secretaries. it is ridiculous. this is the worst budget for foreign affairs and state department i have seen in my 10 years in congress. greta: time for one more question. >> congressman moving to the , united nations and how america funds it, the bill out of the house state foreign operations appropriations subcommittee yesterday includes cuts of over 18% of the united nations and associated agencies, with new restrictions on the human rights council. giving your long-standing support of israel and concern for the united nations focus on israel, do you support the level of cuts to the united nations
that are being proposed? rep. engel: my mother, may she rest in peace, she used to say don't cut off your nose to spite your face. and as angry as i am at united nations and the so-called human rights commission, which is unfair to israel and singles israel out, the worst dictators, the worst regimes in the world. they have no right to point the finger at any country, let alone israel. the only democracy in the middle east. we have be very careful. if we pull away, it allows those people we don't like to have free reign. the united states is a very important moral force in trying to push the united nations to doing the right thing, but i understand their frustration of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who say they do wrong things and they want more money and don't respect us and don't respect our friends like israel, and people are very frustrated. i asked nikki haley about this
the aisle who say they do wrong when she came before for our committee a couple of weeks ago. israel is the only country on the human rights committee, item number seven just deals with israel. no other country has an item wholly for them. israel could still be brought up on charges as any country could without having an item related to them, but it shows you the bias of the united nations and i think it makes the united nations ineffective and hypocritical. hypocritical, but the u.s. support for israel is strong and will remain strong as long as i continue to have something to do with it, and a lot of other people on both sides of the aisle feel strongly we need to stand with our ally israel and if the united nations needs to be called out, they will be called out, but we don't need to cut off our noses despite our -- two spite our faces. we need to shave that organization to help spread democracy around the world and
does not help dictators who would take us backwards. greta: congressman eliot engel, the top democrat on the house foreign affairs committee and this week's newsmaker we thank , you. rep. engel: thank you. greta: let me turn to the two of you and talk about what is next on russia. this sanctions bill that we we talk about with mr. engel at the top to pass the senate. what is the likelihood that they just take up the senate linkage? we heard from mr. engel, and you have republican senators saying just pass it already. elana: it is increasingly close to zero likelihood that would happen here in i can understand why congressman engel would say what he did. it's a gamble by democrats. all they could do was introduce the bill saying we want it to pass, but the house majority wants to change that procedural
issue to take power away and -- from house democrats and potentially change other elements of the bill raising concern among the private sector dealing with energy, debt, and loan servicing. you have got some k street folks saying wait, we don't want our ability to deal with russia-connected businesses unfairly infringed upon indirectly because of this bill. the problems are mounting and it is likely the house tries to make changes. greta: what is the political pressure for these folks as they delay and there is more of a drumbeat from democrats who say they don't want to punish russia for meddling? rachel: it is not a drumbeat just from democrats. you have high-profile republicans like john mccain going on about this amid more and more revelations about how deep the entanglements went between campaign folks in the white house and russian-linked folks. it makes it hard not to do
something. what the final product will be, we don't know. there are concerns from private industry. europe has raised concerns how this actions will affect their energy sector. my original understanding was house foreign affairs would do something to change some of the sanctions. i never took it when an advanced out of the senate the house would just clear it because these were significant sanctions and they were arrived at so quickly that i was expecting there to be some examining of that and tweaking of it. it is normal for each chamber to do, but this is an abnormal situation. it is such an intense spotlight. we have worries about what trump can do at a moments notice. it is hard to predict what is going to happen. and the senate was getting a lot of pushback from the left about health care. i don't know if rachel were members this, but there is a sense we cannot give up working
on health care because he wanted his bipartisan senate deal to pass. chuck schumer put a lot of political capital into this. it is really hurting senate democrats. greta: we expect they will put out a travel ban. i think we will see some movement, but ultimately, the broader strategy of north korea is in soft hands. there is only so much that sanctions alone can do. >> what is the president
considering? >> we don't know. now that china has shown they are not going to crack down on tryingorea, and they are to find a plan the. >> will they see more money? i don't think we will see more money. the 30% has already been lowered significantly. i would expect it to get as close to parity as possible. it is possible the senate is even more bipartisan. more money might be too much. we thank you both to be part of "newsmakers."
announcer: we will hear more about proposed changes at the state department tomorrow, when john sullivan testifies on capitol hill. that is before the senate foreign relations committee. we have live coverage on c-span3 starting at 5:00 p.m. eastern. you can also watch online at c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio app. announcer: monday night on "the communicators" -- >> private sector ceo's recognize that your i.t. group is not just a cost center, it is an entity that can help drive innovation, an entity that can help improve your bottom line. we need the federal government to start thinking that way. announcer: the chairman of the house international -- congressman will heard, talks about his bill to upgrade
technology at federal agencies, his opinion of u.s. cyber defenses, and his proposal for a cyber national guard. he is interviewed by politico cyber security reporter tim starks. >> the idea is this. if you are in high school and want to go to college and study something around cyber security, we will find you scholarships to go to college. when you graduate, you have to work in the federal government, at the department of interior or at the census bureau, or it social security. you will do that for the same amount of time that you got the scholarship for. when you finish that time and federal service, and you go to work for the private sector, the private sector is going to loan you back to the government for the proverbial one weekend a quarter, 10 days a where this will improve the cross polymerization of ideas between the public and private sector. announcer: watch monday night at
8:00 eastern on c-span 2. c-span. where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies, and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. next, girls who code founder and ceo talks about the importance of teaching computer science to young women. she was one of the featured speakers this weekend at the national governors association summer meeting at rhode island. thank you.: thank you so much, governor to bedo for inviting us here today. you are such a role model for some many girls in our country. so thank you.