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tv   House Democratic Leaders News Conference  CSPAN  September 26, 2019 3:53am-4:31am EDT

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women in apollo program. >> this camera was on me. i had no idea how long it hads had been on me. i didn't say anything about it. we didn't use the term sexual harassment. there is two ways to think about that. one is it is a little voyeuristic on the part of the dudes watching you and it is harassing and uncomfortable but the other way to think about it is so let them look, let them all know, let everybody who is not in this damn room know there is a woman here. i'm here. get used to it. [applause] >> explore our nation's past on american history tv every weekend on c-span 3. >> the chair of the house caucus and the vice chair responded to the white house releasing a memo of a phone call president trump had with the president of ukraine in july this year.
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both leaders argued the memo showed president trump pressuring a foreign leader for political gain. his is 35 minutes. >> good morning, everyone. we had a very robust discussion today within the caucus that was the center of the meeting focused on the united states, mexico, canada trade agreement. speaker pelosi and richard neal, along with the democratic working group, have been very clear that our goal is to get to yes. and to reach an agreement with the administration that improves upon in a meaningful way the nafta agreement that is currently in place. that nafta agreement has
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resulted in the outsourcing of good paying american jobs, hurting working families and americans all across the country, including but not limited to in the heartland of america. if we are going to renegotiate the trade agreement, our perspective is that the agreement must be meaningful if it's going to replace what is currently there. in order for that agreement to be meaningful, house democrats have laid out for different issues which we discussed in the caucus today. one, improve the labor standards. we want to make sure there is
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enforcability. any agreement that includes improved upon labor standards, and environmental standards, particularly in mexico, must be enforceable to be meaningful. we made that position clear to the administration but we also want to get to yes. we want to get to yes because the business of the american people must be done. we were sent to washington in a new democratic majority to get things done for the people. to lower health care costs, to increase pay for everyday americans, to enact the real infrastructure plan to protect people with pre-existing conditions, and to also clean up corruption which is what we are endeavoring to do so that government works and is of the people, by the people, and for he people.
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later on this afternoon, speaker pelosi at 4:00 will convene a speakers meeting to discuss our drug price negotiation bill. perhaps the top priority of house democrats, as articulated to the american people last year, and has implemented through our agenda this year, is to lower health care costs and drive down the high price of life-saving prescription drugs. it is unacceptable that the people in america pay more for life-saving prescription drugs than any other developed nation in the world. we pay more than canada. we pay more than australia. we pay more than japan. we pay more than germany. we pay more than france. we pay more than great britain. squarely because of the anti-competitive practices of
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some pharmaceutical companies and the fact that the federal government is prohibited under law from negotiating lower drug prices on behalf of the american people. that is a racket. we are prepared to break that up. the democratic bill that we would like to secure republican support in connection with, because they claim they want to do something about this issue, will give the federal government the ability to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of medicare recipients and the american people. it would be a substantial game changing step in the right direction. the president has claimed he ants to get that done. we look forward to being able to have a discussion about our bill and find common ground on this
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issue on behalf of everyday americans. let me now yield to our distinguished vice chair katherine clark. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you mr. chairman. our caucus is focused on the very real threats to national security. we are focus not only on those coming from the white house but on those that are coming from the border and the approach this administration has taken to immigration. while he has stolen $3.6 billion from our military families, from the quality of
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their lives and from military readiness to build a wall, we have not forgotten about the immigration policy and the impact on children and migrants that threatens our security doesn't know that. we are passing to important bills this week. one by congresswoman veronica escobar and one by congresswoman lauren underwood. they specifically increase our ability to have objective appointments made that can make sure that we are really acting in the interest of national security in our policies at the border. and that we are getting medical screenings for the children who are coming across our borders seeking refuge here. these are two critical pieces to making sure that our immigration policy not only provides for national security but is humane. and represents those values of a country that has always been a place where people can go and seek a better life. the other issue we continue to focus on, today there will be a large rally starting at 1:00 for gun safety. we are going to keep the
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pressure on from the senate to take these bills up for a vote. as we've said before, this is an issue that is tearing at the security of our community. we are not going to continue to let the answer be one of silence from the u.s. senate. we are going to be there loudly today saying, do your job, stand up for the american people, and make our communities safe again. we appreciate your attention, not only to the headlines of today, but for the continuing work the democrats in the house are doing to push the agenda for the people. >> good morning. you talk about firearms, passing the usmca. can you walk and chew gum at the same time? impeachment will dominate every conversation.
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that seems to suck all the oxygen out of the room. this agendaocus on you are trying to put forward. >> the president has made clear that he wants a renegotiated agreement between the united states, mexico, and canada. we have indicated that we want to get to yes. there's no reason why the business of the american people should not continue. we are all charged with doing just that. in the last congress, we managed to find bipartisan agreement around meaningful and historic criminal justice reform. at the same time, when there were other areas of disagreement, we advanced on that issue. we should be in a position and able to advance the ball on lowering health care costs,
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prescription drug pricing, infrastructure, gun violence prevention, and a renewed trade agreement. >> the legislative agenda fell off the radar when they were impeaching visiting clinton. the same thing happened in 1973-74. why is this different? >> the record shows that president nixon continued to work in a democratic led house and senate on an agenda on behalf of the american people simultaneous to the watergate proceedings. present clinton continued to work with the republican-controlled house and senate in 1998 on behalf of the american people. the same thing should happen this time around. >> i would like to add. i don't see these as two different tracks. what we heard from the american people in the midterms is they want us to protect their health care, address gun violence, make
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sure we are rebuilding america through infrastructure, and they wanted us to get corruption out of the government. those were the things that we ran on. that's what the american people said we had to do. we have a constitutional obligation, at this point with this threat from our president to our national security. when he puts his political gain over the national security of our country, using his position as president of the united states to ask a favor of the ukraine in order to gain an advantage in our political system. that's a very real threat that we have to act on. at the same time, we are sent here to put the issues of the families we serve on the table. we have to do both. that's the work we have been doing since we took the majority. we will continue with that as we go into this impeachment proceeding. >> the transcripts are out.
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the president told the ukrainian president to contact the attorney general. what is your response to that? the administration says there's no quid pro quo so everything is fine. >> i haven't had an opportunity to review the transcript yet. it confirms several things. the president donald trump clearly pressured the ukrainian president to commence an investigation of the biden family, to dig up political dirt in order to bolster the president's electoral prospects in 2020. that is textbook abuse of power and the transcripts have become exhibit a in that regard. president trump apparently said the ukrainian president, i need you to do me a favor.
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about an issue related to joe biden's alleged involvement with the ukrainian government in the prior prosecutor. that's a phony scandal. the fact that the president brought it up and said multiple times, according to this transcript, i need you to talk to rudolph giuliani. what role does rudolph giuliani have in this government? is he in the department of justice? is he the secretary of state? is he an ambassador to ukraine or the european union? rudolph giuliani is the president's political hitman. and in an official conversation with the president of ukraine, he directed the ukrainian president to have a follow-up conversation with giuliani as
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part of the effort to dig up dirt on joe biden, period, full stop. that is lawless. that undermines our national security. that's an abuse of power. that's unpatriotic. that undermines the electoral process and our democracy and the american people will not stand for it. ms. clark: i'd just like to add that the crime is with the quid. it's something for something, quid pro quo, but the crime is when you ask for that favor, when you inject politics into foreign policy, and the fact that, you know, as the chairman said, we have just received this unclassified transcript from the white house, but the initial reading shows that not only was rudolph giuliani brought in, but the department of justice, attorney general barr, exactly the crime that we were concerned about, blurring those lines
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between the political, our national security, and the official role of the president of the united states. reporter: given what you know about the transcript, is that enough alone to impeach the president? why would you wait for other committees to send their best evidence? mr. jeffries: we are in the midst of an impeachment inquiry that is led by the intelligence committee and chairman adam schiff. later on today, the house of representatives will pass a resolution demanding that the administration release the full and unredacted version of the whistleblower complaint. we can only imagine what is in that document, and we will obtain it and the american people will be able to see it. we also need to hear on thursday
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from the acting director of national intelligence, who will be before the house intelligence committee. that's important information. that's where the focus will be. this is a matter of urgent concern and national security, and we will present the truth to the american people. second row. reporter: one thing that speaker pelosi did not do yesterday was lay out a timeline for this inquiry. i'm curious if you can provide any additional information from that given we are 13 months from a presidential election? it will be injected in the democratic campaign and for a nominee, right? mr. jeffries: the speaker said it will move expeditiously. she indicated that in her conversations with the house democrats in the caucus meeting and she indicated that publicly. she's also made clear that we are going to follow the facts, be guided by the law, and informed by our constitutional responsibility. we're going to do it comprehensively. we're going to do it fairly.
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we're going to do it expeditiously. reporter: can it be done before next november? mr. jeffries: the expectation is that we're going to do it fairly, we're going to do it comprehensively. ms. clark: the timeline has been set forth by the whistleblower and that's urgent. that's what they said. that's the finding. urgent and credible and that's going to be our timeline. reporter: mr. chairman, has the speaker talked about letting the facts lead this investigation? she also said that public sentiment needs to be there. i'm wondering if you feel like the public has come around on impeachment now. more than 2/3 of your caucus is in support of an impeachment inquiry. where do you think this will fall and how do you feel about your prospects in 2020? mr. jeffries: we need to present the truth to the public without fear or favor. this has nothing to do with the political implications. we have a constitutional responsibility to deal with a
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matter of urgent national security concern. and we need to present this information to the american people. bring them along with us based on the facts and the evidence. we've already seen damning admissions made by the president over the last few days and confirmed by the transcript that was released today. we'll see what's in the whistleblower complaint. we also know that we have to get to the bottom of the second issue here which is the withholding of duly authorized, allocated money, hundreds of millions of dollars in security and military assistance from ukraine, perhaps as a coercive way of extracting the witch-hunt and the investigation president
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trump wanted the ukrainian president and government to undertake. understand the vulnerability and seriousness of that. the president didn't put american foreign policy first. ukraine is an ally. we passed a military and security assistance in a bipartisan way. the president apparently held that up while ukraine is at war with russia, our enemy who invaded crimea. ukraine is on the frontline of russia's attempt to reshape europe in a manner that undermines united states' interests. yet, apparently, the president was willing to withhold military assistance in order to extract a political investigation designed to get dirt on the biden family to bolster donald trump's
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electoral prospects. that is classic abuse of power. reporter: you say you want to move expeditiously and also comprehensively. how do you resolve the tensions given that so much testimony has been blocked, there has been so many things blocked and part is tied up in the courts? mr. jeffries: we will be guided by the constitution and make sure that we gather all of the evidence necessary to tell the complete story to the american people. we've already been able to obtain the transcript of the phone call between donald trump and the ukrainian president. we will soon obtain, after congress expresses its position in a bipartisan way and in a bicameral way later on today with our resolution the whistleblower complaint. we will hear from the acting director of national
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intelligence and there will be activity that will occur. we are moving expeditiously. this is a national security concern. we are going to proceed fairly. the administration understands that if it continues to obstruct, the american people will conclude that they have something even worse to hide. reporter: congresswoman clark, hi. you have mentioned the urgency tag that's in the whistleblower complaint. what do you think constitutes urgent here? is it because of the impact of the alleged complaint? is it because keeping it from happening again? why is it urgent? ms. clark: that's one of the critical questions on why we need to hear and read what the whistleblower had to say, but we already have established the urgency here. when you have a president who puts aside his role as being president of the united states,
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his oath to faithfully execute the laws of this country, and instead puts his political game in front of our national security, we have an urgent problem. and so we are reacting to that. but is there more? are there more things? we don't know because we don't have the whistleblower complaint. but the very fact that this administration and the department of justice is working to keep that complaint from us, that they tried to bury this whistleblower, not get this information to congress in the exact way that the whistleblower statute is trying to help us glean information from, that's the point of it. what we have now, this transcript from the white house is, you know, at first glance, it is even more damning than
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what we already had from admissions from this president. that's where the urgency comes from, and the stories and the facts will be revealed as we continue this investigation. reporter: what does this mean for judiciary's ongoing in obstruction of justice? is it to say that's now on the back burner? mr. jeffries: well, the judiciary committee is meeting on later -- meeting later on this afternoon or this evening to have a discussion about how it's going to move forward in a broader context of the umbrella of the impeachment inquiry that the speaker laid out. at the end of the day, what is clear is that the intel committee, the oversight committee, the financial services committee, the foreign affairs committee, the ways and means committee will all recommend possible articles of impeachment to the judiciary committee, which is the committee of jurisdiction, moving forward. forth row. reporter: mr. jeffries, you
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mentioned the attorney general bill barr as well as mr. giuliani. do you believe these two men should be called to testify before congress? and if they refuse, should they be subpoenaed by democrats to testify? mr. jeffries: the focus right now is on getting to the truth by every available means necessary. the next step is to secure the full unredacted version of the whistleblower complaint, and we will proceed from there. based on what we already know, here is what is clear. donald trump doesn't care about our national security interests. donald trump doesn't care about the rule of law. donald trump doesn't care about the integrity of the election process and the free will of the american people to decide who will be our leader, absent foreign interference. all donald trump cares about is himself.
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and that will be the focus moving forward, because that undermines the best interests of the american people, our national security, and our democracy. second row. reporter: with regards to public sentiment, is there something about this case, about the conversation between trump and zelensky that you think strikes a different chord in contrast what happened with the mueller report, various other allegations that members of your caucus have raised to try to make the case for impeachment that would convince not just the american people but republicans to turn on the president? mr. jeffries: well, the republicans are ultimately are going to have to decide, are they going to stand for the country and stand for the rule of law, or are they going to stand for the lawlessness of this current president? you'll have to ask them how they're going to proceed. we have seen the senate in a bipartisan way make it clear
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yesterday that we need to get to the bottom of what has happened. that suggests that senate republicans and mcconnell this is a different order of magnitude that strikes at the heart of the safety and security and well-being of the american people and our democracy. ms. clark: you know, for a republican party that always holds themselves out as that party of national security, it's hard to understand why they're hiding under their desks, and i think we saw a glimmer of life in the senate that has been dormant for a long time, and i hope this will be the beginning of them coming to understand that the team you're on is very clear. do you choose the constitution, do you choose the rule of law, do you choose the fundamentals of our democracy and protecting
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the integrity of our elections? or do you stand with the lawless president? the president has admitted that he's done this. rudy giuliani has admitted that he's done this. and i think those lines are so clear, and the threat and corruption is so evident that i think we are going to not only -- that the american people will see the truth and the true threat to our democracy of the situation, but the republicans will as well. mr. jeffries: last row. reporter: we have spoken to republican senators in the last couple days. we don't see many cracks in their solidarity. if they don't vote to convict, what have you gained? mr. jeffries: right now we're proceeding with the impeachment inquiry that was formally
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launched yesterday with the full support of speaker nancy pelosi to get to the truth for the american people. we'll travel along this journey together. the republicans will have an opportunity to decide whether they're going to stand with a lawless president or stand with our national security interests and the rule of law. reporter: the judiciary committee is holding a hearing on assault weapons. are democrats prepared to come out with some sort of ban on assault weapons or a buyback program? mr. jeffries: that's a hearing taking place before the judiciary committee today to explore the options as it relates to trying to get weapons of war off of our streets, which can massacre innocent americans in a matter of seconds, as we saw tragically in dayton and in el paso. our focus on the gun safety
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issue remains clear. it's been 210 days since the house passed universal criminal background check legislation that will save lives. the senate has been derelict in its duty to act to protect the american people from the gun epidemic. mitch mcconnell, if he took up that bill today, would be able to take a substantial step forward to address the gun violence problem that we clearly have in the united states of america, and that's what they should do. second row. reporter: also on guns, speaker pelosi yesterday mentioned she spoke to president trump on the phone yesterday about a deal on gun control. any word on what that deal might include, and is that off the table now in light of the impeachment inquiry yesterday? mr. jeffries: as katherine clark made clear, and i'll yield to her momentarily, nothing should be off the table.
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our solemn responsibility is to get things done on behalf of everyday americans so we can make life better. we need to do it on lower health care costs. we need to do it on prescription drug pricing. we need to do it on fixing our crumbling infrastructure. and our bridges, roads, tunnels, airports, and mass transportation system. we need to do it on trade, and we need to do it on guns. we have consistently said, notwithstanding the approach that was taken by the house republican majority when barack obama was president, where their mantra was obstruction today, obstruction tomorrow, obstruction forever. that we are willing to work with this president to get things done on solving problems like the gun violence epidemic. ms. clark: i don't think if it was asked if we came to an agreement with the president on
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trade or on guns. isn't that giving him a political win? and if he would come to the table and say he would support universal background checks, that he would support closing the loophole that allowed the shooter in charleston to get a gun he wasn't entitled to have, that if he would take this step at recognizing the threat to our communities. the politics don't matter. this is about the american people, and a public health crisis that we have in this country. so whatever is going on with this president, his chaos, his disregard for the rule of law and the constitution, we stand ready to work with him. if he will do anything to help make our streets safer on this issue of gun safety. and what we heard from him,
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unfortunately, is after the horrendous loss of life that we saw just in the month of august. he said he was ready to move forward. one phone call from the n.r.a. and he totally rolled back his position. but we're not going away. the american people are not going away. they have not changed their position on this. it is still over 90% of americans across political ideologies agree that these are commonsense steps that can save lives. that's our goal. secure our communities and save lives. whether that's from mass shootings, daily gun violence, or suicide. and we will stand ready to work with mitch mcconnell, to work with republicans and to work with the white house to get that done. mr. jeffries: last question. reporter: some of your colleagues are worried that this process that you described for
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impeachment will not be that expeditious or clear to the public or all that urgent so they've been asking -- some of them -- some sort of select committee. i'm wondering if that's all still on the table and why or why not? mr. jeffries: speaker pelosi has made clear that six committees of jurisdiction will proceed under the umbrella of an impeachment inquiry with a focus on dealing with the matter of urgent national security concern connected to the ukraine scandal. there is a lot of chaos, crisis, confusion, corruption, and criminality to sort out with respect to the trump administration, but before us at the moment is an almost unspeakable abuse of power that the president has committed with respect to bullying the ukrainian government to launch an investigation into the biden family to secure political dirt. we are going to uncover the
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truth for the american people, beginning today through the next few days and weeks and present that information to the american people. reporter: is it still on the table? mr. jeffries: the speaker has made clear that we are proceeding under an impeachment inquiry under six committees of jurisdiction with an emphasis on the ukrainian scandal. thank you. reporter: do you expect each of the six committees to separately submit articles of impeachment to the judiciary committee? mr. jeffries: the speaker has made clear and i believe there is consensus within the caucus at the moment that the six committees of jurisdiction will continue their work, but in the form of an official impeachment inquiry, and at the end of that process make recommendations to the judiciary committee. thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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announcer: sunday night on "q&a," as the house launches the formal inquiry into president trump, hear from james banner, editor of the book presidential
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misconduct, and one of the historians who worked on a 1974 on the inquiry into richard nixon. was appointed who the general counsel, thought of the utility of reports like this c. turned to his friend vann woodward and ask him to be the commander-in-chief of a project of preparing such a report, which was unprecedented. as he said in the introduction to the original volume. >> 1974. >> and he asked three people to be his field generals and identified and recruited about 12 historians to write one to three sketches of that many presidencies. i was chosen to be one. we had eight weeks to do it. x, email,day before fa
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so it was done by telephone and mail. to be managed to do it in eight weeks, and we submitted it, professor woodward submitted it to john doerr, and that is the last we heard of it. six weeks later, the president resigned. >> watch sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. intelligence committee chair adam schiff held a news conference responding to a white house memo on a call between president trump and the president of ukraine he said the requested a "shakedown of a mafia type leader." mr. schiff: good afternoon.


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