tv Countdown to the Closing Bell With Liz Claman FOX Business December 16, 2016 3:00pm-4:01pm EST
about how do we deal with cyberissues being used in ways that can affect our infrastructure, affect the stability of our financial systems and affect the integrity of our institutions like our election process. i just received a couple weeks back, it wasn't widely reported on, a report from our cybersecurity commission that outlines a whole range of strategies to do a better job on this, but it's difficult, because it's not all housed. the target of cyberattacks is not one entity but widely dispersed and a lot of it is private, like the dnc. it's not a branch of government. we can't tell people what to do. what we can do is inform them, get best practices.
basis, warn other countries against these kinds of attacks and we have done that in the past. just as i told russia to stop it, and indicated there will be consequences when they do it, the chinese have in the past engaged in cyberattacks directed at our company to steal trade secrets and proprietary technology and i had to have the same conversation with president she and what we have seen is some evidence that they have reduced but not completely eliminated these activities partly because they can use cut outs. one of the problems with the internet and fiberissues is there is not always a return address and by the time you
catch up to it, attributing what happened to a particular government can be difficult, not always proveable in court even though intelligence communities can make an assessment. what we have tried to do is start creating some international norms to prevent a cyberarms race because we have offense of capabilities as well as defensive capabilities. my approach is not a situation in which everyone is worse off because folks are constantly attacking each other back and forth but putting some guardrails around the behavior of nationstates including our adversaries, they understand whatever they do to us, we can potentially do to them. we do have some special challenges because often times our economy is more digitalized,
more vulnerable, partly because we are a wealthier nation and more wired in some of these other countries and we have a more open society and engage in less control and censorship over what happens over the internet which is also part of what makes us special. last point and the reason i am going on here is i know you guys have a lot of questions about this and i haven't addressed all of you directly about it. with respect to response. my principal goal leading up to the election was making sure that the election itself went off without a hitch, was not tarnished, and it did not feed any sense in the public that somehow tampering had taken place with the actual process
and we accomplished that. that does not mean that we are not going to respond. it meant we had a set of priorities leading up to the election that were of the utmost importance. our goal continues to be to send a clear message to russia or others not to do this to us. we can do stuff to you. it is also important to make thoughtful, methodical way, some of it we do publicly, some of it we will do in a way that they know but not everybody will. i know there have been folks out there who suggest somehow that if we went out there, made big announcements and thumped our chests about a bunch of stuff, that somehow that would potentially spook the russians but keep in mind we already have
enormous numbers of sanctions against the russians. the relationship between us and russia has deteriorated sadly, significantly over the last several years. how we approach an appropriate response that increases cost for them for behavior like this in the future but does not create problems for us is something that is worth taking the time to think through and figure out. that is exactly what we have done. at a point in time we have taken certain actions we can divulge publicly we can do so. there are times the message will be directly received by the russians and not publicized. i should point out part of why the russians have been effective on this is they don't go around announcing what they are doing. it is not like vladimir putin is
going around the world publicly saying look what we did. wasn't that clever? he denies it. so the idea that somehow public shaming is going to be effective, i think doesn't read, the thought process in russia very well. >> was this because of the hacking? >> i am going to let all the political pundits in this town have a long discussion about what happened in the election. it was a fascinating election, i am sure there will be a lot of books written about it. i have said what i think is important for the democratic party going forward rather than try to parse every aspect of the election and i have said before
i couldn't be prouder of secretary clinton, her outstanding service, i think she worked tirelessly on behalf of the american people and don't think she was treated fairly during the election. i think the coverage of her and the issues was troubling. but having said that, what i have been most focused on, appropriate for the fact that i am not going to be a politician in, what is it, 32 days, 31, 34? what i said is i can maybe some counsel advice to the democratic party and i think the thing we have to spend the most time on because it is the thing we have the most control over is how do we make sure that we are showing up in places where i think democratic policies are needed,
where they are helping, where they are making a difference, but where people feel as if they are not being heard, and where democrats are characterized as coastal, liberal, latte sipping, politically correct, out of touch folks, we have to be in those communities and i have seen when we are in those communities it makes the difference. that is how i became president was i became a us senator not just because i had strong base in chicago but because i was driving around downstate illinois. going to vfw halls, talking to farmers and i didn't win every one of their votes but they got a sense what i was talking about and cared about, that i was poor
-- for the working people, for the middle class, the reason i was interested in strengthening unions and raising the minimum wage and rebuilding our infrastructure and making sure parent had decent childcare was because my own family's history wasn't that different from theirs even if i looked a little different. same thing in iowa. the question is how do we rebuild that party as a whole so that there is not a county in any state, i don't care how read, where we don't have a presence and making the argument because i think we have a better argument. but that requires a lot of work. it is something i have been able to do successfully in my own campaign. it is not something i have been able to transfer to candidates
in midterms and build a sustaining organization around. that is something i would have liked to have done more of but it is hard when you are dealing with a bunch of issues in the white house. that doesn't mean it can't be done. i think there are going to be a lot of talented folks, a lot of progressives who share my values who are going to be leading the charge in the years to come. michelle kaczynski of cnn. >> we heard hillary clinton talk about how she thinks the fbi director's announcement made a difference in the outcome of the election and we just heard in an op-ed her campaign statement, talk about something being deeply broken within the fbi,
talked about thinking the investigation was lackadaisical. what do you think of those comments? is there any truth to them? is there a danger they are calling into question the integrity of institutions in a similar way that donald trump's team has done? donald trump's team repeatedly, giving the investigation of the russian hack might not be such a priority once he is in office. what do you think the risk is and are you going to talk to him directly about those comments? >> on the latter point, as i said before, the transition from election season to governance season is not always smooth. it is bumpy. there are feelings that are raw out there.
there are people who are still thinking about how things unfolded and i get all that, but when donald trump takes the oath of office and is sworn in as 45th president of the united states he has a different set of responsibilities and considerations. i have said this before, there is a sobering process when you walk into the oval office. shared previously private conversations with the president-elect, they have been cordial and in some cases make specific suggestions about how to ensure, regardless of deep disagreements, maybe i can
transmit some thoughts about maintaining the effectiveness, integrity, cohesion of the office, various democratic institutions, has listened. the conversations themselves have been cordial as opposed to deceptive in any way. i will always make myself available to him as previous presidents made themselves available to me as issues come up with respect to the fbi i will tell you i had a chance to know a lot of fbi agents. i know director comey, they take the job seriously, they work really hard, they keep us safe, save a lot of lives.
and it is always a challenge for law enforcement when there is an intersection between the work that they are doing and the political system. it is one of the difficulties of democracy generally. we have a system where we want our law enforcement investigators and prosecutors to be free from politics, to be independent, to play it straight, but sometimes that involves investigations that touch on politics, particularly in the hyperpartisan environment we have been in, everything is suspect, everything you do one way or the other. one thing that i have done is to
be pretty scrupulous about not waiting into investigation decisions, or prosecution decisions are decisions not to prosecute. i have tried to be really strict in my own behavior about preserving the independence of law enforcement free from my own judgments and political assessments in some cases and i don't know why we would stop now. mike dawning of bloomberg. >> thank you, mister president. aleppo, your views of what happened there, the possibility the russian government, irani and covenant, the assad regime, do you, as president of the
united states, leader of the free world, feel any personal responsibility now at the end of your presidency for the carnage we are all watching in aleppo which i am sure disturbs you? secondly, also, on aleppo, you made clear your practical -- president-elect trump throughout his campaign,to create safe zones in syria. do you feel in this transition you need to help him towards implementing that or is that not something you need to be doing? >> i always feel responsible. i felt responsible when kids were being shot by snipers, when millions of people have been
displaced. feel responsible for murder and slaughter that has taken place, partly because there's not as much social media being generated from their. there are places where horrible things are happening and because of my office, because i am president of the united states i feel responsible. i ask myself every single day there something i could do that would save lives and make a difference and spare some child who doesn't deserve to suffer? that is a starting point. there is not a moment during the course of this presidency where i haven't felt some responsibility. that is true, by the way, for
our own country. when i came into office and people were losing their jobs and losing their homes and losing their pensions i felt responsible. and i would go home at night and ask myself was there something better that i could do or smarter that i could be that would make a difference in their lives, that would relieve their suffering, and relieve their hardship? so with respect to syria, what i have consistently done is taken the best course that i can to try to end the civil war while having also to take into account the long-term national security interests of the united states and throughout this process, based on hours of meetings, if
you tally up days or weeks of meetings, where we went through every option in painful detail with maps and had our military and our aid agencies and had our diplomatic teams and sometimes we would bring in outsiders who were critics of ours, whenever we went through it, short of putting large numbers of us troops on the ground uninvited without any international mandate, without sufficient support from congress at a time when we had troops in afghanistan and still had troops in iraq and we had just gone through a decade of war and
spend trillions of dollars and when the opposition on the ground was not cohesive enough to necessarily govern a country and you had a military superpower in russia prepared to do whatever it took to keep its clients safe involved, and you had a regional military power in iran that saw their own vital strategic interests at stake and were willing to send in as many of their people or proxies to support the regime. in that circumstance, unless we were all in and willing to take over syria, we were going to have problems. and everything else was tempting because we wanted to do something and it sounded like the right thing to do but it was going to be impossible to do
this on the cheap. in that circumstance i have to make a decision as president of the united states as to what is best. i am sorry, what is going on? somebody is not feeling good? all right. why don't we have -- we can get our doctors back there to help out. somebody want to go to my doctor's office and send him? all right. where was i? we couldn't do it on the cheap. it may be -- can somebody help out and get talk jackson in here?
you guys know where the doctor's office is? just go through the palm doors. it is right next to the map room. there he is. there is doc jackson. okay. the doctor is in the house. so -- and i don't mean -- i mean that with all sincerity. i understand the impulse to want to do something. but ultimately what i have had to do is think about what can we sustain? what is realistic? my first priority has to be what is the right thing to do for
america? and it has been our you that the best thing to do is provide some support to the moderate opposition so that they could sustain themselves and you wouldn't see anti-assad regime sentiments just pouring into our nasrallah and al qaeda or basis that we engaged our international partners in order to put pressure on all the parties involved and to try to resolve this through diplomatic and political means. i cannot claim that we have been successful. that is something that as is true with a lot of issues and promises around the world i have
2 go to bed with every night. but i continue to believe it was the right approach given what realistically we could get done. absent a decision, as i said, to go into much more significant way. that, i think, would not have been sustainable for the american people because we had a whole host of other obligations we had to meet whereas we had already started wars and not finished. with respect to the issue of safe zones, it is a continued problem, a continued challenge with safe zones, if you are setting up zones in syrian territory, then that requires some force that is willing to
maintain that territory in the absence of consent from the syrian government and the russians or the iranians. it may be that with aleppo's tragic situation unfolding, in the short term, if we can get more of the tens of thousands who are still trapped there, out, that so long as the world's eyes are on them and they are feeling pressure, the regime and russia concludes that they are willing to find some arrangement perhaps in coordination with turkey whereby those people can be safe. even that will probably be temporary but at least it solves a short-term issue that will
arise as we are not even there yet. because we have russians and assad claiming all the innocent civilians who were trapped in aleppo are out when international organizations, humanitarian organizations have said unequivocally tens of thousands are trapped and prepared to leave. under any conditions. the right now our biggest priority is to put pressure wherever we can to try to get them out. be change the responsibility notwithstanding moving in that direction, would help president-elect trump? >> i will help resident trump, president-elect trump with any advice, counsel, information that we can provide so that he,
once he is sworn in, can make a decision. between now and then these are decisions i have to make based on the consultations i have with our military and the people who have been working this every single day. peter alexander. >> can you, given the intelligence we have, tell the public this was once and for all the free and fair election and specifically on russia, do you see the obligation as they have been insisting that this isn't the case to show the proof that this was, put your money where your mouth is and declassify some of these and more broadly as it relates to donald trump on this very topic are you concerned about his relationship with vladimir putin given the cabinet picks including rex tillerson who toasted them with champagne over the oilfields.
>> i may be getting older because these multipart questions, i start losing track. i can assure the public that there was not the kind of tampering with the voting process that was a concern, and will continue to be of concern going forward, that the votes that were cast were counted, they were counted appropriately. we have not seen evidence of machines being tampered with. that assurance i can provide. that doesn't mean we find every single potential probe of every single voting machine all across the country, but we paid a lot of attention, worked with state
officials, and we feel confident that that didn't occur and the votes were cast and they were counted. that is on that point. what was the second one? declassification. we will provide evidence that we can safely provide that does not compromise the sources and methods. but i will be honest with you, when you are talking about cybersecurity a lot of it is classified and we are not going to provide it because the way we catch folks is by knowing certain things about them that they might not want us to know
and if we are going to monitor this stuff effectively going forward we don't want them to know that we know. so this is one of those situations where, unless the american people genuinely think that the professionals in the cia, the fbi, our entire intelligence infrastructure many of whom served in previous administrations and who are republicans are less trustworthy than the russians, then people should pay attention to what our intelligence agencies say. this is part of what i meant when i said we have got to think about what is happening in our
political culture. the russians can't change us or significantly weaken us. they are a smaller country, they are a weaker country, their economy doesn't produce anything that anybody wants to buy except oil and gas and arms. but they can impact us if we lose track of who we are they can impact us if we abandon our values. vladimir putin can weaken us just like he is trying to weaken europe if we start buying into notions that it is okay to lock
up dissidents. or discriminate against people because of their faith or what they look like. what i worry about or than anything is the degree to which, because of the fierceness of a partisan battle, you start to see certain folks in the republican party and republican voters suddenly finding a government, and individuals who stand contrary to everything that we stand for as being okay because that is how much we dislike democrats. think about it. some of the people who historically have been very critical of me for engaging with the russians and having
conversations with them also endorse the president-elect even as he was saying that we should stop sanctioning russia and being tough on them and work together with them against our common enemies. very complementary of mister vladimir putin personally. that wasn't news. the president-elect during the campaign said so. and some folks who made a career out of being anti-russia didn't say anything about it. and then after the election suddenly they are asking why didn't you tell us that maybe the russians were trying to help our candidate? come on.
there was a survey some of you saw, this is just one poll, but a pretty credible source, 37% of republican voters approve of vladimir putin. over a third of republican voters approve of vladimir putin, the former head of the kgb. ronald reagan would roll over in his grave. and how did that happen? it happened in part because for too long, everything that happens in this town. everything that is said is seen through the lens, does this help or hurt us relative to democrats are relative to president obama.
and unless that changes, we are going to continue to be vulnerable to foreign influence because we have lost track of what it is we are about and what we stand for. with respect to the president-elect's appointments, it is his prerogative as i always said for him to appoint who he thinks can best carry out his foreign-policy or his domestic policy. it is up to the senate to advise and consent was there will be plenty of time for members of the senate to go through the record of all those appointees and determine whether or not they are appropriate for the job. >> i want to talk about vladimir
putin again, just to be clear do you believe vladimir putin himself authorized the hack and do you believe he authorized that to help donald trump and on the intelligence, one of the things donald trump -- saddam hussein, the weapons of mass destruction, that they were never found. can you say unequivocally that this was not china. this was not a 400 pound guy sitting on his bed, do the types of tweets and kinds of statements from donald trump embolden russia? >> when the report comes out before i leave office, that will have drawn together all of the threads. i don't want to step on their
work ahead of time. what i can tell you is the intelligence i have seen gives me great confidence in their assessment that the russians carried out this hack. the hack of the dnc and the hack of john podesta. but again, i think this is exactly why i want the report out, so that everybody can review it. this has been briefed and the evidence in closed session has been provided on a bipartisan basis not just to me, it has been provided by the leaders of the house and the senate and the chairman and ranking members of relevant committees. what you have already seen is some of the folks who have seen the evidence don't dispute, make a basic assessment that the russians carried this out. i think what i want to make sure
of is i give the intelligence community the chance to gather all the information but i make a larger point which is not much happens in russia without vladimir putin. this is pretty hierarchical operation. last i checked, there is not a lot of debate and democratic deliberation particularly when it comes to policies directed at the united states. we have said and i will confirm that this happened at the highest levels of the russian government, and i will let you make that determination as to whether high-level russian officials who go off road and
decide to tamper with the us election process without vladimir putin knowing about it. >> i wouldn't be wrong in saying -- vladimir putin -- >> i am going to give you what i'm going to give you. what is the second question? >> do this wes and statements by donald trump embolden russia? >> as i said before i think the president-elect -- it is still in transition mode from campaign to governance. i think he hasn't gotten his whole team together yet. he still has campaign spokespersons filling in and appearing on cable shows. there is just a whole different attitude and vibe when you are not in power as when you are in power. so rather than me characterizing
the appropriateness or inappropriateness of what he is doing at the moment, what we have to see is how will the president-elect operate and how will his team operate when they have been fully briefed on all these issues, have their hands on all the levers of government and have to start making decisions. one way i do believe the president-elect can approach this that would be unifying is to say that we welcome a bipartisan, independent process that gives the american people and assurance not only that votes are counted properly but the elections are fair and free, but that we have learned lessons
about how internet propaganda foreign countries can be released in the political bloodstream and we have strategies to deal with it for the future. the more this can be nonpartisan, the better served the american people are going to be which is why i made the point earlier. i am going to keep repeating this point. our vulnerability to russia or any other foreign power is directly related to how divided, partisan, dysfunctional our political process is. that is the thing that makes us vulnerable.
if fake news that is being released by some foreign government is almost identical to reports that are being issued through partisan news venues, then it is not surprising that that foreign propaganda will have a greater effect. it doesn't seem that far-fetched compared to some of the other stuff folks are hearing from domestic propagandists. to the extent that our political dialogue is such where everything is under suspicion. everybody is corrupt. everybody is doing things for partisan reasons and all of our institutions are, you know, of
malevolent actors. if that is the storyline that is being put out there by whatever party is out of power, then when a foreign government introduces that same argument with facts that are made up, voters who have been listening to that stuff for years, who have been getting that stuff every day from talk radio or other venues, they are going to believe it. so if we want to really reduce foreign influence on our elections, then we better think about how to make sure our political process, our political
dialogue is stronger than it has been. mark lehman. >> thank you, mister president. from russia, china, for a moment, you that as your successor spoke by phone with the president of taiwan the other day and declared subsequently that he wasn't sure why the united states needed to be bound by the one china policy, he suggested it could be used for a shift to get better terms and more corrupt -- cooperation on north korea. there is already evidence tensions between the two sides of increased a bit, just today the chinese have seized an underwater drone. do you agree, as some do, that our china policy could use a fresh set of eyes and what is the big deal about having a short phone call with the president of taiwan or do you worry these unorthodox approaches are sitting at
collision course with our biggest geopolitical adversary? >> that is a great question. i am somewhere in between. i think all our foreign policy should be subject to fresh eyes. i think -- i said this before, i am proud of the work i have done, i think i am a better president now than when i started. if you are here for eight years in the bubble, you start seeing things a certain way and you benefit from the -- democracy benefits, america benefits from new perspectives. i think it should be not just the prerogative but the obligation of a new president to examine everything that has been done and see what makes sense and what didn't. that is what i did when i came in and any president will undertake the same exercises and given the importance of the
relationship between the united states and china, given how much is at stake in terms of the world economy, national security, our presence in the asia pacific, china's increasing role in international affairs, there is probably no bilateral relationship that carries more significance, and where there is also the potential if that relationship breaks down or goes into full conflict mode that everybody is worse off. i think it is fine for him to take a look at it. what i have advised the president-elect is across the board on foreign policy, you want to make sure that you are
doing it in a systematic, deliberate, intentional way. and since there is only one president at a time, my advice to him has been that before he starts having a lot of interactions with foreign governments other than the usual courtesy calls, that he should want to have his fool team in place, that he should want his team to be fully briefed, what has gone on in the past, where the potential pitfalls may be, where the opportunities are, what we have learned from eight years of experience, so that as he has been taking foreign policy in a new direction, you have all the information to make good decisions and all of government is moving at the same
time, and with respect to china. let's take the example of taiwan. there has been a long-standing agreement, essentially, between china, the united states, and to some degree the taiwanese, which is to not change the status quo. taiwan operates differently than mainland china does. china views taiwan as part of china but recognizes that it has to approach taiwan as an entity that has its own ways of doing
things. the taiwanese have agreed that as long as they are able to continue to function with some degree of autonomy that they won't charge forward and declare independence. that status quo, although not completely satisfactory to any of the parties involved, has kept the peace and allowed the taiwanese to be a pretty successful economy and a people who have a high degree of self-determination. but understand, for china, the issue of taiwan is as important as anything on their docket. the idea of one china is at the
heart of their conception as a nation. and so, if you are going to upend this understanding, you have to have thought through what are the consequences. the chinese will not treat that the way they will treat some other issues. they won't even treat it the way they treat issues around the south china sea where we had a lot of tensions. this goes to the core of how they see themselves and their reaction on this issue could end up being very significant. that doesn't mean you have to adhere to everything that has been done in the past but it means you got to think it through and have planned for potential reactions that they may engage in. all right.
politico. >> two questions. >> please, really good spot. >> what do you say to the electors who are going to meet on monday and i thinking of changing their vote? do you think they should be given an intelligence briefing on the russian activity, should they be bound by where they have gone? do you think the electoral college reform ties to the popular vote? >> sounded like two but that was all one. i love how these -- two questions, each one has four parts. >> on the democ party, your labor secretary, the chair of the democratic national
committee, is the vision you see them putting forward what you think the party needs to be focused on? what do you say to the complaints that say the democratic party shouldn't be a continuation of some of your political approaches, part of that is complaints that decisions you made as president have structurally weakened the dnc and the democratic party and they think that has led or helped lead to the losses in elections in the country. >> i will take the second one first and say tom perez has been i believe one of the best secretaries of labor in our history. he is tireless, he is wicked
smart. he has been able to work across the spectrum of labor, business, activists, he has produced. if you look at his body of work on behalf of working people, what he has pushed for in terms of making sure workers get a fair deal, decent wages, better benefits, their safety is protected on the job. he has been extraordinary. others who have declared are also my friends, find people as well. the great thing is i don't have a vote in this. we let the process unfold. i don't get is going to happen anytime soon. i describe to you earlier what i
think needs to happen which is the democratic party, whether that is entirely through the dnc or the rebuilding of state parties or some other arrangement has to work at the grassroots level, has to be present in all 50 states, has to have a presence in counties, has to think about message and how are we speaking directly to voters. i will say i won't engage in too much punditry, i could not be prouder of the coalition i put together in each of my campaigns. because it was inclusive. and through in people who were normally not interested in
politics to participate. i would like to think, i think i can show that in those elections i always cast a broad net. i always said, first and foremost we are americans, that there's more that we share than divides us, and i want to talk to everybody and get a chance to get everybody's vote. i still believe what i said in 2004, which is this red state/blue thing is a construct. now, it is a construct that's gotten more and more powerful for a whole lot of reasons from gerrymandering to big money to, you know, the way the media's splintered. and so people are just watching what reinforces their existing biases as opposed to having to listen to different points of
view. there are all kinds of reasons for it. but outside the realm of electoral politics, i still see people the way i saw them when i made that speech; full of contradictions. you know, there's some regional differences, but basically folks care about their families, they care about having meaningful work, they care about making sure their kids have more opportunity than they did. they want to be safe, they want to feel like things are fair. and whoever leads the dnc and any candidate, you know, with the democratic brand going forward, i want them to feel as if they can reach out and find that common ground and speak to, speak to all of america.
and that requires some organization. and you're right that, and i said this in my earlier remarks, that what i was able to do during my campaign i was able to do during midterms. it's not that we didn't spend time and effort into it, i spent time and effort intoç it. but the coalition i put together didn't always turn out to be transferable. and, you know, the challenge is that finish you know, some of that just has to do with the fact that when you're in the party in power and people are going through hard times like they were in 2010, they're going to punish to some degree the president's party regardless of what organizational work is donement finish some of it has -- done. some of it has to do with just some deep, traditional challenges for democrats.
the election's over, but we know those things are true. and, you know, i didn't crack the code on that. and if other people have ideas about how to do that even better , i'm all for it. on your -- with respect to the electors, i'm not going to wade into that issue because, again, it's the american people's job -- and now the electors' job -- to decide my successor. it is not my job to decide my successor. and i've provided people with a lot of information about what happened during the course of the election. but more importantly, the candidates themselves, i think, talked about their beliefs and their vision for america. the president-elect, i think,
has been very explicit about what he cares about and what he believes in. and so it's not in my hands now. it's up to them. >> what about long term about the electoral college? >> long term with respect to the electoral college, the electoral college is a vestige, it's a carryover from an earlier vision of how our federal government was going to work that put a lot of premium on states. and it used to be that the senate was not elected directly, it was through state legislatures. it's the same type of thinking that gives wyoming two senators with about half a million people and california with 33 million get the same two. so there's, there are some