tv KPIX 5 Noon News CBS December 16, 2016 12:00pm-12:31pm PST
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 cyber-security commission that outlines a whole range of strategies to do a better job on this. put it's difficult because it's not all housed-- you know, the target of cyberattacks is not one entity, but it's widely disbursed, and a lot of it is private, like the d.n.c. , you know, it's not a branch of government. we can't tell people what to do. what we can do is inform them and get best practices. what we can also do is on a bilateral basis warn other countries against these kinds of attacks. and we've done that in the past.
so 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 companies to steal trade secrets and proprietary technology. and i had to have the same conversation with prime minister-- president can the weg and what we've seen is some evidence that have reduced but not completely eliminated the activity. part problem is they can use cut-outs. one of the problems with the internet and cyber issues is there is not always a return address, and by the time you get up to it, attributing what happened to a particular government can be difficult, not always provable in court, even though our intelligence communities can make an
assessment. what we've also tried to do is to start creating some international norms about this to prevent some sort of cyber arms race because we, obviously, have offensive capabilities, as well as defensive capabilities. and my approach is not a situation which everybody is worse off because folks are constantly attacking each other back and forth, but put something guardrails around the behavior of nation states, including our adversaries, just so they understand thaatever they do to us we can potentially do to them. we do have some special challenges because often teems, our economy is more digitalized. it is more vulnerable, partly because we're a wealthier nation, and we're more wired than some of these other countries. and we have a more open society, and engage in lescontrol and censorship over what happens
over the internet. which is also part of what makes us special. last point-- and the reason i'm going on here is because i know that you guys have a lot of questions about this, and i am addressing 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, that it was not tarnished, and that it did not feed any sense in the public that somehow tampering had taken place with the actual process of voting. and we accomplished that. that does not mean that we are not going to respond. it simply meant that 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, because we can do stuff to you. but it is also important for us to do that in a thoughtful, method calloway. some of it we do publicly. some of it we will do in a way that they know but not everybody will. and i know there have been folks out there who suggest somehow that if we went out there and 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 numberes which sanctions against the russians. the relationship between us and russia deteriorated, sadly, significantly, over the last several years. how we approach an
appropriate response that increases costs for them for behavior like this in the future but does not create problems for us is something that's worth taking the time to think through and figure out. that's exactly what we've done. so at a point in time where we've taken certain actions that we can divulge publicly, we will do so. there are times where the message will go-- will be directly received by the russians and not publicized. and i should point out, by the way, part of why the russians have been effective on this is because they don't go around announcing what they're doing. it's not like putin's 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. okay? >> did clinton lose because of the hacking? >> i'm 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. so, you know, i'm sure there are going to be a lot of books written about it. i've said what i think is important for the democratic party going forward rather than try to parse every aspect of the election. and i've said before, i couldn't be prouder of secretary clinton, her outstanding service. i think she's worked tirelessly on behalf of the american people, and i 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've been most focused on, appropriate for the fact that i'm not going to be a politician in about-- what is it, 32 days? 31? 34? ( laughter ) what i've said is that i can maybe give some counsel and advice to the democratic party. and i think the thing we have to spend the most time on, because it's the thing we have the most control over, is how do we make sure that we are showing up in place where's i think democratic policies are needed, where they are helping, where they are making a difference, but where people feel as if they're not being heard. and where democrats are characterized as coastal,
liberal, latte-sipin', you know, politically correct, out-of-touch folks. we have to be in those communities. and i've seen that when we are in those communities, it makes a difference. that's how i became president. y became a u.s. senator not just because i had a strong base in chicago but because i was driving around down-state illinois, and going to fish fries and sitting in vfw halls and talking to farmers. and i didn't win every one of their votes, but they got a sense of what i was talking about, what i cared about, that i was for working people, that i was for the middle class, that the reason i was interested in strength neng unions and raising the minimum wage and rebuilding our infrastructure, and making sure that parents had decent
child care and family leave was because my own family's history wasn't that different from theirs, even if i looked a little bit different. same thing in iowa. and so the question is how do we rebuild that party as a whole so that there's not a county in any state-- i don't care how red-- where we don't have a presence and we aren't making the argument because i think we have the better argument. but that requires a lot of work. you know, it's been something that i've been able to do successfully in my own campaigns. it is not something i have been able to transfer to candidates in midterms and sort of build a sustaining organization around. that's something that i-- i would have liked to have done more of. but it's kind of hard to do when
you're also dealing with with a whole bunch of issues here in the white house. and that doesn't mean, though, that it can't be done and i think there are going to be a lot of talented folks out there, a lot of progressives who share my values, who are going to be leading the charge in the years to come. michelle kuczynski of cnn. >> thank you. this week we heard hillary clinton talk about how she thinking the f.b.i. director's announcement made a difference in the outcome of the election. and we also just heard in an op-ed, her campaign chairman talk about something being deeply broken within the f.b.i. he talked about thinking that the investigation early on was lackadaisical in his words. what do you think about those comments? do you think there's any truth to them? do you think there's a danger there, that they're calling into question the integrity of institutions in a similar way that donald trump's team has
done? and the second part to that is that donald trump's team repeatedly-- i guess giving the indication that the investigation of the russian hack, as well as the retaliation, might not be such a priority once he's in office. so what do you think the risk is there? and are you going to talk to him directly about some of those comments he made? >> well, on the latter point, as i said before, the transition from election season to governance season is not always smooth. you know, it's bumpy. there's still 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 the 45th president of the united states, then he's got a different set of responsibilities and considerations. and i've said this before-- i think there is a sobering process when you walk into the oval office. and, you know, i haven't shared previously private concerns i've had with the president-elect. i will say that they have been cordial and, in some cases, have involved me making some pretty specific suggestions about how to ensure that, regardless of our obvious deep disagreements about policy, maybe i can transmit some thoughts about maintaining the effectiveness, integrity, cohesion of the office, our various democratic institutions.
and he's-- has listened. i can't say that he will end up implementing, but the conversations themselves have been cordial, as opposed to defensive in any way. and i will always make myself available to him, just as previous presidents have made themselves available to me as issues come up. with respect to the f.b.i., i will tell you, i've had a chance to know a lot of f.b.i. agents. i know director comey. they take their jobs seriously. they work really hard. they help keep us safe, and save a lot of lives. and it is always a challenge for law enforcement when there's an intersection between the work what they are doing and the
political system. it's one of the difficulties of democracy generally-- we have a system where we want our law enforcement investigators and our prosecutors to be free from politics, to be independent, to play it straight, but sometimes that involves investigations that touch on politics, and particularly in this hyper-partisan environment that we've 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 wading into investigation decisions or prosecution decisions or 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 i would stop now. >> mike dornan of bloomberg. >> thank you mpresident. on aleppo, your views of what happens there, the responsibility, and the russian government, the iranian government, the assad regime have been pretty well aired. but do you, as president of the united states, leader of the free world, feel any personal moral responsibility now at the end of your presidency for the carnage that we're all watching in aleppo, which i'm sure
disturbs you? secondly, also on aleppo, you've again made clear your practical disagreements with the... safe zones. and president-elect trump has throughout his campaign, and he said again last night, that he wants to create safe zones in syria. do you feel like in this transition, you need to help him toward implementing that? or is that not something that you should be doing? >> mike, i always feel responsible. i felt responsible when kids were being shot by snipers. i felt responsible when millions of people had been displaced. i feel responsible for murder and slaughter that's taken place in south sudan that's not being reported on, partly because there's not as much social media
being generated from there. there are places around the world where horrible things are happening, and because of my office, because i'm president of the united states, i feel responsible. i ask myself every single day, "is there something i could do that would save lives and make a difference and spare some child who doesn't deserve to suffer?" so that's a starting point. there's not a moment during the course of this presidency where i haven't felt some responsibility. that's 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 spp an. and i would go home at night and i would ask myself, "was there
something better 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 tallied it up, days or weeks of meetings-- where we went through every option in painful detail with maps, and we had our military and we had our aid
agencies, and we had our diplomatic teams, and sometimes we'd bring in outsiders who were critics of ours. whenever we went through it, the challenge was that short of putting large numbers of u.s. troops on the ground, uninvited, without any international law mandate, without sufficient support from congress, at a time when we still had troops in afghanistan, and we still had troops in iraq, and we had just gone through over a decade of war and spent 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 client state 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 that 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. and in that circumstance, i have to make a decision as president of the united states as to what is best-- i'm sorry, what's going on? somebody's not feeling good?
all right. why don't we have-- we've got-- we can get our doctors back there to help out. somebody want to go to my doctor's office and just have them-- all right. where was i? so we couldn't do it on the cheap. now, it may be-- >> is there a doctor in here, i think? can that be arranged? >> can somebody help out, please, and get the doctor in here? >> pelley: we are being told that, apparently, one of the journalists in the room has
fainted or passed out, and that's why the news conference has been interrupted. the president, as you've heard, has asked for a white house medical team to attend the person. we're not able to see them. >> in the meantime, just give her a little room. >> pelley: but that is apparently the hold-up in the news conference right now as a number of other journalists in the room attempt to attend to the person who has fianted. fainted. we're also being told that it's more crowded than usual in the brady press room. it certainly looks that way from here. and quite warm in there as well. so those may have been factors in this woman that you see here in the middle of the frame feeling ill. >> do you guys know where the doctor's office is. >> she seems to be on her feet. >> just go through the palm doors. it's right -- >> and she's going up on the the
exit. into the bracing air out there. >> there's doc jackson. >> pelley: and the doctor has arrived as well. >> okay. the doctor is in the house. and i don't mean that-- i mean that with all sincerity. i understand the impulse to want to do something. but ultimately, what i've had to do is to think about what can we sustain, what is realistic? and my first priority has to be what's the right thing to do for america? and it has been our view that the best thing to do has been to provide some support to the moderate opposition so what they could sustain themselves and
that you wouldn't see anti-assad regime sentiments just pouring in to al-nusra and al qaeda or isil. 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've been successful. and so, that's something that, as is true with a lot of issues and problems around the world, i have to go to bed with every night. but i continue to believe that it was the right approach, given what realistically we could get done. absent a decision, as i said, to
go in a much more significant way. and that, i think, would not have been sustainable or good for the american people because we had a whole host of other obligations that we also had to meet, wars we had already started and that were not yet finished. with respect to the issue of safe zones, it is a continued problem, a continued challenge with safe zones is if you are setting up those zones on syrian territory, then that requires some force that is willing to maintain that territory in the absence of consent from the syrian government, and now the russians, or the iranians.
so it may be that with aleppo's tragic situation unfolding that 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's going to arise. unfortunately, we're not even there yet because right now, we have russians and assad claiming that basically all the innocent civilians who were trapped in
aleppo are out when international organizations, humanitarian organizations, who know better and who are on the ground have said une85ically that there are still tens of thousands who are trapped and prepare to leave under pretty much any conditions. and so right now, our biggest priority is to continue to put pressure wherever we can to try to get them out. okay. >> not withstand ago. >> mike, i get too much-- >> do you feel responsibility not withstanding moving in that direction or help president-elect trump move in that direction? >> i will help president trump-- president-elect trump with any advice, counsel, information that we can provide. so that he, once he's sworn in, can make a decision. between now and then these are decisions that 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. >> mr. president, thank you very much. can you, given all the intelligence that we have now heard, assure the public this was, once and for all, a free and fair election? and specifically on russia, do you feel any obligation now, as they've been insisting that this isn't the case, to show the proof as it were. they say, "put the your money where your mouth is" and declassify some of the intelligence that exists. and more broadly as it relates to donald trump on this very topic, are you concerned about his relationship with vladimir putin, especially given some of the recent cabinet picks, including his selection for secretary of state, rex tillerson, who toasted putin with champagne over oil deals together? thank you. >> i may be getting older because these multipart questions, i-- ( laughter ) 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. so that assurance i can provide. that doesn't mean that we find every single, you know, potential probe of every single voting machine all across the country. but we paid a lot of attention to it. we worked with state officials, et cetera, and we feel confident that, that didn't occur, and that the vote were cast and they were counted. so that's on that point.
what was the second one? >> the second one was about declassification. >> declassification. look, we will provide evidence that we can safely provide that does not compromise sources and methods. but i'll be honest with you, when you're talking about cyber-security, a lot of it is classified and we're not going to provide it because the way we catch folks is by knowing certain things about them that they may not want us to know. and if we're going to monitor this stuff effectively going forward, we don't want them ton that we know. so this is one of the those situations whe