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tv   Senate Minority Leader Schumer News Conference  CSPAN  June 12, 2018 7:06pm-7:28pm EDT

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another look at a different approach and we'll see what we can work out. and my assumption is as i said earlier that if something has worked out, congress will have a role to play in it by approving either a treaty or some kind of agreement that's ultimately reached. >> okay. thank you, everybody. i want to thank senators for being here with me. now a lot of tension is obviously on north korea and that's what my colleagues will discuss, but before i do, i want to just say something that's very important to millions of middle class families in this country, which is healthcare.
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democrats have not and will not lose sight of the fact that the trump administration and the republican congress have systematically worked to sabotage our healthcare stem, leading to double digit premium increases in state after state. if you ask the amecan people the number one issue they care about, it's healthcare. not anything else. and we are not going to get diverted. we're going to focus from now through july and the august recess on healthcare. so many millions of american families will pay more in premium increases than any tax break they will get. and that is not because it had to happen. it is because the trump administration and the republicans in the house and senate have dately undone our healthcare system to aid the big special interests. last week their decision to no longer defend the constitutionality of protections for americans with preexisting
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conditions was shameful. every one of us, i know families whose daughter -- i know a family wse daughter, middle class had cancer, young girl, no insurer would give them healthcare, and they had to watch her suffer. is that what president trump and the republicans have brought? i'm afraid . and we're going to work hard to undo it. this november americans will go to the polls knowing that president trump and republicans in congress have spent two years dismantling the nation's healthcare system. they will hav the opportunity to vote to move the country in a different direction. now on north korea, it's been less than 24 hours since president trump and chairman kim jong-un met in singapore. it is a welcome improvement to see the two of them having a dialogue rather than engaging in
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name calling and sabre rattling which given north korea's capabilities is truly dangerous for every american. and the world rooting for diplomacy to succeed. we got to be clear eyed about what a diplomatic succe looks like, complete verifiable irreversible denuclearization of the korean peninsula, nothing less. when a country like north korea, with a leader who is as ruthless as kim jong-un is has nuclear weapons and icbm's that can threaten the u.s., photo ops will not do. we need followthrough. we need to see that that danger is removed. and yet, president trump seems to have given away two or three of the major things that kim jong-un wanted, a meeting, the flags next to each other, now no delay of exercises with south korea, without getting anything in return. the danger to america is ever
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present. so what do we believe? five things: first, this is democrats. first, north korea must dismantle or remove every single one of its nuclear chemical and olic wes. cond, they must end the production enrichment of uranium and plutonium for military purposes. and permanently dismantle their nuclear weapons infrastructure including testsites. third they need to continue to suspend all ballistic missile tests. fourth north korea must commit to any time anywhere inspections for both nuclear and ballistic missile programs including all nondeclared suspicious sites. if inspectors reveal any violations there's got to be a snapback to sanctions. lastly, any agreement must be permanent. in the little statement that the president trump and kim jong-un
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put together there's no mention of any of this. so got a long long way to go. while we're relieved they are no re wer calling each other names, ried that these kinds of things which are needed for america's safety are n happening. unfortunately, the communique issued by president trump and kim doesn't make m p on any of these principles. the document is short in its details. it lists denuclearization as a far-off goal but with no path on how to get there. and so with the lack of details, we are worried that kim jong-un is getting something for nothing, which is fine for him, but not fine for the safety of the citizens of the united bm le is this, what the united states has gained is
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vague and unverifiable, what north korea has gained is tangible and lasting. we hope this doesn't continue. senator menendez? >> thank you, mr. leader. look, we are very committed to a robust diplomacy as an effort to solve the threat of a nuclear armed north korea. and certainly dialogue is far better than threatening nuclear annihilation against each other over twitter, but dialogue and particularly diplomacy has to be clear-eyed. as steady. it has to be thoughtful. it had to be prepared, which is the challenge that we have to the summit that was held. there was really no substantive deep preparation to test the proposition of what kim jong-un is really committed to. and what do we mean by denuclearization? for uhat'sretty clear. it is a dismantling of the
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nuclear war heads that exist, the nuclear operation and its materials and its missile activities. that's how you ultimately eliminate the threat at a minimum. but none of that, even definition of what the commitment to work towards was not acquired in this communique. so we had a lot of sizzle here but not a lot of steak at the end of the day. and this is probably the weakest communique i have ever seen come out of an engagement with north korea over several administrations. now, in and of itlf, one might applaud dialogue, except that there was far more here than dialogue. kim jong-un had a good summit. at the end of the day, he went from international pariah scorned by the world with multilateral sanctions including those at the united nations to being seen as an equal meeting with the president of the united states, the leader of the free
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world on an equal footing. the president used words like it was an honor to meet him and talked about how he cared about his people when it is well documented that tens of thousands sit in north korean prisons when tens of thousands others are starving, and when kim jong-un has used assassination to keep himself in power. that is neither honorable nor is it someone who loves his people. and at a time that we need to continues to exert our maximum pressure, already china as a result of the summit and what went on is talking about seeking relief for north korea at the united nations. that begins to unravel the essence of maximum pressure which you need especially in light that you have achieved nothing tangible as a result of the summit. so we -- i marvel to see a
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president who chastises leaders that have been part of a coalition whose sons and daughters have died alongside of americans in various engagements in the world, but embraces a north korean dictator who actually gives up nothing at the summit. pretty remarkable moment. that's why we're going to be insisting as we have before for creating what is the standards for an agreement with north korea and to insist that the senate foreign relations committee that there be hearings about what is the strategy to move forward. what is the strategy to achie the true denuclearization, the dismantling and ultimately the complete irreversible verifiable process that we seek for peace and security for the world. and so that's what we're going to continue to press on because only then can peace and security be achieved.
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>> senator? >> north korea, kim jong-un have put millions of people at risk. make no mistake about it. they have a nuclear capacity. they have delivery systems. this is a dangerous situation. the way to solve this danger is through diplomacy. so all of us want to see diplomacy succeed. that is the way to deal with this issue. kim jong-un, north korea have made commitments in the past that they have not followed. more specific commitments than we have heard during the summit. so you can't take his word for it. we don't know whether his intentions will be. we need to see action. many of us urged before t summit that there be no concessions unt there's action by north korea to give us an inventory of their nuclear programs and their missile delivery system programs, that we have a commitment to
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completely denuclearize the korean peninsula. we have a game plan in order to achieve that. there are specifics that we need to have. we need to have inspectors on the ground to understand the program, to make sure that the commitments are carried out. that is what is to be expected. and moving forward, we will insist that that be achieved. now, kim jong-un accomplished two things at the summit. he got president trump to change the commitment on the military exercises on the korean peninsula and he got a meeting with the president of the united states. we urge that there be no concessions until there is progress made that we can visually see. secretary pompeo said that he will be submitting an agreement, if an agreement is reached, to the congress of the united states and perhaps a treaty to the united states senate. we have not been briefed at all
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on astrategy, which leads the question, does the trump administration really have a strategy to be able to achieve these objectives? now, we know what was done duringhe iran negotiations. and we know that we want to make sure that we control all aspects of a nuclear program. schumer said it must be permanent. permanent means we must understand exactly what they are doing so they cannot recreate a program without protection. we haven't heard anything at all about that. -- without detection. we haven't heard anything at all about that. before we normalize a situation with north korea, we need to deal with the issues besides the nuclear issues, human rights violations in north korea rank among the worst of any country in the world, and that also needs to be part of these
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discussions. i started by saying we want diplomacy to work. we want to use diplomacy to achieve the end to this nuclear crisis, but you need to do it in jong-un is not going to make concessions unless we act with strength. we don't make concessions unless there's progress and we are sure of a commitment to a denuclearized peninsula. that did not come out of this summit the american adversaries have had a great week, north korea, russia, china have all made progress in recent days. as i just heard from my more senior colleagues, i couldn't agree more. we prefer diplomacy to the exchange of adolescent threats by twitter. but if you think about what we gave and what we got, through our president's representation of the united states in singapore, in a summit with kim jong-un, kim jong-un gave what his father and grand father
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gave, commitments to denuclearization that are unlikely to ever b accomplished, but he got what they never got. a chance to stand side by side wi t amerin president on the world stage and be discussed and treated with respect. and an invitation to the white house and our president rolling back joint military exercises with our vital regional allies south korea and japan,learly without their consultation because they are alrea asking for clarification about what this means. we gave more than we got. this is a handshake reality tv photo op summit. as both senators who spoke befo me have said, north korea's one of the worst human rights violators in the world. as the co chair of the human rights caucus here in the senate, i'm meeting with north koreans later today. we should not abandon our global leadership on human rights and values. that is what has made us strong. what happened at the g-7 summit where president trump said
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russia should be included the community of democratic world leaders was i think a huge mistake. and gave up some of the gro that we should hold. instead he picked fights with our closest allies, among the democracies of the world. so he left canada to go to singapore, not strengthened by that fight but i think weakened by that fight. it goes to a core question, what makes us strong? if we had the support of our vital allies in enforcing sanctions against north korea, i think president trump would have been stronger going into that summit. i will remind you last, that last week trump's commerce department reached an agreement with zte, one of china's largest telecommunications companies, one that our intelligence community says may well have embedded surveillance equipment into networks and phones. many of us were concerned that zte got an agreement that allowed them to move forward. i privately hoped that somehow president trump had gotten a
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great concession from china to be cooperating with us in north korea. the fact that china is now calling for the relief of u.n. security council sanctions against north korea suggests they are not moving forward with us in providing the pressure essential to keeping kim jong-un at the table to accomplish anything of substance. we all hope and pray that diplomacy will work. but diplomacy done on a whim without preparation and without deep study and without a clear agenda means not really diplomacy but entertainment. it is my hope we will change course. i very much look forward to senator menendez' leadership on our foreign relations committee to hold this administration accountable for delivering a meaningful strategy for engaging with our allies, for holding north korea accountable to the very nice statements made at the summit, and to standing up for human rights. thank you. >> three excellent statements by
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my colleagues. questions? yes? >> you met personally and negotiated with the president. i don't think there's any question that he's unorthox. is there anything you have seen in your personal interactions that makes you think perhaps this could be different because he's the one that's leading the way? >> the problem is the president when he negotiates is so erratic and so whimsical and so given to impulse at the moment that he almost always fails, and we're worried that the same is happening in north korea. >> bottom line, do you think icsre safer now regarding north korea or were they safer a week ago? >> well, the bottom line is that we need to make progress. we are never safe when a leader like kim jong-un has icbm's and nuclear weapons. have we moved materially in any way away from that worry and danger? no. >> what about -- i will put these two questions together here. we've heard some of your colleagues about we need to kind
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of verify what the terms are here, we need to have a follow up study. you also seen from your republican counterparts for giving a pass on the president for his position on trade and zte. >> i'm gratified that a large number of republicans are with us on zte and something that got much less notice than it deserved in the manager's amendment last night on the bill is a very strong zte amendment that goes even further than the original amendment in terms of undoing what the president has done and putting far more restrictions on them. in that area we seem to have a great deal of bipartisan support and we democrats feel very strongly and i think a lot of republicans do as well that that should stay in the bill and become law, and it has a darn
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good chance that that will happen. on these other issues, trade, who knows. on north korea i've been surprised about how lukewarm the republican reaction has been. >> you say this summer will about healthcare how does that go with leader mcconnell's plan? >> ask the american people what they prefer and they want to us focus on healthcare and we're going to use all the tools we have to focus healthcare. >> [inaudible]. >> we don't know. there's agreement. there's no out line. there's just a little statement that says virtually nothing. much less by the way than what president bush was able to get in 2005 and president clinton in 1994. it's much less than either of those, and in each case then north korea backed off. given that they've gotten a lot of the things they've already
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wanted, the worry, very real, is that they will back off here too having taken their little bag of goies homeng us empty handed leaving the president empty handed so it is too early to say because we don't have anything yet. >> last one? >> [inaudible]. >> the corker amendment, leader mcconnell has said he wouldn't allow to the floor. we would like to see a vote on the corker amendment, and there's been a proposal that makes it far more palatable to many that it be just directed at nato allies, canada, the western europe, because how can they be national security concerns with them if they are members of an alliance like nato? thank you, everybody. >> health and human services
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secretary testified this morning on president trump's prescription drug pricing plan before the senate health education labor and pensions committee. watch the hearing tonight at 10:00 eastern time here on c-span 2. >> suny night, television and radio host talks about his book "from the left, a life in the cross fire". he's interviewed by a syndicated columnist. >> who is one of the most persuasive guests that you can recall? >> john mccain >> on what subject? >> just about anything. i admire him because he was such a maverick which i liked, i sort of consider myself somewhat of a maverick and he's also honest. he's willing to take on his own party. you know, i wrote a book critical about barack obama called buyer's remorse which i
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got a lot of flak from from my llmocrs. hn mccain felt his party was not living up to believe the republican party should be, was willing to say. >> watch sunday night at 9:00 eastern on c-span 2's book tv. >> kentucky senator mitch mcconnell became the longest serving republican leader wednesday bypassing former leader senator bob dole. senatorcconnell has s 11 years, 5 months, 10 days, a few senators paid tribute to senator mcconnell for breaking the record. >> thank you, madame president. before i begin my remarks, i want to congratulate our republican leader on becoming the longest serving republican leader in the senate, my friend leader mcconnell reached that milestone today. it's no secret we disagree on a whole lot of issues, both political and philosophical, but that


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