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Dan Coats
  White House Briefing  CSPAN  August 2, 2018 1:14pm-2:01pm EDT

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is in the month ahead but we are always in the process of forming a more perfect union. no one said that was going to be easy so as difficult as it's been, i think we will endure and i'm grateful to have your help to work through this important bill. thank you and god bless you. [applause] >> senator, thanks. without that optimism, motivation sometimes is hard to get in there and wait them out also. thanks for being a true pilot partisan. i'll turn the agenda over to mark is going to take us into our first. >>.
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>> morning everyone, i'm mark howard, education coordinator and i'm proud to call the center. we heard senator casey describing legislation that he's cosponsoring the supports the problem of sexual assault on aircraft. >> good afternoon. since the beginning of his administration, president trump has implemented a whole of government approach to safeguard our nation's election. the president has made it clear that his administration will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from a nation, state or other dangerous after. last year the president signed an executive order to strengthen and review the cyber security of our nation and its critical infrastructure. last week the president chaired a meeting of his
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national security council to address ongoing threats. we asked officials standing next to need to break the american people on the work he's done to protect the integrity of our actions. africa underway to provide cyber security for authorities to investigate, prosecute and hold accountable those who legally to interview process. i want to welcome director of national intelligence", director stephen ray, secretary of homeland security here samuelson, director of the national security agency general called tony national security pfizer john bolton to make comments and questions on the . as you know we address during the election numerous times in rhetoric the purpose of today's briefing is about what we are doing now to protect the integrity of our elections and we ask that you stay on. in order to this run smoothly we ask you direct your attention and questions to
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ask for bolton and make comments. >> thank you very much sarah and what we like to address today is election security in the 2018 election and in the future. president has made it very clear i think his priority is . we had obviously a number of inquiries from congress on this including a letter to me last couple days five senators by senator schumer and for others. i have responded to that letter today and we make copies to you and it's part of a framework for the briefing that the four operating the agency give you here today. they are the ones who are living and operationalizing. there are other agencies involved of these are four primary one and i think it's important that we address the question of the presence
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involved in this. is the, his determination to prevent russia and other foreign influence in elections. we meet on this, the senior white house. we meet with the heads of the different agencies involved. we discussed quite regularly and in my tenure as national security advisor less than 10 months we already have to fold national security council meeting president other discussions as well. since january 2017 the president has taken this action to defend our election systems from meddling interference. this includes measures security and resilience election systems, to confront russian for an online influence in theunited states , to confront aggressive action and to reinforce a strong sanctions regime. as you know mister will role
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is to assess through the heads of agencies. and i also say by way of introduction that many federal government actions protect elections in the united states such as those by community or law enforcement agencies are necessarily sensitive and highly classified. we do not wish to take the efforts of our adversaries any easier through injudicious public disclosure. nonetheless we have offered to continue to offer briefings to members of congress. so what i like to do here is for said is turned everything over to the people whose agencies have this responsibility. we will start off with director of national intelligence dan coats, followed by medicare homeland security.
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she will be followed by the director of the federal bureau of investigation christopher ray and finally the director of national. agency, general called tony so stan. >> as director of national intelligence, i would like the american people to know that the intelligence community and all of its agencies are clustered to identify threats of all kinds against the united states. the president has specifically directed us to make the matter of election meddling and securing our election process a top priority and we will continue to do so. we have incorporated lessons learned from the 2016 elections and implemented a broad spectrum of actions to share more information across the federal government as well as the state of local governments and also with the
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public and private sector. the intelligence community continues to be concerned about the threat of upcoming us elections . both the midterm presidential elections in 2020. with regards to russian involvement in the midterm elections, we continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by russia to try to weaken and divide the united states. these efforts are not exclusive to the selection for future elections but certainly cover issues relevant to the election. we also know as the russians into information and government officials, we are aware that russia is not the only country that istrying to influence our domestic , politicalenvironment . we know there are others who have the capability and may be considering influence activities. as such, we will continue to
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monitor and warn of asap. i have made to make sure that the intelligence community is working together and integrating across organizations and seeking greater transparency to the public. the od and i has instituted a broad spectrum of actions covering collection, analysis, reporting,education and partnerships , all designed to provide the threat assessments that federal, state and local officials as well as to the public and private sector when necessary. for example, my office leaves the interagency working group now meeting weekly to push towards november in the department of justice, fbi and department of homeland security, cia and nsa with regional, cyber intelligence
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experts all focused on ensuring election security and integration of our efforts. intelligence communities focus is persistent support to the br, department of homeland security and other agencies in their election responsibilities. my office is insuring these organizations received timely and proactive intelligence. >> good afternoon, thank you all for joining us. i want to start by briefly mentioning on tuesday, dhs posted the first cyber security summit. this brought together government industry leaders in academia to discuss opportunities to join forces to threats to our nation's critical infrastructure. all those who joined us from academia, government and private sector who participated and sign up for concrete actions to cyber security challenges.across
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every procedure structure from transportation to communication and selling others, a single widespread consequences. and i look forward to working with leaders in the digital realm we stand up to this. but not just risks to our prosperity, privacy and infrastructure we have to worry about and that's why we're here . our democracy itself is in the crosshairs. free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy has become clear they are the target of our adversaries who seek to sow discord and undermine our way of life. i fully share the intelligence community assessment and ask for those that may interfere with our election and other threats. our adversaries shown the willingness and capability to interfere in our elections. dhs has and continues to work closely with state and local election officials throughout the country on offering a range of services to help
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identify weaknesses in our election system. whether offering no-cost all of your technical assistance for sharing best practices for securing online voter registration data , we are providing technical advice on ramp somewhere and disruptive now, howard stands ready to provide support based on each the restrictions needs. this is yet another example where one size does not fit all. i am pleased to inform you that today 50 states, the district of columbia and 900 and local governments have partnered with dhs to bolster the resilience of the nations election infrastructure. various states capabilities and engaging with the private sector and academia to improve the security of election. election infrastructure is not the destination, where aggressive vigilance. everyone must play their role to secure that every vote is
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counted correctly all here today, members of congress, state and local election, at all here today a new insight into essential adversaries and campaign, we are committed to providing our partners with the government's best intelligence and information available. the process is real and the nations is more resilient today because of the work we are all doing but we must continue to ensure that democracy is. for being here for director ray. >> afternoon everyone. last fall after i shortly after i became director i stood up and you for it influence task force that was designed to identify counteract all range of malign foreign operators, according to democratic institutions and our values. the task force brings
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together across the water fbi expertise so we're talking counterintelligence,, and even counterterrorism. designed to root out and respond for influence operation. for their part, our adversaries influence operation is a wide range of activities. but just like we have a multidisciplinary, because of the threat, so just a few examples of some of the things we seen, targeting us officials and other us persons through traditional intelligence tradecraft. criminal efforts to suppress voting and provide illegal campaign finances. to the voting infrastructure on the computer intrusions targeting elected officials and others and a whole slew of other kinds of influence both overtly and covertly manipulating news stories and spreading disinformation,
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leveraging economic resources and escalating divisive issues. it's important to understand this is not just an election cycle. our adversaries are trying to undermine our country on a persistent regular basis whether it'selection season or not . there is a clear distinction between all one activities in the security and integrity of our election system and on the other hand the broader influence operations designed to manipulate and influence our voters and opinions. as our partners, we are trying to both threats. we have 2 pillars to our operational strategy the first is our investigations and operation. for a variety of reasons which i are obvious including operational, i'm not going to be able to describe the full extent of those efforts but are influenced task force works with in all 56 field offices and even as we see,
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we got investigations with the foreign influence nexus sending the offices, behind field offices across the country so make no mistake, the soul of this foreign influence threat is wrong the area is secular, i said there were three colors, second focus on information sharing and intelligence, working with partners in the community and federal government as well as with our state and local partners. to establish a common operating picture. just last week as an example, we disseminated a list to our state and local law enforcement partners of various foreign influence indicators that we have to be on a for, things like malicious activity, social abnormality. the idea is to marginal additional eyes and ears in the fight. we're also working with our international partners to exchange intelligence and
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strategies for combating the threat because this is after all a shared for our allies. the third pillar of our approach is based on our strong relationships with the private sector. technology companies have a frontline responsibility to secure their own networks, products and platforms. but we're doing our part by providing actionable intelligence that will enable them to address the use of their platforms by foreign actors. this year we've met with top social media companies, technology companies sometimes, given classified briefings, shared indicators and information in a variety of other pieces of information so they can better monitor those platforms. the reality is going to take all of us working together to hold the field because this threat is not going away. as i have said consistently, russia interfere with the last election and continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day.
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this is a threat we extremely seriously and to tackle and respond to with fierce determination and together, with our partners both here and some of the other partners we talked about, i'm confident we can protect the integrity of our democratic institutions and maintain confidence inour portals . thank you. >>. >> in relation to, if you were 20. i appreciate the leadership and support from the president, secretary of defense, director of national intelligence and i believe our mandate is clear. our mission to defend the nation, the department of defense is providing intelligence, technical expertise . the homeland security
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produced by state and local officials to prevent foreign interference in election. this is a vital mission for us in the nation. draw the experience and expertise in continuing work in this area.our support has been ongoing and will continue through the midterm elections. we are also providing intelligence and information leads through the federal bureau of investigation on foreign adversaries where attempting to sow discord and division withinthe american public . this information is shared with appropriate entities, and malicious cyber actors. >> us cyber command and the national security agency are tracking a library of foreign adversaries are not operations against those actors attempting to undermine our nations midterm elections. these type of operations are sensitive and require confidentiality for success. i will discuss the specifics except to say that our forces are well-trained, ready and
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very capable. i have complete confidence in the forces under my command. we will work in conjunction with other elements of our government to ensure we all our information on a foreign power that test interfere in our crack process. >> i turn it back to the moderator. >> thank you. as i said beginning, we could stay on top and also if you could when asking a question directed to a specific person. it's always after we finish this part of the reason, i'll be back toanswer other questions . >> director coats, if i could directed question to you. let me take you back if i could to helsinki. the president seemed to indicate that he may believe vladimir putin when he says he doesn't continue to have any influence in the 2016 election. what is your belief about the
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russian government involvement in meddling in 2016 and if as you say, russia continues to try to influence our electoral process, does that mean that nothing much of the meeting with putin or is it other than government actors who are involved? >> in relation to the 2016 election, none of us were in office at that particular time but the president, the vice president, everyone on this day as knowledge the fact that it was a direct attempt at what happened in 2016. we have subsequently made the determination to make this top priority, the again. we're throwing everything and we will we will be discussing here today. relative to my discussions with the president, on whatever issue it is, those, i do not go public with that. i don't think that's the right and to do so our focus
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here today is simply to tell the american people we acknowledge the. the threat is real. it is continuing and we are doing everything we can to have a legitimate election that the american people can ask austin. in addition to back, goes beyond the election to the russians intent to undermine our democratic values. the driveway clean our allies and other various tools we are looking at also today we are here to talkabout the elections coming up and what we're doing ensuring the american people . >> clarify, if you and director ray say russia continues to metal in our elections influence voters, are we talking about rogue russian individuals or are we talking about the kremlin? >> i think you can say both. and even that, russia's has has used numerous ways in
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which they want to influence through social media , through, actors that they hire, through proxies, all of the above potentially more, i can't go into any details other than what is classified but it's pervasive. is ongoing with the intent to achieve their intent to drive a wedge and undermine our democratic values. >> i have a question for director ray. thank you. special counsel robert mueller has invited more than 20 russian officials based on work by the fbi for meddling in the elections. the president has tweeted that investigation is a hoax and is being shut down by know you said you don't believe it's a hoax. why would the american people the what you're saying about the fbi when the president says that the investigation by special counsel and the
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press secretary yesterday said there was a lot of corruption within the fbi. you have a response to those things coming from the white house? >> i can assure the men and women that the men and women of the fbi will follow up and do our jobs. >> thank you sarah, i have a question for director coats. how would you characterize the current russian actors who metal in 2018 election relative to 2000 16? is it more intense? do you see those efforts focused on a particular party and in general, is the pace of those operations in any way relative to 2014 2012 or is it more than that?>> relative to what we've seen for the midterm elections, it's not the kind of robust campaign that we saw in the 2016 election. we know through decades,
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russia has used its propaganda and message to sow discord in america. however they stepped up their game time in 2016. we've not seen that kind of robust effort from them so far. as i mentioned publicly sometime just a few weeks ago, we were only one keyboard click away from finding out something you haven't seen up to this particular point in time but right now we have not seen that. >> to follow up sir, are you seeing a direct attempt on any particular party? is there any particular party benefiting from current russian efforts? >> what we see is they are looking for every opportunity regardless of party or whether or not it applies to the election to continue their pervasive efforts to undermine our fundamental values. >>. [inaudible] in the run-up to
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the helsinki summit, us officials and the nato ambassadors to russia said the president would raise the issue of malign activity with president clinton. eddie discussed that at least at the press conference. you're saying today the president has directed you to make the issue of election meddling priority . how does that display a disconnect between what you are saying as advisor and what the president has said on these issues? >> i'm not in a position to understand fully or talk about what happened but i'll get you over to the national security director here. >> the issue was discussed and in fact president clinton said i thought the press conference that certainly they extended a bilateral meeting when the two meters got together with their senior advisers.
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president putin said the first issue president trump way raised election meddling. now, at the press conference the president didn't highlight any of the malign activities that you had or the national advisers had so should americans believe that he is listening to your advice or that he is going to go away like he did with the president of russia? >> the president has made it abundantly clear to anyone who has a responsibility in this area that he cares deeply about and he expects them to do their jobs to their fullestability he supports them fully . >>. [inaudible] social media was brought out, facebook, how they had to shut down 32 accounts believe essentially to be from russia. can you get an idea, is that the margin? is that the tip of the
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iceberg and generally speaking with the social media companies, facebook, twitter, instagram, how much have they progressed or not progress in what you would like to see in terms of progression from identifying the threat? >> i'm not going to discuss any specific ongoing investigation but what i will tell you that activity of the sort you're describing is a good reflection of the fact that we have to have a public private partnership and that's why when i talk about our pillars of the foreign influence task force, we are spending so much effort trying to engage with social media technology companies because there is an important role for them to play in terms of monitoring policing their own platforms so we would like to see happen which is happening in a way that is much more robust for the 2016 election, we are sharing with an actionable intelligence in a way that was before.
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we understand what they need, they are sharing information that they need. they are doing things on their platform voluntarily that the government: but in turn we learn things from them and we can use that to have our investigations be more effective but progress is being made. we've got to keep getting better at it, he on their feet but that's what we're seeing . >> ambassador bolton, in your letter you talk about foreign disclosure of theconsulate in san francisco and seattle . what happened there? >> i'm not going to discuss the background decision which occurred before i came to this job , but the purpose of expelling the russian individuals that were expelled was to signal to russia that their conduct in conducting a chemical weapons attack in great britain was unacceptable. this was unloaded retaliation designed to show that we will
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not tolerate that kind of activity on the territory of the united states or any of our allies and we expelled a lot of people who have knowledge of the other activities in the united states that we considered acceptable. >>. >>. >> 84 secretary nielsen, the mailing campaigns seem to follow two broad categories, the sort of information campaign to challenge the information on which americans use to make their determinations and then the more physical interferences into the machinery of voting. the deletion ofvoting, voter rolls , the machinery that the state describe what you're seeing physically in the run-up to this coming election in both of those areas, we worry more about one another? are there specific threats that maybe you can't even talk about you can say there
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have been specific threats in both of those categories? and how should americans process where we're going to go to the polls in a few months when people call ever, they are secure? >> we said this fairly consistently in context of 2018, we are not seeing the same kind of efforts to specifically target election infrastructure in the voter registration database system. what we are seeing are the malign influence operations and in effect information warfare that we thought and in essence, that's 24 seven, 365 years phenomenon turn on whether or not we are in the election season. but as director said, any moment is just a moment before the dial can be turned up like we saw in 2016. not in terms of affecting the
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potential duration of voter registration databases or something like that turn in the vehicle for them to try to sow discord or undermine confidence and we have to be sure we're pushing back on it . >> just to add, we were all together but your questions just a little bit on the division of labor. this is on the election infrastructure, florida state and local. >> and we support the fbi's efforts to end influence but with respect to the infrastructure fees, we have seen a willingness and capability on the part of the russians so we are working very closely with the locals to ensure that we are prepared this time. part of that is encouraging state to have the ability but that is the one part of your question, what happens if we want to assure americans the day after that their vote was counted correctly? >> regardless of what we want to be. we also want to make sure we
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have. >> when the government shutdown a focus of these efforts? >> what we have done is in 2017, dhs election infrastructure, critical infrastructuresubsectors so we prioritize so a state. >> northerly assessment , that best practices, hygiene and etc. we will continue to prioritize with our message. >> can you on a little bit more of what you say? you said in question for the general counsel, did you have a better sense of who specifically they targeted? we know these two senators who said they were people impersonating government officials. members of the senate, members of the house and democratic pains. and then the secretary of defense. >> we follow procedure agreed upon from sometime ago in
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terms of when we see this type of information, is processed through the leadership of the respective house or chamber, senate chamber and then disseminated down to the individual members who is targeted. so we have taken that action that is in place but i'm not in position. >> would you support registration on imposing sanctions on russia? interview? >> already have a lot of sanctions in place and i would support any efforts we can collectively to send a signal to russia that there is for what they're doing and if we want to have any kind ofrelationship whatsoever in dealing with things of mutual interest, the russians have
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to stop doing what they're doing not going to . >> have you all to operate to conduct any cyber operations on the clintons? >> the secretary of defense is clear, we're not going to accept meddling in the elections. it's pretty unambiguous. [inaudible] >> very much, i appreciate you being here today. [inaudible] we will take a couple more questions on other topics today. jill, go ahead. >> i want to ask a question on north korea. ongoing use", i look forward to seeing you. other plansin place , any discussion about a letter, and to address any of the reports today that appeared to show that they are not actually holding court on the
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campaign? >> that's a lot of questions rolled into one. i'll try to address each one. and he did receive a letter i believe on august 1. there is not a significant meeting that is currently live in or finalize, we're certainly open to discussion but there is a meeting. we have responded to karen ken's letter. the president has letter will bedelivered shortly . beyond into any details. >> i can say that the letter addressed their commitment from their joint statement and that was made after single for something and they're going to continue working together. >> again, i don't any further than what i just told you. >>. >> she said the media and also for the family separation of order. >> certainly the president himself has stated he like
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the idea of family separation. he does. the idea open borders. don't like the idea of allowing people in our country where we don't know they are the president wants to secure our borders which is why we've asked congress to fix the law. we haven't been unclear about what our position is that we want to secure the borders. we want to change the law. congress's job to do that. we like them, particularly god press to stop playing political games and step up and do their jobs. the president is rightfully frustrated. 90 percent of the coverage on him is negative despite the fact economy is booming. isis is on the run. american leadership is being reasserted around the world. you use to cover his marks on loretta highlighting on the press said there was no news made despite the governor of the state joined with dozens of businesses across the state to announce new jobs. may not be news in washington
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dc but i can assure you it news in the state of florida that people that job for this president obama is an opportunity the opportunity to have a job moving forward. real news and something that people in the state of florida and across the country appreciate that was totally north. not only that, before journalists on cnn president had taken questions in over a week despite the fact that it was a live shot from the two into press conference president with prime minister it only moments after making accusation . with this sort of misinformation and interest that's so pervasive, it's completely understandable for the president to be frustrated. sorry, john decker, go ahead. >>. [inaudible] is there a timeline as to when the president may pull the trigger and impose harsher
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sanctions on russia or on china? >> we are continuing to monitor the process and we have done that and we will certainly let you know. >> the goal at the end of the day is to get china to the negotiating table. the way they were the negotiating table with trade officials to once again. >> the letter today is to end the unfair trade practices that china engaged in for decades and that the administration for this president ignored. >> the question of elections, the president said other people also may have been involved in the efforts to interfere with the 2016 election. are any of the people you saw here, is there evidence in the intelligence community there were others besides russia who were involved in election meddling? >> we know there were others and we know there are others that are considering making attempts in 2018 which is what our focus is.
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moving forward. as you know, none of us were here in 2016. we are here now and the individuals that your moments ago, they focus in the hallway government and directed by the president to protect election infrastructure in 2018 and moving forward and that's exactly what we're going to do. >>. >> into specific details but intelligence shows there are a number of others that are looking at and considering engaging in 2018. >>. >> you suggested the russians would be trying to help democrats in the midterm elections any evidence whatsoever that democrats, russians are trying to help democrats? >> you can see just from what took place in the facebook, i know director ray wasn't at liberty on the specifics but i can tell you a number of
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them were anti- president trump. and that certainly isn't helping republicans. i'm sorry. go ahead. >> i wanted you to reply to the 22 page attorney general memorandum where they say weakening the standards of the health of our children and putting communities at risk and increases the rising cost of climate change. the administration's response was what? >> that the recording we are reversing obamacare efficiency standards and creating the upper california standard is simply false. the epa released yesterday was a notice of proposed rule making our final. notice lays out a series of options to go forward with standard windows software: operation. we are opening up for a college. and we will make a final decision at the end >> .
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>> on the moveon terrace, 25 percent, what was the thing that made the president decide why he wanted to do it? >> the president is clear he wants to hold china's feet to the fire and stop the unfair trade practices. >> sorry, i'llcontinue next . >> the other night in tampa the president mentioned voter id. is the ministration looking at proposing a voter id law? or finishing a voter id law? >> i'm sorry, there was a lot of feedback. >> the president said on this security push, are they looking to do a voter id law? >> are looking to do everything we can to protect the 2018 elections. the integrity of those elections and moving on beyond 2018 to 2020 and after. we haven't made a final decision we will be looking
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at every option available. it's not unreasonable. if i return something to a department store, if i had the cash a check and show my id in order to do those things. it's not outrageous that if you're going to vote to decide on who the leaders of the local communities, your state and federal government are going to be, you would be asked to show id. >> follow up on sarah's question from npr, she asked about evocative trunks statement that the press is not an enemy of the people and ask you whether or not the press is the enemy of the people. you read all the laundry was of your concerns about the place the press but you did not say that the press is not the enemy of the people. and i think it would be a good thing if you were to say right here, at this briefing the press, the people gathered in this room right now doing their jobs every day, asking questions of officials like the ones you brought forward earlier or the enemy of the people. i think we deserve that.
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>> the president has made his position known. i also think it's ironic. i'm trying to answer your question. i politely waited and i even call on you despite the fact you interrupted my calling on your colleague. >> which is why i interrupted. if you would not mind letting me follow-up that would be fine. >> ironic that not only you and the media president for his rhetoric when they frequently lower the level position. repeatedly. repeatedly the media resorts to personal attacks without any other than to invite anger. he me personally on a number of occasions including your own network. i've been and i ice officials are not welcome in their place of worship. their information is shared on the internet. when i was a correspondence association which all all your members, you brought you
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to my appearance and calling a traitor to my own gender. as i know, as far as i'm the first press secretary in the history of the united states required secret service protection. the media continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against the president and everyone in this administration we have a role to play the media will play as well. >> if i may follow-up, excuse me. you did not say in the course of those remarks you made that the press is not the enemy of the people. are we to take it from you what you just said , we will put in) the sound in your notes section and i'm sorry that happened to you. i wish thathad not happened . but for the sake of this room, the people who are in this room, this democracy, this country, all the people around the world are watching what you are saying sarah and the united states of america,
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president of the united states should not refer to us as the enemy of the people. his own daughter knowledge is and all i'm asking you to do now is that right here and right here. >> i appreciate your passion. i share. i addressed this and i'm here to speak on behalf of the president is made his comments. >> on another matter, the national archive chairman today said they probably are going to be able to finish the document collection regarding brent cavanaugh until october. it's later than we get that the republicans are hoping for. can you comment on that or any assistance from the white house in the archives? >> what to be as helpful as possible in turning over as many documents. several members stated there will be 1 million pages of documents to review including 300 judicial opinions.
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the staff secretary tell us the least about his judicial opinion million pages from his other work including his judicial opinions. we want a thoroughevaluation and we pass for that but we don't want to air on the side of expedition. we want to continue to be cooperative . >> i want to follow up on the third question. we are nearing now the 2 month mark. >> .. we are going to continue to work with north korea because it's a great place to close out. thank you very much. [inaudible question]