tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN August 4, 2016 6:00pm-8:01pm EDT
monitor. thank you for coming. our guest is homeland security secretary jeh johnson. we were honored to host his predecessors. our guest is a graduate of my house in columbia law school. he began his legal career at paul weiss where he became a partner. after five years he left to serve as united states attorney in the southern district of new york. his subsequent career has alternated between corporate law and government service. president clinton appointed him to serve the general counsel of the air force of newly elected president obama may not get to be department of defense general counsel where his boss, robert gates called in the finest lawyer he has ever worked with. on october 2013, is an obama nominated him to be the fourth secretary of homeland security.
the secretary and his wife had their first date at the clinton inaugural ball. they are now the parents of a college aged daughter and son. thus ending the biographical portion of the program. now onto the recitation of ground rules. we are on the record here. please no live blogging are tweeting, no use of video, no filing of any kind while the breakfast is underway. give us time to actually listen to what our guest says. no embargo when assessing and probably at the clock. help you resist the selfie urge, we will e-mail several pictures of the discussion to reporters here. despite the size of this morning to bed, our goal is to have the breakfast be as much like a civilized in-depth conversation and his little like a hit-and-run press conference as is humanly possible. if you like to ask a question, do the traditional thing and
send me a subtle signal and i will happily call on as many reporters that possible. given the keen interest in our speaker in a number of reporters here this morning, i believe it myself to one question and ask that you do to so that as many of us as possible have a get to ask a question. we will start up by offering the guest to make an opening comment. thank you for doing this. sec. johnson: thank you. i appreciate the opportunity to be here this morning with all of you. and number of familiar faces among the journalists that i see here. i guess, to begin my remarks with this overview of the statement. and home insecurity, in our world, very often good news is no news.
good news am extraordinaire effort that our people are doing in the secret service, tsa, customs, border protection, and tdd, fema, very often goes unreported, almost taken for granted. for example, last week in the week before, we just completed two different areas security operations in cleveland and philadelphia. cleveland we had 3000 dhs personnel from secret service, hsi, coast guard and number for other components dedicated to the security of the republican national convention. our people along with the cleveland police dedicated themselves in a professional manner.
likewise in philadelphia we had some 2600 of our personnel there dedicated to security of the democratic national convention. and our people performed terrifically as they always do. this effort was a year in the planning and people don't always appreciate the level of precision and professionalism that goes into correlating security at a large event both inside the convention site and citywide. there were houses of demonstrators in the city of philadelphia alone and philadelphia police department responded admirably, professionally to every event, every provocation. there were attempts by people with bolt cutters and other devices to actually penetrate the gate video and across the
system and we have to start over again. every day, there is somebody working hard and putting their lives on the line to protect the american public and to protect the homeland. that is something that i have continually stressed in my time as secretary. today we will release a new think in two minutes or less sets out what we do.
it is my effort to spurs of our image a bit. i released into the workforce yesterday. so many people went online to look at it that we crashed the system and we had to start over. it will be released public we today. i hope everybody will take a look at the. back to you. >> i will do the ceremonial softball opening and then will go to brian, julie, mark thompson and several others. sec. johnson: a long lineup. >> i would ask how the threat has evolved and what further changes are needed to deal with these threats. he had a fascinating conversation with tom shanker of the times. you talked about the rise of isil and the rise of care
despite attacks where they may have never met a number member or maybe the not receive a direct order and that makes for a much more complicated threat environment. how has it changed? what needs to happen? sec. johnson: when i was at the department of defense as the general counsel, 2009-2012, our counterterrorism efforts were largely dedicated to taking the fight directly to the enemy in the places where they trained, had headquarters, plans, where they equipped, yemen, somalia and elsewhere. taking the fight to them. and we still are. syria, iraq, we've opened up a new front and libya. the effort had been and still is the great the enemy, destroy the enemy where they live.
where they work, wherever they rear their head. to prevent the terrorist directed attack of the style of 9/11 and subsequent attacks and attended attacks, classic example, the most prominent example is 9/11. then you also had the attempted underwear bomber in 2009. you have the attended times square bomb. the shoe bomb. these are the categories of terrorist directed attacks. operatives, the package bomb plot. operatives sent from overseas to try to infiltrate our borders, airspace with its first attack. now we live in an environment where have to be concerned about terrorist directed attacks and also terrorist inspired attacks.
terrorist inspired attacks may from our complicated world because be terrorist inspired operative is very often self radicalized as and self radicalize is in secret based on something that they see or read on the internet, social media, through terrorist publications and that type of threat is harder to detect by our intelligence communities and our law enforcement communities. and could strike in multiple different communities across the country. like orlando or chattanooga or other places. san bernardino. just within the category of terrorist inspired attacks there can be gradations.
we have this category now that the fbi often uses, terrorist enabled attack. which is something a step up from terrorist inspired attack. we now have a frisbee is called carrots validated attack where i sold may take credit for an attack after the actor has struck. it makes for a more complicated homeland security environment in response. militarily we continue to take the fight to isil and al qaeda overseas. our law enforcement continues very aggressive counterterrorism efforts here at home. we continue to be concerned around aviation security and threats to aviation security in as many of you know, beginning about two years ago, directed that we step up our aviation's gritty efforts and i'm sure more people will be interested in asking about that.
we have hardened the security around government installations, military installations here in the homeland. we've added security to the visa waiver program. we're doing a better job of monitoring the travel of suspicious individuals and preventing people from getting on their planes who should not be left to come to this country. here at home, in this environment, there is a role for the public to play. we don't too often ask the public for help in our efforts but here's an instance where i believe we should and we need to, there is a role for the public to play in our homeland security efforts. if you see something, say something. it is more than a slogan, saying something if a member of the public sees something has made a difference and does make a difference. i read about this routinely.
increased public awareness, public vigilance about a suspicious package, suspicious behavior, suspicious purchases can make a difference and last but not least, given the current environment we are in, this is the reason why we have really stepped up our efforts. i have been on this mission across the country to visit communities, mostly american muslim communities to ask for their help in homeland security by stressing that it is everyone's homeland, your public safety, here families, your friends. if they see someone heading in the wrong direction, self radicalizing, heading toward violence, say something.
not necessarily to law enforcement, but there's something and we have made the request and plea to become involved in our overall command security efforts by building bridges to american muslim communities. we can talk more about that in my judgment, it is among our most significant and important committee could efforts in this current environment that we are in. we are doing a number of things that requires a whole government approach and i hope that the next administration, whoever it is, will continue in these efforts on this path. i think it is vital to our national security and homeland security given where we are right now. >> i will buy down hard on my finger so as not to ask a follow-up question about donald trump and i will go to brian bennett. l.a. times.
>> cyber security and elections. when the dnc was hacked, initially they decided not to go directly to the fbi. they hired a private security firm to look at the attack and mitigate it. then the e-mails appeared online in the fbi got involved. also a question, a number of putting machines and counties that are electronic and digital and some are connected to the internet. i went to get a sense for you of what the vulnerabilities are, what your assessment of the hack is and should the government be looking at elections as they piece of critical infrastructure? or should the government try to stay out of it? >> it sounds like brian has been in our internal deliberations lately. [laughter] >> hopefully not hacking into them.
[laughter] sec. johnson: a couple of things. as everybody knows, the fbi is investigating the dnc hack. we are not at this point prepared to attribute it to a particular actor. that investigation continues. this is not a, on the dnc hack, a general observation, something i have preached generally, first, basic employee education and awareness about the hazards of spearfishing, everyone in this room at your respective employers has received an e-mail that is an attempt at spearfishing.
simply by not opening the e-mail or the attachment to the e-mail that looks suspicious to you or you don't recognize can make a huge difference. this is a general comment. the most devastating interest of attacks by the most sophisticated actors originate with a simple act of spearfishing. employee-employer awareness, education can raise the bar a huge difference. in dhs, for example, we run exercises where we will send employees e-mails like the free washington redskins tickets click here. they cited redskin fan clicks on the attachment and are told to report a certain time and place to pick up their free redskin tickets and to get a cyber security lecture instead.
observation and, number two. whether government or the private sector, there's an incident, call us right away. contact us right away. get us in their early. whether without a private cyber security expert or with a private cyber security expert. one of the, i thought that last week's ppd on cyber security and a clever way clarified the roles of different federal agencies into lineage between threat responses and asset response. threat response is responding to the crime and asset response is fixing and patching the vulnerability. it is supposed of terms, i am the firemen and jim komi is the cop -- jim comey is the copy you
call what our bloodlust of us and hopefully do so very soon after the incident. third observation, this is not a comment about the most recent dnc event but there a lot that goes into attribution. a lot that goes into the investigation and the process and the factors that go into attribution, 11 considerations that go into attributions that are within and without the cyber security context. those are my thoughts now. on the election process, we are actively thinking about election cyber security now. the issue with the election process is, as you know, there
is no federal election system. there are some 9000 jurisdictions across this country involved in the election process. when there is an actionable election for president, there is some 9000 jurisdictions that participate and contribute to collecting votes and reported votes. states, cities, counties, who all have their own way of doing business down to the nature of the ballot, the nature of how votes are collected and have deleted so after the 2000 election, congress passed legislation and eight commission was created at the national level to the security around the election process across the country. that commission actually did a lot of good. and raise the bar significantly.
there is more to do. the nature of cyber threats has evolved since 2002. i do think we should carefully consider whether our election system is critical infrastructure like the financial structure, like the power grid. the election process contributes to, there is a vital national interest in our election process. i think we need to consider whether to be considered but my department as critical infrastructure which has several implications. it becomes very much a part of our focus. there are some short-term and long-term things i think we should do to bolster the cyber
security around the election process. i'm considering communicating with election officials across the country about best practices in the short term. there are some as practices that exist and i think we need to shed those best practices with state and local officials and i think there are probably under term investments we need to make in a cyber security of our election process. i think there are various different points in the process that we have to be concerned about said this is something we are very focused on at the moment. >> what will be the impact of [indiscernible] the one that held a dhs must quickly release minors illegally with families and dhs still has full authority to detain the
parent. what will be the impact? sec. johnson: i will sound like a lawyer here. i have read the ninth circuit decision and i have read the decision in the district court. what the night circuit basically did was agree with the district judges reading of the 1997 settlement agreement to cover a company and unaccompanied children but the ninth circuit said that the settlement does not cover the parents of the kids. by the settlement, there is no authority to tell that they must release a parent. on an operational level, we are going to -- we're looking now at
what impact that has. what the judge said in her ruling last year, which we are abiding by is that the department has added possibility consistent with the terms of the settlement agreement in times of an influx. by the standard 1997 influx for some time now, so what we have been doing isn't in turn the average length of stay at these facilities at 20 days or less. and we are meeting that standard. we will look at, we are looking at whether to change the practice in any way in light of the ninth circuit ruling but we are complying with the judge's original order and we also
improved the conditions at the family residence enters that we have and i think that the senders are important both to make informed decisions about who is at risk of flight and who is not, the process individuals as the cross the border illegally, to make certain assessments about health and that we need to continue to practice, the practice has reformed considerably since two years ago when we first opened these up. >> julie davis, new york times.
>> 10,000 refugees. that involved a much more rapid process of vetting and interview that generally takes two years but the president has made it clear he what that much more quickly. i would to ask what sort of challenges that has post free at the department, whether that has put strains on the agency and what you have learned in the last several months about how to do this and do it well and keep the strict standards in place. having caught up with jafar yet? sec. johnson: i hope you saw my little movie. first of all, the process is still a pair of -- very thorough time-consuming process for each refugee applicant. on average it has been 18-24 months and we have not shortcut the process and in fact, we have
added security checks to the process for refugees from certain countries which i can't get into publicly. we've added security checks to the process. we have also added a lot of resources to the process to meet the commitment that we have given the world refugee crisis. that has meant a surge in refugee officers to the agency's credit, a lot of the personnel have volunteered to ride circuit and good to turkey and jordan to screen refugees in the midst of the crisis. a lot people have volunteered, packed their bags to go overseas and help with this effort. state department personnel as well. this is a joint state
department. we have expanded the processing capability. i inspected it myself when i was in turkey. we have searched a lot of resources to the process. there are a lot in the pipeline. last time i looked, i think we were now up to over 7000 refugees that have been physically resettled in this country. there are several thousand have been approved and are waiting the physical resettlement. i believe we will make the commitment to resettled 10,000 refugees this fiscal year which is a significantly larger number than lester. lester was about 1600. that has been through the surge of a lot of resources and hard work without shortcutting the process.
that is where we are. >> julie edwards, reuters. >> january, you did a surge operation on family units and in may it started to look like more of a trickle. have i become the new normal? carry out operations that target family units? sec. johnson: it is not a new normal. we enforce the law consistent with our priorities. if someone is a priority for removal, they've been apprehended at the border. they have been ordered removed by the immigration court. they've exhausted their appeals, they have no claim for humanitarian relief and not
qualified for medicare and relief under our laws, then we have to send them home. that is a message that i consistently sent and that is what we are doing. on a daily basis. we have something like 15-18 flights of migrants a week just to central america that we send back. people who have come here. we don't have open borders. we have to enforce the law consistent with our priorities. is that pleasant? unnecessarily. i spent a lot of time in south texas at our processing centers with a lot of kids and it is not pleasant to send somebody back to central america.
we have laws in a process by which someone can qualify for asylum. as i'm sure you know, we've expanded upon our refugee screening capability. the announcement two weeks go and we are expanding on the program because we realize that people should have a safe, alternate legal path to come to the country. there was a story in the times that somehow this is a paradox. that on the one hand we are sending people back and on the other hand we are try to expand the ability by which they come here. not a paradox. there is a right way and a your -- wrong way. as long as we have border security and as long as our borders are not open borders there is a wrong way and we have to enforce the law consistent with our priorities.
that is where we are. >> mark thompson from time magazine. >> said that the terrorists cannot prevail. the people refuse to be terrorized. you cited oklahoma city, the boston marathon bombing, 9/11 and lower manhattan as examples of resilience. those were pretty painful ways of learning resilience. what can national leaders like you do in a more wholesale sense to make the american public more resilient to these sporadic attacks? sec. johnson: good question. first of all, whenever i deliver a public message about the
threats that we face, i don't believe we ought to just simply scare people. in still a lot of fear. and to predict the inevitability the next terrorist attack. i think we have an obligation to accurately describe the environment in which we exist which is why i modified our system last december because you -- we were not using it in this environment, we don't necessarily have the specific credible threat, it can still be the case that we are concerned about the next homegrown island extremist tactics someplace. we changed the end has to include in an text -- task that can more i feel he described. coupled with that, i think we have an obligation to lay out all things that we are doing for the public for public safety.
in aviation security, border security, prospect of foreign terrorist travel, our efforts with law enforcement, i believe we should accurately inform the public about what is going on and always tell the public about the hard work of people contributing to our homeland security. in terms of the public's resilience on a national level, there is a way of looking at homeland security on a very personal level. very often i will be asked a question that on the surface is a rather simple is the question.
is it safe for me to send my teenage kids to europe for the summer? people ask me my cards a basic question like that. when it comes down to it, that is what people care about. i happen to believe that people are less concerned about a lot of the political back and forth, more concerned about is it safe for me to send my kids overseas? is it safe for me to go to a particular public event or a particular public place? is it safe for me to keep taking public expectation? -- transportation? i think we have to continue to reinforce for the public that yes it is safe to do these things, subject to whatever state department travel advisories they are overseas and whatever message you get for me but be aware and be vigilant. i have a lot of confidence in
public resilience in response to an attack or disaster. that does not mean we should become numb to this and just kind of accepted as the new normal. i categorically reject that. what is regrettable to me is that our security posture in general is much more hunkered down than it used to be. if you are in aspen last week, i did you may have heard me say that 50 years ago, this summer, i have a photograph of me and my little sister that my dad took. we were taking a tour of the capital and 50 is to go, you're able to drive your own car into a public park and spice about a hundred feet from the capitol steps and partnering go inside. which you can't do anymore. aviation security again was a
fraction of what it is now. that is had to change as a result of the global terrorist threat in which we live regrettably. pennsylvania avenue in front of the white house is closed and i don't see opening anytime soon. i think the public understands that and accept that. i think the public understands and accepts the need for aviation security. i think we have to, in terms of resilience, be levelheaded, accurate, objective about what we see as the global terrorist threat in the third to the home ran -- homeland and remind the public that we are doing this on your behalf. but there is a role for you to play, too.
those examples because i think that is what they are. not unique to oklahoma city or boston. although new york city is a pretty resilient, tough place. people don't panic. there are examples and shining examples and models for the rest of the country. >> i want to ask about countries that a recalcitrant and taken back the deportees. a lot of bipartisan pressure, a couple high-profile incidents have led to bipartisan pressure. you have 170 days left in this administration. will you invoke the 243 power that you have to have the state department imposed visa sanctions on some of those recalcitrant countries and will you come as part of the
question, cuba is often the worst offender. why did you not insist on those talks being part of reestablishing diplomatic relations with cuba? sec. johnson: two things. first, in terms of 243, don't know yet. we have done a number of things with the state department and in conversations with the recalcitrant countries to step up the pressure for them to take those have been ordered deported back. deportation is repatriation and repatriation is a two-party transaction. we have seen some progress in our efforts but in my judgment, not enough. i've had direct conversations with the chinese about taking
back migrants have been ordered deported from this country. we saw a little bit of progress with the chinese but not enough. that is a continued push and continued conversation. with cuba, the normalization process is a continued process. it is a continuing dialogue. >> from huffington post now. >> wondering why it was extended to people who have been here or just got here and why that is not the case for people from honduras where they still have to come here? sec. johnson: every gps country is different. the circumstances are different. in my judgment, syria is a perfect example of why tps exists.
the conditions in the country are such that we should not be sending people back. there are exceptions to that. there are exceptions for certain categories of migrants who are dangers and just simple he should be sent back. not a blanket amnesty. the conditions there are still bad. the environment in which we are usually declared it still exists. that is why we extended for syria. it is hard to compare one country to another but tps it generally granted every 18 months and every 80 month we consider whether to extended for the class of people for which it was originally extended or roll back the date.
every country is different. >> peter from energy wire. >> cyber security and ask you about the black energy malware that has been a major priority of your department. following the ukraine attack, black malware was used to get into those utilities. dhs issued their specific warnings to u.s. utilities about black energy. series of warnings going back to 2014. you give those utilities very detailed instructions on how to find it. question is, have you learned how effective those alerts were. have you been able to find this malware and get rid of it or is that not a report by gets back to dhs?
sec. johnson: i'm very pleased by the fact that our dhs personnel were part of the team that went to ukraine to investigate the incident there. in general, both as a result of the physical attack on the power grid and the incident in japan, the earthquake there, that was a wake-up call in the industry about securing the grid, securing utilities, about the need to work with and partner with the department of homeland security on cyber security, on the security of utilities, on the power grid. i think we have made a lot of progress. much more collaboration, much more partnership exercises and
we are seeing very good progress there. a loving utilities have stepped up. ceos of these utility's have dissipated and some of our advisory subcommittees and committees and there's a much better, closer collaboration then there was as recently as four or five years ago. which is quite promising. i do think that this continues to be a work in progress. your specific question, i would have to get back to you. in general, i think we're moving in the right direction. >> i assume you know that governor christie asked betsy refugees not be settled in the state because of his concern about vetting and from the state department data, and was like in
july alone, 75 people were settled in jersey city and elizabeth. given that sharp increase, do you have any concerns about safety where you live? sec. johnson: from syrian refugees? no. refugees are, as i said earlier, admitted after a very thorough time-consuming process. the reason for the increase in numbers is because we have increased the resources and people that go into the vetting process. to meet our commitment in the face of the worldwide crisis. in the communities i visited, where refugees have been resettled, i've been very impressed by how families, community members embrace the
refugees that arrive to the country. i recall for example a community in houston of syrian americans who actively embrace refugees when they arrive and help them get jobs, when they are eligible, help them with air liquide skills, point them in the right direction in terms of friends and so i have been impressed by the resettlement process that occurs once the refugee arrives here. we don't just dump them someplace in the country. they are resettled in communities that are able to absorb refugees and went to take in refugees. i think this is something that we should do. consistent with homeland security, consistent with security. there is a worldwide ready to
crisis of millions of people that are flooding the a lot of countries, european countries and the number of us need to and are stepping up to participate in the resettlement of these refugees. united states has contributed billions in humanitarian aid in the face of this crisis but we have traditionally and historically accepted refugees into this country and we should continue to do so. it is part of who we are as a nation, it is part of our immigrant heritage and effigies -- refugees have contributed to the strength of this country. we reject the notion that we should shut down their refugee resettlement process and close our doors. that is not who we are as a country. >> mr. secretary, what they have noticed from the conventions
recently was that inclined to cleveland, going through this thorough security process of tsa and getting on amtrak, there is nothing. they do not check bags, don't check you. sec. johnson: i would not say there is nothing. there are layers of security on intercity rail, much of it is not obvious to the traveler. >> is a still a concern? should there be more done on trains? sec. johnson: a train is not like an airplane. a train station is much less confined space. for every major railroad there , every major commuter railroad there is a security force. amtrak you have amtrak police. for new jersey transit you have a jersey transit police. you have a police force around every single rail transit
system. we are nationwide in tsa. tsa has a real security team, too. viper teams involved in security. we have canines. we are acquiring more canines. i do not believe that we should embrace the full extent of aviation security or rail security where everybody has to go through a checkpoint. at union station or penn station or 30th street station. there is considerable security around intercity rail travel. particularly in the northeast. a lot of it is unseen. >> frank from mcclatchy.
>> the same resources in the right way and protecting individuals, the white house. sec. johnson: question or judgment? >> the homeland security adviser acknowledged herself that current efforts have been insufficient. sec. johnson: were you referring to? >> amy pope, in the press call. 300 people in the program, no placement yet in the program that kerry announced, there's only a few months left in this administration, why not as some advocates have proposed seek removals of people from central america? sec. johnson: the reason not to do that is we don't have open
borders and if we seized -- ceas removals,ed we would have a humanitarian crisis. there would be a surge. i think you know that. we have not been happy with the numbers which is why we are expanding the publicity around existing program. we have expanded the scope of it. we are pleased the costa rica has stepped up to be involved. it is something that we would definitely like to see more of. government is about limits, however. we have a defined number of asylum screeners, refugees screeners, and we have a world refugee crisis emanating from the middle east which we are surging resources to. in addition to the central american issue.
with the exception of e-verify, no appropriated money goes to the refugee resettlement uscis mission. we have a finite level of resources that we can dedicate to these huge humanitarian situations. through a lot of hard work and resources, i think we're going to meet the commitment made for syrian refugees and for worldwide refugees. we have enhanced the worldwide number to 85,000. i think it will make both. central america is something where we are -- we want to expand upon this. i believe that as long as the push factors exist we're going to have this problem. no level of border security, the no wall doubling the size of border patrol, i'll be things
will not stop illegal migration from countries as long as a seven-year-old is desperate enough to flee on her own because of the poverty and violence in her country. we want to invest in these countries. invested $750 million. we will to establish a safe and legal path. this is good advice i got two years ago when we were dealing then, andrisis somebody said to me, you can't just shut the door. you have to provide a safe, legal alternative path. have the numbers of those who have applied and accepted been what we like to see, no. which is why we want to expand on it. in government, we have finite amount of resources to dedicate to the series of problems that we have. it is something we want to do
more of. >> john stanton, buzz feed. >> are you concerned around donald trump language along race and religion and if it is contributing to a rise of violence towards minority communities and immigrant communities and domestic terrorism? is that a concern? feeding domestic terrorism. emboldening people to come out of the shadows and act more aggressively towards minority communities. also, we have seen the secret service in the last year go from just giving protection duties to the candidates to now enforcing bans on reporters. i would to find out what that decision was made and where you are? are you concerned about first amendment issues there?
sec. johnson: that was a couple questions. let me start with the last one. the secret service is dedicated to the physical security of their protect ease -- protectees. that is what they do. the secret service is not involved in the removal of demonstrators. the job is the physical security of the procectee. as long as the physical server root security is not -- fiscal security thought jeopardize. the issue with press and credentials, you would have to ask the secret service especially around the event. the secret service mission is the physical security of the protectee. that is it. unless it is nse with that designation, it is on the
physical security of an entire event. that is their mission. i am not going to comment on anything be candidates for elected office are saying or doing. i will repeat what i said in aspen. i think it is critical to our homeland security mission that we build bridges to american muslim communities and encourage them to participate in our homeland security efforts and that overheated rhetoric and vilification of american muslims is counter to those efforts. i think that our efforts at community partnerships is
vital to our homeland security mission. in terms of race relations, like the president, i think the long view on race relations. there are setbacks and flashpoints, there are times when race relations have and will become more heated around specific events. i think is important for us to always look at the long view. when i was born in 1957, african-americans in many parts of this country were second-class citizens. today we have a first family that is african american. which in my lifetime has recently -- let's say the 1988 conventions was unfathomable for me that we would have an african american president. in my life.
or the number of african american ceos across corporate america, members of congress. mayors, and the like. that is progress on one level. there's a whole lot of other progress out there that we need to continue. a lot of people white and black , and multiple other colors they are having a difficult time making ends meet right now but i take the long view as an african-american, graduate of morehouse college, steeped in the lessons of our to luther king, i take the long view. >> we have about eight people wanting question for you not get to everybody. next person we will get to his
melissa scholz. >> with lone wolf attacks across the world and a a focus on soft targets, is new york city still considered the number one terrorist target and there has been a lot of focus on the improvements you have made with funding and training. can you talk about the security? sec. johnson: in terms of our grant money, new york city, new york city area is still number one on the list in terms of our risk assessments and the level of support that the city gets from the department of homeland security for communication
equipment, surveillance equipment, support for active shooter training and the like. that should and will continue. grant money, funding for local and state efforts is in my view critical. i've been around the country to highlight and support active shooter training exercises. last november i was in new york city and i said beside side. active shooter training with the commissioner. on the lexington avenue line, number six, to highlight the good work of active shooter training, my department supports. it was not just new york city, i did the same thing in louisville, kentucky. i am a huge proponent of encouraging local law
enforcement, local first responders to train, exercise a better multidisciplined for active shooter events. that could occur at any moment that could occur at any moment, in any different type of venue. there's a lot of good work being done. i think it needs to continue. >> one more family detention question. for a large part, because of the question you are already asked ofut the mission and form places changing quite a bit over the last two years. so given the way that has morphed, is that many will spend, with these companies -- well spent, with these companies? would you ever have ramped up family detention as you did if you knew of the changes that would happen? that frc'sn: i think
are a critical part of border security because we should get a better sense, we need to have a good sense for who is entering the country. a large component of present in -- who is in the country now are parents who bring their kids. and we have to have a good sense for who these people are. we can make more informed judgments about risk of flight at these centers. any health risks that might be presented. we have to be concerned about zika, for example. and it is an opportunity, in an expedited way, to make informed judgments to the extent that we can, with the resources we have, about whether the person has a good claim of credible fear. we can't do that in a border processing center. so two years ago, i was asked a quite surprised to find that in
terms of immigration detention, out ofonly 95 beds 33,000 for families. only 95. given the changing composition of migration on the southwest border, that's not going to work. so we built these facilities, in the face of the reality of who was crossing the border. as you noted, we have changed how we use these facilities, in a way that i think is good for border security, in that we hold onto these people, consistent with the court order, for a maked of time so we can informed judgments about whether they are eligible for expedited removal, whether they qualify for credible fear and can proceed with an asylum case, whether they are a risk of flight and can be released consistent with our program. and that you cannot do at a processing center in brownsville, which is only
designed for holding onto somebody for a few hours at a time. >> it pains me to say we are out of time, but thank you very much, sir. we really appreciate it. sec. johnson: thank you very much, everybody. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [indistinct conversation] [indistinct conversation]
>> president obama marked his 55th birthday today by holding a news conference at the pentagon. it is his last birthday that he will celebrate as president. the washington times writes, democrats appear melancholy that the president only has 95 days left in office. there are several online birthday parts for mr. obama's sense to sign, including this one setup by the hillary clinton campaign. the president's news conference was held after a meeting with his national security team on efforts to defeat isis. you can see it any time at c-span.org, and tonight at 8:00 eastern here on c-span. some of our other primetime programming includes book tv on c-span 2, with authors who have written on race in america.
on c-span3, american history tv with our series on the contenders. tonight, the life and career of socialist eugene debs. it all gets underway at 3:00 p.m. eastern. c-span's founding chairman bob rosencrans passed away yesterday at the age of 89. not only was he one of the first cable operators to support the idea of c-span, but he continued to work on our behalf for almost 40 years. here is more now. ♪ ♪ >> i introduce to you the gentleman on my right, bob rosencrans. bob was our first chairman, and the person who threw in the
first seed money to get c-span started in 1977, believe it or not. >> in august, 1977, bob rosencrans, then president of columbia cable, and his business partner, where the first cable operators to agree to support the idea for c-span. at that time, only about 19% of american homes were wired for cable. mr. rosencrans, who passed away this week, wrote a check for $25,000. with that seed money, c-span created the infrastructure to send out cable television's first live views of the u.s. house of representatives. on march 19, 1979, to some 3.5 million homes served by 350 cable systems. let the public understand what goes on in washington. what the issues are. how to deal with them. i think, above all, the mission here at c-span has been just that. and we are very proud of that. >> mr. rosencrans steered the
nonprofit network through its initial challenging years, and continue to serve on c-span's board of directors until his death. most recently, in the role of chairman emeritus. >> we believe the nation can only benefit from more exposure to our political process. to educate and inform our people, both young and old, and give us all a better feeling that we are participating in this process that carries our nation forward. thank you very much. ♪ ♪ >> on saturday, c-span's issue spotlight looks at police and race relations. we will show president obama at a memorial service for five police officers shot and killed in dallas. when the bullet started flying,
the men and women of the dallas police did not flinch. and they did not react recklessly. republicanh carolina senator tim scott, giving a speech on the senate floor about his own interactions with police. senator scott: the vast majority of the time, i was driven up -- i was pulled over for nothing more than driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood, or some other reason just as trivial. >> our program also includes one family story about an encounter with police in washington, d c, followed by a panel with the city police chief, cathy lanier. >> both people -- most people get defensive if they feel you are being offensive, so being very respectful in encounters, and if it is not a crisis, not a dangerous situation, requests versus demands, those things change the dynamics. >> watch our issues spotlight on police and race relations, saturday at 8:00 eastern on c-span and c-span.org.
>> with the conventions behind us, c-span's road to the white house coverage continues tomorrow with remarks from hillary clinton at the annual meeting of the national association of black journalists. see her comments live at noon eastern. tomorrow, donald trump holds a campaign rally in wisconsin, where he will speak with voters and supporters in green bay, starting live at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. after meeting with national security advisers, president obama held a news conference at the pentagon this afternoon, answering questions from reporters. the president said that $400 million of cash airlifted to iran in january did not consist of a ransom payment to secure the release of detained americans released the same day. president obama: it has been interesting to watch this story surface.
some of you may recall, we announced these payments in january. many months ago. there wasn't a secret. we announced them, to all of you. josh to the briefing on them. -- did a briefing on them. this was not some nefarious deal. explainede time, we had pressed a claim before in international tribunal about them recovering money of theirs that we had frozen that, as a consequence of its working its way through the international tribunal, it was the assessment of our lawyers that we were now at a point where there was significant litigation risk, and we could end up costing ourselves billions of dollars. it was their advice and suggestion that we settle, and
that's what these payments represented. it wasn't a secret. we were completely open with everybody about it. and it's interesting to me how suddenly this became a story again. that's point number one. point number two. we do not pay ransoms for hostages. we have a number of americans being held all around the world, and i meet with their families, and it is heartbreaking. we have an entire section of interagency experts who devote all the time to working with these families to get these americans out. but those families know that we have a policy that we don't pay ransom. and the notion that we would somehow start now, in this high profile way, and announce it to the world, even as we are looking into the faces of other whosee, other families
loved ones are being held hostage, and say to them that we don't pay ransom, defies logic. so that's point number two. we do not pay ransom. we did not here, and we will not in the future. because if we did, we would start encouraging americans to be targeted, much in the same way that some countries that do pay ransom and up having a lot -- end up having a lot more of their citizens being taken by various groups. point number three. this was in fact as ated by the fact that, consequence of us negotiating around the nuclear deal, we actually had diplomatic negotiations and conversations with iran for the first time in several decades. so the issue is not so much that
it was a coincidence, as it is that we were able to have a direct discussion. john kerry could meet with the foreign minister, which meant that our ability to clear accounts on a number of different issues at the same time converged. it was important for us to take advantage of that opportunity, both to deal with this litigation risk that have been raised, it was important for us to make sure that we finished the job on the iran nuclear deal, and, since we were in a conversation with them, it was important for us to be able to push them hard in getting these americans out. let me make a final point us. -- on this. it has now been well over a year since the agreement with iran to stop its nuclear program was signed. it hasall accounts, worked exactly the way we said
it was going to work. allwill recall, there were these horror stories about how iran was going to cheat, this wasn't going to work, that iran was going to get $150 billion to finance terrorism, and all these cenarios, and none of them have come to pass. and it's not just the assessment of our intelligence community. it's the assessment of the israeli military and intelligence community, the country that was most opposed to this deal, that it knowledge is this has been a game changer and that iran has abided by the deal, and they no longer have short-term breakout capacity that would allow them to develop ne nuclear weapons. so, but i'm interested in, if there is news to be made, why not have some of these folks who
were protecting disaster say, you know what, this thing actually worked? that would be a shock. that would be impressive. if some of these folks, who had said, the sky is falling, suddenly said, you know what, we were wrong, and we are glad that iran no longer has the capacity to break out in short-term and develop a nuclear weapon. but of course, that wasn't going to happen. instead, what we have is the manufacturing of outrage on a story we disclosed in january, and the only bit of news that is relevant on this is the fact that we paid cash, which things me to my last point. the reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because ed ine so stripp maintaining sanctions, and we do not have a banking relationship with iran, that we could not send them a check, and we could
not wire the money. and it is not at all clear to me, why it is that cash, as opposed to a check or a wire transfer, has made this into a news story. it may be because it kind of feels like some spy novel, or, you know, some crime novel, because cash was exchanged. exchanged cash was was because we don't have a banking relationship with iran, which is precisely part of the pressure we are able to apply to ship a that they would whole bunch of nuclear material out and close down a bunch of facilities that, as i remember, two years ago, three years ago, five years ago, was people's top fear and priority, that we make
sure iran doesn't break out nuclear capacity. they don't. this worked. >> you can see all of president obama's news conference at the pentagon in about 40 minutes, at 8:00 eastern here on c-span. >> "washington journal" live every day with news and policy impacts that impact you. coming up friday morning, we will discuss the current state is the cap in the united is -- states,in the united and weather experts are concerned for athletes and visitors as the ebix begin in rio -- olympics begin in rio. and it into beating editor for the atlantic discusses "how american politics went insane," where he discusses the division between the white house and congress. be sure to watch c-span's
"washington journal," live at 7:00 eastern beginning friday morning. have a congressional reporter with the military times here to talk about military issues in this campaign 2016. we want to talk to active and retired military this morning. you had a headline recently in one of your pieces, that the military is at the center of presidential politics, but for all the wrong reasons. guest: we are hearing a lot of frustration from veterans groups and active-duty folks who talking about this goldstar father who spoke at the dnc, about the purple heart controversy, a lot of issues around the military that are not really military issues. veterans groups would love to have us talk about actual v.a. reform, about national security strategy, about ways to benefit survivors of folks who die in iraq and afghanistan, but that's
not where we are. minie in a lot of -scandals and controversies, and they worry this will be a lost opportunity, that as this moves along, we will just move to the next topic of the day, and not really get into some of those issues, not really get into why it's important to show respect for gold star families, what it means when we talk about rules of engagement or national security strategy or funding the military. so they are worried. and they are hoping they can redirect the conversation, maybe turn it into a positive, maybe get more substantial issues. host: let's begin with gold star families. what are they? what does it mean to be a gold star family? guest: these are folks who have lost somebody in iraq or afghanistan, or any of the wars over american history. we are talking about spouses, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children. this is a group that the military really worries about, really looks to, because they
have paid the ultimate sacrifice. they have lost someone who was defending the country, who was providing the freedom that we all have. so they always want to make sure that not only are they treated well when it comes to benefits, in terms of what education benefits their children can have, what survivor benefits, what payouts they get, and that becomes a little bit of an issue with the democratic convention and highlighting hillary clinton's work on that. but what we heard recently, the concern with donald trump and theyhizr khan comments, want to make sure that those families are treated with respect, that their voices are heard, that they are allowed to speak, that they are allowed to present not just their frustration and sadness, but also their views, regardless of where it comes down in politics. we're hearing from veteran groups, regardless on whether you come down on anyone who spoke at the convention, there were some folks who also spoke at the republican convention, regardless of where you come down, let's not do personal
attacks on them. these are people who have suffered for their country. let's not pick apart their lives and really turned them into political footballs. listen to what they have to say. if you disagree, you can step away from that, but they have earned the right to say that. host: the story you had today, donald trump met with a gold star family. who did he meet with? families,roup of 10 led by the woman who spoke at the republican convention, the mother of a navy seal who was killed a few years ago. she said she wanted to organize this in the wake of the controversy, in the wake of some of the comments that trump was being insensitive to mr. khan and his family, and she said she walked away feeling very confident that he understands the gravity of these issues, understands the sacrifices these families are going through, and she also urged him to try to put this past him, to track to move on to those issues. he has been an advocate for changing rules of engagement,
making it easier for troops who are deployed to places in iraq and afghanistan to defend themselves, to engage the enemy if they see them. she has complained that the obama administration's put too many restrictions on when they can fireback, who they can pursue, what they can go after. that's an issue that she said she would want to focus on, but instead we are focused on more of the issue of, is this a sensitive comment, how is he responding, how is he talking about this? host: what is the state of the veterans affairs department, and what are these candidates saying they will do to address problems? guest: both candidates spoke at the veterans of foreign wars convention last week, right at the beginning of the democratic convention, and we got a pretty clear split in where the candidates are going. mr. trump has said that he wants to focus more on providing more choice in terms of health care to the veterans. she sees the v.a. as a broken -- he sees the v.a. as a broken mess right now that needs lots of reforms, lots of firing, lots
of new blood, and especially an opportunity for folks who can't go to the v.a. for health care. clinton has labeled that is privatization. she says, that is the first step in dismantling the v.a., which is a critical safety net for veterans, and she said that she is for reform as well, she is for making the department more efficient, for getting rid of employees who are problematic, but doing it within the framework that they have now. getting some outside care, but not quite as much extension, and not anything that would potentially chip away at the department. host: let's get to calls. as we said, we divided the lines. active members of military, we want to hear from you, once you know what you think about what the candidates are talking about, and also what issues you would want them to highlight that they are not talking about. dial-in -- we will go to james first, in virginia. good morning to you.
retired. you are on the air. caller: good morning. i have just two questions i want to ask. first of all, i just want to hope the public understands that donald trump is being disingenuous when it comes to veterans. he will do anything to get your vote. he said what he needed to say in the very beginning, and a lot of people heard him. but this is my two questions. one, i am a purple heart recipient, and i will tell you, what it took to get that is not something that i pride myself in. as far as being injured. however, i served my country, and i did my duty. but for him to receive a purple heart -- that is not something you give away. that is something you are awarded, based on your injuries and things of that nature in combat. number two, donald trump made a statement that when he gets in the white house, he will have a hotline, how he will talk to all
the veterans and resolve their issues on the phone. all of them across the country, he will talk to each and every one of them and resolve those issues before he gets off that phone. now, if that is not disingenuous or lying, i don't know what it is. what is your opinion on that? guest: we have one controversy, and one actual policy thing. one of donald trump's supporters gave him his purple heart, i believe this was monday, and mr. trump responded by saying, he always wanted one of these, and it was a lot easier than earning one of them. this was one of those issues that has inflamed the veterans community, has upset a lot of people, and other people said it was not a big deal. a purple heart is a pretty sacred thing for folks who have received it, and folks who have earned it, and a lot of people saw that as belittling service, as not understanding the gravity of, of what that means. now, the trump supporters say, this shows the passion of some of his veteran supporters and
where he stands. but again, it's distracting from some of the other issues. the hotline issue that james referred to, that's part of mr. forp's 10 point plan reforming v.a.. he promised to put a 24 hour a day, seven days a week hotline in the white house to respond specifically to v.a. concerns, complaints veterans have about it, and he will have some the on staff who can address that right away, and if they can't, he will hop in. supporters think that's a great idea. there's a lot of people who have concerns about how the v.a. is run, how responsive it is, but the other side is, that is an easy, unrealistic band-aid they are just wrong on, and a lot of these issues -- that they are just throwing on, and a lot of these issues are systemic issues, not just for you can take a phone call and say, you are fired, you are fired, and it's fixed. host: steve is watching in florida. caller: good morning, and thanks for taking the call. i am a veteran, vietnam veteran, but that's relevant only for the
fact that i was treated well as a veteran. 1970 wonderful benefits, to 1974, to go to college. i have gotten respect. so one of the things that i notice that has changed in the va hospital system -- bill clinton opened up the floodgates, because the va hospital system was being underutilized in 1997. now, i have friends, people i know, and they flock to the the va because they don't have to pay anything out of pocket. it originally started for combat-wounded veterans, to take care of people who had serious problems. he collected money in his hometown, because the v.a. only gave henry to entry care. now, i know it's categorized, but most of the people in the v.a. system are not combat-wounded or even
service-related health care issues. if theer thing, briefly, gentleman would touch on compensation. most people do not realize how, in the economy of today, the military is paid well. which is not a hard enlisted rank to attain, tops out at $75,000 with all the benefits. so a lot of misconceptions about the military, and one of the things that i really think is happening, there is a strong a patriot --tween saying you can't be critical of the military. i'm, i want to be careful saying this. there can be no criticism of our military leadership, or our military veterans, and in a way they become some of the most entitled people that i know of. host: lots of issues. i want shane to jump in.
guest: on the health care issue, this is something that folks at the v.a. have talked about, and it's tough to get in to this granular level on the election, but we have seen a massive expansion in the number of veterans eligible to receive veterans health care, and this is one of the issues for v.a. and the waiting times. not just the recent wars, the new veterans coming in, but vietnam veterans finding illnesses from 20 years ago that are just appearing now. folks who are suddenly eligible, who might not have been eligible 20 years ago, so both sides have played with this on the campaign trail. trump has said, we will hire more doctors, we will get more people in here. the v.a. has been trying to do that, and there are some nationwide physician shortages that they just have not been able to deal with and handle. so this is where the clinton campaign has said, these are, kitted problems, this is in just a matter -- these are, gated problems. this is not just a matter of saying, we will bring in 10,000 more doctors. this is about finding people, about creating a system, about
getting to areas that are more difficult to get to, figuring out how to balance all this out. so the issue of military compensation that he brought up, this is one that there's been pulled back in recent years on the rise of military payment. we have seen that start to drop behind with the civilian paychecks. that is a concern. there is a concern that will start to eat and humor out. there is concern that will start eating into the morale. will that hurt recruiting and retention down the line? host: dayton, ohio. caller: good morning. word iyone, we have one
like to throw. defunding. privatization. two words. dentists inhad 17 dayton, ohio. in 2014, we had four. they were forcing veterans to go to private doctors. we do not have that kind of money. privatization is killing us. there is a fixed. -- fix. put the money back or you took the money. can you help me on that? guest: the v.a. in the last 10 years has almost tripled their budget. there is a lot of critics on capitol hill with said more money is not the solution. the solution is reforming the system and finding another way to approach the inherent systemic problems. i don't know the situation in
dayton, obviously, but is that an issue of physician shortages? is that an issue of lack of patients at one point, so they decided to downsize, and now they are seeing a surge. this is not an easy solution. plenty of people on capitol hill say they are willing to give more money if you can show that will help. we need to find some way to really address these issues, make sure that we are getting rid of fraud and abuse. host: what role does bernie sanders late in getting the veterans affairs department getting more money? guest: it will be interesting to see if he comes back into the fold after the election. of thecrats take control senate, he could be chairman again. he was chairman during the height of the v.a. wait time scandal back in 2014.
massive $5roker this billion -- $20 billion influx to the department of veterans affairs to get more physicians, but also this choice expansion program. this was seen as a step towards addressing wait times by letting veterans go out into the community and talk to private doctors. it has had a mixed record. the v.a. has said they're doing the best they can to administer this, but that is part of the problem. veterans cannot necessarily walk outside and get an appointment tomorrow in a private clinic. has saidns on the hill it is because the v.a. is not administering the program well enough. flourishaid this could and we would not have the problems we are having. host: kevin in manchester,
hampshire. caller: good morning. it is a very emotional thing. goldstar families. they have made the ultimate sacrifice. that sacrifice was for this country. they have already been praised and given medals and everything. that is awesome. that is great. it is emotional. if you want to step back and really look at it and talk about the issues, why were they in iraq? so they could fight for halliburton to go over there? let's step back from the emotional stuff and look at the overview. we have people coming back from iraq, my father was a vietnam veteran, he was on disability. he passed away. veterans are coming back that are injured. they need to be taken care of. they need the best hospital care that they can get.
they have families. some of them are homeless. the federal government is not taking care of what they're supposed to take care of. host: let's take that up. guest: when i was at the republican convention, i spoke to someone who was actually imprisoned with john mccain who is supporting donald trump. we were talking this time last year about his comments last year about pows. he told me that he hated those comments, he did not like what mr. trump said, but this election is about more than some momentary gaffe. he said he liked donald trump's veterans land and national security plan more. pointd he hoped at some donald trump would apologize for those comments. i think that is where we are with the goldstar family issue. there are plenty of people who want to move on to other issues. while this stays in the new
cycle, while he keeps saying things that are seen as insensitive, it is hard to move past that. host: where is the freedom of speech on this issue difficult start family steps into the ring? ohio, active military. hello, rick. caller: thank you for taking my call. number one, one of my main concerns or aggravations is with the military leadership. i wish the generals and admirals who are concerned about this country as much as they were about getting the next star on their shoulder board. number two, i'm not convinced that either hillary or donald are nearly as concerned about the veterans as they would make it appear. i think these are self-serving
comments geared only to get them elected. wifer three, the v.a., my works at the v.a.. she tells me that many of the veterans do not want treatment outside of the v.a. they want to be treated by the v.a. get in thet, either war and win the thing, or get out. those are my comments. go, are you you referring to the fight against isis? caller: yes. host: we'll take that up. guest: last point first. this is where people would like to see more conversation. we have heard some really broad outlines from donald trump about how he would battle isis. he has been insistent in saying he would not reveal too much because he feels that is revealing military secrets. ms. clinton has offered more robust plants in terms of working with allies and no-fly zones.
in terms of some of the other issues, we hear all the time from veterans who say they love the v.a., but i just want to be able to get in. how do you fix those wait times? is that administration, better appointment systems, hiring more positions? if you want to go to the v.a. and are fine with waiting, go there. republicans say you should have other options. democrats say we should find ways to make the system better. host: president obama taking a trip to the pentagram -- pentagon today. he's holding a news conference at the pentagon about this issue of combating crisis. when he had a it prime minister -- news conference with prime minister of singapore this week. pres. obama: after they had already made significant progress against isil and had
into aally pushed isil , it is inned area america's national security interest to make sure that they are able to finish the job. we are working in partnership isilthem to assure that does not get a stronghold in what even as libya begins will be a long process to establish a functioning government and security system there. host: this was announced earlier this week by the pentagon. precision airstrikes took place in libya at the request of this governmentons backed in libya. guest: this is part of the ongoing war. what we are hearing from active
duty folks and veterans is we still do not that they do not have an authorization for military force in the area. we do not have an endgame or parameters. we are seeing more troops sent to the middle east and extend to parametersother countries. the obama administration's state department said they are comfortable with this. this is part of hitting them where they are. for donating with allies in the region. this is very amorphous. where does this go, where does this end up? do we get sucked into another long-term war? on the election standpoint, we have heard trump and clinton talk about their plans. they have not talked much about the authorization for the use of military force and the legal underpinning. tim kaine has been one of the loudest voices of this in congress. he has been talking about it whenever he can to reporters,
administration officials, and colleagues. with him on the ticket it will be interesting to see if that is amplified and we get into more conversation. most veterans and folks we talk to our upset. with the administration, but with congress. they have had a plan from the obama and illustration sitting -- thee than a year obama administration and sitting on it for more than a year. they will pen the blame on obama. host: the state department asked under what authority did this airstrike take place. guest: they have maintained that this is under the existing authorities laid out in the aftermath of the september 11 thecks and will lead up to iraq war and the war in afghanistan. they say they can work on it. they would like a more limited, time-limited, authorization so that it is not seen as an
overreaching unlimited war power. host: will you be at the pentagon? manning thatl be today. i have a few hours off to work on more hill veterans issues. host: we will be covering on c-span. we will see if that gets the question at 4:15 p.m. eastern. live coverage on c-span and c-span.org. c-span radio as well. if you have the c-span radio app coming you can -- radio app, you can listen in. in florida, go ahead. caller: thank you for taking my phone call. i love you guys. i want to say with the comment that donald trump, there was nothing to that. that man paraded his son. and womenat all men who served this country are gold stars. he did not say anything about his son. his son had chosen to go into the military.
.y husband, 30 years retired i came from a military family. my brothers, my father, world war ii, vietnam war, korean war. i'm still in the military, as family. people, listen -- words cannot hurt you. i think it was disgusting at the dnc to put that man up there to parade his dead son. he served his country. you do not parade something like that. yes, all men and women in uniform serve the country. they are gold stars. stop separating the soldiers. host: did you hear leo saying earlier that a gold star mother spoke at the republican national convention? exactly. she did. what i'm saying is the way that he got up there and used his son's death to attack donald trump, you don't do something
like that. i was thinking the same thing. how come the mother didn't speak up? do not parade this. of differentle issues. one, the caller said he did not talk about his son. there is a video that led into the speech that spoke extensively about captain khan's service and his death. the circumstances around that. not onlytalked about, the family's reaction, but his son's service and what he felt about the sacrifices his son had aid, the sacrifices on the family. atre was a woman who spoke the republican national convention and offered, not quite the same criticism of hillary clinton but similar criticism on similar things. i think that one of the comparisons that a lot of folks have pointed back to was when george bush was in office. cindy sheehan had made quite a
few headlines about the iraq war after her son was killed. some of the way she conducted herself and the complaint she made. i sympathize with her. i disagree with her positions, but she is a gold star mother and has earned the right to express those. when you contrast that with mr. trump, that is where the veterans and gold star families get upset. that there was not due respect shown. that there was more implications that somehow, because of his muslim faith, that he practiced shield law. they made reference to the wife not speaking. they said she was too devastated by grief. i spoke to the khans before the speech. you could tell that she was still very upset so many years later. it is not an easy thing to go before a national audience and talk about losing a son or child to the war.
that is the kind of criticism. those are the attacks people are saying and ending on not only donald trump, but the republican party -- saying this is out of line. host: retired military, welcome to the conversation. caller: thank you for taking my call. i'm am pretty upset about the situation with the purple heart. the purple heart, we did not want it. i have one. we received it in combat. when he gave that purple heart to trump, which i do not even believe was deserved, i felt bad about that. i think the person that gave away the purple heart should be stripped of the purple heart. it is not a metal to give out like a chocolate chip cookie. side: this is the opposite . i have heard several folks questioning the gentleman who
gave the purple heart. a couple of news reports said he does not regret what he did. he feels passionate about mr. trump. it is his award that he earned. for people question whether or not -- we had this with john kerry -- now we are questioning if he deserves the award or if you should be stripped of the award. he served honorably and was awarded the award. they want there to be an area where we are not questioning these people's integrity. if this gentleman wants to give his purple heart to mr. trump and wants it to be a reminder on the campaign, that is his honor to do that. what veterans groups have looked have could mr. trump could been more articulate. could he have said something to the effect of this is quite an honor and i will keep this with me and treasure it. not that i've always wanted one and this is an easier way to get it. that makes it more open to political attacks. host: seattle, good morning.
caller: there is a question i want to ask because i found out information. the gentleman in florida said the va hospital was established to help military wounded and those who need medical help. in thishe va hospital day in time doing transgender sex changes? that is a selective surgery, not something life and death. people are waiting for appointments to be seen for medical reasons that are combat-related. this goes back to an issue that came up earlier. they said they would take steps toward offering these things. i will check. i do not think they have agreed to full-fledged offering of the surgeries. there are steps involved and it will be a multi-year process before they offer them. the answer to the question is intothe va has evolved
covering all sorts of things. dental care was not always in their. caring for spouses and families was not in there. become because of choices made by administrators in both parties and members of congress by both parties -- its role has expanded. they have started covering more things that they deem important to the health and well-being of veterans. a fairly extreme example of that case. not use the offer posttraumatic stress disorder care. i do not think anyone would question the need and value of that. the va has seen an expansion of who is eligible. folks may have other insurance options, other things, they can still come to the va for certain types of care. this is a point where is not only how can we make the system work, but what does the system need to be?
addong as congress wants to things on, as long as they want to say, you need to help these veterans, these veterans, these veterans, the mission becomes more complicated and difficult to fund. it becomes tougher to get folks in. to get the right physicians. host: i want to follow up on msnbc saidhat yesterday. that donald trump was in a meeting with military experts. that he repeatedly asked, why can we not use nuclear weapons? what is the reaction to that? guest: it is two camps. one is the cautious, this is one tv pundit making a remark and we don't know the details. this could be taken 19 different ways. we have seen quite a few folks who have worked in the nuclear triad that are alarmed. they say that this is an outsider being too cavalier with the possibility and
responsibility of nuclear weapons. have a former jeb bush and mitt romney advisor on twitter, i believe he was on msnbc later, who served in the air force and worked with a lot of that talking about the gravity of the system. the chain of command. the faith that troops have to have in their superiors so if they get that call that all other options have been exhausted in this is a necessity. someis really way 24-year-old in the middle of the country in a secret bunker can go to work. knowing that everyone above them in the chain of command understands the gravity of this. a lot of foreign policy folks are saying with that comment, does donald trump understand the gravity of what using nuclear weapons is? this is loose talk, will it encourage countries like russia also consider the use of nuclear weapons in cases
where it would have been unthinkable? host: tampa bay. good morning. caller: good morning. i'm glad to talk with you. greta, thank you for taking my call. there are a couple of questions. bay, youlive in tampa worry about the zika virus. it was reported on this morning by the general news. there is a very large amount in the south and in tampa there is a military base there. of cases a high number in the military of the zika virus that is documented. will you be asking about that? there is no money and there's appointing the fingers. i'm a little nervous, i know that you are busy. host: don't worry. caller: the other question, if there is a bipartisanship, i
think it was bernie sanders and mr. mccain, if i'm not mistaken, i think i am, on that, to get some consensus for fixing the be a -- the va. what happened was that tears were changed. in this time when the va has expanded in so many areas, when you ask about the zika virus today, i hope so it 4:00, you will be able to find out how more transparent care will be given to people in the area. thank you from your -- thank you for your time. guest: we talked about this earlier. under sanders, chairman miller, and senator mccain -- they were involved in the expansion of the v.a. program. they have made improvements. folks are being seen quicker. there are concerned for the outside care program not being administered correctly, and a lot of republicans would like to see that permanent. it is due to expire at the end
of this year in the beginning of next. that will be a political football for the next administration. on the zika virus issue, the military times had that story on monday and news issues they did up in the week. my colleague has been tracking that. i do not know if we will question that later in the day. it shows how broader health issues affect the military. there are tons of military bases in florida. what does this mean? we have folks that deploy all over the globe. thepolitical fight over zika virus funding on capitol hill has nothing to do with the military, all of a sudden becomes a national security issue when troops start to contract the virus and we have to figure out how they respond. the military health care system has different pots of money to deal with specifically helping them. in terms of larger research, prevention, mosquito repellent issues in florida, that is
outside of the control. have to come up with the good of the nation and the good of the military in that issue. has begunal spring in florida. is that right? caller: yes, ma'am. host: good morning, vincent. question or comment? caller: my question is why is everybody blaming iran as the world's leading terrorist, when the source of the trouble is that wahhabi brand of islam promoted by saudi arabia. i cannot understand it. iran is a great civilization. outside of pressure from israel, which scares all of our politicians into supporting this alse theme that iran is terrorist, what have they done to us outside of kidnap a few
people. we know that everyone in the world has spies. i would bet that they are guilty. host: we are running out of time. issues likely to be an that the president has to talk about at his news conference today. that is the money that was sent weekend thate same those hostages were released. the white house saying it is not a ransom. they are saying it looks like a ransom. guest: iran and how to unpack this. that is the issue of the $400 million sent. that would have been front-page news most weeks if not for the ongoing controversies with the trump campaign. i would expect issues to come up at the pentagon press conference to get to the caller's comment. iran has been seen by many in the government, and within the
republican party as a major threat, and major foe to the u.s.. a destabilizing agent for the middle east. that is because of their relationship with terrorism groups. saudi arabia has been a long time problematic ally for the united states. it is the problematic friend that we have in the problematic enemy that we have, and how can we get them on equal footing? the obama administration has and hisoughout the deal presidency that he thinks that bringing them into the fold and having some sort of relationship makes it safer than keeping them on the outside. republicans disagree strongly. they think there should be virtually no interaction and a much harsher tone. that is the only way they will learn. both sides have danced around how do we deal with saudi arabia . how does that fit in? this is not an issue that will
go away. it will be a foreign-policy headache for either candidate if they become commander-in-chief. host: final question. the impact that active and retired military will play in november. somet to show our viewers statistics. military active duty personnel by state. california, texas, north carolina, for jenna, georgia, south carolina, maryland. retiredalso look at military. which states have the most. what impact could these folks outcome in november? guest: they could have a gigantic impact. in the past, it has been in the military will vote on party lines like other folks. we have not seen issue sway the entire population to one candidate or the other. the military generally went mitt romney four years ago and i
didn't make that much of a difference. more of a split with mccain and obama. mccain had military service. in the polls that the military times has been running, we are talking to folks wishing a lot of support for donald trump with almost a two to one margin over hillary clinton. folks are doing that on party lines and are frankly dissatisfied with both candidates and wished they had that are options. a place like virginia, where some of the veteran and the lee terry votes bucked the trend and it was more 50/50, that was part of the equation that pushed that state for obama. in swing states, each candidate has to look back and raked down the smaller populations. whether or not they are hearing and responding to their concerns. with 22 million veterans, active duty, and their families, the families of their families -- if they see or hear something that
is distasteful or upsetting to the military, like the gold star families or the purple heart, it might be enough to have them not show up to vote or sway to the other side. host: >> our prime time limit kicks off is among. we will take you to the pentagon next where president obama updates us on the fight against isis. and as a panel on national security hosted by politico's playbook. a conversation on the zika virus and the risk to women's health. that is followed by democratic vice presidential nominee tim kaine. before we get to the president's news conference, will take a few moments to check some presidential campaign news today. this from the milwaukee journal sentinel. the headline, paul ryan endor