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  No Labels Forum Focuses on Trump Presidential Transition  CSPAN  December 11, 2016 11:55am-12:31pm EST

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would surprise the state to know there is one mayor of the entire state. the other thing i would like to know is, in the introduction, you did not hear "r" or "d" after any names, and that is significant because as a governor or mayor, whether you are republican or democrat really does not matter all that much. you have to deliver programs that work for everyone of your citizens. all of them. democrats, republicans, independents, whatever. deliver thosee to things. it is not a question of sitting and thinking "might this work?" "is this a nice way to put this budget together?" "is this a nice way to put this program together?" we have to say -- they have to say now, i used to have to say -- "is this actually going to work?" and make it then work. what i hope we will do in this panel is talk about what that betweenship is governors and mayors, what you will need in order to make rings work. and then we'll throw it open for
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questions. let me start with governor hutchinson. i guess i am showing my bias about governors. nothing against mayors, but particularly when we have a mayor who is the chairman of the conferences of mayor. not just any mayor, "the" mayor and spokesperson. but we will start with you, governor. gov. hutchinson: thank you. i'm delighted to be here. when i think about no labels first, i believe in the , convictions of the two parties. convictions are important, but whenever you look at trying to accomplish things -- and i am delighted that the president-elect has really put infrastructure front and center in the possibility of things to get done -- that this is a specific area that we can set
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aside differences and say, "we agree on this, and we can find out ways to get this done." it is an essential need of our country. from an arkansas perspective, look at some of our huge infrastructure projects. not just highways. highways is the most significant. you think about the highway trust fund. you also have to look at water projects. we have a grand prairie project, that is federal and state money devoted to alleviate the decline of our water table in the eastern arkansas, which we are so dependent upon in our rice production. it is a federal project, a state budget. it determines the flow of money. it is an example where we have made an investment, but we don't have enough money to complete the project. so that is another area of investment, besides highways. a broader range of infrastructure projects. we are looking at investment for these from the private sector. we are looking at the public sector. and we are looking at the opportunities, also, for foreign direct investment whenever it is
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appropriate. i look at china, which is subject to great controversy these days, but we obtained a $1 billion investment from china into a bio-product mill in south arkansas. it is a huge investment that creates jobs. so it is the foreign relationships as well as our federal government relationship, private sector relationship. all of this taken together allows us to succeed. we have one of the largest new steel facilities being built. almost completed in eastern arkansas, big river steel. and that was an opportunity that retirementteachers fund invest in. so when you are a small state, you have to rely upon a whole arena of investment opportunities for huge or big infrastructure projects, whether they are private sector driven or public projects as well. so we did a highway improvement
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plan in arkansas that was bipartisan that we just passed in a special session of legislature that creates $1 billion in new money for highways in arkansas. combines federal and state money. so we are moving forward, and i think there is incredible excitement among the states, because we are going to have an administration that understands that health care, more flexibility has to be given to the states. whenever you are talking about infrastructure, it is going to be a strong partnership to get the job done. so we are sitting on pins and needles to see how this develops. i want to end with one thing before i turn it back. i served in congress in the 1990 's, and in 2000, i joined the george w. bush administration. when i was in congress, though, we were able to set aside some differences and really accomplish some great things.
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it was the last time we actually had a balanced budget in our nation. we need to get back to that. i think there is opportunities that now we can work together from whatever political persuasion to get some things done, particularly infrastructure, but it has to start out, any bipartisanship, starts out with a process. you build the framework for an initiative by working with the other party from the very beginning. bipartisanship is not -- this is an idea, can we get your support for it? that is not true bipartisanship. so i hope we can move in the area of infrastructure with a bipartisan process and a bipartisan outcome, so we can do something great and take advantage of this opportunity. ms. todd whitman: thank you. mayor cornett, you are now the head of the conference on mayors. and this was, by all aspects, a fairly contentious election. how has that been reflected at
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the conference, and what do you see from your fellow americans -- mayors as far as what they expect, need, and want to see going forward in washington? mayor cornett: like most of the country, there was a 24, 48 hour period when people were just stunned. but i had mayors contact me that in the next few days saying look, it is over. mayors know about elections. when it is over, you try to hit the reset button and say, what do we do now? we are trying to have a conversation with the president-elect and hear more about his ideas for infrastructure so we can be a partner there. first of all the need is rael. , the nation's mayors know the the bridges and streets and areorts and water systems in dire need. the water system is something that does not get enough attention.
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in large east coast cities, largely, there are billions and billions of dollars of deferred maintenance buried underground, where people cannot see it. where politicians through the decades did not see any political advantage to fixing it, because no one would know if you fixed it or not. so the deferred maintenance build up and builds up. and it is just going to be an issue we are handing off to the next generation and children if we do not do something about it. i think the nation's mayors would love to work with the administration on beginning to address that issue. and one final word that we will take on the president-elect is there has been talk amongst candidates and amongst the sitting president about removing the tax exempt status for municipal bonds. that would drastically cut in to the amount of infrastructure dollars we are able to build with. 5% to 10% of our projects would to beger be able constructed. so that israel important to us that the tax-free status remain
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on municipal bonds. mayordd whitman: rawlings, you are mayor of one of the most vibrant cities. what do you see is the hope, the concern, what do you want to feel is getting accomplished? to the firstagic 100 days. i think we all know that. people have picked that up since it is a round number, and sounds nice. but it -- but getting things done takes a much larger longer time. but what do you expect of dallas, a city that has overcome a lot of -- that has had a lot of challenges but has seem to overcome much of them and seems to be growing at a rapid pace? mayor rawlings: well i hope , nobody screws it up for us. our revenues are growing at a rapid pace. so it is good. hopefully, the reason, i believe -- one of the reasons i believe,
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, is we're a very centrist city, ok? we are a blue city in a red state, a very red state. that makes us very practical. and i believe -- i am a democrat, but i believe staying in the middle of the road does two things. first of all, i think it is really responsive to taxpayers. i think that is what taxpayers want. they want things to happen, and they don't care about ideology. ok? they care about results. and so when you bring people together, things actually happen. they are happier. also, when you are in the middle-of-the-road you can go , faster, ok? host: everybody else gets out of your way. mayor rawlings: you do not have a chance of running off the road. i think we can make more progress. so i am very enthusiastic about this movement. because i believe it is the next
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wave of what is going to be happening in america. and we can find common ground on infrastructure, all right? do wetructure -- not only need it, but it is really what we were all elected to do. and that is build for the long-term. building for the long-term for america is a challenge. but that and education will take care of us. lastly on infrastructure, and we do not talk about it enough, is the return we're going to get on that investment. when we do this right, not only our jobs created, but property values go up. is move. businesses grow. that is the way you drive it. so it is not only just an investment because things are decrepit, but it is making things happen. you are talking about water. until i joined the u.s. council of mayors, i did not realize we have a few cities in the nation that have wood pipes. ms. todd whitman: new york city.
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mayor rawlings: wood pipes. ms. todd whitman: when abraham lincoln was president. it was back a year or two. mayor rawlings: so i think get back in the middle-of-the-road, keep it simple, make something happen, and you could make some progress. ms. todd whitman: what i like to do, because i think it is much more informative and useful to everybody, is to open it up to questions for the audience right now. we can bridge this gap a little bit. there is a lot more we can talk about. do you see any need on the definition of infrastructure for internet improvement? >> no question. ms. todd whitman: infrastructure is another area as we try to tease out a more focused agenda, potential agenda for congress?
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gov. hutchinson: that is a good example of where there is so many silos. you look at internet access, which is critically important in rural areas of our country. and you have the department of agriculture engaged in this. you have the fcc engaged in this. we have really got to make sure that is highly coordinated. then of course you have the private sector that has to drive it as well. we have a number of initiatives in arkansas. first, 100% to our schools, which we will have by the middle of next year, and then we want to make sure it gets to our communities. this is a very significant, and it should be included in infrastructure probably right at the top of the list. mayor rawlings: one of the big issues i think we all agree in america is gap between the haves and the have-nots. in the information age, that gap has got to be closed. we do not have to bring down the haves, we can just bring up the have-nots. wouldn't it be wonderful in the 20th century to have president trump be the eisenhower of the highways, the eisenhower of the digital age. i think it would help a lot with that issue. mayor cornett: i agree.
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because it affects our schools. it affects our libraries. it affects people's everyday life. how many of us didn't bring our phone that is attached to the internet? in the last 10 years, it has become so overly viable in our lives that it has got to be included in part of it. it is just different because it , is largely private-sector driven on the marketplace. but so are utilities and a lot of other projects. ms. todd whitman: one more question the privilege of the , chair. we have not discussed a lot about tax reform. are there particular taxes from your perspective as governor and mayors that you think would be the first ones you would like to see addressed? gov. hutchinson: in terms of federal policy, the idea of being able to read sure -- re-s
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hore the money from companies that has been overseas and restore it, i think that is an example of tax reform that president obama talked about, but obviously the president-elect looks at that as well. so that is one you want to be able to get quick agreement on. let's do that. let's get that money being brought back. stimulate the economy and use a portion of it for infrastructure. mayor rawlings: i am in a weird place, because texas tax policies are pretty good. we do not have personal income tax or commercial income tax, you know. so, we are pretty simple in that way, and i think we should -- as a democrat, i think we should do still be simpler. but i'm going to add a mixed point. we can talk about infrastructure. we take away those tax-free bond statuses, it is going to hurt infrastructure in a major way. so we can't -- we have to watch out for unexpected consequences. mayor cornett: i think we need tax reform to create jobs.
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the tax system as it exists today is a lot like the health system. if we were going to start from scratch, neither of them would look anything like this. and every time we address it, we just kind of tweak it. i do not think lou make it simpler, i don't think we make it better. i don't envy anyone trying to take on those challenges, because the outside noise that comes in every time you try to address change in either of those entities is enormous. i do not believe we are going to move the economy at 2%, 3%, 4% without significant tax change. ms. todd whitman: questions from the floor. is there a mike? there. >> i would like to know whether you would favor identifying single infrastructure projects in each of your states that would be critical to the existence of your economy versus
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this kind of general expenditure across all of the water mains and all of the internet infrastructure or whatever. is there a single project in your state that is absolutely on the highest priority -- whatever the cost? a dam or whatever. for example, in new york state and new jersey, we have a tunnel. gateway tunnel. and all of the freight in the northeast and all amtrak trains to the northeast and to the mid-atlantic states would come to a halt in a few years if we do not spend $30 billion to rebuild it. so, with the help of the port authority in the states and now have of it from the federal government, that is now a highest priority project.
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would you favor that kind of approach where you identify the 50 most critical projects as a priority, given that you have a finite amount of money available, or do you feel that we have to have a very broad shotgun approach, politically, to use this finite amount of money? thank you. >> go ahead, mayor. mayor rawlings: i don't think it should be shotgunned. i think we have to be thoughtful in how we approach it. i would go to the 50 largest cities as opposed to states. [laughter] and that's where people are living today. so, prioritize that. i really think what should happen, though, is a commission should be set up, and we should really run the numbers on all of the infrastructure projects, understand the critical needs of them and the return on
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the investment. and make it very transparent for everybody, so it is not everybody gets a little piece of candy at christmas, because we won't make the biggest return on that investment. that's my thought. in 2009,nett: well, the stimulus package came out, and mayors asked for a significant portion to be funneled straight to the city, so we could get the projects done. at the end of the day, the projects went the way most of them do, and that was to the state. when it was all said and done, cities did not get their share of the needs. most went to the rural areas. regardless of which infrastructure you're talking about. i think we would have a similar message. really, if you really want to have the largest impact on the largest numbers of people, the cities need a larger specific share of the funding stream. i'm not saying we need more than the states. but we could use a formula to make sure that some of the money
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goes straight to the city, so mayors and city councils can direct it to the most urgent needs. it is a problem if you are in washington to figure out what the most important needs are. local governments will be able to do that more specifically. so there is a role for states and cities in this, but if we have the funding streams the same way we did in 2009, i fear that it will not have the impact people perceive it is going to have on the front end. ms. todd whitman: governor? gov. hutchinson: you have to be able to hit a broader range of infrastructure range -- needs. we need a more consistent federal policy in terms of highway funding. we need more coordination for expansion of broadband access across the country. we need to have the water projects, we need all of those. you've got to be able to cover a broad range of infrastructure. but then, i also think it would be good to have the super project list, and that is where have special
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attention to needs and our country -- in our country. i would be happy if we could list the top ones here in arkansas, and yes, there is a specific list of priorities. would it be different in the cities? you know, i think there's probably a lot more agreement. one of our projects would be a bridge across the arkansas river. an i-49 bridge. that helps cities. it helps the cities all along, but it's a state priority project. and so, there's a lot of coalescence and agreement as to what those projects would be from the state and city level. ms. todd whitman: just adding a little bit to that, one of the important things in whatever happens is to allow as much decision-making to come down on those priorities to the states and the cities. rather than have the federal government tried to do it. i just think back to the days -- it is a totally different area, but it still spoke to that
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-- the ability to come together to make things work and how the flexibility made a real difference in states. that was welfare reform, when we had bill clinton as president and newt gingrich in the congress. it took us three times to get a bill the president would sign. but within that, it gave the states flexible needs to meet the needs of their various populations. i interpreted new jersey quite broadly, and it made a difference. there were other states that were tighter, but it made the difference for them. so the key in any infrastructure will be, i believe, yes, you need to have that top list, so that people can have a level of confidence that there is going to be a return on investment, even if it is not dollar return but people return and improve the quality of people's lives, but you also need to let the states and the cities have a certain amount of flexibility to really directed where they think they need.
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mayor cornett: and, governor, i think there is room for federal grants. where we say this is where we need, but it's a partnership. we have some skin in the game. we are not just asking for a handout. we are willing to participate for the funding. ms. todd whitman: question over here. big supporter -- i am from new york. i'm a big supporter of infrastructure investment, but i'm also concerned with our national debt, at a level that is higher than any time since world war ii relative to the economy, how are we going to pay for this? and we often talk about, well, we can use a portion of that money that is repatriated from overseas. well, the truth is we can use all of that money that is
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repatriated from overseas, and that will only address a fraction of the infrastructure we are talking about. so we need to think of other ways. there have been a number of suggestions of using private enterprise to fund at least a part of the infrastructure needs that we have. if you look -- if any of you looked at some of these proposals, and do you have any interest in them? gov. hutchinson: absolutely. the projects i have mentioned, i believe we can do it with a public-private partnership. we create a revenue stream and then utilize the private sector to accelerate the development of the project. that is one of the real key deficiencies we have in our infrastructure now. is that there is too long of a time frame. costs go up. there is inefficiencies in it. you don't get the benefit from the economic growth. so, yes, that, to me -- if you
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are going to be at the federal government, saying, we can put this project together, it should be timeliness, it should be partnership with the private sector, and those that can be shovel-ready the quickest and have the greatest economic impact ought to be the ones that move forward. and i agree with your point about the federal debt. so we have to concentrate on growing the economy. in arkansas, we have a lot of problems. we got down to a 3.8% unemployment rate. the first quarter, we had the highest economic growth rate of any state in the union. so economic growth solves a whole host of problems. if we can use the infrastructure investment that spurs the economy on, that will reap the -- big benefits in terms of the national debt as well. mayor rawlings: i went to a conference at the white house, where mayors were introduced to
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sovereign wealth funds, large pension funds, and i realized there were trillions of dollars -- trillions -- sitting on the sidelines, wanting to invest in the united states. and we can't figure out how to talk to them and put these deals together. and probably one of the most important things that the secretary of the treasury or commerce can help us figure out is how to do that. what gets in the way is ideology, because people run on this notion that we don't want to privatize something, ok? and there's different models to do it on both ends, ok? but i agree with the governor, that we need to figure out how to get that money working here in the united states, and it does not have to go to washington. mayor cornett: i agree we need more public-private
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partnerships. however, the issue generally is not an access to capital. i mean, we have a really good bond rating. we can borrow all of the money we want. but we have to pay back. that is the problem. in my case, you have a very conservative electorate who is not fired up about taxes or what they perceived to be a tax. so i think we need new creative to just terms of how we will create revenue. are there ways we can have tax credits to address the jobs created by the construction of the infrastructure? could somehow that be generated back into the revenue stream? i think there have to be creative tools out there. because it seems like a win-win for everybody if we invest the money. but as long as we are relying on our taxpayers to pay the entire freight, it's going to be hard to borrow enough money to buy our way out of it. ms. todd whitman: there is one way in the back. and i have to go there because i can't see.
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>> john with pedestrians.org. how has your city, your state changed its approach to transportation in the last 35 years, and has federal policy helped you make those changes, or do they need to make changes at the federal level to help you make those changes? ms. todd whitman: well, i will take it on first. it has changed. first of all, congress did away with earmarks. the consistent infusion of special project money has been diminished from the federal level. so you see in the state and local government picking up part of the load. you could not just wait on earmark money. it was not going to happen. if you're going to create that growth and infrastructure, the highways, you had to figure out a way to do it on your own. we have had a bond issue, we had a half cent sales tax increase statewide.
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4 projects in arkansas. the voters supported that, because they see the benefit from it. so there's two changes i would like to see. we don't have to go back to the earmark days, but i would like to have a new federal highway bill that has new funding sources so it is more robust. so there is consistency in funding. secondly it is distressing to me , it takes so long from approval to delivery and breaking ground on it, and i think a lot of it has to do with federal restrictions and federal policy and not providing the states enough flexibility. so those two things should be addressed. mayor rawlings: i am pleased with our republican governor. he stepped up in a major way in his campaign said we should be in the highway building business. and we have not been. we got a statewide referendum
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think, and we are now, i on the move again. i do think with state transportation, for our cities especially, that we have to think outside the dots a little bit. and it's not just highways. we've got to focus on mass transportation. we've got a project underway, a high-speed rail between dallas and houston that is going to be privately funded, and ways that we can do that. so, i would hope that gets part of the dialogue a little bit more. so, i do think we are making progress at the state level. mayor cornett: i also agree we are making progress, but you know, on the transportation side, figuring out ways to fund it, in oklahoma, we have gotten a long way to start a penny on the dollar sales tax. we passed a series of initiatives that we tell the voters how long the tax is going to last and how much it will
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cost and what we will do with the money if they extend it to us. they have passed every one of these. we have gone out and build projects like convention centers, parks. we built 75 schools, we build water projects, sports arenas. the citizens seem to like that the tax is going to go away unless they approve it to pay for something else. and they also like the pay-as-you-go philosophy. it takes is a little longer to build the project, but nonetheless, with no debt in a very conservative climate like oklahoma, we can get those initiatives passed. ms. todd whitman: i am afraid we have time for only one more question. and it is going to have to be -- the answers are going to have to be brief. both waterioned systems and the internet, which i agree completely with. my company does a lot of weapons system work. it is something called hardware
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in the loop. i was just wondering, mainly for the mayors, it seems to me that the water system, the surgeon water systems that are also hooked up to the internet, are incredibly at risk for people being able to go in and hack the systems and then direct the equipment to do something you want it to otherwise do. all the companies i have worked with, highly classified, had enormous amounts of cyber attacks on them. i'm just wondering what your thoughts were about the safety of these systems now and what needs to be done to enhance that safety. because every investment in both of those is something we need to address. mayor rawlings: i think is a vulnerability none of us want to talk to much about, because we don't know. you don't know what cyber
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terrorism can look like. you talked about the water systems and other things. don't forget the autonomous vehicle is right around the corner. those are, i think, susceptible to reprogramming by someone with dvs -- devious ideas. ms. todd whitman: i would add something to that. right after 9/11, one of the things we were able to do at epa was get the targets hardened in the water system. we worked very closely with the water affiliates, associations, and they really took steps to harden themselves as targets, and they have been constantly upgrading and watching. but it is a game of every time you put up a barrier, the bad guys figure out another way to go in. you're constantly at it. far more concerning to me is chemical site security. that is the area we have not been able to get consensus on moving toward without, and we do not have the kind of chemical site security we need. west texas was an example of the kind of thing that can go long and how devastating it is. at this point, we are out of time. i have got to keep us on schedule. but i want to thank a fabulous panel.
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[applause] [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] >> ladies and gentlemen, was this not fabulous? give it up. >> >> from the sunday talk shows, the question of whether rush interfered with the u.s. election came up several times after the "washington post" reported that the cia concluded that the russians were working to elect donald trump. the president-elect was on fox news sunday for the first time since winning and flatly denied the claim. we also heard from the top democrat on the house intelligence committee and republican senator john mccain, both of whom voiced concerns about the reports. >> i do not believe it. i do not know why. i think -- they talk about all sorts of things. every week, it is another excuse. landslidemassive
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victory. i guess the final numbers are now at 306, and she is at a low number. i do not believe it at all. >> do you think the cia is trying to overturn the results? >> if you look at the story and look at what they said, there is grade confusion. no one really knows. and hacking is very interesting. once they hack, if you do not catch them in the act, you do not know who it is. if it is russia or china or someone sitting in a bed someplace. >> so why would the cia put out a story that the russians wanted you -- put it not think they out. i think the democrats are putting it out because they suffered one of the greatest defeats in the politics of this country. >> i want to ask about your skepticism about the intelligence community. presidentialng the daily brief only once a week. >> i get it when i needed.
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>> is there some skepticism? >> these are very good people giving me these briefings. change,hing should immediately call me. i am available on one minute's notice. i am a smart person. i do not have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years. i do not need that. but i do say, if something should change, let me know. meantime, my generals are being briefed, mike pence is being briefed. who, by the way, is terrific. i am being briefed also. but if they are going to tell me the exact same thing they told me -- it does not change necessarily. told theneed to be same thing every day, every