tv Speaker Ryan Says House Russia Probe Will Still Proceed CSPAN May 19, 2017 6:06am-6:21am EDT
>> at his weekly briefing, house speaker paul ryan took questions from reporters focused on the appointment of robert mueller to be the justice department's special council overseeing the russian investigation. the speaker says the unfolding situation distracted from his wants togenda, and he pass the overhaul of the nation's tax code by nations and. this is about 10 minutes.
speaker ryan: well, this is another busy week as we continue to make progress on our agenda for the american people. today, the house continues to act on legislation to make sure that our law enforcement agencies have the support and the tools that they need to keep us safe. this week, of course, coincides with national police week, when we honor the sacrifices made by our police and their families. yesterday, the house acted on a new round of sanctions against the syrian regime in order to cut off resources for assad's war machine. also this week, the house approved landmark federal i.t. reform legislation that will reduce wasteful spending and enhance the government's information security. will hurd has really taken the lead on this and he's trying to bring our government into the era of cloud computing, and this is a big, big mark forward in bipartisan progress in getting waste out of government. as we speak, the ways and means committee is holding major hearing today on examining
pro-growth tax reform. pro-growth means just that -- growth of wages, growth of jobs, growth of opportunity, and growth of our economy. also this week, the education and work force committee unanimously approved bipartisan legislation to improve career and technical education. this will make it easier to connect people with the skills they need to get good-paying, in demand jobs. i got to tell you, wherever i go, i was in wisconsin last week, we have a real skills gap between the skills people need to get good jobs and the good jobs that are out there being offered. this is something that we really have to address, and i'm very pleased that the education and work force committee is moving forward on this legislation. later today, armed services committee chairman mac thornberry will unveil the third installment in his effort to streamline the pentagon's bureaucracy and to improve the way that we develop weapon systems. this is an essential part of our efforts to rebuild our military for the 21st century. ahead of memorial day, the veterans' affairs committee has approved 11 bills, including
bipartisan legislation to fix the v.a.'s broken appeals process. this is a problem that we've been working on tackling for years, and under secretary shulkin, the v.a. is already taking real strides to get our veterans better care, shorter lines, and more peace of mind. over in the senate, our colleagues continue to discuss the path forward on keeping our promise to repeal and replace obamacare. and lastly, yesterday, the president signed the 14th congressional review act resolution to stop president obama's last regulatory onslaught that he did last year. up until this year, congress had successfully disrepealed one regulation under this law. now, just this year already, we've done it 14 times in a matter of months. we have much more to do to end washington's culture of overreach and overregulation, but this is a big promise kept as we work to protect jobs and to grow our economy. i know it's a long list.
it is by no means complete. every day here we are working to advance our agenda and to address the problems that americans face in their everyday lives. questions? reporter: mr. speaker, earlier this week senator mcconnell said, quote, we could deal with a little less drama from the white house on a lot of things. basically saying it could undercut or hamper your agenda. do you agree with that assessment? speaker ryan: well, yeah. it's always nice to have less drama. the point i want to make is people in this country need to know we are busy at work trying to solve their problems. so i realize there's a lot in the media these days. that doesn't seize up congress. that doesn't stop us from doing our jobs, to work on people's problems. one of the reasons why i just read you the list of just what we've done this week on closing the skills gap, on streamlining i.t. to get waste out of government, make the pentagon more efficient, get tax reform moving -- these are things that really affect people in their daily lives. we're working on this, and so i
just think it's very important that people know that we can walk and chew gum at the same time. and sure, drama is not helpful in getting things done but we're still getting things done and that's the important point. yeah. reporter: mr. speaker, a number of congressional leaders met with the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein here at the capitol last night. were you at that meeting, and what's your understanding about why d.o.j. took this step? speaker ryan: well, i was at the meeting. i don't comment on such meetings that are classified. as i said before, i believe that the professionals at the justice department need to do their jobs independently, objectively, and thoroughly, and i believe the special counsel, which is robert mueller now, helps them do that. reporter: do you think it interferes with the congressional investigation? speaker ryan: no, it doesn't. we are going to keep these investigations going here. as i've always said, i think the intelligence committee is the right place to do this. this is an investigation involving russia, involving another country interfering with our elections, and so the
intelligence committee, in my opinion, is the best place for that. and so, these bipartisan, bicameral investigations, house intelligence committee, senate intelligence committee are going to continue their investigations. rachel. reporter: you didn't mention oversight there. do you think oversight should continue? another follow-up on that, oversight chairman jason chaffetz has told people he will be leaving june 30 for fox. does that present a conflict? speaker ryan: i have not spoken to jason about that. i don't know -- he's not told me that, so i have not spoken to the chairman about that. reporter: if he's leaving do you think he should step aside -- speaker ryan: i will find out from chairman chaffetz what he is doing or isn't doing. so, i am not going to comment on something that's in the media. i'd rather hear from him myself as to what his plans are. as far as the oversight committee, they've made document requests. that's the oversight committee's responsibility. that's what they do. that's why it's called the oversight committee. so it's perfectly appropriate that they make these document requests. but as i said, especially with response to intelligence, that's
where i think the intelligence committee should do their jobs. reporter: obviously you have been very close over the years with vice president pence. you talked about continuing to move this agenda and he's here often working on these issues here. but considering the maelstrom we dealt with trump and russia in the past few days, there are some members who said we might be better with vice president pence. what's your take on it? speaker ryan: i am not even going to give credence to that. i am not going to give comment to that. reporter: that's what your members are saying. speaker ryan: there's not even a point in making a comment on that. reporter: does the appointment of a special counsel, do you think, give you some breathing room now at least to work, go on this agenda? speaker ryan: well, like i said, the appointment of a special counsel i think helps assure people and the justice department that they're going to go do their jobs independently and thoroughly, which is what we called for all along, and so i think it was perfectly property
-- perfectly appropriate to do that. in the meantime, we are going to keep our russian investigations going with our intelligence committees. and look what i described, energy -- not the energy and commerce -- the education and work force committee closing the skills gap. getting the mac thornberry and armed services committee. streamlining the way pentagon works on weapons. let's get on with tax reform. let's fix people's problems. and all of our committees are still doing that. so as i said, i know that people get consumed with the news of the day but we are here today working on people's problems every day. we have all these different committees that do different jobs, and our job is to make sure that we still make progress for the american people, and we're doing that. reporter: what you're being asked about? speaker ryan: do you want to ask about tax reform? all right. mike emanuel. [laughter] reporter: mr. speaker, thank you. regarding tax reform, there's some folks who think you can go
beyond this year -- speaker ryan: no, that's not the case. our goal and i feel very confidential we can meet this goal is calendar year 2017. i think we are making good progress. does bloomberg have a tax reform? reporter: i do. so majority leader mitch mcconnell said he thinks the prospects for border adjustment tax are rather bleak in the senate and yet he still says it should be revenue neutral. what are the alternatives being discussed? is there a way that this border adjustment can either have a transition that would make it more palatable or some kind of tax border adjustment? speaker ryan: you can say to all of the above to what you just said. what we have to do -- as an old tax writer i would say this is, you have to weigh alternatives off one another. it is obvious that you can and should have some kind of an adjustment and phase-in period if you are going to have a border adjustment. i obviously think border adjustment is the smart way to
go. i think it makes the tax code the most internationally competitive of any other version we are looking at. and i think it removes all tax incentives for a firm to move overseas or to move their production overseas. but if you're not going to do border adjustment, then you have to look at the alternatives to that. there's always upsides and downsides to alternatives. that's the process we're going through right now. we're going through the process of looking at what is the best way to reform the tax code and to lower tax rates for businesses and to make the american tax system internationally competitive. right now it is literally one of the worst tax systems in the industrialized world. we're losing companies who are becoming foreign companies. we have an incentive that basically tells companies, outsource your manufacturing. why on earth are we doing that? so we really believe -- this is, again -- we're working on this, fixing people's problems, and that's why tax reform is so critical, and i do believe that there are very serious and legitimate concerns to any version of tax reform and we are going to have to accommodate those concerns as we move to a
new tax system. >> last question. reporter: mr. speaker, thank you. two questions, following up on rachel's question. with the russia investigation, can you talk about where the questions of mr. trump's relationship with mr. comey and potential obstruction of justice issue, you say you want to get the facts on that. then on health care, insurers are getting ready to set rates. do you think there's any possibility that whatever comes out of congress will affect next year or are we looking two years down the road? speaker ryan: well, i'll defer you to h.h.s. on c.s.r. payments. we have a deadline, i think, monday, if i am not mistaken. we'll meet that deadline. we'll do a status report with the court, the house republicans will. that issue is still unresolved. but i would have to defer you to secretary price on c.s.r. payments. reporter: ok. but on the question of potential obstruction of justice. speaker ryan: yeah, yeah. that's what investigations are for. you now have a special counsel who will take over that
portfolio within the justice department. i think it's appropriate. the whole point is to have an independent investigation and follow the facts wherever they may lead. it is premature to prejudge anything at this point. only that we have a process in place. we have a process in place here in congress and the administration now has a process in place in the justice department. reporter: where does that take care of congress, though? is that part of oversight or intelligence here? speaker ryan: i'll leave it up to the committees to determine that. thank you. >> c-span's, washington journal, live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up this morning, connecticut democratic congressman jim himes discusses the latest on the investigation into russian interference in the
2016 campaign. then, republican congressman tevin cramer north dakota on the future of the paris climate agreement and other international efforts to reduce climate change. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal," at 7:00 a.m. this morning. join the discussion. >> this morning, a hearing on u.s. space assets and national security threats. we will be live with the harz -- a house armed services committee at 8:00 on c-span3, it -- c-span.org and our free c-span radio app. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider.
>> one day after former fbi director robert mueller was appointed special counsel for the russian investigation, senators met with rod rozen stein. following the meetings, several senators spoke to reporters. and here is some of what they had to say. >> i did not hear anything classified. the bottom line is it was a general consensus that it was a good decision to pick a general council. a lot of confidence in mr. robert mueller. the shot to the body is that it is now considered a criminal investigation and congress' conductto investigations of all things russia has been limited. i think a lot of members want the special counsel to be appointed but do not understand