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tv   White House Briefing  CSPAN  August 2, 2018 3:29pm-4:17pm EDT

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which, since world war ii, from more or less 1950 two the year 2000, we grew at 31 and i see no reason why we can't replicate that, with proper policies. larry kudlow, friday night at 9:15 eastern, on c-span, c-span.com or listen with the free c-span radio app. national security officials joined white house press secretary sarah sanders for today's press briefing. they talked about the ongoing influence of russia's campaign against american elections. this is about 45 minutes.
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ms. sanders: good afternoon. since the beginning of his administration, president trump has implemented a whole different approach to safeguard our nation's elections. the president has made it clear his administration will not foreign interference in our elections. last year the president signed an executive order to strengthen cyber security. the president chaired a meeting of his national security council to address ongoing threats. he asked the officials standing next to me to protect the integrity of our elections. efforts are underway to provide cyber security assistance to
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state and local authorities, and actions to prosecute and hold accountable those who would illegally attempt to interfere in our political and electoral process. welcome dan coats, fbi director christopher wray, secretary of homeland security kierstin nielsen, general paul madison and national security advisor john bolton, the answer questions on this topic very we have addressed what occurred during the 2016 election numerous times. the purpose of today's briefing is about what we are doing now and in the future to protect the integrity of our collections. moving forward, we ask that you stay on that topic. we also ask that you director question to a specific person. >> thank you very much, sarah. would like to address election
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security in the 2018 election, and in the future. the president has made clear what his priority is. we have had a number of inquiries from congress on this, including a letter to me the past couple of days from five senators, signed by senator schumer and others. i responded to that letter today. we made copies available to you, and it forms a kind of framework for the briefing, that the four heads of the operating agencies will give you here today. they are implementing and operationalizing the policy we have developed. there are other agencies involved, but these are the primary ones. addressportant that we the question of the president's involvement in this, his leadership and determination to prevent russian and other foreign influence in the elections. we meet on this constantly, senior staff here in the white
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house. we meet with the heads of different agencies regularly, and in my tenure as national security adviser, less than two months, we have had two full national security meetings chaired by the president and countless other discussions as well. since january 2017, the president has taken decisive action against meddling and election interference. this includes measures to heighten security and election systems across the country against russian and other foreign maligned influence and confronting such aggression through international action and strong sanctions. elections are administered by state and local governments and the federal role is to assist them. we will be addressing that. i might also say by way of
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many federal government actions to protect elections in the united states, such as those implemented by the lawlligence community and enforcement agencies, are necessarily sensitive and highly classified. we do not wish to make the efforts of our adversaries any easier through injudicious public disclosures. we have offered to do and will continue briefings from members of congress in secure facilities. what i would like to do is turn the briefing over to the people whose agencies handle this responsibility. we will start off with director of national intelligence dan coats, followed by director of homeland security kierstin nielsen -- kirstjen nielsen, followed by fbi director trista of the and the director national security agency,
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nakasone.ul not l i would like the american people to know that the intelligence community and all of the agencies are postured to identify threats of all kinds against the united states. the president has directed estimate the matter of election meddling and securing our , and wes a top priority have done that and are doing that and continue to do so. have incorporated lessons learned from the 2016 election and implemented a broad spectrum of actions to share more information across the federal government, as well as state and local governments, and also the public and private sector. the intelligence community continues to be concerned of threats against the upcoming u.s. elections, and the
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presidential elections in 2020. in regards to russian involvement in midterm elections, we continue to see a pervasive effort by russia to try to weaken and divide the united states. these efforts are not exclusive to this election. future elections are certainly relevant. we also know that russians are hacking into and stealing information from candidates and government officials alike. russia is not the only country that has an influence in trying to influence our domestic political environment. we know there are others that may be considering influencing our elections. as such, we will continue to monitor and worn of any's -- of any suchwarn efforts.
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i'm committed to the intelligence community integrating and seeking greater transparency with the public. implemented a broad spectrum of actions regarding collection, analysis, reporting, education and partnerships, all designed to provide the best threat assessments to federal, state and local officials, as well as to the public and private sector when necessary. for example, my office leads the interagency working group now meeting weekly as we push towards november, with the department of justice, fbi, department of homeland security, , cyber and counterintelligence experts, focused on securing election security and the integration of our efforts. the intelligence community's focus right now is persistent theort to the fbi,
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department of homeland security and other agencies in their election responsibilities, and my office is ensuring these receive timely and proactive intelligence community support. secretary neilsen: good afternoon. on tuesday, the dhs cyber security office brought together government and industry leaders and academia to discuss opportunities to assess the government and industry leaders and academia to discuss opportunities to assess the threat to our nation's infrastructure. i want to thank those who joined us from academia, government and private sector, all who participated to conquer the participated to conquer the challenges of cyber security.
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free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy. it has become clear they are the , toet of our adversaries sow discord and undermine our way of life. 'se intelligence community past efforts and those today to , ourfere with our election adversaries have shown they have the willingness and capability to interfere in our elections. withas worked closely state and local election officials throughout the country , by offering a range of services to identify weaknesses in their election systems. ,hether it is offering no-cost
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voluntary technical assistance for best practices for securing or providing advice on ransomware and distractive malware, our department stands ready to provide tailored support based on each tourist diction's needs. i'm pleased to inform you that today, all 50 states, the district of columbia and over 900 local governments have partnered with dhs to bolster the resilience of the nation's election infrastructure. states also have organic capabilities and are engaging with the private sector to improve the security of elections. requiresinfrastructure aggressive and ongoing vigilance. everyone must play their role to ensure every vote is counted, and counted correctly. all of us here today and members of congress and local elections officials and the public gain new insights into potential adversaries and campaigns.
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we are committed to providing our partners with the government's best intelligence available. the progress we have made israel and the nation's elections are more resilient because of the work we are doing, but we must continue to ensure our democracy is protected. thank you for being here. i will turn it over to director wray. : good afternoon, everyone. last fall, shortly after i i took over in, onration designed to focus efforts targeting our elections and our values. we are talking counterintelligence, cyber, criminal and even counterterrorism. it is designed to root out and
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respond. adversaries't, our ranges encompass a wide of activities. just like we have a multidisciplinary response because the threat is multidisciplinary, here are a few examples of things we have seen your targeting u.s. officials and other u.s. persons through tradecraft, criminal actors providing illegal campaign financing, cyber attacks against voter infrastructure, computer intrusions targeting elected officials and others, and a whole slew of other influence, overtly and covertly manipulating news stories, spreading disinformation, leveraging economic resources and escalating divisive issues. this is not just an election-cycle threat. adversaries are trying to
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undermine our country on a persistent and regular basis, whether it is election season or not. there is a clear distinction between, on the one hand, activities that threaten the andrity of our elections, on the other hand the broader threat of influence operations designed to manipulate and influence our voters and their feelings. with our partners, we are trying to counteract all threats. we have three pillars of our operational strategy. the first is our investigations and operational strategies. for a variety of reasons, i'm not going to describe the full extent of those efforts, but i will tell you our foreign withence task force works personality and all 56 offices, and even as we speak we have got open investigations with foreign expanding fbis is field offices across the country.
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make no mistake. the scope of foreign influence deep.ad and the second of the three pillars is information sharing and sharing with our partners in the federal government as well as our state and local partners. just last week, we disseminated a list to our state and local law enforcement partners of various foreign influence indicators to look out for like malicious cyber activity, social abnormalities and foreign propaganda. the idea is to marshal additional i.t. resources in the fight. we are working with international resources and partners to exchange information in combating the threat because this is, after all, i shared threat. the third pillar of our approach is based on our strong
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relationship with the private sector. technology companies have a front-line responsibility to protect their networks. we are doing our part to provide actionable intelligence to better enable them to address the use of their platforms by foreign actors. this year, we met with the top social media companies several classified briefings and shared specific threat indicator and other pieces of information that they can better monitor their own platforms. the reality is, it is going to take all of us working together to hold the field, because this threat is not going away. and by has -- as i have said, russia interfered in the last election and continues to engage in line influence operations to this day. is an extremely serious challenge to respond to
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and together, us here and some of the other partners we talked about, i am confident we can protect the integrity of our democratic institutions and maintain public confidence in our electoral process. thank you. >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. i appreciate the sport of the president and the director of defense, the director of national intelligence, and i believe our mandate is clear. we provide information and to net -- and technical expertise to the department of homeland security state and local officials to prevent foreign interference in our elections. this is a vital mission for us and the nation. experience and
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expertise, we are continuing work in this area. our support has been ongoing and will continue to the midterm elections. we are also providing intelligence and information on foreigne fbi adversaries who are attempting to sow discord and division among the american public. this information is shared to appropriate -- shared with appropriate entities to alert them to malicious cyber actors. the u.s. cyber agency are tracking a wide range of cyber adversaries and is prepared to conduct operations against those actors who continue to undermine our -- our nation's elections. these operations are sensitive and require confidentiality. i want discuss specifics except to say that our forces well-trained, ready, and very capable. i have complete confidence in the forces under my command.
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we will work in conjunction with other elements of our government to bring the full power of our nation against any foreign power that can -- that attempts to interfere in our processes. as i said at the beginning, if we could stay on topic. and when asking a question, directed to a specific person. back to answer other questions on news of the day. john. let me takecoats, you back to helsinki, the president seemed to indicate he may believe vladimir putin when he said he didn't have any influence on the 2016 election. what your belief about the russian government meddling in 2016? and if russia continues to influence our electoral process,
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nothing came of the meeting with putin? none of us were in office at that particular time, but the president and vice president and i think everyone acknowledged has the threat assessment about what happened in 2016. we have made the determination to make a top priority to make sure it doesn't happen again. we are throwing everything at it that we have and will be discussing that here today. relative to my discussions with the president, whatever issue it i do not go public with that. i don't think that is the right, proper thing to do. so our focus for today is simply to tell the american people, we acknowledge the threat, it is and wet is continuing,
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are doing everything we can to have a legitimate election that we can trust in. that, it goes beyond the elections, it goes to russia's attempt to undermine , drive aratic values wedge between our allies, and a number of other nefarious things. looking at that also, but today we are here to talk about the elections coming up. reporter: both you and director wray said russia continues to meddle in our elections and influence voters. are we talking about rogue individuals or the kremlin? mr. coats: i think it is both, and i would even had to that -- even add to that. russia is using social media, bots, actors they hire through proxies, all of the above.
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i can't go into details on what is classified but it is pervasive, it is ongoing, with the intent to achieve their intent and that is to drive a wedge and undermine our democratic values. reporter: question for director wray. special counsel robert mueller has indicted more than 20 russian officials based on work by the fbi for meddling in the 2060 election. election.6 the president has tweeted that that investigation by the special counsel should be shut down, and that it is a hoax. why would the american people believe what you are saying, the fbi, when the president says the investigation by the special , and the pressax secretary yesterday said there was a lot of corruption within the fbi? >> i can assure the american people, the men and women of the
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fbi from the director are now -- director on downer are going to follow the law and do our jobs. howrter: director coats, would you characterize current russian efforts to meddle in the 20 election, relative to 2016 -- the 2018 election, relative to 2016? pace of those relative tonyway 2012, 2014, or is it more aggressive? relative to what we have seen for the midterm elections, it is not the robust campaign we assessed in 2016's election. we know that for decades russia has tried to use its propaganda to sow discord in america. they stepped up their game big-time in 2016. we have not seen that kind of a robust effort from them so far.
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as i mentioned publicly just a few weeks ago, they are only one keyboard click away from finding out something we haven't seen up to this point in time. reporter: d.c. it directed at any particular party, the 2018 effort, is there any particular party that is benefiting from the current, 2018 interference? what we seize the russians taking any opportunity, regardless of the party and regardless of whether it applies to the election, to continue pervasive efforts to undermine our fundamental values. reporter: i will try again. [laughter] in the run-up to the helsinki comments, u.s. officials, nato ambassadors to russia, said the president would raise the issue
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of malign activity with president putin. you are saying today that the president has directed you to make the issue of election meddling a priority. how do you explain the difference between what you are saying and what the president said about this issue? in a position not to either understand fully or talk about what happened in helsinki. i will throw it to the national security director to answer that question. the issue was discussed, and president putin said, i thought that the press conference but certainly at the expanded bilateral meeting when the leaders get together with their senior advisers, president putin said the first issue president trump raised was election meddling. reporter: at the press conference, the president didn't highlight any malign activities,
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that you have and that his advisers have. should americans believe that he is listening to your advice, or that he is going his own way when he has meetings like he did with the president of russia? the president has made it abundantly clear to everybody that has responsibility in this area that he cares deeply about it, and he expects them to do their jobs to their fullest ability, and he supports them fully. social media, facebook believed down accounts to be potentially from russia. or kinda large amount, of a tip of the iceberg? and will these social media companies, facebook, twitter, instagram, how much have they progressed or not progressed in what you would like to see in
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terms of progression from 2016 in identifying the threat? director wray: activity of the sort your describing is a good reflection of the fact that we have to have a public-private partnership in addressing these threats. we are spending so much of our effort trying to engage with social-media technology companies, because there is a very important role for them to play in terms of monitoring their own platforms. what happened started happening in a way that is much more robust, much more robust than before the 2060 election. we are sharing with them actionable intelligence in a way that wasn't happening before. we understand what they need. they are sharing information back with us. they're a things they can do on their platforms voluntarily, in terms of terms of use and things
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like that that the government doesn't have a role in. but in turn, we have learned things from them to make our investigations more effective. progress has been made, we need to get better at it and need to stay on the ball. yourter: ambassador bolton, talk about the consulates in san francisco and seattle. what happened there? bolten i will discuss the background of that decision, which occurred before a came to this job. but the purpose of expelling russian individuals that were to send a signal that their conduct in conducting a chemical weapons attack in great britain was unacceptable, and this was a mode of retaliation designed to show we will not tolerate that kind of activity on the territory of the united states or any of our allies, and we expelled a lot of people we think had knowledge of
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it or other activities in the u.s. we considered unacceptable. : these meddling campaigns you said fall into two broad categories, it information campaigns that challenge the information on which voters make their determination, and then interference in voting, tabulation of voting, voter rolls, the machinery. can you describe what you are saying specifically in the run-up to this upcoming election? worryse areas, do you more about one or the other, either specific threat to can't say talk about but you can there have been specific threats in both of those categories? and how should americans process that, when we are going to the polls in a few months?
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director wray: in the context of 2018, we are not yet seeing the same kind of efforts and activity targeting election infrastructure and voter registration databases in particular. what we are seeing are the malign influence operations and the information warfare we talked a bit -- talked about. that is a 24 7, 365 days a year phenomenon and does not turn on whether there are elections are not. said, anyr coats moment is just a moment before the dial can be turned up, much as we saw in 2016, not in terms of effecting the vote count but in terms of penetration of voter registration databases, or something like that, and that in turn can be a vehicle for them to sow discord or undermine
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confidence. we have to make sure we are pushing back on it, which is what we are doing. director nielsen colson we are focused on election , state and local responsibilities, and then we support the fbi efforts. with respect to the infrastructure piece, we have seen a capability on the part of the russians and we are working closely with state and locals to make sure we are prepared this time around. part of that is encouraging states to have auditability. americans thatre their vote was counted and counted correctly. regardless of what might happen, we will be prepared but we want to be sure we have that auditability. reporter: was that shut down august 1 a result of these
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efforts? secretary nielsen: any state that requests a vulnerability assessment, as practices, we will continue to prioritize within our budget. reporter: can you unpack a givee more what you said, us a better sense of who specifically has been targeted? a senator has said they were targeted by hacking. members of the senate, members of the house, democratic or republican? mr. coats: we follow a procedure that has been agreed upon some time ago. -- when we receive this type of information, it is processed through the leadership
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through the house or senate chamber and disseminated down to the individual member who was targeted. so we have taken that action that is in place. but i am not in a position right now to release those things. reporter: would you support legislation imposing sanctions on russia right now, now you say they have interfered? mr. coats: we already have this sections in place and i would support any efforts collectively, put together, to send a message to russia that there is a price to pay for what they are doing, and if we want a relationship whatsoever in dealing with things of mutual interest, the russians have to stop doing what they are doing or it is not going to happen. reporter: have you been ordered to authorize or conduct any defensive operations? my guidance is very clear
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from the secretary of defense. we are not going to accepted meddling in our elections. ms. sanders: thank you, very much. we appreciate you being here today. we will take a couple of more questions on other topics. reporter: i want to ask about the president's tweet on north korea. he said i look forward to another meeting with president kim jong on. our plans in place for another meeting? and he said you received a letter from kim. what did the letter say, and did it address recent reports? he did receive a letter. i believe he received at august 1. there is not a second meeting that is currently locked in or
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finalized. we are certainly open to that discussion but there is not a meeting planned. we have responded to chairman kim's letter. the president has, in that letter will be delivered shortly. i can't get into any further details. the lettersthat address their commitment from their joint statements, and that was made at the singapore summit. they are going to continue --king together for an come working together for complete and verifiable denuclearize issue. reporter: the media are not the enemy of the people. and what about the family separations at the border? ms. sanders: the president doesn't like the family separations. no one does. we don't like the idea of open borders, letting people into our
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country who we have no idea who they are or where they are going. the president has asked congress to fix the law. we have not been unclear about our position. we want to secure our borders and change the law. it is congress' job to do that, we would like them, particularly democrats, to stop playing political games and step up and do their jobs. the president is rightfully frustrated. 90% of the coverage on him is negative, despite the fact that the economy is booming, isis is on the run and american leadership is being reasserted around the world. just this week, the media refused to cover his remarks in florida highlighting efforts on workforce development area the governor of the state joint with dozens of businesses across florida to announce thousands of new jobs. that may not be news in washington dc, but it is news in the state of florida, that people who did not have a job before this president took office have the opportunity to have a job moving forward area that is actually real news and
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ofething people in the state florida and people across this country appreciate, and that was totally ignored. not only that, i journalist on cnn complained of the president had not taken questions in over a week, despite the fact that same journalist did a live shot from the press conference the president had with the prime minister of italy just moments after making that accusation. and sort of misinformation lack of interest in the media is understandable for the president to be frustrated very -- to be frustrated. reporter: about the conference call yesterday on u.s. china trade relations. is there a timeline when or if the president may impose harsher sanctions on china or tariffs on china? we continue to monitor their progress. when we have an announcement we will let you know. reporter: is the goal at the end
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of the day to get china back to the negotiating table, when they were at the negotiating table with american trade negotiators a few months ago? ms. sanders: the goal is to end unfair trade practices china has engaged in for decades. reporter: the president, on election security, has said other people may have been involved in efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. fromere any evidence the intelligence community that anyone besides russia was involved? ms. sanders: we know that there are others that are considering making attempts in 2018, which is what our focus is moving forward. as you know, none of us were here in 2016 but we are here now. justndividuals here moments ago, the focus on full
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weight of the government, directed by the president to protect the election -- intructure and 28 teen 2018 and moving forward, and that is exactly what we're going to do. i can't get into specific details, but intelligence shows there are a number of others that are looking at and considering engaging in 2018. the president suggested russia might be trying to help democrats in the 2018 elections. is there any evidence whatsoever russians are trying to help democrats? ms. sanders: you can see from what took place in facebook. wasn't atector wray liberty to speak about specifics, but i can tell you a number of them were anti-resident from. that is not helping republicans. i wanted to respond on
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standards rule imposed by autodministration today, emissions standards. freezing these puts our children at risk and increases the risk of climate change. the administration response would be what? ms. sanders: reporting that we are reversing obama era fuel efficiency standards is simply false. what the epa released just today was a notice of proposed rulemaking, not a final rule. the notice lays out a series of options on how to go forward with cafe standards. we are simply opening it up for comments and will make a final decision at the end of that. reporter: the moveon tariffs potentially from 10% to 25%, what was the thing that made the president say, i want to do it?
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the president has been clear he is going to hold china's feet to the fire and wants to stop unfair trade practices. reporter: going back to election security, the president says is thed for elections administration proposing a voter id law? , as partministration of this election security push, also proposing a voter id law? mr. hilton: -- at sanders: we are looking doing everything we can to protect the integrity of the 2020 andtion and after. we are looking at every option available. it is not unreasonable. if i return something to do a department store, if i cash a check, i have to show my id to do those things.
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if yout outrageous that are going to decide on leaders of your local community, your state or local government, you would be asked to show an id. reporter: about a ivanka trump's statement that the press is not the enemy of the people, she asked about whether the press was the enemy of the people or not. you read off a laundry list of your concerns about the press and things that you feel are misreported, but you did not say the press is not the manna me -- the press is not the enemy of the people. i think it would be a good thing if you would say right here, at this briefing, that the press, the people gathered in this room right now doing their jobs every day and asking questions of officials, are not the enemy of the people. i think we deserve that. ms. sanders: the president has made his decision known. i always think it is ironic. i'm trying to answer your question, i politely waited and
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-- reporter: which is why i interrupted. it is ironic, jim, that not only you and the media attack the president for his rhetoric, when they frequently lower the level of conversation in this country, repeatedly. repeatedly, the media resorts to personal attacks without any content other than to incite anger. the media has attacked me personally on a number of occasions, including on euro network, sega saying i should be harassed as a life sentence, saying officials are not welcome in their place of worship, and personal information is shared on the internet. when i was hosted by the correspondents' association you brought up a comedian to attack my appearance and called me a traitor to my own gender. as far as i know, i am the first press secretary and the history of the united states that has required secret service
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protection. the media continues to ratchet up the verbal assaults on the president and everyone in the administration area certainly we have a role to play but the media has a role to play for the discourse in this country, as well. reporter: excuse me, you did not say in the course of those remarks you just made that the press is not the enemy of the people. are we to take it, from what you just said, we all get put through the ringer, we'll get put through the meat grinder in this town and you are no exception, and i'm sorry that that happened to you, i wish that that had not happened, but for the sake of this room, the people in this room, this democracy, this country, other people around the world are watching what you are saying, ofah, and the white house the united states of america, the president of the united states, should not refer to us as the enemy of the people. his own daughter acknowledges that, and i'm only asking you took knowledge that right here and right now. ms. sanders: i appreciate your passion. i shared it.
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-- i share it. the president made his comments clear. i speak on behalf of the president. reporter: the national archives says they probably aren't going to be able to finish the document collection regarding brett kavanaugh until october, later than the timetable you had and senate republicans had. can you comment on that, and any potential assistance the white house would give the archives? we want to be as helpful as possible in turning over any documents. senators said there would be over one million pages of documents to review, including over 300 judicial opinions. his documents tell us the least about his judicial thinking, and the one million pages of his other work, including his judicial opinions. we want a thorough a valuation but we don't want to taxpayer-funded fishing expedition. we will continue to be
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cooperative and that is what we have done. reporter: on north korea we are nearing the two-month mark from the singapore summit. is the president satisfied on the progress north korea is making toward denuclearization? ms. sanders: the president will be satisfied until all of korea is denuclearize. seeing continued cooperation. we are incredibly thankful for the remains of the service members returned yesterday, and we are going to continue to work with north korea. i think that is a great place to close out. thanks so much, guys. reporter: the 13 russians who were indicted?
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>> still to calm here on c-span, the annual net roots nation conference for progressive activism organizers. among the acres is senator cory booker, democratic donor tom stier, and a mock receipt in color president aimee allison. live coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. eastern. this evening president trump is holding a rally in wilkes-barre, pennsylvania, to support congressman lou barletta's bid for u.s. senate seat. it starts at seven ago p.m. eastern. and tonight, ivanka trump discusses workforce issues at an axios atsted by 9:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. point,igh

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