tv White House Briefing CSPAN August 2, 2018 9:01pm-9:29pm EDT
>> thank you. friday on c-span, the second annual conference. starting at 1:00 a.m. with cory booker and picking up at 3:30 eastern with elizabeth warren. will bring youwe a daylong policy on trade tariffs. >> national security dan coats joined sarah sanders for today's white house press briefing. they talked about russia's americanagainst elections.
this is about 45 minutes. good afternoon. since the beginning of his administration, president trump has implemented a whole of government approach to safeguard our nation's election. the president has made it clear that his administration will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from a nation, state or dangerous actor. last year, the president signed an executive order to strengthen and review the cyber security of our nation and its critical infrastructure. last week the president chaired , a meeting of his national security council to address ongoing threats.
we asked officials standing next to need to break the american people on the work he's done to protect the integrity of our actions. efforts are underway to provide cyber security for authorities to investigate, prosecute and hold accountable those who legally to interview process. i want to welcome director of national intelligence, dan coats, fbi director stephen wray, secretary of homeland security here samuelson, director of the national security agency general called tony national security pfizer john bolton to make comments and questions on the . as you know we address during the election numerous times in rhetoric the purpose of today's briefing is about what we are doing now to protect the integrity of our elections and we ask that you stay on topic. in order to this run smoothly we
ask you direct your attention and questions to ask for bolton and make comments. thank you very much sarah and what we like to address today is election security in the 2018 election and in the future. president has made it very clear i think his priority is. we've had obviously a number of inquiries from congress on this including a letter to me last couple days five senators by senator schumer and for others. i have responded to that letter today and we make copies to you and it's part of a framework for the briefing that the four operating the agency give you here today. they are the ones who are living and operationalizing . there are other agencies involved of these are four primary one and i think it's important that we address the question of the presence involved in this.
is the, his determination to prevent russia and other foreign influence in elections. we meet on this, the senior white house. we meet with the heads of the different agencies involved. we discussed quite regularly and in my tenure as national security advisor less than 10 months we already have to fold national security council meeting president other discussions as well. since january 2017 the president has taken this action to defend our election systems from meddling interference. this includes measures security and resilience election systems , to confront russian for an online influence in the united states , to confront aggressive action and to reinforce a strong sanctions regime. as you know mister will role is to assess through the heads of agencies.
and i also say by way of introduction that many federal government actions protect elections in the united states such as those by community or law enforcement agencies are necessarily sensitive and highly classified. we do not wish to take the efforts of our adversaries any easier through injudicious public disclosure. nonetheless we have offered to continue to offer briefings to members of congress in secured facilities. so what i like to do here is for said is turned everything over to the people whose agencies have this responsibility. we will start off with director of national intelligence dan coats, followed by medicare
-- director of homeland , atrity, kierstin nelson the i director stephen wray and finally, -- christopher wray and -- lly, the direction or >> as director of national intelligence, i would like the american people to know that the intelligence community and all of its agencies are postured to identify threats of all kinds against the united states. the president has specifically directed us to make the matter of election meddling and securing our election process a top priority and we will continue to do so. we have incorporated lessons the president has specifically learned from the 2016 elections and implemented a broad spectrum of actions to share more information across the federal government, as well as the state of local governments and also
with the public and private sector. the intelligence community continues to be concerned about the threat of upcoming u.s. elections, both the midterm presidential elections in 2020. in regards to russian involvement in the midterm elections, we continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by russia to try to weaken and divide the united states. these efforts are not exclusive to this election for future elections, but but certainly cover issues relevant to the election. we also know as the russians tried to hack into and steal candidates andm government officials alike. we are aware that russia is not the only country that is trying to influence our domestic or political environment.
we know there are others who have the capability and may be considering influence activities. as such, we will continue to monitor and warned of any such effort. i have made to make sure that the intelligence community is working together and integrating across organizations and missions in seeking greater transparency to the public. the od and i has instituted a broad spectrum of actions covering collection, analysis, reporting, education and partnerships, all designed to provide the threat assessments that federal, state and local officials as well as to the public and private sector when necessary. for example, my office leaves the interagency working group now meeting weekly to push towards november with the department of justice, fbi and department of homeland security, cia and nsa inclusive of regional, cyber intelligence experts all focused on ensuring
election security and integration of our efforts. the intelligence communities focus is persistent support to the fdr department of homeland , security and other agencies in their election responsibilities and my office is insuring these organizations received timely and proactive intelligence community support. >> good afternoon, thank you all for joining us. i want to start by briefly mentioning on tuesday, dhs posted the first cyber security summit. this brought together government industry leaders in academia to discuss opportunities to join forces to threats to our nation's critical infrastructure. i want to thank all of those who joined us from academia, government and private sector who participated and sign up for concrete actions to cyber security challenges.
across every procedure structure from transportation to communication and selling others, a single attack widespread consequences. can have i look forward to working with leaders in the digital realm we stand up to this. but, it is not just risks to our prosperity, privacy and infrastructure we have to worry about and that's why we're here . our democracy itself is in the crosshairs. free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy has become clear they are the target of our adversaries who seek to sow discord and undermine our way of life. i fully share the intelligence community assessment and ask for those that may interfere with our election and other threats. our adversaries shown the willingness and capability to interfere in our elections. dhs has and continues to work closely with state and local election officials throughout
the country by offering a range of services to help identify weaknesses in our election system. whether it is offering no-cost, assistance,chnical sharing best practices for securing online voter registration data, we are providing technical advice on ramp somewhere and disruptive now, howard stands ready to provide support based on each the restrictions needs. this is yet another example where one size does not fit all. i am pleased to inform you that today 50 states, the district of columbia and 900 and local governments have partnered with dhs to bolster the resilience of the nations election infrastructure. various states also have capabilities in engaging with the private sector and academia to improve the security of election. election infrastructure is not the destination, where aggressive vigilance. everyone must play their role to secure that every vote is
counted correctly. , members ofre today congress, state and local election, at all here today a new insight into essential adversaries and campaign, we are committed to providing our partners with the government's best intelligence and information available. the progress we have made is real and the nations is more resilient today because of the work we are doing but we must , continue to ensure that democracy is. thank you for being here. i will turn it over to director wray. >> good afternoon, everyone. last fall after i shortly after i became director i stood up and you for it influence task force that was designed to identify counteract all range of malign
foreign operators, according to democratic institutions and our values. the task force brings together across the water fbi expertise so we're talking counterintelligence and even counterterrorism designed to root out and respond for influence operation. for their part, our adversaries influence operation is a wide range of activities. but just like we have a multidisciplinary response because of the threat, so just a few examples of some of the we see, targeting u.s. officials and other us persons through traditional intelligence tradecraft. criminal efforts to suppress voting and provide illegal campaign finances. to the voting infrastructure on the computer intrusions targeting elected officials and others and a whole slew of other kinds of influence both overtly and covertly manipulating news
stories and spreading disinformation, leveraging economic resources and escalating divisive issues. it's important to understand this is not just an election cycle. our adversaries are trying to undermine our country on a persistent regular basis whether it's election season or not. there is a clear distinction between all one activities in the security and integrity of our election system and on the other hand, the broader influence operations designed to manipulate and influence our voters and opinions. with our partners, we are trying to counteract both threats. we have three pillars to our operational strategy. the first is our investigations and operation. for a variety of reasons which i think are obvious including operational, i'm not going to be able to describe the full extent
of those efforts but are , influenced task force works with in all 56 field offices and speak, we have got investigations with the foreign influence nexus sending the field offices. behind field offices across the country so make no mistake, the soul of this foreign influence threat is wrong the area is secular, i said there were three colors, second focus on information sharing and intelligence working with , partners in the community and federal government as well as with our state and local partners to establish a common operating picture. just last week as an example, we disseminated a list to our state and local law enforcement partners of various foreign influence indicators that we have to be on a for, things like malicious activity, social abnormality.
the idea is to marginal additional eyes and ears in the fight. we're also working with our international partners to exchange intelligence and strategies for combating the threat because this is after all a shared for our allies. the third pillar of our approach is based on our strong relationships with the private sector. technology companies have a frontline responsibility to secure their own networks, products and platforms, but we're doing our part by providing actionable intelligence that will enable them to address the use of their platforms by foreign actors. this year we've met with top companies,dia technology companies sometimes, given classified briefings, shared indicators and information in a variety of other pieces of information so they can better monitor those platforms. the reality is going to take all of us working together to hold
the field because this threat is not going away. as i have said consistently, russia interfere with the last election and continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day. this is a threat we extremely seriously and to tackle and respond to with fierce determination and focus. with our partners both here and some of the other partners we talked about, i'm confident we can protect the integrity of our democratic institutions and confidenceblic through our electoral process. thank you. youood afternoon and thank for joining us. support.eciate the i believe our mandate is clear. our mission to defend the nation, the department of defense is providing intelligence, technical
expertise. the homeland security produced by state and local officials to prevent foreign interference in election. this is a vital mission for us in the nation. draw the experience and expertise in continuing work in this area. our support has been ongoing and will continue through the midterm elections. we are also providing intelligence and information leads through the federal bureau of investigation on foreign adversaries attempting to undermine our elections. i won't discuss the specifics, except to state that our forces
are well-trained, ready and very capable. i have complete confidence in the forces under my command. we will work in conjunction with other elements of our government to ensure we all our information on a foreign power that test interfere in our process. i turn it back to the moderator. >> thank you. as i said beginning, we could stay on top and also if you could when asking a question directed to a specific person. as always after we finish this , part of the briefing i'll be , back to answer other questions . >> director coats, if i could directed question to you. let me take you back if i could to helsinki. the president seemed to indicate that he may believe vladimir putin when he says he doesn't have any influence in the 2016 election. what is your belief about the
russian government involvement in meddling in 2016 and if as you say, russia continues to try to influence our electoral process, does that mean that nothing much of the meeting with putin or is it other than government actors who are involved? >> in relation to the 2016 election, none of us were in office at that particular time , but the president, the vice president, everyone on this day as knowledge the fact that it was a direct attempt at what happened in 2016. we have subsequently made the determination to make this top .rior 40 -- priority we're throwing everything and we will we will be discussing here today. relative to my discussions with the president, on whatever issue
it is. those i do not go public with , that. i don't think that's the right and to do so our focus here today is simply to tell the american people we acknowledged the threat. the threat is real. it is continuing and we are doing everything we can to have a legitimate election that the american people can ask austin. in addition to back, goes beyond the election to the russians intent to undermine our democratic values. the driveway clean our allies and other various tools we are looking at also today we are here to talk about the elections coming up and what we're doing ensuring american people -- the american people. >> clarify, if you and director wray said russia continues to metal in our elections influence voters, are we talking about rogue russian individuals or are
we talking about the kremlin? i think you can say both. and even that, russia's has has used numerous ways in which they want to influence through social media , through , actors that they hire, through proxies, all of the above potentially more, i can't go into any details other than what is classified, but it is pervasive and ongoing with the intent to achieve their intent to drive a wedge and undermine our democratic values. >> i have a question for director wray. thank you. special counsel robert mueller has invited more than 20 russian officials based on work by the fbi for meddling in the elections. the president has tweeted that investigation is a hoax and is being shut down by know you said you don't believe it's a hoax. why would the american people the what you're saying about the fbi when the president says that the investigation by special counsel and the press secretary yesterday said there was a lot
of corruption within the fbi. do you have any response to those things coming from the white house? >> i can assure the men and women that the men and women of follow our host h and do our jobs. >> thank you. >> i have a question for director coats. how would you characterize the current russian actors who metal in 2018 election relative to 2000 16? is it more intense? do you see those efforts focused on a particular party and in general, is the pace of those operations in any way relative
to 2014 2012 or is it more than that? >> relative to what we've seen for the midterm elections, it's not the kind of robust campaign that we saw in the 2016 election. we know through decades, russia has used its propaganda and message to sow discord in america. however, they stepped up their game time in 2016. we've not seen that kind of robust effort from them so far. as i mentioned publicly, sometime just a few weeks ago, we were only one keyboard click away from finding out something you haven't seen up to this particular point in time, but right now we have not seen that . >> to follow up sir, are you seeing a direct attempt on any particular party? is there any particular party benefiting from current russian efforts?
what we see is they are looking for every opportunity regardless of party or whether or not it applies to the election to continue their pervasive efforts to undermine our fundamental values. >> in the run-up to the helsinki summit, u.s. officials and the nato ambassadors to russia said the president would raise the -- e of russian meddling -- raise the issue of malign activity with president clinton. eddie discussed that at least at the press conference. you're saying today the president has directed you to make the issue of election meddling a priority. how does that display a disconnect between what you are saying as advisor and what the president has said on these issues? >> i'm not in a position to understand fully or talk about what happened but i'll get you , over to the national security director here. >> the issue was discussed and in fact president clinton said i thought the press conference that certainly they extended a bilateral meeting when the two
meters got together with their senior advisers. president putin said the first issue president trump way raised election meddling. >> i guess at the press conference, the president didn't highlight any of the malign activities that you had or the national advisers had so should americans believe that he is listening to your advice or that he is going to go away like he did with the president of russia? >> the president has made it abundantly clear to anyone who has a responsibility in this area that he cares deeply about and he expects them to do their jobs to their fullest ability he supports them fully . >> i have been a believer that under the right policies which , we caneconomic policy
grow the american economy had its distort rate which since less 1950ii more or two 2000, we grew. i see no reason we cannot replicate that with proper policies. kudlow on c-span. >> evocative -- trump sat down with mike allen. they talked for about 40 minutes. >> our next guest is an ofrepreneur and a graduate the wharton school of business. now, she is an advisor to