tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC December 10, 2013 10:00am-11:01am PST
right now on "andrea mitchell reports," fairwell madiba. the falling rain could not damp be spirits of tens of thousands gathered at the soccer stadium to celebrate the life of nelson mandela. president obama and the first lady leading the u.s. delegation that included three former presidents and former secretary of state hillary clinton. all greeted with warm cheers. so was african dictator and eclectic group of world leaders, a mix of allies and adversaries. the magnitude was captured in this historic handshake between president obama and cuban's president fidel castro.
the first. this emotional embrace between ex-wife winnie and widow. brought together sharing sorrow, all brought together today to pay tribute to south africa's greatest son. >> around the women today men and women are still in prison for political beliefs and persecuted for what they look like, how they worship and who they live. that is happening today. and so we, too, must act on behalf of justice. >> and handle with care, secretary of state john kerry trying to hold together fragile iran nuclear talks. moments from now he'll be on the hill defending the deal trying to hold off more sanctions in congress in front of the house foreign relations committee. last night kerry assured the
jewish community his face time with israeli prime minister is worth the extra air miles. >> i just got back from what i think was my eighth trip to israel since becoming secretary of state, and i leave the day after tomorrow, and i will be having dinner with him again thursday night. this is a commute, folks. good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. you're looking at live pictures from the house foreign affairs committee on capitol hill with secretary of state kerry defending his short-term deal with iran. trying to talk congress out of imposing new sanctions that kerry fears would jeopardize any chance of a long-term agreement. bring you the development as they happen moments from now. first to south africa, what is considered a sign of rebirth to south africans, a drenching rain
following over mourners, nelson mandela's grand memorial service, soaking thousands who gathered to celebrate the remarkable life of that country's founding father. tens of thousands of south africans braved bad weather and tight security to attend along with nearly 100 world leaders, a gathering are presidents, kings, tyrant. the days service begins days of tributes to come. ron allen joins me from soweto, south africa. ron, it's been quite a day and night. extraordinary weather also. i know in the south african context, it is good and considered a blessing and it is considered a sign of rising to heaven. that certainly was not a comfortable moment for thousands to gather and mourn and celebrate nelson mandela. >> no, it wasn't, andrea. people came out and the rain has stopped. people are coming out into the streets. this is a drum corps.
people visiting nelson mandela family. just behind me over there as well. this day was a day of tribute to nelson mandela. also a day of tribute to the people of this country and what they have achieved over the past number of years, freedom and democracy. a comforting time for the families. reference them coming together. i was struck by the moment when president obama greeted his wife. the reality of south africa and his life now. remember, he was elected president 20 years ago next april, but now this country has 25 to 30% unemployment, poverty in the black community, yawning
depth between the haves and have not. the president took to the podium this afternoon. there are many people that feel not only has not done nelson mandela but the country has fallen far short of where it should be given mandela's dream for the nation. there's a small group of wealthy class who are middle class, upper middle class, a significant white population here that controls wealth and economy and business community nittany lion country but there are still millions and millions of poor black africans who have not seen much change in their life during the 19 or 20 years of democracy. a number of speakers were referencing how there was so much more work internationally but also here in south africa many were saying as well. there was some difference between mandela's dream and reality here today. andrea.
>> ron allen, in his speech at the memorial service, the president challenged leaders in attendance to live up to mandela's ideals of peace and reconciliation. >> there are too many people who happily embrace madiba's legacy but resist modest reform for poverty and growing inequality. too many leaders claim solidarity with madiba's struggle from freedom but do not tolerate dissent from their own people. and there are too many of us, too many of us on the sidelines comfortable in complacency or cynicism when our voices must be heard. >> new to me now from pretoria,
special correspondent charlene hunter gault who has been covering politics so many years and knew nelson mandela well. charlene i was struck by your congressmen this morning during our coverage, live coverage at 4:00 this morning when you were talking about the promise, the hope and the reality president zuma, some of the controversies around president sum ark as ron allen alluded to. this was quite an extraordinary speech by president obama, one of his fine speeches. he clearly has this connection. he was touched as a young college student by the apartheid struggle. it really shaped his political world view. >> i think that was obvious in his speech. many of us, i talked to several people since, i heard the former ambassador affirm what i said that this was probably one of president obama's best speeches if not his best since the race speech he gave when he was running for congress. i think when he feels things
deeply, he's much more el quantity. for example, he talked about when he was a student and got involved in the movement to free south africa. i think that i've been hearing a lot of praise from that from south africans who really embrace him as their own. i think throughout the continent of africa, president obama is still widely heralded and praised and appreciated as the first african-american, that is african, part of africa, his father was kenyan as everybody tends to know, african-american, besides how he's faring in the united states he's still a son of africa. i think he feels that. i think when he feels something deeply as he spoke of trayvon martin who could have been his son, he is much more eloquent. yet there is the pragmatic side i said earlier, i said earlier, i thought some of the speech
sounded a little autobiographical. clearly it was a speech that came from the heart. the people there who talked throughout many others or sang or danced and didn't pay attention and the audio was not very good but they listened to him. i remember looking over at brian, we were both a little surprised. everybody had had a little tribble, including one of their own, head of the african union she didn't speak for a few seconds because there was so much noise. you didn't hear that with obama, president obama. what you heard were applause when he quoted president mandela in very significant ways. i thought that was, you know, something to make note of. >> i agree. you're a lot closer to it than i. both geographically and your own personal connection. it was very meaningful and moving to me even at this
remove. on the background, there was some booing. you raised the issue of potential corruption and failing to live up to the legacy of his predecessor. >> absolutely. i think there will be a lot of people who fall into that category because everybody today said there's no other person who could ever be as great as nelson mandela. i think that remains to be seen but at this moment was the case. i frankly was a little surprised at the booing. mass actions, demonstrations for better basic services like we were coming out of soweto coming back to johannesburg today, normally about a 40-minute ride. it took us forever because the water had broken down many of the bridges. the water was just flowing through soweto. so while there have been great
improvements including the house we broadcast from and shopping center we went to, every bit as elegant as those i've been in in new york and other cities in america, there is still as ron allen alluded to rank poverty. and at this point after this government has been in power now, african national congress government, be 20 years next year, i think that people are no longer blaming the apartheid regime for the problems they are having, although make are holdovers like the educational system from those decades of poor education of the black majority. but now they are holding this government accountable. i think that may, again, surprising to me, but that may have accounted for the booing. it's been a lot of publicity about the mansions he has built in his home for his ever expanding family.
the zulu culture polygamy is acceptable and he has accepted it -- well, he's accepted it. so you know, that doesn't sit well with people who are living as many of those people -- when i saw that water running through soweto while there is that beautiful complex that i talked about, the house that we were in, lovely house, and many more houses for black people than they have ever had, there was still shacks that were about to be overrun by that water. that almost brings tears to your eyes. >> charlene hunter gault, your unique perspective, thank you very much. we'll continue to talk to you this week as the body of nelson mandela lies in repose, brought to pretoria and burial. thanks, charlene. tens of thousands of south
africans, world dignitaries and leaders fill that football stadium in south africa honoring the life of nelson mandela, among them front man bono. he spoke to "nbc nightly news" brian williams about the loss of the man he called his friend, his mentor and his guide. >> the man was made famous with absolute the fist, the fist opening into a handshake. this is a man who has all the reasons in the world to hate his enemy but he refused to hate. not because he didn't feel rage. i think he just thought love would do a better job. two years ago, another type of celebration for the man who changed the world, this time with a little help from bono and u 2. g. and we're here. to help secure retirements and protect financial futures.
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ladies and gentlemen, not to say something about madiba and how he touched my heart, my soul, my life. >> he lived in the cell next to mandela on robben island. joining me "washington post" columnist and msnbc analyst eugene robinson. eugene, quite a moving ceremony today, just thousands and thousands of people and the faces. we had three former presidents, a current president, two former -- a former first lady and secretary of state and
hillary clinton. just the pictures of all these players. >> the american establishment, american power going to salute this great man and to honor his life. >> one of the most memorable moments was the handshake with raoul castro. lets take a look at that. there was a chance encounter in 2000 at the u.n. between fidel castro and bill clinton. that doesn't quite show it. there was a rather warm exchange when obama first walked past raul castro, you can see the smile. they actually interacted. the white house issued a statement it was not a planned encounter. i knew the south african government did not tell them where anyone was sitting or what to expect. this was fraught with overtones, because of respect for the moment, that's what the
president was doing. he was certainly not going to engage or disengage. >> what does one do one one is at a social occasion and encounters one not on the friendliest of terms. they shook hand. think what would be said if the president had somehow frostily turned away or contrived to not go the way he was going and shake hands. >> also in that group, the woman to the other side of raoul castro there. you see the kiss on both cheeks. this was a woman who canceled a state dinner because of the edward snowden -- >> very angry about the spying. that's been a big issue in brazil as you know, greenwald, the journalist who has been one of snowden's primary contacts lives in brazil.
there's a lot of public sentiment there. she indeed called off a state dinner and said i don't want it. there was a warmer encounter, maybe u.s. brazil relations will get better. >> if you look at still photo, bill clinton and jimmy carter. jimmy carter had unique relationships with nelson mandela. barack obama had an important personal connection, also the connection, charlene was talking about that. george w. bush was really transformed in many ways, the pepfar agreement, all the work he's done since and repeated trips to tanzania. >> even people who didn't like george w. bush's politics or wars, whatever, have to give him credit for the pepfar program which literally saved millions of lives especially in southern africa providing retro viral drugs for aids to people who
otherwise would not have had this lifesaving treatment. it's an astonishing accomplishment and recognized and appreciated across the continent where he's probably more popular than he is anywhere in the world. >> i was going to say um becki, mandela's successor has a reaction area view that aids somehow was not the treatment and so banned retro viral drugs. it was mandela and mandela foundation that stepped in and pepfar and george w. bush that filled the gap. >> that's right. remember, ten years ago epicenter of the aids epidemic, demographic and human disaster on a massive scale there. the fact it hasn't happened is a
tribute to president bush. >> now president bush moving to malaria. also the selfie with the danish prime minister in the middle, david cameron, uk prime minister, of course, and barack obama. you see michelle obama sitting on the side not taking part. it is really quite a human moment. >> and speaking of human moments, one wonders about human moments on "air force one" coming home and what mrs. obama has to say about this moment of hillarity with the president and prime minister. she doesn't look happy. >> she's probably paying attention to the speaker. >> that must be it, yes. >> eugene robinson, thank you so much. >> thank you, andrea. nelson mandela's memorial service, a reunion for the former u.s. president george w. bush and his wife laura, hillary
clinton hitching a ride to south africa with the obamas on "air force one," to the delight of the press quoer on board bush 43 came back to the cabin for a 90-minute, unfortunately off the record. white house producer alicia jennings, shawna thomas, looking for the rest of our team there. it was all our crew on board. and in south africa, president jimmy carter sat down with brian williams to talk about nelson mandela's impact on his own presidency and what the future now holds for south africa. >> i had a chance to meet with him and winnie. he in grash iaciated himself by saying our daughter had been arrested three times as a college student for apartheid. >> do you have any concerns nelson mandela, post africa, even though he was out of a policymaking role as you know his presence, his aura, made for
an era here. >> i don't think there's any doubt since nelson left office, the harmony between black and white people has gone down. nelson was dealing with it in a very inspirational way, treating barack obama the black and white on an equal basis. i'm not sure his successors have been able to do that. if i can impart one lesson to a new business owner, it would be one thing i've learned is my philosophy is real simple american express open forum is an on-line community, that helps our members connect and share ideas to make smart business decisions. if you mess up, fess up.
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your federal government is shut down again today, this time by snow. as another round of winter weather slammed east coast making for a messy commute for millions. joining me from leesburg, virginia, weather channel's mike seidel. a lot of snow earlier, mike, it's really warming up or clearing up. tell me what's happening. >> it's doing both, andrea, warming up, clearing up. we had heavy snow. a quick hitter, it snowed a couple hours. that was it. we've had anywhere from three to six inches west of washington,
west of maryland, six inches. it's still snowing. check the radar, still snowing from philadelphia to the jersey shore, new york, most of the locations reporting snow, temperatures are 33 or 34. so the roads are in great shape like they are out here. even this morning once the sun came up, so much salt on the roads for weekend ice and snow and more salt thrown on so they are not too bad. schools are canceled. you mentioned federal government was canceled, too. airport, reagan national, 75 outbound canceled, dulles, 49. reagan added 25 cancellations since 5:00 a.m. they are doing a real good job of not panicking and flashing afternoon and evening schedule in d.c. up in newark, 278 flights in and outbound from that airport have been scrubbed. delays eased a little, philadelphia international, an hour to 90 minute delay.
now the story is cold air coming in, leesburg wefs washington down to 15. if you don't scrape or plow or shovel, everything is going to turn rock hard. thursday, andrea, the coldest day so far this season, temperature in the 20s, from boston to d.c. the next storm is lurking, come up the coast and right at us on saturday and saturday night andocity coast sunday. most of what falls unwashington, philadelphia, even newark will be rain. you go inland, up through poughkeepsie, albany, upstate new york, ski resorts dumped on. right now pretty confident the track is going to keep warm air than what falls i-95 will be rain. there we go. a bit of a break. deep freeze andrea. make sure you have layers tomorrow. certainly thursday morning when temperatures in the teens in many areas. even reagan national drop down to 18 or 19 on thursday morning. andrea.
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president obama is dialing 911 for help to fix obama care and the rollout and his other second term problems of the president is bringing in heavy hitter podesta from chief of staff counselor to work with current chief of staff mcdonough. joining me former senior adviser to president obama campaign at
the white house. what does john podesta's arrival at the white house mean? >> he's a powerful addition to the staff there. david gergen said once for the president, the presidency is a marathon, for the staff it's a relay race. i think there's something to that. you need to constantly refresh your team. john brings such experience to the table as chief of staff and his other rolls. he's very much sim patpatico wi the president. they are familiar with each other. he'll bring real energy and experience at a time when i think it's very, very important for him to have it. >> what will be the interactions within the white house. dennis mcdonough, chief of staff, stormer chief of staff is brought in. is it sort of -- i know this is at the behest to beef things up
and get their arms around the problem with the rollout and other problems plus relationship with capitol hill where podesta can be singularly helpful. there's no argument less than highly staffed on the professional liaison front in this white house. >> i think john will be helpful there, there also with the addition of phil who is the legislative director in the first two years who had two decades of experience on the hill before he came to the white house. that will be helpful as well. so yes, that's going to be helpful. in terms of dennis, i know dennis very, very well. he is a guy who recognizes that he needs a team. because what's happened, dennis picked up a lot of the slack wherever he's seen it. he recognizes to function as chief of staff you need a team doing its task so you don't have to pick up the shovel and do the
task. john will cover a lot of ground and he'll be a wise counselor to the president. has he a deep interest in some of the priorities the president is working on now in terms of environment and terms of immigration and terms of inequality. john will undoubtedly have some good ideas how to build alliances and move those issues forward and dennis will profit from that as chief of staff. >> no doubt bringing phil back from new mexico and bringing in john poddest ark is an acknowledgement they need a second term reboot. >> i think it would be foolish to suggest that this hasn't been a rough year. it's also true that many of the people who are there, all splendid people, but they have been there for a very long time. as i said, i think that you need to constantly refresh your team in order to move forward in the presidency. this is certainly a recognition of that. >> i want to ask you about the
handshake with raoul castro. we knew the white house did not know where the leaders would be sitting but you had raoul castro speaking and president obama speaking. not that many foreign leaders spoke, but a tribute to, in the castro case, the fact cuba did support anc and mandela, supported him in jail when ronald reagan did not. how is that viewed behind the scenes? very carefully or something that causes anxiety attacks in the white house and create political problems also? >> given the array of challenges that the president faces on a daily basis, i think this is low down on the anxiety scale. the truth of the matter is, i heard your conversation with gene robinson, i think you guys were quite right. it would have been odd if he had done anything other than shake castro's hand. he's always been of a mind, the
president has been of a mind these things are less important than the substantive discussions behind them. i wasn't surprised he offered the handshake and i wasn't surprised that got everybody in a frenzy. >> so we will relax over that. it was noted. dull not dully noted. thank you for your perspective. >> thank you. >> secretary kerry's testimony begun on the hill, his thinks on iran sanctions coming up next. ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of all day pain relief. this season, discover aleve. all day pain relief with just two pills. prefer the taste of gevalia house blend over the taste of starbucks house blend? not that we like tooting our own horn but...
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agreement. >> secretary john kerry trying to fight off congressional attempts to ramp up sanctions on iran, something the administration says would blow up any chance of negotiating a long-term nuclear deal with iran. joining me now bloomberg kmum nist jeffrey goldberg and "washington post's" ann guerin. just back from the john kerry shuttle back and forth to israel, back friday night, leaving again tomorrow, the man does not stop, the old story. argument he's making sanctions, impose them six months from now if iran doesn't live up to its part of the deal would blow things up. that's what the foreign minister has been saying, iranian foreign minister. but the counter argument is that sanctions got iran to the table, wouldn't more sanctions keep them to the table? >> right. the administration is having to
double back on itself. for a couple of years their argument has been sanctions are working. sanctions are forcing iranians to reconsider their position, now they have forced them to the table. now we have enough sanctions, no more. now we would actually be hurting the process. it's a really tight line, fine line that secretary kerry is trying to walk today. you're going to hear house democrats starting with ranking member eliot engel trying to be nice, trying to give the administration some support but also expressing the same strong scepticism you hear from republicans that really now is the time to let up. they don't want to take their foot off the gas. they want to at least have this really tough, heavy new sanctions regime hanging over the iranians in case they don't fulfill their obligations during this six-month kind of trial period. >> jeff goldberg, the other piece of this is the israeli reaction. he did succeed last week in israel to try to get netanyahu
to quiet. >> stop yelling. >> stop yelling quite so much about all this. this is what he had to say today about prime minister netanyahu in part. >> if you remember when prime minister netanyahu held up that cartoon at the u.n. with the bomb in it in 2012, he showed the world the chart that highlighted the type of uranium he was most concerned about. he was talking about the 20% stockpile. under this agreement iran will forfeit all, not part, all of that 20%, that 200 kilogram stockpile. gone. that's basically his argument. >> the goal line shifting, administration critique, israeli critique, we're doing what you asked for. netanyahu's critique is it's not
enough. obviously a lot of people on the hill who feel it's not enough, so the administration is dealing with a lot of incoming. incoming from the gulf states as well on this. so it's a very dicey proposition right now that kerry is trying to advance on the hill. >> ann guerin, the other argument is what's the alternative? the alternative to negotiating is not negotiating and the administration argues the sanctions regime would begin to erode because the rest of the world wanted a response to the new iranian government and would have not supported the united states. >> there's a real division of opinion about what would happen in the next round of sanctions anyway. would the unprecedented coalition really hang together or not. of course you heard hawks in and out of government say it would and at the very least the united states shouldn't be the one to
break that. but you also heard kerry making a corollary argument today, which is, hey, this six-month trial period before we get to the final -- while we're negotiating to get a final dai deal gives us unprecedented new information and access to the iranian program as it exists. that program would be frozen, capped in part, rolled back in part. maybe more importantly the outside world would know things about it it doesn't know now. if you allow the iranians to walk away because of the threat of no sanctions being a deal breaker, you lose that. >> andrea, the logic of the iranian foreign minister's position, more sanctions means we're going to leave the table. that doesn't have a lot of credibility. they are at the table because of the pressure of sanctions. his government rouhani, the president who was just elected, they are mandated to try to get
sanctions relief. there's only one way to get sanctions relief, that is to negotiate. there's a lot of gainsmanship. i don't think iranians are going to run away from the table without any sanctions. if they leave the table they don't get these minimal sanctions relief the west has offered them. >> just briefly there's the other part of kerry's big agenda, israeli-palestinian talks. he was able to win some support from netanyahu over the weekend who said he can compartmentalize, the iranian deal would not give him an excuse to stiff him on the palestinian. he's going back to deal with that again. >> i saw kerry talk on saturday. >> that was quite a speech. >> it was a very good speech, very interesting speech. i also got the impression he has
something in his pocket, reached a minimal agreement with netanyahu on this, because he spoke with level of confidence one doesn't associate with middle east peace process at this moment. >> agreed. >> there's something cooking but extremely tep with us. >> we've all learned not to be too hopeful. the disappointment of 2000, the negotiations with yasir arafat and then all the thousands of lives lost and setbacks there. but there does seem to be a moment where hamas in gaza is weakened by what's happened in syria they made the wrong bet, lost muslim brotherhood supporting them, tunnels closed in egypt. abu abbas in the west bank is strengthened as a result. there seems to be a moment where maybe with all the effort that they are putting into this may bear fruit.
you've been on the road with them. i don't know if you're sensing maybe they are at a turning point. >> they are about halfway into the nine-month calendar kerry set for negotiations. it really is time to be able to show this is if not bearing fruit at least continuing to be worth the effort. you hear that urgency in kerry's voice. you heard it this weekend in the speech that jeffrey mentioned at the sabbon center. he was trying to show there we're not running in place. there actually is progress being made and chief among -- one of the chief things he's trying to show, the mere fact that the two sides are still talking and pledged to remain talking next spring puts them ahead of the game versus some recent efforts. the question of whether this is going to be enough to do all the things you just listed, to tip the balance in gaza, to really finally make the west bank palestinians ready to make a
deal is very much an open question. that's one of the things kerry is going to try to do this week, shore up some sort of initial potential progress they think w >> thanks so much. a real road warrior here. >> thank you jeffrey goldberg as well. tens and thousands were gathering into johannesburg, memorializing nelson mandela. we asked how you are honoring his legacy here at home. clemens siz, i'm praying for peace and love in the world like what he brought to south africa. and -- we want to hear from you. tell us how you're honoring nelson mandela's legacy on facebook or on our website. we'll be right back. before using her new bank of america credit card, which rewards her for responsibly managing
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the obamas are boarding air force one heading back to the united states after pay being tribute to nelson mandela. chris cillizza joins me. we have our nbc wall street journal poll and talking to chuck todd and you about all of that. also, "time's" person of the year, right? >> that is correct. >> any personal favorite? >> well, you know, i feel like i've been snubbed again to not make the list. that's fine. but i do as you might guess, andrea, you know, imagine nam nus digital innovator jeff bezos -- >> he's your boss. >> i hadn't realized that but that's a good point. thank you for pointing that out. he has been nominated. i'll be interested to see.
i will very quickly, the bezos case is an interesting one. amazon we already know about. but made a lot of news with possible drone delivery and investing in journalism, whatever you think of the "washington post" or me, a good thing for people to invest in journalism, such an important thing. i'm glad many people are doing so. >> chris, you just got that raise. >> my personal favorite is pope francis. >> you're probably right. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." "time" nancy gibbs on the person of the year announcement. follow us online and on twitter. craig melvin has a look at what's next on "news nation." >> more on developing news from capitol hill, a live look right now as secretary of state john kerry continues to defend the
administration's nuclear deal with iran to the house foreign affairs committee. we'll get a live report. also, some new reaction from the white house to criticism mostly from republicans after president obama shakes hands with raul castro at nelson mandela's funeral. we'll talk about that. plus accusations of corruption and abuse inside this country's largest jail system. 18 current and former l.a. sheriff's deputies are facing federal charges today. we'll have the latest on that. [ lane ] do you ever feel like you're growing old waiting for your wrinkle cream to work? clinically proven neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair. it targets fine lines and wrinkles with the fastest retinol formula available. you'll see younger looking skin in just one week. one week? that's just my speed. rapid wrinkle repair. and for dark spots rapid tone repair.
the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪ i'm craig melvin in for tamron hall. we're following developing news. secretary of state john kerry is testifying right now. he is defending the administration's nuclear deal with iraq.
>> the united states is stronger under this first step agreement than it was before. national security is stronger than it was the day before we entered into this agreement. and the gulf and middle east interests are more secure, put simply, once implemented, this agreement halts the progress to iran's nuclear program. halts the progress and rolls it back in certain places for first time. nearly ten years. it provides unprecedented monitoring and inspections. >> as kerry surges lawmakers to wait before -- tough grilling from congress who are weary of the deal that temporarily eases the global