Reporters: [broadcast of January 09, 2021]
France 24
ROCK MUSIC
TEN YEARS AFTER - EXTENSION ON ONE CHORD AMAZING GUITAR PLAYING - ALVIN LEE
Recall - Roundup
CPSC RECALL-ROUNDUP OF HAZARDOUS PRODUCTS IN HOMES.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: ROCK AUCTION
TAPE_NUMBER: EN9934 IN_TIME: 11:07:14 LENGTH: 01:29 SOURCES: APTN RESTRICTIONS: FEED: SCRIPT: xfa LENNON GUITAR PRICE LEAVES BIDDERS GENTLE WEEPING Story: Rock'n'Roll auction Location: London Date: 24 August 1999 BEATLE fanatics will get a rare chance to own a veritable piece of musical history next month. A battered old acoustic guitar that JOHN LENNON learned to play on is up for sale. The Gallotone 'Champion' acoustic guitar of the slain rock star is the star item in an extensive rock'n' roll auction organised by Sotheby's in London. The guitar and the other Lennon related auction items went on display at the Hard Rock Cafe in central London earlier today. The guitar, which is the earliest Beatle guitar to come up for auction, is expected to fetch between 80,000 pounds sterling to 100,000 pounds sterling when it comes up for auction on Tuesday, September 14. But don't be too surprised if the battered old instrument sells for even more. This, after all, was the guitar which Lennon was playing with his group, The Quarry Man, on that fateful day in Merseyside, 1957, when he first met another teenager called PAUL MCCARTNEY. The meeting led to the creation of The Beatles. A fellow Quarry Man remembers that Lennon bought the guitar for ten pounds sterling (15 US dollars) from a mail order company. Years later Lennon's beloved Aunt Mimi had the guitar restored and a brass plaque added which said simply, 'Remember you'll never earn your living by it'. These were the famous words Aunt Mimi said to young John as he spent hours in his bedroom mastering the chords. The major auction houses, used to dealing in fine arts and antiques, are discovering a massive and highly lucrative market selling of musical instruments, photos and personal memorabilia of the rock greats. The Beatles are practically an industry in themselves with everything from signed photos and the 'Beatle' wigs mass produced at the height of their fame to their former Rolls Royces' fetching spectacular prices at auctions around the world. Indeed McCartney once became so sick of seeing his past life coming up at auctions that he took legal action against a number of planned sales. The guitar is sold in its case and with Lennon's copy of the publication, 'Play The Guitar A Self Tutor'. Other items for sale include a portable Imperial typewriter which, his late Aunt Mimi always said, Lennon made his first attempts at songwriting and Lennon's record collection. Aunt Mimi had donated the guitar and other items to a Liverpool charity involved in music therapy. A percentage of the proceeds from the sale will go to the Olive Mount Learning Disabilities Directorate, Liverpool. SHOTLIST: GVS GUITAR / SOT STEPHEN MAYCOCK, ROCK AND ROLL SPECIALIST / C/WAY GUITAR / CU PHOTOGRAPH JOHN LENNON / SOT STEPHEN MAYCOCK / PHOTO OP GUITAR?
US Watergate - 30th anniversary of Watergate burglary
TAPE: EF02/0514 IN_TIME: 22:08:52 DURATION: 4:19 SOURCES: Various RESTRICTIONS: DATELINE: Various - Recent/File SHOTLIST: APTN Washington DC - 13 June 2002 1. Wide shot of Watergate office complex 2. Mid shot of Watergate complex College Park, Maryland 3. Still photo wide aerial shot of Watergate complex on display at the U.S. National Archives 4. Mid shot of photographers shooting items from Watergate burglary 5. Close view of bag used by Watergate burglars to carry equipment 6. Close view of items used by Watergate burglars for break in 7. Wide shot of telephone bugging device 8. Close shot of bugging device 9. Mid shot of photos of Watergate burglars 10. Close shot of radio receiver used to pick up signals from bugging devices 11. Close shot of evidence tag attached to receiver 12. SOUNDBITE: (English) David Paynter, archivist, U.S. National Archives: "In the bag are photographic supplies -- lights, film, clamps extension chords, and various tool...clamps, and also are bugs...telephone bugs...(a) huge black box which probably would be very small today... are telephone bugs. They actually went in to replace malfunctioning bugs from a previous break in in May of 1972." 13. Close shot of rubber gloves found with burglars 14. Close shot of address book belonging to Watergate burglar Bernard Barker opened to the "H" page 15. Extreme close shot of address book showing work (White House) phone number and home number of Howard Hunt 16. SOUNDBITE: (English) David Paynter, archivist, U.S. National Archives: "A lot of people still really trusted the president, they really trusted the government to do... to look out for them. And to suddenly have it thrown in their face that he was doing all that the Nixon administration was doing was a tough thing for a lot of people." AP Photos 17. Still photo of man holding newspaper with headline "Nixon Quits Tonight." US National Archives Washington DC - August 8, 1974 18. Mid shot of former U.S. President Richard Nixon during resignation speech 19. SOUNDBITE: (English) Richard Nixon, former U.S. President "Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow." US National Archives File 20. Close shot of Nixon letter of resignation 21. Close shot of newspaper headline "Nixon Resigns." US National Archives File - 9 August, 1974 22. Mid shot of Nixon waving as he boards helicopter to leave White House after resignation APTN Washington DC - 13 June 2002 23. Mid shot of interviewer Sir David Frost addressing audience during Discovery Channel preview of Nixon documentary 24. Mid shot of audience 25. Close shot of Frost 26. Close shot of audience 27. SOUNDBITE: (English) Sir David Frost, Journalist: "I mean the thing that comes back to me as I look at this footage again and again is that, you know, that barrier he had between him and people, you know. One of the reason he wasn't in touch with what people were thinking was that he didn't like going out of his way to meet people because he was awkward with people, and that awkwardness and that clumsiness was one of the things that probably closed him off from knowing what the public were really thinking. And so it's those sort of personal flaws that come through I think." 28. Close shot of TV screen showing video of Frost presenting segment of Discovery Channel documentary on the Watergate scandal 29. Close shot of screen. (UPSOUND of Frost: "Would you go further than 'mistakes.' The word.....that seems not enough for people to understand." Nixon: "Well what word would you express?") The Discovery Channel File - 1997 30. SOUNDBITE: (English) Richard Nixon, former U.S. President. (From 1977 interview with David Frost) "...I don't go with the idea that what brought me down was a coup....a conspiracy, etc, etc, etc. I brought myself down. I gave 'em the sword, and they stuck it in and they twisted it with relish. And I guess if I'd been in their position I'd have done the same thing." US National Archives File 31. Still of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward at the time they were reporters with The Washington Post APTN Washington DC - 16 June 2002 32. Mid shot of Washington Post reporter/editor Bob Woodward autographing book "All the President's Men", tilt down to close shot of book 33. SOUNDBITE: (English) Carl Bernstein, Former Washington Post reporter: "No one is above the law in this country, including the president of the United States and I think that subsequent presidents have been aware of this and it's a great precedent." 34. Close up of Bernstein autographing another copy of "All the President's Men." 35. Close up of Bernstein and Woodward STORYLINE: It's been 30 years since a small band of burglars entered the sprawling Watergate complex in Washington DC, triggering a scandal that would bring down the US President. Their target in the early morning hours of June 17, 1972 was the office of the Democratic National Committee, located in the Watergate building. But on that day their plans were foiled by local police, and their capture was the beginning of a political drama that would end with the resignation of then President Richard Nixon. Now the U-S National Archives is marking the 30th anniversary of the Watergate break-in with a one-time display of artifacts from the bungled burglary. Curators at the archives near Washington have unveiled an array of artifacts from the burglary. They're a sampling of items used by the burglars, and never before on public display. They include tools and other belongings seized by police after they arrested the five burglars in the DNC offices at 2:30 am on Saturday June 17, 1972. There are tools used to unlock doors, bugging devices used to tap telephones, and a radio receiver used to capture signals from those bugs. There is an address book belonging to burglar Bernard Barker opened to the "H" page. A penciled entry shows three vertical lines with a slash through them and underneath, "WH-202-456-2282" and another phone number. Those were the White House and home numbers for Nixon aide E. Howard Hunt - the lines and slash representing his initials, "HH." He was the former Central Intelligence Agency man who masterminded the burglary and eavesdropping on the president's political rivals. The smattering of items are just a few of the hundreds stacked in temperature and humidity-controlled rooms on the fifth floor of the archives' campus in suburban Maryland. Cable television's Discovery Channel also is marking the anniversary with its own look at the Watergate break-in and subsequent scandal probe. Documentary presenter Sir David Frost attended a preview screening of the program at the Watergate Hotel last week. Featured in the program, titled "In their Own Words: Nixon", are never-before-seen segments of Frost's 1977 interview with Nixon. The Discovery special will air Monday evening in the US and Britain. Journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward also are recalling their work 30 years ago as young reporters for The Washington Post. Their reporting helped to reveal the White House's attempts to cover up the break-in, and its link to President Nixon and some of his closest White House aides. Both men have yet to reveal their famed anonymous source on Watergate, dubbed "Deep Throat." Woodward said Sunday their source's identity would only be revealed after his death, or if he released the journalists from their pledge of silence.
MUNICIPAL ELECTION 2020: Public meeting, list Portivecchju da fa led by Don Mathieu SANTINI
Méditerranée
Extension of the control zone against avian influenza in Ain
Centre Est
PENTAGON BRIEFING ON CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES - BRIEFING DVIDS FEED
1300 CA NATIONAL GUARD WILDFIRES DVIDS FS3 81 MAJOR GENERAL MATTHEW P. BEEVERS HOLDS A NEWS BRIEFING VIA TELECONFERENCE ON THE CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES AUGUST 15, 2018 SPEAKERS: MAJOR GENERAL MATTHEW P. BEEVERS, ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL, CALIFORNIA JOINT FORCE HEADQUARTERS [*] (CORRECTED COPY - FILLS IN OFF-MIKE) STAFF: Good afternoon, everyone. We're pleased you could make it today. I'm Captain Alicia Lacy, National Guard Bureau of Public Affairs. Again, I ask you to please silence all electronic devices. The states and territories provide the Army and Air Force with trained and ready soldiers and airmen. The purpose of this engagement is to provide an update on the California wildfires National Guard response, as well as to provide you with access to noncommissioned officers from the front lines of effort. The National Guard uses war-fighting skills and assets in response to ongoing wildfires in the western United States. It is supporting local and state authorities fighting fires in California, Washington state, Oregon and now Colorado. The latest figures have been provided. To better illustrate these efforts, we'll have a half hour with the California National Guard. Please keep your questions specific to the topic of wildfire response. If you have any questions outside the scope of what we're here to discuss, we'll be available to you after the engagement. With that, we'll hand it over to Major General Matthew Beevers in California. Sir, over to you. BEEVERS: OK, great, thank you. And -- and good morning from California. And it's a -- it's a great opportunity to be able to talk to you today. What I want to do is kind of set the stage for -- for what our -- our servicemembers are doing. I think everybody knows about 760,000 acres of the great state of California has burned, or on fire right now. In context, that's about the size of Rhode Island, or about 60 times the size of Manhattan. BEEVERS: Today we have about 969 soldiers and airmen from the California National Guard, along with 22 aircraft, over a hundred vehicles currently attacking that fire with our interagency partners from the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, from CAL FIRE, you know, Forest Service, in really a whole-of-government approach to -- to battling the wildfire catastrophe that's been ongoing now for probably a month or so. But I want to talk today a little bit about how we translate the inherent lethality resident in the California National Guard -- how we translate that into very elegant support to our interagency partners. So I've brought with me a -- a couple of outstanding -- one soldier, one airmen, they're going to kind of walk you through that. So what I'm going to do is turn it over to -- to Sergeant Brown (ph). He's going to, kind of, explain to you how our medevac teams use this opportunity to fight fires either through medevac or through (inaudible) operations, and how that translates into them being better soldiers when it comes time to deploy. So I'll turn it over to Sergeant Brown (ph). Sergeant Rob (ph). (UNKNOWN): Good afternoon. My name is Sergeant Rob (ph) with Task Force Medevac Aviation here in California. Our mission is pretty much we're the medevac for the state of California, so search and rescue so we are needed to conduct -- go out there and conduct. As far as the CAL FIRE incident, once they've activated us for the fires, we meet up with our CAL FIRE members, we get into the aircraft. We're capable of doing two different types of missions. You have the medevac stand-by, which is a 24-hour ALS platform that we provide for our firefighters (inaudible). If we are activated for (inaudible), we obviously (ph) will perform our aircraft in a water bucket operation. So we'll connect the bucket to the aircraft, we'll have our manager go out there and support all of the firefighters on the ground and resources on the ground to help put out fires. BEEVERS: And next I'm going to turn it over to -- to Sergeant Brown (ph) from the Air -- California Air National Guard. He's a member of the 149th Intelligence Squadron. And -- and why this is important, is we currently fly the MQ-9 Reaper on every major fire during this fire season. And what that aircraft allows us to do is to map the very aggressive fire behavior in real time, and that gives the incident commander fighting these fires extraordinary decision support. They can make real-time decisions to stabilize and mitigate human suffering, save property. What he does, is he -- he takes that information, downlinks from the Reaper and analyzes that and provides (inaudible) support capabilities to the incident commander. (UNKNOWN): Good morning. My name is Staff Sergeant Brown (ph). I am an incident and awareness and assessment coordinator. My role is to take the intelligence training that I received on the federal side and to apply that to help these emergency situations throughout California. I have a focus in collection (ph) management and so I leverage that skill to (inaudible) threatened structures, threatened people, distressed people and fire lines. We're able to task the MQ-9 Reaper, as well as the RC-26 and the UH-72, which are both fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters that have the ability to do remote sensing, and basically record video that our imagery analysts are able to relay back to the incident commanders. It is very beneficial to the CAL FIRE fire chief or whoever is in charge of a particular incident that they are able to see exactly where their fire lines are at any given time. And it's up to 24 hours a day. So far we've been able to fly our aircraft on all of the major fires, as Major General Beevers has said. And we are always standing by to help them more. BEEVERS: And with that, we'll take your questions. STAFF: Sir? QUESTION: Good after -- good morning. I'm Tom Squitieri. I'm with Talk Media News. Thanks for doing this. I have several questions I'll begin -- but I'll let my colleagues have theirs, as well. I'm just curious, sirs and gentlemen, in regards to the bucket brigade that you talked about,I understand how you'd be trained to do the medevac service. How do you get trained to do the bucket brigade from -- I'm calling it -- and how does that square with, you know, why you signed up for the duties? And then I have a follow up, if I may. Thanks. (UNKNOWN): Sure, let me take a run at it and then I'll turn it over to -- to Julian (ph). Every year in about the April timeframe, we conduct a very extensive training program with our partners at CAL FIRE. It's several days long. We go through classroom training as well as actual flying, where we -- we'll -- we'll dip into a lake and -- and drop it on a -- on a notional fire line. That's done every year, and it provides a great opportunity to ensure that all of our air crews are ready. QUESTION: OK, thanks for that. And in my second question, I -- I think it was last week, maybe Jim (ph) or some -- one of my colleagues will remind me, that we were told here at the Pentagon that the U.S. -- the Pentagon is going to deploy some soldiers, some elements to help fight the fires in California. I think that was a week ago Monday. Will those troops work with you all? In other words, will you teach them how to do it? Because it was, sort of, admitted that they don't have the training as you all do. (UNKNOWN): Right. So -- so I think what you're talking about is the 200 soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. They're actually doing what we call Type 2 hand crews. So those soldiers were trained prior to their employment on the line by the United States Forest Service. And what they do is, they don't -- they're not -- not necessarily out on these -- on the hot lines, so to speak, on the front edge of the fire. Their job primarily is to -- is to manage fire lines and then also do cold lines and warm line maintenance. So it's more of maintaining the -- the fire line after the fire's passed to make sure that there's no hot spots that will jump back and create additional fires. That's their -- their primary mission. So it's -- it's all of the hand crews from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, 200 of them from the 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion. And we are absolutely thankful that -- that they came to help us. QUESTION: Yeah, Sergeant Rob (ph), what's it like -- what is it like when you fly over these fires? What is it like when you're taking the bucket out or you're flying a medevac? What's it feel like when you're up -- when you're up there doing that? (UNKNOWN): As far as how I feel -- I mean, it makes me feel really proud to be out there, to be able to help for (ph) our communities. As far as the actual flying aspects of it, there are some dangers out there. It's very smoky, the fire's just everywhere. We work with our CAL FIRE managers. It's -- they're a great group of guys with CAL FIRE. And as far as intensity, I mean, we'll be, kind of -- it's like being in a combat zone, just we're not getting shot at. So -- so a lot of dangers we have to deal with -- other aircraft, there's a fire that we're actually trying to put out, there's people on the ground that we're trying to protect, structures we're trying to protect. So I mean, it has its dangers, we're just not getting shot at. QUESTION: All right. And -- and for Sergeant Brown (ph), when you're looking at these, I guess, feeds from the Reaper and stuff, what do you actually see? What does it look like to you? (UNKNOWN): So, to us, what -- what we're able to see is really exactly where the fires are in relation to whether that be burned infrastructure or damaged homes. Even if it's out in the middle of a forest, we're able to see all of the -- the trees in -- in relation to -- to that fire line. Fortunately, we're able to use our sensors to -- to really be able to (inaudible) and protect those individuals who could be under threat from the -- the -- the fire in their area. QUESTION: Have you ever had -- have you ever made a call and said, "You need to get these guys out of" whatever area? (UNKNOWN): Yes, sir. (inaudible) that we've been able to do. This was not in the fires that we're fighting today, but during the Thomas Fire in San Diego (inaudible) December, we were able to make a call out where a fire line was within 500 yards of a neighborhood that had not been evacuated. We were able to evacuate around 5,000 homes and get those people out of there. And unfortunately, the fire did end up rolling through that -- that neighborhood within a few hours. QUESTION: Matt Beinart from Defense Daily. I was just wondering, with all the equipment and everything you have out there, the status of the fire, is this enough to be able to know that you are being successful, in terms of receding it? Or is it spreading at a rate that you maybe need some more equipment, possibly, out there? And then just a point to clarify with -- with the Reaper, so this is giving you data to be able to warn people if a fire is heading their way, or could you explain the concept of a fire line? (UNKNOWN): Yes. So, with the Reaper, we are able to view the video feed in near-real time. So there's a little bit of a delay, but not much. And it allows our analysts -- we have an incident awareness and assessment coordinator, a counterpart of my own, who is at the incident command post with -- with CAL FIRE or the U.S. Forest Service, or whoever the -- the coordinating (ph) agency is. And we are in direct contact with those imagery analysts that we have watching the video feeds in near-real time. So with that, they're able to communicate via the video feed that they're watching whether or not the fire line is -- or which is -- the fire line, which is where the fire is moving as -- sometimes you'll see pictures of it where the -- you'll see the fire as a circle moving away from the center point where it started. So that -- I guess, that is your definition of a fire line, is where exactly the fire has, like, furthest progressed in one particular area. And our imagery analysts are able to pass that to the incident awareness and assessment coordinators who are out in the field with the CAL FIRE individuals. And those CAL FIRE individuals are able to quickly (inaudible), through the emergency notification channels, the people who could be in danger. QUESTION: Hi. Thanks for doing this. (inaudible) Richards for Military.com. Sergeant Rob (ph), we hear about the -- the winds that are generated by the fires itself. Some have used the term "firernado." Has that affected -- does that affect you as you fly, as you get near these things? Are you getting buffeted by winds? General, has it -- has it affected fixed-wing aircraft? (UNKNOWN): As far as the firenados, they do affect us, because if they're strong enough, they can actually pull us to the ground. So our protocol is if the winds are not bearable for us to really fly, we try to not fly to those conditions. In the event we can't fly, then, of course, we can't go out there and conduct our water bucket operations. (UNKNOWN): But as far as the fire tornadoes, they are a big effect towards the air frames, so we try to stay away from those. QUESTION: Again, Sergeant Rob (ph), you said it could possibly pull you down. How does that happen? What, you just get down-drafts often or what? (UNKNOWN): It'll pretty much -- kind of like any tornado, you get sucked into it. And then, of course, you can get pulled to the ground because we're trying to fly away from it. QUESTION: And, General, has it affected -- the winds, have they affected fixed-wing aircraft? BEEVERS: The -- the winds do affect fixed-wing aircraft just like they affect helicopters. And -- and the challenges that we've had this year during this fire (inaudible) season -- it's not so much the winds, but it's been (inaudible) cloud cover over the launch recovery areas, and then, of course, you know, heavy, heavy smoke moving in and out of any specific fire will cause a -- a challenge for us. QUESTION: And, Sergeant Brown (ph), has the -- has the cloud cover, the effects of the fire, has that affected the MQ-9 flying? Has there been days of -- when you can't fly them? (UNKNOWN): Yes, sir. There have been times where there have been weather -- particularly in transit, that's usually where it hurts us the most. But fortunately, if we are able to get the aircraft on station with -- with the infrared capability, we're able to see through significant amounts of smoke that could hinder your -- your visual -- your visual line. So if our aircraft is able to get on station, that -- the infrared capability has -- has worked well for us being able to see the fire lines and affected areas. QUESTION: Just so I understand, there have been times when you've been unable to fly? (UNKNOWN): Yes, sir. (UNKNOWN): Yes. STAFF: Sir? QUESTION: All right, I wanted to follow up please, sirs, on the idea of fighting (ph) these fire lines. You just mentioned about the infrared capability. I just want to clarify for myself please, when you see -- are you seeing an infrared capability that shows the actual fire? Or are you -- is your equipment sophisticated enough that you're able to, sort of, sense a heat path, a heat line on the ground that could actually become a fire? (UNKNOWN): So the -- the capability that we have is that we are able to see the fire line as it exists currently. It is -- it shows a change in heat, so we will -- we are often able to see maybe what recently might have just burned. But the big focus in the field of view of the sensor is going to be what the current fire -- where the -- the fire is currently. QUESTION: To follow that up -- thank you for that. And to follow that up then, did -- you can -- if -- if I heard you correct -- if I understand what you say, that the degree of the heat you can see if it's just burned recently you said, can you tell if a part of a fire line is intensifying in strength or weakening in strength? (UNKNOWN): The -- so, the picture that we will see on the video will -- will -- will be clearly brighter in -- in the warmer part of the fire. And using predictive analysis, we're able to -- we -- we have a team of -- of other analysts who -- who look to where the fire is going to be moving, to, kind of, follow onto your -- your initial question. While we won't be able to see that with our sensors, using our analytical skills that we've learned on the federal side, we're able to go through and learn after -- after doing these fire missions for a while, we've learned how fires behave. (UNKNOWN): And working with the CAL FIRE -- the CAL FIRE individuals who specialize in fire methodology and the way that fires burn, we're able to do predictive analysis to see where the fires will be moving to. QUESTION: Thank you. STAFF: Frank? QUESTION: What do you guys do in civilian life? (UNKNOWN): In the civilian life, sir, I work here at the J3Q (ph) as a federal technician. (UNKNOWN): (inaudible) California as a non-rated crew member flight instructor. QUESTION: I didn't hear you. (UNKNOWN): I work at Mather Flight Facility as a non-rated crew member flight instructor. QUESTION: OK. And what you do obviously -- obviously contributes to your National Guard job, and the other way around, right? (UNKNOWN): Yes, sir. So I am a full-time instructor, so my job is to fly, conduct search and rescues, fight fires if need be. QUESTION: OK. STAFF: (OFF-MIKE) QUESTION: Between last year's fires and this year's fires, what changed in terms of how you're fighting them? What equipment was brought this year that wasn't brought last year? And just in terms of the nature of the fire, how much more, maybe, predictable is this one than those big ones from last year, or the big events from last year? (UNKNOWN): Yeah, it -- it really hasn't changed that much, with the exception of the extraordinary scale of this year's fires. The -- the Mendocino Complex Fire is now the -- the largest fire in the state's history. And -- and you can tell, over the last four or five years, these fires are getting bigger. They're burning more erratically. And it's got a lot to do with the five-years of drought the state experienced a few years back. The fuels are extraordinarily dry, and the snow -- the snowpack that we expected to get simply hasn't come. So any kind of recovery that we're getting in the wintertime's not been enough to -- to really keep the fuel (inaudible) out of the -- the extreme fire behavior that we're seeing in -- in -- in the last few years. QUESTION: Mosheh Gains with NBC. (inaudible) the fire has been contained? (UNKNOWN): Yeah, that's available on the CAL FIRE website. I'd point you there for the specifics on it. But the majority of the big fires currently burning in the state are around 60 to 70 percent contained, I think with the exception of the Donnell Fire down south. I think that's maybe in the 25 percent range. But I'd direct you to the CAL FIRE website. They can tell you exactly the current status. STAFF: Sir? QUESTION: And, General, you said you have -- you have 969 Guardsmen called up right now. Do you anticipate calling up more? And how long are these guys on duty for? BEEVERS: Right. Right now, we don't anticipate calling up any additional soldiers or airmen, given the current situation as we see it. That obviously could change. Fire season in California is just getting underway. We have yet to experience Santa Ana winds in the southern part of the state, and (inaudible) fire (ph) behavior generally occurs much later in the summer and into early fall. So this will be a busy year for us. But we train for this every year. Our soldiers and airmen are obviously very ready and very prepared. This initial employment of the 900-plus we have on the ground now generally will last, for this go-round, probably about 30 days, and -- and then they'll be released. QUESTION: Are you getting help from other states? BEEVERS: We are. We are, absolutely. We have rotary-wing aircraft from Arizona and from Oregon. We have an additional RC-26 air frame from New Mexico that we've used, and -- in addition to the 200 soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord from the 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion. So yes, absolutely, we've brought in out-of-state assets, as well as Title 10 assets, to assist in this. STAFF: Any additional questions? Thank you for joining us, everyone. That is all the time we have. If you'd like clarity on anything we've discussed, please don't hesitate to ask. END
MurMur opens new climbing hall in Pantin
Le Parisien
PENTAGON BRIEFING ON CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES - BRIEFING ROOM CAM
1300 CA NATIONAL GUARD WILDFIRES BRIEF ROOM FS25 75 MAJOR GENERAL MATTHEW P. BEEVERS HOLDS A NEWS BRIEFING VIA TELECONFERENCE ON THE CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES AUGUST 15, 2018 SPEAKERS: MAJOR GENERAL MATTHEW P. BEEVERS, ASSISTANT ADJUTANT GENERAL, CALIFORNIA JOINT FORCE HEADQUARTERS [*] (CORRECTED COPY - FILLS IN OFF-MIKE) STAFF: Good afternoon, everyone. We're pleased you could make it today. I'm Captain Alicia Lacy, National Guard Bureau of Public Affairs. Again, I ask you to please silence all electronic devices. The states and territories provide the Army and Air Force with trained and ready soldiers and airmen. The purpose of this engagement is to provide an update on the California wildfires National Guard response, as well as to provide you with access to noncommissioned officers from the front lines of effort. The National Guard uses war-fighting skills and assets in response to ongoing wildfires in the western United States. It is supporting local and state authorities fighting fires in California, Washington state, Oregon and now Colorado. The latest figures have been provided. To better illustrate these efforts, we'll have a half hour with the California National Guard. Please keep your questions specific to the topic of wildfire response. If you have any questions outside the scope of what we're here to discuss, we'll be available to you after the engagement. With that, we'll hand it over to Major General Matthew Beevers in California. Sir, over to you. BEEVERS: OK, great, thank you. And -- and good morning from California. And it's a -- it's a great opportunity to be able to talk to you today. What I want to do is kind of set the stage for -- for what our -- our servicemembers are doing. I think everybody knows about 760,000 acres of the great state of California has burned, or on fire right now. In context, that's about the size of Rhode Island, or about 60 times the size of Manhattan. BEEVERS: Today we have about 969 soldiers and airmen from the California National Guard, along with 22 aircraft, over a hundred vehicles currently attacking that fire with our interagency partners from the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, from CAL FIRE, you know, Forest Service, in really a whole-of-government approach to -- to battling the wildfire catastrophe that's been ongoing now for probably a month or so. But I want to talk today a little bit about how we translate the inherent lethality resident in the California National Guard -- how we translate that into very elegant support to our interagency partners. So I've brought with me a -- a couple of outstanding -- one soldier, one airmen, they're going to kind of walk you through that. So what I'm going to do is turn it over to -- to Sergeant Brown (ph). He's going to, kind of, explain to you how our medevac teams use this opportunity to fight fires either through medevac or through (inaudible) operations, and how that translates into them being better soldiers when it comes time to deploy. So I'll turn it over to Sergeant Brown (ph). Sergeant Rob (ph). (UNKNOWN): Good afternoon. My name is Sergeant Rob (ph) with Task Force Medevac Aviation here in California. Our mission is pretty much we're the medevac for the state of California, so search and rescue so we are needed to conduct -- go out there and conduct. As far as the CAL FIRE incident, once they've activated us for the fires, we meet up with our CAL FIRE members, we get into the aircraft. We're capable of doing two different types of missions. You have the medevac stand-by, which is a 24-hour ALS platform that we provide for our firefighters (inaudible). If we are activated for (inaudible), we obviously (ph) will perform our aircraft in a water bucket operation. So we'll connect the bucket to the aircraft, we'll have our manager go out there and support all of the firefighters on the ground and resources on the ground to help put out fires. BEEVERS: And next I'm going to turn it over to -- to Sergeant Brown (ph) from the Air -- California Air National Guard. He's a member of the 149th Intelligence Squadron. And -- and why this is important, is we currently fly the MQ-9 Reaper on every major fire during this fire season. And what that aircraft allows us to do is to map the very aggressive fire behavior in real time, and that gives the incident commander fighting these fires extraordinary decision support. They can make real-time decisions to stabilize and mitigate human suffering, save property. What he does, is he -- he takes that information, downlinks from the Reaper and analyzes that and provides (inaudible) support capabilities to the incident commander. (UNKNOWN): Good morning. My name is Staff Sergeant Brown (ph). I am an incident and awareness and assessment coordinator. My role is to take the intelligence training that I received on the federal side and to apply that to help these emergency situations throughout California. I have a focus in collection (ph) management and so I leverage that skill to (inaudible) threatened structures, threatened people, distressed people and fire lines. We're able to task the MQ-9 Reaper, as well as the RC-26 and the UH-72, which are both fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters that have the ability to do remote sensing, and basically record video that our imagery analysts are able to relay back to the incident commanders. It is very beneficial to the CAL FIRE fire chief or whoever is in charge of a particular incident that they are able to see exactly where their fire lines are at any given time. And it's up to 24 hours a day. So far we've been able to fly our aircraft on all of the major fires, as Major General Beevers has said. And we are always standing by to help them more. BEEVERS: And with that, we'll take your questions. STAFF: Sir? QUESTION: Good after -- good morning. I'm Tom Squitieri. I'm with Talk Media News. Thanks for doing this. I have several questions I'll begin -- but I'll let my colleagues have theirs, as well. I'm just curious, sirs and gentlemen, in regards to the bucket brigade that you talked about,I understand how you'd be trained to do the medevac service. How do you get trained to do the bucket brigade from -- I'm calling it -- and how does that square with, you know, why you signed up for the duties? And then I have a follow up, if I may. Thanks. (UNKNOWN): Sure, let me take a run at it and then I'll turn it over to -- to Julian (ph). Every year in about the April timeframe, we conduct a very extensive training program with our partners at CAL FIRE. It's several days long. We go through classroom training as well as actual flying, where we -- we'll -- we'll dip into a lake and -- and drop it on a -- on a notional fire line. That's done every year, and it provides a great opportunity to ensure that all of our air crews are ready. QUESTION: OK, thanks for that. And in my second question, I -- I think it was last week, maybe Jim (ph) or some -- one of my colleagues will remind me, that we were told here at the Pentagon that the U.S. -- the Pentagon is going to deploy some soldiers, some elements to help fight the fires in California. I think that was a week ago Monday. Will those troops work with you all? In other words, will you teach them how to do it? Because it was, sort of, admitted that they don't have the training as you all do. (UNKNOWN): Right. So -- so I think what you're talking about is the 200 soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. They're actually doing what we call Type 2 hand crews. So those soldiers were trained prior to their employment on the line by the United States Forest Service. And what they do is, they don't -- they're not -- not necessarily out on these -- on the hot lines, so to speak, on the front edge of the fire. Their job primarily is to -- is to manage fire lines and then also do cold lines and warm line maintenance. So it's more of maintaining the -- the fire line after the fire's passed to make sure that there's no hot spots that will jump back and create additional fires. That's their -- their primary mission. So it's -- it's all of the hand crews from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, 200 of them from the 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion. And we are absolutely thankful that -- that they came to help us. QUESTION: Yeah, Sergeant Rob (ph), what's it like -- what is it like when you fly over these fires? What is it like when you're taking the bucket out or you're flying a medevac? What's it feel like when you're up -- when you're up there doing that? (UNKNOWN): As far as how I feel -- I mean, it makes me feel really proud to be out there, to be able to help for (ph) our communities. As far as the actual flying aspects of it, there are some dangers out there. It's very smoky, the fire's just everywhere. We work with our CAL FIRE managers. It's -- they're a great group of guys with CAL FIRE. And as far as intensity, I mean, we'll be, kind of -- it's like being in a combat zone, just we're not getting shot at. So -- so a lot of dangers we have to deal with -- other aircraft, there's a fire that we're actually trying to put out, there's people on the ground that we're trying to protect, structures we're trying to protect. So I mean, it has its dangers, we're just not getting shot at. QUESTION: All right. And -- and for Sergeant Brown (ph), when you're looking at these, I guess, feeds from the Reaper and stuff, what do you actually see? What does it look like to you? (UNKNOWN): So, to us, what -- what we're able to see is really exactly where the fires are in relation to whether that be burned infrastructure or damaged homes. Even if it's out in the middle of a forest, we're able to see all of the -- the trees in -- in relation to -- to that fire line. Fortunately, we're able to use our sensors to -- to really be able to (inaudible) and protect those individuals who could be under threat from the -- the -- the fire in their area. QUESTION: Have you ever had -- have you ever made a call and said, "You need to get these guys out of" whatever area? (UNKNOWN): Yes, sir. (inaudible) that we've been able to do. This was not in the fires that we're fighting today, but during the Thomas Fire in San Diego (inaudible) December, we were able to make a call out where a fire line was within 500 yards of a neighborhood that had not been evacuated. We were able to evacuate around 5,000 homes and get those people out of there. And unfortunately, the fire did end up rolling through that -- that neighborhood within a few hours. QUESTION: Matt Beinart from Defense Daily. I was just wondering, with all the equipment and everything you have out there, the status of the fire, is this enough to be able to know that you are being successful, in terms of receding it? Or is it spreading at a rate that you maybe need some more equipment, possibly, out there? And then just a point to clarify with -- with the Reaper, so this is giving you data to be able to warn people if a fire is heading their way, or could you explain the concept of a fire line? (UNKNOWN): Yes. So, with the Reaper, we are able to view the video feed in near-real time. So there's a little bit of a delay, but not much. And it allows our analysts -- we have an incident awareness and assessment coordinator, a counterpart of my own, who is at the incident command post with -- with CAL FIRE or the U.S. Forest Service, or whoever the -- the coordinating (ph) agency is. And we are in direct contact with those imagery analysts that we have watching the video feeds in near-real time. So with that, they're able to communicate via the video feed that they're watching whether or not the fire line is -- or which is -- the fire line, which is where the fire is moving as -- sometimes you'll see pictures of it where the -- you'll see the fire as a circle moving away from the center point where it started. So that -- I guess, that is your definition of a fire line, is where exactly the fire has, like, furthest progressed in one particular area. And our imagery analysts are able to pass that to the incident awareness and assessment coordinators who are out in the field with the CAL FIRE individuals. And those CAL FIRE individuals are able to quickly (inaudible), through the emergency notification channels, the people who could be in danger. QUESTION: Hi. Thanks for doing this. (inaudible) Richards for Military.com. Sergeant Rob (ph), we hear about the -- the winds that are generated by the fires itself. Some have used the term "firernado." Has that affected -- does that affect you as you fly, as you get near these things? Are you getting buffeted by winds? General, has it -- has it affected fixed-wing aircraft? (UNKNOWN): As far as the firenados, they do affect us, because if they're strong enough, they can actually pull us to the ground. So our protocol is if the winds are not bearable for us to really fly, we try to not fly to those conditions. In the event we can't fly, then, of course, we can't go out there and conduct our water bucket operations. (UNKNOWN): But as far as the fire tornadoes, they are a big effect towards the air frames, so we try to stay away from those. QUESTION: Again, Sergeant Rob (ph), you said it could possibly pull you down. How does that happen? What, you just get down-drafts often or what? (UNKNOWN): It'll pretty much -- kind of like any tornado, you get sucked into it. And then, of course, you can get pulled to the ground because we're trying to fly away from it. QUESTION: And, General, has it affected -- the winds, have they affected fixed-wing aircraft? BEEVERS: The -- the winds do affect fixed-wing aircraft just like they affect helicopters. And -- and the challenges that we've had this year during this fire (inaudible) season -- it's not so much the winds, but it's been (inaudible) cloud cover over the launch recovery areas, and then, of course, you know, heavy, heavy smoke moving in and out of any specific fire will cause a -- a challenge for us. QUESTION: And, Sergeant Brown (ph), has the -- has the cloud cover, the effects of the fire, has that affected the MQ-9 flying? Has there been days of -- when you can't fly them? (UNKNOWN): Yes, sir. There have been times where there have been weather -- particularly in transit, that's usually where it hurts us the most. But fortunately, if we are able to get the aircraft on station with -- with the infrared capability, we're able to see through significant amounts of smoke that could hinder your -- your visual -- your visual line. So if our aircraft is able to get on station, that -- the infrared capability has -- has worked well for us being able to see the fire lines and affected areas. QUESTION: Just so I understand, there have been times when you've been unable to fly? (UNKNOWN): Yes, sir. (UNKNOWN): Yes. STAFF: Sir? QUESTION: All right, I wanted to follow up please, sirs, on the idea of fighting (ph) these fire lines. You just mentioned about the infrared capability. I just want to clarify for myself please, when you see -- are you seeing an infrared capability that shows the actual fire? Or are you -- is your equipment sophisticated enough that you're able to, sort of, sense a heat path, a heat line on the ground that could actually become a fire? (UNKNOWN): So the -- the capability that we have is that we are able to see the fire line as it exists currently. It is -- it shows a change in heat, so we will -- we are often able to see maybe what recently might have just burned. But the big focus in the field of view of the sensor is going to be what the current fire -- where the -- the fire is currently. QUESTION: To follow that up -- thank you for that. And to follow that up then, did -- you can -- if -- if I heard you correct -- if I understand what you say, that the degree of the heat you can see if it's just burned recently you said, can you tell if a part of a fire line is intensifying in strength or weakening in strength? (UNKNOWN): The -- so, the picture that we will see on the video will -- will -- will be clearly brighter in -- in the warmer part of the fire. And using predictive analysis, we're able to -- we -- we have a team of -- of other analysts who -- who look to where the fire is going to be moving, to, kind of, follow onto your -- your initial question. While we won't be able to see that with our sensors, using our analytical skills that we've learned on the federal side, we're able to go through and learn after -- after doing these fire missions for a while, we've learned how fires behave. (UNKNOWN): And working with the CAL FIRE -- the CAL FIRE individuals who specialize in fire methodology and the way that fires burn, we're able to do predictive analysis to see where the fires will be moving to. QUESTION: Thank you. STAFF: Frank? QUESTION: What do you guys do in civilian life? (UNKNOWN): In the civilian life, sir, I work here at the J3Q (ph) as a federal technician. (UNKNOWN): (inaudible) California as a non-rated crew member flight instructor. QUESTION: I didn't hear you. (UNKNOWN): I work at Mather Flight Facility as a non-rated crew member flight instructor. QUESTION: OK. And what you do obviously -- obviously contributes to your National Guard job, and the other way around, right? (UNKNOWN): Yes, sir. So I am a full-time instructor, so my job is to fly, conduct search and rescues, fight fires if need be. QUESTION: OK. STAFF: (OFF-MIKE) QUESTION: Between last year's fires and this year's fires, what changed in terms of how you're fighting them? What equipment was brought this year that wasn't brought last year? And just in terms of the nature of the fire, how much more, maybe, predictable is this one than those big ones from last year, or the big events from last year? (UNKNOWN): Yeah, it -- it really hasn't changed that much, with the exception of the extraordinary scale of this year's fires. The -- the Mendocino Complex Fire is now the -- the largest fire in the state's history. And -- and you can tell, over the last four or five years, these fires are getting bigger. They're burning more erratically. And it's got a lot to do with the five-years of drought the state experienced a few years back. The fuels are extraordinarily dry, and the snow -- the snowpack that we expected to get simply hasn't come. So any kind of recovery that we're getting in the wintertime's not been enough to -- to really keep the fuel (inaudible) out of the -- the extreme fire behavior that we're seeing in -- in -- in the last few years. QUESTION: Mosheh Gains with NBC. (inaudible) the fire has been contained? (UNKNOWN): Yeah, that's available on the CAL FIRE website. I'd point you there for the specifics on it. But the majority of the big fires currently burning in the state are around 60 to 70 percent contained, I think with the exception of the Donnell Fire down south. I think that's maybe in the 25 percent range. But I'd direct you to the CAL FIRE website. They can tell you exactly the current status. STAFF: Sir? QUESTION: And, General, you said you have -- you have 969 Guardsmen called up right now. Do you anticipate calling up more? And how long are these guys on duty for? BEEVERS: Right. Right now, we don't anticipate calling up any additional soldiers or airmen, given the current situation as we see it. That obviously could change. Fire season in California is just getting underway. We have yet to experience Santa Ana winds in the southern part of the state, and (inaudible) fire (ph) behavior generally occurs much later in the summer and into early fall. So this will be a busy year for us. But we train for this every year. Our soldiers and airmen are obviously very ready and very prepared. This initial employment of the 900-plus we have on the ground now generally will last, for this go-round, probably about 30 days, and -- and then they'll be released. QUESTION: Are you getting help from other states? BEEVERS: We are. We are, absolutely. We have rotary-wing aircraft from Arizona and from Oregon. We have an additional RC-26 air frame from New Mexico that we've used, and -- in addition to the 200 soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord from the 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion. So yes, absolutely, we've brought in out-of-state assets, as well as Title 10 assets, to assist in this. STAFF: Any additional questions? Thank you for joining us, everyone. That is all the time we have. If you'd like clarity on anything we've discussed, please don't hesitate to ask. END
PENTAGON PRESS BRIEFING WITH JOHN KIRBY
PENTAGON PRESS BRFG POOL 2 FS-22-HD 20220127 14000 NBC POOL Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby briefs the media in the Pentagon Briefing Room. Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby Holds a Press Briefing PRESS SECRETARY JOHN F. KIRBY: OK, I think you're aware that this afternoon the Secretary issued a memo directing the Department of Defense to provide him with a Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan within the next 90 days. This action plan outlines the steps that Department will take and the resources that will be required to implement appropriate recommendations from recently completed studies of civilian harm. Studies that were sponsored by DOD. The protection of civilians remains vital to the ultimate success of our operations. And as the Secretary has noted on more than one occasion, it is a strategic and a moral imperative. The memo if it's not posted right now, it will be posted very, very soon. I know that you guys have been able to talk to some folks about it. So, I'm happy to engage questions on it as we go forward today, but I do encourage you to take a look at it. As some of you may also be aware, the Department has issued guidance, pausing all activities related to processing civilian vaccination exemption requests and any disciplinary actions for failure to become vaccinated for federal civilian workers. This guidance ensures compliance with a nationwide preliminary injunction order issued on Friday the 21st of January by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. This injunction does not extend to military members or to the Department's other force health protection measures such as masking, testing, physical distancing, and travel limitations. And then finally, yesterday marked the beginning of exercise Keen Edge 22 with members of the Japan Joint Staff. U.S. Forces, Japan, and U.S. Indo Pacific Command. This annual bilateral exercise is designed to deepen relationships between the U.S. and Japan, and to improve interagency coordination, combat readiness, and interoperability between our two nations. It's taking place from the 26th of January through the third of February. And the primary exercise locations are Yokota Air Base, Headquarters U.S. Forces Japan, Ministry of Defense in Tokyo, Japan Self Defense Force Headquarters, and Camp Smith Hawaii, U.S. IndoPacific Command Headquarters. Keen-Edge is a regularly scheduled exercise that achieves mutual security objectives and achieves - and strengthens U.S. Japan military interoperability. And with that, we'll go to questions. I think, Lita, you are on the phone if I have this, right. Q: Yes. Thanks, John. On Ukraine a couple of questions, please. Are you still going to be able to release the units that will be heading to - for the NATO Response Force? And to give us an idea of what percentage of those are in the NATO Response Force and which, and how many or what percentage perhaps, are going to be sort of unilateral support to allies? And then secondly, can you, both the Secretary and the Chairman yesterday spoke with their Polish counterparts. Is Poland a priority in some of this military troop decision making? Will you be sending additional troops to Poland? Thank you. MR. KIRBY: Yes. So, as you know, we talked about, the Secretary did place a range of units in the United States on a heightened preparedness to deploy. I can say that today that these units include elements of the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg. Which regularly I think you all know maintains high readiness, as well as elements of the 18th Airborne Corps, also based at Fort Bragg and some elements from Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Additionally, from Fort Campbell, elements of the 101st Airborne Division, and from Fort Carson, Colorado, elements of the Fourth Infantry Division, have also been placed on increased readiness. Now, we were not going to, and we don't intend to provide an exhaustive list of every unit that's being placed on prepare to deploy orders. But I can say that other units that will now have an increased readiness posture include elements from Fort Carson as I said, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, Fort Hood, Texas, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Fort Polk, Louisiana, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, Fort Stewart, Georgia, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio and select additional locations in the United States. These units, all told, include medical support, aviation support, logistics support, and of course, combat formations. I want to just underscore one other note. And that is, as I said many times earlier this week, these forces are on a heightened preparedness to deploy. They have not been activated. As to your other question on the percentage, I don't have that. But as I've said before, the vast majority of the troops that the Secretary put on prepare to deploy are in fact, dedicated to the NATO Response Force. And if and when they're activated, we'll be able to provide more specific detail in terms of breakdowns in numbers going forward. On your question about Poland. He enjoyed his conversation with his Polish counterpart yesterday, lots to talk about, as you might imagine. I don't have any specific decisions with respect to U.S Force presence or posture to read out here today. But rest assured if there is something like that, to be able to speak to and to announce we'll obviously do that. Jen. Q: John, President Zelensky, has said that he's grateful for military aid, but he's not getting what they really asked for, which is air defense systems, anti-aircraft missiles. The kind of things that could take on the Russian Air Force, not just tanks and ammunition on the ground. Why is the Pentagon refusing to send that kind of weaponry to Ukraine when it's such a crucial time right now as they prepare to defend themselves? MR. KIRBY: I will tell you, I mean Jen, we talked about the fact that we had an air and missile defense assessment team over there not long ago - in the last month or so. And they had extensive conversations with their Ukrainian counterparts about those very kinds of capability concerns. This is an iterative process, it's ongoing. We've already sent over three shipments, there are more coming. I'm not going to get ahead of any - of all that. And I'm not going to speak with great specificity here in terms of the exact systems that are being provided to Ukraine. We are in constant communication with them about their needs and capabilities. And I suspect that those conversations will continue. Q: So, when are those weapons going to start arriving? MR. KIRBY: I'm not promising any specific weapon here from the podium or a timeline for it. We have shipped already three packages in this latest draw down package to Ukraine. There are more coming, and I suspect in fairly short order. And we're specifically not detailing every item that are in the shipments. I think you can understand why we would want to be careful about advertising publicly the kinds of capabilities that were given to Ukraine. Given the size and the scale, and the capabilities that are arrayed against them on the other side of their border. Q: Just seems like this is the 11th hour. What is taking so long? MR. KIRBY: There's no 11th hour here, Jen, we've been providing, in the last year alone, we have provided many millions dollars' worth of capabilities to Ukraine. 60 million just in the - over the course of the spring. And then in December, President Biden authorized another 200 million. And that's on top of work that two previous administrations have been doing to help bolster the self-defense capabilities of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. So, there's no 11th hour here at all. We've been watching this build up over time. That is why we got the 60 million there. We are actually looking at ways we can accelerate some of the shipments that are to come as part of this $200 million package. Because we see this continued build up by Russian forces in the western part of their country and in Belarus. But I take issue with the idea that this is sort of 11th hour, hail Mary pass throw and stuff. Q: I don't know how you can take issue with the 11th hour when there are senior leaders here and the President have called a Russian invasion imminent? MR. KIRBY: The fact that it is possible that it's imminent doesn't mean that we just woke up to the fact that they had been building forces. We've been talking about this now for a couple of months what we've been seeing on the ground. And there have been lots of conversations with us and our NATO allies, as well as our Ukrainian counterparts. We've read all those out, you can go back and look at the readouts. And it's not like any of this came as some sort of shock. But we have, as we've continued to see the accumulation of combat power. And as we have now seen, that so far, anyway, Mr. Putin has not elected to de-escalate. And, you know, look, there's - we still believe there's time and space for diplomacy. But thus far, it has not achieved the kind of results that the international community would like to see. All that combined, has led us to, you know, again, want to contribute more capabilities to Ukrainian Armed Forces and be ready to contribute more capabilities to our NATO allies. Sylvie. Q: Thank you, John. First, I want to know if you have noticed any change in the Russian posture, military posture around Ukraine in the last few days? And then you said Tuesday that all the 8,500 troops were coming from U.S. But Secretary Blinken said yesterday that they were coming from U.S., and some were stationed in Europe. So, I wanted to know exactly what is what? And what is the proportion of combat troops in this 8,500? MR. KIRBY: I'm not going to get into a breakdown, I've gone and given you as much detail about the forces that the Secretary put on prepare to deploy orders that I'm comfortable doing right now. As for Russian buildup, we continue to see, including in the last 24 hours, more accumulation of credible combat forces arrayed by the Russians, in again, the western part of their country and in Belarus. So, without getting into a tick tock every day of how much more we're seeing, we continue to see him add to that capability. Not dramatic, as I said the other day, also not sclerotic. And then on the breakdown, as I said, on Monday, these troops that we talked about this 8,500, on Monday, were coming from stateside facilities, and I just read through the entire list of where they're coming from. But I've also said Sylvie, and this gets at Secretary Blinken's comments that we're not taking off the table the possibility of using forces that are already in Europe. Whom many of - many of whom are already on an accelerated readiness posture. Not all but some. Some are there on rotational deployments. Some are permanently based there. We've not ruled off the table that the idea of maybe using some of them to also bolster our NATO allies if they need that. So, it most likely, should there be a movement of American Forces on allied territory acute - a growth, in that, an increase. It's entirely likely that some of that will be achieved through using organic capabilities that General Wolters already has on the European continent. Janne. Q: Thank you, John. U.S. and South Korea military exercises. You said that the U.S. and Japan are conducting the regular military exercises. When will the U.S. and South Korea joint military exercises resume normally? MR. KIRBY: I don't have an update for you on the U.S. South Korea exercise regimen. I would point you to the U.S. Forces Korea for more information about their exercise regime. I think, you know, we've talked about this many times, just like we're doing with Japan, we tailor exercises for the capabilities that we want to improve for the threats and challenges in the region and in the area. And we don't do these things in a vacuum. We don't do them in a vacuum with respect to what's going on in the region and around the world. And we don't do it in a vacuum when it comes to our allies. The Japanese are also our allies. And just like with the South Koreans, we're going to continue to consult with our allies as we move forward with training events. Q: Another question. North Korea's been firing missiles almost every four days this month, but you know that. MR. KIRBY: Yes, I do. You won't let me forget. Q: It's my job. You never know what - how many they're going to do. Why is the United States focused on the Ukraine crisis and possibility of China's invasion of Taiwan, and North Korea provocation actions are helping China and Russia? My question is, how is the United States - win win strategy working in response to these multiple operations? I think win win strategy (inaudible) the former Secretary Rumsfeld had these kind of strategic (inaudible). MR. KIRBY: You mean, like the old construct of being able to win two major wars and - yes? Q: (Inaudible) different names or what? MR. KIRBY: So, I not sure you mean it this way. I'm obviously not going to preview the National Defense Strategy, which we're still working on. So, when you talk about Secretary Rumsfeld, you know, win two major conflicts. I think that's the construct, you're talking about what used to be in National Defense Strategies past. We are working on a new one now. We hope to be able to talk about that with you all a little bit later. I'm not going to preview here from the podium, what's in it. It's still in draft, still being worked. But the gist, I think of your question is, why can't we walk and chew gum at the same time? And we can, and we are, just because we're focused on bolstering our NATO allies in Europe right now, given the worrisome accumulation of combat credible power by the Russians, in and around Ukraine, doesn't mean that we aren't still focused on the pacing challenge that China represents to the Department. You've heard the Secretary talk about that, he continues to have regular drumbeat meetings, which he chairs, on the China Pacing Challenge, and exploring operational concepts for how we can better meet that challenge. It doesn't mean we're not talking about integrated deterrence not just in the Indo Pacific but around the world. It doesn't mean that, and you've heard me talk about I don't know how many times over the last few days, the continual threats and challenges in the Middle East. And certainly, we're mindful of the destabilizing behavior by Pyongyang with respect to these recent tests. As a matter of fact, on nearly every single one of them, we issue a statement. And we make it clear that we're condemning these attacks. And we continue to call on the North Korean regime to stop these provocations. Which in many cases, violate existing UN Security Council resolutions,that the whole international community should be signing up too. So, Janne, I mean, I appreciate the question, but what we're - there's a lot on our plate. And we're focused on all of it. Just because right now, one issue, obviously is certainly capturing the attention of the world community doesn't mean that we're not equally pursuing and focused on other threats and challenges to the country. If you go back and look at the memo that the Secretary issued, you know, within just a couple of weeks of taking office, he stated very clearly, his number one priority is to defend this nation against all threats and challenges. And that's what we're doing. I think, maybe go to the phone here. I got a lot of people out of people here. Joe Gould from Defense News. OK, nothing heard. Jared Szuba, Al Monitor? Q: Hi, Mr. Kirby. Just wondered if you could tell us a little bit more about this directive from Secretary Austin on civilian casualties. How does this build upon - does this incorporate any conclusions, or you know, how does this relate to the previous inquiries pushed by previous Secretary Mattis and Esper? Thanks. MR. KIRBY: It's informed by the work that has gone before, clearly, by both Secretary Mattis and Secretary Esper. But I would say, you know, just philosophically even before that, I mean, you have to remember the Secretary was a ground commander in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is not an issue that he's not familiar with. So, it's informed by a lot, specifically the memo that you'll see today. And the decisions that he has made in terms of standing up a Civilian Harm Mitigation Team, as well as ordering the establishment of a center of excellence, and some additional immediate steps, which you'll see in the memo. Those are more specifically informed by recent studies, independent, and as well as Departmental reviews writ large. Such as the RAND assessment that was legislated by Congress. And I think that you've also gotten a briefing on that today. As well as more specific strike investigations and strike review. So, I would point you to and there's a mention of that in the memo, that of what's informing it, but there's a lot there. In fact, I'd be remiss if I didn't say that some of the thinking that's going into the ways the Secretary wants to have a more structural implementation of changes, is also quite frankly informed by some recent press reporting. And it would be wrong for us not to also mention that. Jeff Schogol. Q: Thank you. I think you mentioned that elements at Davis-Monthan had been put on heightened alert. Does that mean that A-10s have been told they may have to go to Europe? MR. KIRBY: I am not going into any more detail than what I gave you, Jeff. I described the units to the level of detail that we're comfortable doing. Let's see I already got Lita. Fadi? Q: Thank you, John. I have a question about Monday's attack on Al Dhafra Airbase. So since that attack, did the Department or U.S. forces in the region take any additional measures to enhance force protection? And is the Pentagon considering or considered any new measures to detect and prevent any future threats from the Houthis? Thank you. MR. KIRBY: I would tell you. You know Fadi, we don't talk about specific force protection. But I will go so far as to let you know that U.S. forces there in and around Al Dhafra remain at a heightened state of alert. I think that's as far as I will go. As for any changes going forward, and obviously, we will rely on the good judgment of General McKenzie and his chain of command in terms of what specific changes they think they might need to make in terms of defenses. But again, we wouldn't detail that from the podium, Luis Martinez. Q: Hi, John. Earlier this week, there was a crash of an F-35C, on the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson. The Navy says that they're beginning arrangements to try to recover it. Is there anything new on that? And can you address any concerns about maybe trying to protect the waters where this plane may have fallen into so that other nations, mainly China don't get their hands on it? MR. KIRBY: Yes, you probably have seen the Navy's statement, they do intend to attempt a recovery of the aircraft. I want to say right off the top that we have received word that those who were injured are doing better, and we're absolutely delighted to hear that and continue to hope for a speedy and safe recovery for them. And our hearts are with them and their families right now. I won't speak to specific recovery efforts by the Navy, I think they're far better to do that than I am. But we're certainly mindful of the value of an F-35, in every respect of what value means. And as we continue to attempt recovery of the aircraft, we're going to do it obviously with safety foremost in mind. But clearly, our own national security interests, and I think I'll just leave it at that. Paul Shinkman. Q: Hi, John. Russia announced yesterday that it had deployed 20 or so warships into the Black Sea for supposed exercises as part of broader maritime exercises this month and next. Do you consider this to be a part of the troop buildup that you've criticized in recent days, recent weeks? And regardless does the U.S. have any concern about destabilizing action at the Kerch Strait or elsewhere in the region? MR. KIRBY: Thank you. Yeah, I don't have anything specific on the Kerch Strait. Kerch Strait - Kerch Strait. Sorry, I'll try that again, Kursk* Strait. But we continue to see an accumulation of Russian military power, again, around and alongside the border of Ukraine and Belarus. And I mentioned this the other day, and vaval power in the Mediterranean, and in the Atlantic, and clearly the Black Sea. So, I can't speak to their exercise, they should be able to talk to their exercises the way I just did at the top of this briefing. But we have noted and continue to watch increasing naval developments on the Russian side as well. All of this - all of this activity is what leads to our concern over Russian intentions here, which again, as always remain opaque. David Martin, CBS. Q: John, you said entirely likely that if there is a plus up to Europe, some of that plus up could come from troops that are already - I should say, plus up on the eastern flank of Europe. Some of those - that plus up could come from troops already in Europe. Have any units in Europe been given prepare to deploy orders? MR. KIRBY: Many of the rotational troops are already on a heightened posture, David. I believe that General Wolters is taking prudent steps to make sure that if we need to move forces from inside Europe to other places in Europe, in allied territory, that he's ready to do that. The prepare to deploy orders that I spoke about the other day, again, were confined to U.S. domestic units. But as I said to Sylvie, we're absolutely not ruling out the possibility that forces in Europe could also be moved in to help bolster the capabilities of NATO allies. And, again, some of these units are already on a heightened state of readiness. I don't know of specific orders that General Wolters has given to increase the readiness posture of other units in Europe. But again, I just want to go back to a core principle here. We take our NATO commitment seriously. And we're going to be consulting with allies, as we have been, certainly in coming days. And if there's an - if there's ways in which we can help bolster their capabilities, to help their defensive postures, we're going to take a serious look at that. And not all of that has to come, or necessarily will come, just from just from state side. Yes, Tom. Q: Hi, John. I have three quick follow ups to questions asked earlier. One, on just what you said about General Wolters. Does he have the ability to put troops on heightened alert without the Secretary doing it? In other words, what Secretary Austin did the orders for here, General Wolters can do that in Europe? MR. KIRBY: As a combatant commander of European Command, he can move forces around intratheater at his own discretion. Yes. I think though, you can understand that when we're talking about an issue of this importance, that there is a constant dialogue between General Wolters and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as well as the Secretary. So, I wouldn't expect there to be any surprises. The Secretary can also order posture changes in Europe because he is at the top of the chain of command. So, it's, I know we like to, not you, but some people like to just, you know, go to what exactly can the commander do without permission? There are things he can do, but again, with a situation like what we're talking about today. There's a lot of cross pollination and talking. Q: I wasn't trying to... MR. KIRBY: I know you weren't. I know you weren't, I just wanted to make that point. Q: And the other two follow-ups real quick. On the F-35 that Luis brought up, CHINFO was little bit opaque in responding as to whether that - if any other nation can actually get the F-35. It's under my impression that that's U.S. territory. I mean U.S. property and no one else can sort of salvage that. What's your understanding of that? MR. KIRBY: I'm not a, I'm not a lawyer, but it is U.S. property. And the Navy's going to make an attempt to recover it. Q: And finally, one of Jen's questions regarding the anti-aircraft weapons and you know, you don't want to disclose everything. In the briefing last week, you said one of the key reasons troops may go to Eastern Europe to bolster our allies there is to show the Russians the determination. And to sort of dissuade them of perhaps adventurism. Would not have - would not the Russians knowing there are some anti-aircraft weapons, aiming at their potential planes, help dissuade them from attacking? MR. KIRBY: There's lots of things that we would like to dissuade them from doing what they clearly have the capability to do. I'm not going to speak about specific systems. I just won't do that Tom. But the United States has been nothing but clear about the importance of Russia not conducting another incursion into Ukraine, and the consequences that would come from that. At the same time, we have two other responsibilities that we take seriously. One is, of course, to NATO, and to our Article Five commitments inside of the Alliance. And number two is to helping through security assistance, helping the Ukrainian Armed Forces better defend themselves. We are just at the beginning of a whole new package of assistance material. As I said, there's been three shipments, there are more that will be coming. We're trying to see if we can accelerate them. We're not going to detail what is in each and every shipment. But there will be both defensive and offensive capabilities inside those shipments. Mike. Q: John about the NATO Response Force. So, I'm interested in it as an organization, who will command it? I know it's under the control is SACEUR, but who actually will command it? MR. KIRBY: Can I - I want to go back to when I said defensive and offensive, what I meant was lethal and non-lethal. Poor choice of words on my part. Q: But there are putting... MR. KIRBY: In the shipments both lethal and non-lethal assistance. Q: Both offensive and defensive? MR. KIRBY: Well, all designed to help Ukraine defend itself. That is what I meant to say, I'm glad I had the chance to correct that. Q: So, who will command the NATO Response Force? Is it an ad hoc unit? Is it like a permanent unit with a structure in a location or is it an ad hoc... MR. KIRBY: Well, ultimately... Q: .that gets sort of formed as its needed? MR. KIRBY: Ultimately, it's under the command of SACEUR in this case, General Wolters. It has not been activated. And so, the exact C2 relationships, I think, have yet to be worked out. And in the case that we get there, Mike, that's really a better question put to our colleagues at the Alliance. It's an alliance structure... Q:  (inaudible) France is going to be... MR. KIRBY: I don't even - I don't think they even - I don't think they've gotten that far yet. Since it hasn't been activated in terms of what the chain of command is going to be. Q: . they are controlling this year, and... MR. KIRBY: Again, Mike, you're asking the wrong guy. I don't - I'm not an expert on how the NATO Response Force is activated. And what the C2 looks like, command and control look like. I pointed to my colleagues in Brussels. Q: For the 8,500 Americans, will there be an overall like American officer in charge? I'm assume it's mostly army and air force from the bases that you've said. Is there going to be like the whole - is it all 8500 going to possibly go over there? Will they be doled out? MR. KIRBY: The 8,500 comprise our contribution to the NATO Response Force. And there are as I said at the opening, there's a myriad of capabilities in there everything from medical support to ground forces. How they're, if they're activated, how they're activated, and whether it's all in one chunk, or piece meal, based on what the Alliance feels, it needs the NRF to actually look like, I think is just yet to be determined. Yes. Oren. Q: On civilian casualties, other than the review of the March 2019 strike in Baghuz, Syria, are there other open reviews or investigations of potential incidents of civilian casualties? And was there any review opened up after the recent U.S. and coalition strikes related to supporting the SDF near Hasakah Prison? MR. KIRBY: I'm not aware of any other open investigations or reviews of allegations of civilian harm. And that would include the ongoing operation right now in Syria around the Hasakah Prison. Yes, Ellie. Q: John, the President said he's not putting troops in Ukraine, but there are members as you mentioned, of the Florida National Guard, there right now. Is there any update to bringing them home? And if Russia invades, would it be too late to get them out? MR. KIRBY: There's been no decision at this point to change their mission or their status, their posture inside Ukraine. The members of the Florida National Guard are still there, in an advisory and training capacity. As I've said, many times, their safety and security remain a paramount concern to the Secretary. And if and when, we believe that for that safety and security, a decision needs to be made about moving them, the Secretary will not hesitate to do so. We are in constant communication with their chain of command, certainly with General Wolters, about his assessment of what's going on on the ground. I wouldn't get ahead of decisions that haven't been made yet. But again, their safety and security is going to be a chief concern for the Secretary. And we're going to take their protection and their safety very seriously. It is not a very big number. I think it's around - less than 200. So, in the event that they had to be moved, we believe that can be done in a fairly expeditious manner. Q: I was just curious because I know they're asking some Americans to leave Ukraine. So, I didn't know why wouldn't they be included? MR. KIRBY: Well, the State Department's made it clear to American citizens civilians, that this is not the time to be going to Ukraine. And if they're in Ukraine, they're encouraging them to leave. I think you saw that they also have authorized the departure of - ordered the departure of some eligible family members. But our diplomats are still at work in Kiev, and our trainers are still at work in Ukraine. We're going to watch this every single day. I can't speak for my State Department colleagues, but here at DOD, if and when the Secretary decides that it's time to move them out, we'll do that. And again, the numbers are not that big. This would not be a huge undertaking to do. Q: One more. The number two at the State Department projected yesterday that there could be an invasion by mid-February. Are you seeing that same intelligence? And if so, how are you making preparations on that note? MR. KIRBY: I'm not going to speculate on timing. We've always said, and said for quite some time that another incursion by Russia could be imminent. And imminent means imminent. So, we're watching this every single day. And I think I'm just going to avoid the temptation to guess as to what the timing would be. The only thing I'd add is, we still don't believe that there's been a final decision by Mr. Putin to launch another invasion. We still believe here at the Department that there is time and space for diplomacy. I think you saw Secretary Blinken, they talked about this just the other day, and the State Department has, in fact responded with some written responses to the Russians. And so, we're waiting to hear their feedback on that. So, we still think there's time and space for diplomacy. I think, obviously, that's the preferred path here to de-escalate in a peaceful, calm way. And destabilize without any shots being fired. But we're watching it every single day. Q: Hi, John, sorry. Sorry, to interrupt but you said to Ellie that it's imminent. And you said to Jen, it's possibly imminent. Which is it? MR. KIRBY: We - imminent. Q: Thank you. MR. KIRBY: But by imminent, I don't mean, I'm telling you, it's going to happen tomorrow. We've long said that an incursion could be imminent. Q: That's why I like to make sure we were speaking the same. MR. KIRBY: I think that's always a good idea, Tom. But, again, we're not we're not going to be predicting, here from the podium. We still believe there's time and space for diplomacy. We'd like to see a de-escalation. We'd like to see those troops go back home. And we'd like Mr. Putin to take the right steps to de-escalate the tensions. OK. I think I got everybody thanks very much. *Ed. Note - Kerch Strait
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UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 1650 - 1850
1650 HOUSE FLOOR FS101 87 HOUSE FLOOR DEBATE: The House meets for legislative business. // H.Res. 755 - Impeaching Donald Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors (Closed Rule, Six Hours of Debate) (Rep. Nadler / Judiciary) 164937 BOB GIBBS: They didn't do that. The Democrats didn't sought out that route. Every President, including George Washington, could have been impeached based on these fact-less articles. There is no crime. There is no victim, as Ukraine received their aid before September 30th deadline and no witnesses that witnessed anything. This isn't about the rule of law. It's politics at its worse. It's disgraceful. It's time to end this charade and scam on the American people. I urge everybody to vote no on these articles of impeachment. I yield back. DEGETTE: The gentleman from California. 165009 SCHIFF Madam Speaker, I'm happy to remind my colleagues of Ambassador Sondland's testimony. He posed the question was there a quid pro quo? The answer is yes. When he was asked about a quid pro quo involving the military aid, he said it was as clear two plus equals four. I'm pleased to yield one minute to Ms. Schakowsky, the gentlewoman from Illinois. DEGETTE: The gentlelady is recognized for one minute. 165033 JAN SCHAKOWSKY It is my adult son, Ian Schakowsky whom I will always credit for my decision last June to support an impeachment inquiry. It had never been my goal to impeach a President, but Ian made such a compelling case. He reminded me of the oath I have taken 11 times now to support and defend the constitution of the United States. He said, mom, this is not about politics. This is not about party. 165105 And pushing back against my arguments he said, this has nothing to do with the final outcome. It's about doing the right thing even if others don't. He made me see that it was about my legacy, my modest place in history. I want to thank you, my son, for helping me do the right thing today, to vote to impeach the President of the United States, Donald Trump, because no American is above the law. And I yield back. DEGETTE: The gentleman from Georgia. 165144 COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. I also would like to remind the gentleman from California, Mr. Sondland also said he had no direct evidence. He presumed that that was going on. I guess we're back to presumption again. With that, I yield a minute and a half to the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Flores. DEGETTE: The gentleman is recognized for a minute and a half. 165158 BILL FLORES Madam Speaker, on March 11th of this year, the speaker of the house the following said in an interview in "The Washington Post," quote, impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there is something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think that we should go down that path, because it divides the country, unquote. I think most Americans would agree with that statement, because it sounds thoughtful and reasonable. 165220 So here we are today to vote on the articles of impeachment. How did the majority party do in meeting the objectives set forth by the speaker? Here are the answers. First, the only compelling attribute about this sham is the lengths the majority has gone to appease the radical socialist wing of their party. Second, the only overwhelming feature about this sham is the abuse of power by the majority and the reckless disregard for fairness by the majority throughout this entire circus. 165246 And finally, the only bipartisan activity related to this sham will be the votes against these flimsy articles impeachment. I ask my colleagues to join me in opposing these deplorable articles of impeachment and to demand that the house get back to working on the priorities that hardworking families care about the most. I yield back. DEGETTE: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF Madam Speaker, I'm proud to recognize Mr. Ruppersberger for one minute, the gentleman from Maryland. DEGETTE: The gentleman is recognized for one minute. 165311 DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER Madam speaker, I spent 12 years on the house intelligence committee, including four as ranking member. My bipartisan cooperation with Republican chairman was widely recognized. When it comes to national security, there is no room for bipartisan politics. All 17 witnesses, mostly Trump appointees, told the same story during the intelligence committee hearings each testifying that our commander in chief jeopardized American national security for the sake of his re-election. 165340 The President held hostage military aid for the fight against a common enemy, Russia. He willfully obstructed congress' constitutionally prescribed impeachment powers. Over the last two years, I resisted calls to begin impeachment proceedings, and I resent those who say this is about reversing the election. This isn't about whether or not you like Trump. It's about upholding our constitution. Allowing this conduct to go unquestioned sets a dangerous precedent and permanent damages our system of checks and balances. 165413 No one is above the law. President Trump's actions are a clear threat to our national security and democracy. We must uphold our oath of office and support these articles. I yield back the balance of my time. DEGETTE: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you Madam Speaker, I yield a minute and a half the gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Walberg. DEGETTE: The gentleman is recognized for a minute and a half. 165432 TIM WALBERG Thank you, madam speaker. I rise today in strong opposition to these baseless articles of impeachment. Our founding fathers never intended an impeachment to be a one-sided political weapon. Sadly, the majority has reduced this serious constitutional action to a purely partisan tactic to take down President Trump. History will not be kind to the vote today. It will be remembered as a rushed process that lacks credibility or transparency with a predetermined outcome that puts a premium on political theater instead of facts. 165514 By any objective standard, the Democrats impeachment case is the thinnest imaginable. There is no impeachable offense before us today. It's a complete and total sham. I close not by quoting a President from the past but rather from the duly elected President Donald Trump. To my Democrat colleagues, through you, madam speaker, you are the ones interfering in America's election. You are the ones subverting America's democracy. You are the ones obstructing justice. You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our republic for your own selfish personal, political, and partisan gain. These are hard words, I know. But that is the sad reality of this entire process. 165610 I will proudly vote no today, a vote that upholds our constitution, defends our President, and preserves the pillars of our nation's democracy, and now I yield back. DEGETTE: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF Madam Speaker, I recognize the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Grijalva, for one minute. DEGETTE: The gentleman is recognized for one minute. 165630 RAUL GRIJALVA I will vote in favor of impeachment today. The facts are irrefutable, and ongoing obstruction and cover-up is shameful. You know, my parents came here as immigrants, and I'm proud to live in a nation that rewarded their hard work by providing a better future for my sisters and I. And as a first generation American and now a member of congress, a story like mine is only made possible by a nation that upholds the rule of law and truly lives out the values enshrined in our citution. 165659 Mona and I are blessed with three wonderful daughters and five grandkids. Because of this living legacy and the legacy I intend to pass on to my grandchildren, my vote today is rooted in protecting their future. The underpinnings for impeachment are real and historic. Trump has perverted the rule of law, abused his power, and engaged in cover-up. No amount of misdirection lies, disinformation, tantrums, and cries of victimization by Trump and others can undo the abuse of power and obstruction of congress that remain clear and present. 165732 The President leaves us no choice but to vote to impeach so that we can protect our democracy and correct the damage that's already done. I will vote in favor of impeachment of Donald J. Trump not as a partisan act but as a serious, urgent, and a necessary one. And I yield back. DEGETTE: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you Madam Speaker, I yield one minute to the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Brady. DEGETTE: The gentleman is recognized for one minute. 165755 KEVIN BRADY 21 years ago this week, I spoke here on impeachment. In this sadly, history will not treat Democrats well. They'll be forever remembered as the senator Joe McCarthys of our time. So blinded by their hatred of President Trump, they abandoned American rights of due process and fairness and just decency. Reminiscent of Joe Mccarthy, they assaulted the constitution, took glee in secret hearings, blocked evidence and switched charges like rogue prosecutors. 165827 Ultimately, they chose abuse of power, because they practice it so well. President Trump committed no crime or impeachable offense. None. His legacy won't be stained. Democrats' will. We'll look back at these days in shame because Trump haters in congress like red haters of the past are willing to plunge America into darkness for raw political gain. This impeachment betrays the nation, the Constitution, and the American people. I vote no. DEGETTE: The gentleman yields back. The gentleman from California. SCHIFF Madam Speaker, I recognize the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Doggett, for one minute. DEGETTE: The gentleman is recognized for one minute. 165915 LLOYD DOGGETT Tyranny rarely appears full born. It arises, it encroaches as freedom ends. Our nation's great founders sought to protect us from tyranny with a carefully crafted system of checks and balances. But now, along comes a President who actually says he's constitutionally empowered to do whatever he wants, that can neither be prosecuted nor even investigated for any crime and that he can totally ignore any impeachment proceeding of which he disapproves. 165947 These are the claims of a wannabe tyrant who has extolled the virtues of tyrants and autocrats from Manila to Moscow. To advance tyranny, he adopts an open border policy, inviting foreigners to come in to our country and intrude in our elections. Foreign nations have their own agendas, especially adversaries like Russia and China. American citizens should be the only ones determining the fate of America. If the President continues demanding more foreign interference, we will never have truly free elections, and we will not be free. 170024 We act today recognizing the solemn responsibility to safeguard our security and constitution. We pledge allegiance to the flag and the republic for which it stands, not to one man who would be king. DEGETTE: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. Before I call my next speaker can I get a time check from the speaker? DEGETTE: The gentleman from Georgia has one hour, three and a quarter minutes remaining. The gentleman from California has 57 and a quarter minutes remaining. COLLINS That was one hour and -- DEGETTE: Three minutes. COLLINS: Three and a quarter -- DEGETTE: One hour and three and a quarter minutes. COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. I couldn't hear, I apologize. Thank you. With that, I now one minute to the gentleman from -- one minute and a half to the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Allen. DEGETTE: The gentleman is recognized for a minute and a half. 170115 RICK ALLEN Thank you to my friend from Georgia, and thank you for your great work in dealing with this very sad day in our country. Today for the third time in our nation's history, a President will be impeached. This will be, however, the first time impeachment has been entirely partisan and without merit. This charade is not because President Trump is guilty of a high crime or misdemeanor ,but because one political party doesn't like him or his policies of America first. 170153 The facts are, we have a divided government, and house Democrats are at war with the executive branch. Fact two, they have been planning for this day since President Trump took office. Fact three, they accuse the President first and then have spent months looking for a crime. Fact four, but no evidence has been presented of an impeachable offense. During one of the partisan hearings, a member of this body asked if President Trump had evidence of his innocence, why didn't he bring it forward? 170223 The Democrats want Americans to believe that our President is guilty until he proves himself innocent? This whole process is unconstitutional. Today we've heard both sides. But we need to get the truth, and the truth is, the decision of who should be our President should be made by the American people, not speaker Pelosi, Adam Schiff and house Democrats. Thank yo,u and I yield back. DEGETTE: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF Madam Speaker, I recognize the gentleman from New York, Mr. Engel, chairman Engel, for three minutes. DEGETTE: The gentleman is recognized for three minutes. 170303 ELIOT ENGEL I thank my friend, Mr. Speaker. As chairman of the foreign affairs committee, I have to say that this is a sad day. No one is gleeful that the President's actions have brought us to this point, but when you boil it down, we're here today because the President abused the power of his office to help his chances of re-election. He used the enormous weight of the presidency and American foreign policy to push a foreign government to smear a political rival. And he got caught. 170335 Why is this conduct so serious? Why has the President's behavior pushed the house of representatives to exercise one of its most consequel constitutional responsibilities? Because corrupting an American election, particularly in kahoots with a foreign power, means corrupting American democracy. Our elections are at the heart of our democracy, the foundation of what makes our system of government great. Our republic, if we can keep it, as Benjamin Franklin once said. If our elections are unfair, then our republic cannot stand. 170409 Anyone who tries to fix an election is taking away the power of the American people to choose their leaders. If it happens at any level of government, it's toxic to our democracy. And this came from the highest level. In this case, it's even more serious. Because what was the President willing to give up for this advantage? What price was he willing to pay? The price was our national security. When the President divides the shadow foreign policy that undermined our diplomacy and diplomats, when he held back assistance for Ukraine who is embroiled in a war against Russia, when he pressured a foreign government to interfere in our elections again, he sacrificed our security. 170452 He shook the faith of a loyal ally. He played right into the hands of Vladimir Putin. He weakened our country all because he thought it might help his re-election bid. Only the President has that power to corrupt our foreign policy for political gain. And the moment he chose to do so, the moment he undermined our security in his scheme to undermine our democracy, whether he succeeded or not and thank God he did not, at that moment it became an abuse of power, and a President who abuses his power for personal gain is exactly what the framers feared. 170527 It's why impeachment is in the constitution. So we need to pass these articles. The President's actions have left us no choice. He cannot be allowed to undermine our democracy and tear apart the fabric that holds our country together. So I will vote for impeachment, and I yield back. DEGETTE: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you Madam Speaker. At this time, I yield two minutes to the gentleman from Florida, Mr. Gaetz, a member of the judiciary committee. DEGETTE: Two minutes. COLLINS: Two minutes. DEGETTE: The gentleman is recognized for two minutes. 170555 MATT GAETZ This is not about the Ukraine. It's about power. Donald Trump has it, and house Democrats want it. And so with no crime, no victim, no evidence, no proof, no agenda for America, this impeachment charade marches on, following no rules and adhering to no sense of honor. The American people aren't fooled by dirty tricks. 170613 Voters will never forget that Democrats are triggered into impeaching the President, because they don't like him, and they don't like us. Those who vote yes on today's articles of impeachment must carry the heavy burden of shame and guilt for as long as they serve in congress, which won't be long, because the American people will remember in November. Democrats would rather trip the President just to see him stumbling than see America succeed. 170641 They'd rather impeach the President than work together for the common good of our country and our citizens. Democrats may have won the house in 2018, but they haven't forgiven Donald Trump for having the audacity to win the presidency. And they haven't forgiven you, the American people, for voting for him. The day before she was sworn into congress, one member of the body said she promised to impeach the mother-f-er. She's not alone. Trump's impeachment was plotted and planned before the ink was even dry on his election certificate. And possibly, before some Democrats could even point to the Ukraine on a map. 170716 In seeking the chairmanship of the judiciary committee, the gentleman from New York said that he was the strongest member to lead a potential impeachment. Democrats may not have known why they were going to impeach the President, but they knew it was an inevitability. Facts be damned. This impeachment is a slap in the face to the millions of Americans who voted for President Trump, the same Americans that Democrats in Washington have mocked as smelly Wal-Mart shoppers and deplorables. This impeachment isn't legitimate, it's the radical left's insurance policy. But we have an insurance policy, too. It's the next election, and we intend to win it. I yield back. DEGETTE: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF Madam Speaker, I recognize the gentleman from Vermont, Mr. Welch, for two Minutes. DEGETTE: The gentleman is recognized for two minutes. 170802 PETER WELCH Madam Speaker, we the people have a common tie that binds us together now as it has since the founding of our country. And it's our shared respect for the constitution of the United States. Let us all step back from the maelstrom of the moment to recall that our country's inception 243 years ago, the concept of a democratic self-governing rule was a breathtaking and idealistic aspiration. And when the 13 American colonies boldly rejected the rule of a British monarch, our founders were determined to form a government that would rule with consent of the governed, ensuring that this noble experiment endured through the ages was an enormous existential challenge. 170850 It was met with the adoption of the Constitution in 1788. At its heart are two bedrock principles that have served as touchstones for our country ever since. First, it established America as a nation of laws where no person is above the law. Second, it established the concept of a separation of powers where three co-equal branches of government would check each other. Less power be concentrated in one at the expense of liberty to all. Mr. -- Madam Speaker when President Trump abused the power of his office by soliciting foreign interference in the upcoming election for his personal benefit, he willfully infringed upon the right of citizens to decide who will lead our nation. 170941 And in doing so, he placed himself above the law and in violation of his oath. And when he denounced, denied and defied the clear authority of congress to investigate his conduct, he repudiated our constitutional system of checks and balances and further violated his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution. And it is for these reasons I will cast my vote in favor of impeaching President Donald John Trump. I yield back. DEGETTE: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. I yield two minutes to the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Biggs. DEGETTE: The gentleman is recognized for two minutes. 171016 ANDY BIGGS Thank you, madam chair. Some of my colleagues across the aisle have said, hey where are the facts? As if we have the burden of proof. It's your burden of proof, madam chair. It's the Democrats' burden of proof. But the facts are unchanged. The Ukraine received aid that they were promised and appropriated for it. The aid was lawfully disbursed. In fact, it was disbursed within the time limits set by this congress. 171044 If you wanted it set -- sent to them before September 30, 2019, should have put that in the legislation. You did not. The Ukrainians gave nothing in return. Ukrainian's President said he felt no pressure, no coercion, no duress, no conditionality. But what changed? On the day that the aid was released, two anti-corruption measures were signed into law by the Ukrainian President, Mr. -- President Zelenskiy. Democrats have manufactured this sham and then argue that refusing to cooperate is impeachable. 171118 The supreme court is currently considering the extent of executive privilege when fighting dubious subpoenas. But instead of taking their process to court or waiting for the court to rule on the pending case, the Democrats chose to press forward, because simply they said, we don't want to wait. We don't have time, they say. But failing to do so is an abuse of power of this institution that will have grave consequences for our republic. 171147 Now when the other side claims they proceed with soberness, I'm bemused by media reports that indicate they have been admonished not to do a jig today when they win the vote, which we know they will. I am struck that solemnity of process shouldn't need to have an admonition against levity. This process has been partisan, vindictive, dishonest. In this impeachment, Democrats have lied about the content of the July 25 call, met secretly with the whistleblower, held Soviet-style hearings behind closed doors where the judiciary committee, the committee of jurisdiction could not attend, blocked the President's counsel from participating in the fact finding portion of the inquisition. It had been a sham from start to finish, and I yield back. DEGETTE: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF Madam speaker I recognize Mr. Scott for a unanimous consent request. DEGETTE: The gentleman is recognized 171240 SCOTT Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in favor of both articles of impeachment. DEGETTE: Without objection SCHIFF Madam Speaker, I recognize Mr. Carson, the congressman from Indiana for two minutes. DEGETTE: The gentleman is recognized for two minutes. 171257 ANDRE CARSON Thank you, chair, and thank you, madam speaker. You know, Madam Speaker, as we continue and consider this historic impeachment vote, let's be clear that the President's actions seriously jeopardize not only America's national security, but the security of our closest allies. His actions threaten the goals of the U.S.-led nato alliance. You see, Ukraine is a nation working hard to make its democracy stronger. 171326 And make no mistake, Ukraine is on the front lines of Russian aggression. Thankfully, U.S. military aid helps Ukraine defend itself against Russia and integrate itself into the European community. When our European allies are stronger, America is stronger. We are better equipped to promote democracy and put a stop to tyranny. But to President Trump, strengthening this valuable national security objective, madam speaker, was not as important as smearing a political rival. 171401 Madam speaker, we know that he held nearly $400 million of aid to Ukraine until President Zelenskiy agreed to help him dig up dirt on his potential 2020 opponent. This aid was approved by Congress with strong bipartisan support. President Trump's actions hurt American diplomacy and undermined the integrity of our nation's promises to our allies. We will not allow our leaders to trade away our national security. We cannot allow Russia's continued threats to democracy go unanswered. And we must not allow our own President of these United States to get away with breaking his own oath of office. 171451 Madam speaker, that is why we take the solemn, necessary vote to impeach. Thank you, and I yield back the balance of my time. DEGETTE: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you Madam Speaker. I yield a minute and a half to the gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Latta. DEGETTE: The gentleman is recognized for a minute and a half. 171513 BOB LATTA Thank you, madam speaker. This is a sad day for our country, one that our forefathers warned us against. We have watched this illegitimate impeachment process unfold while making a mockery of our constitutional duties. House Democrats have conducted the most polarizing impeachment process in our nation's history, and the men and women I represent are tired of this democrat run house putting political games above our national interest. 171540 House Democrats held secret meetings, withheld important documented, deliberately misrepresented information to the public, and did not give due process to the President. This investigation was unfair, and the American people expect more out of congress. The articles of impeachment are not based on facts but instead are entirely politically motivated. The truth is there was no pressure put on President Zelenskiy and the transcripts confirm that there was no conditionality. 171609 This inquiry has been rigged from the start, lacking fairness, transparency, and truth. It has been a waste of taxpayers' dollars and is based off the opinion of an unnamed whistleblower and hearsay. The accusations in today's proceedings do not align with the facts. This impeachment process is out of step with existing precedent for Presidential impeachment proceedings and is not a process I will support. I urge my colleagues to put country first and vote in opposition to the articles of impeachment. Thank you, madam speaker. I yield back. The gentleman yields. The gentleman from California is recognized. 171650 SCHIFF I thank the gentleman. It is now my pleasure to yield to the gentlelady from New York, Chairwoman Maloney is recognized for three minutes. The gentlewoman from New York is recognized. 171705 CAROLYN MALONEY Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump. President Trump abused the power of his office for his own personal and political gain at the expense of our national security. President Trump's wholesale obstruction of congress is unprecedented, indisputable, and impeachable. President Trump is the first President in history to openly and completely defy all aspects of the constitutional impeachment process. 1717442 In an attempt to cover up his abuse of power, he ordered the entire executive branch not to participate in the inquiry and directed it to defy lawful subpoenas from congress. As chairwoman of the committee on oversight and reform, I find this obstruction particularly offensive. Even -- even President Nixon accepted congress' impeachment authority and allowed his aides and advisors to produce the documents to congress. And President Nixon allowed current and former staff to testify in both the house impeachment and the senate watergate investigations, including his chief of staff and white house counsel. 171828 By contrast, President Trump, without any legal basis, directed current and former officials not to cooperate with the house's inquiry, which resulted in nine of administration officials defying subpoenas for testimony and in response to the house's inquiry, President Trump refused to turnover even one single -- not one single document to congress in response to lawful subpoenas. Put simply, President Trump's actions are even worse than Nixon's. Let me repeat. President Trump's actions are even worse than Nixon's. Our founding fathers established a system of checks and balances that spread out power between the branches of government. They decided that no one would be a king, that no one is above [5:19:42 PM] the law, including the President. And they gave the responsibility of impeachment solely to the people's house. When President Trump defies our subpoenas and obstructs our impeachment inquiry, he seeks to place himself above the constitution and above the law. We cannot let that stand. And if we do, then that's the end of congress as a co-equal branch of government. And we've allowed President Trump to elevate himself above the law. It is our solemn duty under the constitution to impeach President Trump for his blatant abuse of power and his obstruction of congress. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentlewoman from New York yields. The gentleman from California reserves. The gentleman from Georgia is recognized. COLLINS Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield one minute to the gentleman from Arkansas, Mr. Womack. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Arkansas is recognized. STEVE WOMACK I thank the gentleman for giving me this [5:20:44 PM] moment. Madam -- or, Mr. Speaker, years from now history books will tell of this day. It will tell of a purely partisan effort to remove the President of the United States. An effort not built on a high crime or misdemeanor, not on a process and keeping with the high American standard of due process and equal treatment. This effort is rooted only in the governing party's hatred of a man elected President of the United States. Members on the other side of the aisle have been in pursuit of this moment since 2016. They are consumed by it. Earlier in this debate, one of our colleagues referred to our President as a domestic enemy. Our founders warned us about this day. That is why our nation has entrusted the future of the country with the outcome of elections, be not the will of a party filled with contempt for a duly elected President. My hope is when the historians write about this day, it is not [5:21:44 PM] written in the context of a nation that lost its way, because its elected members chose hateful partisanship over the sacred oath that's protected this great republic since its founding and I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Arkansas yields. The gentleman from Georgia reserves. The gentleman from California is recognized. SCHIFF Mr. Speaker, it's -- I'm proud to recognize the gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Malinowski, for one minute. The speaker pro tempore: THe gentleman from New Jersey is recognized. TOM MALINOWSKI Mr. Speaker, in America when we call the fire department or enroll our children in school, we do not expect a government official to say to us, I need you to do us a favor, though. Why would we tolerate a President using his awesome power to make foreign policy when the safety of our country is at stake not for the people but for himself? I will vote to impeach today because President Trump did just that when he shook down a foreign country, to criminally [5:22:46 PM] investigate his political rival. If we fail to say that this was wrong then any President will be free to ask a foreign power, be it Russia, China, or Iran, to help him hurt his political enemies at home, and every foreign tyrant and kleptocrat will know that America's foreign policy can be bought by doing our President a political favor. If you believe that our highest duty is to protect America then Search your conscience and ask -- do you want our future Presidents to behave as this one has done? Do not whisper in the shadows of the capitol that you disapprove and then defend that conduct here today. Do your duty. Keep your oath. Defend your country. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from California reserves. The gentleman from Georgia is recognized. COLLINS Thank you, Mr. Speaker. At this time i'd like to give one minute to the gentleman from south Carolina, Mr. Wilson. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from South Carolina is [5:23:46 PM] recognized. JOE WILSON Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Over a month ago on November 14, I spoke on the impeachment hoax with points true then and still true today. After over a month of secret investigations into the administration, Democrats have now decided to open these controlled hearings to the public. This continues the deception by Democrats to mislead the American people. It's insulting. No Republican witnesses, no counsel by the President to participate, and full exoneration by courageous President zelenskiy of Ukraine. It's said instead of focusing on funding our military through the national defense authorization act passed only last week or pass the united states-mexcio-canada agreement to create jobs the Democrats have continued wasting millions on the Russian hoax now proceeding with a ukranian hoax. This partisan witch-hunt diverts the President's successes. The unemployment rate is at a record low. There is record job creation. [5:24:47 PM] The stock market, again, today, is thriving, showing that President Trump keeps his promises. In conclusion, god bless our troops and we will never forget September 11 and the global war on terrorism. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia reserves. The gentleman from California is recognized. SCHIFF Mr. Speaker, I'm proud to recognize the gentleman from California, Mr. Gomez, for one minute. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California is recognized. JIMMY GOMEZ Mr. Speaker, we're here at this moment in our nation's history because the President abused the power of his office. Bribing a foreign government to intrude in our democracy and engage in obstruction of congress to cover it up. Our credibility in the global community beened promised. Our character and motivations are questioned. We know where the President's true loyalties lie. Not with our constituents, not with our allies, but with our adversaries and himself. Abraham Lincoln once said, nearly all men can stand adversity. But if you want to test a man's 5:25:48 PM] character, give him power. Donald Trump has failed T this test, and now our test is whether we will be a check on that power. Therefore, we must hold anyone to account, regardless of party or politics, be who sets fire to the very institution that define our nation and our values. And with this in mind, I will vote yes to impeach Donald J. Trump. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from california yields. The gentleman from california reserves. The gentleman from Georgia is recognized. COLLINS Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I yield a minute and a half to the gentlewoman from North Carolina, Ms. Foxx. The speaker pro tempore: The gentlewoman from North Carolina is recognized. VIRGINIA FOXX Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise in strong opposition to the process and to the resolution. When congress sees fit to examine its solemn power of impeachment, it is imperative that it does so in genuine pursuit of justice, fairly, transparently and objectively. Anything less is unacceptable. [5:26:49 PM] This partisan impeachment has fallen far short of that. Sadly, Alexander Hamilton's prediction in federalist number 65 has come true where he warned that, in many cases it will connect itself with the pre-existing factions and will enlist all their animosities, partialities and interests on one side or the other and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt. After years of investigations, hearings, and millions of taxpayer dollars, Democrats found no proof that the President committed a crime, no proof of the vague accusations in these articles clearly reflect. A basic prerequisite of impeaching for high crimes and misdemeanors is a charge that an [5:27:50 PM] actual crime was committed. These empty, baseless articles expose for the American people what this is, a desperate partisan attempt to avenge the laws of the Democrats' preferred candidate in 2016. We must respect American voters and reject these articles. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia reserves. The gentleman from California is recognized. SCHIFF Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just a quick fact check before I yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts. My colleagues on the other side of the aisle claim that no Republican witnesses were allowed to testify. That is, of course, not correct. In the intelligence committee, three of the reblican requested witnesses testified. That's one out of every four of wi the witnesses were republican-requested witnesses. That they incriminated the President did not make them ny leed requested by the majority. I am now proud to recognize the gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Keating, for one minute. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Massachusetts is recognized. BILL KEATING Today I reflect on the imperatives of two sons of Massachusetts, John Adams, who [5:28:50 PM] in one sentence captured the very foundation of our country saying, we are a government of laws, not men. Translation, no one is above the law. And John F. Kennedy who in his iconic city upon a hill address cautioned that anyone of us holding public office would be judged by the high court of history on whether we were truly men and women of courage. With the courage to stand up to one's enemies and the courage to stand up as well to one's associates. The courage to resist public pressure as well as private greed. And on whether we are truly men and women of integrity who never run out of the principles in which we believe. And whom neither financial gain or political ambition could ever divert from the fulfillment of our sacred trust. President Donald Trump, indifferent and disdainful of this trust, conspired to extract personal benefit from his office. He dishonored his oath. [5:29:53 PM] I refuse to abandon mine. I yield back. the speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from North Dakota. ARMSTRONG Thank you, madam speaker. I'd like to point out that the only Republican witnesses allowed in the intelligence hearings were on the Democrats' preapproved list. With that I yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from south Carolina, Mr. Rice. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 1/2 minutes. TOM RICE Madam Speaker, I rise in opposition to this partisan sham of an impeachment resolution that is ripping our country apart. Beginning before he took office, President Trump has been attacked by a never ending barrage of lies, and corruption and deceit by the liberal political elite including James Comey, Peter strzok, Lisa page, Hillary Clinton and the impeachment zealots in this congress. Democrats colluded with Russia and Ukraine by to the interfere [5:30:55 PM] in our 2016 election by producing the now-famous Steele dossier and now they accuse the President of interfering in an election. They used wiretaps to spy on the President's campaign and now accuse him of abusing his office. What a joke. They structure these proceedings to deny the President and Republicans in congress a fair hearing then accuse the President of obstructing congress. Look in the mirror, folks. The reaction of the American people that this is contrive anden corrupt was entirely predictable and is entirely correct. The polls that turned against them and the Democrats are desperate to stop the bleeding. That's why we're cramming this vote in just before leaving for congress to dispose of impeachment as quickly and painlessly as possible. The actions of the Democrats are a stain on this chamber. I urge my colleagues in joining -- to join me in fighting this [5:31:57 PM] abuse of power and vote no on this sham of a resolution. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. . SCHIFF Madam speaker, I didn't think I'd have to do another fact check so quickly but of course there was no pre-approved witness list. I'm proud to recognize the gentleman from New York, Mr. Meeks, for one minute. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for one minute. GREGORY MEEKS The decision to impeach a President of the United States is of enormous magnitude and utmost significant. There are few issues that so deeply reflect upon the constitution and American system of governance. As a senior member of the United States house foreign affairs committee, I've spent years trying to promote American values of democracy and the rule of Law and other -- in other parts of the world including eastern Europe. Because I have been so steeped in Ukrainian issues for so long, I know how damaging President Trump's actions were. But the President's damage does [5:32:59 PM] not end there he has consistently obstructed at every turn of this investigation. This nation's founding fathers fought to end unaccountable rule. Did not free ourselves from a king to turn think President into a monarch. But the camera of history is rolling. And I will cast my vote consistent with the principles of democracy, the rule of law and our constitution for the impeachment of President Donald J.. Trump. I do so because I could not look my granddaughter or any member of future generations in the eye having condoned actions that undermine our democratic system. I urge all of my colleagues to do the same. May God bless the United States of America. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. I yield one minute to the gentleman from Nebraska, Mr. Bacon. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for one one minute. DON BACON I am strongly opposed to this impeachment. No law was broken. No high crimes or [5:34:00 PM] misdemeanors. The Ukrainians received the aid, aid previously rejected by the administration before it. There was no investigation and President zelenskiy said he receive nod pressure from the Trump administration ever. Simply put there's no quid pro quo and no bribe. Elections are in 10 month bus the majority doesn't trust the American people too many have said that the impeachment of the President is not corrected in 2020 and that's shameful. Today's vote sets a new precedent for America. In the future, the majority will use impeachment as a tactic to remove a President. Ourounders feared this I strongly oppose it. I want my statement in the record until the end of time to show I was on the side of the constitution by opposing the majority taking down a duly elected President who commit nod crime. Madam speaker, I yield. The speaker pro tempore: The [5:35:01 PM] gentleman from California. SCHIFF My colleagues continue to make the argument that the Ukranians got the money. Yes, the President got caught but they got the money, no harm, no foul. It's the equivalent of saying if you're pulled over by a cop and you attempt to bribe the cop, and the cop doesn't take the money but arrests you, where is the crime in that? They didn't get the money. This is what my colleagues would have you accept. This is what my colleagues would have you accept. That because the President got caught in the act, we must look the other way. But of course that's not the way the law works. That's not the way the constitution works. That's not the way our oath of office works. Our oath of office requires us to impeach a President that Abuse his power whether he gets away with it or he gets caught. And in this case, he got caught. I'm now proud to recognize the gentleman from New Jersey Mr. Norcross, for one minute. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for one minute. [5:36:02 PM] DONALD NORCROSS Madam Speaker, I rise today a time of grave concern for all Americans. This past weekend I joined a bipartisan delegation traveling to Belgium, to Luxembourg, for the 75th anniversary of the battle of the bulge. A battle that over 19,000 Americans gave their lives. Today, we'realled to preserve that democracy that they so bravely defended. Over two years ago, I was one of the first members in congress to vote to advance the inquiry. Since then, I have withheld final judgment as I review the facts and heard the testimony. I believe there's overwhelming evidence well beyond reasonable doubt that President Donald Trump is guilty in both articles of impeachment. Abuse of power and obstruction of congress. Therefore, I will uphold my oath to protect and defend the [5:37:02 PM] constitution of the united States in favor of impeachment. It is our solemn responsibility to honor all those who have fought and given their lives. Toup hold the truth. In America, in one, no one is above the law. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS I love this, remember, quid pro quo didn't work out real well, supposedly it was pressure on Mr. Zelenskiy. You had to poll test it. The majority didn't work out, focus groups didn't like it so we throw it in here - a bribe. It's in the report. If they had a bribe or had a crime it would be in the articles. Guess what? He doesn't have it he can't put it in there. This is all fluff and circumstance because they can't get to the President and that's what's killing them. A minute and a half to the gentleman from Indiana, Mr. Bucshon. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for a minute and a half. LARRY BUCSHON The house Democrats have been obsessed with impeaching President Trump since he was elected. He wasn't supposed to win how much could voters support him? The American people were told [5:38:03 PM] the only way the speaker would move forward with impeachment was if the case was compel, overwhelm, and bipartisan. Yet the case for impeachment that's been rushed forward by house Democrat is anything but that. To be clear, neither of these articles of impeachment prove any wrongdoing or impeachable offense has actually taken place. Instead, House Democrats' case rests solely on hearsay testimony and presumptions from cherry-picked witnesses. The frames of the constitution never intended impeachment to be used as a tool to settle political and policy differences. That's what elections are F. Thiss a sad and dangerous moment in our history as impeachment is being used to undo the will of the American people and silence the voices of millions of Americans in the process. Alexander Hamilton would be ashamed. I urge my colleagues to vote No on this partisan impeachment sham and I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. [5:39:05 PM] SCHIFF I yield one minute to the gentleman from Colorado. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for one minute. JASON CROW Thank you, madam speaker. Years ago I took my first oath to the country, went to war, fought alongside our nation's finest men and women. Some of them gave their lives for our nation. Not a day has passed that I don't reflect on those sacrifices. I learned during that time that our nation is built on sacrifice. We have overcome challenging times because people have decided to put aside their personal interests, their livelihoods, and yes, even give their lives to do what is best for our nation. Our founders created a system to ensure we would have no kings or dictator a system that vests power in the people to ensure that no man or woman is above the law. Generation after generation this system has survived because people have fought for it. Today, it is our turn. The President's abuse of power and scorn for our constitutional checks and balances is unprecedented. Unless we stand up against these [5:40:06 PM] abuses, we will set the country on a dangerous new course. My oathing, my love of our country and my duty to honor the sacrifices who came before us require me to act. To my colleagues, it is time to put aside our personal and political interests and honor those who have come before us. Thank you, madam speaker, I yield back. The Speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you, I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Hice. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 35 seconds. JODY HICE The Democrats' new definition for evidence is allegations. Allegations based on hearsay, I might say. They hurl allegations against the President and then say to him it's not their responsibility to prove guilt but the President's responsibility to prove his innocence. This has been a sham and an act of injustice against the President and against 93 million Americans who voted for him and all those -- although this process was rigged from the [5:41:07 PM] beginning, Democrats never produced a single true piece of evidence. It's time for us to stop this hoax and vote against these articles of impeachment. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF Madam Speaker, I would like to recognize the gentlewoman from Virginia, Ms. Luria. The speaker pro tempore: For what period of time? SCHIFF For one minute. The speaker pro tempore: The gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ELAINE LURIA Madam speaker, I rise today in support of our constitution. In support of the military members in harm's way, who defend our constitution. In support of gold star families who keep faith that their loved one's sacrifice was justified. I rise in support of the oath I first took at 17 upon entering the naval academy. And took five more times in my 20-year naval career. An oath that comforted me in the years I spent away from my family, deployed around the globe. An oath that encouraged me to remain vigilant on the bridge of [5:42:09 PM] the ship at night. An oath that strengthened me when in command as I sent my fellow sail -- sailors into harm's way. And today an oath that gives me resolve. Resolve to do what is right and not what is politically expedient. Resolve to stand with the President at the White House last week and resolve to stand up to the President in this house today. I ask my colleagues to have the same strength and the same resolve. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you madam speaker. I yield 35 seconds to the gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Walker. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized. MARK WALKER When emotion supersedes the facts, the conclusion is cataclysmic. Today We're wrapping up not a three-month process but a three-year process with Democrat's disdain so much it's led to the abuse of this very house. These are the same Democrats who promised America they saw evidence of russian.lusion. Did American people trust them? [5:43:09 PM] Hell no They don't. A growing number of American people have condemned this impeachment process and that's what Democrats setting the rules and then even bending and breaking the rules to fit their narrative. The majority of Americans see this circus for what it is, I wonder how many more will join them. I yield back. The Speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF I recognize the gentlelady from California for one minute. The speaker pro tempore: The gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ANNA ESCHOO I rise today to defend our constitution and our democracy by voting for the two articles of impeachment. The words of our sacred oath define our duty and those words must be kept. Our founders' primal fear was that powerful members of our government would become, in Hamilton's words, mercenary instruments of corruption. President Trump abused the powers of the presidency by ignoring and injuring national security and other vital [5:44:10 PM] national interests to obtain an improper personal benefit. He also betrayed our nation by abusing his high office to enlist the foreign power in corrupting democratic elections. Article 2 I agree with because it's detail -- because it details the obstruction of congress by the President by directing unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by this house of representatives and abused the powers of the presidency in a manner subversive to the constitution. I believe the constitution is the sole -- soul of our nation and by defendit we are saying we will not be soulless. The speaker pro tempore: The Gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS I yield 35 seconds to the gentleman from Kentucky, Mr. Barr. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 35 seconds. ANDY BARR Don't be fooled. Democrats are not impeaching the President to protect national security. [5:45:10 PM] Democrats are impeaching the President for following a law that they themselves voted for. No less than five times in the last six years. Bipartisan congresses imposed on the executive branch an affirmative duty to ensure that the government of Ukraine was countering corruption and for good reason. Ukraine is the third most corrupt nation on Earth. The President not only had the legal authority to temporarily pause security assistance to Ukraine, he had a mandate from congress to do it and as a result President zelenskiy's government made historic anti-corruption reforms making Ukraine a more reliable ally, countering Russian aggression. Far from compromising national security -- the President actions advanced national security, oppose this impeachment. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman's time has expired. SCHIFF My colleagues would have us believe the President held up aid to Ukraine because he was concerned about corruption. Of course there was not a shred [5:46:11 PM] of evidence for that all national security experts testified that Ukraine met the criteria receive the aid. So what was the real motivation he here? One thing is telling. In 2017, the President jad no problem with aid to Ukraine. Raised no issue issue of corruption. In 2018 he had no problem with the military aid for Ukraine. So what changed in 2019? Joe Biden announced he was running for President and all of a sudden, Donald Trump held up the aid for Ukraine. As ambassador Sondland testified, the President didn't care about Ukraine. All he cared about was the big stuff, the investigation of the Bidens that Giuliani was pushing. It is my pleasure to recognize the gentlelady from Virginia, Ms. Spanberger, for one minute. The speaker pro tempore: The gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER I rise in house resolution 755. As a C.I.A. Case officer I used [5:47:12 PM] to meet with foreign nationals who were providing foreign intelligence to help inform our hardest national security decisions and keep our country safe. These individuals from countries where leaders abused their power and defied the rule of law risked imprisonment and often their very lives in order to provide the United States with information to help us to inform us. But why? It was their belief in the United States, their belief in our country, the longest standing democracy in the world, our country a beacon of hope in the world, a democratic republic founded on a document and the belief in the rule of law and a belief in its people. Today, I am proud to serve in the people's house, representing my hometown and, again, serving our country, that beacon of hope in the world. And today, especially today, I reflect on the founding documents that have set us apart in the world, leading people across generations and across the world to risk everything because of their beliefs in our [5:48:14 PM] great nation. Today, especially today, I affirm my commitment to upholding and protecting the constitution, the rule of law, and the people it governs. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. I yield 35 seconds to the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Arrington. the Speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 35 seconds. JODEY ARRINGTON The first-ever completely partisan impeachment of the President of the United States. Madam speaker, I am deeply disturbed that history will indeed be made today in this hallowed chamber but for all of the wrong reasons. Not for love of country but hatred for a political foe. Not to pursue justice but to punish a political adversary. Not to seek truth but to seize political power for the love of country. I urge my colleagues to oppose this disastrous political ruse. [5:49:14 PM] Thank you. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF I yield to the gentlelady from California, Chairwoman Waters, for three minutes. The speaker pro tempore: The gentlelady is recognized for three minutes MAXINE WATERS Ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately, the rules of debate won't allow me to cite all of the reasons why this President should be impeached. There are many. However, ladies and gentlemen of the house, to quote Maya Angelo. Whenever shows them who they are, believe them the first time. This day was not inevitable but predictable because this President has shown himself time and time again to believe that he is above the law. And he has no respect for our constitution or our democracy. Based on all that we know about Donald Trump, we could have predicted he would have abused the power of the President by [5:50:15 PM] corruptly soliciting the government of Ukraine and the Ukrainian President zelenskiy to publicly announce investigations into his political opponent, former vice President Joseph R. Biden. This impeachment resolution includes evidence that this President withheld $391 million of taxpayer funds that Congress appropriated for the purpose of providing vital military and security assistance to Ukraine to oppose Russian aggression. Another blatant abuse of power. Our investigations revealed that this President advanced a discredited theory, promoted by Russia, alleging that Ukraine, rather than Russia, interfered in the 2016 United States Presidential election for corrupt purposes in pursuit of personal, political benefit. Never before in our history have we experienced a President who has so clearly conducted himself in a manner offensive to and [5:51:17 PM] subversive of the constitution and directed his cabinet members, executive brafrm -- branch members and agencies to defy subpoenas. This President has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security and the constitution if allowed to remain in office and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. Because at every turn, he has shown us who he is. It is no secret that this President could have been impeached a long time ago. Today, we stand here with an irrefutable case and an indisputable set of facts that this President absolutely abused his power and obstructed congress. Any other individual who would have been caught conducting themselves in the way this President has would have been prosecuted to the full extent of [5:52:20 PM] the law. It is shameful that any member of this house is willing to disregard the constitution, turned a blind eye to hard fact and ignore a confession from the President himself. History will remember those who were willing to speak truth to power. Yes, I called for Trump's impeachment early. This is our country. Our foremothers and forefathers shed their blood to build and defend this democracy. I refuse to have it undermined. I wholeheartedly support this resolution. I'm proud that in the final analysis, justice will have been served in America and Donald Trump will have been impeached. The speaker pro tempore: The gentlewoman's ti has expired. The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Madam speaker -- WATERS I yield back. COLLINS The house is not in order. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Reclaiming my time that the gentlelady did not have, I yield 35 seconds to the gentleman from Louisiana, Mr. Abraham. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 35 seconds. RALPH ABRAHAM What is shameful [5:53:24 PM] is that speaker Pelosi has allowed this political witch-hunt and we should remove her from the house. The trouble with our liberal Frie tis not that are they are ignorant, is that they know so much that isn't so. Democratic extreme partisanship will set a dangerous precedent for this nation. And mark my words, madam speaker, this sinister attempt to remove this lawful President will not go unnoticed. I yield back The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman yields back. The gentleman from California. SCHIFF I recognize the gentlelady from Nevada, Ms. Titus, for unanimous consent request. The speaker pro tempore: The gentlelady is recognized. TITUS Thank you, Madam speaker. I ask unanimous consent to enter my statement into the record supporting the impeachment of Donald Trump. The speaker pro tempore: Without objection, so ordered. SCHIFF And I now recognize the gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Himes, for two minutes. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for two minutes. JIM HIMES Thank you, madam speaker. I rise today in anger and hope. I am angry that President Donald [5:54:24 PM] Trump has treated his oath and office so disrespectfully that now we must hold him to account. The truth is clear to anyone not deliberately looking away. The President withheld military aid in a white house meeting unless and until a vulnerable Ukrainian President announced a nakedly political investigation. It didn't matter if the Ukrainians uncovered any wrongdoing. The mere announcement would damage his political opponent. Mr. Trump didn't care about stopping corruption in Ukraine. Never mentioned the word corruption once in the infamous July 25 call. Was not an attempt to reduce Ukrainian corruption. It was an attempt by Donald J. Trump to aim Ukrainian corruption straight at the heart of the Presidential election of 2020. The President knows this which is why he has not given this congress a single email, phone [5:56:29 PM] democracy and urge my colleagues to do the same and yield back the balance of my time. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. For things I don't understand I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Kelly. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. TRENT KELLY Madam speaker, I spent two christmas defending our country overseas and I get a measly 30 seconds to speak in this laughable process. Our President made a campaign promise to drain the . Swamp. And there are those today relyING on swamp creatures' words to preserve swamp. How do you suppress the votes of 63 million people and an electoral landslide? you keep repeating the same lies. I heard the greatest fiction ever spoke, if you don't like the facts, just rewrite them in a parody and repeat. If the facts are clend indisputable, why is the minority leader demanding more witnesses? You can't dispute nothing that never happened I ask you to vote no for this sham. Thank you and I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. [5:57:30 PM] SCHIFF Madam speaker, I am proud to yield two minutes to the gentleman from illinois, Mr. Krishnmoorthi. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for two minutes. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI Madam speaker, I didn't come to congress to impeach anybody, let alone the President of the United States. However, given the facts, here we are. While facts remain unanswered, two key facts are clear and compel me to support the articles of impeachment. First, President Trump attempted to pressure a foreign government to help his re-election campaign. And second, the President used the powers of his office, again, to obstruct a congressional investigation into that wrongdoing. The President has falsely claimed he's been denied the chance to defend himself, but at the same time, he's preventing the testimony of witnesses with direct knowledge of the events under investigation. If the President were innocent, as he claims, surely these witnesses would be able to [5:58:31 PM] testify to that. If there have been no quid pro quo, these witnesses could say that. If aid to Ukraine were not intentionally yed for improper purposes, they could surely testify to that also. But rather than giving these witnesses the chance to speak, the President has silenced them. The President has silenced witnesses at the defense department. The President has silenced witnesses at the state department. The President has silenced witnesses at the white house. He even silenced the loquacious Mick Mulvaney who uttered at a press conference that there was a quid pro quo and, get over it. By choosing to block this testimony, the President is not proving his innocence. He's just proving he's afraid of what they have to say. As a wise man once said, the truth will come to light, and it has. It is our duty to act on it. I yield back. [5:59:32 PM] The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. It's a shame on the floor of the house when you accuse somebody and then make them prove they're not guilty of what you accuse them of. I yield to Mr. Rose. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized. JOHN ROSE Madam Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this partisan impeachment spectacle that just seeks to accomplish what President Trump's opponents failed to do at the ballot box in 2016. Our votes today are merely formalizing the decision my colleagues on the other side of the aisle reached three years ago, this process has been an embarrassment to our country, an insult to our constitution, and a distraction from the real work we should be accomplishing for the American people. I stand with the people of Tennessee's sixth district in strongly supporting President Trump, and I will vote against the articles of impeachment before us today. Thank you. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF I reserve the time. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman reserves. The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman, Mr. Huizenga the speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. BILL HUIZENGA In her own words, speaker Pelosi said impeachment would be overwhelmering, compelling and bipartisan. These articles of impeachment fail to meet the speaker Pelosi's own standards. Process matters, folks. Representing a good chunk of Gerald Ford's old district, [6:01:01 PM] being a staffer in the Clinton administration, I have an intimate understanding of the effects of impeachment on this nation. I'm stunned to see my Democrat colleagues white wash or should i say white water bill Clinton's cooporation with the house of representatives. That's not exactly what was going on. And this is the most partisan impeachment in our nation's history. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from California. SCHIFF I reserve. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS I yield to the gentleman from Texas, Mr Cloud. MICHAEL CLOUD This has never been about a search for the truth. If it were the Democrats wouldn't have polled to see what the charge was. Repeating something over and over doesn't make something M true. When one produces a committee report with fabricated findings based on no fact witnesses and then quote from it like it's authoritative it's no more valid than having a campaign pay for foreign entity to create a dossier and [6:02:03 PM] selling it to a FISA court to spy on a campaign. This has always been an information in search of a crime. It's time to end charade. SCHIFF I reserve. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Idaho. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. RUSS FULCHER: Thank you, madam speaker. In a day of heavy verbal debate, I choose to use my time to enumerate in detail every high crime and misdemeanor committed by the President of the United States. I will do so now. [ moment of silence ] The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman's time Has expired. The gentleman from california [6:03:07 PM] SCHIFF I continue to reserve The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Fleischmann. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds CHUCK FLEISCHMANN In 30 seconds, my heartache for this great republic today. I implore my democratic colleagues in this house, with we're not Republicans or Democrats, we are Americans. This is not the right place, this is not the right procedure. Settle our political differences politically. We owe the American people a great duty to come together. Don't give the senate the victory lap. Give the house the victory lap. Vote no to impeach. We owe it to the American people. They want so dearly for us to come together for our great republic. And thank our great President. Thank you I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: Members are reminded to address their remarks to the chair. The gentleman from california. SCHIFF Madam speaker, I continue to reserve. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. Mr. Collins -- [6:04:07 PM] COLLINS Can you give us the time for the majority and minority. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman has 43 minutes. the gentleman from california has 29 minutes. The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. I appreciate that. I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Florida, Mr. Walz. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized. MICHAEL WALTZ I'm a green beret and a proud veteran. But this process does in the make me proud. I've fought all over the world from africa to afghanistan and seen fairer and more transparent processes than this. Since the Democrats lost the election in 2016, they've been focused on impeaching this President. Meanwhile we have not solved the problems America entrusted us to solve. Immigration. Health Care, infrastructure. Nothing in President Trump's rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. For that reason I'll be voting genches impeachment. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California continues to reserve. The gentleman from Georgia. [6:05:07 PM] COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Kentucky, Mr. Guthrie. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. BRETT GUTHRIE I rise in opposition to the articles of impeachment on President Trump. My democratic colleagues have been planning to impeach President Trump since he took office. After months of wasting house time on partisan investigations, they've been unable to produce evidence that President Trump committed a crime. I will vote no on today's articles of impeachment. I look forward to getting back in the be business on behalf of kentuckians. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF I'm proud to recognize the gentleman from new York, Mr. Maloney, for two minutes. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognize for two Minutes. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY Madam speaker, the facts and evidence establish that the President abused his power of his office for personal gain and sought to cover up his conduct by obstructing congress. What we do today goes to the heart of the oath we take to support and defend the constitution. These actions are as necessary [6:06:08 PM] as they are heartbreaking. It is the President, not any member of this house, who has brought us to this sad place. His actions echo in this chamber. Like a tin can tied to his leg will rattle behind him through the pages of history. For the final analysis, none of us will escape the truth. It will come for us all in this world or the next. What is the truth? The President used taxpayer money and official acts to pressure a foreign government to help him win re-election by slandering a fellow American. How do we know this truth? We know it because brave Americans, soldiers and public servants, came forward to reveal the President's misconduct. And the President? He continues to undertake an unprecedented coverup to stonewall the public and obstruct their representatives in congress. He withholds access to documents and records belonging to the public that would further [6:07:10 PM] establish his mendacity. He blocks his advisors and associates from testifying before the public to conceal the wrongs they witnessed. His actions are unworthy the presidency. Today is about right and wrong and whether we still know the difference. Today we hold the President accountable. If we fail to do so, future Presidents would see corruption as without consequence. And there our democracy goes to die. We inherit this republic from our ancestors and borrow it from our children. With humility, we pray that the history of this day will guide us to a better future for our nation. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Long. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. BILLY LONG Thank you, madam speaker. We have never, ever in the history of This country seen a presidency like this one. Once the President was sworn in, 19 minutes later, "The [6:08:10 PM] Washington post" said impeachment begins today. A million women marched the next day on Washington. Bank of America, Starbucks both supported Hillary Clinton had their windows broken out in Washington because people were so upset that this man was elected President of the United States. He's had his head held underwater for almost three years now. Never coming up for a breath of air. Just keep pushing him down. Lowest black unemployment ever. Lowest hispanic unemployment ever. Highest stock market ever. Lowest unemployment in years. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Nebraska, Mr. Fortenberry. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized. JEFF FORTENBERRY Thank you, madam speaker. I've been concerned since the beginning of this impeachment process that it's been driven a predetermined guilty verdict. It's unfair, it's wrong and now every future President, Democrat [[6:09:10 PM] or Republican, will have to worry that the impeachment process will be driven as a blunt force political instrument. It's been said that this day is sad. It's not sad, it's regrettable. But this day will end shortly. The house has had its cathartic moment. Tomorrow will begin a new day. Let's get back to work. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF Continue to reserve. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS I yield 30 seconds to the the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Lamalfa. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized. DOUG LAMALFA Ready, fire, aim. We're hearing made up articles to fit a foothold. George Washington could have been impeached with these. We're a republic, not a democracy as they keep insisting. No one came to congress to impeach. Several new and returning members have come specifically to impeach President Trump. I hear a lot today about sadness and solemnity. [6:10:11 PM] For impeachment? No, but because their candidate lost in 2016. The American people chose Donald J. Trump to lead us and not on a socialist government. And we will service this day.. I call on the American people to see through this sham. SCHIFF Reserve. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Alabama, Mr. Aderholt. Speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized. Mr. Aderholt: -- COLLINS Mr. Johnson of South Dakota. 30 seconds. DUSTY JOHNSON Madam speaker, I'm voting no. Impeachment is not in the best interest of this country and in fact has only deepened the partisan divide truly plague this country. When the sun comes up tomorrow I pray with all my heart that the anger and division in this chamber Wille way to an honorableness and a productivity and a time of working together. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. [6:11:12 PM] SCHIFF I reserve. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Let's go back to Mr. Aderholt. 30 seconds to the gentleman from Alabama, Mr. Aderholt. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. ROBERT ADERHOLT Thank you. Madam chair. Today, a duly elected President is being impeached by the House of Representatives, by the Democrats, compiled by partisanship, not by the facts. I'm proud to stand here with President Donald Trump and I will -- I plan to cast my vote against both articles of impeachment. This is not -- it's not that the President abuses power. It is my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who are abusing one of the most powerful tools that's been entrusted to the congress by the -- in the constitution by our founding fathers. Twisting the constitution to impeach a President -- SCHIFF : Continue to reserve. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from georgia COLLINS Madam speaker. [6:12:14 PM] 30 seconds to the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Olson. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. PETE OLSON Thank you, madam speaker. Webster's dictionary defines a star chamber as characterized by secrecy and often be irresponsible, arbitrary and oppressive. Sadly my Democrat friends have turned this people's chamber. It's the star chamber of the people. One example, the most important thing we can do as members is declare war. Next one is to impeach a President. We want to have every member stand up and vote, say their vote loudly. CNN has been denied. I yield back. This is a sham. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Thompson. [6:13:15 PM] The Speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. GLENN THOMPSON I thank the ranking member, thank you, madam speaker. While this chamber should ensure laws are followed, this is for political gain. I caution my colleagues who have placed political expediency ahead of moderation, your votes today will change this institution. Imagine a future where this body utilizes the most severe of its constitutional powers to put the opposition party on trial. I yield back. SCHIFF It's my pleasure to yield one minute to the gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Brown. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for one minute. ANTHONY BROWN When I was commissioned as second lieutenant of the United States army, I swore an oath to support and defend the constitution. I have donn so 13 times in my 35 years of public service. That oath means everything. [6:14:16 PM] To serve and fight for our country, to protect and promote our values. Yet President Trump betrayed his oath, abused his power, the immense power of the presidency. He threatened our elections by inviting foreign interference. He chose investigating a political rival over defending our national security. So today, we must use our power. The extraordinary power endowed by our constitution and entrusted by the people, the power to impeach. We must hold President Trump accountable or else we will be complicit in undermining our democracy, our security, and our dignity. His conduct demonstrates his unfitness to serve as commander in chief and warrants removal from office. The oath I took as a member of congress is the same I took as a soldier. An oath that reminds me values matter. Duty, honor, and the rule of law matter. To keep my oath to the people I serve. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman's time has expired. [6:15:16 PM] BROWN Today I vote to impeach the President of the United States. COLLINS I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Lahood. The speaker pro temp: the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. 181511 DARIN LAHOOD: Thank you madam Speaker. I've said from the beginning of this process, impeachment is and should be the nuclear option, reserved for the most treasonous activity and the most serious activity. Clearly that has not been met here. As I've reviewed the facts in evidence as a former federal prosecutor, I've read the transcripts, I've watched the hearings, I've read the whistleblower report. That has not been met here. In addition, this process has lacked fairness, due process and transparency. We shouldn't be here tonight doing this. This is a travesty. The speaker pro tempore: Gentleman yields back. The gentleman from California. SCHIFF: Madam Speaker I reserve the balance of our time. The speaker pro tempore: gentleman from Georgia. 181548 COLLINS: Thank you Madam Speaker I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Harris. The speaker pro tempore: gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. 181552 ANDY HARRIS: Thank you Madam Speaker. You know, it's unbelievable. The few Americans that are going to be watching this, because they know what the outcome is. We all know what the outcome is. They're wondering why are we trying to negate the vote of 63 million Americans, instead of talking about the things that Americans care about. Prescription drug coverage, the high cost of prescription drugs, the high cost of health care, securing our borders, keeping our economy going. These are the things we should be talking about. No. Instead we're going to pass this resolution tonight and then go home for Christmas vacation instead of doing the job of America. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF Madam speaker, we continue to reserve. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS: Thank you, madam speaker. I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Kansas, Mr. Watkins. WATKINS: Madam--- The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. 181639 WATKINS: Madam speaker, as a political newcomer before this, and just like President Trump, perhaps like me he was naive to think that this house, that in the people's house, everybody was true and just. It's not the case. Democrats weren't saddened by this solemn day. They weren't waiting for all the evidence. This was always about politics. Because they loathe the President, because he doesn't play by their beltway rules. I should have known. But the fact is, Kansas is better, the U.S. Is better and the world is better because of Donald Trump. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman's time is expired. The gentleman from California. SCHIFF Madam speaker, we continue to reserve. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS: Thank you, madam speaker. I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from California, Mr. Calvert. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. 181726 KEN CALVERT: Thank you Madam speaker. My friends on the other side of the aisle have been clamoring for this day since President Trump was elected. Their refusal to accept the election results and later the findings of the Mueller investigation have brought forth articles of impeachment that are negated by two simple facts. Namely, the military aid to Ukraine was provided and no investigation was ever started. The real offense is that the President won the election and their fear is he'll win again, despite all their efforts. I will vote against the partisan attempt to overturn an election. Thank you, and I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: Gentleman from California. SCHIFF: Madam speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my time The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS: Thank you, madam speaker. I yield 30 minutes to the gentleman from Tennessee. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. 181812 TIM BURCHETT: Madam speaker, I rise today in opposition to impeachment against President Donald Trump. This is based on hearsay that were made by partisan witnesses behind closed doors. This impeachment is a sham, madam speaker. And it's divided this country. Congress has wasted time on this impeachment, would have been better used on addressing issues that are facing Americans like securing our southern border, the opioid epidemic, or establishing the constitutionally mandated budget. 181837 And now American workers have to wait until the senate trial to pass usmca that the President and house Republicans have been working on for over a year. I'm disappointed in the path congress chose to go down, madam speaker. The speaker pro tempore: Gentleman's time has expired. Gentleman from California. BURCHETT: And for the record, madam speaker, I think you're doing a wonderful job. SCHIFF: Madam speaker I reserve the balance of our time. The speaker pro tempore: Gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Gosar. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. 181900 PAUL GOSAR: Thank you, madam speaker. It's obvious today that there's an intense hatred from the Democrats of President Donald Trump. Why do they hate the man so much? Maybe it's because of the out-of-control government-gone-wild, the abuses of FISA, the abuses by the F.B.I., the abuses in the state department. Maybe it's just the previous administration they're trying to cover up. It's sad. This is a shameful act, what we're doing today. Shame on the Democrats. Shame on pursuing this. I ask everybody to vote no and to take notice of who votes for these articles of impeachment. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF Madam speaker, I reserve the balance. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Florida, Mr. Posey. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. 181945 BILL POSEY Thank you, madam speaker. This is a sad day for America. We know this impeachment is a sham. They know this impeachment is a sham. They know we know this impeachment is a sham. And they know that most of the American people know that this impeachment is a shameful sham. We know that it began the moment the President was elected, long before he ever had a telephone call with any foreign leaders. We've heard the numerous quotations from them that validate those very points. And yet they persist in trying to overturn the duly elected President of the United States of America. When the President calls for -- The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from California. 182027 SCHIFF: Madam speaker, I've heard some of my colleagues in a row now, and it's interesting to see how very few of them want to address any of the facts of the President's misconduct. Nor do they wish to defend -- nor do they wish, apparently, madam speaker, I've struck a nerve. Nor do they -- nor do they wish to defend a President who would extort an ally, withhold military aid to help him cheat in an election. They don't want to defend that conduct. 182056 So instead they say, oh, Democrats really want to impeach the President or Democrats don't like the President. But what they can't say is that this President's conduct was ethical. What they can't say was that this President's conduct was legal. What they can't say was this President conduct was constitutional. What they can't say is this President has upheld his oath of office. No, they can't say that. All they can say is, we don't like the process. Or our colleagues are just too happy to impeach. Or or, it's overturning the will of the public when it's a Republican President. 182131 Interestingly my colleagues who supported the impeachment of Bill Clinton did not think it was overturning the will of the people. Apparently this impeachment provision only overturns the will of the people if it's a Republican President. I would like to give them more credit than that. What is the distinction here is the seriousness of the conduct. This remedy was put in the constitution for a reason. It's not an unconstitutional remedy. It is part of the constitution. 182159 The only way you can conceive of this remedy as being unconstitutional is if you believe, as the President does, that he is the State, that anything that opposes him opposes the state is by definition anti-constitutional. But that, of course is nonsense. But it is more than nonsense. It is dangerous nonsense. Madam speaker, I'm proud to recognize the gentlewoman from Washington, Ms. Schrier, for one minute. The speaker pro tempore: The gentlelady is recognized for one minute. 182235 KIM SCHRIER: Madam Speaker, the people of Washington's eighth district sent me to congress to fight for their families and make thoughtful, evidence-based decisions. I did not come to congress to impeach a President. But evidence is evidence. And a balance of power is fundamental to our democracy. My first day in office, like everybody else here, I took an oath to uphold the constitution and protect our country. History will judge this moment. Given all the facts before us, impeachment is the only remedy. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. 182314 COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. I'm sure it did strike a chord with the chairman, since you know he showed up a little late, hadn't heard all the arguments. We beat the facts back all the time. It was the majority's side that had to run through this, that clock and that calendar, it's killing him, and it's killing him because his arguments are falling flat. And to speak of evidence, yeah, we looked at the evidence. The evidence doesn't fit anything. And by the way, if he had extortion, put in articles. He can't, because he can't make the case. He can only put it in his notes and then come to the mic when he can't be questioned and talk about it. That's the problem and that's the chord that's been struck. With that, I yield two minutes to the gentleman from north Dakota. Mr. Armstrong. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for two minutes. 182347 KELLY ARMSTRONG: Thank you, madam speaker. Once President Trump was sworn in, articles of impeachment were introduced almost immediately. In three years, house Democrats have introduced 10 resolutions, getting support of over 100 of their members. And all of that before July 25th phone call. But also during that time, the Russia conspiracy hoax was exposed. Obstruction of justice charges were abandoned after the Mueller hearings fell flat. So after 2 years, 19 lawyers, 40 agents, 2,800 subpoenas 500 warrants and 17 lies in a FISA warrant application, they had nothing to show for it. 182422 Undeterred by the facts and uninterested in governing, the beat marched on. So here we are today. We have no quid pro quo, no bribery, no extortion, no crimes alleged in the articles at all. But don't worry because we have a brand new 632-page report eledging all kinds of things. Some for the very first time. This isn't a somber, solemn process. This is a political drive-by. They just want President Trump gone. But this never-ending March towards overturning the 2016 election has consequences. 182454 Because you're telling 63 million voters that their votes -- that you don't rpt their vote. Voters in -- respect their vote. Voters in states like mine used to send Democrats to this August chamber, but recently have found no home in the democratic party. Who feel that their values have been replaced by a liberal, elitist agenda, who feel that their -- that partisan points are more important than practical solutions. You're never-ending -- your never-ending impeachment quest a reminder to them that you do trust their judgment, you don't understand their way of life and you couldn't care less about the issues that are important to them. As chairman Nadler has so ominously stated, if you're serious about removing a President from office, what you're really doing is overturning the results of a last -- of the last election. Well, they were serious. They spent the last three years talking about it, unwilling to accept the results of 2016. I wonder if my colleagues recognize the irony that their impeachment vendetta is the greatest election interference of all. And it was home-grown, right here in the halls of congress. With that, I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: Members are reminded to address their remarks to the chair. The gentleman from California. SCHIFF Madam speaker, we reserve the balance of my time -- I reserve the balance of my time. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman reserves the balance of his time. The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. At this time I yield three [6:26:24 PM] minutes to the gentleman from New York, Mr. Zeldin. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for three minutes. LEE ZELDIN This impeachment is an embarrassment for house Democrats. On the substance, DEMs claim that their case is uncontested, relying on presumptions, hearsay and 3% of the story, trying to connect dots that aren't actually connected. Some inconvenient truths: President zelenskiy didn't know there was a hold on aid until August 29. The aid gets released shortly thereafter and Ukraine didn't have to do anything to get that aid released. President zelenskiy says no demand, no quid pro quo, no pressure. But Democrats want the public to ignore the other 97% of this story. See it -- it doesn't work like that. Senate Democrats want new witnesses to show why there was a hold on aid. Odd request if you think you've already proven your case. At the heart of this debate, two investigations are being discussed between countries. Democrats and media allies want [6:27:25 PM] the public to believe it's all just debunk that Ukrainians interfered in the 2016 election. They want you to ignore comments that Chalupa worked with Ukrainian embassy, origins of the Steele dossier, the blackledger and more. The problem with all of this is that the American public are smarter than Democrats are giving them credit for. Next, the Democrats claim Republicans are arguing that it was Ukraine and not Russia that wanted to interfere and was interfering in the 2016 election. No, that is not what Republicans are saying. Of course we have the issue of a corrupt Ukrainian energy company run by a corrupt Ukrainian olgark hiring hunter Biden with no experience solely because he is V.P. Biden's son. Now, the company wanted to hire hunter Biden because they wanted to curry favor. There was this ongoing [6:28:26 PM] corruption investigation. Enter Joe Biden. He gets that prosecutor fired. Democrats believe it should be immune from scrutiny. I disagree. Our governments should be working together to get to the bottom of all of this. This has also been a total disaster on the process. From getting a federal worker to file a whistleblower complaint, to Schiff's version made up of the July 25 call. In closed-door interview, Schiff was prosecutor, judge, jury and witness coach. Every day he loved getting America drunk on his favorite cocktail. Three ingredients, cherry picking leaks, withholding key facts, and misstating evidence. In aosition and in the public hearings, the President's counsel was not invited to attend, present evidence or cross-examining witnesses. Republicans weren't allowed to call witnesses like hunter Biden, Joe Biden and many [6:29:26 PM] others. Then there was the house judiciary debacle where Schiff couldn't even show up to present his report. This impeachment is ripping our country in half. It's fatally flawed on a process, the substance, the intentions and the consequences. It's a total Schiff show. I encourage all of my colleagues to vote no. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF I thank the speaker. We continue to reserve the balance of our time. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman reserves the balance of his time. The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Madam speaker, I yield three minutes to the gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Meadows. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for three minutes. MARK MEADOWS Thank you, madam speaker. You know, today, as we sit here debating impeachment, you know, they all want to talk about it's the constitution, it's Alexander Hamilton. You know, the last 30 days I've heard more about Hamilton from my Democrat colleagues, and until then the closest they came to Hamilton was a $10 bill. [6:30:27 PM] All of a sudden what we have is these strict constitutionalists on the other side of the aisle. Listen, this has nothing to do with the constitution, it has nothing to do with anything but raw politics. . There's only one person on the other side of the aisle who got seven by folk yows for not telling the truth. No one on this side got that during this impeachment process. The American people need to understand two key facts. The Democrats in control set their own rules of evidence. They said what we need to do for impeachment is to have compelling evidence and bipartisan support. They don't have either of those two things. They failed the rules that they made up themselves. We've got President zelenskiy of Ukraine saying there was no pressure. We've got the number two guy in Ukraine saying there was no pressure. We've got the number three guy in Ukraine, no pressure. These are the supposed victims of this alleged crime. [6:31:27 PM] And yet here we are, supposedly having this compelling evidence and facts when the best witness they have, the very best witness they had, had to change his testimony twice. They mentioned him 611 times. And ultimately, ultimately, he said I presumed that that's what the President meant. You sew -- you know, I can tell you, there's not facts here to support it but what's more important than that, madam speaker is this. Because here we are today, we have bipartisan opposition to impeachment. Not bipartisan support. You know, my colleagues opposite want the American people to think that this is a sad and somber day. This is a sad day, it's a sad day for this institution because we lowered the bar to impeach a President that continues to give us an economy that not only is growing, but growing at levels at we have never seen in the history of our country. When we look at unemployment at [6:32:29 PM] a level that is truly remarkable, they want to impeach. But it's another sad day because now what they're doing is they're telling the American people that 233 Democrats deserve to decide who the President of the United States should be and disenfranchise 63 million voters. When all is said and done, when the history of this impeachment is written, it will be said that my Washington Democrat friends couldn't bring themselves to work with Donald Trump so they consoled themselves instead by silencing will of those who did, the American people. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF I'm proud to recognize the gentleman from California, Mr. Sherman, for one minute. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for one minute. BRAD SHERMAN Robert Mueller lays out facts from 2017 that constitute obstruction of justice but says the President cannot be indicted, only [6:33:31 PM] congress can apply the law to those facts. Many of us have been talking about impeachment since those facts emerged in 2017. Of course today, we focus on more recent crimes. So why did we talk of impeachment back when a republican-led congress would not act? Why do we impeach today when a republican-led senate is unlikely to act? First, because it is our constitutional duty. No matter what the political consequences. Second, because it is the most effective tool to chasten and restrain a President who does not naturally feel constrained by the rule of law. The President's attempt to extort Ukraine was secretive and furtive, far from his playsonned threats we saw in 2017. We can only imagine what high crimes and misdemeanors this President would have boldly committed had no one been talking about impeachment then. Had he felt immune from impeachment [6:34:33 PM] Today we'll demonstrate that the President is not above the law. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Would have been nice if they felt these crimes were bad enought to be put in the articles. They didn't. I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Ratcliffe. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for 3 minutes JOHN RATCLIFFE Do you know who doesn't think the Democrats have presented enough testimony or evidence to impeach the President today? It's the Democrats. Here in the house Democrats running this inquiry have declared they've done everything needed. They have all the testimony and evidence nose impeach right now. Right now, down the hall, Democrats in the senate are saying he opposite. They're complaining. They need more evidence and more testimony because senate Democrats know that house Democrats have built them a house of cards impeachment. An impeachment built by the same Democrats who told America, trust us. President Trump committed treason. He's a Russian agent. And we've got evidence. Which of course proved to be totally false and to quote the favorite catch phrase of one [6:35:33 PM] member of this house, they got caught. Along the way, those same Democrats said, trust us. The FISA law and court weren't abused by though Obama administration using democratic opposition research dossier against the Trump campaign and President Trump. Again, totally false and again, they got caught. When democrats started this latest impeachment inquiry they said trust us, we have not yet spoken to the whistleblower. Again totally false and they got caught. Sadly my democratic colleagues have placed their credibility in the hands of members of the body that have no credibility left, members nobody trusts because they keep getting caught betraying America. But unless a bolt of courage and integrity strikes that side of the room in the next hour, history will reflect that Donald Trump is the third President to be impeached. History may also shortly reflect that he'll be the first President to be re-elected after being wrongfully impeach. [6:36:34 PM] If that happens, Democrats won't be able to hide behind a pretend veneer of caring about the constitution. History will record the Democrats' legacy as a betrayal of the constitution. Because the founders meant for impeachment to be used for actions so extraordinary, so rare, it's happened three times in two and a half centuries. It wasn't meant for congratulatory phone calls where there's no crime alleged, there's in victim and the Democrats themselves couldn't even decide what to accuse the President of doing wrong. Before ending up with this embarrassment of a grab bag of abuse of power article. Obstruction of congress? To even allege it is an admission of constitutional illiteracy. The founders had a term for what the Democrats call obstruction of congress. The founders called it the separation of powers. Funny thing about obstruction. Every time the Democrats get caught trying to flame President for some crime he didn't commit they follow up by accusing him [6:37:34 PM] of obstructing their efforts trying to frame him for act he is didn't commit in the first place. The founders feared this power would be used by those with the most votes, Democrats are the founders' worst nightmares come true. Most Americans are probably thinking they wish they could impeach the Democrats and they can, next November. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. Mr. Schiff: I think when the history of this time is written it will record that when my colleagues found that they lacked the courage to stand up to this unethical President, they consoled themselves by attacking those who did. I now recognize the gentleman from California, Mr. Takano, for a unanimous consent request. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized. Mr. T unao: I ask unanimous consent to enter into the record my remarks supporting the impeachment of President Donald Trump. The speaker pro tempore: Without objection, so ordered. Mr. Schiff: I request unanimous consent for the gentlelady from New York, ms. Clarke, for her [6:38:36 PM] request. The speaker pro tempore: The gentlelady is recognized. Ms. Clarke: I ask unanimous consent to enter into the record my remarks supporting my vote for the impeachment of Donald J. Trump. The speaker pro tempore: Without objection. Mr. Schiff: I recognize the gentlelady from California, Mrs. Napolitano for unanimous consent the speaker pro tempore: The gentlelady is recognized. Mrs. Napolitano: I ask unanimous consent to enter into the record my remarks supporting the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump. The speaker pro tempore: Without objection, so ordered. Mr. Schiff: Gentlelady from Ohio, Mrs. Atty, for unanimous consent request the speaker pro tempore: The gentlelady is recognized. Mrs. Beatty: I ask unanimous consent to enter into the record my remarks supporting the impeachment of President Donald Trump. The speaker pro tempore: Without objection so ordered. Mr. Schiff: I recognize the gentlelady from Virginia, Ms. Wexton, for unanimous consent request the speaker pro tempore: The gentlelady is recognized. Ms. Wexton: I ask unanimous consent to enter into the record my remarks supporting the impeachment of President Donald Trump. [6:39:36 PM] The speaker pro tempore: Without objection so ordered. SCHIFF I'm proud to recognize the gentleman from new Jersey, Mr. Pascrell, for one minute. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for one minute. BILL PASCRELL Madam speaker, we're here today ofcause of the failure of so many to cast aside narrow ambition to confront the threat standing before us. All for the chance to investigate this government together, the President and his party stonewalled and obstructed. We're here today was they choose comfort over courage and avarice over the republic. This is the ongoing tragedy of our age and it is ongoing. The matter is now solely in our hands and belongs to us and us alone. The buck has stopped. Many have evoked a judgment of history. As an anti--- as an antidote to this threat. But the threat is here today not tomorrow. We need not, must not await the [6:40:36 PM] verdict of time for Donald Trump's abuse of power and obstruction. We can offer that verdict right now and we are. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman yields back. The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. I yield three minutes to the gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Jordan. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for three minutes. JIM JORDAN The Democrats fought two key things. Forgot about the facts and forgot about fairness. Four facts will never change. We have the call transcript no quid quo. We have the two guys on the call, excuse me who repeatedly said there was no pressure, there was no pushing, we have the fact Ukraine didn't know aid was held up at the time of the phone call and most importantly, Ukraine took no action, no announce. Of investigation to get the aid released but Democrats don't care. They don't care about the facts and they sure don't care about the process. No subpoena power for Republicans no Republican witnesses, during the depositions, Republicans were prevented from getting all their questions answered. Democrats got every one of their questions. Witns responded to every one of theirs but not Republicans. [6:41:37 PM] The chairman wouldn't let them. And of course thele whistleblower, the anonymous whistle blow we are no firsthand knowledge, biased against the President, who worked for Joe Biden, was never compelled to testify. The guy who started it all. This is really about the President been driving these guys crazy because he's getting things done, doing what he said he was going to do, he's having results, taxes have been cut, regulations reduced, unemployment at its lowest levels in years, out of the Iran deal, embassy in Jerusalem, hostages home from North Korea and a new nafta agreement coming tomorrow. But guess what, when you drain the swamp, the swamp fights back. They started attacking T President before the election even. July 31, 2016, they opened the Russia investigation. The F.B.I. spied on four American citizens associated with the Trump campaign the F.B.I. Took the dossier to the FISA court, the dossier they knew was false. They took it to the court, lied to the court 17 times. Guess what? Three days ago tthree days ago on [6:42:38 PM] national television, even Jim Comey had to admit the F.B.I. Was wrong. Yesterday, one day ago, the FISA court sends the F.B.I. A letter and says straighten up, get your act together when it comes to the F FISA application process. Think about. Think about this. The attack started then and continued right up until today. But I want you to think about something. The individual who said the FISA process was fine, the dossier was fine, the Russia investigation was fine. That same vage ran the impeachment process that same individual's staff met with the whistleblower. That same guy is the only guy in congress who knows who the whistle blower is for sure that same individual released phone records of the President's personal attorney, released the phone records of a member of the press, released the phone records of a Republican member of the United States congress. This process has beenair, unfair, it's been dangerous, and it has been harmful to our country. Democrats have never accepted the will of the American people. [6:43:39 PM] Nancy Pelosi made clear four weeks ago when she called the President of the united States an impostor. The will of we the people, the 63 million folks who voted for this guy, made him President in an electoral college landslide they never accepted that fact. We are less than 11 months away from the election. Let the American people decide who should be President. Let the American people decide. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from California. SCHIFF Madam speaker, I'm proud to recognize the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Schneider, for one minute. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for one minute BRAD SCHNEDIER Madam speaker, I rise to defend the constitution and support these articles of impeachment. The President abused the power of his office by corruptly putting his own political interest ahead of our nation's security. He blocked congressionally authorized military aid to coerce Ukraine to launch a phony investigation into his political rival. In the months since, he's waged a campaign of absolute obstruction against congress' constitutional authority, [6:44:40 PM] ordering all federal officials to defy subpoenas and refusing to produce even a single document. Madam speaker, I take no joy in today's impeachment vote or that the President's actions demand this response. This is a sad moment for our nation. Only twice before has the house voted to impeach a President. Never before on accusations of compromising our nation's security. I hope the senate -- I hope in the senate, prosecution and defense can call and cross examine witnesses and the senators will hear the evidence and make decisions without prejudice or prejudgment. This is a solemn moment but our system of checks and balances was designed for times like these and I have faith that our constitution will guide us on the path ahead. I yield back. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS I yield three minutes to the gentleman from California, Mr. Nunes. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized. [6:45:40 PM] DEVIN NUNES The Democrats attempt to remove the President began on inauguration day. When the Democrats' semiofficial mouthpiece, "The Washington post," declared the campaign to impeach President Trump has begun. For years the democrats tried to expel the President with the preposterous accusation that he a Russian agent. As detailed by I.G. Horowitz, dishonest intelligence officials used fake allegations, spread by the Democrats, to gain approval of a spying operation against the Trump campaign. As they falsely accused the Trump campaign of colluding with Russians, the Democrats themselves colluded with Russians. To manufacture these allegations in the infamous Steele dossier. They even tried to get nude pictures of President Trump from Russian pranksters. With the Russian collusion hoax, the Democrats had everything going for them. Federal investigations run by Trump haters and endless supply of media cheerleaders, and a galaxy of left-wing interest groups amplifying their ridiculous message. [6:46:40 PM] And yet even with all those weapons at their disposal, the Russia conspiracy theory collapsed. So they quickly concocted plan B. The Ukraine hoax was based on a supposed whistleblower who colluded beforehand with the Democrats. The Democrats then prevented congress from intervening -- interviewing the whistleblower while conducting bizarre, secret depositions and selectively leaking testimony to discredited media hacks. The Democrats showcased the most useful witnesses in public hearings, that somehow reduced support for impeachment. It not easy to make a coup attempt boring, but the Democrats found a way. As it turns out, the American people don't think a routine phone call with a foreign leader is a good basis for ousting a U.S. President. The Democrats also put forth ever-changing accusations against the President, including campaign finance violations, quid pro quos, election interference, bribery, extortion [6:47:42 PM] Eventually they ended up with the ridiculous charges we consider today. Abuse of power and, -- abuse of power, an utterly meaningless term, obstruction of congress. One Democrat said the President was guilty because he wouldn't cooperate with third plan to railroad him. The only thing President Clinton is guilty of is beat -- President Trump is guilty of is beating Hillary Clinton. The Democrats indicate they'll continue their impeachment efforts even after this one fails in the U.S. Senate. Madam speaker, after all their deceit, phony investigations, inned-up crises and -- ginned-up crises and manufactured outrage, they need a long period of rehabilitation them must learn how to do something productive for the -- rehabilitation. They must learn how to do something productive for the American people instead of ripping the country apart in their lust for power. With that, I yield back the balance of my time. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman yields back the balance of his time. The gentleman from California. SCHIFF Madam speaker, I [6:48:42 PM] thank the gentleman for his remarks and it's now my pleasure to recognize the gentleman from Massachusetts, chairman Neal, for three minutes. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for three minutes. RICHARD NEAL Thank you, madam speaker. It is deeply unfortunate that we to undertake this impeachment proceeding that unfolds this evening. But the part we play in this process is not optional. Among other things, as the intelligence and judiciary committees have painstakingly documented, the President has indeed abused his authority and he has indeed obstructed justice. He threatened to withhold congressionally appropriated U.S. Taxpayer dollars from an ally under attack from Russia unless they agreed to interfere in our election on his behalf. He's expressed no remorse and he continues to maintain that his behavior was, quote, perfect. While simultaneously obstructing legitimate congressional oversight and subpoenas and blocking members of his [6:49:43 PM] administration from providing truthful testimony to investigators. His actions are so far beyond the pale that they have left us with no remaining recourse except impeachment and so we shall impeach. Because as drastic and unwelcome as this step is, our country faces even greater long-term risks if we fail to respond. We cannot excuse a President who feels entitled to disregard or break the law with impunity. We are a nation built upon the rule of law, not the law of rulers. The framers gave us their best effort in 1787, and indeed it was an extraordinary one. The constitution they set down wasn't perfect, but it found a republic that has endured and thrived with exceptional stability. As the late senator Moynihan pointed out, only two countries in the world both existed in 1800 and have never had their governments changed by violence since then. The United States and Britain. Only eight governments have [6:50:43 PM] existed since 1914 and have not had their form of government changed by force since then. The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland. The innovative system of checks and balances that they constructed with the separation of Powers brought about and successfully negotiated a generation of challenges that we have sustained. In the very first week that the framers began crafting this blueprint for America's freedom and stability, and negotiations indeed immediately started on impeachment. No government in the world at that time exposed the head of government to impeachment, but America was to be different. In the view of the framers, impeachment is in no way a constitutional crisis, it is a process that the framers wisely judged that we would sometimes need. This evening is one of those rare moments. Madison worried that one day the country would elect a President who, quote, might pervert his administration to a scheme of pecklation or oppression. He might betray his trust to [6:51:44 PM] foreign powers, end of quote. George Mason asked the delegates, quote, shall we see any man to be above justice, and above all that will shall that man be above it, then who can commit the most extensive injustice? End of quote. Of course not, because having just thrown off one king, they would never consent to anoint another one. America firmly rejected the notion of divine right. Speaker Rayburn summed it up -- may I have 30 second extra seconds -- 30 extra seconds? SCHIFF Without objection. NEAL Article one of the constitution describes congress as the first branch of government. Just as importantly, let he had quote speaker Rayburn who was asked, how many Presidents did you serve under? And speaker Rayburn answered, none. I served with seven Presidents of the United States. Impeachment is reserved for moments of grave danger, when the constitutional order becomes dangerously out of balance. Moments like this one. [6:52:45 PM] And that's why I will vote to impeach. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman from Georgia. COLLINS Thank you, madam speaker. I yield a minute and 45 to the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Ferguson. The speaker pro tempore: The gentleman is recognized for one minute and 45 seconds. DREW FERGUSON Thank you, Madam Speaker, well here we are. On the verge of doing exactly what America doesn't want us to do and what they feared that you would do. In 2016 I, along with 63 million...
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JOSH EARNEST - STIX
THE REGULAR WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JOSH EARNEST. STIX White House Briefing with Josh Earnest DC Slug: 1245 WH BRIEF STIX RS37 77 AR: 16X9 NYRS: WASH-3 EARNEST: Good afternoon, everybody. I apologize for the late start to the briefing today. QUESTION: (Inaudible), in the spirit of the day. EARNEST: Well, thank you. (LAUGHTER) I'm humbled by that expression. QUESTION: I think you'll (inaudible). (LAUGHTER) EARNEST: Well done, well done. It was a -- it was a powerful morning on the south lawn of the White House, and I know many of you were hard at work covering it. EARNEST: But I hope that at least some of you were able to get outside and enjoy the beautiful day, but also to soak in the spirit that was on such nice display this afternoon -- or this morning. So -- But other than that, I don't have any opening comments, so we can go straight to your questions. Darlene, would you like to start? QUESTION: Yes. Thank you. What do you have for us on the president's meeting with the pope? How long the meeting lasted, what they talked about, was it just the two of them in the Oval Office (inaudible) -- QUESTION: And a transcript. (LAUGHTER) 13:33:30 EARNEST: Well unfortunately, Bill, I don't mean to disappoint you. There was no stenographer in the room while the president was there. It actually was a one-on-one meeting between the pope and the president, and that's obviously going to -- it's going to limit my ability to offer you a detailed readout, primarily because it was intended to be a private conversation. It did last about 40 minutes, and I think that all of you, or at least your representatives in the pool, did have an opportunity to observe at least the beginning of that discussion. You saw the two men walking through the colonnade of the -- of the White House, and the president stopped on a -- on a couple of occasions to describe the surroundings to the pope, who was visiting the White House for the first time. And I think it is -- the president certainly did enjoy the opportunity to play host today, and it was an opportunity for the president to show the pope around the White House, to introduce the pope to senior members of his staff. The Catholic members of his staff did have an opportunity to have a one-on-one interaction with the pope. So this was a visit that the president genuinely enjoyed, but I -- I'm unable to give you much detail about their private discussions. QUESTION: How pleased would you say the president was, or how pleased was the White House that the pope went directly to climate change, the issue of climate change in his remarks here, on his first visit to the U.S. and to the White House? EARNEST: Well, the pope did have some kind words for the president's work on this issue, and the president certainly welcomed that expression from the pope. You know, I think, in general, this is something that we said in the lead-up to the pope's visit -- and I think it continues to be true today -- that the goal of the pope's visit, and certainly the goal of the meeting was not to advance anyone's political agenda. And I think that listening to the pope's comments, it was clear that he was speaking with a passion and a conviction about the need to act on climate issues that was deeply rooted in his faith. So he wasn't seeking to deliver a political message, he was speaking from the heart and with a moral conviction that I think will resonate with people all around the world. QUESTION: Having him talk about climate change, how do you see what he said here today? Do you see that in any way influencing the debate going forward, or even next steps from the White House on this issue? 13:34:39 EARNEST: Well, I think time will tell, and I think the pope himself acknowledged that, acknowledged the opportunity that people around the world have to seize this opportunity. And, I mean, I -- the pope did make a conscious decision to capitalize on this high profile moment and deliver this message. 13:35:17 These were obviously the first public statements that he offered on American soil. It wasn't as if he thought that no one would be listening. So he'll have, you know, additional opportunities over the next five days of his visit to deliver additional messages that he seeks to prioritize, and I think the next big one that's coming up will be the speech that he'll deliver before Congress tomorrow. And he made a -- you know, a brief allusion to his desire to offer some encouragement to the member of that body as they try to advance the very important work that they have before them as well. I think that it's clear that even when, you know, talking about an issue like climate change, that everybody acknowledges that Congress has a role in that as well. QUESTION: Finally, since we're talking about climate change, is there any comment or reaction to Hillary Clinton's decision yesterday to break her silence and say that she is opposed to the keystone pipeline? 13:36:08 EARNEST: Well, I don't -- I'm not sure that there were many people, at least in this room, either any of you or any of us, who was particularly surprised by her comments or his position. What we have said for some time is essentially that Secretary Clinton and others who decide to run for president will have an opportunity talk about their values and their priorities and their positions on a range of issues, but the responsibility of those who are in government is different, and in this case, the State Department continues to consider this specific policy. This is consistent with the way that other infrastructures projects like this are considered. 13:37:08 The -- the consideration of this particular project has obviously last longer than the typical review that's conducted, but there are a variety of actors that are influencing the length of that review, including the fact that there are a number of legal proceedings that have extended the consideration of that project. But for our timeframe, in terms of when we would expect that review to be completed, I'd refer you to the State Department. OK. Jeff? QUESTION: Josh, did -- are you able to give any details about their conversations? Specifically, can you say whether or not some of them hot button social issues that we know they disagree on, like abortion and gay marriage came up? 13:37:28 EARNEST: Well, I'm not able to give additional details, Jeff. The -- the reason that the two men wanted to meet just the two of them in the Oval Office was it was an opportunity for them to have a private discussion. QUESTION: Was the interpreter there? 13:37:40 EARNEST: My understanding is that the interpreter was not -- there was an interpreter there? OK. So there was an interpreter there, but it was only the two of them talking. QUESTION: So no -- no suggestion on whether some of the less agreeable topics, beyond climate change, were part of their discussion? 13:37:56 EARNEST: No, even -- even though an interpreter was present, the intention is for that conversation to remain private. QUESTION: It seemed like they took a little longer to come down to the (inaudible) in the Oval Office than at least on the time schedule. Does that -- did they linger upstairs? Did they hang out with the family a little bit? Can you tell us a little bit about what happened? 13:38:16 EARNEST: My understanding is that's the time during which some Catholic members of the president's senior staff did have an opportunity to meet the Pope. It also was an opportunity for the president to meet the visiting delegation from the Vatican as well. This is typical of -- of these kinds of formal visits. QUESTION: Moving on to a different topic then, OPM released some additional information today about that breach. You -- the White House has still not identified China as the official state sponsor of that. Will that happen before the visit and can you give us some details on why that was released in the middle of the Pope's visit while the president was outside speaking today? 13:39:01 EARNEST: Yeah, that's a good question. The -- let me say a couple of things about this. I -- I don't have additional details about -- about who or what entity may have been responsible for this particular cyber breach. This is something that continues to be under investigation by authorities. There are some reports about what those authorities have learned as they've been conducting this investigation over the last several months, but I don't have any conclusions to share publicly about who may or may not have been responsible. The timeframe for this announcement is that there was a previously scheduled meeting between senior leaders at OPM and relevant members of Congress with whom OPM has been working throughout this incident. And this additional information about the scope of the intrusion and the amount of material that was affected by the intrusion was only recently determined. And so, this new information was communicated to relevant members of Congress just days after it was learned and once that information was communicated to Congress, it was also communicated to the public. And there is an effort that is being made by the administration and certainly by the leadership at OPM to communicate as promptly and as effectively as possible, certainly with members of Congress that have an oversight responsibility, but also with those individuals who may have been affected by the -- by the breach. And because of the numbers that we're talking about here, often that information that is communicated is something that we can probably best do publicly. And so that would explain today's timing. QUESTION: So you felt like it was (inaudible) time to release it? 13:40:58 EARNEST: Well, I think it was the time that was sort of dictated by the kinds of priorities that we have laid out for communicating with Congress, communicating with those who potentially may have been affected, and communicating with the public. OK? QUESTION: Did the White House have any idea whatsoever of what the pope was going to say out on the south lawn? 13:41:16 EARNEST: There obviously were a significant number of staff- level conversations to plan for the pope's visit. I can't account for all of those conversations, so I don't know how much of a preview of the pope's remarks was offered to White House officials. Some of your colleagues in the news media did inform me that the pope's remarks were released early on an embargoed basis, so to the extent that you guys may have had a heads up on what the pope was planning to say, it sounds like you got that. But as far as... QUESTION: You got a heads up, too, at least... EARNEST: Well... QUESTION: ... at least when we did, actually. 13:41:51 EARNEST: ... well, I think it's fair to say that you got a more detailed one than anybody here. QUESTION: And what do you make of the fact -- I mean, it was almost as if this was a campaign event and two running mates with very similar speeches that were given. And I suppose you might say that that's a little over the top, but their messages were awfully similar. What did you make of that? 13:42:22 EARNEST: Well, I -- that's an interesting perspective. I hadn't quite thought about it that way. I -- I think what I made of the reception -- I guess I think the one thing, Jim, that might detract from your analogy is I do think that there was a genuine spirit of inclusiveness and bipartisanship on display on the south lawn today. I happened to be seated in the section where many members of Congress sat for the event. And know one would accuse -- accuse me of being an expert with the congressional facebook, but I certainly did recognize both Democrats and Republicans sitting on the south lawn and offering a warm welcome to the president and first lady when they arrived on the south lawn, but also offering an enthusiastic welcome when Pope Francis arrived as well. EARNEST: And that spirit of inclusion and bipartisanship is certainly I think something that the president appreciated. I don't speak for the pope. I suspect that he was pleased by that kind of spirit as well. And the reason that I raise it is I think that, you know, sometimes the -- the connotation of a political event is that it might be a little polorazing or partisan. But I don't think that at all was the spirit that was on display in the South lawn, either by the thousands who were in the audience or by the -- by the two men who spoke. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) that the president and the Pope delivered very similar messages on immigration; that the Pope would come out and say that he's the son of an immigrant family, to refer to the planet as our world, our common home, and his remarks on climate change. It's just about everything you could hope for I would think. EARNEST: Well, again... (CROSSTALK) 13:44:11 EARNEST: Again, I think the credit for that goes to the Pope though, right? That this is -- that the Pope made, I think, a concerted effort to speak inclusively, and I think that style of communication and that perspective on the world, of appealing to the common interests and common values of both Catholics and non-Catholics alike is one of the reasons that the President -- the Pope's message has resignated so deeply with people, not just across this country but around the world. And I guess that would be one element of the Pope's message that was not surprising to those who've listened him speak over the last year and a half or so. QUESTION: And I'm trying to break quickly. The President has not sited China as being responsible for the OPM hack in the same that you went after North Korea on the Sony hack. And Ben Rhodes on the conference call yesterday evening said that there would not be sanctions issued on any entities prior to President Xi's visit. What do you -- what do you say to Americans who wonder that is enough in terms of assigning culpability for what happened OPM, which put millions of Americans personal data at risk? 13:45:26 EARNEST: Well I -- I think what I would say is that the administration, and certainly our law enforcement officials, take very seriously the responsibility that they have to thoroughly investigate exactly what's happened. And to use that investigation to determine the precise scope of what information has been taken, to learn exactly how that breach was conducted so that we can better strengthen out cyber defense and, frankly, learn from any mistakes that may have exacerbate that -- the consequences of the breach. 13:46:06 But it does sort of raise questions about our broader concerns about malicious actions in cyber-space, regardless of where they originate. And this is a significant challenge that the private sector has had to confront, but there have been a number of incidents that state and federal government computer networks have had to deal with as well. And those longer-term considerations are the ones that drive decisions on things like when and how to assign public blame. 13:46:49 EARNEST: There is, I think, an understandable human tendency to offer a, you know, a quick and powerful response. But we're focused on our preserving the long- term interest of the country. You know, one thing that I can say is that, you know, there are a variety tools at the President's disposal for responding to incidents like this; one of them is a relatively new one, this is the executive order that the President signed about six months ago delegating authority to the secretary of treasury to allow him to impose financial sanctions against bad actors in cyber-space or those who benefit from that malicious activity. And I -- you know, one of the reasons that that tool is powerful, is that merely putting it on the table can serve as a deterrent, and can serve to advance the interest of the United States, even if it's not specifically invoked. So, there is a -- I guess what you might call a longer term strategy approach to confronting these issues, and both trying to protect our interests. But also, where appropriate, seeking to advance them. OK? Christian (ph). QUESTION: Thanks, Josh. The Clinton campaign says they briefed the White House before Secretary Clinton came and opposed Keystone yesterday. Can you characterize those briefings? Who was briefed, how high up did those briefings go? How was the president informed? 13:48:27 EARNEST: I don't think I would characterize them as a briefing. You know, as I think you would expect, you know, it's not uncommon for there to be some informal conversations. Again, I don't know how detailed those conversations were. But even if there were no conversations that had occurred, I don't think there was any expectations that there was -- that it was incumbent upon the Clinton campaign to give us a heads up about this or any other announcement that they're making. And again, even if no conversations had occurred, I don't think anybody would have been particularly surprised at the position that Secretary Clinton announced yesterday. QUESTION: I know there's an ongoing State Department review. Do you have a sense of when there might be a final determination? You have all of these presidential candidates who, obviously, are going to be taking over the reins; at some point, coming out and weighing in on this. Do you have a timeline, a deadline? 13:49:23 EARNEST: I don't anticipate that any of those comments will have an impact the final decision. And I don't have an update on the timeframe. The State Department may have one. QUESTION: OK. Let me ask you about the government shutdown. A group of 11 House Republican freshmen sent a letter to some of their colleagues urging them to avert the shutdown. At this point... EARNEST: Sounds like good news. QUESTION: I thought you'd say that. (LAUGHTER) But at this point, what is your level of optimism, realistically speaking, because the situation still seems to be somewhat deadlocked, that a shutdown will be averted? 13:49:53 EARNEST: Well, I guess I'm a little more optimistic now than when you started your question, because I hadn't heard of the letter. I've -- the reason that I think that is good news, is that there should be bipartisan acknowledgement that a government shutdown is not in the best interest of the country. It certainly is not in the best interest of our economy. And while these issues are difficult, it is the fundamental responsibility of the United States Congress to pass a budget every year for the federal government, and ensure that the government doesn't shut down. What is important, however, beyond just keeping the government open, is also making sure that that budge accurately reflects the national security and economic priorities of the country. So, that will also be an important responsibility of the Congress. And I don't know if that was mentioned in their letter, as well. But ultimately, we do know how this -- how this can get resolved. And that's with Republicans in Congress accepting the invitation that they have received from Democrats in Congress to sit down at the negotiating table and work this out. QUESTION: And I know you're putting this on Congress, but how does the president see his role? He obviously has a very busy week, and then he goes to UNGA. And I know you got a (inaudible) question yesterday, but I guess I want to follow up on that. What, specifically, can we expect to see from him in the coming days in terms of engagement on this issue in trying to make sure there is no shutdown? 13:51:12 EARNEST: Well, at this point, I don't have any specific conversations to tell you about on the presidential level. Certainly, senior members of the president's team, including the leadership of the Office of Management and Budget, will not be leaving town. They will be in town and available if Congressional negotiators need to draw upon their expertise in order to reach an agreement and prevent a government shutdown. All of the support that needs to be provided by the administration will be in place, but ultimately, the final decisions rests with Democrats and Republicans in Congress. QUESTION: And have there been any meetings about what happens if it does shut down? Any contingency plans? I understand there may have been some discussions about potential furloughs (inaudible) 13:51:56 EARNEST: Well, there is a process that we unfortunately are becoming all too familiar with by which the government prepares for the possibility of a government shutdown, And, you know, we're in the range of, you know, seven or eight days now before the deadline. And it is only prudent for the federal government to begin planning for the possibility that the government could shut down. And so at this point, they're only in the planning stage, and it means, you know, making sure that agencies are aware of their responsibilities in the event of a government shutdown. And there have been some communications from the Office of Management and Budget to federal agencies about this. But again, these kinds of notifications, unfortunately, are becoming routine, so it shouldn't have any immediate or short-term impact on the functioning of the federal government or on the day-to- day responsibilities of the vast majority of the federal workforce. But there are some members of the administration, including those who serve in senior positions, who, for example, have to take time out of their day to -- you know, away from, you know, the many tasks that they have before them to get on a conference call with the -- with the Office of Management and Budget to start talking about a government shutdown. So I think that is an indication of at least one price that is paid by budgetary brinksmanship on Capitol Hill, and that's why the sooner that Republicans will sit down with Democrats to work out a solution, the better. QUESTION: And then final one on the pope's comments about climate change. Does the president think that his comments today could help shape the conversations in Paris during that climate summit? And does he hope that they might? 13:53:53 EARNEST: Well, I think as I mentioned earlier, I think the pope was keenly aware that the comments that he would deliver today would be closely watched, not just by those of us on the South Lawn, but by people around the world. And he is a man of extraordinary influence, and, you know, I would expect that his call to action would be heard around the world. What eventual that has at the negotiating table or in the minds of policymakers remains to be seen. But certainly, it was a powerful statement and one that I think the people around the world will take seriously. QUESTION: Thanks. EARNEST: OK, Carol? QUESTION: Just a little bit more on -- I know you won't talk about the content of their meeting, but what are the president's observation of the -- observations of the pope's visit? You know, was he surprised by anything that the pope said in his speech? Was he perhaps inspired by the pope's trip to Cuba to make his own trip to Cuba? Did he first learn about what the pope was going to say in real-time, or had he -- had he specifically been given a heads-up about what was in the speech? 13:55:05 EARNEST: Well, the president was listening intently to the pope's words, and that's because he wanted to hear first-hand what the -- what the pope had on his heart this morning. QUESTION: That was the first time he had -- 13:55:15 EARNEST: Yeah, that was the first time that -- he had not -- again, unlike many of you, the president hadn't had the opportunity to read the pope's prepared remarks, and so it was the first chance that the president had to hear from the pope. 13:55:32 EARNEST: And, you know, I -- you know, we've been saying for some time now that the people at the White House and people all across the city have been excited about and eagerly anticipating the visit of Pope Francis. And the president and the first family shared in that excitement. And I think that was evident when the president and his family met the pope at the stairs of his aircraft at Joint Base Andrews yesterday. You may have seen the White House video that we put out this morning that showed the president's enthusiastic welcome of the pope when he reached the bottom of the stairs. And the president has a deep admiration for the pope. They had an opportunity to visit when the president visited the Vatican last year and it was a memorable meeting. And the president came away quite impressed. And the president really enjoyed the opportunity to visit with him again today. QUESTION: Was there anything particular in the speech that he surprised you or that he was reflective on to you or to other members of the staff? I think you guys (inaudible). 13:56:38 EARNEST: I didn't hear him characterize anything as surprising. But I think the president, like many of us, know the conviction with which the president -- with which the pope spoke. You know, the president -- the pope was focused I think on his own deep moral conviction about a range of issues. And he spoke freely and from the heart, and impressively, not in his first language. You know, I -- one of the things that I think that struck a chord is his focus on the least of these who are most immediately and directly impacted by climate change. And for all of the reasons that we talk about in here about why the president has made this a priority, both through the moral responsibility we have to future generations and the potential economic opportunity that exists in this country for investments in things like renewable energy. You know, one thing I think that does get overlooked is the fact that it is poor communities around the world that are most likely to be directly affected by the impacts of climate change. The president had the opportunity to observe this when he traveled to Alaska a few weeks ago. On the way to the Arctic Circle, you know, Air Force One flew over this village, Kivalina. It's on a barrier island in Alaska, whose land is slowly but surely receding into the sea. This is a community without a lot of economic resources and is fairly isolated. And is literally at risk because of rising sea levels. 13:58:30 EARNEST: So, you know, hearing the president speak -- or hearing the pope speak with conviction about action on climate change because of the impact it would have on those who face the biggest economic disadvantage I think is just another reason to be -- to heed the pope's call to actions. QUESTION: (inaudible) 13:58:55 EARNEST: On Cuba, you know, the president obviously had his own kind words for the pope and the role that he played in helping to facilitate the agreement to normalize relations between our two countries. You know, obviously, that, you know, the pope himself sort of talked about the importance of reconciliation. But I think the president -- well, I know the president has had a desire to travel to Cuba even before Pope Francis made the decision to travel to the island. And there's nothing that we saw about the pope's visit that in any way diminishes the president's enthusiasm for that -- for that possibility. QUESTION: Just one other thing. EARNEST: Sure. QUESTION: Did you guys interpret what the Pope said about the diplomacy as an endorsement of the president's outreach to Iran and the nuclear deal? 13:59:48 EARNEST: Well, I do believe that the Vatican has spoken positively about the international agreement with Iran in the past, but I don't frankly know whether or not that passage in the Pope's remarks was intended to allude to that or not. OK. Justin? QUESTION: First I wanted to ask about Russia. Their state media is reporting that there is a meeting set for next week between President Obama and President Putin (inaudible), this indicating that something's going on but that it hasn't been finally confirmed. So I'm just wondering if you could shed any light on what's going on there? 14:00:25 EARNEST: I don't have any locked down details about the president's schedule in New York to share today, but I would anticipate that tomorrow, we'll have more details on the president's trip. So -- so I'll have -- I'll have an update for you then. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) having discussions with the Russians about the possibility of (inaudible)? 14:00:45 EARNEST: Well, I don't have much to say about the -- any possible discussions with the -- with the Russians on -- on this particular topic. You know, we've -- obviously, President Putin is planning to travel to New York and for part of the time that he's in New York, President Obama will also be there too. So -- but at this point, you know, we'll have to wait until tomorrow to -- to see exactly what the final schedule is going to look like. QUESTION: There was also some reporting that the Pope planned to raise Puerto Rico's debt situation with the president while he's here. That could've happened either at the leader-to-leader level or through staff. I know you can't read out the meeting that they were in privately, but I'm wondering if that's something that any of the Pope staff raised (OFF-MIKE)? 14:01:36 EARNEST: Not that I'm aware of. I have not gotten a detailed read out of the -- of the other meetings that occurred here at the White House, so we may have to follow up with you it. If we can get you some more information, we'll follow up. QUESTION: And then, the U.K.'s Chancellor Osborne has spent the last five days trying to -- really been a fuse (ph) for the praise for the Chinese and also talking about their economies more closely together. It's an interesting trip, kind of against the back drop of obviously the Chinese president's visit here and some of the things that you've been pressuring him on (ph), whether it's cyber security or the South China Sea, or the American businesswoman who's detained. And so I'm wondering if you could talk at all about if you see the -- the rhetoric (ph) coming from the U.K., which has said they want to be China's strongest partner in the West at all detrimental to some of the issue that you're trying to pressure China on? 14:02:32 EARNEST: Well, Justin, I did spend a decent amount of time preparing for the briefing today on a range of priorities, but this particular issue didn't come up in any detail. So I'm not aware precisely of what -- of what the individual that you referred to may have said, so that may give you an indication of how concerned we are about any of the positions that he may have taken over the course of his trip. OK. April? QUESTION: Josh, I want to ask you a couple of questions about the Pope (ph). Since the president like to take world leaders to the King Memorial and the Pope did quote Dr. King in his speech, did the president at all talk about Dr. King or at least show him the statue that's in the Oval Office that he sat right in front of? 14:03:17 EARNEST: Well, as you point out, it's hard to miss, but I'm not aware of whether or not they had a discussion of Dr. King in their meeting. QUESTION: Now on that -- on that statement, that was a drop the mic (ph) moment for the Pope -- isn't -- it was. Very strong statement. Normally, we hear many of the -- the quotes from the Reverend (ph) Dr. King that are used over and over again, but to hear the pope say that we defaulted on the promissory note, that's very strong, and -- including (ph) president's spiritual adviser said how strong that was. Now, with that, that means that -- you know, there needs to be some kind of paycheck that's -- that's dealt with, that -- that's compensated for, when it comes to immigration and climate change. Do you think that this president can use the -- the pope's statements out there about the promissory note -- the default on the promissory note -- when it comes to issues of immigration, specifically when you said you didn't think we had the right momentum last week to push immigration through? 14:04:20 EARNEST: Well, April (ph), I -- I saw the context of Dr. King's quote that was recited by the pope in the context of climate change. It may be that the pope intended that to apply to other areas as well -- certainly it could. But I think time will tell what sort of impact the pope's advocacy on these issues will have, both in the United States and around the world. I wouldn't predict at this point exactly what impact it will have in the policy-making process. QUESTION: Do you -- well, let's say, then, (inaudible) according to other people -- you know, because we heard the audible gasps when he made the statement, the "defaulting on the promissory note", and with that -- you know, people were -- he brought their attention to the issue. But even with that on issues (ph), say, climate change, do you think that you can kind of rally some of the Republican party on this issue? EARNEST: Well, we have made clear that we would welcome the support of Republicans for the effort to cut carbon pollution and fight the other causes of climate change. We know that taking those kinds of steps are clearly in the best interests of our planet. They're in the best interests of the next generation of Americans. But they're also in the -- in the clear interests of this generation of Americans, when it comes to a range of public health issues. So -- you know, we certainly are hopeful that Republicans will work constructively with Democrats on some of these issues. But that remains to be seen. QUESTION: And going back to the speech. Did you know that he was gonna use that quote specifically? EARNEST: I did not. OK? Peter (ph). QUESTION: (inaudible) one small thing on the ceremony. EARNEST: OK. QUESTION: (inaudible) the state ceremonies have a 21-gun salute. In fact, there was one for Benedict when he came in 2008. (inaudible) who opted not to (inaudible) why? 14:06:19 EARNEST: Well, I think this -- you know, obviously, we had a -- a discussion that was closely coordinated with the Pentagon -- with the Vatican. (LAUGHTER) I suppose, as it comes to this particular question, the Pentagon may have been involved too. But when planning events like this, the White House closely coordinates the -- the activities with -- with the -- with, in this case, the Vatican, and -- you know, obviously, this pope has a reputation of somebody who doesn't revel in pomp and circumstance as -- as much as -- you know, as some other world leaders do. And so it was in deference to his humility that -- that the 21- gun salute was not included in the formal arrival ceremony today. QUESTION: (inaudible) was it about his humility, or about the idea of militaristic display? I mean, there were still military -- obviously, color guards, and (inaudible). 14:07:19 EARNEST: Well, I -- certainly, his humility factored into that decision. But, yes, it also -- I think some might also recognize the dissonance in welcoming a professed man of peace to the White House by, you know, by the repeated firing of weapons. I -- I think that we felt like the -- what could be described as a slightly more subdued welcome ceremony was the most appropriate way to welcome Pope Francis to the White House, and based solely on his public reaction to the festivities it appears that Pope Francis agreed with that as well. JC. QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) will there be a 21 gun-solute on Friday? (OFF-MIKE) 14:08:12 EARNEST: I assume so, there typically is, but we'll have to check on that and let you know. (OFF-MIKE) EARNEST: OK, Jim. 14:08:32 JIM AVILA QUESTION: The President sort of made clear that he was not content with the situation in Iran with the hostages remaining there, and because of the Pope's success in bringing together Cuba and the United States, is the United States asking the Pope in any way that we're being (ph), in this case, teh hostages in Iran? 14:09:01 EARNEST: Well, let me start with an observation, which is that they -- the island nation of Cuba has a large number of Catholics; there are obviously many fewer Catholics in Iran. The -- that said, the Pope is clearly somebody with significant moral influence even among those who are not Catholic. What I will say is simply that the President has made clear that our efforts to try to secure the safe return of those Americans that are unjustly held inside of Iran, those efforts continue. And they continue to be a priority of this administration and of the President personally. And we have persuade a variety of avenues for trying to secure the release of those individuals, but we found that it is -- that our efforts are more effective when we don't talk about them publicly. 14:09:48 JIM AVILA QUESTION: So you're not willing to get out, this is something you want to do on a speed vote (ph)... 14:09:54 Earnest: I -- I, yes, I just don't have an update at this point on our ongoing efforts to secure the release of those Americans that are being unjustly held inside of Iran, other than to confirm for you that those efforts are ongoing and continue to be a priority. 14:10:05 JIM AVILA QUESTION: On the Keystone pipeline, understanding your statements in the past, not going to say what is going to happen (ph), and this safe whereabouts maybe. But on the statement by Hillary Clinton. Was there anything that the White House disagrees with when she says that approving the Keystone pipeline would, in fact, set us in the wrong direction as far as energy independence, and that it's not going to provide a lot of jobs? Does the White House disagree with that? 14:10:33 EARNEST: Well the President has spoken on this issue a couple of times where he has indicated his skepticism about some of the claims made by the ardent supporters of the Keystone pipeline. You know, we have seem some rather dubious claims about the number of jobs that would be created through the construction of the pipeline, and of the long-term of the economic impact of the project or those jobs that are created. The President said that himself, so I - I've not looked carefully, I understand that Secretary Clinton did write an oped (ph) for medium today. I did not have an opportunity to take a close look at that before I walked out here, so I don't know that I can say we agree necessarily with everything that she included in her statement. But there's nothing that has been widely reported that -- that I would strenuously disagree with. 14:11:33 JIM AVILA QUESTION: And then finally, on this issue of drug prices. Does the White House and this president regret that part of its actions to approve Obamacare led to a situation with -- that prohibits Medicare from negotiating lower prices with drug companies, which in fact, would save billions of dollars? And according to private insurance companies, would help them use the weight of Medicare to bring down drug prices today? Does the president regret his agreement to prohibit drug companies -- Medicare from negotiating the drug companies? 14:12:17 EARNEST: Well, Jim, what we -- what the administration's goal was, when it came to trying to pass the Affordable Care Act -- well, there were -- there were several goals, actually. The first was trying to expand quality, affordable health care to every American, to ensure that access to quality health care is no longer a privilege, but is actually a basic right. One of the things that would be part of accomplishing that goal, is trying to slow what had previously been the almost unrestrained growth in health care costs in this country. That was having a negative impact on our economy, it certainly was having a negative impact on some businesses that wasn't able to afford quality health insurance for their employees. And it surely was having a negative impact on middle class families across the country, who were straining under the weight of those skyrocketing health care costs. And since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, we've actually seen the slowest growth in health care costs in recorded history. And as least part of that is attributable to the policies that were put in place through the Affordable Care Act. 14:13:34 The president -- so, this goal of trying to contain costs for businesses and middle class families, is one that -- has been one part of the important benefits that were included in the Affordable Care Act. We've also made clear that there are likely opportunities to further strengthen the Affordable Care Act in ways that would expand access even further; and could, even further, restrain growth in health care costs. And the president has indicated a willingness to work with Democrats and Republicans to try to strengthen the Affordable Care Act in pursuit of those goals. Unfortunately, we've seen Republicans in Congress be so focused on trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and undermine this important law, that we haven't been able to make much progress in that regard. But we continue to be open to it today. 14:14:28 JIM AVILA QUESTION: But -- you still didn't give me the answer to that particular question, is, does the -- I understand why it got there, and why you've agreed to do it. But now the drug prices are out of control, many people would say. Especially in some very critical drugs. Is the president bothered by the fact that he allowed Medicare Part B, which prohibits Medicare from negotiating down these prices? EARNEST: Well, I think, Jim, what is clear, is that there were concerns about the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs prior to the Affordable Care Act. And it is true that many of those challenges for our health care system have not been addressed. But some of the other areas, where the growth in costs was particularly significant, were addressed by the Affordable Care Act. So, I think that's evidence that we have made important progress in some areas that have significantly expanded access to health care for -- there are now 17 million more Americans that have health care today, than before the Affordable Care Act went into effect. And, you know, we know that according to this complicated economic measurement, that actually the growth in health care costs is as slow as it's ever been. And that's true since the Affordable Care Act went into effect. So it's clear that we've made a lot of important progress in accomplishing our goals through the Affordable Care Act, and I think the president will be the first to admit that if there are opportunities for us to make additional progress, he'd willing to work in a bipartisan fashion to get it done. OK, Bill? QUESTION: Was there any mutual discussion of the speeches that each -- that the principals would give today? Did they discuss beforehand what the pope would say here and the president would say? 14:16:17 EARNEST: Other than sort of logistical questions about the length and the language in which the speech would be delivered, I'm not aware of any intensive coordination when it came to the content of the leaders' remarks. QUESTION: So for example, the White House wasn't encouraging the pope to lead with immigration, as it were. 14:16:33 EARNEST: No. Surely, the pope would certainly decide for himself how he would begin and end his speech. QUESTION: And the talk about abortion and religious freedom in his speech to the bishops -- 14:16:45 EARNEST: Again, these are decisions made entirely by the pope and his team. OK, Kevin? QUESTION: Josh, thanks. I want to follow up on Jim's question about -- there's been so much talk lately about prescription drugs. Daraprim has been in the news lately. I'm wondering if the president has heard about the skyrocketing costs, going from $13 to $750 for a pill for that particular drug, and if he feels like this is just smart business or if it's unabashed avarice. 14:17:19 EARNEST: Well considering that the company themselves have quickly made the decision to roll back that cost, it's apparent that the company concluded it wasn't a good business decision. And, you know, obviously, when you're talking about an individual company's decision, it's something that's hard for me to comment on from here. But obviously, if we're talking about expanding access to health care for more people and lowering health care costs for businesses and middle class families, you know, the enormous price increase of a particular and important is inconsistent with those goals. QUESTION: A couple of follows also. When I asked you about the Keystone Pipeline, you -- you've often punted over to State. Does the president care if it is wrapped up before he leaves office? It just seems like this kind of a shrug of the shoulder -- hey, if they get to it, they get to it. If not, eh, it's their baby. Is that a misread of his position on this? 14:18:25 EARNEST: Well, I think the president has previously stated that he would expect that this policy decision would be made and implemented before the end of his presidency, either way. So there is an expectation that this -- that this work will be done and this review will be completed. But I don't know exactly when between now and January of 2017 when that will occur. QUESTION: Will you prefer if the -- January, say, 17th or 18th of 2017? It just seems like there's no urgency here. 14:18:57 EARNEST: Well, I don't think that's entirely accurate. Obviously, there has been a lot of important work that's gone into reviewing this particular project, you know. And I think the president would be prepared to make a decision just as soon as a recommendation is ready to be acted upon. QUESTION: OK. A couple more. VW's leader steps down. What's the White House reaction to that decision? 14:19:28 EARNEST: I don't have any specific reaction to the decision of that company's leader to step down. The -- you know, the fact is this administration, particularly the EPA, takes very seriously the responsibility that they have to regulate these companies. And there's an expectation that when those companies are communicating with regulators, but more importantly, communicating with their customers, that they're going to be honest about it. And, you know, obviously, this particular company has acknowledged that they weren't. And, you know, but for how accountability is brought with respect to that admission, that's obviously a decision for that company to make. QUESTION: (inaudible) on Ex-Im at all -- the Ex-Im Bank? EARNEST: I don't have an update on that. I know that that's something that the administration continues to support and there is bipartisan support for it on the Hill. We just need to get -- we need to get Congress to act on it. QUESTION: And Yogi Berra passes away -- a real great. Your thoughts on the passing of a baseball (inaudible)? EARNEST: Well, there's -- we put out a statement from the president a little earlier today on this. And, you know, Yogi Berra was obviously a cultural icon, both for his athletic prowess, but also because I think a lot of people all across the country felt like they could relate to him. And I think, you know, that kind of humility embodied in somebody with such great athletic skills made him a notable character. He obviously was pretty colorful as well and, you know, obviously, he's a, you know, as I mentioned, he's an American icon and we certainly are saddened to learn of his passing today. OK? QUESTION: I'm curious about the comment that's been made about religious liberty, religious freedom in response to (inaudible). It wasn't committed (inaudible) religious liberty, religious freedom in America, citing (inaudible) the federal lawsuit against Little Sisters of the Poor, other incidences in America, the government persecuting Christians for their beliefs on same-sex marriage. I wondered if you had a response to that. EARNEST: Well, I think for responses, I would encourage you to take the president at his word. He spoke powerfully and with conviction about his commitment to religious liberty. As somebody who is both a Christian and someone who has ordered the United States military to take aggressive action to protect the safety and well being of religious minorities, including Christians, around the globe, I think it's pretty clear from his actions and his words that this is a value that he holds quite dear. It certainly is a value that is central to the founding of this country and that as the president of the United States and as somebody who feels strongly about the values of this country, he works hard every day to uphold them. QUESTION: As far as domestic issues, (inaudible) sort of modern American (inaudible)? 14:22:40 EARNEST: Well, again, you cited one specific court case. And most of the federal judges who've taken a look at that case have actually found that the efforts of the administration to protect the religious liberty of that particular organization were successful. And again, I think that's actually a good example of this administration working closely with religious leaders and those with a variety of religious views, to ensure that we are implementing policies that benefit the American people and maximize the benefit to the American people, while protecting the religious liberties of our citizens. OK? All right? QUESTION: Josh, a couple of clarifications on the (inaudible). The time that you gave us in the Oval Office, (inaudible) are you counting the colonnade and (inaudible)? EARNEST: That 40 minutes or so is the time that they spent together in the Oval Office. QUESTION: Did you speak to the president after the Oval Office meeting? Did he say to you, "Josh, we're just gonna keep this between the two of us?" EARNEST: I did not speak to him directly after the meeting, but... QUESTION: Then how do you know that -- that he wants it quiet (ph)? Have you been (ph)... EARNEST: That was the -- that was the plan going into the meeting. QUESTION: OK. So that sounds (ph) like mutual agreement between the White House and the Vatican that (inaudible) was do a readout? EARNEST: Yes. QUESTION: Do it -- what happened when we got a readout the last time around, where it was substantially different? 14:24:03 EARNEST: Not that I'm aware of. I think it was rooted in the desire of both men to have a private conversation. OK? Mike (ph). QUESTION: Just a couple questions on the pope. The fact sheet that the White House sent out afterward listed a number of initiatives that the administration was pursuing to mark the historic meeting. One of them was the expansion in the number of cap -- in the number of refugees that the U.S. would seek to admit. Should we understand that that decision was made directly because of Pope Francis' urging of -- of such a -- a move, or was this just inspired by him? 14:24:39 EARNEST: No, I -- you should interpret that those -- those policy announcements were made in response to the significant tide of migrants that has expanded beyond the Middle East, and the urgent humanitarian situation that exists in some places in Europe, but mostly in the Middle East. And -- you know, the United States has been playing a leading role in responding to this crisis for a number of years now, and the recent announcements about scaling up our response in terms of the number of refugees that would be admitted to the United States, and the amount of money that will go to those ongoing humanitarian efforts, I think, is an indication that the president intends to continue to lead the world's response to this humanitarian crisis. I think it's included in the fact sheet because the expectation was that, at some point over the six days of his visit to the United States, the -- the pope would talk about the moral responsibility that leaders around the world -- including in the United States -- have to respond to this situation, and we felt it was relevant for everyone to know what steps the United States had taken as we -- you know, play a leading role in this response. QUESTION: And then, the events this morning on the South Lawn began a little bit late, and I think our understanding was, that was in part because Pope Francis left the Vatican embassy a little bit late, crating (ph) some people there. Can you recall a time when the president was kept waiting for such an event like this? 14:26:05 EARNEST: Not off the top of my head, but it is not significantly inconvenient to the president's schedule at all today. QUESTION: Quickly, since a great Yankee was asked about earlier by one of my (inaudible), there was a petition drive to award Yogi Berra the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Is that something that might be under consideration now, posthumously? EARNEST: I was not aware of that -- that ongoing effort. But my guess is, if that's something that we're -- considered it's something we probably would not have announced in advance. OK? Laura (ph). QUESTION: A sad story which is happening at this moment all over the world, especially in Europe. Ali Al-Nimr (ph), a young Shi'a (ph) (inaudible) 21 years old, is going to be probably beheaded tomorrow, and his body crucified inside Saudi Arabia. Human rights organizations, European medias and millions of people on Twitter are asking for an interventional mobilization against the Saudis. What's the White House reaction? 14:27:05 EARNEST: I'm not familiar with the intimate details of this particular situation, Laura (ph), but I will say that the United States, under the leadership of this president, regularly raises our concerns about the human rights situation inside of Saudi Arabia. I know the president has, on more than one occasion, had the opportunity to raise these concerns directly with his counterpart, when he's met with the -- the Saudi leader. And -- so I -- I'm hesitant to comment much further on this case, because I don't know a whole lot of the details, but the principle when it comes to human rights is one that this president has championed and one that this president has raised directly with Saudi officials on more than one occasion. OK. Jared? QUESTION: Josh, earlier you said that the comments from Hillary Clinton yesterday on keystone came as no surprise. My question is, given her tenure at the State Department, is -- you were saying the long, drawn out time that this has stayed in consideration of the State Department, is the White House's position that now that we know her position on keystonexl publicly, that perhaps she tilted it at State while she was -- the secretary of state toward this direction? 14:28:28 EARNEST: No, I don't think there's any indication of that. I think there's -- there is a process underway at the State Department and you all have an opportunity to -- to consider that process once they've made a recommendation to the president. QUESTION: And just to clean up a little bit on the question about the 21 gun salute. You -- you said it was in deference to several aspects of the -- the papal (ph) character, but I guess who shot first? Who -- who asked for it? Was it a -- the Vatican asking for this directing? Or was this the White House offering it to the Vatican? EARNEST: I'm actually not sure who -- whether it was an ask or an offer, but it certainly was a decision that was reach in consultation with Vatican officials. OK. (inaudible)? QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE). Yesterday, there was (inaudible) commercial airline (ph) between U.S. and India and that is part of the U.S.-India relations are concerned and also, Prime Minister Modi in (ph) Silicon Valley also talking about the U.S.-India relations. And yesterday's (inaudible) highest level, including vice president, spoke to the delegation (inaudible). So what did the presidential (inaudible) of the U.S.-India relations -- this is the first time that, in the steady dialogue (ph) between the countries' largest and oldest democracies, commercial (ph) was also added? 14:29:49 EARNEST: Well, Gual (ph), when the president traveled to India earlier this year, there was much discussion of the important economic ties between our two countries. In fact, you'll recall that the -- there were American business leaders who traveled to India at the same time as the president to engage in discussion with Indian business leaders and leaders in the Indian government to discuss -- strengthen the ties between our two countries. The idea here is that by strengthening these ties, we can expand economic opportunity in both of our countries, that -- that the -- the more business that American businesses can do in India, the more economic opportunity that it creates back here in the United States. You know, there's also a potential that Indian businesses choosing to invest in the United States could also expand some economic opportunity here as well. So there are any number of reasons why the president would work closely with his counterpart, Prime Minister Modi, who I know understands these kinds of dynamics, and shares the president's goal of trying to deepen these ties with -- with an eye toward expanding economic opportunity for the citizens in both the United States and India. QUESTION: Second, (inaudible) celebrating the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. Next week, of course, most of the global leaders, including President Obama and Prime Minister Modi will be at the United Nations. After 68 years of India's independence, people of India are asking and now the Indian-Americans are also in the U.S. asking (inaudible) that if U.S. is going to support -- why the national language of India Hindi and the -- India's presence at the United Nations Security Council is not there. Why Hindi and India's -- India is not in the U.N. Security Council? Will the U.S. support, this year, to celebrate the 70th (ph) anniversary? And that's what they're asking (inaudible), that message to the president (ph)? EARNEST: Well, my understanding is that the president has previously stated that the United States would be supportive of including India in the United Nations Security Council, in the context of reforming the -- essentially, the governance structure of the United Nations. And I think that was something that the president announced on his trip to India -- his first trip to India back in 2010. And that's is a -- that continues to be the position of the United States, and I think it reflects the increasingly important role that we're seeing India play around the world. And as the world's largest Democracy, and as a country whose economic influence is only growing, we would welcome additional opportunities for India to take on additional responsibilities when it comes to contributing to the shared interests of the international community. So, we'll look for a variety of ways to do that. Certainly, one way to do that would be for India to play a constructive role in the climate talks in Paris. That as a growing economy, India could make an important statement about the future of our planet, by making a serious commitment in the context of those negotiations. And -- and I know that's something that President Obama and Prime Minister Modi have had the opportunity to talk about in the past. And I would anticipate that they will talk about again in advance of the Paris Climate Talks. QUESTION: Finally, can you confirm that if (inaudible) the U.N. will be meeting? EARNEST: I'll have more details about the president's schedule at the U.N. tomorrow. OK. Mark, I'll give you the last one. QUESTION: Thanks. Following up on Kevin and (inaudible), does the president never question what in the world is taking so long for the State Department to come to a conclusion on this? EARNEST: I don't know that there have been extensive discussions about this. There have been a number of things that have slowed the consideration of this particular project. You know, one of them that there was an ongoing court case in Nebraska about the particular route of the pipeline. But you know, this is something that the -- and the president is regularly updated on. But in terms of the timing of when a decision would be announced, I just don't have anything for you on that. QUESTION: And would you take issue with an assertion that the president is happy to let the State Department take its time coming to a decision? EARNEST: Well, I think the president would have the expectation that the State Department would fulfill the responsibility that they have to carefully consider the consequences of this particular project, and the potential benefits of the project. And evaluate whether or not it is in the broad national interest of the United States for the project to go forward. QUESTION: You only gave Congress 60 days to talk, to decide about Iran and the nuclear deal. (LAUGHTER) But the State Department's taking years on this project. 14:34:43 EARNEST: Yeah. Well, the difference is the State Department has a responsibility to specifically sign off on the project, and that is what's described in the law. Congress, as we discussed, based on the law that they wrote and they passed themselves, did not have the responsibility to sign off on the Iran deal. They were, however, given a 60-day window of opportunity to undermine the deal, if they chose to do so. Fortunately, they did not. QUESTION: OK. EARNEST: Thanks, everybody. We'll see you tomorrow.
MURDER of Fabrice VIAL: the investigation continues 2 years after the FACTS: the point ...
Méditerranée
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Centre Est
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Reopening of the zoo and continuation of the rhino policy
Nord
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Cereirede file
Midi Atlantique