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tv   Americas News HQ  FOX News  January 18, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PST

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word, the president is expected to begin his final news conference of its term in about 15 minutes. we will have it for you live. >> jenna: for question about what we are going to hear there. thank you for joining us, "america's newsroom hq" starts now. >> we are just moments away from the start of president obama's final press conference as he prepares to hand the reins of power to president-elect donald trump. hello, everyone, i am sandra smith. mr. obama's final appearance in the white house briefing room comes amid growing controversies president-elect donald trump. >> convicted of leaking more than 700,000 classified documents to wikileaks. critics on both sides of the aisle blasting the move. saying manning's actions put american troops and the country at risk. let's first go to kevin cork live at the white house. kevin, big day, what should we expect from the president's
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final conversation with the press which is expected just moments from now? >> yeah, about 15 minutes from now, if they get started on time. although if you know how things go, you probably don't expect them to start at 2:15. we'll probably get fireworks, especially given the big news yesterday, this is our last chance to interrogate the president while in office. the big story, the could mutation of chelsea manning's prison sentence. plenty to talk about that this afternoon. if you wonder how the president might tackle that question, here's what he said, make that his press secretary said earlier today. >> the president made a decision to commute her sentence, because her 35-year sentence was much longer than the sentence that was handed down to people who committed similar crimes. that got much less attention. >> expect the president to get drilled about the price an at dpant mow bay, he said he would
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shut it down and he didn't. and the strained relationship with russia and president vladimir putin, that is part of the conversation that's set to begin later this after hour. >> what is the incoming administration saying about manning's could mutation? you say that is going to be a big discussion in the room in a few discussions. knowing more pardons and commutations coming tomorrow. >> we expect that to happen thursday afternoon. this story, which broke yesterday, actually goes up another level. some time tomorrow. here's what the vice president mike pence had to say about it in a conversation with our very only brit bare. to commute private manning's sentence was a mistake. private manning is a traitor and shouldn't have been turned into a martyr as senator cotton said. we'll hear more about that, it has to be if not the first question certainly in the first couple of questions we expect the president to get today. we will be watching it carefully. when he comes out of that blue
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door. in 10 minutes or so, give or take. j. >> trump team holds a briefing tomorrow morning, one day before the president-elect is sworn into office. mr. trump telling "fox & friends" he will ee keep tweeting once in the white house even though he says he doesn't like tweeting. he just feels he has to use it as a defense against dishonest media. peter doocy is live at trump power in new york city. what does the president-elect say about those 60-plus democrats skipping his inauguration on friday? >> president-elect says he doesn't really care as long as they fork over their front row seats. >> other people not going, that's okay, we need seats so badly. i hope they give me their tickets r they going to give us their tickets? you're okay with them not going? >> what happens to their tickets, i hope they give us their tickets.
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>> the president-elect is also pro testing, he doesn't think he gets enough credit for work he did during the transition o twitter, he wrote this, totally biased nabs news went out of its way to say that the big announcement from ford, g.m., lockheed and others that jobs are coming back is fake news. ask for real facts, came back because of me. and he does say that the tweets will continue past friday, he thinks it's the only way to reach people without having the press twist his words around. at least his meaning around. sandra? >> peter, we have the countdown clock going here as we away president obama's final news conference at the white house. what are trump's advisors looking for at president obama's final press conference? >> sandra, they want clarity about the could mutation of private chelsea manning's sentence.
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>> why are you you cherry-picking what likes are important and what aren't important? depending on the leaker and the content that was leaked. how can you look the other way. chelsea manning, the documents that chelsea manning had acquired were found on obama bin laden's computer. that tells you how they are. >> before even taking the oath of office, for term be in one, mr. trump is looking ahead to 2020. teasing a new slogan for a re-election campaign in the "washington post" that, slogan would be "keep america great." sandra? >> peter doocy. and looks like we'll hear from sean spicer, the incoming press secretary, tomorrow speaking on behalf of donald trump. we will look forward to that as well a day packed with confirmation hearings on capitol hill. four separate cab neat in knows put -- cabinet nominees, lawmakers wanting to know if they're up to their respective jobs.
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here's what we've been hearing. >> i may be the only nominee ever for commerce secretary who actually worked as census taker. >> i am painfully aware that the chance for 13-year-old girls to read and learn and grow is something that does not exist and far too many -- in far too many places around the world. >> couple of vivid memories. one, many of my patients were never more irritated or angry when they recognized that there was somebody else in the exam room not physically but figuratively, who was getting between the doctor and the patient in making decisions. >> chief congressional correspondent mike emmanuel joins us live. what are some of the feistier comments from price? >> dr. tom price is expected to be a critical player in that transition to a new healthcare system. dr. price talked about it being important that medicaid users do not fall through the cracks during the change to a new
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healthcare system. price says he supports making sure that every single american has the type of healthcare coverage that they want. and at one point, price clashed with vermont senator bernie sanders. >> we're compassionate society. >> but we're not a compassionate society, in terms of our relationship, to poor and working people, our record is worse than virtually any other country on earth. highest rate of childhood poverty, half of our senior, 'oller workers have nothing set aside for retime. i don't think compared to other countries we are particularly compassionate. >> if you talk about other country's healthcare systems there are consequences to the decisions that they have made. just as there are consequence of the decisions that we made. >> democrats on the panel complain they wanted more time to ask questions to dr. price. parm lamar alexander noted staying there for four hours, was longer than other recent nominees. he will be appearing before senate finance next week there
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will have the chance to confirm hiv or send his nomination to the senate floor. >> what were the tougher issues in the hearing for the nominee to lead the epa? >> oklahoma attorney general scott pruitt is the person that president-elect trump has nominated to lead the epa. he has taken heat for ties, being from oklahoma, to major energy companies. pruitt was not having it. firing back at that type of attack. >> it's a complete black hole into which at least a million dollars goes and based on your record of fundraising it appears that a great deal of your fundraising comes from these organizations who are in the energy sector. and devoted to fighting climate change. >> with respect to the -- >> don't you see? >> exxon-mobil. >> really? >> scott pruitt was also grilled on the issue of climate change, trying to see if they could drive a wedge between him and
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president-elect trump. pruitt says he does not believe that climate change is a hoax. >> mike emmanuel we look forward to your coverage of inauguration day on friday. fox news alert, former president george h.w. bush recovering in a houston hospital after suffering an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia. previous reports said shortness of beth a spokesman has said the 92-year-old was admitted over the weekend and he is listed in stage condition in the icu, where he will remain for observation. casey sigel joins me live in houston with more on bush's health. what are you hearing? >> well, sandra, we've been told all morning doctors were, quote, very pleased with the progress that the former president was making and that he would likely be released from the hospital back here in houston soon. but then we did get an update, a short time ago, a new statement out from the president's office
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saying that mr. bush has been moved to intensive care to treat the respiratory issues. the statement goes on to say, and i'm quoting here, doctors performed a procedure to protect and clear his air way that required sedation. president bush is stable and resting comfortably in the icu where he will remain for observation. now, we also just learned that former first lady barbara bush, also admitted to the exact same hospital earlier this morning. staffers say this was done as a precaution after she started experiencing fatigue and coughing. you may recall the former president spent christmas at methodist hospital here in 2014 when he was treated for shortness of breath. the following year, the 92 xwroeld was hospitalized in maine after breaking a vertebrae in his neck from falling at their home. these latest health issues will prevent mr. and mrs. bush from attending friday's inauguration
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in d.c. with a bit of levity sprinkled in, bush 41 sent this letter to president-elect trump. it reads, in part, my doctor says if i sit outside in january it likely will put me six feet under. same for barbara. so i guess we're stuck in texas. but we will will be with you and the country in spirit. so, again, right now, president bush and former first lady barbara bush resting comfortably at the hospital back here behind me in houston. no word on when they could be discharged. >> casey, thank you for the report, wish both of them the best. all right, well the president is just moments away, now, from reaching that podium where mr. obama set to give the final news conference of his presidency. there in the white house briefing room scheduled to start in a few short moments. he's expected to field questions about his 11th hour pardons
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including chelsea manning. and another mound of cabinet hearings on cabinet hill, nominees pressed on everything from nato to nafta. a day after secretary of education nominee betsy devoss took a political bruising over publ >> people do not believe that the federal government should be telling us what is caught in the classroom. gaspard... it was her french name. then she came to louisiana as a slave. i became curious where in africa she was from. so i took the ancestry dna test to find out more about my african roots. the ancestry dna results were really specific. they told me all of these places in west africa. i feel really proud of my lineage, and i feel really proud of my ancestry. ancestry has many paths to discovering your story, get started for free at when you have digestive sensitivities, life can feel like a never ending search for food
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friend of yours? that's frequent heartburn. it's always lurking around. but i'm safe. i took my prevacid®24hr today. i didn't. one pill prevents the acid that causes heartburn, all day, all night. prevacid®24hr. the heat on capitol hill today, including south carolina governor nekki haley, up for u.s. ambassador to the u.n. and tom price, up for health secretary. dr. price explaining his primary goal earlier. >> i think it's absolutely imperative that we have a system in place that has patience at the center and allows for of
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single american to have the opportunity to gain access to coverage they want. >> you share his goal of insurance for everybody? >> that's been always my stated goal, what we worked on throughout my entire public career. >> chris plant is a sinld kated radio talk show host, leslie marshall is syndicated radio talk show host. fireworks today. chris? >> well, they need to take some one down, right? the democrats have promised their base they're going to take somebody out. dr. price, a medical doctor, member of congress, i suppose, is as good a target for them as anyone. they want to take out somebody because it looks like they're all coasting through. and they don't have a lot of power since they don't control the senate. they don't have the votes. harry reid took the fill butter away from them. they have to take some one down because this is their stated goal. >> they are, leslie, taking their best shot.
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will they get anywhere with this or will the nominees pass through? >> you know neitherically the numbers are going to get passed through. you remember when democrats but their nominees forward. whatever party is in power says relove you, respect you. which ef party is not they grill them. that's a responsibility of all left and right for the american people to properly vet an individual who has been nominated for a top position. >> we aren't seeing politics as usual, chris, when we see over 60 democrats are sitting out the inauguration. a little something more going on here. >> well, the partisan rancor has never been more heated. they're trying everything they can to delegitimize the incoming administration. they want to destroy the careers and the reputations of one or more of the people nominated to take senior posts, cabinet posts. it's blood sport.
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it's not whether they legitimately have anything that would disqualify them from taking the job, it's just about the kill. it's about the sport of the kill. it's a vicious town. >> you look back at betsy devos and her hearing, i would be curious, leslie, how you think that went. >> well, first of all i don't think that, i think she avoided the question that a lot of people especially democrat want to hear the answer to, and that is whether or not she plans to defund and dismantle the public education system throughout all 50 of the united states. that is a major concern, there are people out there, parents out there like myself of an 8 and 9-year-old who are happy with the public school system. although there are areas that are problems like detroit, detroit is not -- >> she was doctor ild in that room for sure. i want to keep moving along, we have a countdown clock going, waiting the president's final news conference in the white house briefing room. you have a picture of it below leslie. we will watch that.
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meanwhile, president obama holding the record for granting more commutations than any president in history. today alone he granted 209 commutations. 109 of those people were facing life sentences. with today 64 pardons, the president has granted a total of 212 pardons. chris? >> listen, this is a great week for terrorists, for criminals, for traytors. president obama, little noticed item, signed a deal, the administration did on monday, in cuba with the cuban government, joanne chessemart, convicted cop killer, given safe haven in cuba. president obama administration said they don't to have return the criminals being given safe haven. he's trying to release terrorists from guantanamo bay, many of whom will return to terror. could muted the sentence to
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private manning who was a traitor against his country. and some one responsible for 130 terrorist bombings, radical left winger, commuted his sentence. you put these together and i think you get a picture of who barack obama is. >> leslie, last word to you, all of this happening in literally the final days of his presidency. >> i'm not surprised. i mean, quite frankly. not because it's president obama doing this, it's common for himself to commute, sometimes not at the end, george w. bush commuted sentences and almost 200 pardons, i think 172 total. >> the number that president obama has done far exceeds any president who has come before him. >> and terrorists and traitors and cop killers. no question, no question. >> we have to leave it there, guys. we are waiting the president's final news conference, thanks for being here, good to see you. meanwhile, a live look, there's the white house briefing room. there it is. the podium that the president will be stepping up to shortly.
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we are just moments away from the start of president obama's final news conference. and foreign policy is expected to be a big topic including the state of play in war-torn syria. and our fight against isis. consider it will be here to weigh in.
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we can also expect questions about the transition of power and his life to come. now the president. >> good afternoon, everybody. let me start off by saying that i was sorely tempted to wear a tan suit today. [ laughing ] for my last press conference. but michelle, whose fashion sense is better than mine, tells me that's not appropriate in january. i covered a lot of the ground that i would want to cover in my farewell address last week. so i'm just going to say a
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couple of quick things before i start taking questions. first, we have been in touch with the bush family today after hearing about president george h.w. bush and barbara bush being admitted to the hospital this morning. they have not only dedicated their lives to this country, they have been a constant source of friendship and support and good counsel for michelle and me over the years. they are as fine a couple as we know. and so, we want to send our prayers and our love to them. really good people. second thing is to thank all of you. some of you have been covering me for a long time. christy, lynn. some of you, just gotten to know. we have traveled the world together. we have played a few singles, a
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few doubles together. i've offered advice that i thought was pretty sound, like don't do stupid stuff. even when you complain about my long answers, i just want you to know that the only reason they were long is because you asked six-part questions. but i have enjoyed working with all of you. that does not, of course, mean that i have enjoyed every story that you have filed. but that's the point of this relationship. you're not supposed to be sincofants, are you supposed to be skeptics and ask the tough questions. you aren't supposed to be complimentary but cast a critical eye on folks who hold enormous power. and make sure that we are accountable to the people who sent us here. you have done that. and you have done it for the most part in ways that i could
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appreciate for fairness, even if i didn't always agree with your conclusions. and having you in this building has made this place work better. it keeps us honest. it makes us work harder. you have made us think about how we are doing, what we do and whether or not we're able to deliver on what's been requested by our constituents. and for example, every time you have asked why haven't you kurtd ebola -- kurd ebola or why is there still a hole in the gulf, that's given me the ability to go back to my team and say will you get this solved before the next press conference. i spent a lot of time on my -- in my farewell address talking about the state of our democracy. it goes without saying that essential to that is a free press.
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that is part of how this place, this country, this grand experiment of government has to work. it doesn't work if we don't have a well informed citizenry. and you are the conduit to which they receive the information about what is taking place in the halls of power. america needs you and our democracy needs you. we need you to establish a base line of facts, evidence that we can use as a starting point for the kind of reasons and informed debates that ultimately lead to progress. and so, my hope is that you will continue with the same tenacity that you showed us to do the hard work of getting to the bottom of stories and getting them right. and to push those of us in power to be the best version of ourselves. and the push for this country to be the best version of itself.
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i have no doubt you will do so. i'm looking forward to being an active consumer of your work rather than always the subject of it. i want to thank you all for your extraordinary service to our democracy. and with that i will take some questions. i'll start with jeff mason whose term apparently is not up. i thought we would be going out together, brother, but you got to hang around for a while staying put. >> jeff mason. >> thank you, sir. are you concerned, mr. president, that commuting chelsea manning's sentence will seasoned message that leaking classified material will not generate a tough sentence to groups like wicky likes? how do you reconcile that with things like russia's hacking of the election. julian assange has offered to come to the united states. are you seeking that and would he be charged or arrested if he came here? >> well, first of all let's be
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clear, chelsea manning has served a tough prison sentence. the notion that the average person that was thinking about disclosing vital, classified information would think it goes unpunished, i don't think would give that impression fromsenten has served. it has been my view that given she went to trial, that due process was carried out, that she took responsibility for her crime, that the sentence that she received was very
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disproportional -- disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received, and that she had served a significant amount of time that it made sense to commute, and not pardon, her sentence. and i feel very comfortable that justice has been served and that a message has still been sent that when it comes to our national security that wherever possible we need folks who may have legitimate concerns about the actions of government or their superiors or the agencies in which they work that they try to work through the established channels and avail themselves of the whistleblower protections that have been put in place. i recognize there's some folks who think they're not enough. and i think all of us when we're
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working in big institutions may find ourselves at times at odds with policies that are set. when it comes to national security, we're often dealing with people in the field whose lives may be put at risk. or the safety and security and the ability of our military or our intelligence teams, embassies to function effectively. and that has to be kept in mind. so, with respect to wikileaks, i don't see a contradiction. first of all i haven't commented on wikileaks generally. the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the russian hacking, were not conclusive as to whether wikileaks was willing or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the dnc,
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e-mails that were leaked. i don't pay a lot of attention to mr. assange's tweets. that wasn't a consideration in this instance. and i refer you to the justice department for any criminal investigations, extradition issues that may come up with him. what i can say broadly, is that in this new cyber age, we're going to have to make sure that we continually work to find the right balance of accountability and openness and transparency that is the hallmark of our democracy and recognize that there are adversaries and bad acters out there who want to use that same openness in ways that hurt us. whether that is in trying to commit financial crimes or
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trying to commit acts of terrorist, or folks who want to interfere with our elections. and we're going to have to continu continually build the kind of architecture to make sure the best of our democracy is preserved, that our national security and intelligence agencies have the ability to carry out policy without advertising to our adversaries what it is that we're doing, but do so in a way that still keeps citizens up to speed on what their government is doing on their behalf. but with respect to chelsea manning, i looked at the particulars of this case, the same way i have the other commutations and pardons that i have done, and i felt that in light of all of the circumstances that commuting her sentence was entirely appropriate. margaret brennan.
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>> mr. president, thank you. the president-elect has said that he could consider lifting sanctions on russia if they substantially reduce their nuclear stockpile. given your own efforts at arms control, do you think that is an effective strategy, knowing this office and mr. trump, how would you advise his advisors to help him be effective when he deals with vladimir putin. and given your actions recently, on russia, do you think those sanctions should be viewed as leverage? >> a couple of things. number one, i think it is in america's interest and the world's interest that we have a constructive relationship with russia. that's been my approach throughout my presidency. where our interests have overlapped, we've worked together. at the beginning of my term i did what i could to encourage russia to be a constructive member of the international
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community. and tried to work with the president and the government of russia in helping them diversify their economy, improve their economy, use the incredible talent for the russian people in more constructive ways. i think it's fair to say that after president putin came back into the presidency that an escalating anti-american rhetoric and an approach to global affairs that seem to be premised on the idea that whatever america is trying to do must be bad for russia so we want to try to counteract whatever they do, that return to
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an adversarial spirit that i think existed during the cold war, has mailed the relationship more difficult. and it was hammered home when russia went in to crimea and ukraine. the reasons we imposed the sanctions, if you recall, was not because of nuclear weapons issues, it was because the independence and sovereignty of a country, ukraine, had been encroached upon by force, by russia. that wasn't our judgment, that was the judgment of the entire international community. and russia continues to occupy ukrainian territory and meddle in the ukrainian affairs and support military surrogates who have violated basic international law and international norms.
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what i said to the russians as soon as you stop doing that the sanctions will be removed. and i think it would probably best serve not only american interests but also the interests of preserving the international norms if we made sure that we don't confuse why these sanctions have been imposed with a whole set of other issues. on nuclear issues, in my first term we negotiated the stark ii treaty that, has substantially reduced our nuclear stockpiles, rush yanld the united states. i was prepared to go further, i told president putin i was prepared to go further. they have been unwilling to negotiate. if president-elect trump is able to restart those talks in a serious way, i think there remains a lot of room for our two countries to reduce our stockpiles.
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part of the reason we've been successful on our nonproliferation agenda and nuclear security agenda is because we were leading by example. i hope that continues. but i think it's important just to remember that the reason sanctions have been put in place against russia has to do with their actions in ukraine, and it is important for the united states to stand up for the basic principles that big countries don't invade and bully smaller countries. i've said before, i expect russia and ukraine to have a strong relationship. they are historically bound together in all sorts of cultural and social ways. ukraine is an independent country. this is a good example of the vital role that america has to continue to play around the world in preserving basic norms and values. whether it's advocating on behalf of human rights,
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advocating on behalf of women's rights, advocating on behalf of freedom of the press. united states has not always been perfect in this regard. times where we, by necessity, are dealing with allies or friends or partners who themselves are not meeting the standard that we would like to see met. when it comes to international rules and norms. i can tell you that in of multi-lateral setting, in the united nations and g-20 and g-7, the united states typically has been on the right side of these issues. and it is important for us to continue to be on the right side of these issues, because if we, the largest, strongest country and democracy in the world are not willing to stand up on
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behalf of these values, then certainly china, russia and others will not. kevin cork. >> thank you mr. president. you have been a strong supporter of the idea of a peaceful transfer of power. >> um-hum. >> demonstrated not too terribly far from here, the rose garden. as you and i speak there are more than five dozen democrats that are going to boycott the inauguration of the incoming president. do support that? and what message would you stoned democrats to better demonstrate the peaceful transfer of power? and if i could follow, i want to ask you about your conversations with the president-elect previously, and without getting into too much of the personal side of it, i'm curious, were you able to use that opportunity to convince him to take a fresh look at some of the important ideas that you will leave this office with?
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maintaining some semblance of the affordable care act, some idea of keeping dreamers here in the country without fear of deportation, were you able to use personal stories to try to convince him? how successful were you? >> well, i won't go into details of my conversations with the president-elect trump. as i said before, they are cordial. at times they've been fairly lengthy and they've been substantive. i can't tell you how convincing i've been. i think you would have to ask him whether i've been convincing or not. i have offered my best advice, counsel about certain issues both foreign and domestic. and my working assumption is that having won an election opposed to a number of my initiatives, and certain aspects of my visiontor where the
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country needs to go, it is appropriate -- my vision, it is appropriate for him to go forward with his vision and his values. i don't expect there's going to be, you know, enormous overlap. it may be that on certain issues once he comes into office and he looks at the complexities of how to, in fact, provide healthcare for everybody, something he says he wants to do. or wants to make sure that he is encouraging job creation and wage growth in this country. that that may lead him to some of the same conclusions that i arrived at. once i got here. i don't think we'll know until he has an actual chance to get sworn in and sit behind that desk. and i think a lot of his views
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are going to be shaped by his advisors, the people around him, which is why it's important to pay attention to the confirmation hearings. i can tell you that, this is something i have told him, that this is a job of such magnitude that you can't do it by yourself. you are enormously reliant on a team. your cabinet, your senior white house staff, all the way to fairly junior folks in their 20s and 30s but who are executing on significant responsibilities. and so how you put a team together to make sure that they are getting you the best information and they are teeing up the options from which you will ultimately make decisions, that's probably the most useful advice, the most constructive advice i've been able to give
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him. that if you find yourself isolated because the process breaks down, or if you're only hearing from people who agree with you on everything, or if you haven't created a process that is fact checking and probing and asking hard questions about policies or promises that you made, that's when you start making mistakes. and as i indicated, in some of my previous [ chuckling ] jenna rodriguez? >> thank you very much. you have said that you would
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come back what did you mean when you said you would come back, would you maybe explore the political arena? and why did you take, a week ago? >> let me be absolutely clear. i did not mean that i was going to be running for anything any time soon. [ chuckling ] no, what i meant is that it's important for me to take some time. the process, this i mazing experience we've gone through, to make sure that my wife with whom i will be celebrating a 25th anniversary this year, is willing to re-up and put up with me for a little bit longer. i want to do some writing.
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i want to be quiet a little bit and not hear myself talk so darned much. i want to spend precious time with my girls. so those are my priorities this year. as i said before, i'm still a citizen. and i think it is important for democrats, progressives who feel that they came out on the wrong side of this election to be able to distinguish between the normal back and forth, ebb and flow of policy. are we going to raise taxes, are we going to lower taxes, are we going to, you know, expand this program or eliminate this program. how concerned are we about air pollution or climate change?
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those are all normal parts of the debate. and as i said before, a democracy sometimes you win on those issues and sometimes are you going to lose. i'm confident about the rightness of my positions on a lot of these points. but we have a new president, and a congress that are going to make their same determinations. they will be back and forth in congress around those issues. you guys will report on all that. but there's a difference between that normal functioning of politics and certain issues or certain moments where our core values may be at stake. i put in that category, if i saw systematic discrimination being ratified in some fashion, i put
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in that category explicit or functional obstacles to people being able to vote, to exercise their franchise. i put in that category institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press. and for me, at least, i would put in that category efforts to round up kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are american kids and send them some place else. when they love this country, they are our kids' friends and classmates and are now entering into community colleges or in
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some cases serving in the military. the notion that we would arbitrarily or because of politics punish those kids. when they didn't do anything wrong themselves. i think would be something that would merit me speaking out. it doesn't mean that i would get on the ballot anywhere. with respect to wet foot-dry foot, we underwent a monumental shift in our policy towards cuba. my view was after 50 years of a policy not working it made sense for us to try to reopen diplomatic relations, to engage a cuban government, to be honest with them about the strong disagreements we have around
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political repression and treatment of dissenters and freedom of press and freedom of emergency. but that to make progress for the cuban people our best shot was to suddenly have the cuban people interacting with americans. and seeing the incredible success of the cuban-american community. and engaging in commerce and business and trade. and that it was through that process of opening up these bilateral relations that you see over time serious and significant improvement. given that shift in the relationship, the policy that we hadn't placed is wet foot-dry foot which treated cuban
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emigrees completely different from folks from el salvador or guatemala or nicaragua or any other part of the world. one that made a di sinks between whether you got here by land or by foot, the distinction. that was a carry-over of an old way of thinking that didn't make sense in this day and age. particularly as we're opening up travel between the two countries. and so, we had very lengthy consultations with the department of homeland security. we had some tough negotiations with the cuban government. but we arrived at a policy that we think is fair and appropriate to the changing nature of the relationship between the two countries. right here.
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>> i appreciate the opportunity and want to wish you and your family good luck in the future. mr. president, you have been criticized for the u.n. city council resolution that considers israeli settlements illegal. mr. trump is looking to appoint an ambassador that does not agree with you. as an honest broker will this is night and protect israel. should you have held israel more accountable, like president bush senior did? >> i continue to be significantly married about the israeli-palestinian issue. and i am worried about it both because i think the status quo
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is unsustainable, it is dangerous for israel, that it is bad for palestinians, it is bad for the region, and it is bad for america's national security. and i came in to this office wanting to do everything i could to encourage serious piece talks between the israelis and palestinians. we invested a lot of energy, a lot of time, a lot of effort. first year, second year, all the way until last year. ultimately, what has always been clear is that we cannot force the parties to arrive at peace. what we can do is facilitate, provide a platform, encourage but we can't force them to do it.
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but in light of shifts in israeli politics and palestinian politics, a right ward drift in israeli politics, weakening of president abbas' ability to move and take risk on the part of peace in the palestinian territories, in light of the dangers that have emerged in the region and the understandable fears that israelis may have about the chaos and rise of groups like isil and the deterioration of syria, in light of all those things, what we at least wanted to do understanding the two parties wouldn't actually arrive at a final status agreement, is to preserve the possibility of a two-state solution. we do not see an alternative to it.
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and i've said this directly to prime minister netanyahu, i've said it inside israel to the palestinians as well, i don't see how this issue gets resolved in a way that maintains israel as both jewish and a democracy. because if you do not have two states then in some form or fashion you are extending an occupation, functionally you end up having one state in which millions of people are disenfranchised and operate as second class occupants -- residents. you can't even call them citizens, necessarily. and so the goal of the resolution was to simply say that the settlements, the growth of the settlements, are creating
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a reality on the ground that increasingly will make a two-state solution impossible. and we believed consistent with the position that had been taken be previous u.s. administrations for decades that it was important for us to send a signal, a wakeup call, that this moment may be passing. and israeli voters and palestinians need to understand that this moment may be passing. and hopefully that then creates a debate inside both israeli and palestinian communities that won't result immediately in peace but at least will lead to a more sober assessment of what the alternatives are. so the president-elect will have his own policy.
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the ambassador or the candidate for the ambassadorship has very different views than i do. that is their prerogative. that's part of what happens after elections. and i think my views are clear. we'll see how their approach plays itself out. i don't want to project today what could end up happening. but obviously it's a volatile environment. what we have seen in the past is when some unilateral moves are made that speak to some of the core issues and sensitivities of either side, that can be explosive. and what we try to do in the transition is just provide the context in which the president-elect may want to make some of these decisions. >> are you worried that.
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[ inaudible ] >> that's part of what we tried to indicate to the incoming team in our transition process, is pay attention to this. this is volatile stuff. people feel deeply and passionately about this. and as i said, as i've said many times, the actions that we take have enormous consequences and ramifications. we're the biggest kid on the block. and i think it is right and appropriate for a new president to test old assumptions and reexamine the old ways of doing things. but if you're going to make big shifts in policy, just make sure you thought it through.
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and understand that there are going to be consequences and actions typically create reactions. and so you want to be intentional about it. you don't want to do things off the cuff. when it comes to an issue this volatile. >> mr. president, chris johnson. >> chris johnson. i'm sorry. where's chris? >> you've had a lot of achievements the past eight years, including don't ask, don't tell, marriage equality. make sure trans-gender people are accepted. how do you thinking lgbt rights will range in your achievements and how confident that they'll continue under the president-elect? >> i could not be prouder of the


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