WikiLeaks DNC Email Database

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

Search the WikiLeaks DNC email database

On Friday, July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks released 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments from seven staffers of the  Democratic National Committee: Communications Director Luis Miranda (10770 emails), National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan (3797 emails), Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer (3095 emails), Finance Director of Data & Strategic Initiatives Daniel Parrish (1472 emails), Finance Director Allen Zachary (1611 emails), Senior Advisor Andrew Wright (938 emails) and Northern California Finance Director Robert (Erik) Stowe (751 emails). The emails are from January to May 25, 2016.

 

Full Text Political Transcripts July 12, 2016: Former President George W. Bush’s Speech at the Dallas Shooting Memorial Service

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

George W. Bush’s Speech at the Dallas Shooting Memorial Service

Source: Time,  7-12-16

Thank you all. Thank you, Senator. I, too, am really pleased that President Obama and Mrs. Obama have come down to Dallas. I also want to welcome vice president, Mrs. Biden, Mr. Mayor, Chief Brown, elected officials, members of the law enforcement community. Today, the nation grieves, but those of us who love Dallas and call it home have had five deaths in the family. Laura and I see members of law enforcement every day. We count them as our friends. And we know, like for every other American, that their courage is our protection and shield.

We’re proud [of] the men we mourn and the community that has rallied to honor them and support the wounded. Our mayor, and police chief and our police departments have been mighty inspirations for the rest of the nation.

These slain officers were the best among us. Lorne Ahrens, beloved husband to detective Katrina Ahrens and father of two. Michael Krol, caring son, brother, uncle, nephew and friend. Michael Smith, U.S. Army veteran, devoted husband and father of two.

Brent Thompson, Marine Corps vet, recently married. Patrick Zamarippa, U.S. Navy Reserve combat veteran, proud father and loyal Texas Rangers fan.

With their deaths, we have lost so much. We are grief stricken, heartbroken and forever grateful. Every officer has accepted a calling that sets them apart.

Most of us imagine if the moment called for, that we would risk our lives to protect a spouse or a child. Those wearing the uniform assume that risk for the safety of strangers. They and their families share the unspoken knowledge that each new day can bring new dangers.

But none of us were prepared, or could be prepared, for an ambush by hatred and malice. The shock of this evil still has not faded. At times, it seems like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates too quickly into de-humanization.

Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions. And this is…

And this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose. But Americans, I think, have a great advantage. To renew our unity, we only need to remember our values.

We have never been held together by blood or background. We are bound by things of the spirit, by shared commitments to common ideals.

At our best, we practice empathy, imagining ourselves in the lives and circumstances of others. This is the bridge across our nation’s deepest divisions.

And it is not merely a matter of tolerance, but of learning from the struggles and stories of our fellow citizens and finding our better selves in the process.

At our best, we honor the image of God we see in one another. We recognize that we are brothers and sisters, sharing the same brief moment on Earth and owing each other the loyalty of our shared humanity.

At our best, we know we have one country, one future, one destiny. We do not want the unity of grief, nor do we want the unity of fear. We want the unity of hope, affection and high purpose.

We know that the kind of just, humane country we want to build, that we have seen in our best dreams, is made possible when men and women in uniform stand guard. At their best, when they’re trained and trusted and accountable, they free us from fear.

The Apostle Paul said, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of strength and love and self-control.” Those are the best responses to fear in the life of our country and they’re the code of the peace officer.

Today, all of us feel a sense of loss, but not equally. I’d like to conclude with the word of the families, the spouses, and especially the children of the fallen. Your loved one’s time with you was too short. They did not get a chance to properly say goodbye. But they went where duty called. They defended us, even to the end. They finished well. We will not forget what they did for us.

Your loss is unfair. We cannot explain it. We can stand beside you and share your grief. And we can pray that God will comfort you with a hope deeper than sorrow and stronger than death.

May God bless you.

Full Text Political Transcripts July 12, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at Memorial Service for Fallen Dallas Police Officers

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at Memorial Service for Fallen Dallas Police Officers

Source: WH, 7-12-16

Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center
Dallas, Texas

1:46 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Mr. President and Mrs. Bush; my friend, the Vice President, and Dr. Biden; Mayor Rawlings; Chief Spiller; clergy; members of Congress; Chief Brown — I’m so glad I met Michelle first, because she loves Stevie Wonder — (laughter and applause) — but most of all, to the families and friends and colleagues and fellow officers:

Scripture tells us that in our sufferings there is glory, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Sometimes the truths of these words are hard to see.  Right now, those words test us.  Because the people of Dallas, people across the country, are suffering.

We’re here to honor the memory, and mourn the loss, of five fellow Americans — to grieve with their loved ones, to support this community, to pray for the wounded, and to try and find some meaning amidst our sorrow.

For the men and women who protect and serve the people of Dallas, last Thursday began like any other day.  Like most Americans each day, you get up, probably have too quick a breakfast, kiss your family goodbye, and you head to work.  But your work, and the work of police officers across the country, is like no other.  For the moment you put on that uniform, you have answered a call that at any moment, even in the briefest interaction, may put your life in harm’s way.

Lorne Ahrens, he answered that call.  So did his wife, Katrina — not only because she was the spouse of a police officer, but because she’s a detective on the force.  They have two kids.  And Lorne took them fishing, and used to proudly go to their school in uniform.  And the night before he died, he bought dinner for a homeless man.  And the next night, Katrina had to tell their children that their dad was gone.  “They don’t get it yet,” their grandma said. “They don’t know what to do quite yet.”

Michael Krol answered that call.  His mother said, “He knew the dangers of the job, but he never shied away from his duty.”  He came a thousand miles from his home state of Michigan to be a cop in Dallas, telling his family, “This is something I wanted to do.”  Last year, he brought his girlfriend back to Detroit for Thanksgiving, and it was the last time he’d see his family.

Michael Smith answered that call — in the Army, and over almost 30 years working for the Dallas Police Association, which gave him the appropriately named “Cops Cop” award.  A man of deep faith, when he was off duty, he could be found at church or playing softball with his two girls.  Today, his girls have lost their dad, for God has called Michael home.

Patrick Zamarripa, he answered that call.  Just 32, a former altar boy who served in the Navy and dreamed of being a cop.  He liked to post videos of himself and his kids on social media.  And on Thursday night, while Patrick went to work, his partner Kristy posted a photo of her and their daughter at a Texas Rangers game, and tagged her partner so that he could see it while on duty.

Brent Thompson answered that call.  He served his country as a Marine.  And years later, as a contractor, he spent time in some of the most dangerous parts of Iraq and Afghanistan.  And then a few years ago, he settled down here in Dallas for a new life of service as a transit cop.  And just about two weeks ago, he married a fellow officer, their whole life together waiting before them.

Like police officers across the country, these men and their families shared a commitment to something larger than themselves.  They weren’t looking for their names to be up in lights.  They’d tell you the pay was decent but wouldn’t make you rich.  They could have told you about the stress and long shifts, and they’d probably agree with Chief Brown when he said that cops don’t expect to hear the words “thank you” very often, especially from those who need them the most.

No, the reward comes in knowing that our entire way of life in America depends on the rule of law; that the maintenance of that law is a hard and daily labor; that in this country, we don’t have soldiers in the streets or militias setting the rules.  Instead, we have public servants — police officers — like the men who were taken away from us.

And that’s what these five were doing last Thursday when they were assigned to protect and keep orderly a peaceful protest in response to the killing of Alton Sterling of Baton Rouge and Philando Castile of Minnesota.  They were upholding the constitutional rights of this country.

For a while, the protest went on without incident.  And despite the fact that police conduct was the subject of the protest, despite the fact that there must have been signs or slogans or chants with which they profoundly disagreed, these men and this department did their jobs like the professionals that they were.  In fact, the police had been part of the protest’s planning.  Dallas PD even posted photos on their Twitter feeds of their own officers standing among the protesters.  Two officers, black and white, smiled next to a man with a sign that read, “No Justice, No Peace.”

And then, around nine o’clock, the gunfire came.  Another community torn apart.  More hearts broken.  More questions about what caused, and what might prevent, another such tragedy.

I know that Americans are struggling right now with what we’ve witnessed over the past week.  First, the shootings in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, and the protests, then the targeting of police by the shooter here — an act not just of demented violence but of racial hatred.  All of it has left us wounded, and angry, and hurt.  It’s as if the deepest fault lines of our democracy have suddenly been exposed, perhaps even widened.  And although we know that such divisions are not new — though they have surely been worse in even the recent past — that offers us little comfort.

Faced with this violence, we wonder if the divides of race in America can ever be bridged.  We wonder if an African-American community that feels unfairly targeted by police, and police departments that feel unfairly maligned for doing their jobs, can ever understand each other’s experience.  We turn on the TV or surf the Internet, and we can watch positions harden and lines drawn, and people retreat to their respective corners, and politicians calculate how to grab attention or avoid the fallout.  We see all this, and it’s hard not to think sometimes that the center won’t hold and that things might get worse.

I understand.  I understand how Americans are feeling.  But, Dallas, I’m here to say we must reject such despair.  I’m here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem.  And I know that because I know America.  I know how far we’ve come against impossible odds.  (Applause.)  I know we’ll make it because of what I’ve experienced in my own life, what I’ve seen of this country and its people — their goodness and decency –as President of the United States.  And I know it because of what we’ve seen here in Dallas — how all of you, out of great suffering, have shown us the meaning of perseverance and character, and hope.

When the bullets started flying, the men and women of the Dallas police, they did not flinch and they did not react recklessly.  They showed incredible restraint.  Helped in some cases by protesters, they evacuated the injured, isolated the shooter, and saved more lives than we will ever know.  (Applause.)  We mourn fewer people today because of your brave actions.  (Applause.)  “Everyone was helping each other,” one witness said.  “It wasn’t about black or white.  Everyone was picking each other up and moving them away.”  See, that’s the America I know.

The police helped Shetamia Taylor as she was shot trying to shield her four sons.  She said she wanted her boys to join her to protest the incidents of black men being killed.  She also said to the Dallas PD, “Thank you for being heroes.”  And today, her 12-year old son wants to be a cop when he grows up.  That’s the America I know.  (Applause.)

In the aftermath of the shooting, we’ve seen Mayor Rawlings and Chief Brown, a white man and a black man with different backgrounds, working not just to restore order and support a shaken city, a shaken department, but working together to unify a city with strength and grace and wisdom.  (Applause.)  And in the process, we’ve been reminded that the Dallas Police Department has been at the forefront of improving relations between police and the community.  (Applause.)  The murder rate here has fallen.  Complaints of excessive force have been cut by 64 percent.  The Dallas Police Department has been doing it the right way.  (Applause.)  And so, Mayor Rawlings and Chief Brown, on behalf of the American people, thank you for your steady leadership, thank you for your powerful example.  We could not be prouder of you.  (Applause.)

These men, this department — this is the America I know.  And today, in this audience, I see people who have protested on behalf of criminal justice reform grieving alongside police officers.  I see people who mourn for the five officers we lost but also weep for the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.  In this audience, I see what’s possible — (applause) — I see what’s possible when we recognize that we are one American family, all deserving of equal treatment, all deserving of equal respect, all children of God.  That’s the America that I know.

Now, I’m not naïve.  I have spoken at too many memorials during the course of this presidency.  I’ve hugged too many families who have lost a loved one to senseless violence.  And I’ve seen how a spirit of unity, born of tragedy, can gradually dissipate, overtaken by the return to business as usual, by inertia and old habits and expediency.  I see how easily we slip back into our old notions, because they’re comfortable, we’re used to them.  I’ve seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change.  I’ve seen how inadequate my own words have been.  And so I’m reminded of a passage in *John’s Gospel [First John]:  Let us love not with words or speech, but with actions and in truth.  If we’re to sustain the unity we need to get through these difficult times, if we are to honor these five outstanding officers who we’ve lost, then we will need to act on the truths that we know.  And that’s not easy.  It makes us uncomfortable.  But we’re going to have to be honest with each other and ourselves.

We know that the overwhelming majority of police officers do an incredibly hard and dangerous job fairly and professionally.  They are deserving of our respect and not our scorn.  (Applause.)  And when anyone, no matter how good their intentions may be, paints all police as biased or bigoted, we undermine those officers we depend on for our safety.  And as for those who use rhetoric suggesting harm to police, even if they don’t act on it themselves — well, they not only make the jobs of police officers even more dangerous, but they do a disservice to the very cause of justice that they claim to promote.  (Applause.)

We also know that centuries of racial discrimination — of slavery, and subjugation, and Jim Crow — they didn’t simply vanish with the end of lawful segregation.  They didn’t just stop when Dr. King made a speech, or the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act were signed.  Race relations have improved dramatically in my lifetime.  Those who deny it are dishonoring the struggles that helped us achieve that progress.  (Applause.)

But we know — but, America, we know that bias remains.  We know it.  Whether you are black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or of Middle Eastern descent, we have all seen this bigotry in our own lives at some point.  We’ve heard it at times in our own homes.  If we’re honest, perhaps we’ve heard prejudice in our own heads and felt it in our own hearts.  We know that.  And while some suffer far more under racism’s burden, some feel to a far greater extent discrimination’s sting.  Although most of us do our best to guard against it and teach our children better, none of us is entirely innocent.  No institution is entirely immune.  And that includes our police departments.  We know this.

And so when African Americans from all walks of life, from different communities across the country, voice a growing despair over what they perceive to be unequal treatment; when study after study shows that whites and people of color experience the criminal justice system differently, so that if you’re black you’re more likely to be pulled over or searched or arrested, more likely to get longer sentences, more likely to get the death penalty for the same crime; when mothers and fathers raise their kids right and have “the talk” about how to respond if stopped by a police officer — “yes, sir,” “no, sir” — but still fear that something terrible may happen when their child walks out the door, still fear that kids being stupid and not quite doing things right might end in tragedy — when all this takes place more than 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, we cannot simply turn away and dismiss those in peaceful protest as troublemakers or paranoid.  (Applause.)  We can’t simply dismiss it as a symptom of political correctness or reverse racism.  To have your experience denied like that, dismissed by those in authority, dismissed perhaps even by your white friends and coworkers and fellow church members again and again and again — it hurts.  Surely we can see that, all of us.

We also know what Chief Brown has said is true:  That so much of the tensions between police departments and minority communities that they serve is because we ask the police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves.  (Applause.)  As a society, we choose to underinvest in decent schools.  We allow poverty to fester so that entire neighborhoods offer no prospect for gainful employment.  (Applause.)  We refuse to fund drug treatment and mental health programs.  (Applause.)  We flood communities with so many guns that it is easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book — (applause) — and then we tell the police “you’re a social worker, you’re the parent, you’re the teacher, you’re the drug counselor.”  We tell them to keep those neighborhoods in check at all costs, and do so without causing any political blowback or inconvenience.  Don’t make a mistake that might disturb our own peace of mind.  And then we feign surprise when, periodically, the tensions boil over.

We know these things to be true.  They’ve been true for a long time.  We know it.  Police, you know it.  Protestors, you know it.  You know how dangerous some of the communities where these police officers serve are, and you pretend as if there’s no context.  These things we know to be true.  And if we cannot even talk about these things — if we cannot talk honestly and openly not just in the comfort of our own circles, but with those who look different than us or bring a different perspective, then we will never break this dangerous cycle.

In the end, it’s not about finding policies that work; it’s about forging consensus, and fighting cynicism, and finding the will to make change.

Can we do this?  Can we find the character, as Americans, to open our hearts to each other?  Can we see in each other a common humanity and a shared dignity, and recognize how our different experiences have shaped us?  And it doesn’t make anybody perfectly good or perfectly bad, it just makes us human.  I don’t know.  I confess that sometimes I, too, experience doubt.  I’ve been to too many of these things.  I’ve seen too many families go through this.  But then I am reminded of what the Lord tells Ezekiel:  I will give you a new heart, the Lord says, and put a new spirit in you.  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

That’s what we must pray for, each of us:  a new heart.  Not a heart of stone, but a heart open to the fears and hopes and challenges of our fellow citizens.  That’s what we’ve seen in Dallas these past few days.  That’s what we must sustain.

Because with an open heart, we can learn to stand in each other’s shoes and look at the world through each other’s eyes, so that maybe the police officer sees his own son in that teenager with a hoodie who’s kind of goofing off but not dangerous — (applause) — and the teenager — maybe the teenager will see in the police officer the same words and values and authority of his parents.  (Applause.)

With an open heart, we can abandon the overheated rhetoric and the oversimplification that reduces whole categories of our fellow Americans not just to opponents, but to enemies.

With an open heart, those protesting for change will guard against reckless language going forward, look at the model set by the five officers we mourn today, acknowledge the progress brought about by the sincere efforts of police departments like this one in Dallas, and embark on the hard but necessary work of negotiation, the pursuit of reconciliation.

With an open heart, police departments will acknowledge that, just like the rest of us, they are not perfect; that insisting we do better to root out racial bias is not an attack on cops, but an effort to live up to our highest ideals.  (Applause.)  And I understand these protests — I see them, they can be messy.  Sometimes they can be hijacked by an irresponsible few.  Police can get hurt.  Protestors can get hurt.  They can be frustrating.

But even those who dislike the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” surely we should be able to hear the pain of Alton Sterling’s family.  (Applause.)  We should — when we hear a friend describe him by saying that “Whatever he cooked, he cooked enough for everybody,” that should sound familiar to us, that maybe he wasn’t so different than us, so that we can, yes, insist that his life matters.  Just as we should hear the students and coworkers describe their affection for Philando Castile as a gentle soul — “Mr. Rogers with dreadlocks,” they called him — and know that his life mattered to a whole lot of people of all races, of all ages, and that we have to do what we can, without putting officers’ lives at risk, but do better to prevent another life like his from being lost.

With an open heart, we can worry less about which side has been wronged, and worry more about joining sides to do right.  (Applause.)  Because the vicious killer of these police officers, they won’t be the last person who tries to make us turn on one other.  The killer in Orlando wasn’t, nor was the killer in Charleston.  We know there is evil in this world.  That’s why we need police departments.  (Applause.)  But as Americans, we can decide that people like this killer will ultimately fail.  They will not drive us apart.  We can decide to come together and make our country reflect the good inside us, the hopes and simple dreams we share.

“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

For all of us, life presents challenges and suffering — accidents, illnesses, the loss of loved ones.  There are times when we are overwhelmed by sudden calamity, natural or manmade.  All of us, we make mistakes.  And at times we are lost.  And as we get older, we learn we don’t always have control of things — not even a President does.  But we do have control over how we respond to the world.  We do have control over how we treat one another.

 

America does not ask us to be perfect.  Precisely because of our individual imperfections, our founders gave us institutions to guard against tyranny and ensure no one is above the law; a democracy that gives us the space to work through our differences and debate them peacefully, to make things better, even if it doesn’t always happen as fast as we’d like.  America gives us the capacity to change.

But as the men we mourn today — these five heroes — knew better than most, we cannot take the blessings of this nation for granted.  Only by working together can we preserve those institutions of family and community, rights and responsibilities, law and self-government that is the hallmark of this nation.  For, it turns out, we do not persevere alone.  Our character is not found in isolation.  Hope does not arise by putting our fellow man down; it is found by lifting others up.  (Applause.)

And that’s what I take away from the lives of these outstanding men.  The pain we feel may not soon pass, but my faith tells me that they did not die in vain.  I believe our sorrow can make us a better country.  I believe our righteous anger can be transformed into more justice and more peace.  Weeping may endure for a night, but I’m convinced joy comes in the morning.  (Applause.)  We cannot match the sacrifices made by Officers Zamarripa and Ahrens, Krol, Smith, and Thompson, but surely we can try to match their sense of service.  We cannot match their courage, but we can strive to match their devotion.

May God bless their memory.  May God bless this country that we love.  (Applause.)

END
2:26 P.M. CDT

Full Text Political Transcripts July 5, 2016: FBI Director James B. Comey’s statement not recommending criminal charges against Hillary Clinton over private email server

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

Statement by FBI Director James B. Comey on the Investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Use of a Personal E-Mail System

Source: FBI.gov, 7-5-16

Remarks prepared for delivery at press briefing.

Good morning. I’m here to give you an update on the FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail system during her time as Secretary of State.

After a tremendous amount of work over the last year, the FBI is completing its investigation and referring the case to the Department of Justice for a prosecutive decision. What I would like to do today is tell you three things: what we did; what we found; and what we are recommending to the Department of Justice.

This will be an unusual statement in at least a couple ways. First, I am going to include more detail about our process than I ordinarily would, because I think the American people deserve those details in a case of intense public interest. Second, I have not coordinated or reviewed this statement in any way with the Department of Justice or any other part of the government. They do not know what I am about to say.

I want to start by thanking the FBI employees who did remarkable work in this case. Once you have a better sense of how much we have done, you will understand why I am so grateful and proud of their efforts.

So, first, what we have done:

The investigation began as a referral from the Intelligence Community Inspector General in connection with Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail server during her time as Secretary of State. The referral focused on whether classified information was transmitted on that personal system.

Our investigation looked at whether there is evidence classified information was improperly stored or transmitted on that personal system, in violation of a federal statute making it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way, or a second statute making it a misdemeanor to knowingly remove classified information from appropriate systems or storage facilities.

Consistent with our counterintelligence responsibilities, we have also investigated to determine whether there is evidence of computer intrusion in connection with the personal e-mail server by any foreign power, or other hostile actors.

I have so far used the singular term, “e-mail server,” in describing the referral that began our investigation. It turns out to have been more complicated than that. Secretary Clinton used several different servers and administrators of those servers during her four years at the State Department, and used numerous mobile devices to view and send e-mail on that personal domain. As new servers and equipment were employed, older servers were taken out of service, stored, and decommissioned in various ways. Piecing all of that back together—to gain as full an understanding as possible of the ways in which personal e-mail was used for government work—has been a painstaking undertaking, requiring thousands of hours of effort.

For example, when one of Secretary Clinton’s original personal servers was decommissioned in 2013, the e-mail software was removed. Doing that didn’t remove the e-mail content, but it was like removing the frame from a huge finished jigsaw puzzle and dumping the pieces on the floor. The effect was that millions of e-mail fragments end up unsorted in the server’s unused—or “slack”—space. We searched through all of it to see what was there, and what parts of the puzzle could be put back together.

FBI investigators have also read all of the approximately 30,000 e-mails provided by Secretary Clinton to the State Department in December 2014. Where an e-mail was assessed as possibly containing classified information, the FBI referred the e-mail to any U.S. government agency that was a likely “owner” of information in the e-mail, so that agency could make a determination as to whether the e-mail contained classified information at the time it was sent or received, or whether there was reason to classify the e-mail now, even if its content was not classified at the time it was sent (that is the process sometimes referred to as “up-classifying”).

From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification. Separate from those, about 2,000 additional e-mails were “up-classified” to make them Confidential; the information in those had not been classified at the time the e-mails were sent.

The FBI also discovered several thousand work-related e-mails that were not in the group of 30,000 that were returned by Secretary Clinton to State in 2014. We found those additional e-mails in a variety of ways. Some had been deleted over the years and we found traces of them on devices that supported or were connected to the private e-mail domain. Others we found by reviewing the archived government e-mail accounts of people who had been government employees at the same time as Secretary Clinton, including high-ranking officials at other agencies, people with whom a Secretary of State might naturally correspond.

This helped us recover work-related e-mails that were not among the 30,000 produced to State. Still others we recovered from the laborious review of the millions of e-mail fragments dumped into the slack space of the server decommissioned in 2013.

With respect to the thousands of e-mails we found that were not among those produced to State, agencies have concluded that three of those were classified at the time they were sent or received, one at the Secret level and two at the Confidential level. There were no additional Top Secret e-mails found. Finally, none of those we found have since been “up-classified.”

I should add here that we found no evidence that any of the additional work-related e-mails were intentionally deleted in an effort to conceal them. Our assessment is that, like many e-mail users, Secretary Clinton periodically deleted e-mails or e-mails were purged from the system when devices were changed. Because she was not using a government account—or even a commercial account like Gmail—there was no archiving at all of her e-mails, so it is not surprising that we discovered e-mails that were not on Secretary Clinton’s system in 2014, when she produced the 30,000 e-mails to the State Department.

It could also be that some of the additional work-related e-mails we recovered were among those deleted as “personal” by Secretary Clinton’s lawyers when they reviewed and sorted her e-mails for production in 2014.

The lawyers doing the sorting for Secretary Clinton in 2014 did not individually read the content of all of her e-mails, as we did for those available to us; instead, they relied on header information and used search terms to try to find all work-related e-mails among the reportedly more than 60,000 total e-mails remaining on Secretary Clinton’s personal system in 2014. It is highly likely their search terms missed some work-related e-mails, and that we later found them, for example, in the mailboxes of other officials or in the slack space of a server.

It is also likely that there are other work-related e-mails that they did not produce to State and that we did not find elsewhere, and that are now gone because they deleted all e-mails they did not return to State, and the lawyers cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery.

We have conducted interviews and done technical examination to attempt to understand how that sorting was done by her attorneys. Although we do not have complete visibility because we are not able to fully reconstruct the electronic record of that sorting, we believe our investigation has been sufficient to give us reasonable confidence there was no intentional misconduct in connection with that sorting effort.

And, of course, in addition to our technical work, we interviewed many people, from those involved in setting up and maintaining the various iterations of Secretary Clinton’s personal server, to staff members with whom she corresponded on e-mail, to those involved in the e-mail production to State, and finally, Secretary Clinton herself.

Last, we have done extensive work to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the personal e-mail operation.

That’s what we have done. Now let me tell you what we found:

Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).

None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail.

Separately, it is important to say something about the marking of classified information. Only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information bore markings indicating the presence of classified information. But even if information is not marked “classified” in an e-mail, participants who know or should know that the subject matter is classified are still obligated to protect it.

While not the focus of our investigation, we also developed evidence that the security culture of the State Department in general, and with respect to use of unclassified e-mail systems in particular, was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information found elsewhere in the government.

With respect to potential computer intrusion by hostile actors, we did not find direct evidence that Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail domain, in its various configurations since 2009, was successfully hacked. But, given the nature of the system and of the actors potentially involved, we assess that we would be unlikely to see such direct evidence. We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account. We also assess that Secretary Clinton’s use of a personal e-mail domain was both known by a large number of people and readily apparent. She also used her personal e-mail extensively while outside the United States, including sending and receiving work-related e-mails in the territory of sophisticated adversaries. Given that combination of factors, we assess it is possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.

So that’s what we found. Finally, with respect to our recommendation to the Department of Justice:

In our system, the prosecutors make the decisions about whether charges are appropriate based on evidence the FBI has helped collect. Although we don’t normally make public our recommendations to the prosecutors, we frequently make recommendations and engage in productive conversations with prosecutors about what resolution may be appropriate, given the evidence. In this case, given the importance of the matter, I think unusual transparency is in order.

Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past.

In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts. All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.

To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.

As a result, although the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this, we are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case.

I know there will be intense public debate in the wake of this recommendation, as there was throughout this investigation. What I can assure the American people is that this investigation was done competently, honestly, and independently. No outside influence of any kind was brought to bear.

I know there were many opinions expressed by people who were not part of the investigation—including people in government—but none of that mattered to us. Opinions are irrelevant, and they were all uninformed by insight into our investigation, because we did the investigation the right way. Only facts matter, and the FBI found them here in an entirely apolitical and professional way. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of this organization.

 

 

Full Text Political Transcripts June 27, 2016: Democrats Issue Benghazi Report and Release Interview Transcripts

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

Democrats Issue Benghazi Report and Release Interview Transcripts

Source: Democrats-Benghazi.House.gov

Jun 27, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON— Today, the Democratic Members of the Select Committee on Benghazi issued a 339-page report entitled, Honoring Courage, Improving Security, and Fighting the Political Exploitation of a Tragedy.  Democrats also released all of the unclassified interview transcripts in their possession so the American people can read them for themselves.

“Decades in the future, historians will look back on this investigation as a case study in how not to conduct a credible investigation,” the Members wrote.  “They will showcase the proliferation of Republican abuses as a chief example of what happens when politicians are allowed to use unlimited taxpayer dollars—and the formidable power of Congress—to attack their political foes.”

The Democratic report’s overarching conclusion is that the evidence obtained by the Select Committee confirms the core findings already issued by many previous investigations into the attacks in Benghazi.  Although the Select Committee obtained additional details that provide context and granularity, these details do not fundamentally alter the previous conclusions.

The report finds:

  • U.S. personnel in Benghazi and Tripoli conducted themselves with extraordinary courage and heroism and at grave personal risk to defend and rescue their fellow Americans.
  • The Defense Department could not have done anything differently on the night of the attacks that would have saved the lives of the four brave Americans killed in Benghazi, and although the military’s global posture prevented it from responding more quickly that night, improvements were made years ago.
  • The State Department’s security measures in Benghazi were woefully inadequate as a result of decisions made by officials in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, but Secretary Clinton never personally denied any requests for additional security in Benghazi.
  • The Intelligence Community’s assessments evolved after the attacks as more information became available, but they were not influenced by political considerations.
  • Administration officials did not make intentionally misleading statements about the attacks, but instead relied on information they were provided at the time under fast-moving circumstances.

The Democratic report also documents the grave abuses Republicans engaged in during this investigation—from A to Z.  Republicans excluded Democrats from interviews, concealed exculpatory evidence, withheld interview transcripts, leaked inaccurate information, issued unilateral subpoenas, sent armed Marshals to the home of a cooperative witness, and even conducted political fundraising by exploiting the deaths of four Americans.

“In our opinion,” the Members wrote, “Chairman Gowdy has been conducting this investigation like an overzealous prosecutor desperately trying to land a front-page conviction rather than a neutral judge of facts seeking to improve the security of our diplomatic corps.”

“We are issuing our own report today because, after spending more than two years and $7 million in taxpayer funds in one of the longest and most partisan congressional investigations in history, it is long past time for the Select Committee to conclude its work,” they wrote.  “Despite our repeated requests over the last several months, Republicans have refused to provide us with a draft of their report—or even a basic outline—making it impossible for us to provide input and obvious that we are being shut out of the process until the last possible moment.”

The Democratic report makes 12 recommendations.  Because the fundamental goal of the Democratic Members has always been to improve the security of our diplomatic corps and Americans serving our country overseas, the report makes nine recommendations to improve security measures, security training, risk management processes, and support for survivors and their families.  The report also makes three recommendations for Congress to consider before establishing any future select committees.

Click below to read each section:

The Democratic Members of the Select Committee are Ranking Member Elijah E. Cummings, Rep. Adam Smith, Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Linda Sánchez, and Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

114th Congress

 

Full Text Political Transcripts June 27, 2016: Republican Select Committee on Benghazi Releases Report

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

Select Committee on Benghazi Releases Proposed Report

Source: House.gov, 6-27-16

81 New Witnesses, 75,000 New Pages of Documents Reveal Significant New Information,

Fundamentally Changes the Public’s Understanding of the 2012 Terrorist Attacks that Killed Four Americans

Washington, D.C. – Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (SC-04) released the following statement after the committee’s Majority released a mark of its investigative report:

“Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were heroes who gave their lives in service to our country. Their bravery and the courageous actions of so many others on the ground that night should be honored.

“When the Select Committee was formed, I promised to conduct this investigation in a manner worthy of the American people’s respect, and worthy of the memory of those who died. That is exactly what my colleagues and I have done.

“Now, I simply ask the American people to read this report for themselves, look at the evidence we have collected, and reach their own conclusions. You can read this report in less time than our fellow citizens were taking fire and fighting for their lives on the rooftops and in the streets of Benghazi.”

The committee’s proposed report is just over 800 pages long and is comprised of five primary sections and 12 appendices. It details relevant events in 2011 and 2012.

The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part I:

  • Despite President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s clear orders to deploy military assets, nothing was sent to Benghazi, and nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began. [pg. 141]
  • With Ambassador Stevens missing, the White House convened a roughly two-hour meeting at 7:30 PM, which resulted in action items focused on a YouTube video, and others containing the phrases “[i]f any deployment is made,” and “Libya must agree to any deployment,” and “[w]ill not deploy until order comes to go to either Tripoli or Benghazi.” [pg. 115]
  • The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff typically would have participated in the White House meeting, but did not attend because he went home to host a dinner party for foreign dignitaries. [pg. 107]
  • A Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) sat on a plane in Rota, Spain, for three hours, and changed in and out of their uniforms four times. [pg. 154]
  • None of the relevant military forces met their required deployment timelines. [pg. 150]
  • The Libyan forces that evacuated Americans from the CIA Annex to the Benghazi airport was not affiliated with any of the militias the CIA or State Department had developed a relationship with during the prior 18 months. Instead, it was comprised of former Qadhafi loyalists who the U.S. had helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution. [pg. 144]

Rep. Mike Pompeo (KS-04) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“We expect our government to make every effort to save the lives of Americans who serve in harm’s way. That did not happen in Benghazi. Politics were put ahead of the lives of Americans, and while the administration had made excuses and blamed the challenges posed by time and distance, the truth is that they did not try.”

Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“Our committee’s insistence on additional information about the military’s response to the Benghazi attacks was met with strong opposition from the Defense Department, and now we know why. Instead of attempting to hide deficiencies in our posture and performance, it’s my hope our report will help ensure we fix what went wrong so that a tragedy like this never happens again.”

The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part II:

  • Five of the 10 action items from the 7:30 PM White House meeting referenced the video, but no direct link or solid evidence existed connecting the attacks in Benghazi and the video at the time the meeting took place. The State Department senior officials at the meeting had access to eyewitness accounts to the attack in real time. The Diplomatic Security Command Center was in direct contact with the Diplomatic Security Agents on the ground in Benghazi and sent out multiple updates about the situation, including a “Terrorism Event Notification.” The State Department Watch Center had also notified Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills that it had set up a direct telephone line to Tripoli. There was no mention of the video from the agents on the ground. Greg Hicks—one of the last people to talk to Chris Stevens before he died—said there was virtually no discussion about the video in Libya leading up to the attacks. [pg. 28]
  • The morning after the attacks, the National Security Council’s Deputy Spokesperson sent an email to nearly two dozen people from the White House, Defense Department, State Department, and intelligence community, stating: “Both the President and Secretary Clinton released statements this morning. … Please refer to those for any comments for the time being. To ensure we are all in sync on messaging for the rest of the day, Ben Rhodes will host a conference call for USG communicators on this chain at 9:15 ET today.” [pg. 39]
  • Minutes before the President delivered his speech in the Rose Garden, Jake Sullivan wrote in an email to Ben Rhodes and others: “There was not really much violence in Egypt. And we are not saying that the violence in Libya erupted ‘over inflammatory videos.’” [pg. 44]
  • According to Susan Rice, both Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe prepared her for her appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows following the attacks. Nobody from the FBI, Department of Defense, or CIA participated in her prep call. While Rhodes testified Plouffe would “normally” appear on the Sunday show prep calls, Rice testified she did not recall Plouffe being on prior calls and did not understand why he was on the call in this instance. [pg.98]
  • On the Sunday shows, Susan Rice stated the FBI had “already begun looking at all sorts of evidence” and “FBI has a lead in this investigation.” But on Monday, the Deputy Director, Office of Maghreb Affairs sent an email stating: “McDonough apparently told the SVTS [Secure Video Teleconference] group today that everyone was required to ‘shut their pieholes’ about the Benghazi attack in light of the FBI investigation, due to start tomorrow.” [pg. 135]
  • After Susan Rice’s Sunday show appearances, Jake Sullivan assured the Secretary of the State that Rice “wasn’t asked about whether we had any intel. But she did make clear our view that this started spontaneously and then evolved.” [pg. 128]
  • Susan Rice’s comments on the Sunday talk shows were met with shock and disbelief by State Department employees in Washington. The Senior Libya Desk Officer, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, wrote: “I think Rice was off the reservation on this one.” The Deputy Director, Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, responded: “Off the reservation on five networks!” The Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications, Bureau of Near East Affairs, State Department, wrote: “WH [White House] very worried about the politics. This was all their doing.” [pg. 132]
  • The CIA’s September 13, 2012, intelligence assessment was rife with errors. On the first page, there is a single mention of “the early stages of the protest” buried in one of the bullet points. The article cited to support the mention of a protest in this instance was actually from September 4. In other words, the analysts used an article from a full week before the attacks to support the premise that a protest had occurred just prior to the attack on September 11. [pg. 47]
  • A headline on the following page of the CIA’s September 13 intelligence assessment stated “Extremists Capitalized on Benghazi Protests,” but nothing in the actual text box supports that title. As it turns out, the title of the text box was supposed to be “Extremists Capitalized on Cairo Protests.” That small but vital difference—from Cairo to Benghazi—had major implications in how people in the administration were able to message the attacks. [pg. 52]

Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“Obama Administration officials, including the Secretary of State, learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Rather than tell the American people the truth, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly.”

Rep. Peter Roskam (IL-06) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“In the days and weeks after the attacks, the White House worked to pin all of the blame for their misleading and incorrect statements on officials within the intelligence community, but in reality, political operatives like Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe were spinning the false narrative and prepping Susan Rice for her interviews.”

The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part III:

  • During deliberations within the State Department about whether and how to intervene in Libya in March 2011, Jake Sullivan listed the first goal as “avoid[ing] a failed state, particularly one in which al-Qaeda and other extremists might take safe haven.” [pg. 9]
  • The administration’s policy of no boots on the ground shaped the type of military assistance provided to State Department personnel in Libya. The Executive Secretariats for both the Defense Department and State Department exchanged communications outlining the diplomatic capacity in which the Defense Department SST security team members would serve, which included wearing civilian clothes so as not to offend the Libyans. [pg. 60]
  • When the State Department’s presence in Benghazi was extended in December 2012, senior officials from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security were excluded from the discussion. [pg. 74]
  • In February 2012, the lead Diplomatic Security Agent at Embassy Tripoli informed his counterpart in Benghazi that more DS agents would not be provided by decision makers, because “substantive reporting” was not Benghazi’s purpose. [pg. 77]
  • Emails indicate senior State Department officials, including Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and Huma Abedin were preparing for a trip by the Secretary of State to Libya in October 2012. According to testimony, Chris Stevens wanted to have a “deliverable” for the Secretary for her trip to Libya, and that “deliverable” would be making the Mission in Benghazi a permanent Consulate. [pg. 96]
  • In August 2012—roughly a month before the Benghazi attacks—security on the ground worsened significantly. Ambassador Stevens initially planned to travel to Benghazi in early August, but cancelled the trip “primarily for Ramadan/security reasons.” [pg. 99]
  • Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta bluntly told the committee “an intelligence failure” occurred with respect to Benghazi. Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell also acknowledged multiple times an intelligence failure did in fact occur prior to the Benghazi attacks. [pg. 129]

Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-05) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“President Obama has said his worst mistake was ‘failing to plan for the day after … intervening in Libya.’ As a result of this ‘lead from behind’ foreign policy, the Libyan people were forced to make the dismal trade of the tyranny of Qadhafi for the terror of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and others. Although the State Department considered Libya a grave risk to American diplomats in 2011 and 2012, our people remained in a largely unprotected, unofficial facility that one diplomatic security agent the committee interviewed characterized as ‘a suicide mission.’”

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“One of the most concerning parts of the State Department’s policy in Libya was its reliance upon the militias of an unstable nation to protect our men and women in Benghazi. These were by no means forces that could adequately protect Americans on the ground, and the State Department knew it. But the appearance of no boots on the ground was more important to the administration.”

Part IV of the report reveals new information about the Select Committee’s requests and subpoenas seeking documents and witnesses regarding Benghazi and Libya, and details what the Obama administration provided to Congress, what it is still withholding, and how its serial delays hindered the committee’s efforts to uncover the truth.

Part V proposes 25 recommendations for the Pentagon, State Department, Intelligence Community and Congress aimed at strengthening security for American personnel serving abroad and doing everything possible to ensure something like Benghazi never happens again, and if it does, that we are better prepared to respond, the majority make a series of recommendations.

The Select Committee intends to convene a bipartisan markup to discuss and vote on the proposed report on July 8, 2016. All members of the committee will have the opportunity to offer changes in a manner consistent with the rules of the House.

Below is the full report with links to PDF files of each section.

Report of the Select Committee on
the Events Surrounding the 2012
Terrorist Attack in Benghazi

 

Letter from Chairman Trey Gowdy to Speaker Paul Ryan

 

The Benghazi Committee’s Investigation – By The Numbers

 

Illustrations

 

  1. Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi

 

  1. Internal and Public Government Communications about the Terrorist

Attacks in Benghazi

 

III. Events Leading to the Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi

 

  1. Compliance with Congressional Investigations

 

  1. Recommendations

 

Appendix A: Resolution Establishing the Select Committee on the

Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi

 

Appendix B: Significant Persons and Organizations

 

Appendix C: Questions for the President

 

Appendix D: Significant Events in Libya Prior to the Attacks

 

Appendix E: Security Incidents in Libya

 

Appendix F: Deterioration of Benghazi Mission Compound Security

 

Appendix G: Timelines of the Attacks

 

Appendix H: The September 12 Situation Report and the President’s

Daily Brief

 

Appendix I: Witness Interview Summaries

 

Appendix J: Requests and Subpoenas for Documents

 

Appendix K: Analysis of Accountability Review Board, House Armed

Services Committee and House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee

Reports

 

Appendix L: Glen A. Doherty, Sean P. Smith, J. Christopher Stevens,

and Tyrone S. Woods

 

Additional Views by Rep. Jordan and Rep. Pompeo

Full Text Political Transcripts June 24, 2016: British Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech announcing his resignation after the UK votes to leave the European Union

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS:

British Prime Minister David Cameron announces his resignation after the UK votes to leave the European Union

Source: AOL, 6-24-16

“Good morning everyone, the country has just taken part in a giant democratic exercise, perhaps the biggest in our history.

Over 33 million people from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar have all had their say.

We should be proud of the fact that in these islands we trust the people for these big decisions.

We not only have a parliamentary democracy, but on questions about the arrangements for how we’ve governed there are times when it is right to ask the people themselves and that is what we have done.

The British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected.

I want to thank everyone who took part in the campaign on my side of the argument, including all those who put aside party differences to speak in what they believe was the national interest and let me congratulate all those who took part in the Leave campaign for the spirited and passionate case that they made.

The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered.

It was not a decision that was taken lightly, not least because so many things were said by so many different organisations about the significance of this decision.

So there can be no doubt about the result.

Across the world people have been watching the choice that Britain has made.

I would reassure those markets and investors that Britain’s economy is fundamentally strong and I would also reassure Britons living in European countries and European citizens living here there will be no immediate changes in your circumstances.

There will be no initial change in the way our people can travel, in the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold.

We must now prepare for a negotiation with the European Union.

This will need to involve the full engagement of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments to ensure that the interests of all parts of our United Kingdom are protected and advanced.

But above all this will require strong, determined and committed leadership.

I’m very proud and very honoured to have been Prime Minister of this country for six years.

I believe we’ve made great steps, with more people in work than ever before in our history, with reforms to welfare and education, increasing people’s life chances, building a bigger and stronger society, keeping our promises to the poorest people in the world and enabling those who love each other to get married whatever their sexuality, but above all restoring Britain’s economic strength.

And I’m grateful to everyone who’s helped to make that happen.

I have also always believed that we have to confront big decisions, not duck them.

That is why we delivered the first coalition government in 70 years, to bring our economy back from the brink.

It’s why we delivered a fair, legal and decisive referendum in Scotland.

And it’s why I made the pledge to renegotiate Britain’s position in the European Union and to hold the referendum on our membership and have carried those things out.

I fought this campaign in the only way I know how, which is to say directly and passionately what I think and feel – head, heart and soul.

I held nothing back, I was absolutely clear about my belief that Britain is stronger, safer and better off inside the European Union and I made clear the referendum was about this and this alone – not the future of any single politician including myself.

But the British people have made a very clear decision to take a different path and as such I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction.

I will do everything I can as Prime Minister to steady the ship over the coming weeks and months but I do not think it would be right for me to try to be the captain that steers our country to its next destination.

This is not a decision I’ve taken lightly but I do believe it’s in the national interest to have a period of stability and then the new leadership required.

There is no need for a precise timetable today but in my view we should aim to have a new prime minister in place by the start of the Conservative Party conference in October.

Delivering stability will be important and I will continue in post as Prime Minister with my Cabinet for the next three months.

The Cabinet will meet on Monday, the Governor of the Bank of England is making a statement about the steps that the Bank and the Treasury are taking to reassure financial markets.

We will also continue taking forward the important legislation that we set before Parliament in the Queen’s Speech.

And I have spoken to Her Majesty the Queen this morning to advise her of the steps that I am taking.

A negotiation with the European Union will need to begin under a new prime minister and I think it’s right that this new prime minister takes the decision about when to trigger Article 50 and start the formal and legal process of leaving the EU.

I will attend the European Council next week to explain the decision the British people have taken and my own decision.

The British people have made a choice that not only needs to be respected but those on the losing side of the argument – myself included – should help to make it work.

Britain is a special country – we have so many great advantages – a parliamentary democracy where we resolve great issues about our future through peaceful debate, a great trading nation with our science and arts, our engineering and our creativity, respected the world over.

And while we are not perfect I do believe we can be a model for the multi-racial, multi-faith democracy, that people can come and make a contribution and rise to the very highest that their talent allows.

Although leaving Europe was not the path I recommended, I am the first to praise our incredible strengths.

I said before that Britain can survive outside the European Union and indeed that we could find a way.

Now the decision has been made to leave, we need to find the best way and I will do everything I can to help.

I love this country and I feel honoured to have served it and I will do everything I can in future to help this great country succeed.

Thank you very much.”

Full Text Political Transcripts June 23, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Statement on the Supreme Court Upholding Affirmative Action in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on the Supreme Court Decision on U.S. Versus Texas

Source: WH,  6-23-16

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

11:53 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  I wanted to say a few words on two of the cases the Supreme Court spoke on today.

First, in the affirmative action case, I’m pleased that the Supreme Court upheld the basic notion that diversity is an important value in our society, and that this country should provide a high-quality education to all our young people, regardless of their background.  We are not a country that guarantees equal outcomes, but we do strive to provide an equal shot to everybody.  And that’s what was upheld today.

Second, one of the reasons why America is such a diverse and inclusive nation is because we’re a nation of immigrants.  Our Founders conceived of this country as a refuge for the world.  And for more than two centuries, welcoming wave after wave of immigrants has kept us youthful and dynamic and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character, and it has made us stronger.

But for more than two decades now, our immigration system, everybody acknowledges, has been broken.  And the fact that the Supreme Court wasn’t able to issue a decision today doesn’t just set the system back even further, it takes us further from the country that we aspire to be.

Just to lay out some basic facts that sometimes get lost in what can be an emotional debate.  Since I took office, we’ve deployed more border agents and technology to our southern border than ever before.  That has helped cut illegal border crossings to their lowest levels since the 1970s.  It should have paved the way for comprehensive immigration reform.  And, in fact, as many of you know, it almost did.  Nearly 70 Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together to pass a smart, common-sense bill that would have doubled the border patrol, and offered undocumented immigrants a pathway to earn citizenship if they paid a fine, paid their taxes, and played by the rules.

Unfortunately, Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to allow a simple yes or no vote on that bill.  So I was left with little choice but to take steps within my existing authority to make our immigration system smarter, fairer, and more just.

Four years ago, we announced that those who are our lowest priorities for enforcement — diligent, patriotic young DREAMers who grew up pledging allegiance to our flag — should be able to apply to work here and study here and pay their taxes here.  More than 730,000 lives have been changed as a result.  These are students, they’re teachers, they’re doctors, they’re lawyers.  They’re Americans in every way but on paper.  And fortunately, today’s decision does not affect this policy.  It does not affect the existing DREAMers.

Two years ago, we announced a similar, expanded approach for others who are also low priorities for enforcement.  We said that if you’ve been in America for more than five years, with children who are American citizens or legal residents, then you, too, can come forward, get right with the law, and work in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation.

Both were the kinds of actions taken by Republican and Democratic Presidents over the past half-century.  Neither granted anybody a free pass.  All they did was focus our enforcement resources — which are necessarily limited — on the highest priorities:  convicted criminals, recent border crossers, and threats to our national security.

Now, as disappointing as it was to be challenged for taking the kind of actions that other administrations have taken, the country was looking to the Supreme Court to resolve the important legal questions raised in this case.  Today, the Supreme Court was unable to reach a decision.  This is part of the consequence of the Republican failure so far to give a fair hearing to Mr. Merrick Garland, my nominee to the Supreme Court.  It means that the expanded set of common-sense deferred action policies — the ones that I announced two years ago — can’t go forward at this stage, until there is a ninth justice on the Court to break the tie.

I know a lot of people are going to be disappointed today, but it is important to understand what today means.  The deferred action policy that has been in place for the last four years is not affected by this ruling.  Enforcement priorities developed by my administration are not affected by this ruling.  This means that the people who might have benefitted from the expanded deferred action policies — long-term residents raising children who are Americans or legal residents — they will remain low priorities for enforcement.  As long as you have not committed a crime, our limited immigration enforcement resources are not focused on you.

But today’s decision is frustrating to those who seek to grow our economy and bring a rationality to our immigration system, and to allow people to come out of the shadows and lift this perpetual cloud on them.  I think it is heartbreaking for the millions of immigrants who’ve made their lives here, who’ve raised families here, who hoped for the opportunity to work, pay taxes, serve in our military, and more fully contribute to this country we all love in an open way.

So where do we go from here?

Most Americans — including business leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement, Democrats and Republicans and independents
— still agree that the single best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass common-sense, bipartisan immigration reform.

That is obviously not going to happen during the remainder of this Congress.  We don’t have is a Congress that agrees with us on this.  Nor do we have a Congress that’s willing to do even its most basic of jobs under the Constitution, which is to consider nominations.  Republicans in Congress currently are willfully preventing the Supreme Court from being fully staffed and functioning as our Founders intended.  And today’s situation underscores the degree to which the Court is not able to function the way it’s supposed to.

The Court’s inability to reach a decision in this case is a very clear reminder of why it’s so important for the Supreme Court to have a full bench.  For more than 40 years, there’s been an average of just over two months between a nomination and a hearing.  I nominated Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court more than three months ago.  But most Republicans so far refuse to even meet with him.  They are allowing partisan politics to jeopardize something as fundamental as the impartiality and integrity of our justice system.  And America should not let it stand.

This is an election year.  And during election years, politicians tend to use the immigration issue to scare people with words like “amnesty” in hopes that it will whip up votes.  Keep in mind that millions of us, myself included, go back generations in this country, with ancestors who put in the painstaking effort to become citizens.  And we don’t like the notion that anyone might get a free pass to American citizenship. But here’s the thing.  Millions of people who have come forward and worked to get right with the law under this policy, they’ve  been living here for years, too — in some cases, even decades.  So leaving the broken system the way it is, that’s not a solution.  In fact, that’s the real amnesty.  Pretending we can deport 11 million people, or build a wall without spending tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer money is abetting what is really just factually incorrect.  It’s not going to work.  It’s not good for this country.  It’s a fantasy that offers nothing to help the middle class, and demeans our tradition of being both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

In the end, it is my firm belief that immigration is not something to fear.  We don’t have to wall ourselves off from those who may not look like us right now, or pray like we do, or have a different last name.  Because being an American is about something more than that.  What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal that all of us are created equal, all of us have a chance to make of our lives what we will.  And every study shows that whether it was the Irish or the Poles, or the Germans, or the Italians, or the Chinese, or the Japanese, or the Mexicans, or the Kenyans — whoever showed up, over time, by a second generation, third generation, those kids are Americans.  They do look like us — because we don’t look one way.  We don’t all have the same last names, but we all share a creed and we all share a commitment to the values that founded this nation.  That’s who we are.  And that is what I believe most Americans recognize.

So here’s the bottom line.  We’ve got a very real choice that America faces right now.  We will continue to implement the existing programs that are already in place.  We’re not going to be able to move forward with the expanded programs that we wanted to move forward on because the Supreme Court was not able to issue a ruling at this stage.  And now we’ve got a choice about who we’re going to be as a country, what we want to teach our kids, and how we want to be represented in Congress and in the White House.

We’re going to have to make a decision about whether we are a people who tolerate the hypocrisy of a system where the workers who pick our fruit or make our beds never have the chance to get right with the law — or whether we’re going to give them a chance, just like our forebears had a chance, to take responsibility and give their kids a better future.

We’re going to have to decide whether we’re a people who accept the cruelty of ripping children from their parents’ arms
— or whether we actually value families, and keep them together for the sake of all of our communities.

We’re going to have to decide whether we’re a people who continue to educate the world’s brightest students in our high schools and universities, only to then send them away to compete against us — or whether we encourage them to stay and create new jobs and new businesses right here in the United States.

These are all the questions that voters now are going to have to ask themselves, and are going to have to answer in November.  These are the issues that are going to be debated by candidates across the country — both congressional candidates as well as the presidential candidates.  And in November, Americans are going to have to make a decision about what we care about and who we are.

I promise you this, though — sooner or later, immigration reform will get done.  Congress is not going to be able to ignore America forever.  It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. And I can say that with confidence because we’ve seen our history.  We get these spasms of politics around immigration and fear-mongering, and then our traditions and our history and our better impulses kick in.  That’s how we all ended up here.  Because I guarantee you, at some point, every one of us has somebody in our background who people didn’t want coming here, and yet here we are.

And that’s what’s going to happen this time.  The question is, do we do it in a smart, rational, sensible way — or we just keep on kicking the can down the road.  I believe that this country deserves an immigration policy that reflects the goodness of the American people.  And I think we’re going to get that.  Hopefully, we’re going to get that in November.

All right.  I’ll take two questions.  Two questions.  Go ahead.

Q    Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  I’ll take two questions.  Go ahead.

Q    Thank you.  Realistically, what do you see is the risk of deportation for these more than 4 million people?  I mean, you say we can’t deport 11 million.  This is 4 million, and there’s a chunk of time here before something else —

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, let me just be very clear.  What was unaffected by today’s ruling — or lack of a ruling — is the enforcement priorities that we’ve put in place.  And our enforcement priorities that have been laid out by Secretary Jeh Johnson at the Department of Homeland Security are pretty clear: We prioritize criminals.  We prioritize gangbangers.  We prioritize folks who have just come in.  What we don’t do is to prioritize people who’ve been here a long time, who are otherwise law-abiding, who have roots and connections in their communities.
And so those enforcement priorities will continue.

The work that we’ve done with the DREAM Act kids, those policies remain in place.  So what this has prevented us from doing is expanding the scope of what we’ve done with the DREAM Act kids.  Keep in mind, though, that even that was just a temporary measure.  All it was doing was basically saying to these kids, you can have confidence that you are not going to be deported, but it does not resolve your ultimate status.  That is going to require congressional action.

So, although I’m disappointed by the lack of a decision today by the Supreme Court, a deadlock, this does not substantially change the status quo, and it doesn’t negate what has always been the case, which is if we’re really going to solve this problem effectively, we’ve got to have Congress pass a law.

I have pushed to the limits of my executive authority.  We now have to have Congress act.  And hopefully, we’re going to have a vigorous debate during this election — this is how democracy is supposed to work — and there will be a determination as to which direction we go in.

As I said, over the long term, I’m very confident about the direction this country will go in because we’ve seen this in the past.  If we hadn’t seen it in the past, America would look very different than it looks today.  But whether we’re going to get this done now, soon, so that this does not continue to be this divisive force in our politics, and we can get down to the business of all pulling together to create jobs, and educate our kids, and protect ourselves from external threats, and do the things that we need to do to ensure a better future for the next generation, that’s going to be determined in part by how voters turn out and who they vote for in November.

All right.  One more question.  Go ahead.

Q    Two practical, going-forward questions.  Number one, is this going to — are you going to be able to do anything more at all for immigrants going forward in terms of executive action before the election of the next president?  And number two, do you in any way take this as some Republicans have presented this, as a slap at your use of executive authority, this tie vote?  And will this in any way circumscribe how aggressively or forcefully you use executive authority for the remainder of your time in office?

THE PRESIDENT:  Okay.  On the specifics of immigration, I don’t anticipate that there are additional executive actions that we can take.  We can implement what we’ve already put in place that is not affected by this decision.  But we have to follow, now, what has been ruled on in the Fifth Circuit because the Supreme Court could not resolve the issue.

And we’re going to have to abide by that ruling until an election and a confirmation of a ninth justice of the Supreme Court so that they can break this tie.  Because we’ve always said that we are going to do what we can lawfully through executive action, but we can’t go beyond that.  And we’ve butted up about as far as we can on this particular topic.

It does not have any impact on, from our perspective, on the host of other issues that we’re working on, because each one of these issues has a different analysis and is based on different statutes or different interpretations of our authority.

So, for example, on climate change, that’s based on the Clean Air Act and the EPA and previous Supreme Court rulings, as opposed to a theory of prosecutorial discretion that, in the past, has — every other President has exercised.  And the Supreme Court wasn’t definitive one way or the other on this.  I mean, the problem is they don’t have a ninth justice.  So that will continue to be a problem.

With respect to the Republicans, I think what it tells you is, is that if you keep on blocking judges from getting on the bench, then courts can’t issue decisions.  And what that means is then you’re going to have the status quo frozen, and we’re not going to be able to make progress on some very important issues.

Now, that may have been their strategy from the start.  But it’s not a sustainable strategy.  And it’s certainly a strategy that will be broken by this election — unless their basic theory is, is that we will never confirm judges again.  Hopefully, that’s not their theory, because that’s not how a democracy is designed.

Q    You reject their portrayal of this as a chastisement of you for your use of executive authority?

THE PRESIDENT:  It was a one-word opinion that said, we can’t come up with a decision.  I think that would be a little bit of a stretch, yes.  Maybe the next time they can — if we have a full Court issuing a full opinion on anything, then we take it seriously.  This we have to abide by, but it wasn’t any kind of value statement or a decision on the merits of these issues.

All right?  Thank you, guys.

END
12:02 P.M. EDT

Full Text Political Transcripts June 23, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Statement on the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Immigration Orders

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS

President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Supreme Court’s Ruling on Immigration

Source: WH, 6-23-16

 

Full Text Political Transcripts June 16, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Statement to the Press after Meeting with the Families of the Orlando Shooting Victims

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President in a Statement to the Press

Source: WH, 6-16-16

Dr. P. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Orlando, Florida

3:40 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Four days ago, this community was shaken by an evil and hateful act.  Today, we are reminded of what is good. That there is compassion, empathy and decency, and most of all, there is love.  That’s the Orlando that we’ve seen in recent days.  And that is the America that we have seen.

This afternoon, the Vice President and I had the opportunity to meet with many of the families here.  As you might imagine, their grief is beyond description.  Through their pain and through their tears, they told us about the joy that their loved ones had brought to their lives.  They talked about their sons or their daughters — so many young people, in their 20s and 30s; so many students who were focused on the future.  One young woman was just 18 years old.  Another, said her father, was a happy girl with so many dreams.

There were siblings there talking about their brothers and their sisters and how they were role models that they looked up to.  There were husbands and wives who had taken a solemn vow; fathers and mothers who gave their full hearts to their children. These families could be our families.  In fact, they are our family — they’re part of the American family.  Today, the Vice President and I told them, on behalf of the American people, that our hearts are broken, too, but we stand with you and that we are here for you, and that we are remembering those who you loved so deeply.

As a nation, we’ve also been inspired by the courage of those who risked their lives and cared for others.  Partners whose last moments were spent shielding each other.  The mother who gave her life to save her son.  The former Marine whose quick thinking saved dozens of lives.

Joe and I had the chance to thank Mayor Dyer, Chief Mina, Sheriff Demings, all who responded in heroic ways; the outstanding police and first responders who were able to, through their professionalism and quick response, rescue so many people. We also owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to all the doctors, all the nurses who have worked day and night to treat the injured, save lives and prevent even more anguish.  As one of the doctors here said, “after the worst of humanity reared its ugly head…the best of humanity came roaring back.”  Let me get that quote more precisely — “after the worst of humanity reared its evil head…the best of humanity came roaring back.”

Now, if we’re honest with ourselves, if, in fact, we want to show the best of our humanity, then we’re all going to have to work together at every level of government, across political lines, to do more to stop killers who want to terrorize us.  We will continue to be relentless against terrorist groups like ISIL and al Qaeda.  We are going to destroy them.  We are going to disrupt their networks, and their financing, and the flow of fighters in and out of war theaters.  We’re going to disrupt their propaganda that poisons so many minds around the world.

We’re going to do all that.  Our resolve is clear.  But given the fact that the last two terrorist attacks on our soil — Orlando and San Bernardino — were homegrown, carried out it appears not by external plotters, not by vast networks or sophisticated cells, but by deranged individuals warped by the hateful propaganda that they had seen over the Internet, then we’re going to have to do more to prevent these kinds of events from occurring.  It’s going to take more than just our military. It’s going to require more than just our intelligence teams.  As good as they are, as dedicated as they are, as focused as they are, if you have lone wolf attacks like this, hatched in the minds of a disturbed person, then we’re going to have to take different kinds of steps in order to prevent something like this from happening.

Those who were killed and injured here were gunned down by a single killer with a powerful assault weapon.  The motives of this killer may have been different than the mass shooters in Aurora or Newtown, but the instruments of death were so similar. And now, another 49 innocent people are dead.  Another 53 are injured.  Some are still fighting for their lives.  Some will have wounds that will last a lifetime.  We can’t anticipate or catch every single deranged person that may wish to do harm to his neighbors, or his friends, or his coworkers, or strangers.  But we can do something about the amount of damage that they do. Unfortunately, our politics have conspired to make it as easy as possible for a terrorist or just a disturbed individual like those in Aurora and Newtown to buy extraordinarily powerful weapons — and they can do so legally.

Today, once again, as has been true too many times before, I held and hugged grieving family members and parents, and they asked, why does this keep happening?  And they pleaded that we do more to stop the carnage.  They don’t care about the politics. Neither do I.  Neither does Joe.  And neither should any parent out there who’s thinking about their kids being not in the wrong place, but in places where kids are supposed to be.

This debate needs to change.  It’s outgrown the old political stalemates.  The notion that the answer to this tragedy would be to make sure that more people in a nightclub are similarly armed to the killer defies common sense.  Those who defend the easy accessibility of assault weapons should meet these families and explain why that makes sense.  They should meet with the Newtown families — some of whom Joe saw yesterday — whose children would now be finishing fifth grade — on why it is that we think our liberty requires these repeated tragedies.  That’s not the meaning of liberty.

I’m pleased to hear that the Senate will hold votes on preventing individuals with possible terrorist ties from buying guns, including assault weapons.  I truly hope that senators rise to the moment and do the right thing.  I hope that senators who voted no on background checks after Newtown have a change of heart.  And then I hope the House does the right thing, and helps end the plague of violence that these weapons of war inflict on so many young lives.

I’ve said this before — we will not be able to stop every tragedy.  We can’t wipe away hatred and evil from every heart in this world.  But we can stop some tragedies.  We can save some lives.  We can reduce the impact of a terrorist attack if we’re smart.  And if we don’t act, we will keep seeing more massacres like this — because we’ll be choosing to allow them to happen.  We will have said, we don’t care enough to do something about it.

Here in Orlando, we are reminded not only of our obligations as a country to be resolute against terrorists, we are reminded not only of the need for us to implement smarter policies to prevent mass shootings, we’re also reminded of what unites us as Americans, and that what unites us is far stronger than the hate and the terror of those who target us.

For so many people here who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, the Pulse Nightclub has always been a safe haven, a place to sing and dance, and most importantly, to be who you truly are — including for so many people whose families are originally from Puerto Rico.  Sunday morning, that sanctuary was violated in the worst way imaginable.  So whatever the motivations of the killer, whatever influences led him down the path of violence and terror, whatever propaganda he was consuming from ISIL and al Qaeda, this was an act of terrorism but it was also an act of hate.  This was an attack on the LGBT community.  Americans were targeted because we’re a country that has learned to welcome everyone, no matter who you are or who you love.  And hatred towards people because of sexual orientation, regardless of where it comes from, is a betrayal of what’s best in us.

Joe and I were talking on the way over here — you can’t make up the world into “us” and “them,” and denigrate and express hatred towards groups because of the color of their skin, or their faith, or their sexual orientation, and not feed something very dangerous in this world.

So if there was ever a moment for all of us to reflect and reaffirm our most basic beliefs that everybody counts and everybody has dignity, now is the time.  It’s a good time for all of us to reflect on how we treat each other, and to insist on respect and equality for every human being.

We have to end discrimination and violence against our brothers and sisters who are in the LGBT community — here at home and around the world, especially in countries where they are routinely persecuted.  We have to challenge the oppression of women, wherever it occurs — here or overseas.  There’s only “us” — Americans.

Here in Orlando, in the men and women taken from us, those who loved them, we see some of the true character of this country — the best of humanity coming roaring back; the love and the compassion and the fierce resolve that will carry us through not just through this atrocity, but through whatever difficult times may confront us.

It’s our pluralism and our respect for each other — including a young man who said to a friend, he was “super proud” to be Latino.  It’s our love of country — the patriotism of an Army reservist who was known as “an amazing officer.”  It’s our unity — the outpouring of love that so many across our country have shown to our fellow Americans who are LGBT, a display of solidarity that might have been unimaginable even a few years ago.

Out of this darkest of moments, that gives us hope — seeing people reflect, seeing people’s best instincts come out, maybe in some cases, minds and hearts change.  It is our strength and our resilience — the same determination of a man who died here who traveled the world, mindful of the risks as a gay man, but who spoke for us all when he said, “we cannot be afraid…we are not going to be afraid.”

May we all find that same strength in our own lives.  May we all find that same wisdom in how we treat one another.  May God bless all who we lost here in Orlando.  May He comfort their families.  May He heal the wounded.  May He bring some solace to those whose hearts have been broken.  May He give us resolve to do what’s necessary to reduce the hatred of this world, curb the violence.  And may He watch over this country that we call home.

Thank you very much, everybody.

END                3:58 P.M. EDT

Full Text Political Transcripts June 12, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Statement on Mass Shooting and Terrorism at LGBT Nightclub in Orlando

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

Remarks by the President on Mass Shooting in Orlando

Source: WH, 6-12-16

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:59 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Today, as Americans, we grieve the brutal murder — a horrific massacre — of dozens of innocent people.  We pray for their families, who are grasping for answers with broken hearts.  We stand with the people of Orlando, who have endured a terrible attack on their city.  Although it’s still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate.  And as Americans, we are united in grief, in outrage, and in resolve to defend our people.

I just finished a meeting with FBI Director Comey and my homeland security and national security advisors.  The FBI is on the scene and leading the investigation, in partnership with local law enforcement.  I’ve directed that the full resources of the federal government be made available for this investigation.

We are still learning all the facts.  This is an open investigation.  We’ve reached no definitive judgment on the precise motivations of the killer.  The FBI is appropriately investigating this as an act of terrorism.  And I’ve directed that we must spare no effort to determine what — if any — inspiration or association this killer may have had with terrorist groups.  What is clear is that he was a person filled with hatred.  Over the coming days, we’ll uncover why and how this happened, and we will go wherever the facts lead us.

This morning I spoke with my good friend, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and I conveyed the condolences of the entire American people.  This could have been any one of our communities.  So I told Mayor Dyer that whatever help he and the people of Orlando need — they are going to get it.  As a country, we will be there for the people of Orlando today, tomorrow and for all the days to come.

We also express our profound gratitude to all the police and first responders who rushed into harm’s way.  Their courage and professionalism saved lives, and kept the carnage from being even worse.  It’s the kind of sacrifice that our law enforcement professionals make every single day for all of us, and we can never thank them enough.

This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends — our fellow Americans — who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.  The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live.  The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub — it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights.

So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country.  And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.

Today marks the most deadly shooting in American history.  The shooter was apparently armed with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle.  This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or a movie theater, or in a nightclub.  And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be.  And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.

In the coming hours and days, we’ll learn about the victims of this tragedy.  Their names.  Their faces.  Who they were.  The joy that they brought to families and to friends, and the difference that they made in this world.  Say a prayer for them and say a prayer for their families — that God give them the strength to bear the unbearable.  And that He give us all the strength to be there for them, and the strength and courage to change.  We need to demonstrate that we are defined more — as a country — by the way they lived their lives than by the hate of the man who took them from us.

As we go together, we will draw inspiration from heroic and selfless acts — friends who helped friends, took care of each other and saved lives.  In the face of hate and violence, we will love one another.  We will not give in to fear or turn against each other.  Instead, we will stand united, as Americans, to protect our people, and defend our nation, and to take action against those who threaten us.

May God bless the Americans we lost this morning.  May He comfort their families.  May God continue to watch over this country that we love.  Thank you.

 

END                                                          2:04 P.M. EDT

Statement from Press Secretary Josh Earnest:

The President was briefed this morning by Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, on the tragic shooting in Orlando, Florida. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims. The President asked to receive regular updates as the FBI, and other federal officials, work with the Orlando Police to gather more information, and directed that the federal government provide any assistance necessary to pursue the investigation and support the community.

 

Statement from Vice President Joe Biden’s spokesperson:

The Vice President was briefed this morning by his national security advisor on the heinous attack that took place overnight at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Vice President Biden offered his prayers for all those killed and injured in the shooting and sends his condolences to all the families and loved ones of the victims.  He is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to receive regular updates as we know more.

Full Text Campaign Buzz 2016 June 9, 2016: President Barack Obama endorses Hillary Clinton for president

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

President Barack Obama endorses Hillary Clinton for president

Source: Hillary Clinton, 6-9-16

Full Text Political Transcripts June 3, 2016: First Lady Michelle Obama’s address at City College of New York Commencement

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the First Lady at City College of New York Commencement

Source: WH, 6-3-16

City College of New York
New York, New York

12:19 P.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Wow!  (Applause.)  Let me just take it in.  First of all, it is beyond a pleasure and an honor to be here to celebrate the City College of New York Class of 2016!  You all, I mean, this has been the most fun I think I’ve had at a commencement ever.  (Applause.)

Let me just say a few thank yous.  Let me start, of course, by thanking President Coico for that wonderful introduction, for her leadership here at City College, for this honorary degree.

I also want to recognize Senator Schumer, Chancellor Milliken, Trustee Shorter, Edward Plotkin, as well as your amazing valedictorian, Antonios Mourdoukoutas — did I get it right?  (Applause.)  And your amazing salutatorian, Orubba Almansouri.  (Applause.)  I really don’t want to follow those two.  (Laughter.)  If anybody is wondering about the quality of education, just listening to those two speakers lets you know what’s happening here.  And I’m so proud of you both — and to your families, congratulations.  Well done.  Well done.  (Applause.)

And of course, let us not forget Elizabeth Aklilu for her amazing performance of the National Anthem earlier today.  She blew it out of the water.  (Applause.)

But most of all, I want to acknowledge all of you -– the brilliant, talented, ambitious, accomplished, and all-around outstanding members of the class of 2016!  Woo!  (Applause.)  You give me chills.  You all have worked so hard and come so far to reach this milestone, so I know this is a big day for all of you and your families, and for everyone at this school who supported you on this journey.

And in many ways, this is a big day for me too.  See, this is my very last commencement address as First Lady of the United States.  This is it.  (Applause.)  So I just want to take it all in.  And I think this was the perfect place to be, because this is my last chance to share my love and admiration, and hopefully a little bit of wisdom with a graduating class.

And, graduates, I really want you all to know that there is a reason why, of all of the colleges and universities in this country, I chose this particular school in this particular city for this special moment.  (Applause.)  And I’m here because of all of you.  I mean, we’ve talked about it — Antonios, I’m going to talk a little bit about diversity, thank you.  (Laughter.)

Just look around.  Look at who you are.  Look at where we’re gathered today.  As the President eloquently said, at this school, you represent more than 150 nationalities.  You speak more than 100 different languages — whoa, just stop there.  You represent just about every possible background -– every color and culture, every faith and walk of life.  And you’ve taken so many different paths to this moment.

Maybe your family has been in this city for generations, or maybe, like my family, they came to this country centuries ago in chains.  Maybe they just arrived here recently, determined to give you a better life.

But, graduates, no matter where your journey started, you have all made it here today through the same combination of unyielding determination, sacrifice, and a whole lot of hard work -– commuting hours each day to class, some of you.  (Applause.)  Yes, amen.  (Laughter.)  Juggling multiple jobs to support your families and pay your tuition.  (Applause.)  Studying late into the night, early in the morning; on subways and buses, and in those few precious minutes during breaks at work.

And somehow, you still found time to give back to your communities –- tutoring young people, reading to kids, volunteering at hospitals.  Somehow, you still managed to do prestigious internships and research fellowships, and join all kinds of clubs and activities.  And here at this nationally-ranked university, with a rigorous curriculum and renowned faculty, you rose to the challenge, distinguishing yourselves in your classes, winning countless honors and awards, and getting into top graduate schools across this country.  Whoa.  (Laughter.)

So, graduates, with your glorious diversity, with your remarkable accomplishments and your deep commitment to your communities, you all embody the very purpose of this school’s founding.  And, more importantly, you embody the very hopes and dreams carved into the base of that iconic statue not so far from where we sit — on that island where so many of your predecessors at this school first set foot on our shores.

And that is why I wanted to be here today at City College.  I wanted to be here to celebrate all of you, this school, this city.  (Applause.)  Because I know that there is no better way to celebrate this great country than being here with you.

See, all of you know, for centuries, this city has been the gateway to America for so many striving, hope-filled immigrants — folks who left behind everything they knew to seek out this land of opportunity that they dreamed of.  And so many of those folks, for them, this school was the gateway to actually realizing that opportunity in their lives, founded on the fundamental truth that talent and ambition know no distinctions of race, nationality, wealth, or fame, and dedicated to the ideals that our Founding Fathers put forth more than two centuries ago:  That we are all created equal, all entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  City College became a haven for brilliant, motivated students of every background, a place where they didn’t have to hide their last names or their accents, or put on any kind of airs because the students at this school were selected based not on pedigree, but on merit, and merit alone.  (Applause.)

So really, it is no accident that this institution has produced 10 Nobel Prize winners — (applause) — along with countless captains of industry, cultural icons, leaders at the highest levels of government.  Because talent and effort combined with our various backgrounds and life experiences has always been the lifeblood of our singular American genius.

Just take the example of the great American lyricist, Ira Gershwin, who attended City College a century ago.  The son of a Russian-Jewish immigrant, his songs still light up Broadway today.  Or consider the story of the former CEO of Intel, Andrew Grove, class of 1960.  (Applause.)  He was a Hungarian immigrant whose harrowing escape from Nazism and communism shaped both his talent for business and his commitment to philanthropy.

And just think about the students in this very graduating class –- students like the economics and pre-law major from Albania, who also completed the requirements for a philosophy major and dreams of being a public intellectual.  The educational theater student from right here in Harlem who’s already an award-winning playwright and recently spoke at the White House.  The biomedical science major who was born in Afghanistan and plans to be a doctor, a policy maker and an educator.  (Applause.)  And your salutatorian, whose Yemeni roots inspired her to study Yemini women’s writing and to advocate for girls in her community, urging them to find their own voices, to tell their own stories.  I could go on.

These are just four of the nearly 4,000 unique and amazing stories in this graduating class –- stories that have converged here at City College, this dynamic, inclusive place where you all have had the chance to really get to know each other, to listen to each other’s languages, to enjoy each other’s food — lasagna, obviously — (laughter) — music, and holidays.  Debating each other’s ideas, pushing each other to question old assumptions and consider new perspectives.

And those interactions have been such a critical part of your education at this school. Those moments when your classmates showed you that your stubborn opinion wasn’t all that well-informed — mmm hmm.  (Laughter.)  Or when they opened your eyes to an injustice you never knew existed.  Or when they helped you with a question that you couldn’t have possibly answered on your own.

I think your valedictorian put it best — and this is a quote — he said, “The sole irreplaceable component of my CCNY experience came from learning alongside people with life experiences strikingly different from my own.”  He said, “I have learned that diversity in human experience gives rise to diversity in thought, which creates distinct ideas and methods of problem solving.”  That was an okay quote.  (Laughter and applause.)  Okay, you’re bright.  (Laughter.)  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

That is the power of our differences to make us smarter and more creative.  And that is how all those infusions of new cultures and ideas, generation after generation, created the matchless alchemy of our melting pot and helped us build the strongest, most vibrant, most prosperous nation on the planet, right here.  (Applause.)

But unfortunately, graduates, despite the lessons of our history and the truth of your experience here at City College, some folks out there today seem to have a very different perspective.  They seem to view our diversity as a threat to be contained rather than as a resource to be tapped.  They tell us to be afraid of those who are different, to be suspicious of those with whom we disagree.  They act as if name-calling is an acceptable substitute for thoughtful debate, as if anger and intolerance should be our default state rather than the optimism and openness that have always been the engine of our progress.

But, graduates, I can tell you, as First Lady, I have had the privilege of traveling around the world and visiting dozens of different countries, and I have seen what happens when ideas like these take hold.  I have seen how leaders who rule by intimidation –- leaders who demonize and dehumanize entire groups of people –- often do so because they have nothing else to offer.  And I have seen how places that stifle the voices and dismiss the potential of their citizens are diminished; how they are less vital, less hopeful, less free.

Graduates, that is not who we are.  That is not what this country stands for.  (Applause.)  No, here in America, we don’t let our differences tear us apart.  Not here.  Because we know that our greatness comes when we appreciate each other’s strengths, when we learn from each other, when we lean on each other.  Because in this country, it’s never been each person for themselves.  No, we’re all in this together.  We always have been.

And here in America, we don’t give in to our fears.  We don’t build up walls to keep people out because we know that our greatness has always depended on contributions from people who were born elsewhere but sought out this country and made it their home -– from innovations like Google and eBay to inventions like the artificial heart, the telephone, even the blue jeans; to beloved patriotic songs like “God Bless America,” like national landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge and, yes, the White House -– both of which were designed by architects who were immigrants.  (Applause.)

Finally, graduates, our greatness has never, ever come from sitting back and feeling entitled to what we have.  It’s never come from folks who climb the ladder of success, or who happen to be born near the top and then pull that ladder up after themselves.  No, our greatness has always come from people who expect nothing and take nothing for granted — folks who work hard for what they have then reach back and help others after them.

That is your story, graduates, and that is the story of your families.  (Applause.)  And it’s the story of my family, too.  As many of you know, I grew up in a working class family in Chicago.  And while neither of my parents went past high school, let me tell you, they saved up every penny that my dad earned at his city job because they were determined to send me to college.

And even after my father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and he struggled to walk, relying on crutches just to get himself out of bed each morning, my father hardly ever missed a day of work.  See, that blue-collar job helped to pay the small portion of my college tuition that wasn’t covered by loans or grants or my work-study or my summer jobs.  And my dad was so proud to pay that tuition bill on time each month, even taking out loans when he fell short.  See, he never wanted me to miss a registration deadline because his check was late.  That’s my story.

And, graduates, you all have faced challenges far greater than anything I or my family have ever experienced, challenges that most college students could never even imagine.  Some of you have been homeless.  Some of you have risked the rejection of your families to pursue your education.  Many of you have lain awake at night wondering how on Earth you were going to support your parents and your kids and still pay tuition.  And many of you know what it’s like to live not just month to month or day to day, but meal to meal.

But, graduates, let me tell you, you should never, ever be embarrassed by those struggles.  You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage.  Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.  And I know that because I’ve seen it myself, not just as a student working my way through school, but years later when I became — before I came to the White House and I worked as a dean at a college.

In that role, I encountered students who had every advantage –- their parents paid their full tuition, they lived in beautiful campus dorms.  They had every material possession a college kid could want –- cars, computers, spending money. But when some of them got their first bad grade, they just fell apart.  They lost it, because they were ill-equipped to handle their first encounter with disappointment or falling short.

But, graduates, as you all know, life will put many obstacles in your path that are far worse than a bad grade.  You’ll have unreasonable bosses and difficult clients and patients.  You’ll experience illnesses and losses, crises and setbacks that will come out of nowhere and knock you off your feet.  But unlike so many other young people, you have already developed the resilience and the maturity that you need to pick yourself up and dust yourself off and keep moving through the pain, keep moving forward.  You have developed that muscle.  (Applause.)

And with the education you’ve gotten at this fine school, and the experiences you’ve had in your lives, let me tell you, nothing -– and I mean nothing -– is going to stop you from fulfilling your dreams.  And you deserve every last one of the successes that I know you will have.

But I also want to be very clear that with those successes comes a set of obligations –- to share the lessons you’ve learned here at this school.  The obligation to use the opportunities you’ve had to help others.  That means raising your hand when you get a seat in that board meeting and asking the question, well, whose voices aren’t being heard here?  What ideas are we missing?  It means adding your voice to our national conversation, speaking out for our most cherished values of liberty, opportunity, inclusion, and respect –- the values that you’ve been living here at this school.

It means reaching back to help young people who’ve been left out and left behind, helping them prepare for college, helping them pay for college, making sure that great public universities like this one have the funding and support that they need.  (Applause.)  Because we all know that public universities have always been one of the greatest drivers of our prosperity, lifting countless people into the middle class, creating jobs and wealth all across this nation.

Public education is our greatest pathway to opportunity in America.  So we need to invest in and strengthen our public universities today, and for generations to come. (Applause.)   That is how you will do your part to live up to the oath that you all will take here today –- the oath taken by generations of graduates before you to make your city and your world “greater, better, and more beautiful.”

More than anything else, graduates, that is the American story.  It’s your story and the story of those who came before you at this school.  It’s the story of the son of Polish immigrants named Jonas Salk who toiled for years in a lab until he discovered a vaccine that saved countless lives.  It’s the story of the son of immigrant — Jamaican immigrants named Colin Powell who became a four star general, Secretary of State, and a role model for young people across the country.

And, graduates, it’s the story that I witness every single day when I wake up in a house that was built by slaves, and I watch my daughters –- two beautiful, black young women -– head off to school — (applause) — waving goodbye to their father, the President of the United States, the son of a man from Kenya who came here to American — to America for the same reasons as many of you:  To get an education and improve his prospects in life.

So, graduates, while I think it’s fair to say that our Founding Fathers never could have imagined this day, all of you are very much the fruits of their vision.  Their legacy is very much your legacy and your inheritance.  And don’t let anybody tell you differently.  You are the living, breathing proof that the American Dream endures in our time.  It’s you.

So I want you all to go out there.  Be great.  Build great lives for yourselves.  Enjoy the liberties that you have in this great country.  Pursue your own version of happiness.  And please, please, always, always do your part to help others do the same.

I love you all.  I am so proud of you.  (Applause.)  Thank you for allowing me to share this final commencement with you.  I have so much faith in who you will be.  Just keep working hard and keep the faith.  I can’t wait to see what you all achieve in the years ahead.

Thank you all.  God bless.  Good luck on the road ahead.  (Applause.)

END
12:41 P.M. EDT

Full Text Political Transcripts June 1, 2016: President Barack Obama’s remarks on the Economy in Elkhart, Indiana

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on the Economy

Source:  WH, 6-1-16 

Concord Community High School
Elkhart, Indiana

3:30 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Hello, hello!  (Applause.)  Can everybody please give Kelly a round of applause for the great introduction?  (Applause.)

It is good to be back in Elkhart.  (Applause.)  Great to be back at Concord High School.  (Applause.)  Go Minutemen!  I brought a couple friends of with me — your Senator, Joe Donnelly, is here.  (Applause.)  Your Mayor, Tim Neese, is here.  (Applause.)  I wanted to congratulate everyone graduating tomorrow.  (Applause.)  I just met a couple of the valedictorians, who seem like outstanding young ladies.  My older daughter, Malia, graduates next week.  (Applause.)  So if there are any parents here, I hope you can give me some pointers on how not to cry too much at the ceremony and embarrass her.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Carry some tissues!

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s what I’m going to do!  (Applause.)  If you’ve got a chair, sit down.  Relax.  I’m going to — I’ve got some stuff to say here.  (Applause.)

So I’m not going to talk about the fact that my daughter leaving me is just breaking my heart.  I’m not here to talk about that.  I’m here to talk about the economy.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this is an election year.  (Laughter.)  And it’s a more colorful election season than most.  It’s been a little unusual.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  One more term!

THE PRESIDENT:  No, I can’t do that.  (Laughter.)  The Constitution prohibits it, but, more importantly, Michelle prohibits it.  (Laughter.)

Now, one of the reasons we’re told this has been an unusual election year is because people are anxious and uncertain about the economy.  And our politics are a natural place to channel that frustration.  So I wanted to come to the heartland, to the Midwest, back to close to my hometown to talk about that anxiety, that economic anxiety, and what I think it means.  And what I’ve got to say really boils down to two points — although I’m going to take a long time making these two points.  (Laughter.)

Number one:  America’s economy is not just better than it was eight years ago — it is the strongest, most durable economy in the world.  That’s point number one.  (Applause.)

Point number two:  We can make it even stronger, and expand opportunity for even more people.  But to do that, we have to be honest about what our real challenges are, and we’ve got to make some smart decisions going forward.

Now, Elkhart is a good place to have this conversation, because some of you remember this was the first city I visited as President.  (Applause.)  I had been in office just three weeks when I came here.  We were just a few months into what turned out to be the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes.  Our businesses were losing 800,000 jobs a month.  Our auto industry was about to go under.  Our families were losing their savings and their health insurance, and, as Kelly pointed out, they were in danger of losing their homes.  And Elkhart was hit harder than most.  Unemployment here would peak at 19.6 percent.  That means nearly one in five people here were out of work.  And I told you then that I was going to have your back, and we were going to work hard to bring this economy back.  (Applause.)

So what’s happened since then?  Unemployment in Elkhart has fallen to around 4 percent.  (Applause.)  At the peak of the crisis, nearly one in 10 homeowners in the state of Indiana were either behind on their mortgages or in foreclosure; today, it’s one in 30.  Back then, only 75 percent of your kids graduated from high school; tomorrow, 90 percent of them will.  (Applause.)  The auto industry just had its best year ever.  And the “RV Capital of the World” is doing its part — the industry is set to ship nearly 400,000 RVs this year, which will be an all-time record.  (Applause.)

So that’s progress.  And it’s thanks to you — to the hard work you put in and the sacrifices you made for your families, and the way that you looked out for each other.  But we also wouldn’t have come this far — Elkhart would not have come this far — if we hadn’t made a series of smart decisions, my administration, a cooperative Congress — decisions we made together early on in my administration.

We decided to help the auto industry restructure, and we helped families refinance their homes.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Yes, you did!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  We decided to invest in job training so that folks who lost their jobs could retool.  We decided to invest in things like high-tech manufacturing and clean energy and infrastructure, so that entrepreneurs wouldn’t just bring back the jobs that we had lost, but create new and better jobs, and folks who had lost work from the construction industry because the housing market had collapsed could go back to work rebuilding America.

And we can see the results not just here in Elkhart, but across the nation.  By almost every economic measure, America is better off than when I came here at the beginning of my presidency.  That’s the truth.  That’s true.  (Applause.)  It’s true.  (Applause.)  Over the past six years, our businesses have created more than 14 million new jobs — that’s the longest stretch of consecutive private sector job growth in our history.  We’ve seen the first sustained manufacturing growth since the 1990s.  We cut unemployment in half, years before a lot of economists thought we would.  We’ve cut the oil that we buy from foreign countries by more than half, doubled the clean energy that we produce.  For the first time ever, more than 90 percent of the country has health insurance.  (Applause.)

In fact, a poll that was out just last week says that two out of three Americans think their own family’s financial situation is in pretty good shape.  But we know a lot of people are still feeling stressed about their economic future.  The pundits, they say one of the reasons the Republican Party has picked the candidate that it has —

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  No booing.  We’re voting, we’re not booing.
(Applause.)  But if you watch the talking heads on TV, they all say, the reason that folks are angry is because nobody has paid enough attention to the plight of working Americans in communities like these.  That’s what they say.

Now, look, I’m the first to admit my presidency hasn’t fixed everything.  We’ve had setbacks.  We’ve had false starts.  We’ve, frankly, been stuck with a Congress recently that’s opposed pretty much everything that we’ve tried to do.  But I also know that I’ve spent every single day of my presidency focused on what I can do to grow the middle class and increase jobs, and boost wages, and make sure every kid in America gets the same kind of opportunities Michelle and I did.  (Applause.)  I know that.  I know that communities like Elkhart haven’t been forgotten in my White House.  And the results prove that our focus has paid off.  Elkhart proves it.

Now, where we haven’t finished the job, where folks have good reason to feel anxious, is addressing some of the longer-term trends in the economy — that started long before I was elected — that make working families feel less secure.  These are trends that have been happening for decades now and that we’ve got to do more to reverse.  Let me be clear about what those are.

Despite the drop in unemployment, wages are still growing too slowly, and that makes it harder to pay for college or save for retirement.  (Applause.)  Inequality is still too high.  The gap between rich and poor is bigger now than it’s been just about any time since the 1920s.  The rise of global competition and automation of more and more jobs; the race of technology — all these trends have left many workers behind, and they’ve let a few at the top collect extraordinary wealth and influence like never before.  And that kind of changes our politics.  So all these trends make it easy for people to feel that somehow the system is rigged and that the American Dream is increasingly hard to reach for ordinary folks.  And there are plenty of politicians that are preying on that frustration for headlines and for votes.

Now, I am a politician for another six months or so — (applause) — but I’m not running again.

AUDIENCE:  Aww —

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.  (Laughter.)  Besides, while I may have won the state of Indiana just barely in 2008 — (applause) — I know I lost the vote in Elkhart.  (Laughter.)  I definitely got whooped here in 2012.  I know I don’t poll all that well in this county.  So I’m not here looking for votes.

I am here because I care deeply, as a citizen, about making sure we sustain and build on all the work that communities like yours have done to bring America back over these last seven and a half years.  And I came here precisely because this county votes Republican.  That’s one of the reasons I came here.  Because if the economy is really what’s driving this election, then it’s going to be voters like you that have to decide between two very different visions of what’s going to help strengthen our middle class.  (Applause.)  And you’re going to have to make that decision.

So let me be as straight as I can be about the choice of economic policies that you are going to face.  And I’m going to start with the story that not every Republican but most Republican candidates up and down the ticket are telling.  And it goes something like this — and I think this is pretty fair, and if you don’t, then you can look it up.  So their basic story is:  America’s working class, America’s middle class — families like yours — have been victimized by a big, bloated federal government run by a bunch of left-wing elitists like me.  And the government is taking your hard-earned tax dollars and it’s giving them to freeloaders and welfare cheats.  And we’re strangling business with endless regulations.  And this federal government is letting immigrants and foreigners steal whatever jobs Obamacare hasn’t killed yet.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, look, I’m being serious here.  I mean, that’s the story that’s been told.  And I haven’t turned on Fox News or listened to conservative talk radio yet today, but I’ve turned them on enough over these past seven and a half years to know I’m not exaggerating in terms of their story. That’s the story they tell.  You can hear it from just about every member of Congress on the other side of the aisle.  And instead of telling you what they’re for, they’ve defined their economic agenda by what they’re against — and that’s mainly being against me.  And their basic message is anti-government, anti-immigrant, anti-trade, and, let’s face it, it’s anti-change.

And look, a lot of people believe it.  And if what they were saying were true, I suppose it would make sense to run on a platform of just rolling back everything we’ve done over these past seven and a half years, and happy days would be here again.  If what they were saying was true, then just being against whatever it is that we’ve done might make sense.  But what they’re saying isn’t true.  And if we’re going to fix what’s really wrong with the economy, we’ve got to understand that.

So let me just do some quick myth-busting.  And I’m going to start with the biggest myth, which is that the federal government keeps growing and growing and growing, and wasting your money and giving your tax dollars to people who don’t deserve it.

Now, here’s the truth — you can look it up.  These journalists here, they can do some fact-checking.  As a share of the economy, we spend less on domestic priorities outside of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — we spend less than we did when Ronald Reagan was President.  (Applause.)  When President Reagan or George W. Bush held this job, our deficits got bigger.  When Bill Clinton and I have held this job, deficits have gotten smaller.  (Applause.)  Our deficits have not grown these past seven and a half years; we’ve actually cut the deficit by almost 75 percent.  (Applause.)

Moreover, there are fewer families on welfare than in the 1990s.  Funding has been frozen for two decades.  There’s not a whole bunch of giveaways going on right now.  Aside from our obligation to care for the elderly and Americans with disabilities, the vast majority of people who get help from the federal government are families of all backgrounds who are working, striving to get back on their feet, striving to get back into the middle class.  And sometimes, yes, their kids need temporary help from food stamps when mom and dad are between jobs.  But look, these kids didn’t cause the financial crisis.  These kids aren’t spending us into bankruptcy.  They’re not what’s holding back the middle class.  And, by the way, neither is Obamacare.  (Applause.)

Let’s look at the numbers.  Again, I just want to — I’m just giving facts here.  I will have some opinions later, but right now I’m just giving facts.  I signed the Affordable Care Act into law over six years ago.  Since then, our businesses have created jobs every single month.  We did this while covering 20 million Americans who didn’t have health insurance; ending discrimination against preexisting conditions for everybody, including those who had health insurance — (applause) — and dramatically slowing the rate in which health care costs were going up.

In the decade before Obamacare, employer-based premiums grew by an average of 8 percent a year.  That meant you were paying that much more every year for health insurance.  Last year, they grew by 4 percent — half as fast as they were growing.  That doesn’t mean you’re happy about the 4 percent, but it wasn’t 8.  Today, the average family’s health insurance premium is $2,600 less than it would have been if premiums had kept on going up at the pace before Obamacare.  (Applause.)  And, by the way, just for folks here in Indiana, last year, most Hoosiers who shopped around for Obamacare on HealthCare.gov found plans that cost 75 bucks a month or less.  For the millions of Americans who buy on HealthCare.gov, they get tax credits to help them pay for it.  The average price increase this year has been four bucks a month.  There hasn’t been a double-digit percentage hike — four bucks a month.

But my bigger point is to bust this myth of crazy liberal government spending.  Government spending is not what is squeezing the middle class.

Myth number two is the notion that my administration has killed jobs through overregulation.  Back in the ‘60s and the ‘70s, government was adding all kinds of regulations — rules protecting workers’ rights, rules protecting the environment.  And these regulations to improve public health and safety, they didn’t crush economic growth that took place back in the ‘60s and the ‘70s, and they’re not crushing economic growth now.

I’ve issued fewer regulations than my predecessor.  I’ve issued fewer executive orders than any two-term President since Ulysses S. Grant — that’s a long time ago.  (Applause.)  The regulations that we have issued — rules to protect our air and our water, rules to keep families from getting cheated when buying a house or investing their savings — those rules have benefited our economy a lot more than they’ve cost.  They’ve helped families, they’ve helped the middle class — they haven’t hurt them.

Here’s myth number three:  Other countries are killing us on trade.  Now, it is true that a lot of supporters of trade deals in the past sometimes oversold all the good that it was going to do for the economy.  The truth is, the benefits of trade are usually widely spread — it’s one of the reasons why you can buy that big, flat-screen TV for a couple hundred bucks, and why the cost of a lot of basic necessities have gone down.  Some parts of the economy, like the agricultural sector or the tech sector have really done well with trade.  Some sectors and communities have been hurt by foreign competition.

And what’s also true is sometimes the pain of a plant closing here in America is magnified when you know that other countries are cheating.  They’re keeping American goods out of their markets, they’re unfairly subsidizing their businesses to undercut our businesses.  And a lot of the worst violators, they don’t even have trade deals with us at all.

So here’s what we’ve done.  Over the past seven years, we’ve brought more trade cases against other countries for cheating than anybody else.  Every case that’s been decided, America has won.  That’s what we’ve done.  (Applause.)  Making sure that we’ve got a level playing field.

But the truth is, trade has helped our country a lot more than it’s hurt us.  Exports helped lead us out of the recession.  Companies that export pay workers higher wages than folks who don’t export.  And anybody who says that somehow shutting ourselves off from trade is going to bring jobs back, they’re just not telling the truth.

In fact, most of the manufacturing jobs that we lost over the past decade, they weren’t the result of trade deals — they were the result of technology and automation that lets businesses make more stuff with fewer workers.  If you go into an auto plant these days — used to need several thousand workers, now they need a thousand workers to produce the same number of cars just because there are robots and there are machines that have replaced a lot of the work.  That’s true in offices, too, by the way — think about bank tellers, the last time you dealt with one of those, because now you’ve got ATM machines.

So we can’t put technology back in a box any more than we can cut ourselves off from the global supply chain.  All the RVs that are manufactured right here, I guarantee you, some of those parts came from someplace else.  And then we sell them back to other parts of the world.

And no matter how many tariffs we’re threatening to slap on other countries’ goods, no matter how many trade wars we start saying we’re going to put in place, that’s not going to help middle-class families here.  In fact, independent economists say a trade war would trigger another recession and cost millions of jobs.  So when you hear somebody threatening to cut off trade and saying that that’s standing up for American workers, that’s just not true.

Here’s the fourth myth:  That immigrants are taking all of our jobs.  Now I want to look — let’s look at the numbers.  Right now, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is near its lowest level in 40 years.  (Applause.)  It’s near its lowest level in 40 years.  It’s lower than when it was before I came into office, it’s lower than during Ronald Reagan’s time.  It’s true that new immigrants sometimes compete for service and construction jobs.  But they also start about 30 percent of all new businesses in America.  (Applause.)  Everybody thinks that immigrants come here and then they’re getting all this stuff from the government.  Immigrants pay a lot more in taxes than they receive in services.  (Applause.)

But most important, immigrants are not the main reason wages haven’t gone up for middle-class families.  Those decisions are made in the boardrooms of companies where top CEOs are getting paid more than 300 times the income of the average worker.  (Applause.)  So deporting 11 million immigrants — not only is that a fantasy that would cost taxpayers billions of dollars and tear families apart and just, logistically, would be impossible.  Even if it were possible, it wouldn’t do anything to seriously help the middle class.  Now, what would help is if we fixed our immigration system the way I’ve proposed, so that everybody plays by the rules, so that we’ve got strong border security.  But we also are making sure that families who have been here, like, 10 years, 20 years, that they’re out of the shadows, they’re paying taxes, they’re going through a background check.  That would grow our economy faster.  That would shrink our deficits further.  We just need a Congress that’s willing to make it happen.  We need a Congress that’s willing to make it happen.

So, look, here’s my main point:  The primary story that Republicans have been telling about the economy is not supported by the facts.  It’s just not.  They repeat it a lot — (laughter) — but it’s not supported by the facts.  But they say it anyway.  Now, why is that?  It’s because it has worked to get them votes, at least at the congressional level.

Because — and here, look, I’m just being blunt with you — by telling hardworking, middle-class families that the reason they’re getting squeezed is because of some moochers at the bottom of the income ladder, because of minorities, or because of immigrants, or because of public employees, or because of feminists — (laughter) — because of poor folks who aren’t willing to work, they’ve been able to promote policies that protect powerful special interests and those who are at the very top of the economic pyramid.  That’s just the truth.  (Applause.)

I hope you don’t mind me being blunt about this, but I’ve been listening to this stuff for a while now.  (Laughter.)  And I’m concerned when I watch the direction of our politics.  I mean, we have been hearing this story for decades.  Tales about welfare queens, talking about takers, talking about the “47 percent.”  It’s the story that is broadcast every day on some cable news stations, on right-wing radio, it’s pumped into cars, and bars, and VFW halls all across America, and right here in Elkhart.

And if you’re hearing that story all the time, you start believing it.  It’s no wonder people think big government is the problem.  No wonder public support for unions is so low.  (Applause.)  No wonder that people think that the deficit has gone up under my presidency when it’s actually gone down.  (Applause.)  No wonder that — they did a survey, a lot of white Americans think reverse discrimination is as big a problem as discrimination against minorities, even though black unemployment is twice as high as white unemployment.  And the typical Hispanic woman makes 55 cents for every dollar a white man earns, and there are only a handful of women running Fortune 500 companies.

But that’s the story that’s been told.  And I’m here to say, Elkhart, seven and a half years since I first came here, we’ve got to challenge the assumptions behind this economic story.  (Applause.)  And the reason is it has ended up dividing Americans who actually have common economic interests and should be working together for a better deal from the people who serve them.  And it’s made people cynical about government, and it’s kept working families from pushing our political system to actually address our economic challenges in a realistic way.  Families of all races, and all backgrounds, deserve higher wages.  Families of all races, and all backgrounds, deserve quality health care and decent retirement savings.  (Applause.)  Every child in this country deserves an education that lets them dream bigger than the circumstances in which they’re born.  (Applause.)

You know, look, in today’s economy, we can’t put up walls around America.  We’re not going to round up 11 million people.  We’re not going to put technology back in the box.  We’re not going to rip away hard-earned rights of women and minorities and Americans with disabilities so that they’re able to more fairly and fully participate in the workplace.  These are permanent fixtures in our economy.  And rolling them back will not help folks in Elkhart or anyplace else.

And if we’re going to transform our politics so that they’re actually responsive to working families and are actually growing the middle class, then we’ve got to stop pitting working Americans against one another.  We’re going to have to come together and choose a vision of America where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody does their fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules.  (Applause.)  And that’s the vision that made progress possible over these last seven years.  And that’s what’s going to lead us forward now.

Now, this isn’t a State of the Union Address — I already gave my last one.  (Laughter.)  But in the time remaining, I do want to offer some suggestions that I think would actually help give everybody who works hard a fair shot at opportunity and security in today’s economy.  And you’ve heard some of these things before, but it’s worth repeating because they’re true.

Number one:  Let’s get wages rising faster.  (Applause.)  Now, here’s the good news:  Wages are actually growing at a rate of about 3 percent so far this year.  That’s the good news.  Working Americans are finally getting a little bigger piece of the pie.  But we’ve got to accelerate that.  That’s why, for example, my administration recently took new action to help millions of workers finally collect the overtime pay that they have earned.  That’s going to help.  (Applause.)  But we should also raise the minimum wage high enough so that if somebody is working full time, they’re not living in poverty.  (Applause.)   Some states, some cities have done it, but we need a national law.  We should make sure women get equal pay for equal work.  That’s something we should all agree on.  (Applause.)  That shouldn’t be a partisan issue.  Republicans have got daughters too.  They shouldn’t want them to get paid less than somebody’s boy for doing the same job.  If you care about working families getting a bigger paycheck, then that’s a clear choice for you right there.

We also need to give workers a bigger voice in the economy.  Now, one of the reasons that wages have not grown faster over the last couple of decades is because some politicians, some businesses, some laws have undermined the ability of workers to bargain for a better deal, and that needs to change.  (Applause.)  We always talk about — folks taking about the good old days.  Well, let me tell you something, in the good old days, 50 years ago, more than one in four American workers belonged to a union — one in four.  (Applause.)

The reason all those manufacturing jobs that everybody wants to get back, the reason they paid well was because folks were unionized in those plants.  (Applause.)  And they not only negotiated for good wages, but also good benefits, and they had a pension plan that they could count on.  So it used to be one in four were members of unions; today it’s about one in 10.  And it’s not a coincidence that as union membership shrank, inequality grew and wages stagnated, and workers got a smaller share of the economic pie.

So I just want everybody to remember this — a lot of those good jobs people miss, a lot of those good manufacturing jobs that everybody is always talking about, those were union jobs.  (Applause.)  And when I — it’s great to get all riled up about low wages and lousy workers standards in other countries, but let’s get riled up about that stuff here, too.  (Applause.)  America should not be changing our laws to make it harder for workers to organize, we should be changing our laws to make it easier and encourage new forms of worker organizations that can give them more of a voice and more of a say in the economy.

And by the way, I want to be clear:  There are a lot of terrific business leaders who have figured out that doing right by their workers isn’t just good for their workers, it’s good for their bottom line, because that means they’ve got more customers.  It means their communities are doing better.  (Applause.)  There are plenty of business owners right here in Elkhart who exhibited that spirit throughout the recession.  So we should lift up good corporate citizens like that so that more businesses across America follow their lead.  But that’s priority number one — getting wages to grow faster.

Priority number two:  We need to better prepare our children and our workers for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of tomorrow.  (Applause.)  Now, we actually know what works here, we just don’t do it.  We know early childhood education works.  (Applause.)  And we should invest in smart ways of doing it across the country, especially because child care costs take up a huge share of a family budget.  We know that we have to make college more affordable and job training more available.  (Applause.)  And one way to do that is to provide two years of community college for free for every responsible student.  (Applause.)  There are mayors and there are governors who are already doing good work on these issues across party lines.  They’ve shown the way.  Now we need Congress to do the same.

Number three:  One of the reasons wages grew so quickly in the ‘50s and the ‘60s and the ‘70s is because we had a government that put people to work building highways, and building bridges, and building airports, and exploring new frontiers in space and science, and investing in research and development.  And it led to countless new discoveries and innovations, and it educated a new generation of workers with public colleges where tuition was low, and a GI Bill.

And I just have to say, too often, Republicans in Congress are blocking investments like these for no other reason than this cult of small government that they keep repeating.  But you know what, it’s been a drag on the economy.  It made us recover slower than we should have.  It’s been a drag on jobs.  It’s been a drag on wages.  And it’s pennywise and pound foolish because if the economy is growing slower, you take in less tax dollars.  You’d be better off putting people back to work — then they’re paying taxes, the economy is getting stronger, and deficits can actually go down.  We should be making smart investments that help us all succeed.  (Applause.)

Fourth, in the new economy, we’ve got to make it easier for working Americans to save for retirement or bounce back from a lost job.  Because let’s be honest — most Americans don’t have the same benefits package or job security as their member of Congress.  I’m just saying.  They’ve got a pretty good deal.

That was part of what Obamacare is all about, right?  What it did was fill in the gaps so that if you lost your job, or you went back to school, or you decided to start a new business, you could go and compare and buy quality, affordable coverage and get a tax credit for it.  And despite the predictions, it’s working.  And, by the way, it would work ever better if we had more governors and legislators willing to do what Mike Pence did, to his credit, and expand Medicaid.  That was a decision that helped more than 300,000 Hoosiers.  (Applause.)

So we need fewer folks in Congress who side with the special interests.  We need more who are willing to work with us to lower health care costs, give us the funding we need to fight public health challenges like Zika and the opioid epidemic — Joe Donnelly is working on that diligently.  (Applause.)  So those are things we could get done that would relieve a lot of worry for a lot of families.

And then we have to tackle retirement security.  That’s something that keeps a lot of people up at night.  That’s why we’ve taken actions already to make it easier for more workers to save through their jobs, to make sure that when you do save, you’re getting advice that’s not in Wall Street’s best interest, but in your best interest.

But look, let’s face it — a lot of Americans don’t have retirement savings.  Even if they’ve got an account set up, they just don’t have enough money at the end of the month to save as much as they’d like because they’re just barely paying the bills.  Fewer and fewer people have pensions they can really count on, which is why Social Security is more important than ever.  (Applause.)  We can’t afford to weaken Social Security.  We should be strengthening Social Security.  And not only do we need to strengthen its long-term health, it’s time we finally made Social Security more generous, and increased its benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they’ve earned.  (Applause.)  And we could start paying for it by asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute a little bit more.  They can afford it.  I can afford it.  (Applause.)

A fifth way to make the new economy work for everybody is actually to make sure trade works for us and not against us.  Again, walling ourselves off from other countries, that’s not going to do it.  A lot of tough talk that doesn’t mean anything is not going to do it.  Here’s what will make a difference:  Making sure other countries raise their labor standards, raise their environmental standards to levels that we set.  And that’s what we did with this trade deal we call Trans-Pacific Partnership.  We negotiated with 11 other countries.  If you don’t like NAFTA, this TPP trade deal overhauls NAFTA with enforceable, much stronger labor and environmental standards, which means that they won’t undercut us as easily.

If you don’t want China to set the rules for the 21st century — and they’re trying — then TPP makes sure that we set the rules.  So the choice is simple:  If you want to help China, then you shouldn’t pass this trade deal that we negotiated.  If you want to help America, you need to pass it.  Because it’s going to cut taxes that other countries put on our products.  It raises other countries’ standards to ours.  That’s how we’re going to help middle-class families.  That’s how we secure better wages for our workers.  And that’s how we compete on a level playing field, and when we’re on a level playing field, America wins every time — every time.  (Applause.)

One last suggestion, and that is making sure the economy works for everybody by strengthening, and not weakening, the rules that keep Wall Street in check and goes after folks who avoid paying their fair share of taxes.  (Applause.)

After the financial crisis, we passed the toughest Wall Street reforms in history.  We passed the toughest Wall Street reforms in history, and by the way, the bank bailout that everybody was mad about?  They had to pay back every dime, and they did — with interest.  (Applause.)  And then we passed laws to make sure we didn’t have something like that happen again.  And they’re making a difference.  The biggest banks have to carry twice the amount of capital that they did before the crisis — that makes another crisis less likely.   We’ve got new tools to guard against another “too big to fail” situation.  We’ve put in place a new consumer watchdog that has already secured more than $10 billion for families who were cheated by irresponsible lending or irresponsible credit card practices.

And guess what?  Ever since we passed this thing, the big banks — working with a lot of members of Congress on the other side of the aisle — they have teamed up to try to roll back these rules every single year.  Every year, they’ve been trying to roll them back.  And the Republican nominee for President has already said he’d dismantle all these rules that we passed.  That is crazy.  (Applause.)  Have we — no, look, I mean, sometimes — I’ll be honest with you.  Sometimes I just don’t get it.  (Laughter.)  How it is that somebody could propose that we weaken regulations on Wall Street?  Have we really forgotten what just happened eight years ago?  (Applause.)  It hasn’t been that long ago.  And because of their reckless behavior, you got hurt.  And the notion that you would vote for anybody who would now allow them to go back to doing the same stuff that almost broke our economy’s back makes no sense.  (Applause.)

I don’t care whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or an independent — why would you do that?  (Applause.)  Less oversight on Wall Street would only make another crisis more likely.  Letting credit card companies write their own rules — that’s only going to hurt working families.  It sure as heck wouldn’t make the middle class more secure.  How can you say you’re for the middle class and then you want to tear down these rules?

We’ve also been cracking down on tax loopholes, like the ones that allow corporations to change their addresses — they say they’re an overseas company, even though they’re all located here, so that they don’t have to pay taxes in America.  We’ve cracked down on tax cheats who are trying to hide their wealth in offshore accounts.  You don’t get to avoid paying your taxes.  Why should they?  (Applause.)

But I’ve got to say, the folks on the other side of the aisle have opposed our efforts to close these loopholes.  How do they explain it?  When big corporations and wealthy individuals don’t pay their fair share of taxes — and by the way, a lot of people do, so I’m not painting with a broad brush here, but there are a lot of folks who don’t — when they don’t pay their fair share of taxes, it means either you’re paying more or it means we don’t have enough revenue to support things like rebuilding our roads or funding our public universities, which means tuition goes up and then you’re trying to figure out how to pay for your kid’s college education.

We should have closed these loopholes a long time ago, and Lord knows I have tried every year in my budget.  We should have used some of the savings that we get from them paying their fair share to give tax breaks that would actually help working families pay for child care, or would help you send your kids to college, or would help you save for retirement.

The point is, if we want a strong middle class, our tax code should reflect that.  My first term, we cut taxes by $3,600 for the typical middle-class family.  Middle-class families have paid lower federal income tax rates during my presidency than during any other time since the 1950s — that’s this big-spending, liberal, tax-and-spend Democrat.  That’s the truth.  Look it up.  (Applause.)

But the wealthiest Americans are still paying far lower rates than they used to.  When I ran for office, I said we’d reverse the tax cuts that had been put in place by the previous President and Congress for wealthy individuals, and we did that.  We asked them to pay the top rate they did under Bill Clinton, when the economy, by the way, was booming and we ran a surplus.  They all said, this is going to be a disaster and we’re going to go into a recession, and we didn’t.

But today, even as the top 1 percent is doing better than ever for all the reasons I talked about earlier, the Republican nominee for President’s tax plan would give the top one-tenth of 1 percent — not the top 1 percent, the top one-tenth of 1 percent — a bigger tax cut than the 120 million American households at the bottom.  It would explode our deficits by nearly $10 trillion.  I’m not making this up.  (Laughter.)  You can look at the math.  (Applause.)  That will not bring jobs back.  That is not fighting for the American middle class.  That will not help us win.  That is not going to make your lives better.  That will help people like him.  That’s the truth.  (Applause.)

So you have a choice to make, Elkhart.  You do — between more or less inequality.  Between stacking the deck for the folks who are already doing great or making sure everybody has a chance to succeed.  That’s the economic choice you face.  That’s what’s at stake in this election — two very different vision for our economy.  I hope I’ve broken it down for you.

Now, let me say this:  I understand that not everybody votes based on their economic interests.  Not everybody votes just based on the economy.  We’re more than just a matter of dollars and cents.  Some folks care deeply about our Second Amendment rights.  Some folks care about marriage equality.  Some folks care about abortion.  Some folks are going to vote based on national security, or their worries about terrorism.  They may think that we haven’t done the right thing on any of those issues, and that the Republicans have a better answer.  We can have that debate.  That’s fine.  Those are all issues very worthy of debate.

But if what you care about in this election is your pocketbook, if what you’re concerned about is who will look out for the interests of working people and grow the middle class, if that’s what you’re concerned about, then the debate — then if that’s that you’re concerned about — the economy — the debate is not even close.  One path would lead to lower wages.  It would eliminate worker protections.  It would cut investments in things like education.  It would weaken the safety net.  It would kick people off health insurance.  It would let China write the rules for the global economy.  It would let Big Oil weaken rules that protect our air and water.  It would let big banks weaken rules that protect families from getting cheated.  It would cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans to historic lows.  Those are the facts.

And I know it sounds like a strange agenda for politicians who are claiming to care about you and working families.  But those are their plans.  You can find it on their websites.  And when I hear working families thinking about voting for those plans, then I want to have an intervention.  (Laughter and applause.)  I want you to just take a look at what you’re talking about here.  (Applause.)

And if you tell me, you know what, Mr. President, you may be right, but I just disapprove of what Democrats stand for on gay rights, or on going after ISIL — then I’m fine.  Okay, I hear you.  The economy is not everything.  If you tell me, you know what, you may be right, but I just believe as a matter of principle that government should be small and the wealthy, they work harder than everybody else and they should be able to keep what they got — all right, well, you’re making a philosophical argument.  I got you.

But don’t think that actually — that this agenda is going to help you.  It’s not designed to help you.  And the evidence of the last 30 years, not to mention common sense, should tell you that their answers to our challenges are no answers at all.  (Applause.)

Fortunately, there’s another path that leads to more jobs, and higher wages, and better benefits, and a stronger safety net, and a fairer tax code, and a bigger voice for workers, and trade on our terms.  And it will make a real difference for the prospects of working families.  And we’ll grow the middle class.

So that’s the choice you face, Elkhart.  The ideas I’ve laid out today, I want to be clear:  They’re not going to solve every problem.  They’re not going to make everybody financially secure overnight.  We’re still going to be facing global competition.  Trying to make sure that all our kids are prepared for the 21st century workforce, that’s a 20-year project, that’s not a two-year project.  We’re still going to have to make sure that we’re paying for Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare as our populations get older.  There are still going to be a bunch of issues out there.

But the agenda I’m putting forward will point us in the right direction.  And the one thing I can promise you is if we turn against each other based on divisions of race or religion, if we fall for a bunch of okie-doke just because it sounds funny or the tweets are provocative, then we’re not going to build on the progress that we’ve started.  If we get cynical and just vote our fears, or if we don’t vote at all, we won’t build on the progress that we started.

We’ve got to come together around our common values — our faith in hard work.  Our faith in responsibility.  Our belief in opportunity for everybody.  We’ve got to assume the best in each other, not the worst.  We’ve got to remember that sometimes, we all fall on hard times, and it’s part of our jobs as a community of Americans to help folks up when they fall.  (Applause.)  Because whatever our differences, we all love this country.  We all care about our children’s futures.  That’s what makes us great.  That’s what makes us progress and become better versions of ourselves — because we believe in each other.  (Applause.)

That’s what’s going to get us through our toughest moments.  That’s how we know something better is around the bend.  There’s going to be some setbacks along the way, but we know that our journey is not finished, and we know that with steady, persistent, collective effort, we’re going to deliver a brighter day for our children and our children’s children.  That’s what you proved, Elkhart, over these last seven years.  That’s what you’ve shown America.  Let’s keep on showing it.

Thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  (Applause.)

END
4:28 P.M. EDT

 

Full Text Political Transcripts May 31, 2016: Transcript of Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills’s deposition in Judicial Watch email case

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Transcript of Hillary Clinton aide Cheryl Mills’s deposition in Judicial Watch email case

Source: Judicial Watch, 5-31-16

Transcript Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Date: May 27, 2016
Case: Judicial Watch, Inc. -v- U.S. Department State
Planet Depos, LLC
Phone: 888-433-3767
Fax: 888-503-3767
Email: transcripts@planetdepos.com
Internet: http://www.planetdepos.com
Worldwide Court Reporting Interpretation Trial Services
Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA
————–x
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.,
Plaintiff, Civil Action No.
U.S. DEPARTMENT STATE, 13-cv-1363(EGS)
Defendant.
————–X
Videotaped Deposition CHERYL MILLS, ESQ.
Washington,
Friday, May 27, 2016
9:25 a.m.
Job No.: 112361
Reported by: Debra Whitehead
APPEARANCES BEHALF PLAINTIFF:
RAMONA COTCA, ESQUIRE
JAMES PETERSON, ESQUIRE
MICHAEL BEKESHA, ESQUIRE
PAUL ORFANEDES, ESQUIRE
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
425 Third Street,
Suite 800
Washington, 20024
(202) 646-5172 BEHALF DEFENDANT:
ELIZABETH SHAPIRO, ESQUIRE
MARCIA BERMAN, ESQUIRE
STEVEN MYERS, ESQUIRE
LARA NICOLE BERLIN, ESQUIRE
U.S. DEPARTMENT JUSTICE
CIVIL DIVISION Massachusetts Avenue,
Washington, 20530
(202) 514-2205
Videotaped Deposition CHERYL MILLS, ESQ.,
held the offices of:
PLANET DEPOS
1100 Connecticut Avenue,
Suite 950
Washington, 20036
(888) 433-3767
Pursuant notice, before Debra Whitehead,
Approved Reporter the United States District Court
and Notary Public the District Columbia.
APPEARANCES CONTINUED BEHALF THE WITNESS:
BETH WILKINSON, ESQUIRE
HAL BREWSTER, ESQUIRE
ALEXANDRA WALSH, ESQUIRE
WILKINSON WALSH ESKOVITZ
1900 Street,
Suite 800
Washington, 20036
(202) 847-4000
ALSO PRESENT:
JEREMY DINEEN, Video Specialist
THOMAS FITTON, President, Judicial Watch
GREGORY LAUDADIO, Judicial Watch
PLANET DEPOS
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages
CONTENTS
EXAMINATION CHERYL MILLS, ESQ. Ms. Cotca
PAGE Ms. Wilkinson
255 Ms. Berman
262 Ms. Cotca
263
EXHIBITS
(Attached the Transcript)
DEPOSITION EXHIBIT
PAGE
Exhibit Subpoena Testify
Deposition Civil Action
Exhibit E-mail String
Exhibit E-mail String
Exhibit 12/5/14 Letter from Ms. Mills The Honorable Patrick Kennedy
Exhibit E-mail String
Exhibit E-mail Strings
122
Exhibit E-mail Strings
146
Exhibit E-mail Strings
155
Exhibit E-mail Strings
163
Exhibit E-mail String
174
PROCEEDINGS
(Deposition Exhibit marked for
identification and attached the transcript.)
VIDEO SPECIALIST: Here begins Tape Number the videotaped deposition Cheryl Mills
the matter Judicial Watch, Inc., versus the U.S.
Department State, the U.S. District Court for
the District Columbia, Case Number 13-CV-1363.
Todays date May 27, 2016. The time
the video monitor 9:25. The videographer today Jeremy Dineen, representing Planet Depos. This
video deposition taking place Planet Depos,
1100 Connecticut Avenue, Northwest, Washington,
DC.
Would counsel please voice-identify
themselves and state whom they represent.
MS. COTCA: Ramona Cotca, for Judicial
Watch.
MR. ORFANEDES: Paul Orfanedes, for
Judicial Watch.
MR. BEKESHA: Michael Bekesha, for
Judicial Watch.
EXHIBITS CONTINUED
DEPOSITION EXHIBIT
PAGE
Exhibit E-mail Strings
216
Exhibit 1/27/16 Letter from Senator
218
Grassley The Honorable
John Kerry
MR. PETERSON: James Peterson, for
Judicial Watch.
MR. FITTON: Tom Fitton, President
Judicial Watch.
MR. LAUDADIO: Gregory Laudadio, for
Judicial Watch.
MS. BERLIN: Lara Berlin, Department
State.
MR. MYERS: Steven Myers from the Justice
Department, behalf State.
MR. BREWSTER: Hal Brewster, representing
Cheryl Mills.
MS. SHAPIRO: Elizabeth Shapiro, for the
Department State and the witness her capacity former State Department employee.
MS. BERMAN: Marcia Berman, from the
Department Justice, representing the State
Department and Ms. Mills her official capacity former State Department employee.
MS. WALSH: Alexandra Walsh, for Cheryl
Mills.
MS. WILKINSON: Beth Wilkinson, for Cheryl
PLANET DEPOS
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 12)
Mills.
THE WITNESS: Cheryl Mills.
VIDEO SPECIALIST: The court reporter
today Debbie Whitehead, representing Planet
Depos.
Would the reporter please swear the
witness.
CHERYL MILLS, ESQ.,
having been duly sworn, testified follows:
EXAMINATION COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF MS. COTCA: Good morning, Ms. Mills. Thanks very much
for coming. Thank you. introduced myself, Ramona Cotca,
and represent Judicial Watch this matter.
you could please just for the record identify your
name just one more time? name Cheryl Mills. Okay. Ms. Mills, know youre
attorney, you may very well familiar with
depositions, but just want over some ground you can and and Ill try best so. Thank you. Will you that? (No verbal response.) Okay. may take while. There are
lot attorneys the room. not sure the
other side will have any questions you.
But you need break any point, let know. Well happy Ill happy try
come good stopping point for break. But
well also try have routine breaks, necessary.
Just let know. that fair? Thank you. Sure. you know, youve been sworn in.
You understand that the deposition taken under
oath. are there any reasons why you would
not able answer truthfully here today? Not that know of. Okay. think that covers all the ground
rules. theres anything that comes mind, Ill
rules beforehand. appreciate that. Sure thing. you can see, there court reporter
here, and the deposition being videotaped. can get clear transcript
everything thats being said here, would just
ask well, first, will make sure let you
finish answering questions, let you finish
answering. And then you could just let finish
asking question, dont speak over each
other and have clear transcript. that fair? Sure. Okay. Also, you could please provide
verbal responses rather than head nods that would
helpful for the court reporter well, and for
when ahead and read the transcript after
today.
The other thing would say, there
question that you not understand you need some
clarification, please let know. you not,
will assume that you would have understood it.
let you know. Thank you. Sure. just want briefly over
your youre attorney. you can just tell
briefly your education background, college and law
school. went the University Virginia for
undergraduate, and then for law school went
Stanford University out California. Okay. And when did you graduate from
Virginia, from UVA? have say that? old. graduated from UVA 1987, and
graduated from Stanford Law School 1990. Okay. Great. Thank you. And right out law school, you went law firm. that right? did. went work Hogan Hartson,
which law firm here Washington, DC, though
their name has now changed. Okay. And what did you for them,
practice litigator, which
PLANET DEPOS
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 16) represented school districts that were
still seeking implement the promises Brown vs.
The Board Education. Okay. that litigation? was conglomerate activities,
but also included litigation. Okay. And then after that? After that went work the White
House. the in-between period went and worked the Clinton campaign and the transition. And
then went work the White House, and was
the the White House for about seven years. Okay. And when did you start working
the White House? Not specific date, but year-wise. Oh, know. would have been
1993. 1993. God, old. Okay. Sorry. Okay. 1993 then takes you 99? 1993 takes about 1999, thats right. the White House. Okay.
And you can just tell me, what was
House.
MS. BERMAN: Ill join that objection.
MS. COTCA: dont dont need
with everything that was done the White House
but, rather, with respect the background
Ms. Mills the context litigating and her
experience with subpoenas for documents, requests
for documents litigation. Which goes FOIA
requests that may have come litigations that may
have come the Secretarys office. And her
background and experience that relevant the
scope.
MS. WILKINSON: Maybe you can rephrase
the question and ask it, you know, with more more
particularity, she can answer.
MS. COTCA: Sure. Sure. MS. COTCA: Ms. Mills, while you were the White
House, were you involved did your work all
include involve responding subpoenas for
documents litigations and discovery requests with
respect document requests?
what was your position the White House? And changed over time, you can just tell what
you started with and where you ended. started associate counsel, and
ended deputy counsel. Okay. And how long were you associate
counsel there? Four years so. Four years. And then promoted deputy? Yes. Okay. And can you briefly tell your
duties, responsibilities, day-to-day work?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. going
object because its beyond the scope and not
really relevant what the four corners the
mean, general background, but doesnt relate
what she did. She wasnt acting lawyer the
State Department. going direct her not answer
and just ask you through her background the
relevant parts, but not kind the full
documentation everything she did the White did. did involve responding
requests for information and documents and
materials. Okay. And did that include e-mails,
e-mail records? when first arrived the White
House once again dating there wasnt use. think were the administration that ultimately
ended having e-mail over the course that
think that was, like, the time period where e-mail
was becoming more prevalent. the time left, would say that
that might have been part the paradigm. But general matter, most the time when were
looking records and materials, they were hard
copy. Hard copy. Okay.
But there were some litigations that
included requests for e-mails which you were
witness. Yes. The Alexander matter, for example?
PLANET DEPOS
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 20) dont know the name the matter. But
thats correct, that was thats absolutely
correct. Okay. And that included e-mail records.
Correct? Request for e-mail records? believe so. Sorry, youre dating
memory, just doing best. Thats okay. But believe thats correct. going try help refresh you Well, thanks. refresh your recollection. appreciate that. Sure. Sure. Okay. After moving from the White House, what
did you before coming the State Department? worked Oxygen Media, which media
company for that was designed programming
for women. And after was Oxygen Media, went work NYU. Okay. the White House. Right. you recall that? dont. Okay. Were you ever informed are you
aware Judge Lamberths ruling that matter
being critical others, but including your
actions, with respect handling the matter for the
request e-mails that were requested the White
House? when was the request for e-mails the
White House? That was while you were there. when you say that, just trying
ask because dont dont know how step
through the sequencing what youre you are
articulating. would help theres something
that you could that could help me, that would
that. But wont able that from own
memory, and apologize. Sure. you remember providing testimony Which New York University. And managed
the business operations there, and then also was
lawyer there. Okay. And when did you start the State
Department? started the State Department
transitioned into the State Department
uncompensated temporary employee January. And
then ultimately joined the department full time in, think around May And thats 2009. Thats fault for speaking over you and
not letting you finish. 2009. Thank you. Sure. Now, just going back, and again the
context your experience with attorney
with requests for records, and specifically e-mail
records. 2008 there was ruling Judge
Lamberth that came out that the Alexander
matter that just mentioned before from your time
before Judge Lamberth the Alexander case? Before Judge Lamberth? Yes. dont believe Ive had occasion meet
Judge Lamberth, but that might just inaccurate. Okay. you remember there being
mail this case involving mail sever issue
when you were the White House? definitely remember there were
multiple different kinds litigation while were the White House. this about kind
remember know that there was litigation
the White House? Absolutely. But youre asking pull memory right now sit here,
cant that. Well, not asking general litigation. asking actually case which you provided
testimony Okay. with respect requests for e-mails,
and that case there being issue with the mail
PLANET DEPOS
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 24) server. And the capture dont remember the mail server. quite confident should start with
had provide lot different testimony during
the time period when served the government. happy have memory refreshed, theres
something that could that. Okay. Lets just let just ask
this way: Shortly before coming the State
Department, Judge Lamberth ruled the Alexander
case, which criticized your conduct, well some others, the White House with respect
handling e-mail requests. And believe the word used was loathsome. Loathsome?
MS. BERMAN: mean, object the form the question terms characterizing the
opinion.
MS. COTCA: Okay. was the opinion was critical. Did
you ever read the opinion? Did anybody ever make
you the opinion and specifically said that
you agreed upon.
And talking about another case from many
years ago and opinion Judge Lamberth, dont
understand the relevance the topics which you
agreed upon were the, you know, stated basis for the
deposition.
MS. BERMAN: Objection well. This
beyond the scope discovery.
MS. COTCA: Okay. Merely just
establish Ms. Mills experience with respect -as attorney with respect handling requests -MS. BERMAN: Youre not asking -MS. COTCA: for documents.
MS. BERMAN: sorry.
Youre not asking about FOIA requests
right now.
MS. COTCA: Were just establishing the
background.
MS. WILKINSON: No, youre -MS. COTCA: With respect Ms. Mills.
MS. BERMAN: have very specific scope permissible discovery. And the portion
your conduct was loathsome. have not had occasion read the
opinion. Okay. And, you know, cant speak both his
observations the set facts that regard,
because think would need that well,
Ive always tried best responsive and tried best the best that could. And think
get each day trying that. not perfect
and would never say was. But certainly
best. Sure. Sure. You said you never read the
opinion. But were you aware, did anybody tell you
about it, did you ever become aware that opinion
that came out -MS. WILKINSON: going excuse
me. going object. Compound and the form
the question. And, also, just you could direct why this relevant the matters which the
judge has repeatedly said are circumscribed what
that believe your questioning purportedly
directed the process, the the State
Departments approach and practice for processing
FOIA requests that potentially implicated former
Secretary Clinton and Ms. Abedins e-mails. And
dont see how this relevant that all. Ms. Mills, what was your position the
State Department during Secretary Clintons tenure? was the chief staff and counselor. Okay.
MS. COTCA: Just respond now the
objection. the chief staff and counselor
the Secretarys office, Judge Sullivans order
this case goes specifically sensitivity with
respect e-mail issues and how FOIA requests were
processed the Secretarys office. think that Ms. Mills experience that regard the chief staff for her entire
tenure and her counselor relevant and within the
scope.
MS. BERMAN: sorry. does not
solely does not just her sensitivity
PLANET DEPOS
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 28) e-mail issues. within the specific context responding FOIA requests with regard
e-mail.
MS. WILKINSON: Let also make let
make suggestion. Why dont you ask her what she
did counselor and chief staff. She did not
act lawyer for the Secretary the State
Department. youre asking her about her
experiences lawyer before with FOIA. That
wasnt her responsibilities State. Thats why
dont think its also relevant here. maybe you could establish that first
and then see you have any basis. But dont
believe there factual basis for what youre
asking.
MS. COTCA: Okay. MS. COTCA: you can tell your duties and
responsibilities chief staff, lets start with
that. was chief staff and counselor.
And chief staff was there were issues
policy matter, food security, well as, the
extent there were other initiatives that the
Secretary was seeking launch, being able
provide support and navigate all the different
elements that might required doing that.
And all kind fits into
framework, you think about what secretaries do,
there really the immediate, and then there
short term and then theres long term. tended more the immediate. there was
something that needed addressed, was
conflict among bureaus that had navigated,
those were the types issues that typically would front any given day. But they -they varied enormously. Okay. Correct wrong, but
traditionally, normally speaking, those two
positions are separate positions the State
Department prior you coming and since then. think those two have been. The chief staff role has often been combined with other
roles. the chief staff, theres been chief matters that maybe should step back and give
some context. the department there are broad array kind both policy and programmatic issues that
the department handles and has done those,
obviously, for decades. And diplomacy itself has long history.
And lot about what has been
done the past and how you the future,
particularly when youre dealing with nation states.
And the role the chief staff often
try provide both advice and guidance but also,
more particularly, support for navigating the
multiplicity issues that come before the
Secretary. Which given day can really range
from Iraq Iceland and everything between,
well development that are doing and
development investments that might making
countries around the world.
And counselor, responsibilities
typically were focused particular policy areas
that were focus. For that was Haiti staff and they were the head leg affairs,
theres been chief staff that was also the head our public affairs. think the chief staff role
often shouldnt say often has been the
past combined with other roles well. Okay. think dont know that was
that unique, maybe better way say it, though like think always unique. there reason you combined the chief staff and you held both positions chief
staff well the counselor? think given that there had been
practice some these the chief staff
position having multiple roles for for, think,
Secretary Clinton would have provided the
opportunity was, where there were certain policy
areas that might not always prioritized the
department historically with either with the
resources focus. And this presented
opportunity able that.
PLANET DEPOS
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 32)
And certainly global food security was not issue that the State Department had ever elevated that level. And President Obama, having that priority for his administration, created
opportunity for some those types issues
actually have the focus and attention not only
the Secretary, but also way prioritizing for
the department. Okay. lets just back up.
How did you come the State Department, you can talk through that with respect what
brought you the State Department? Okay. -MS. WILKINSON: Let object
foundation. Well, not foundation but the form.
Its vague.
MS. COTCA: Okay. Sure.
MS. WILKINSON: And kind again,
want stick the areas discovery. And
understand, you know, thats background question.
But not -MS. COTCA: Just with respect the
Secretarys office and that sort thing, what was
your involvement? when secretaries transition in, one
the terrific things about the State Department
they have and are used the experience every
four years maybe every six years, transition
their leadership. And they have transition
process that they put place that designed
help brief the Secretary all the various
substantive issues that are front the
department.
And that process one that they run
without regard whos coming in. Obviously
its theyre career officials and they very
well. And that was process that got
participate with her, and that was the process
that she stepped through and that the rest who
were part assisting her could either sometimes those meetings not. But thats the
process. And you said she stepped through. Are
you speaking Secretary Clinton?
transition.
MS. WILKINSON: There could 20-year
answer that, you might imagine.
MS. COTCA: Sure. And just talking about with respect,
how was that Secretary Clinton came you and
did she come you and ask you chief staff
and come board the State Department?
How did that come about? Thanks. had been previously working
with Secretary Clinton her campaign. was
intending back job NYU. And she, you
could say invited stay and back into
government. And having served government once
and recognizing the demands both your time and
other things, had had small children. for thought better life balance would going
back NYU. But ultimately she successfully
convinced stay, and did. Okay. Thank you.
Can you discuss prior January 2009,
during the transition process setting the Secretary Clinton. Okay. they actually provide you with set
briefings about all the different policy bureaus and
what the work and what are the key
conflicts, challenges issues that are confronting
different regions the world and different issues
that are continuing enduring the diplomacy
space. Okay. And from Secretary Clintons
standpoint, was there sort transition team that
was also involved with you?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Foundation.
And form. when you say that, can you just step
through what you mean? Sure. Because think that they actually put place full transition team the department.
And the presidential transition also puts place
full transition team. And those teams actually
typically are working together.
PLANET DEPOS
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 36) just President Obama will
transitioning out, hes designated who will his
transition team. They will partner with whoever
ends being the successful nominee guess
electee. Yes, electee.
And they will then obviously work that
transition from the standpoint what are the
policies and the issues that are confronting our
government and how you that effectively. Okay. who else was part this
process from the campaign for Secretary Clinton? Well, -MS. WILKINSON: Objection form and also
beyond the scope.
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Beyond the scope.
MS. COTCA: The transition process the
State Department definitely within the scope,
the extent about office setups and what equipment
was provided and what devices were provided
Secretary Clinton with respect e-mail questions.
MS. BERMAN: You can ask those questions.
MS. WILKINSON: Just make more
individuals who basically help you step through and
arrive and provide for the transition and the
operational setup the Secretarys office. Okay.
MS. WILKINSON: Can Can you -MS. WILKINSON: Excuse me. Can off
the record for minute and take break? going talk the State Department see can
help.
MS. COTCA: Sure.
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are off the record 9:48. recess was taken.)
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are back the
record 9:50. MS. COTCA: Okay. going call this
transition period. the process Secretary Clinton coming the State Department and whoever her staff may
have been picked, including you, that context,
specific, and think she can answer.
MS. COTCA: Okay. Sure. MS. COTCA: Were you involved what was your role
with respect the transition?
MS. WILKINSON: Again, objection.
Foundation and form. Its and beyond the scope.
Just With respect setting that was
already asked earlier.
MS. WILKINSON: sorry. didnt
understand that. With respect setting with respect
setting the Secretarys office, setting the
office. didnt set Secretary Clintons
office. Okay. There there Exec
Secretariat, well what call the -theres team that actually are part the
existing State platform that actually are terrific
with respect making sure that Day Secretary
Clinton has e-mail, phone use, that sort
thing, was there point contact from from the
campaign setting that and coordinating that
with the State Department?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Assumes facts not evidence. No. No. Okay. you know Lewis Lukens? Yes. Okay. Who he? Lewis Lukens Department State
official. Okay. you know what his role was
the time that you 2009? Lou Lukens, memory serves, was
serving the office the Executive Secretary.
believe that was the office that was serving in. you know what capacity? dont know his title, but obviously
knew was somebody who was serving that
position.
PLANET DEPOS
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 40) Okay. not asking for his title, but
you know what his role was what did the
office the Secretary? dont know the breadth his
responsibilities. know was somebody who served the Executive Secretarys office, and that office
provides support the Secretary. His deposition was taken, and Ill just
tell you this. His deposition was taken last week,
and identified you the point contact with
respect issues involving setting the different
offices the Secretarys office, and that sort
thing. Were you the point contact?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Mischaracterizing
Mr. Lukens testimony. cant speak what thought
about. Sure. But you are asking whether not was
the point contact that context, think
would depend what the matter was. Okay. Did you have lot conversations
anybody the State Department, lets say,
November, December and January, before coming the
State Department, with respect where your office
would located? believe January, and probably close the time she was confirmed, would have had
discussions about office location. Okay. How about devices communicate
via e-mail?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Vague. Whose
devices? Devices for you, for example, Ms. Mills. dont know when conversations about
our device would have occurred. But would
have imagined would have occurred close time when were onboarding. Okay. you recall what the
conversations were? No. sorry. mean, its just harder
for actually remember conversations
the time. Probably just werent significant
mind.
with him? had not -MS. BERMAN: Objection the form the
question.
Sorry. Not that recall lot conversations
with Lou Lukens. certainly did have conversations
with him. Okay. Can you tell what those were?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Vague. No, cant recall them. Okay. sorry, was long time ago. dont want every single dont want
you describe every single conversation you had
with him. But with respect setting the -making sure that everything set the office.
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Vague. Form. its not recollection that was
typically engaging with Lou Lukens lot those
matters. Okay. Did you have any discussions with Okay. dont have memory now, sadly.
Many years ago. Okay. Did you receive BlackBerry from
the State Department when you came board? Yes, did have State Department
BlackBerry. Okay. Did you ask for it? dont recall asked for not,
but know received one. Okay. And did you have State Department
e-mail when you came board? dont know when they created State
Department e-mail, but did have State Department
e-mail that used when was the department. Okay. And was that e-mail synced with the
BlackBerry that the State Department provided? believe was. only hesitating
because know initially you couldnt access e-mail
from outside the department. But believe
was synced from the beginning. wrong
about that, would have happened soon thereafter.
PLANET DEPOS
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 44) Okay. With respect your e-mail account
from the State Department, you remember you
had make request for that, was that
something just issued you? believe that was issued, but could
wrong about that. dont know. dont have
specific memory how came about. But
believe was issued. Okay. you recall who the State
Department shouldnt say issued. Sorry. Let
correct that. believe was created, maybe
thats the best way. dont know how they
structured that. Okay. How did you find out about the
e-mail, your e-mail account, use the State
Department?
MS. WILKINSON: Again, going
object beyond -MS. BERMAN: Objection. Beyond the form.
MS. WILKINSON: And beyond the scope.
Youre supposed talking about the instructing the witness not answer, which
dont want do. And understood that were
going stay within the scope. happy to, say, most
objections, say form foundation. And
otherwise with scope, will continue put the
basis on, just you know why think your question
has gone beyond. And you can rephrase it, like
you have other questions, happy have her
answer.
MS. COTCA: Thats fine. its within
scope, its objection based scope and
youre instructing the witness not answer,
outside the scope think sufficient. Thank
you, though.
Can you read back last question.
(The reporter read the record follows:
How did you find out about the e-mail, your e-mail
account, use the State Department?)
MS. COTCA: And youre instructing the
witness not answer that question?
MS. WILKINSON: am.
creation and operation Clintonemail.com for the
State Department business, the approach
processing FOIA requests that implicated either the
Secretary Clinton Ms. Abedins e-mails, and the
processing FOIA requests. Her State Department
e-mail not part those topics. going object and instruct her
not answer, and ask you focus the areas
discovery that you agreed upon were relevant for
this case.
MS. COTCA: Okay. And would just ask
that you have objection youre going
instruct the witness not answer, that you just without speaking objections. Its improper
coaching the witness during the deposition. would just ask that you leave
the objection and the basis, without any further
speaking objections.
MS. WILKINSON: not trying coach
the witness. course trying give you
basis that you can either change your question theres record basis for why, especially when MS. COTCA: And youre following your attorneys
advice not answer the question. that right, Ms. Mills? Yes. Okay. When you started the State
Department, whether its shortly before shortly
thereafter, are you aware any discussions with
respect e-mail account issued for Secretary
Clinton use during her tenure the State
Department? was not aware discussions about
e-mail account for her use. Okay. Did you discuss with her with
respect what e-mail she was going use
Secretary State for the next four years? the Secretary has spoken about the fact
that she had made determination that she would use
her personal account, and that exactly what she
did. When did you have those discussions with
Secretary Clinton?
PLANET DEPOS
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 48) -MS. BERMAN: Objection. Mischaracterizing
the prior testimony. dont know. Are you okay. Are
waiting for her anything? You were looking
her. Okay. Sorry. Secretary Clinton continued practice
that she was using her personal e-mail. And
dont know that could articulate that there was
specific discussion opposed her continuation practice she had been using when she was
Senator. did you just assume that she was going use the e-mail that she had before Secretary State? dont have specific memory the
conversations that may may not have occurred. know that understood she was going using her personal e-mail, and thats what she
did. Okay. Whats the e-mail account,
make sure were talking about the same thing, that Yes. not familiar with the Clinton e-mail
account. What that? see. says had her initials,
and then had @Clintonemail.com. Okay. Sorry for that. didnt understand. Thats okay. Thats why asked you
clarify Yes. ask clarify, and happy so. you recall her specific e-mail address? dont recall her specific e-mail
account. has her initials it, and
@Clintonemail.com. Okay. Was that the only e-mail account
that she used during her time Secretary State,
for government business? Secretary Clinton used always used
one e-mail account when she was using e-mail
account. when she initially arrived she was
she used? Secretary Clinton when she was the
Senate had ATT what call ATT account
that ultimately transitioned account that was
Clinton e-mail. Okay. What you mean Clinton e-mail? What you mean e-mail account? sorry. Can you repeat your answer,
then? Maybe misunderstood. Maybe didnt hear
your full answer. she had ATT. Yes. BlackBerry that was associated with
ATT e-mail. Yes. And then she transitioned Clinton
e-mail account. Okay. And whats the Clinton e-mail
account she transitioned to? Can you more specific? mean, you said she transitioned
Clinton e-mail account.
continuing use the ATT accounts, and then
transitioned the dot Clinton e-mail,
Clintonemail.com account. And during her tenure
those were the two addresses, you will, that she
used. Did she continue use the BlackBerry.net
account throughout her tenure? no. Okay. When did she use that e-mail
account? And were only speaking speaking
for government business. not aware BlackBerry.com
account. Okay. Whats the initial account she used the Senate that you said? ATT. ATT. apologize. did she continue use that ATT account throughout her tenure? No. When did she stop using it, far you
know? best recollection was sometime
PLANET DEPOS
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 52)
March. Thats best recollection. Okay. Why you recall being
March? recall that there was point
which she had transition her e-mail address and
told everyone that she had new e-mail address, and
thats the time period that have the best
recollection around. could have been
might wrong. might have been February,
might have been April. But remember being
after had gotten in. might wrong about
that. Correct am. How did how did she communicate that
you? dont know that have specific
recollection communication much have
understanding that needed change the e-mail
address were e-mailing her at. Was there was there e-mail that went
out within the Secretarys office with respect -to the change? dont remember that. There might have
have assistant? dont recall the assistants name
that time, and apologize. But she was someone who
had been provided the department who was what
call OMS. And she provided support largely
through the first probably six, seven, eight months
that was there. dont know that can but apologize, dont remember her name. And not
because she didnt great job. Did you communicate her about the
Secretarys transition? dont know that did didnt. Maybe
some context would help. office connected hers,
could just walk between the two offices. dont
know that would have been necessary for any
the support staff. Because they they are all
right the same space. Okay.
MS. COTCA: Could mark this Exhibit please.
(Deposition Exhibit marked for
been. could wrong, but dont remember
that. Okay. How did the other staff the
Secretarys office know about the e-mail transition? dont know that can speak how
their what their knowledge is. can only speak mine. Okay. Did you communicate that
assume you had staff help you out when and
provide support when you were serving chief
staff and counselor. Did you? did have staff. Okay. And who was that? had different administrative staff that
provided support. Okay. And who were they? Within the
Secretarys office. Directly reporting you
within the Secretarys office.
MS. WILKINSON: Objection form.
Perhaps you can make time-period-specific
question. Well, during this time March, did you
identification and attached the transcript.)
MS. WILKINSON: Ms. Cotca, you have
copies for -MS. COTCA: Yes.
MS. WILKINSON: Thank you much.
MS. COTCA: dont know have for
everyone.
MS. WILKINSON: can share. discussion was held off the record.)
MS. BERMAN: You said Exhibit
MS. COTCA: Yes, this Exhibit
MS. WILKINSON: What was Exhibit
MS. COTCA: The subpoena. MS. COTCA: Ms. Mills, you can take look
whats been handed you Exhibit Okay. Let know when youre done looking
it.
Youve had chance look it? have. Okay. And just for the record, can you
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
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state what the document is? You have handed document that
e-mail that has the Secretarys e-mail address,
Lona Valmoro and Huma Abedin, requesting time that
she can meet with her undersecretaries each week,
and asking for recommendations.
And there response recommendation for
Mondays Tuesdays. And request whether
not she wanted this meeting meal. And
then another response from the address the
Secretarys, saying, Just meeting. Okay. Thank you very much.
And whats the date whats the date for
these e-mails? the date each the e-mails the
traffic September 20, 2009. Right. And there are three e-mails here.
Right? there original e-mail from the
Secretarys e-mail account that Sunday,
September 20th, about almost a.m., appears.
And then response that about noon 12:12
February, March, April, somewhere that time
period, and she used consistently during her
tenure there. Okay. Now, want just look the
original e-mail this exhibit, where the e-mail
from Secretary Clinton Lona Valmoro and Huma
Abedin. And its from her HDR22@Clintonemail.com. you see the line
HR15@att.blackberry.net? Yes. see that line. And okay. And did read that
correctly, the e-mail address thats noted there? Yes. Okay. And appears, you agree with
me, that the Secretary copied included that
e-mail that communication? Thats what the document appears show.
MS. WILKINSON: Objection.
Excuse me.
Objection, form and foundation. Okay. you know why Secretary Clinton
was ccing her ATT.BlackBerry.net account?
also Sunday, the 20th September. And then she
responds that 12:12 e-mail from e-mail account
thats assigned her, 12:43 p.m. Okay. Thank you very much.
Just were clear that were speaking
about the same e-mail address for Clintonemail.com, that the e-mail address that the Secretary was
using during her tenure, the HDR22@Clintonemail.com? dont know which the two, because
they both got assigned the account. And this
might reflection the timing when
materials were.
But she typically used thought HROD17.
But could wrong. might have been that the
HDR22 was the account. Okay. not sure. And when you said the timing, thats
with respect when these were printed out.
that Yes. assume.
Because she had one e-mail account after not. you know was active the time? dont believe was. that the account that she was using
prior getting the Clintonemail account? Yes. Okay. And then looks like from the
response from Lona Valmoro, the Blackberry.net
account was also copied, was also the cc, which
would the second e-mail. that right? The shows H2. Correct. And thats the same that was the original e-mail?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Foundation.
MS. BERMAN: Objection the form.
Objection well. you know what is? not. Did you ever meet e-mail Secretary
Clinton the Blackberry.net account -MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Form. during after March 2009?
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 60) dont know that would have
consciously e-mailed ATT account, because
that account understood was longer operational.
There are times where e-mails
automatically populate, that could happen. But you were asking what e-mail address would
e-mailing to, would e-mailing the one
Clinton.com. that would goal. And just are you aware the Secretary
used any auto forward function? dont know. Okay. And just going back previous
question. And you can refresh recollection.
Why you remember that was March when the -when the Secretary transitioned her e-mail?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Asked and
answered. You may answer. dont know that can add more what
Ive already said. you remember your answer? happy have her read back.
e-mail March. youre asking why have
recollection that being that time period
that your question? Yes, thats question. Thank you. Okay. Sorry. Ive had occasion the representation Secretary Clinton have memory refreshed
because materials had look at. And that
one the things that had got memory refreshed
with respect to. Okay. When was that? Which that your question? When youve had your memory refreshed with
respect the March. couldnt tell you what point that
was, but Ive obviously been representing her with
respect number the matters that have been
with respect providing documents the
department. And the course that, that when memory would have been refreshed. Okay. because thats when the
Secretary said that she started using the e-mail Okay.
MS. COTCA: Could you please read back. discussion was held off the record.)
MS. WILKINSON: off the record for one
minute.
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are off the record 10:14. discussion was held off the record.)
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are back the
record 10:15. MS. COTCA: Ms. Mills, you remember the question
that was pending? dont. Could you just restate it?
apologize. Thats fine. And then will best answer. Sure. Why that you think the -Secretary Clinton started using the Clintonemail.com March? dont know that could answer the
question why she started using the Clinton
March?
MS. BERMAN: Objection the form the
question. dont know that can answer that
question.
MS. WILKINSON: And and privilege.
She she learned this refreshed her
recollection refreshed her recollection when she
was acting the Secretarys lawyer, producing
documents the State Department. Were you the Secretarys lawyer when she
was producing returning documents the State
Department? Yes. Okay. When did that representation start? began representing the Secretary when
she departed from the department number
matters, but this matter when came up, she asked assist her it. Okay.
MS. COTCA: Let mark this Exhibit
please.
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 64)
(Deposition Exhibit marked for
identification and attached the transcript.) discussion was held off the record.) MS. COTCA: Ms. Mills, you have Exhibit front
you. you could please take look it. Thank you. Sure. Ill have some questions about it.
Youve had chance look it? have. Okay. Thank you.
Can you just for the record describe what
the document is?
MS. BERMAN: Objection the form the
question. mean, the document speaks for itself. Okay. You may answer. The the document e-mail traffic
between Chris LaVine, who sharing news report
that was sent and that forwarded with
FYI. And who did you forward that to? forwarded Secretary Clinton.
e-mail address that e-mail what? Well, reflected this piece paper, says HDR22@Clintonemail.com. Okay. And Ms. Abedins e-mail
reflected this what? H-A-B-E-D-I-N. her first initial and
last name, @HillaryClinton.com. Okay. Does this all refresh your
recollection when Secretary Clinton began using the
Clintonemail.com? No. does not?
Was Ms. Abedin working the State
Department this time, January 30th, 2009?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Foundation.
Unless you know. believe she might have been. dont
know that for sure. dont know what date her
official transition date. Okay. When did the Secretary start? The Secretary started January 22nd,
believe, right. Okay. And when did you forward that
Secretary Clinton? sorry, was just looking for the
date. Sure. Sorry. January, 2009. Okay. And which e-mail account for
Secretary Clinton did you forward that to? This document says HDR22. Whats the rest the e-mail? Oh, sorry, @Clintonemail.com. Okay. And looking further the
document, the top e-mail, does appear that
theres e-mail forward from Secretary Clinton? dont understand your question. Well, after you forwarded Secretary
Clinton, whats the next e-mail the e-mail
traffic? see. the next e-mail then says,
Please print. And that from Secretary Clinton
the Clinton.com e-mail address, Huma Abedin. Okay. And, once more, Secretary Clintons 2009? 2009. Okay. These are all 2009. Okay. And you agree that your e-mail Secretary Clinton January 30th, 2009, was
related your work the State Department?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Foundation,
and beyond the scope. forwarded her the news article because
thought she would find interesting read. the Secretary the State Department? Well, yes, she was Secretary State, but also references her. Are you saying this personal e-mail?
MS. BERMAN: Object the form the
question. No.
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. You can answer. Unless youre instructed
not answer, you can answer the question. see.
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No. You asked question about whether
not was wasnt what interpreted you
saying whether not was wasnt federal
record. saying that forwarded her news
article because thought she would find
interest and her name was it. Right. interest with respect
her work the State Department? dont know how speak for what would
have happened her brain. Why did you send her? thought she would find interest. Okay. Why did you think she would find interest?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. going
object and say beyond the scope.
And instruct you not answer.
This not litigation about whether
certain records were turned over correctly not
what decisions she made -MS. COTCA: And was going actually
interrupt and stop you right there. Ive already Did you provide the full e-mail address? was ATT. Okay. you recall the entire e-mail
address before the ATT? dont. saw the HR15, and that strikes probably accurate, but was knew was ATT Okay. Thank you. e-mail address. Okay. you know when did she ever
stop using that e-mail address? Yes. When did she stop using that? She transitioned from using that her
primary e-mail Clinton.com e-mail address
February, March, April 2009. Okay. And the e-mail address, the
e-mail address referenced Exhibit not familiar with e-mail
address. Well, its not thats not the e-mail
address. But the HR15@ATT.BlackBerry.net account,
asked that speaking objections made. you
would like have speaking objection the
record, can excuse the witness leave the room,
and you can make your objection you think thats
absolutely necessary.
Speaking objection that its outside
the scope sufficient. Thank you -BY MS. COTCA: Are you not going answer the question,
Ms. Mills? Tell the question that youre trying
learn. Why did you think this would
interest?
MS. WILKINSON: Same objection.
And instructing you not answer.
MS. COTCA: Okay. clear with respect what e-mails
the Secretary used early 2009, you said that she
had e-mail practice the Senate. you recall
what that e-mail address was? The one that shared earlier.
that wasnt the Senate e-mail, was it? Thats not
the e-mail address that she used during the Senate? Yes, is. Oh, that the e-mail address that she
used? Yes, is. Okay. wasnt sure there was third
e-mail address not. No. Okay.
MS. COTCA: think weve been going about hour. can take five-minute break.
MS. WILKINSON: Sure.
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are off the record 10:25. recess was taken.)
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are back the
record 10:41. MS. COTCA: Ms. Mills, did you recall that was
March when Secretary Clinton transitioned the
Clintonemail.com because when you reviewed the
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e-mails that she was returning the State
Department? No. You had that recollection before you
reviewed e-mails that she was returning the State
Department?
MS. WALSH: Can you speak up, Ramona?
sorry. having hard time hearing you. mean,
not from the mike, just from me.
MS. COTCA: Sure. trying think about how answer
your question consistent with obligations -as counsel.
But the answer did did not have
that recollection based materials returned the
department.
MS. COTCA: Can mark this.
(Deposition Exhibit marked for
identification and attached the transcript.)
MS. COTCA: apologize, only have one
copy.
THE WITNESS: you need look
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Vague. you understand the question? No. Okay. You were writing behalf
Secretary Clinton that letter? Yes. Okay. And you were representing her
her attorney, thats your testimony? did also represent her her attorney,
that correct. Did you represent her her attorney
that context, the context for that e-mail, for
that correspondence? sending this, was sending this
because was her lawyer, who she had asked
undertake this process conjunction with David
Kendall, who also her personal lawyer. And
that was the reason conveyed back. also the case that the letter that
came seeking her records came me, and that
the reason conveyed back. Okay. you recall when you first
first?
MS. COTCA: You can give your
counsel first. MS. COTCA: Ms. Mills, can you take look now
Exhibit Once youve had chance look it,
let know. Thank you. Sure. you recognize that document? recognize this document. And what it? This letter from me, dated December
5th, Under Secretary Kennedy. And can you just summarize briefly. The letter conveying copies the
Secretarys e-mail records the department. Okay. Thank you.
Did you were you representing Secretary
Clinton that time her attorney? Yes. Okay. there reason that you didnt
include that your letter the State Department?
started representing Secretary Clinton this
matter, the matter described the Exhibit
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Beyond the
scope.
MS. COTCA: Are you instructing her not
answer?
MS. WILKINSON: No. Okay. You may answer. Thanks. started representing Secretary Clinton matters once she left the State Department. And whenever there was matter that she asked
undertake her behalf, would. Okay. But thats not answering the
question. question was, when did you begin
representing the former Secretary for the matter
issue thats described Exhibit
MS. WILKINSON: Same objection. Beyond
the scope. dont know how answer your
question better than indicating that became her
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
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personal counsel when she left the department. And
this was matter that arose after she left the
department, and she asked would undertake
assist her this matter. When did she ask you undertake
assist her the matter? dont know that have specific date
that she that she did that, but was post
February 2013. you can you more specific time
frame? cant.
MS. WILKINSON: Same objection
scope.
MS. COTCA: Will you mark this.
(Deposition Exhibit marked for
identification and attached the transcript.)
MS. BERMAN: What exhibit?
MS. COTCA: Exhibit Ms. Mills, just please continue review
it, and let know when youre done reviewing the
exhibit.
Clinton for the matter with respect returning her
e-mail records the State Department this time
frame? the time that they requested her
e-mails, was representing her with respect
undertaking the return those. And prior that,
the request was made her address this matter
for her. you recall the first time that you were
contacted with respect returning Secretary
Clintons e-mails the State Department?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Relevance.
Beyond scope.
MS. COTCA: The scope the return
Secretary Clintons e-mails the State Department
which were searched and reviewed this for this
FOIA litigation.
MS. BERMAN: you see that the scope discovery? not. The scope is, the
creation and use Clintonemail.com.
MS. COTCA: And processing FOIA
requests.
Have you had chance review it? have. Okay. And looks like this document
some e-mail traffic with you and others the State
Department with the respect the return
Secretary Clintons e-mails. that fair summary? Yes, e-mail traffic with me, and
then theres traffic that not that among
the lawyers the State Department. Okay. And this document looks like
the time frame, your first e-mail David Wade,
dated August 22, 2014. that accurate? Yes. Okay. Who David Wade? David Wade this time was the chief
staff Secretary Kerry. Okay. the State Department. Right? the State Department. Sorry, Secretary
Kerry, John Kerry, who the Secretary State
currently. Okay. Were you representing Secretary
MS. BERMAN: And the State Departments
approach and practice for processing FOIA requests
that potentially implicated former Secretary
Clintons e-mails.
MS. COTCA: Correct.
MS. BERMAN: The State Departments
approach and practice for processing FOIA requests,
not the return Secretary Clintons e-mails.
MS. COTCA: And those records were
processed and searched for this FOIA litigation.
MS. BERMAN: the State Department.
MS. COTCA: Correct.
MS. BERMAN: Its not dispute all
this case which records were returned the State
Department, which records were processed for the
FOIA case.
MS. COTCA: Okay. can argue about that
later. MS. COTCA: you remember the question, Ms. Mills? dont.
MS. COTCA: Would you read back
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
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Ms. Mills, please.
(The reporter read the record follows: you recall the first time that you were
contacted with respect returning Secretary
Clintons e-mails the State Department?) believe that was late summer
2014. Okay.
Okay. just want you can take
look your initial original e-mail Exhibit And its your first paragraph. would
the last page the exhibit where you say,
wanted follow your request last month about
hard copies Secretary Clintons e-mails and
from. you see that? do. Okay. The date the e-mail August
22nd. fair, mean, say that you were
contacted July 2014, minimum? dont know how -my experience memory with respect that time
State Department. Exhibit No, not going any exhibit. Sorry. just want back time 2009
when Secretary Clinton transitioned what youve
identified the Clinton e-mail. Clinton.com e-mail. Yes. Okay. How was that set up; you
know? was not -MS. BERMAN: Object the form the
question. You may answer. was not actually involved the
original setup the e-mail. Okay. But even you were not involved it, you have any knowledge with respect how was set up? The knowledge that have has come through representation her counsel. When you say your representation
period was that there was set conversations
around materials that were going provided
the Hill, and questions that they had with respect media inquiries that they anticipated.
And then subsequent that there was
communication with respect the department
potentially needing all her dot gov e-mails.
And terms timing that, believe
that was sometime the late summer. And dont
know last month was accurate not accurate.
But thats best understanding. Does this refresh your recollection? doesnt. when you said that,
would have still said late summer, just because
thats best memory. But thats memory. Okay. July includes late late summer. that fair? Well, the end July, probably, yeah.
But dont know. Okay. Thank you. want back the e-mail for
Secretary Clinton that she started using the
Secretary Clinton counsel attorney. Oh, attorney. Correct. the counselor role the
State Department not lawyer role. The
counselor role the State Department actually
policy role. And its particular policy
issues that might relevant the Secretary.
And for Secretary Clinton those were
things like food security and Haiti and certain
development initiatives. Okay. when you learned with respect
how the Clinton e-mail was set up, that your
testimony just want make sure understand correctly that was learned the context you representing Secretary Clinton her legal
attorney. terms how was actually set up,
yes. Okay. When did you learn that? dont
want into discussions that you had with
Secretary Clinton her attorney, but curious
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with respect what the time frame that. And when you say that, can you just
was aha know dont know kind moment. Sure. But was certainly, would say best
more specific? When you learned how the e-mail was set
understanding that would have been post her time
up. the department when Ive had step through some can you going just ask you the issues that have obviously been raised about little more specific. obviously knew she was
her e-mail account.
using personal e-mail, dont want suggest
that didnt know she was using personal e-mail. Okay. Was 2014? dont know the answer that question.
Like, dont know was before later. Like, knew she was using personal e-mail. Okay. lets backtrack little bit. dont know how answer that question based
And question was what you knew with respect
having temporal understanding.
about how that e-mail account was set up.
But know that have had conversations
with respect the setup her e-mail, and Ive
had those conversations over period time.
MS. BERMAN: Object the form the
question. Okay. But was definitely after, from Okay. not technologically savvy
person. happy own that straight up.
what understand your testimony, after you left the
dont know that could tell you how AOL account
State Department, youre not sure about it? set Gmail account set anybody terms understanding how her
elses e-mail set up.
e-mail was set terms the technicalities
how was structured, that was something that
learned after her time period the department. can tell you that was not State
Department e-mail. And the extent that your
question when was when did learn she was
not using State Department e-mail, was aware
that she wasnt using State Department e-mail when
she transitioned in. Thats not question, though. Thank you. Sure. question was with respect the
testimony you just gave about that you learned
how was set your representation
Secretary Clinton her attorney. terms the technicalities how her
e-mail set up, terms those those issues,
yes, have fulsome understanding that
comes from representation her. Okay. And not asking about what those
discussions were, but asking you about that
time frame. When when did you learn that? dont know could tell you when
learned that. know that because, obviously,
over the past now year and half Ive been stepping
through that process. dont know that have
pinpoint moment where could tell you where there And who who did you talk about that?
MS. BERMAN: Objection.
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Calls for
privilege.
MS. BERMAN: And speculation. Assumes
facts not evidence.
MS. COTCA: Whats the privilege?
MS. WILKINSON: She could have talked
her client.
MS. COTCA: not asking with respect Who else did you speak outside your
client about that?
MS. WILKINSON: agents her client. Okay. Let who else did you speak
with outside your client agents your
client? spoke her counsel, who believe
falls into that context. There are other counsel. Who her other counsel? David Kendall her other counsel. there anybody else? There are attorneys that work
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
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Williams Connolly. And who are they? dont know that could name the names. not asking for the entire firm
directory. know. But being transparent with
you. dont know that can name. And thats
not reflection because most conversations
with are David Kendall.
But know that there are other attorneys,
obviously, there who work matters that involve
representing Secretary Clinton. And then there were
obviously agents her that also engaged
conversation with. Okay. Just for the attorneys, was also
Heather Samuelson?
MS. WILKINSON: going object right
now. Beyond the scope.
MS. COTCA: Whats the other objection?
MS. WILKINSON: And you were asking about
for nonagents, not for agents. Youre trying ask
for nonattorney And also the names all nonagents -MS. WILKINSON: Same who you spoke with.
MS. WILKINSON: Same. Its beyond the
scope. And even though dont agree with you that making objections somehow influencing the
witness, accommodate you going ask
Ms. Mills step out can make full factual
record. discussion was held off the record.)
MS. WILKINSON: want the record
reflect that Ms. Mills -MS. COTCA: Just one moment for Ms. Mills leave the room.
(Ms. Mills left the conference room.)
MS. WILKINSON: Ms. Mills leaving the
room.
You are asking her questions about work
she did after she left the department, behalf
Secretary Clinton, her lawyer, preparing her
client investigation and turning over
documents the State Department.
MS. COTCA: asking who represented
Secretary Clinton.
MS. WILKINSON: Thats totally irrelevant the areas that were here talk about.
MS. BERMAN: Objection well beyond -well beyond the scope.
MS. WILKINSON: And going instruct
her not answer these issues. you want get back the issues that
are the scope within the scope discovery, she
was answering all those questions. want know the agents all the -the names all the agents that you spoke to.
MS. WILKINSON: Same objection. And
instructing client not answer. Beyond the
scope. want know the names all the
attorneys for Secretary Clinton that you also spoke
with.
MS. WILKINSON: Same. Its beyond the
scope.
MS. BERMAN: Beyond the scope. Objection.
You asked her how she learned the
information after she left the department. She told
you she had knowledge how the Clinton noncomm
account was set 2009, when was. And thats
what relevant the scope here, not what she
learned after the fact lawyer. And thats why instructing her not answer.
MS. COTCA: Okay. did not for the
record, did not ask any questions with respect
what she learned the context representing her
for any investigation. Only specifically with
respect Secretary Clinton returning records back the State Department.
MS. WILKINSON: When you got questions
about who she talked to, you didnt know why she was
collecting that information. And its not its
not within the scope. And beyond the scope.
And shes not going answer those questions.
You asked her what was the scope, which let her answer, which did she know how that
account was formed 2009, March 2009. She did
not know how was set up. She said she did know
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that she transitioned it. Thats all agree
within the scope.
Something she learned after the fact
attorney representing her client not something
thats within the scope.
MS. COTCA: And did not ask what she
learned from the Secretary Clinton. asked who
she spoke with about that.
MS. BERMAN: And what the -MS. WILKINSON: Thats still beyond the
scope.
MS. BERMAN: What the relevance that the scope permissible discovery?
MS. COTCA: The setup the server.
MS. BERMAN: But you cant get that -its not information she contemporaneously had
the time. Its all information she learned later.
Its not her independent knowledge.
MS. COTCA: Correct. But goes who
knew about the server and its setup the time
was set up.
MS. BERMAN: Its privileged. her lawyer. Nowhere the courts order that, the way, you agreed were the limits your
discovery, that topic.
MS. COTCA: Okay.
MS. WILKINSON: you would start and
ask her the relevant questions first, think
would have lot better basis able move
along. Instead and figure out what she did
know about the questions that are within the scope.
And want let her answer your
questions.
But youre going over and over outside the
scope the questions instead even figuring
out you still havent asked her the basic
questions that are the scope your that
youre allowed ask. Which makes seem like you
dont really care about what you were supposed
ask her, and youre asking her all these things -MS. COTCA: Let know when youre done.
MS. WILKINSON: that are not relevant.
MS. COTCA: Are you done?
MS. WILKINSON: am.
MS. COTCA: Which completely within the
scope Judge Sullivans order. And asking
names. didnt ask anything else. asking who
she spoke with.
MS. BERMAN: Youre asking for attorney
names, who all that privileged.
MS. COTCA: Who represented Secretary
Clinton not privilege. Whats the privilege
for who represented Secretary Clinton?
MS. WILKINSON: Whats the relevance?
MS. BERMAN: Whats relevance that any those conversations are privileged?
MS. COTCA: Its discovery.
MS. BERMAN: Its not discovery writ
large. limited discovery with very defined
scope permissible discovery.
MS. WILKINSON: Let make suggestion
again. Why dont you ask her she even understood
whether there was server, she understood how
the server was set 2009 the time.
She not going answer questions about
after the State Department period what she learned
MS. COTCA: Okay. Just for the record,
make clear, did not ask anything with respect what she learned. asked who she spoke with.
And lets off the record.
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are off the record 11:05. recess was taken.)
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are back the
record 11:07. MS. COTCA: Ms. Mills, with respect conversations
you had about how Secretary Clintons e-mail was set
up, the Clinton e-mail account, did you ever speak
with Bryan Pagliano?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Form,
foundation, timing, and beyond the scope. you can rephrase your question
when youre talking about. Ever.
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Vague.
MS. COTCA: Okay. Are you instructing her
not answer?
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MS. WILKINSON: No. Please answer. Okay. Sorry. Could you repeat your
question? Did you ever speak with Mr. Bryan Pagliano
about how Secretary Clintons e-mail was set up? Yes. When was that? would have been during the period
which was representing Secretary Clinton when
came the setup her e-mail. Okay. Who Bryan Pagliano?
MS. WILKINSON: Object. Who Bryan Pagliano? you know him? Yes. Hes employee was former
employee the State Department. And what was his role what did
for the State Department? best understanding his work the
department was was working the technology part the department and somebody who has
technology expertise.
about the setup the server.
MS. WILKINSON: She didnt give time
period.
MS. COTCA: Okay. Can you give time period when you
spoke with Mr. Pagliano about the setup the
server? know spoke with Mr. Pagliano about the
setup the server during the period which was
representing Secretary Clinton, which would have
been after two thousand which would have been
post her departure from the State Department.
least thats best recollection. that would post February 2013? Yes. Okay. Was working for the Clintons
the time that you spoke him about the about
the setup the server?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Foundation. you know. Well, dont know how answer your
question because dont know the time period. And Okay. Did you know him prior coming
the State Department? Yes. Okay. When did you first start knowing
Mr. Pagliano? believe met Mr. Pagliano 2008.
met him during the course Secretary Clintons
campaign. Okay. When you spoke with Mr. Pagliano
about the setup the server, was Mr. Pagliano
working for either Secretary Clinton Bill Clinton the time?
MS. WILKINSON: Okay. Objection. And
going instruct the witness not answer unless
you set the timing. Because cant tell whether
its beyond the scope not. you could please either answer
ask the question with regard timing, again,
can see whether have instruct her not
answer.
MS. COTCA: believe the witness has
already testified when she spoke with Mr. Pagliano know that least have come understand
that obviously did service the setup her
e-mail during the period where was the
department. Okay. Did you think was let
rephrase that.
Was Mr. Pagliano agent the Clintons the time that you spoke him about the setup
the server?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection.
MS. BERMAN: Objection.
MS. WILKINSON: Far beyond the scope.
going instruct her not answer. Its legal
question.
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Calls for legal
conclusion, and beyond the scope permissible
discovery. What did Mr. Pagliano tell you those
conversations you had about the setup the server?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Beyond the
scope. And going instruct her not answer.
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Beyond the scope,
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and potentially calls for privilege.
MS. COTCA: Whose privilege?
MS. BERMAN: This all this this was
all during the time when she was representing
Hillary Clinton.
MS. COTCA: Are you representing
Mrs. Clinton?
MS. WILKINSON: am. And, yes, also
calls for privilege.
MS. COTCA: Okay. just wondering, the
privilege for the State Department, wondering
what privilege.
MS. BERMAN: you well know, not
representing Secretary Clinton.
MS. WILKINSON: representing
Ms. Mills, know, and she represents Hillary
Clinton her personal lawyer. And you are now
asking about work she has done for Hillary Clinton her lawyer. And beyond the scope the
permissible discovery, and instructing her
not answer. And just for the record, Ms. Mills, you
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Goes beyond
the scope. These are all not within the scope
discovery and could call for privileged information. dont actually know who actually
registered. What did Mr. Cooper tell you?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Same bases.
Beyond the scope. Could call for privileged
information.
MS. BERMAN: Objection well. Did you have any discussions with
Mr. Cooper, prior you Secretary Clinton
leaving the State Department, about the setup the
server? dont recall any discussions about the
setup the server. Did you ever discuss with him about the
server itself? dont have technological
background, confident would have had
conversations about the fact that she used
e-mail. But terms the technicalities how
are following the advice your attorneys not
answer the questions when she instructs you not
answer? have yes, am. Okay.
Okay. Did you speak with Justin Cooper
any point about the setup the server? Yes. Okay. When did you speak with Justin
Cooper about the setup the server? would have been the course the
representation Secretary Clinton that would
have spoken him about the setup her server. Who Mr. Cooper? Mr. Cooper was senior advisor
President Clinton and personal aid who managed
issues related President Clintons business
well their household. Okay. Did set register the
domain name for -MS. WILKINSON: Object. Secretary Clintons e-mail?
100 was managed, thats not something that had -or least dont have any recollection having
conversations around that until the time period
where was representing Secretary Clinton with
Mr. Cooper. sorry. What the matter that you
represented Secretary Clinton with respect
contacting Justin Cooper and Mr. Pagliano?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Beyond the
scope discovery. fact, may call for
privileged information, not going answer
that question. Did you ever represent Mr. Pagliano
Justin Cooper?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Beyond the
scope.
Dont answer. Are you following your attorneys advice
not answer? Yes. Okay. How about Oscar Flores; did you
ever speak Oscar Flores with respect the setup
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101 the server? may have spoken Oscar Flores.
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Sorry. may have. would have been likely
the course the representation Secretary
Clinton this matter. this and want clarify what
this matter is. this case? apologize.
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Objection.
Please. Before you she answers. Its beyond the
scope.
Ms. Mills not party this matter
that the subject the discovery, this
limited deposition. And shes not going reveal
the nature her representation the Secretary.
MS. COTCA: Okay. Thats fair. But
thats not the question. With respect when you said, this
matter, can you clarify? would clarify that its not with respect the underlying litigation that you all have going
103 Did you have any discussions with anybody the State Department about the setup her
server prior you leaving the State Department? dont believe did. How about before you came and served
chief staff? dont believe did. Are you familiar with Platte River
Networks? Yes. Okay. Who are they, what it? Platte River Networks company that
provides e-mail servicing and other technological
support. Okay. Its private company. And they provided support for Secretary
Clintons e-mail? Yes. Okay. When did you first learn about
Platte River Networks serving her server? dont know when first learned about
102
on. Okay. Who Oscar Flores? Oscar Flores personal aid
Secretary Clinton and household employee
President and Secretary Clinton. And what did Oscar Flores tell you with
respect the setup the server?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Beyond the
scope. may call for privileged information.
MS. COTCA: Are you instructing her not
answer?
MS. WILKINSON: am. How about anybody the State Department;
did you speak with anybody the State Department
about the setup the server?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Could you clarify
the time frame?
MS. COTCA: Sure. Lets break down. After you left the State Department. dont recall having conversation with
anyone after she left the State Department about the
setup her server.
104
Platte River. know that Platte River obviously
transitioned her e-mail 2013. Did you have any discussions with them
prior leaving the State Department, when you were
getting ready leave the State Department? dont recall. might have, but dont
recall that. Okay. When you spoke with Platte River
Networks, did you learn about how the server was set that point?
MS. BERMAN: Object form question. dont know the answer your question.
And dont know the answer your question. How about Datto Network? not familiar with Datto Network. How about Datto, Inc.? know the enterprise that you are
speaking of. But Ive not had occasion engage
with them. Okay. And what you know about -whats the context your knowledge about Datto,
Inc.?
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105
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Beyond the
scope.
MS. COTCA: Are you instructing her not
answer?
MS. WILKINSON: No. understand that they have contracting
relationship with Platte River Networks. Okay. Did you learn that Datto Network
transitioned over e-mail from Secretary Clinton from
Platte River Networks?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Assumes facts not evidence.
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Foundation. dont know that the case. you know whether they had any dealings
with respect Secretary Clintons e-mail account?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Foundation.
Scope. knowledge what they might have
had with respect Secretary Clinton came through representation Secretary Clinton. That was after you left the State
107 that Exhibit
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Vague. Can
you just ask the question. dont see Exhibit Okay. Theres actually different
address Exhibit Its
HAbedin@HillaryClinton.com.
What did Ms. Abedin use that whats
that e-mail address?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Foundation. Thats not the e-mail address
Clintonemail.com. Okay. that e-mail account that
Ms. Abedin used while she was the State
Department -MS. WILKINSON: Objection. far you know? No, not knowledge.
MR. MYERS: Ramona, could you speak
little bit?
MS. COTCA: Oh, sure.
MR. MYERS: Thank you.
106
Department? Yes. Okay. Did you contact Datto, Inc., ever, anybody from Datto, Inc.? Not recollection. Ms. Mills, weve gone over the e-mail
account that Secretary Clinton used. What the -Huma Abedin also used e-mail account connected
the Clinton server. Right?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Foundation and
form. With respect Ms. Abedin, she had
State Department e-mail, and she had e-mail that
was @Clinton.com. Okay. you know that e-mail account?
MS. WILKINSON: When you you mean
account you mean address? mean the address. sorry.
MS. COTCA: Thank you. would recognize saw it. think its Exhibit
108 MS. COTCA: you know whether Ms. Abedin had more
than one e-mail account the Clinton server? dont know. And you said that Ms. Abedin also had
State.gov account, e-mail address for the State
Department? Yes. Okay. you know how she was issued that
e-mail address? dont know. you know she had request
e-mail address for issued? dont know. want back when you started
the State Department. Was there directory
something similar directory, with officials who
worked within the Secretarys office and their
contact information, just for staff able
use they needed contact anybody? Not knowledge. Who was the Secretarys office?
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109
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Form. Just
111
establishing time period again.
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Characterizing Say when you started the State
her testimony. She said she didnt recall any
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Vague.
directory. someone was seeking reach the
Department back January 2009, who was the
Secretary somebody the Secretarys staff, they
staff, who worked within the Secretarys office?
could that number ways.
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Vague, and
relevance. Okay. the Secretarys office has
They could visit you, they could e-mail. Oh, sorry. Lets narrow down. e-mail.
existing staff when you walk the door, which executive secretary. There are two special Okay. e-mail, your e-mail was
assistants. There also executive assistant.
the State Department system, you could spell
There are others, well, that dont know
start spelling the persons last name, and would
well. Did you have assistant?
populate with the address associated with people who
had similar last names. And then you could look
called office management specialist when came
through them identify who you were looking for. Okay. And, lets say, for Secretary
in. OMS. someone who helps you when
Clinton, she did not have State.gov e-mail
you are transitioning in, who has been the
address.
department. And they provide support you you
transition in. Okay. you know Ms. Abedin had had what was termed what theyre Correct. Okay. how would they able reach
her e-mail somebody needed e-mail her?
110
assistant? dont know. And, obviously, Ms. Abedin also was the
Secretarys office. Correct? So, yes. She was the deputy chief
staff and managed operations. Correct. Okay. when you first came board,
somebody needed reach out either Ms. Abedin
you the Secretary, and they needed e-mail
something, how how did they know whose e-mail
accounts their e-mail addresses?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Vague. you could just little bit more
specific, can helpful. Okay. Well, you said there was
directory staff sheet with whos the office
and what are their extensions and what are their
e-mail addresses. the Secretarys office. Correct. Were strictly speaking with
respect the Secretarys office.
112 she had e-mailed with them they would able reach her. They could come upstairs and
seek her e-mail address from the special assistants others who were familiar with it. they could
seek engage her. practical matter, Secretary Clinton
overwhelmingly met with people. her modality
engagement was not traditionally the e-mail. She
traditionally used meetings and phone calls the
way which she engaged her day-to-day business
for the department. Okay. And, again, though, question
was, though, within the Secretarys office.
the special assistants needed e-mail something
Secretary Clinton, how did they first learn her
e-mail account, e-mail address? cant speak how they learned. But
the specialists sit right out front her
office. they ever e-mail her? dont know the answer your question.
But they frequently walked and out her office
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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
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113 engage with her, provide her with materials. The Clinton e-mail address that weve
that youve identified for Secretary Clinton, she
used that for her State Department business.
Correct? Correct. Okay. And would you agree with that
Secretary Clinton used widely throughout the
department and outside the department for her work
business?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. During her tenure there?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Vague. know that she e-mailed number
people both inside the department for the work that
she did, well the government. Okay. Jacob Sullivan, who he? Jacob Sullivan was deputy chief staff
and managed policy the department, and then
subsequently became the head policy and planning. Okay. was within the Secretarys
office. Correct?
115
MS. WILKINSON: Objection.
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Theres
question.
MS. WILKINSON: Youre not here make
record. This deposition.
MS. COTCA: Correct. you have any reason dispute that
the Secretary e-mails that she returned the State
Department, Ms. Abedin sent 3,000 Mrs. Clinton
sent 3,490 e-mails Mrs. Abedin and Ms. Abedin
received 872 e-mails from Secretary Clinton?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Form,
foundation, and beyond the scope. know that the Secretary returned over
30,000 e-mails. dont know the breakdown that terms how they broke down individual. Okay. Who William Burns? Bill Burns was the Deputy Secretary
State. what time? Bill Burns was the Deputy Secretary
State during her tenure. And was promoted
114 Correct. Okay. And Secretary Clinton e-mailed with
Mr. Sullivan for government-related business? knowledge, yes. Okay. And just our count the
records that Secretary Clinton returned, counted
3,887 e-mails that were sent and 1,412 e-mails that
were received. whom? Between Mr. Sullivan and Secretary
Clinton.
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Theres
question there. Youre just making statement. Did Mrs. Clinton e-mail with Huma Abedin? Yes. For State Department business? Yes. Okay. And you know how frequently they
e-mailed? dont. Okay. Again, just for the record, our
count was
116
that position while she was Secretary. Okay. And you know, did Secretary
Clinton e-mail with Bill Burns during her time
State Department for government business? knowledge, she did. How about and just going
through few names just Okay. Thank you for that. appreciate
that preview. How about Jack Lew? knowledge, she did. And who he? was Deputy Secretary State. When? was Deputy Secretary State for most her tenure. Not all it, but for most it. How about Thomas Nides?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection for moment.
Could ask you mean, dont mind you asking
these questions, but dont understand the
relevance the permissible scope because not
party the case.
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117
Are these part the FOIA requests that
implicate Secretary Clinton and Ms. Abedins e-mails the processing the FOIA requests this
action?
MS. COTCA: These Secretary
Clintons use her e-mail account the State
Department. officials within the State
Department.
MS. WILKINSON: But dont see that the topic thought was the approach and
practice for processing FOIA requests and the
creation and operation Clintonemail.com, not who
she e-mailed generally.
Again, you can -MS. COTCA: Again, you want can have discussion and can actually off the record.
And can out and can ask Ms. Mills
leave the room.
MS. WILKINSON: just asking you for
clarification.
MS. COTCA: You know, youre going
have these sort questions and statements,
119
MS. WILKINSON: You know, most
depositions people try work together. Because want you able get the questions asked
and answers that youre entitled to. not trying just make
objection for the sake it. actually trying see theres basis, then would happy
have client answer the question. any deposition Ive done, normally
people are more than willing that, because the
idea get you the information youre entitled and that you need.
MS. WALSH: you guys need copy the
order? Ive got extra one.
MS. WILKINSON: your
position and Ill let her answer, maybe wont
instruct her not answer. your position
that those questions the first topic, the
creation and operation Clintonemail.com?
MS. COTCA: dont dont need dont need explain with respect the
strategy how the questions are asked with
118
Ms. Mills, you can exit the room.
THE WITNESS: Okay.
MS. COTCA: Sorry.
THE WITNESS: No. No. Thats quite all
right.
MS. COTCA: Unless you withdraw the
objection.
MS. WILKINSON: No, dont.
(Ms. Mills left the conference room.)
MS. WILKINSON: trying get basis
for asking the questions. dont want have object.
MS. COTCA: This isnt with respect
processing FOIA; this respect Secretary
Clintons use her e-mail the Secretary
State.
MS. WILKINSON: But thats not what the
order says. says the creation, operation
Clintonemail.com.
MR. ORFANEDES: This not debate.
you have scope objection, say scope, and well
move on. your witness
120
respect where they fit within the scope.
believe they are within the scope Judge
Sullivans order. you have objection scope and you want instruct the witness not answer,
please so. And refrain just doing that when
the witness here.
MS. WILKINSON: just want make
record. Were trying work out. wasnt
asking you for your strategy. was asking you
whether you thought what topic was under. And
youre telling you wont answer.
MS. COTCA: already told you that was
within the first topic. wasnt within the
processing FOIAs. And thats pretty obvious,
that this scope within that.
MS. BERMAN: Would this good time
take break since weve been going for while?
MS. COTCA: Sure.
VIDEO SPECIALIST: This ends Tape
are off the record 11:34. recess was taken.)
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121
VIDEO SPECIALIST: Here begins Tape
the deposition Cheryl Mills. are back the
record 11:48. MS. COTCA: Ms. Mills, were just going through some the other officials the State Department and
Secretary Clintons practice e-mailing with them her Clintonemail.com e-mail address. Susan Rice,
who she? Well, can you more specific you mean what because shes held number
positions. tell what you mean. you know who she is? She currently serves the national
security counsel. Okay. And does she serve any capacity the State Department during your tenure there? She was during Secretary Clintons
tenure there and mine, she served the ambassador the United Nations. Okay. And you know Secretary
Clinton e-mailed with Ms. Rice?
123 Will you, please. And let know when
youre finished reviewing it.
Ms. Mills, see that youre highlighting
some portions the exhibit, which fine. But
just for the record sorry. No. Thats fine. But just for the
record, can confirm that there were
highlights when you were handed the exhibits, and
that those are your highlights.
MS. WILKINSON: Dont highlight. Sorry. apologize. was just trying
read, pay attention was reading. wont
highlight anymore. Okay. But those are your highlights for
the record, youve highlighted that exhibit? have. Thank you. Okay. And there were highlights,
highlight marks before when handed you the
exhibit. When you handed the exhibit, there were highlights it.
122 dont know.
MS. COTCA: Okay. Could you mark this exhibit, please.
(Deposition Exhibit marked for
identification and attached the transcript.)
MS. WILKINSON: you have copies?
MS. COTCA: Oh, yes. What exhibit
that?
MS. WILKINSON: Exhibit
MS. COTCA: You know what? Just mark -Can off the record for one moment.
VIDEO SPECIALIST: Were off the record
11:49. recess was taken.)
VIDEO SPECIALIST: are back the
record 11:51. MS. COTCA: Ms. Mills, youve been handed, believe
its Exhibit Yes. Yes. Did you have chance review it? have not. will review.
124 Thank you. And apologize for distorting the record,
and will not that again. thank you.
MS. WILKINSON: Ms. Cotca, think what
got are two the same pages the last two pages.
Could wrong.
MS. COTCA: Theyre not. Theyre close,
but dont think theyre identical.
MS. WILKINSON: Okay.
MS. COTCA: Are they identical your
copy?
MS. WILKINSON: Its hard for tell.
MS. COTCA: Okay.
MS. WILKINSON: Oh, see. MS. COTCA: Ms. Mills, have you reviewed Yes, have. reviewed the exhibit? Thank you. Sure. And fair description
just say there are number e-mails this
exhibit, with Secretary Clinton?
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125 Yes. Okay. just want through some them with respect who she communicated with
when she was the State Department. Thank you. Sure. Weve talked about, weve asked
about Susan Rice. the first page. the first page the exhibit. that Susan Rice who served the
ambassador? Yes. that e-mail? Okay.
And thats e-mail Secretary Clinton.
Right? This e-mail Secretary Clinton.
This e-mail from Secretary Clinton Susan
Rice her State.gov account, and then Susan
responding. Okay. And looks like the e-mail from
Secretary Clinton initially the beginning
states, Susan, please feel free use, paren, open
127 dont know. Okay. And then the next page, can you
just describe what that page -MS. BERMAN: Objection the exhibit?
MS. BERMAN: the document speaks for
itself. This e-mail exchange with Secretary
Clinton and myself part it. Okay. And the original e-mail, you
see that where Amanda Anderson sent you e-mail well Lauren Jilloty? Yes, see that. Okay. Asking send her e-mail address,
the subject matter being the Secretarys e-mail. you see that? see that. Okay. that request for Secretary
e-mails for Secretary Clintons e-mail account sent, the e-mail address sent Emanuel
Rahm?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. The document
126
paren, whatever current address may be. dont
know thats exclamation mark not, close
parenthesis. you see that? see that. Okay. Why did Secretary Clinton e-mail
Susan Rice?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Foundation. dont know why she chose that -on that that occasion e-mail her. Okay. Well, guess question let
rephrase the question. Okay. Did Susan Rice request make request
for Secretary Clintons e-mail account?
MS. WILKINSON: Objection. Foundation.
The document speaks for itself. dont know. Okay. you know Secretary Clinton
requested directly Secretary sorry,
Susan Rice made request Secretary Clinton for
the Secretarys e-mail address?
128
speaks for itself. The e-mail says the Secretary and Rahm are
speaking, and she has just asked him e-mail her.
Can you send her address, please. Okay. Whose address that?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. you know. you can deduct from the
document. the document says the Secretary and
Rahm are speaking. She just asked him e-mail her
address. Can you send her e-mail address,
please.
And then sorry. No, no, no. sorry. ahead. And then sent e-mail the Secretary
saying, you want him have your e-mail.
And the Secretary then responded me,
saying, yes.
And then responded saying, Will give
him directly.
And this exchange happening our
State e-mail accounts.
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129 Okay. Except for Secretary Clintons
e-mail. Correct? Correct. Secretary Clintons e-mail
Clintonemail.com. was her practice e-mail for
State matters individuals government accounts. Okay. Did you provide Emanuel Rahm the
Secretarys e-mail address? dont know. would hope did, because said would. But dont have recollection
it. And the next page the document?
MS. WILKINSON: Can just maybe
you want clear that these are multiple
e-mails. Youve just compiled them.
MS. COTCA: Yes. think that was said
the beginning.
MS. WILKINSON: Okay. Sorry. Thats Page Exhibit think. Correct. Exhibit Page which
new e-mail. Okay. John Kerry, the current
Secretary State. Correct?
131 the Department Energy. Correct. Okay. Did Secretary Clinton and Secretary
Chu e-mail? can only look this e-mail and
and say the answer that question would
appear yes. But didnt have contemporaneous
knowledge her e-mails with How did the Secretary Steven Chu. Okay. How did Secretary Chu learn
Mrs. Clintons e-mail address? have idea. The next two pages appear two pages e-mail string the exhibit. you see that? do. Okay. And these e-mails appear
string. youll look the second page the
document, your original e-mail. There
statement from you, You can lose the
cmills@HillaryClinton.com. Correct.
130 assuming this John Kerry who was
the who currently Secretary State. dont
personally know John Kerrys original e-mail
address, but would appear from the face
the document that thats what its referencing. But deducing that, opposed knowing his e-mail
account. Okay. Did you know mean, did
Secretary Clinton e-mail with John Kerry during her
time the State Department? She may very well she very may well
have. dont dont know that had
contemporaneous understanding that. And thats the date the document
March 18, 2012. Correct? The yes. Both e-mails are March 18,
2012. Okay. Sunday. Okay. The next page the document.
Thats e-mail that appears e-mail,
correct, Secretary Clinton, from Steven Chu?
132 you see that statement? Yes. Okay. And thats e-mail from you
whom? Dennis McDonough. Who was that? Dennis McDonough was the deputy national
security counsel. Okay. that time? Back January sorry. always using the time
period this date. should say January -with July 2009, with respect the e-mail
that youre asking about, and you said who was
he. Yes. was serving the capacity the
deputy national security counsel, the best
memory. Okay. What that e-mail account thats
referenced there for for you? Which one?
PLANET DEPOS
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 133 136)
133 The CMills@HillaryClinton.com. The CMills@HillaryClinton.com was
campaign e-mail address. Okay. When did you begin using that
e-mail address?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. dont know.
MS. BERMAN: Beyond scope admissible
discovery.
MS. WILKINSON: Same objection. Let lay some foundation. Did you use
that e-mail account when you were Secretary
the State Department? No. When did you discontinue did you
discontinue using that e-mail account? Yes. Okay. When was that? would have discontinued probably using
that e-mail account sometime January 2009. Okay. still active?
MS. BERMAN: Objection. Beyond the scope
135
House for period time during Secretary
Clintons tenure and also not the White House
during period time.
And just dont have enough facility mind know which period this was in, even
looking the dates. just dont remember
came into the government first with the President
and then left came later and then
because thats the best recollection. But
did serve government for period time. Okay. What capacity did serve when was the White House? dont know what his dont know what
his title was what his capacity was. know that served someone who obviously was advising the
White House, but couldnt tell you more than that. When you say advising the White House,
advising the President? Yes. Okay. How about John Podesta; did
Secretary Clinton e-mail with John Podesta? Are you another e-mail now?
134 discovery.
MS. WILKINSON: Same objection. Was still active July 2009? actually dont know. didnt have
strategy for accessing it, dont know the
answer that question. might have continued
have life, but didnt access that e-mail. Okay. Did send you e-mail the
HillaryClinton.com e-mail account before you
responded July 2009? just dont know. Okay. Next page, please, the exhibit.
Did Secretary Clinton e-mail with David
Axelrod? dont know how frequently she e-mailed
with David Axelrod. know, based this e-mail
traffic, that provided her with his address. Okay. Who was David Axelrod that time? dont know what role David Axelrod was
serving that time. Was the White House? David Axelrod was both the White
136 No. just asking you. dont know that could have
contemporaneously told you the answer that
question. see e-mail here. Youre the next page. Okay. Yes. And she e-mailed with John Podesta,
well? This e-mail traffic reflects e-mail
with John Podesta, correct. Okay. Who was John Podesta the time? June 2009 believe John Podesta
would have been the president the Center for
American Progress. And okay. Who Nora Toiv? Nora Toiv was assistant office. Okay. When did she serve assistant? She started sometime after was there,
probably not until six months after was
there. And how long did she stay that role? She was there for most tenure, but
PLANET DEPOS
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 137 140)
137
she left prior departure. Okay. And when you say she served
assistant, was that your assistant was she
your assistant? She was assistant

Full Text Political Transcripts May 30, 2016: President Barack Obama Remarks on Memorial Day 2016 at Arlington Cemetery

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on Memorial Day, 2016

Source: WH, 5-30-16

Arlington Cemetery
Arlington, Virginia

11:31 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning.

AUDIENCE:  Good morning.

THE PRESIDENT:  Secretary Carter, General Dunford, Mr. Hallinan, Major General Becker, members of our Armed Forces, veterans, and most of all, our Gold Star families:  I’m honored to be with you once again as we pay our respects, as Americans, to those who gave their lives for us all.

Here, at Arlington, the deafening sounds of combat have given way to the silence of these sacred hills.  The chaos and confusion of battle has yielded to perfect, precise rows of peace.  The Americans who rest here, and their families — the best of us, those from whom we asked everything — ask of us today only one thing in return:  that we remember them.

If you look closely at the white markers that grace these hills, one thing you’ll notice is that so many of the years — dates of birth and dates of death — are so close together.  They belong to young Americans; those who never lived to be honored as veterans for their service — men who battled their own brothers in Civil War, those who fought as a band of brothers an ocean away, men and women who redefine heroism for a new generation.  There are generals buried beside privates they led.  Americans known as “Dad” or “Mom.”  Some only known to God.  As Mr. Hallinan, a Marine who then watched over these grounds has said, “everyone here is someone’s hero.”

Those who rest beneath this silence — not only here at Arlington, but at veterans’ cemeteries across our country and around the world, and all who still remain missing — they didn’t speak the loudest about their patriotism.  They let their actions do that.  Whether they stood up in times of war, signed up in times of peace, or were called up by a draft board, they embodied the best of America.

As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than leading our men and women in uniform; I have no more solemn obligation sending them into harm’s way.  I think about this every time I approve an operation as President.  Every time, as a husband and father, that I sign a condolence letter.  Every time Michelle and I sit at the bedside of a wounded warrior or grieve and hug members of a Gold Star Family.

Less than one percent of our nation wears the uniform, and so few Americans sees this patriotism with their own eyes or knows someone who exemplifies it.  But every day, there are American families who pray for the sound of a familiar voice when the phone rings.  For the sound of a loved one’s letter or email arriving.  More than one million times in our history, it didn’t come.  And instead, a car pulled up to the house.  And there was a knock on the front door.  And the sounds of Taps floated through a cemetery’s trees.

For us, the living — those of us who still have a voice — it is our responsibility, our obligation, to fill that silence with our love and our support and our gratitude — and not just with our words, but with our actions.  For truly remembering, and truly honoring these fallen Americans means being there for their parents, and their spouses, and their children — like the boys and girls here today, wearing red shirts and bearing photos of the fallen.  Your moms and dads would be so proud of you.  And we are, too.

Truly remembering means that after our fallen heroes gave everything to get their battle buddies home, we have to make sure our veterans get everything that they have earned, from good health care to a good job.  And we have to do better; our work is never done.  We have to be there not only when we need them, but when they need us.

Thirty days before he would be laid to rest a short walk from here, President Kennedy told us that a nation reveals itself not only by the people it produces, but by those it remembers.  Not everyone will serve.  Not everyone will visit this national sanctuary.  But we remember our best in every corner of our country from which they came.  We remember them by teaching our children at schools with fallen heroes’ names, like Dorie Miller Elementary in San Antonio.  Or being good neighbors in communities named after great generals, like McPherson, Kansas.  Or when we walk down 1st Sgt. Bobby Mendez Way in Brooklyn, or drive across the Hoover Dam on a bridge that bears Pat Tillman’s name.

We reveal ourselves in our words and deeds, but also by the simple act of listening.  My fellow Americans, today and every day, listen to the stories these Gold Star families and veterans have to tell.  Ask about who he or she was, why they volunteered. Hear from those who loved them about what their smile looked like, and their laugh sounded like, and the dreams they had for their lives.

Since we gathered here one year ago, more than 20 brave Americans have given their lives for the security of our people in Afghanistan.  We pray for them all, and for their families.  In Iraq, in our fight against ISIL, three Americans have given their lives in combat on our behalf.  And today, I ask you to remember their stories, as well.

Charles Keating, IV — Charlie, or Chuck, or “C-4” — was born into a family of veterans, All-American athletes and Olympians — even a Gold Medalist.  So, naturally, Charlie, and the love of his life, Brooke, celebrated their anniversary on the Fourth of July.  She called him the “huge goofball” everybody wanted to be friends with — the adventurer who surfed and spearfished and planned to sail around the world.

When the Twin Towers fell, he was in high school, and he decided to enlist — joined the SEALs because, he told his friends, it was the hardest thing to do.  He deployed to Afghanistan and three times to Iraq, earning a Bronze Star for valor.  Earlier this month, while assisting local forces in Iraq who had come under attack, he gave his life.

A few days later, one of his platoon mates sent Charlie’s parents a letter from Iraq.  “Please tell everyone Chuck saved a lot of lives today,” it said.  He left us, “with that big signature smile on his handsome face, as always.  Chuck was full of aloha, but was also a ferocious warrior.”  Today, we honor Chief Special Warfare Officer Charles Keating IV.

Louis Cardin was the sixth of seven children, a Californian with an infectious wit who always had a joke at the ready to help someone get through a tough time.  When his siblings ran around the house as kids, his mom, Pat, would yell after them:  “Watch that baby’s safety margin!”  Today, she realizes that what she was really doing was raising a Marine.  As a teenager, he proudly signed up.  Louie graduated high school on a Friday.  Three days later, on Monday morning, the Marines came to pick him up.  That was 10 years ago.  One morning this March, a Marine knocked on his mother’s door again.  On his fifth tour, at a fire base in Iraq, Louie gave his life while protecting the Marines under his command.

Putting others before himself was what Louie did best.  He chose to live in the barracks with his buddies even when he could have taken a house off base.  He volunteered to babysit for friends who needed a date night.  He’d just earned a promotion to mentor his fellow Marines.  When they brought Louie home, hundreds of strangers lined freeway overpasses and the streets of Southern California to salute him.  And today, we salute Staff Sergeant Louis Cardin.  (Applause.)

Joshua Wheeler’s sister says he was “exactly what was right about this world.  He came from nothing and he really made something of himself.”  As a kid, Josh was the one who made sure his brother and four half-sisters were dressed and fed and off to school.  When there wasn’t food in the cupboard, he grabbed his hunting rifle and came back with a deer for dinner.  When his country needed him, he enlisted in the Army at age 19.

He deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan — 14 times; earned 11 Bronze Stars, four for valor.  Last October, as ISIL terrorists prepared to execute 70 hostages, Josh and his fellow Special Ops went in and rescued them.  Every single one walked free.  “We were already dead,” one of the hostages said, “then God sent us a force from the sky.”  That force was the U.S. Army, including Josh Wheeler.

Josh was the doting dad who wrote notes to his kids in the stacks of books he read.  Flying home last summer to be with his wife, Ashley, who was about to give birth, he scribbled one note in the novel he was reading, just to tell his unborn son he was on his way.  Ashley Wheeler is with us here today, holding their 10-month-old son, David.  (Applause.)  Ashley says Josh’s memory makes her think about how can she be a better citizen.  And she hopes it’s what other people think about, too.  Today, this husband and father rests here, in Arlington, in Section 60.  And as Americans, we resolve to be better — better people, better citizens, because of Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler.

A nation reveals itself not only by the people it produces, but by those it remembers.  We do so not just by hoisting a flag, but by lifting up our neighbors.  Not just by pausing in silence, but by practicing in our own lives the ideals of opportunity and liberty and equality that they fought for.  We can serve others, and contribute to the causes they believed in, and above all, keep their stories alive so that one day, when he grows up and thinks of his dad, an American like David Wheeler can tell them, as well, the stories of the lives that others gave for all of us.

We are so proud of them.  We are so grateful for their sacrifice.  We are so thankful to those families of the fallen.  May God bless our fallen and their families.  May He bless all of you.  And may He forever bless these United States of America.  (Applause.)

END                 11:45 A.M. EDT

Full Text Political Transcripts May 24, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Speech in Address to the People of Vietnam

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Obama in Address to the People of Vietnam

Source: WH, 5-24-16

National Convention Center
Hanoi, Vietnam

12:11 P.M. ICT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Xin chào!  (Applause.)  Xin chào Vietnam!  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  To the government and the people of Vietnam, thank you for this very warm welcome and the hospitality that you have shown to me on this visit.  And thank all of you for being here today.  (Applause.)   We have Vietnamese from across this great country, including so many young people who represent the dynamism, and the talent and the hope of Vietnam.

On this visit, my heart has been touched by the kindness for which the Vietnamese people are known.  In the many people who have been lining the streets, smiling and waving, I feel the friendship between our peoples.  Last night, I visited the Old Quarter here in Hanoi and enjoyed some outstanding Vietnamese food.  I tried some Bún Chả.  (Applause.)  Drank some bia Ha Noi.  But I have to say, the busy streets of this city, I’ve never seen so many motorbikes in my life.  (Laughter.)  So I haven’t had to try to cross the street so far, but maybe when I come back and visit you can tell me how.

I am not the first American President to come to Vietnam in recent times.  But I am the first, like so many of you, who came of age after the war between our countries.  When the last U.S. forces left Vietnam, I was just 13 years old.  So my first exposure to Vietnam and the Vietnamese people came when I was growing up in Hawaii, with its proud Vietnamese American community there.

At the same time, many people in this country are much younger than me.  Like my two daughters, many of you have lived your whole lives knowing only one thing — and that is peace and normalized relations between Vietnam and the United States.  So I come here mindful of the past, mindful of our difficult history, but focused on the future — the prosperity, security and human dignity that we can advance together.

I also come here with a deep respect for Vietnam’s ancient heritage.  For millennia, farmers have tended these lands — a history revealed in the Dong Son drums.  At this bend in the river, Hanoi has endured for more than a thousand years.  The world came to treasure Vietnamese silks and paintings, and a great Temple of Literature stands as a testament to your pursuit of knowledge.  And yet, over the centuries, your fate was too often dictated by others.  Your beloved land was not always your own.  But like bamboo, the unbroken spirit of the Vietnamese people was captured by Ly Thuong Kiet — “the Southern emperor rules the Southern land.  Our destiny is writ in Heaven’s Book.”

Today, we also remember the longer history between Vietnamese and Americans that is too often overlooked.  More than 200 years ago, when our Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, sought rice for his farm, he looked to the rice of Vietnam, which he said had “the reputation of being whitest to the eye, best flavored to the taste, and most productive.”  Soon after, American trade ships arrived in your ports seeking commerce.

 

During the Second World War, Americans came here to support your struggle against occupation.  When American pilots were shot down, the Vietnamese people helped rescue them.  And on the day that Vietnam declared its independence, crowds took to the streets of this city, and Ho Chi Minh evoked the American Declaration of Independence.  He said, “All people are created equal.  The Creator has endowed them with inviolable rights.  Among these rights are the right to life, the right to liberty, and the right to the pursuit of happiness.”

In another time, the profession of these shared ideals and our common story of throwing off colonialism might have brought us closer together sooner.  But instead, Cold War rivalries and fears of communism pulled us into conflict.  Like other conflicts throughout human history, we learned once more a bitter truth — that war, no matter what our intentions may be, brings suffering and tragedy.

At your war memorial not far from here, and with family altars across this country, you remember some 3 million Vietnamese, soldiers and civilians, on both sides, who lost their lives.  At our memorial wall in Washington, we can touch the names of 58,315 Americans who gave their lives in the conflict.  In both our countries, our veterans and families of the fallen still ache for the friends and loved ones that they lost.  Just as we learned in America that, even if we disagree about a war, we must always honor those who serve and welcome them home with the respect they deserve, we can join together today, Vietnamese and Americans, and acknowledge the pain and the sacrifices on both sides.

More recently, over the past two decades, Vietnam has achieved enormous progress, and today the world can see the strides that you have made.  With economic reforms and trade agreements, including with the United States, you have entered the global economy, selling your goods around the world.  More foreign investment is coming in.  And with one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia, Vietnam has moved up to become a middle-income nation.

We see Vietnam’s progress in the skyscrapers and high-rises of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and new shopping malls and urban centers.  We see it in the satellites Vietnam puts into space and a new generation that is online, launching startups and running new ventures.  We see it in the tens of millions of Vietnamese connected on Facebook and Instagram.  And you’re not just posting selfies — although I hear you do that a lot — (laughter) — and so far, there have been a number of people who have already asked me for selfies.  You’re also raising your voices for causes that you care about, like saving the old trees of Hanoi.

So all this dynamism has delivered real progress in people’s lives.  Here in Vietnam, you’ve dramatically reduced extreme poverty, you’ve boosted family incomes and lifted millions into a fast-growing middle class.  Hunger, disease, child and maternal mortality are all down.  The number of people with clean drinking water and electricity, the number of boys and girls in school, and your literacy rate — these are all up.  This is extraordinary progress.  This is what you have been able to achieve in a very short time.

And as Vietnam has transformed, so has the relationship between our two nations.  We learned a lesson taught by the venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, who said, “In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.”  In this way, the very war that had divided us became a source for healing.  It allowed us to account for the missing and finally bring them home.  It allowed us to help remove landmines and unexploded bombs, because no child should ever lose a leg just playing outside.  Even as we continue to assist Vietnamese with disabilities, including children, we are also continuing to help remove Agent Orange — dioxin — so that Vietnam can reclaim more of your land.  We’re proud of our work together in Danang, and we look forward to supporting your efforts in Bien Hoa.

Let’s also not forget that the reconciliation between our countries was led by our veterans who once faced each other in battle.  Think of Senator John McCain, who was held for years here as a prisoner of war, meeting General Giap, who said our countries should not be enemies but friends.  Think of all the veterans, Vietnamese and American, who have helped us heal and build new ties.  Few have done more in this regard over the years than former Navy lieutenant, and now Secretary of State of the United States, John Kerry, who is here today.  And on behalf of all of us, John, we thank you for your extraordinary effort.  (Applause.)

Because our veterans showed us the way, because warriors had the courage to pursue peace, our peoples are now closer than ever before.  Our trade has surged.  Our students and scholars learn together.  We welcome more Vietnamese students to America than from any other country in Southeast Asia.  And every year, you welcome more and more American tourists, including young Americans with their backpacks, to Hanoi’s 36 Streets and the shops of Hoi An, and the imperial city of Hue.  As Vietnamese and Americans, we can all relate to those words written by Van Cao — “From now, we know each other’s homeland; from now, we learn to feel for each other.”

 

As President, I’ve built on this progress.  With our new Comprehensive Partnership, our governments are working more closely together than ever before.  And with this visit, we’ve put our relationship on a firmer footing for decades to come.  In a sense, the long story between our two nations that began with Thomas Jefferson more than two centuries ago has now come full circle.  It has taken many years and required great effort.  But now we can say something that was once unimaginable:  Today, Vietnam and the United States are partners.

And I believe our experience holds lessons for the world.  At a time when many conflicts seem intractable, seem as if they will never end, we have shown that hearts can change and that a different future is possible when we refuse to be prisoners of the past.  We’ve shown how peace can be better than war.  We’ve shown that progress and human dignity is best advanced by cooperation and not conflict.  That’s what Vietnam and America can show the world.

Now, America’s new partnership with Vietnam is rooted in some basic truths.  Vietnam is an independent, sovereign nation, and no other nation can impose its will on you or decide your destiny.  (Applause.)  Now, the United States has an interest here.  We have an interest in Vietnam’s success.  But our Comprehensive Partnership is still in its early stages.  And with the time I have left, I want to share with you the vision that I believe can guide us in the decades ahead.

First, let’s work together to create real opportunity and prosperity for all of our people.  We know the ingredients for economic success in the 21st century.  In our global economy, investment and trade flows to wherever there is rule of law, because no one wants to pay a bribe to start a business.  Nobody wants to sell their goods or go to school if they don’t know how they’re going to be treated.  In knowledge-based economies, jobs go to where people have the freedom to think for themselves and exchange ideas and to innovate.  And real economic partnerships are not just about one country extracting resources from another.  They’re about investing in our greatest resource, which is our people and their skills and their talents, whether you live in a big city or a rural village.  And that’s the kind of partnership that America offers.

As I announced yesterday, the Peace Corps will come to Vietnam for the first time, with a focus on teaching English.  A generation after young Americans came here to fight, a new generation of Americans are going to come here to teach and build and deepen the friendship between us.  (Applause.)  Some of America’s leading technology companies and academic institutions are joining Vietnamese universities to strengthen training in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine.  Because even as we keep welcoming more Vietnamese students to America, we also believe that young people deserve a world-class education right here in Vietnam.

It’s one of the reasons why we’re very excited that this fall, the new Fulbright University Vietnam will open in Ho Chi Minh City — this nation’s first independent, non-profit university — where there will be full academic freedom and scholarships for those in need.  (Applause.)  Students, scholars, researchers will focus on public policy and management and business; on engineering and computer science; and liberal arts — everything from the poetry of Nguyen Du, to the philosophy of Phan Chu Trinh, to the mathematics of Ngo Bao Chau.

And we’re going to keep partnering with young people and entrepreneurs, because we believe that if you can just access the skills and technology and capital you need, then nothing can stand in your way — and that includes, by the way, the talented women of Vietnam.  (Applause.)  We think gender equality is an important principle.  From the Trung Sisters to today, strong, confident women have always helped move Vietnam forward.  The evidence is clear — I say this wherever I go around the world — families, communities and countries are more prosperous when girls and women have an equal opportunity to succeed in school and at work and in government.  That’s true everywhere, and it’s true here in Vietnam.  (Applause.)

We’ll keep working to unleash the full potential of your economy with the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Here in Vietnam, TPP will let you sell more of your products to the world and it will attract new investment.  TPP will require reforms to protect workers and rule of law and intellectual property.  And the United States is ready to assist Vietnam as it works to fully implement its commitments.  I want you to know that, as President of the United States, I strongly support TPP because you’ll also be able to buy more of our goods, “Made in America.”

Moreover, I support TPP because of its important strategic benefits.  Vietnam will be less dependent on any one trading partner and enjoy broader ties with more partners, including the United States.  (Applause.)  And TPP will reinforce regional cooperation.  It will help address economic inequality and will advance human rights, with higher wages and safer working conditions.  For the first time here in Vietnam, the right to form independent labor unions and prohibitions against forced labor and child labor.  And it has the strongest environmental protections and the strongest anti-corruption standards of any trade agreement in history.  That’s the future TPP offers for all of us, because all of us — the United States, Vietnam, and the other signatories — will have to abide by these rules that we have shaped together.  That’s the future that is available to all of us.  So we now have to get it done — for the sake of our economic prosperity and our national security.

This brings me to the second area where we can work together, and that is ensuring our mutual security.  With this visit, we have agreed to elevate our security cooperation and build more trust between our men and women in uniform.  We’ll continue to offer training and equipment to your Coast Guard to enhance Vietnam’s maritime capabilities.  We will partner to deliver humanitarian aid in times of disaster.  With the announcement I made yesterday to fully lift the ban on defense sales, Vietnam will have greater access to the military equipment you need to ensure your security.  And the United States is demonstrating our commitment to fully normalize our relationship with Vietnam.  (Applause.)

More broadly, the 20th century has taught all of us — including the United States and Vietnam — that the international order upon which our mutual security depends is rooted in certain rules and norms.  Nations are sovereign, and no matter how large or small a nation may be, its sovereignty should be respected, and it territory should not be violated.  Big nations should not bully smaller ones.  Disputes should be resolved peacefully.  (Applause.)  And regional institutions, like ASEAN and the East Asia Summit, should continue to be strengthened.  That’s what I believe.  That’s what the United States believes.  That’s the kind of partnership America offers this region.  I look forward to advancing this spirit of respect and reconciliation later this year when I become the first U.S. President to visit Laos.

In the South China Sea, the United States is not a claimant in current disputes.  But we will stand with partners in upholding core principles, like freedom of navigation and overflight, and lawful commerce that is not impeded, and the peaceful resolution of disputes, through legal means, in accordance with international law.  As we go forward, the United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, and we will support the right of all countries to do the same.  (Applause.)

Even as we cooperate more closely in the areas I’ve described, our partnership includes a third element — addressing areas where our governments disagree, including on human rights.  I say this not to single out Vietnam.  No nation is perfect.  Two centuries on, the United States is still striving to live up to our founding ideals.  We still deal with our shortcomings — too much money in our politics, and rising economic inequality, racial bias in our criminal justice system, women still not being paid as much as men doing the same job.  We still have problems.  And we’re not immune from criticism, I promise you.  I hear it every day.  But that scrutiny, that open debate, confronting our imperfections, and allowing everybody to have their say has helped us grow stronger and more prosperous and more just.

I’ve said this before — the United States does not seek to impose our form of government on Vietnam.  The rights I speak of I believe are not American values; I think they’re universal values written into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  They’re written into the Vietnamese constitution, which states that “citizens have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and have the right of access to information, the right to assembly, the right to association, and the right to demonstrate.”  That’s in the Vietnamese constitution.  (Applause.)  So really, this is an issue about all of us, each country, trying to consistently apply these principles, making sure that we — those of us in government — are being true to these ideals.

In recent years, Vietnam has made some progress.  Vietnam has committed to bringing its laws in line with its new constitution and with international norms.  Under recently passed laws, the government will disclose more of its budget and the public will have the right to access more information.  And, as I said, Vietnam has committed to economic and labor reforms under the TPP.   So these are all positive steps.  And ultimately, the future of Vietnam will be decided by the people of Vietnam.  Every country will chart its own path, and our two nations have different traditions and different political systems and different cultures.  But as a friend of Vietnam, allow me to share my view — why I believe nations are more successful when universal rights are upheld.

When there is freedom of expression and freedom of speech, and when people can share ideas and access the Internet and social media without restriction, that fuels the innovation economies need to thrive.  That’s where new ideas happen.  That’s how a Facebook starts.  That’s how some of our greatest companies began — because somebody had a new idea.  It was different.  And they were able to share it.  When there’s freedom of the press — when journalists and bloggers are able to shine a light on injustice or abuse — that holds officials accountable and builds public confidence that the system works.  When candidates can run for office and campaign freely, and voters can choose their own leaders in free and fair elections, it makes the countries more stable, because citizens know that their voices count and that peaceful change is possible.  And it brings new people into the system.

When there is freedom of religion, it not only allows people to fully express the love and compassion that are at the heart of all great religions, but it allows faith groups to serve their communities through schools and hospitals, and care for the poor and the vulnerable.  And when there is freedom of assembly — when citizens are free to organize in civil society — then countries can better address challenges that government sometimes cannot solve by itself.  So it is my view that upholding these rights is not a threat to stability, but actually reinforces stability and is the foundation of progress.

After all, it was a yearning for these rights that inspired people around the world, including Vietnam, to throw off colonialism.  And I believe that upholding these rights is the fullest expression of the independence that so many cherish, including here, in a nation that proclaims itself to be “of the People, by the People and for the People.”

Vietnam will do it differently than the United States does.  And each of us will do it differently from many other countries around the world.  But there are these basic principles that I think we all have to try to work on and improve.  And I said this as somebody who’s about to leave office, so I have the benefit of almost eight years now of reflecting on how our system has worked and interacting with countries around the world who are constantly trying to improve their systems, as well.

Finally, our partnership I think can meet global challenges that no nation can solve by itself.  If we’re going to ensure the health of our people and the beauty of our planet, then development has to be sustainable.  Natural wonders like Ha Long Bay and Son Doong Cave have to be preserved for our children and our grandchildren.  Rising seas threaten the coasts and waterways on which so many Vietnamese depend.  And so as partners in the fight against climate change, we need to fulfill the commitments we made in Paris, we need to help farmers and villages and people who depend on fishing to adapt and to bring more clean energy to places like the Mekong Delta — a rice bowl of the world that we need to feed future generations.

And we can save lives beyond our borders.  By helping other countries strengthen, for example, their health systems, we can prevent outbreaks of disease from becoming epidemics that threaten all of us.  And as Vietnam deepens its commitment to U.N. peacekeeping, the United States is proud to help train your peacekeepers.  And what a truly remarkable thing that is — our two nations that once fought each other now standing together and helping others achieve peace, as well.  So in addition to our bilateral relationship, our partnership also allows us to help shape the international environment in ways that are positive.

Now, fully realizing the vision that I’ve described today is not going to happen overnight, and it is not inevitable.  There may be stumbles and setbacks along the way.  There are going to be times where there are misunderstandings.  It will take sustained effort and true dialogue where both sides continue to change.  But considering all the history and hurdles that we’ve already overcome, I stand before you today very optimistic about our future together.  (Applause.)  And my confidence is rooted, as always, in the friendship and shared aspirations of our peoples.

I think of all the Americans and Vietnamese who have crossed a wide ocean — some reuniting with families for the first time in decades — and who, like Trinh Cong Son said in his song, have joined hands, and opening their hearts and seeing our common humanity in each other.  (Applause.)

I think of all the Vietnamese Americans who have succeeded in every walk of life — doctors, journalists, judges, public servants.  One of them, who was born here, wrote me a letter and said, by “God’s grace, I have been able to live the American Dream…I’m very proud to be an American but also very proud to be Vietnamese.”  (Applause.)  And today he’s here, back in the country of his birth, because, he said, his “personal passion” is “improving the life of every Vietnamese person.”

I think of a new generation of Vietnamese — so many of you, so many of the young people who are here — who are ready to make your mark on the world.  And I want to say to all the young people listening:  Your talent, your drive, your dreams — in those things, Vietnam has everything it needs to thrive.  Your destiny is in your hands.  This is your moment.  And as you pursue the future that you want, I want you to know that the United States of America will be right there with you as your partner and as your friend.  (Applause.)

And many years from now, when even more Vietnamese and Americans are studying with each other; innovating and doing business with each other; standing up for our security, and promoting human rights and protecting our planet with each other — I hope you think back to this moment and draw hope from the vision that I’ve offered today.  Or, if I can say it another way — in words that you know well from the Tale of Kieu — “Please take from me this token of trust, so we can embark upon our 100-year journey together.”  (Applause.)

Cam on cac ban.  Thank you very much.  Thank you, Vietnam.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
12:43 P.M. ICT

Full Text Political Transcripts May 16, 2016: President barack Obama’s Remarks at Presentation of the Medal of Valor

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at Presentation of the Medal of Valor

Source: WH, 5-16-16

East Room

11:30 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  And good morning.  Welcome to the White House.  Thank you, Attorney General Lynch, for your words and your leadership.  We’ve got a couple members of Congress here — Frederica Wilson and Chris Collins we want to acknowledge.  And I also want to recognize Director Comey, members of the Fraternal Order of Police, and all the outstanding law enforcement officials who are here from around the country.  I’m proud to stand with you as we celebrate Police Week.  And most of all, I’m proud to be with the heroes on the front row, and with the families who have supported them — and the family of one who made the ultimate sacrifice.

It’s been said that perfect valor is doing without witnesses what you would do if the whole world were watching.  The public safety officers we recognize today with the Medal of Valor found courage not in search of recognition, they did it instinctively. This is an award that none of them sought.  And if they could go back in time, I suspect they’d prefer none of this had happened.

As one of today’s honorees said about his actions, “I could have very well gone my whole career and not dealt with this situation and been very happy with that.”  If they had their way, none of them would have to be here, and so we’re grateful that they are and our entire nation expresses its profound gratitude. More important, we’re so grateful that they were there — some on duty, others off duty, all rising above and beyond the call of duty.  All saving the lives of people they didn’t know.

That distinction — that these 13 officers of valor saved the lives of strangers — is the first of several qualities that they share.  But their bravery, if it had not been for their bravery, we likely would have lost a lot of people — mothers,  fathers, sons, daughters, friends and loved ones.  Thankfully, they are still with their families today because these officers were where they needed to be most, at a critical time:  At a gas station during a routine patrol.  In the middle of a busy hospital.  In a grocery store.  On the campus of a community college.  Near an elementary school where a sheriff’s deputy’s own children were students and his wife taught.  In all of these places, in each of these moments, these officers were true to their oaths.

To a person, each of these honorees acted without regard for their own safety.  They stood up to dangerous individuals brandishing assault rifles, handguns, and knives.  One officer sustained multiple stab wounds while fighting off an assailant.  Another endured first-degree burns to his arms and face while pulling an unconscious driver from a burning car on a freeway.

Each of them will tell you, very humbly, the same thing — they were just doing their jobs.  They were doing what they had to do, what they were trained to do, like on any other day.  The officer who suffered those terrible burns — he left urgent care and went straight to work.  He had to finish his shift.  That sense of duty and purpose is what these Americans embody.

The truth is, it’s because of your courage, sometimes seen, but sometimes unseen, that the rest of us can go about living our lives like it’s any other day.  Going to work, going to school, spending time with our families, getting home safely.  We so appreciate our public safety officers around the country, from our rookie cadets to our role model of an Attorney General.  Not everyone will wear the medal that we give today, but every day, so many of our public safety officers wear a badge of honor.

The men and women who run toward danger remind us with your courage and humility what the highest form of citizenship looks like.  When you see students and commuters and shoppers at risk, you don’t see these civilians as strangers.  You see them as part of your own family, your own community.  The Scripture teaches us, you love your neighbor as yourself.  And you put others’ safety before your own.  In your proud example of public service, you remind us that loving our country means loving one another.

Today, we also want to acknowledge the profound sacrifices made by your families.  And I had the chance to meet some of them and they were all clearly so proud of you, but we’re very proud of them.  We know that you wait up late, and you’re worried and you’re counting down the minutes until your loved one walks through the door, safe, after a long shift.  We know it never gets easier, and we thank you for that.  And of course, we honor those who didn’t come home, including one hero we honor posthumously today — Sergeant Robert Wilson III.

He gave his life when two men opened fire at a video game store where Sergeant Wilson was buying a son a birthday present. To his family who’s here — his grandmother, Constance, his brother and sister — please know how deeply sorry we are for your loss, how grateful we are for Sergeant Wilson’s service.

We also honor the more than 35 who’ve given their lives in the line of duty so far this year.  One of them, an officer in Virginia named Ashley Marie Guindon, was taken from us on her very first shift.

I’ve seen this sacrifice when I’ve joined some of you at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial not far from here.  We read the names carved on these walls, and we grieve with the families who carry the fallen in their hearts forever.  We’ve been moved, deeply, by their anguish — but also by their pride in the lives their loved ones lived.  And in those moments, we’re reminded of our enduring obligation as citizens — that they sacrificed so much for — that we do right by them and their families.

And medals and ceremonies like today are important, but these aren’t enough to convey the true depth of our gratitude.  Our words will be hollow if they’re not matched by deeds.  So our nation has a responsibility to support those who serve and protect us and keep our streets safe.  We can show our respect by listening to you, learning from you, giving you the resources that you need to do the jobs.  That’s the mission of our police task force, which brought together local law enforcement, civil rights and faith leaders, and community members to open dialogue and build trust and find concrete solutions that make your jobs safer.  Our country needs that right now.

We’re going to keep pushing Congress to move forward [in] a bipartisan way to make our criminal justice system fairer and smarter and more cost-effective, and enhance public safety and ensure the men and women in this room have the ability to enforce the law and keep their communities safe.

A few minutes ago, I signed into law a package of bills to protect and honor our law enforcement officers, including one that will help state and local departments buy more bulletproof vests.

Emerson once said, “there is always safety in valor.”  The public safety officers we honor today give those words new meaning, for it’s your courage and quick thinking that gave us our safety.

So we want to thank you for your service.  We want to thank your families for your sacrifice.  I had a chance before I came out here to meet with the recipients, and I told them that, although this particular moment for which you are being honored is remarkable, we also know that every day you go out there you’ve got a tough job.  And we could not be prouder of not only moments like the ones we recognize here today, but just the day-to-day grind — you’re doing your jobs professionally; you’re doing your jobs with character.  We want you to know we could not be prouder of you, and we couldn’t be prouder of your families for all the contributions that you make.

So may God bless you and your families.  May God bless our fallen heroes.  <ay God bless the United States of America.

And it’s now my honor to award these medals as the citations are read.

MILITARY AIDE:  Officer Mario Gutierrez.  Medal of Valor presented to Officer Mario Gutierrez, Miami-Dade Police Department, Florida, for bravery and composure while enduring a violent attack.  Officer Gutierrez sustained multiple stab wounds while subduing a knife-wielding assailant who attempted to set off a massive gas explosion that could have resulted in multiple fatalities.

(The medal is awarded.)  (Applause.)

MILITARY AIDE:  Patrolman Lewis Cioci.  Medal of Valor presented to Patrolmen Lewis Ciochi, Johnson City Police Department, New York, for courageously resolving a volatile encounter with a gunman.  After witnessing the murder of his fellow officer, Patrolman Cioci pursued and apprehended the gunman at a crowded hospital, thereby saving the lives of employees, patients, and visitors.

(The medal is awarded.)  (Applause.)

MILITARY AIDE:  Officer Jason Salas, Officer Robert Sparks, and Captain Raymond Bottenfield.  Medal of Valor presented to Officer Jason Salas, Officer Robert Sparks, and Captain Raymond Bottenfield, Santa Monica Police Department, California, for courage and composure in ending a deadly rampage.  Officer Salas, Officer Sparks, and Captain Bottenfield placed themselves in mortal danger to save the lives of students and staff during a school shooting on the busy campus of Santa Monica College.

(The medals are awarded.)  (Applause.)

MILITARY AIDE:  Major David Huff.  Medal of Valor presented to Major David Huff, Midwest City Police Department, Oklahoma, for uncommon poise in resolving a dangerous hostage situation.  Major Huff saved the life of a two-year-old girl after negotiations deteriorated with a man holding the child captive at knifepoint.

(The medal is awarded.)  (Applause.)

MILITARY AIDE:  Officer Donald Thompson.  Medal of Valor presented to Officer Donald Thompson, Los Angeles Police Department, California, for courageous action to save an accident victim.  While off duty, Officer Thompson traversed two freeway dividers and endured first- and second-degree burns while pulling an unconscious man to safety from a car moments before it became engulfed in flames.

(The medal is awarded.)  (Applause.)

MILITARY AIDE:  Officer Coral Walker.  Medal of Valor presented to Officer Coral Walker, Omaha Police Department, Nebraska, for taking brave and decisive action to subdue an active shooter.  After exchanging gunfire, Officer Walker singlehandedly incapacitated a man who had killed an injured multiple victims on a shooting spree.

(The medal is awarded.)  (Applause.)

MILITARY AIDE:  Officer Gregory Stevens.  Medal of Valor presented to Officer Gregory Stevens, Garland Police Department, Texas, for demonstrating extraordinary courage to save lives.  Officer Stevens exchanged gunfire at close range and subdued two heavily armed assailants, preventing a deadly act of terrorism.

(The medal is awarded.)  (Applause.)

MILITARY AIDE:  Mrs. Constance Wilson, accepting on behalf of Sergeant Wilson, III.  Medal of Valor presented to fallen Sergeant Robert Wilson, III, Philadelphia Police Department, Pennsylvania, for giving his life to protect innocent civilians. Sergeant Wilson put himself in harm’s way during an armed robbery, drawing fire from the assailants and suffering a mortal wound as he kept store employees and customers safe.

(The medal is awarded.)  (Applause.)

MILITARY AIDE:  Officer Niel Johnson.  Medal of Valor presented to Officer Niel Johnson, North Miami Police Department, Florida, for swift and valorous action to end a violent crime spree.  Officer Johnson pursued a man who had shot a Miami police officer and two other innocent bystanders, withstanding fire from an assault weapon and apprehended the assailant.

(The medal is awarded.)  (Applause.)

MILITARY AIDE:  Special Agent Tyler Call.  Medal of Valor presented to Special Agent Tyler Call, Federal Bureau of Investigation, for his heroic actions to save a hostage.  Special Agent Cull, who was off duty with his family, helped rescue a woman from her ex-husband, who had violated a restraining order and held the victim at gunpoint.

(The medal is awarded.)  (Applause.)

MILITARY AIDE:  Deputy Joey Tortorella.  Medal of Valor presented to Deputy Joey Tortorella, Niagara County, Sheriff’s Office, New York, for placing himself in grave danger to protect his community.  Deputy Tortorella confronted and subdued a violent gunman who had shot and wounded his parents inside their home, and by doing so, prevented the gunmen from threatening the safety of students at a nearby elementary school.

(The medal is awarded.)  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Let’s give one last big round of applause to the recipients of the Medal of Valor.  (Applause.)

Thank you all.  Thank you for your dedication.  Thanks for your service.  You are continuously in our thoughts and prayers, and we are continuously giving thanks for all that you and your families do.

Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)

END
11:57 A.M. EDT

Full Text Political Transcripts May 7, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Speech at Howard University Commencement Ceremony

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at Howard University Commencement Ceremony

Source: WH, 5-7-16

Howard University
Washington, D.C.

11:47 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you!  Hello, Howard!  (Applause.)  H-U!

AUDIENCE:  You know!

THE PRESIDENT:  H-U!

AUDIENCE:  You know!

THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughter.)  Thank you so much, everybody.  Please, please, have a seat.  Oh, I feel important now.  Got a degree from Howard.  Cicely Tyson said something nice about me.  (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  I love you, President!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.

To President Frederick, the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, fellow recipients of honorary degrees, thank you for the honor of spending this day with you.  And congratulations to the Class of 2016!  (Applause.)  Four years ago, back when you were just freshmen, I understand many of you came by my house the night I was reelected.  (Laughter.)  So I decided to return the favor and come by yours.

To the parents, the grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, all the family and friends who stood by this class, cheered them on, helped them get here today — this is your day, as well.  Let’s give them a big round of applause, as well.  (Applause.)

I’m not trying to stir up any rivalries here; I just want to see who’s in the house.  We got Quad?  (Applause.)  Annex.  (Applause.)  Drew.  Carver.  Slow.  Towers.  And Meridian.  (Applause.)  Rest in peace, Meridian.  (Laughter.)  Rest in peace.

I know you’re all excited today.  You might be a little tired, as well.  Some of you were up all night making sure your credits were in order.  (Laughter.)  Some of you stayed up too late, ended up at HoChi at 2:00 a.m.  (Laughter.)  Got some mambo sauce on your fingers.  (Laughter.)

But you got here.  And you’ve all worked hard to reach this day.  You’ve shuttled between challenging classes and Greek life.  You’ve led clubs, played an instrument or a sport.  You volunteered, you interned.  You held down one, two, maybe three jobs.  You’ve made lifelong friends and discovered exactly what you’re made of.  The “Howard Hustle” has strengthened your sense of purpose and ambition.

Which means you’re part of a long line of Howard graduates.  Some are on this stage today.  Some are in the audience.  That spirit of achievement and special responsibility has defined this campus ever since the Freedman’s Bureau established Howard just four years after the Emancipation Proclamation; just two years after the Civil War came to an end.  They created this university with a vision — a vision of uplift; a vision for an America where our fates would be determined not by our race, gender, religion or creed, but where we would be free — in every sense — to pursue our individual and collective dreams.

It is that spirit that’s made Howard a centerpiece of African-American intellectual life and a central part of our larger American story.  This institution has been the home of many firsts:  The first black Nobel Peace Prize winner.  The first black Supreme Court justice.  But its mission has been to ensure those firsts were not the last.  Countless scholars, professionals, artists, and leaders from every field received their training here.  The generations of men and women who walked through this yard helped reform our government, cure disease, grow a black middle class, advance civil rights, shape our culture.  The seeds of change — for all Americans — were sown here.  And that’s what I want to talk about today.

As I was preparing these remarks, I realized that when I was first elected President, most of you — the Class of 2016 — were just starting high school.  Today, you’re graduating college.  I used to joke about being old.  Now I realize I’m old.  (Laughter.)  It’s not a joke anymore.  (Laughter.)

But seeing all of you here gives me some perspective.  It makes me reflect on the changes that I’ve seen over my own lifetime.  So let me begin with what may sound like a controversial statement — a hot take.

Given the current state of our political rhetoric and debate, let me say something that may be controversial, and that is this:  America is a better place today than it was when I graduated from college.  (Applause.)  Let me repeat:  America is by almost every measure better than it was when I graduated from college.  It also happens to be better off than when I took office — (laughter) — but that’s a longer story.  (Applause.)  That’s a different discussion for another speech.

But think about it.  I graduated in 1983.  New York City, America’s largest city, where I lived at the time, had endured a decade marked by crime and deterioration and near bankruptcy.  And many cities were in similar shape.  Our nation had gone through years of economic stagnation, the stranglehold of foreign oil, a recession where unemployment nearly scraped 11 percent.  The auto industry was getting its clock cleaned by foreign competition.  And don’t even get me started on the clothes and the hairstyles.  I’ve tried to eliminate all photos of me from this period.  I thought I looked good.  (Laughter.)  I was wrong.

Since that year — since the year I graduated — the poverty rate is down.  Americans with college degrees, that rate is up.  Crime rates are down.  America’s cities have undergone a renaissance.  There are more women in the workforce.  They’re earning more money.  We’ve cut teen pregnancy in half.  We’ve slashed the African American dropout rate by almost 60 percent, and all of you have a computer in your pocket that gives you the world at the touch of a button.  In 1983, I was part of fewer than 10 percent of African Americans who graduated with a bachelor’s degree.  Today, you’re part of the more than 20 percent who will.  And more than half of blacks say we’re better off than our parents were at our age — and that our kids will be better off, too.

So America is better.  And the world is better, too.  A wall came down in Berlin.  An Iron Curtain was torn asunder.  The obscenity of apartheid came to an end.  A young generation in Belfast and London have grown up without ever having to think about IRA bombings.  In just the past 16 years, we’ve come from a world without marriage equality to one where it’s a reality in nearly two dozen countries.  Around the world, more people live in democracies.  We’ve lifted more than 1 billion people from extreme poverty.  We’ve cut the child mortality rate worldwide by more than half.

America is better.  The world is better.  And stay with me now — race relations are better since I graduated.  That’s the truth.  No, my election did not create a post-racial society.  I don’t know who was propagating that notion.  That was not mine.    But the election itself — and the subsequent one — because the first one, folks might have made a mistake.  (Laughter.)  The second one, they knew what they were getting.  The election itself was just one indicator of how attitudes had changed.

In my inaugural address, I remarked that just 60 years earlier, my father might not have been served in a D.C. restaurant — at least not certain of them.  There were no black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.  Very few black judges.  Shoot, as Larry Wilmore pointed out last week, a lot of folks didn’t even think blacks had the tools to be a quarterback.  Today, former Bull Michael Jordan isn’t just the greatest basketball player of all time — he owns the team.  (Laughter.)  When I was graduating, the main black hero on TV was Mr. T.  (Laughter.)  Rap and hip hop were counterculture, underground.  Now, Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday night, and Beyoncé runs the world.  (Laughter.)  We’re no longer only entertainers, we’re producers, studio executives.  No longer small business owners — we’re CEOs, we’re mayors, representatives, Presidents of the United States.  (Applause.)

I am not saying gaps do not persist.  Obviously, they do.  Racism persists.  Inequality persists.  Don’t worry — I’m going to get to that.  But I wanted to start, Class of 2016, by opening your eyes to the moment that you are in.  If you had to choose one moment in history in which you could be born, and you didn’t know ahead of time who you were going to be — what nationality, what gender, what race, whether you’d be rich or poor, gay or straight, what faith you’d be born into — you wouldn’t choose 100 years ago.  You wouldn’t choose the fifties, or the sixties, or the seventies.  You’d choose right now.  If you had to choose a time to be, in the words of Lorraine Hansberry, “young, gifted, and black” in America, you would choose right now.  (Applause.)

I tell you all this because it’s important to note progress.  Because to deny how far we’ve come would do a disservice to the cause of justice, to the legions of foot soldiers; to not only the incredibly accomplished individuals who have already been mentioned, but your mothers and your dads, and grandparents and great grandparents, who marched and toiled and suffered and overcame to make this day possible.  I tell you this not to lull you into complacency, but to spur you into action — because there’s still so much more work to do, so many more miles to travel.  And America needs you to gladly, happily take up that work.  You all have some work to do.  So enjoy the party, because you’re going to be busy.  (Laughter.)

Yes, our economy has recovered from crisis stronger than almost any other in the world.  But there are folks of all races who are still hurting — who still can’t find work that pays enough to keep the lights on, who still can’t save for retirement.  We’ve still got a big racial gap in economic opportunity.  The overall unemployment rate is 5 percent, but the black unemployment rate is almost nine.  We’ve still got an achievement gap when black boys and girls graduate high school and college at lower rates than white boys and white girls.  Harriet Tubman may be going on the twenty, but we’ve still got a gender gap when a black woman working full-time still earns just 66 percent of what a white man gets paid.  (Applause.)

We’ve got a justice gap when too many black boys and girls pass through a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails.  This is one area where things have gotten worse.  When I was in college, about half a million people in America were behind bars.  Today, there are about 2.2 million.  Black men are about six times likelier to be in prison right now than white men.

Around the world, we’ve still got challenges to solve that threaten everybody in the 21st century — old scourges like disease and conflict, but also new challenges, from terrorism and climate change.

So make no mistake, Class of 2016 — you’ve got plenty of work to do.  But as complicated and sometimes intractable as these challenges may seem, the truth is that your generation is better positioned than any before you to meet those challenges, to flip the script.

Now, how you do that, how you meet these challenges, how you bring about change will ultimately be up to you.  My generation, like all generations, is too confined by our own experience, too invested in our own biases, too stuck in our ways to provide much of the new thinking that will be required.  But us old-heads have learned a few things that might be useful in your journey.  So with the rest of my time, I’d like to offer some suggestions for how young leaders like you can fulfill your destiny and shape our collective future — bend it in the direction of justice and equality and freedom.

First of all — and this should not be a problem for this group — be confident in your heritage.  (Applause.)  Be confident in your blackness.  One of the great changes that’s occurred in our country since I was your age is the realization there’s no one way to be black.  Take it from somebody who’s seen both sides of debate about whether I’m black enough.  (Laughter.)  In the past couple months, I’ve had lunch with the Queen of England and hosted Kendrick Lamar in the Oval Office.  There’s no straitjacket, there’s no constraints, there’s no litmus test for authenticity.

Look at Howard.  One thing most folks don’t know about Howard is how diverse it is.  When you arrived here, some of you were like, oh, they’ve got black people in Iowa?  (Laughter.)  But it’s true — this class comes from big cities and rural communities, and some of you crossed oceans to study here.  You shatter stereotypes.  Some of you come from a long line of Bison.  Some of you are the first in your family to graduate from college.  (Applause.)  You all talk different, you all dress different.  You’re Lakers fans, Celtics fans, maybe even some hockey fans.  (Laughter.)

And because of those who’ve come before you, you have models to follow.  You can work for a company, or start your own.  You can go into politics, or run an organization that holds politicians accountable.  You can write a book that wins the National Book Award, or you can write the new run of “Black Panther.”  Or, like one of your alumni, Ta-Nehisi Coates, you can go ahead and just do both.  You can create your own style, set your own standard of beauty, embrace your own sexuality.  Think about an icon we just lost — Prince.  He blew up categories.  People didn’t know what Prince was doing.  (Laughter.)  And folks loved him for it.

You need to have the same confidence.  Or as my daughters tell me all the time, “You be you, Daddy.”  (Laughter.)  Sometimes Sasha puts a variation on it — “You do you, Daddy.”  (Laughter.)  And because you’re a black person doing whatever it is that you’re doing, that makes it a black thing.  Feel confident.

Second, even as we each embrace our own beautiful, unique, and valid versions of our blackness, remember the tie that does bind us as African Americans — and that is our particular awareness of injustice and unfairness and struggle.  That means we cannot sleepwalk through life.  We cannot be ignorant of history.  (Applause.)  We can’t meet the world with a sense of entitlement.  We can’t walk by a homeless man without asking why a society as wealthy as ours allows that state of affairs to occur.   We can’t just lock up a low-level dealer without asking why this boy, barely out of childhood, felt he had no other options.  We have cousins and uncles and brothers and sisters who we remember were just as smart and just as talented as we were, but somehow got ground down by structures that are unfair and unjust.

And that means we have to not only question the world as it is, and stand up for those African Americans who haven’t been so lucky — because, yes, you’ve worked hard, but you’ve also been lucky.  That’s a pet peeve of mine:  People who have been successful and don’t realize they’ve been lucky.  That God may have blessed them; it wasn’t nothing you did.  So don’t have an attitude.  But we must expand our moral imaginations to understand and empathize with all people who are struggling, not just black folks who are struggling — the refugee, the immigrant, the rural poor, the transgender person, and yes, the middle-aged white guy who you may think has all the advantages, but over the last several decades has seen his world upended by economic and cultural and technological change, and feels powerless to stop it.  You got to get in his head, too.

Number three:  You have to go through life with more than just passion for change; you need a strategy.  I’ll repeat that.  I want you to have passion, but you have to have a strategy.  Not just awareness, but action.  Not just hashtags, but votes.

You see, change requires more than righteous anger.  It requires a program, and it requires organizing.  At the 1964 Democratic Convention, Fannie Lou Hamer — all five-feet-four-inches tall — gave a fiery speech on the national stage.  But then she went back home to Mississippi and organized cotton pickers.  And she didn’t have the tools and technology where you can whip up a movement in minutes.  She had to go door to door.  And I’m so proud of the new guard of black civil rights leaders who understand this.  It’s thanks in large part to the activism of young people like many of you, from Black Twitter to Black Lives Matter, that America’s eyes have been opened — white, black, Democrat, Republican — to the real problems, for example, in our criminal justice system.

But to bring about structural change, lasting change, awareness is not enough.  It requires changes in law, changes in custom.  If you care about mass incarceration, let me ask you:  How are you pressuring members of Congress to pass the criminal justice reform bill now pending before them?  (Applause.)  If you care about better policing, do you know who your district attorney is?  Do you know who your state’s attorney general is?  Do you know the difference?  Do you know who appoints the police chief and who writes the police training manual?  Find out who they are, what their responsibilities are.  Mobilize the community, present them with a plan, work with them to bring about change, hold them accountable if they do not deliver.  Passion is vital, but you’ve got to have a strategy.

And your plan better include voting — not just some of the time, but all the time.  (Applause.)  It is absolutely true that 50 years after the Voting Rights Act, there are still too many barriers in this country to vote.  There are too many people trying to erect new barriers to voting.  This is the only advanced democracy on Earth that goes out of its way to make it difficult for people to vote.  And there’s a reason for that.  There’s a legacy to that.

But let me say this:  Even if we dismantled every barrier to voting, that alone would not change the fact that America has some of the lowest voting rates in the free world.  In 2014, only 36 percent of Americans turned out to vote in the midterms — the secondlowest participation rate on record.  Youth turnout — that would be you — was less than 20 percent.  Less than 20 percent.  Four out of five did not vote.  In 2012, nearly two in three African Americans turned out.  And then, in 2014, only two in five turned out.  You don’t think that made a difference in terms of the Congress I’ve got to deal with?  And then people are wondering, well, how come Obama hasn’t gotten this done?  How come he didn’t get that done?  You don’t think that made a difference?  What would have happened if you had turned out at 50, 60, 70 percent, all across this country?  People try to make this political thing really complicated.  Like, what kind of reforms do we need?  And how do we need to do that?  You know what, just vote.  It’s math.  If you have more votes than the other guy, you get to do what you want.  (Laughter.)  It’s not that complicated.

And you don’t have excuses.   You don’t have to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap to register to vote.  You don’t have to risk your life to cast a ballot.  Other people already did that for you.  (Applause.) Your grandparents, your great grandparents might be here today if they were working on it.  What’s your excuse?  When we don’t vote, we give away our power, disenfranchise ourselves — right when we need to use the power that we have; right when we need your power to stop others from taking away the vote and rights of those more vulnerable than you are — the elderly and the poor, the formerly incarcerated trying to earn their second chance.

So you got to vote all the time, not just when it’s cool, not just when it’s time to elect a President, not just when you’re inspired.  It’s your duty.  When it’s time to elect a member of Congress or a city councilman, or a school board member, or a sheriff.  That’s how we change our politics — by electing people at every level who are representative of and accountable to us.  It is not that complicated.  Don’t make it complicated.

And finally, change requires more than just speaking out — it requires listening, as well.  In particular, it requires listening to those with whom you disagree, and being prepared to compromise.  When I was a state senator, I helped pass Illinois’s first racial profiling law, and one of the first laws in the nation requiring the videotaping of confessions in capital cases.  And we were successful because, early on, I engaged law enforcement.  I didn’t say to them, oh, you guys are so racist, you need to do something.  I understood, as many of you do, that the overwhelming majority of police officers are good, and honest, and courageous, and fair, and love the communities they serve.

And we knew there were some bad apples, and that even the good cops with the best of intentions — including, by the way, African American police officers — might have unconscious biases, as we all do.  So we engaged and we listened, and we kept working until we built consensus.  And because we took the time to listen, we crafted legislation that was good for the police — because it improved the trust and cooperation of the community — and it was good for the communities, who were less likely to be treated unfairly.  And I can say this unequivocally:  Without at least the acceptance of the police organizations in Illinois, I could never have gotten those bills passed.  Very simple.  They would have blocked them.

The point is, you need allies in a democracy.  That’s just the way it is.  It can be frustrating and it can be slow.  But history teaches us that the alternative to democracy is always worse.  That’s not just true in this country.  It’s not a black or white thing.  Go to any country where the give and take of democracy has been repealed by one-party rule, and I will show you a country that does not work.

And democracy requires compromise, even when you are 100 percent right.  This is hard to explain sometimes.  You can be completely right, and you still are going to have to engage folks who disagree with you.  If you think that the only way forward is to be as uncompromising as possible, you will feel good about yourself, you will enjoy a certain moral purity, but you’re not going to get what you want.  And if you don’t get what you want long enough, you will eventually think the whole system is rigged.  And that will lead to more cynicism, and less participation, and a downward spiral of more injustice and more anger and more despair.  And that’s never been the source of our progress.  That’s how we cheat ourselves of progress.

We remember Dr. King’s soaring oratory, the power of his letter from a Birmingham jail, the marches he led.  But he also sat down with President Johnson in the Oval Office to try and get a Civil Rights Act and a Voting Rights Act passed.  And those two seminal bills were not perfect — just like the Emancipation Proclamation was a war document as much as it was some clarion call for freedom.  Those mileposts of our progress were not perfect.  They did not make up for centuries of slavery or Jim Crow or eliminate racism or provide for 40 acres and a mule.  But they made things better.  And you know what, I will take better every time.  I always tell my staff — better is good, because you consolidate your gains and then you move on to the next fight from a stronger position.

Brittany Packnett, a member of the Black Lives Matter movement and Campaign Zero, one of the Ferguson protest organizers, she joined our Task Force on 21st Century Policing.  Some of her fellow activists questioned whether she should participate.  She rolled up her sleeves and sat at the same table with big city police chiefs and prosecutors.  And because she did, she ended up shaping many of the recommendations of that task force.  And those recommendations are now being adopted across the country — changes that many of the protesters called for.  If young activists like Brittany had refused to participate out of some sense of ideological purity, then those great ideas would have just remained ideas.  But she did participate.  And that’s how change happens.

America is big and it is boisterous and it is more diverse than ever.  The president told me that we’ve got a significant Nepalese contingent here at Howard.  I would not have guessed that.  Right on.  But it just tells you how interconnected we’re becoming.  And with so many folks from so many places, converging, we are not always going to agree with each other.

Another Howard alum, Zora Neale Hurston, once said — this is a good quote here:  “Nothing that God ever made is the same thing to more than one person.”  Think about that.  That’s why our democracy gives us a process designed for us to settle our disputes with argument and ideas and votes instead of violence and simple majority rule.

So don’t try to shut folks out, don’t try to shut them down, no matter how much you might disagree with them.  There’s been a trend around the country of trying to get colleges to disinvite speakers with a different point of view, or disrupt a politician’s rally.  Don’t do that — no matter how ridiculous or offensive you might find the things that come out of their mouths.  Because as my grandmother used to tell me, every time a fool speaks, they are just advertising their own ignorance.  Let them talk.  Let them talk.  If you don’t, you just make them a victim, and then they can avoid accountability.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t challenge them.  Have the confidence to challenge them, the confidence in the rightness of your position.  There will be times when you shouldn’t compromise your core values, your integrity, and you will have the responsibility to speak up in the face of injustice.  But listen.  Engage.  If the other side has a point, learn from them.  If they’re wrong, rebut them.  Teach them.  Beat them on the battlefield of ideas.  And you might as well start practicing now, because one thing I can guarantee you — you will have to deal with ignorance, hatred, racism, foolishness, trifling folks.  (Laughter.)  I promise you, you will have to deal with all that at every stage of your life.  That may not seem fair, but life has never been completely fair.  Nobody promised you a crystal stair.  And if you want to make life fair, then you’ve got to start with the world as it is.

So that’s my advice.  That’s how you change things.  Change isn’t something that happens every four years or eight years; change is not placing your faith in any particular politician and then just putting your feet up and saying, okay, go.  Change is the effort of committed citizens who hitch their wagons to something bigger than themselves and fight for it every single day.

That’s what Thurgood Marshall understood — a man who once walked this year, graduated from Howard Law; went home to Baltimore, started his own law practice.  He and his mentor, Charles Hamilton Houston, rolled up their sleeves and they set out to overturn segregation.  They worked through the NAACP.  Filed dozens of lawsuits, fought dozens of cases.  And after nearly 20 years of effort — 20 years — Thurgood Marshall ultimately succeeded in bringing his righteous cause before the Supreme Court, and securing the ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that separate could never be equal.  (Applause.)  Twenty years.

Marshall, Houston — they knew it would not be easy.  They knew it would not be quick.  They knew all sorts of obstacles would stand in their way.  They knew that even if they won, that would just be the beginning of a longer march to equality.  But they had discipline.  They had persistence.  They had faith — and a sense of humor.  And they made life better for all Americans.

And I know you graduates share those qualities.  I know it because I’ve learned about some of the young people graduating here today.  There’s a young woman named Ciearra Jefferson, who’s graduating with you.  And I’m just going to use her as an example.  I hope you don’t mind, Ciearra.  Ciearra grew up in Detroit and was raised by a poor single mom who worked seven days a week in an auto plant.  And for a time, her family found themselves without a place to call home.  They bounced around between friends and family who might take them in.  By her senior year, Ciearra was up at 5:00 am every day, juggling homework, extracurricular activities, volunteering, all while taking care of her little sister.  But she knew that education was her ticket to a better life.  So she never gave up.  Pushed herself to excel.  This daughter of a single mom who works on the assembly line turned down a full scholarship to Harvard to come to Howard.  (Applause.)

And today, like many of you, Ciearra is the first in her family to graduate from college.  And then, she says, she’s going to go back to her hometown, just like Thurgood Marshall did, to make sure all the working folks she grew up with have access to the health care they need and deserve.  As she puts it, she’s going to be a “change agent.”  She’s going to reach back and help folks like her succeed.

And people like Ciearra are why I remain optimistic about America.  (Applause.)  Young people like you are why I never give in to despair.

James Baldwin once wrote, “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

Graduates, each of us is only here because someone else faced down challenges for us.  We are only who we are because someone else struggled and sacrificed for us.  That’s not just Thurgood Marshall’s story, or Ciearra’s story, or my story, or your story — that is the story of America.  A story whispered by slaves in the cotton fields, the song of marchers in Selma, the dream of a King in the shadow of Lincoln.  The prayer of immigrants who set out for a new world.  The roar of women demanding the vote.  The rallying cry of workers who built America.  And the GIs who bled overseas for our freedom.

Now it’s your turn.  And the good news is, you’re ready.  And when your journey seems too hard, and when you run into a chorus of cynics who tell you that you’re being foolish to keep believing or that you can’t do something, or that you should just give up, or you should just settle — you might say to yourself a little phrase that I’ve found handy these last eight years:  Yes, we can.

Congratulations, Class of 2016!  (Applause.)  Good luck!  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  I’m proud of you.

END
12:33 P.M. EDT

Full Text Political Transcripts April 30, 2016: President Obama’s 2016 White House correspondents’ dinner speech

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

The complete transcript of President Obama’s 2016 White House correspondents’ dinner speech

Source: Washington Post, 4-30-16

[“Cups” playing as Obama walks up. Audience can hear “You’re going to miss me when I’m gone…”]

You can’t say it, but you know it is true.

Good evening everybody. It is an honor to be here at my last, and perhaps the last White House correspondents’ dinner. You all look great. The end of the Republic has never looked better.

I do apologize. I know I was a little late tonight. I was running on CPT, which stands for jokes that white people should not make. That’s a tip for you, Jeff.

Anyway, here we are, my eighth and final appearance at this unique event. And I am excited. If this material works well, I’m going to use it at Goldman Sachs next year. Earn me some serious Tubmans. That’s right. That’s right.

My brilliant and beautiful wife Michelle is here tonight. She looks so happy to be here. It’s called practice. It’s like learning to do three-minute planks. She makes it look easy now. But…

[For Obama’s final correspondents’ dinner, the obvious targets: Trump, Cruz and himself]

Next year at this time, someone else will be standing here in this very spot and it’s anyone guess who she will be. But standing here I can’t help but be reflective and a little sentimental.

Eight years ago I said it was time to change the tone of our politics. In hindsight, I clearly should have been more specific. Eight years ago, I was a young man full of idealism and vigor. And look at me now, I am gray, grizzled and just counting down the days to my death panel.

Hillary once questioned whether I would be up ready for a 3 a.m .phone call. Now, I’m awake anyway because I have to go to the bathroom. I’m up.

In fact somebody recently said to me, ‘Mr. President, you are so yesterday. Justin Trudeau has completely replaced you. He is so handsome and he’s so charming. He’s the future.’ And I said ‘Justin, just give it a rest.’ I resented that.

Meanwhile, Michelle has not aged a day. The only way you can date her in photos is by looking at me. Take a look. [Show photos over the years] Here we are in 2008. Here we are a few years later. And this one is from two weeks ago. [skelton photo from Canada dinner] So time passes.

In just six short months, I will be officially a lame duck, which means Congress now will flat out reject my authority, and Republican leaders won’t take my phone calls. And this is going to take some getting use to. It’s really gonna… It’s a curve ball. I don’t know what to do with it. Of course, in fact, for four months now congressional Republicans have been saying there are things I cannot do in my final year. Unfortunately, this dinner was not one of them.

But on everything else, it’s another story. And you know who you are, Republicans. In fact, I think we’ve got Republican senators Tim Scott and Cory Gardner. They are in the house, which reminds me … security bar the doors. Judge Merrick Garland come on out. We are going to do this right here. Right now.

It’s like the red wedding.

But it’s not just Congress. Even some foreign leaders, they’ve been looking ahead, anticipating my departure. Last week, Prince George showed up to our meeting in his bathrobe. That was a slap in the face. A clear breach of protocol.

Although, while in England I did have lunch with her Majesty the Queen, took in a performance of Shakespeare, hit the links with David Cameron. Just in case anyone was debating whether I am black enough, I think that settles the debate.

I won’t lie, look, this is a tough transition. It’s hard. Key staff are now starting to leave the White House. Even reporters have left me. Savannah Guthrie, she has left the White House press corps to host the “Today” show. Norah O’Donnell left the briefing room to host ‘CBS This Morning.’ Jake Tapper left journalism to join CNN.

But the prospect of leaving the White House is a mixed bag. You might have heard that someone jumped the White House fence last week, but I have to give the Secret Service credit. They found Michelle and brought her back. She’s safe back at home now. It’s only nine more months, baby. Settle down.

And yet somehow, despite all this, despite the churn, in my final year my approval ratings keep going up. The last time I was this high I was trying to decide on my major.

And here’s the thing, I haven’t really done anything differently. So it’s odd. Even my age can’t explain the rising poll numbers. What has changed nobody can figure it out. [Image of Cruz and Trump]. Puzzling.

Anyway. In this last year, I do have more appreciation for those who have been with me on this amazing ride. Like one of our finest public servants, Joe Biden. God bless him. I love that guy. I love Joe Biden. I really do. And I want to thank him for his friendship, for his counsel, for always giving it to me straight, for not shooting anybody in the face. Thank you, Joe.

Also, I would be remiss. Let’s give it up for our host, Larry Wilmore. Also known as one of the two black guys who’s not Jon Stewart. You’re the South African guy, right? I love Larry. And his parents are here, who are from Evanston, which is great town. I also would like to acknowledge some of the award winning reporters that we have with us here tonight. Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber. Thank you all for everything you have done. I’m just joking. As you know, “Spotlight” is a film, a movie about investigative journalists with the resources and the autonomy to chase down the truth and hold the powerful accountable. Best fantasy film since “Star Wars.”

Look. That was maybe a cheap shot. I understand the news business is tough these days. It keeps changing all the time. Every year at this dinner somebody makes a joke about Buzzfeed, for example, changing the media landscape. And every year The Washington Post laughs a little bit less hard. Kind of a silence there. Especially at the Washington Post table.

GOP chairman Reince Priebus is here as well. Glad to see that you feel you have earned a night off. Congratulations on all your success, the republican party, the nomination process. It’s all going great. Keep it up.

Kendall Jenner is also here. And we had a chance to meet her backstage. She seems like a very nice, young woman. I’m not exactly sure what she does, but I’m told that my twitter mentions are about to go through the roof.

Helen Mirren is here tonight. I don’t even have a joke here, I just think Helen Mirren is awesome. She’s awesome.

Sitting at the same table I see Mike Bloomberg. Mike, a combative, controversial New York billionaire is leading the GOP primary and it is not you. That has to sting a little bit. Although it’s not an entirely fair comparison between you and the Donald. After all Mike was a big city mayor. He knows policy in depth. And he’s actually worth the amount of money that he says he is.

What an election season. For example, we’ve got the bright new face of the Democratic party here tonight, Mr. Bernie Sanders. Bernie, you look like a million bucks. Or, to put in terms you’ll understand, you look like 37,000 donations of $27 each.

A lot of folks have been surprised by the Bernie phenomenon, especially his appeal to young people. But not me. I get it. Just recently a young person came up to me and said she was sick of politicians standing in the way of her dreams. As if we were actually going to let Malia go to Burning Man this year. Was not going to happen. Bernie might have let her go. Not us.

I am hurt though, Bernie, that you have been distancing yourself little from me. I mean that’s just not something that you do to your comrade.

Bernie’s slogan has helped his campaign catch fire among young people. ‘Feel the Bern.’ ‘Feel the Bern.’ That’s a good slogan. Hillary’s slogan has not had the same effect. Let’s see this. [image of a boulder on a hill with the slogan “Trudge up the Hill”]

Look, I’ve said how much I admire Hillary’s toughness, her smarts, her policy chops, her experience. You’ve got admit it though, Hillary trying appeal to young voters is a little bit like your relative who just signed up for Facebook. ‘Dear America, did you get my poke? Is it appearing on your wall? I’m not sure I’m using this right. Love, Aunt Hillary.’ It’s not entirely persuasive.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, things are a little more, how shall we say this, a little more loose. Just look at the confusion over the invitations to tonight’s dinner. Guests were asked to check whether they wanted steak or fish. But instead, a whole bunch of you wrote in Paul Ryan. That’s not an option people. Steak or fish. You may not like steak or fish, but that’s your choice.

Meanwhile, some candidates aren’t polling high enough to qualify for their own joke tonight. [image of Kasich eating]. The rules were well established ahead of time.

And then there’s Ted Cruz. Ted had a tough week. He went to Indiana. Hoosier country. Stood on a basketball court and called the hoop a basketball ring. What else is in his lexicon. Baseball sticks. Football hats. But sure, I’m the foreign one.

Well let me conclude tonight on a more serious note. I want thank the Washington press corps. I want to thank Carol for all that you do. The free press is central to our democracy and, nah, I’m just kidding! You know I’m going to talk about Trump. Come on. We weren’t just going to stop there. Come on.

Although I am a little hurt that he’s not here tonight. We had so much fun that last time, And it is surprising. You’ve got a room full of reporters, celebrities, cameras. And he says no. Is this dinner too tacky for the Donald? What could he possibly be doing instead? Is he at home eating a Trump steak, tweeting out insults to Angela Merkel? What’s he doin’?

The republican establishment is incredulous that he is their most likely nominee. Incredulous. Shocking. They say Donald lacks the foreign policy experience to be president. But in fairness, he has spent years meeting with leaders from around the world: Miss Sweden, Miss Argentina, Miss Azerbaijan.

And there is one area where Donald’s experience could be invaluable and that’s closing Guantanamo because Trump knows a thing or two about running waterfront properties into the ground. Alright, that is probably enough. I mean I’ve got more material. No, no, no.

I don’t want to spend too much time on The Donald. Following your lead, I want to show some restraint. Because I think we can all agree that from the start he’s gotten the appropriate amount of coverage befitting the seriousness of his candidacy. Ha. I hope you all are proud of yourselves. The guy wanted to give his hotel business a boost and now we are praying that Cleveland makes it through July. Mmm mmm mmn. Hmmm.

As for me and Michelle, we’ve decided to stay in D.C. for a couple more years. Thank you. This way our youngest daughter can finish up high school. Michelle can stay closer to her plot of carrots. She’s already making plans to see them every day. Take a look [image of Michelle].

But our decision has actually presented a bit of a dilemma because traditionally presidents don’t stick around after they’re done. And it’s something that I’ve been brooding about a little bit. Take a look…

There you go. I am still waiting for all of you to respond to my invitation to connect to LinkedIn. But I know you have jobs to do which is what really brings us here tonight.

I know that there are times that we’ve had differences and that’s inherent in our institutional roles. That is true of every president and his press corps. But we’ve always shared the same goal to root our public discourse in the truth. To open the doors of this democracy. To do whatever we can to make our country and our world more free and more just.

And I’ve always appreciated the role that you have all played as equal partners in reaching these goals. Our free press is why we once again recognize the real journalists who uncover the horrifying scandal and brought some measure of justice for thousands of victims around the world. They are here with us tonight: Sacha Pfeiffer, Mike Rezendes, Walter Robinson, Matt Caroll and Ben Bradlee Jr. Please give them a big round of applause.

A free press is why, once again, we honor Jason Rezaian, as Carol noted. Last time this year we spoke of Jason’s courage as he endured the isolation of an Iranian prison. This year we see that courage in the flesh, and it’s a living testament to the very idea of a free press and a reminder of the rising level of danger and political intimidation and the physical threats faced by reporters overseas.

And I can make this commitment that as long as I hold this office my administration will continue to fight for the release of American journalists held against their will. And we will not stop until they see the same freedom as Jason had.

 

At home and abroad journalists like all of you engage in the dogged pursuit of informing citizens and holding leaders accountable, and making our government of the people possible. And it’s an enormous responsibility. And I realize it’s an enormous challenge at a time when the economics of the business sometimes incentivizes speed over depth, and when controversy and conflict are what most immediately attract readers and viewers. The good news is there are so many of you that are pushing against those trends and as a citizen of this great democracy, I am grateful for that.

For this is also a time around the world when some of the fundamental ideals of liberal democracies are under attack and when notions of objectively and of a free press and of facts and of evidence are trying to be undermined or in some cases ignored entirely. And in such a climate it’s not enough just to give people a megaphone. And that’s why your power and your responsibility to dig and to question and to counter distortions and untruths is more important than even ever.

Taking a stand on behalf of what is true does not require you shedding your objectivity. In fact, it is the essence of good journalism. It affirms the idea that the only way we can build consensus, the only way that we can move forward as a country, the only way we can help the world mend itself is by agreeing on a baseline of facts when it comes to the challenges that confront us all. So this night is a testament to all of you who have devoted your lives to that idea, who push to shine a light on the truth every single day. So, I want to close my final White House correspondents’ dinner by just saying thank you. I’m very proud of what you’ve done. It has been an honor and a privilege to work side by side with you to strengthen our democracy. With that I just have two more words to say: Obama out. [Drops mic].
OBAMAOUT

Full Text Political Transcripts April 5, 2016: President Barack Obama Remarks at Press Briefing on Economy, Tax Inversion, Mocks Trump and Cruz Immigration Plans

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on the Economy

Source: WH, 4-5-16

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

12:15 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  I’m horning in on Josh’s time just for a hot second.  As we learned last week, America’s economy added 215,000 jobs in March.  That means that our businesses extended the longest streak of private sector job creation on record — 73 straight months, 14.4 million new jobs,  unemployment about half of what it was six years ago.

This progress is due directly to the grit and determination and hard work and the fundamental optimism of the American people.  As I travel around the country, what always stands out is the fact that the overwhelming majority of folks work hard and they play by the rules, and they deserve to see their hard work rewarded.  They also deserve to know that big corporations aren’t playing by a different set of rules; that the wealthiest among us aren’t able to game the system.

That’s why I’ve been pushing for years to eliminate some of the injustices in our tax system.  So I am very pleased that the Treasury Department has taken new action to prevent more corporations from taking advantage of one of the most insidious tax loopholes out there, and fleeing the country just to get out of paying their taxes.  This got some attention in the business press yesterday, but I wanted to make sure that we highlighted the importance of Treasury’s action and why it did what it did.

This directly goes at what’s called corporate inversions.  They are not new.  Simply put, in layman’s terms, it’s when big corporations acquire small companies, and then change their address to another country on paper in order to get out of paying their fair share of taxes here at home.  As a practical matter, they keep most of their actual business here in the United States because they benefit from American infrastructure and technology and rule of law.  They benefit from our research and our development and our patents.  They benefit from American workers, who are the best in the world.  But they effectively renounce their citizenship.  They declare that they’re based somewhere else, thereby getting all the rewards of being an American company without fulfilling the responsibilities to pay their taxes the way everybody else is supposed to pay them.

When companies exploit loopholes like this, it makes it harder to invest in the things that are going to keep America’s economy going strong for future generations.  It sticks the rest of us with the tab.  And it makes hardworking Americans feel like the deck is stacked against them.

So this is something that I’ve been pushing for a long time.  Since I became President, we’ve made our tax code fairer, and we’ve taken steps to make sure our tax laws are actually enforced, including leading efforts to crack down on offshore evasion.  I will say that it gets tougher sometimes when the IRS is starved for resources and squeezed by the congressional appropriation process so that there are not enough people to actually pay attention to what all the lawyers and accountants are doing all the time.  But we have continued to emphasize the importance of basic tax enforcement.

In the news over the last couple of days, we’ve had another reminder in this big dump of data coming out of Panama that tax avoidance is a big, global problem.  It’s not unique to other countries because, frankly, there are folks here in America who are taking advantage of the same stuff.  A lot of it is legal, but that’s exactly the problem.  It’s not that they’re breaking the laws, it’s that the laws are so poorly designed that they allow people, if they’ve got enough lawyers and enough accountants, to wiggle out of responsibilities that ordinary citizens are having to abide by.

Here in the United States, there are loopholes that only wealthy individuals and powerful corporations have access to.  They have access to offshore accounts, and they are gaming the system.  Middle-class families are not in the same position to do this.  In fact, a lot of these loopholes come at the expense of middle-class families, because that lost revenue has to be made up somewhere.  Alternatively, it means that we’re not investing as much as we should in schools, in making college more affordable, in putting people back to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our infrastructure, creating more opportunities for our children.

So this is important stuff.  And these new actions by the Treasury Department build on steps that we’ve already taken to make the system fairer.  But I want to be clear:  While the Treasury Department actions will make it more difficult and less lucrative for companies to exploit this particular corporate inversions loophole, only Congress can close it for good, and only Congress can make sure that all the other loopholes that are being taken advantage of are closed.

I’ve often said the best way to end this kind of irresponsible behavior is with tax reform that lowers the corporate tax rate, closes wasteful loopholes, simplifies the tax code for everybody.  And in recent years, I’ve put forward plans — repeatedly — that would make our tax system more competitive for all businesses, including small businesses.  So far, Republicans in Congress have yet to act.

My hope is that they start getting serious about it.  When politicians perpetuate a system that favors the wealthy at the expense of the middle class, it’s not surprising that people feel like they can’t get ahead.  It’s not surprising that oftentimes it may produce a politics that is directed at that frustration.  Rather than doubling down on policies that let a few big corporations or the wealthiest among us play by their own rules, we should keep building an economy where everybody has a fair shot and everybody plays by the same rules.

Rather than protect wasteful tax loopholes for the few at the top, we should be investing more in things like education and job creation and job training that we know grow the economy for everybody.  And rather than lock in tax breaks for millionaires, or make it harder to actually enforce existing laws, let’s give tax breaks to help working families pay for child care or for college.  And let’s stop rewarding companies that are shipping jobs overseas and profit overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here at home and are good corporate citizens.

That’s how we’re going to build America together.  That’s how we battled back from this Great Recession.  That’s the story of these past seven years.  That can be the story for the next several decades if we make the right decisions right now.  And so I hope this topic ends up being introduced into the broader political debate that we’re going to be having leading up to election season.

And with that, I turn it over to Mr. Josh Earnest.

Q    A question about the Panama Papers, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

Q    Given the release of these millions of pages of financial information, are you concerned that that reflects on the ability of the Treasury Department to sort of be able to see all the financial transactions across the globe — they clearly didn’t see these — and whether that suggests that the sanctions regime that you’ve put in place in a bunch of places around the world might not be as strong as you think it is?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we know the sanctions regime is strong because Iran wouldn’t have, for example, cut a deal to end their nuclear program in the absence of strong sanctions enforcement.

But there is no doubt that the problem of global tax avoidance, generally, is a huge problem.  It’s been brought up in G7 meetings.  It’s been brought up in G20 meetings.  There has been some progress made in coordinating between tax authorities of different countries so that we can make sure that we’re catching some of the most egregious examples.

But as I said before, one of the big problems that we have, Michael, is that a lot of this stuff is legal — not illegal.  And unless the United States and other countries lead by example in closing some of these loopholes and provisions, then in many cases you can trace what’s taking place, but you can’t stop it.  And there is always going to be some illicit movement of funds around the world.  But we shouldn’t make it easy.  We shouldn’t make it legal to engage in transactions just to avoid taxes.

And that’s why I think it is important that the Treasury acted on something that’s different from what happened in Panama.  The corporate inversions issue is a financial transaction that is brokered among major Fortune 500 companies to avoid paying taxes.  But the basic principle of us making sure that everybody is paying their fair share, and that we don’t just have a few people who are able to take advantage of tax provisions, that’s something that we really have to pay attention to.

Because as I said, this is all net outflows of money that could be spent on the pressing needs here in the United States.  And the volume that you start seeing when you combine legal tax avoidance with illicit tax avoidance, or some of the activities that we’re seeing, this is not just billions of dollars.  It’s not even just hundreds of billions of dollars.  Estimates are this may be trillions of dollars worldwide, and it could make a big difference in terms of what we can do here.

I’m going to take one more question and then I’m going to turn it over to Josh.  One last one, go ahead.

Q    Mr. President, the Republican frontrunner today outlined his plan to —

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, no.  (Laughter.)

Q    — pay for a wall along the border —

Q    Climate change?

Q    — barring undocumented immigrants in the U.S. from sending money back home.  What would be the real implication of this plan?  And are his foreign policy proposals already doing damage to U.S. relations abroad?

THE PRESIDENT:  The answer to the latter question is yes.  I think that I’ve been very clear earlier that I am getting questions constantly from foreign leaders about some of the wackier suggestions that are being made.  I do have to emphasize that it’s not just Mr. Trump’s proposals.  You’re also hearing concerns about Mr. Cruz’s proposals, which in some ways are just as draconian when it comes to immigration, for example.

The implications with respect to ending remittances — many of which, by the way, are from legal immigrants and from individuals who are sending money back to their families — are enormous.  First of all, they’re impractical.  We just talked about the difficulties of trying to enforce huge outflows of capital.  The notion that we’re going to track every Western Union bit of money that’s being sent to Mexico, good luck with that.

Then we’ve got the issue of the implications for the Mexican economy, which in turn, if it’s collapsing, actually sends more immigrants north because they can’t find jobs back in Mexico.  But this is just one more example of something that is not thought through and is primarily put forward for political consumption.

And as I’ve tried to emphasize throughout, we’ve got serious problems here.  We’ve got big issues around the world.  People expect the President of the United States and the elected officials in this country to treat these problems seriously, to put forward policies that have been examined, analyzed, are effective, where unintended consequences are taken into account.  They don’t expect half-baked notions coming out of the White House.  We can’t afford that.

All right?  I’m turning it over to Josh.  Thank you, guys.

END
12:29 P.M. EDT

Full Text Political Transcripts March 28, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Politics and Journalism at the 2016 Toner Prize Ceremony

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at the 2016 Toner Prize Ceremony

Source: WH, 3-28-16

Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium
Washington, D.C.

7:49 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good evening, everybody.  And thank you, Chancellor Syverud for those wonderful remarks and reminding me of how badly my bracket is doing.  (Laughter.)  Congratulations, Syracuse.  You guys are doing great.  (Applause.)  I want to thank Robin’s wonderful husband, Peter, and their incredible kids, Jake and Nora, for organizing this annual tribute to her memory.  And I want to thank all of you for having me here this evening.

A Washington press dinner usually means ill-fitting tuxes, celebrity sightings, and bad jokes.  So this is refreshing.

And it is a great honor to be here to celebrate the 2015 Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting.  In this political season, it is worth reflecting on the kind of journalism Robin practiced — and the kind of journalism this prize rewards.

A reporter’s reporter — that was Robin.  From her first job at the Charleston Daily Mail to her tenure as the New York Times’ national political correspondent — the first woman to hold that position — she always saw herself as being a servant for the American public.  She had a sense of mission and purpose in her work.  For Robin, politics was not a horserace, or a circus, or a tally of who scored more political points than whom, but rather was fundamentally about issues and how they affected the lives of real people.

She treated the public with respect — didn’t just skim the surface.  Few reporters understood the intricacies of health care policy better.  Few could cut to the heart of a tax reform plan more deeply — and analyze how it would affect everybody, from a struggling worker to a hedge fund manager.  Few could explain complicated, esoteric political issues in a way that Americans could digest and use to make informed choices at the ballot box.

Robin’s work was meticulous.  No detail was too small to confirm, and no task too minor to complete.  And that, too, she saw as her responsibility — the responsibility of journalism.  She famously developed her own fact-checking system, cleaning up every name and date and figure in her piece — something most reporters relied on others to do.  And it’s no wonder then that of her almost 2,000 articles, only six required published corrections.  And knowing Robin, that was probably six too many for her taste.

And this speaks to more than just her thoroughness or some obsessive compulsiveness when it came to typos.  It was about Robin’s commitment to seeking out and telling the truth.  She would not stand for any stray mark that might mar an otherwise flawless piece — because she knew the public relied on her to give them the truth as best as she could find it.

Of course, these were qualities were harder to appreciate when her lens was focused on you.  She held politicians’ feet to the fire, including occasionally my own.  And in her quiet, dogged way, she demanded that we be accountable to the public for the things that we said and for the promises that we made. We should be held accountable.

That’s the kind of journalism that Robin practiced.  That’s the kind of journalism this prize honors.  It’s the kind of journalism that’s never been more important.  It’s the kind of journalism that recognizes its fundamental role in promoting citizenship, and hence undergirds our democracy.

As I’ve said in recent weeks, I know I’m not the only one who may be more than a little dismayed about what’s happening on the campaign trail right now.  The divisive and often vulgar rhetoric that’s aimed at everybody, but often is focused on the vulnerable or women or minorities.   The sometimes well-intentioned but I think misguided attempts to shut down that speech.  The violent reaction that we see, as well as the deafening silence from too many of our leaders in the coarsening of the debate.  The sense that facts don’t matter, that they’re not relevant.  That what matters is how much attention you can generate.  A sense that this is a game as opposed to the most precious gift our Founders gave us — this collective enterprise of self-government.

And so it’s worth asking ourselves what each of us — as politicians or journalists, but most of all, as citizens — may have done to contribute to this atmosphere in our politics.  I was going to call is “carnival atmosphere,” but that implies fun.  And I think it’s the kind of question Robin would have asked all of us.  As I said a few weeks ago, some may be more to blame than others for the current climate, but all of us are responsible for reversing it.

I say this not because of some vague notion of “political correctness,” which seems to be increasingly an excuse to just say offensive things or lie out loud.  I say this not out of nostalgia, because politics in America has always been tough.  Anybody who doubts that should take a look at what Adams and Jefferson and some of our other Founders said about each other.  I say this because what we’re seeing right now does corrode our democracy and our society.  And I’m not one who’s faint of heart.  I come from Chicago. Harold Washington once explained that “politics ain’t beanbag.”  It’s always been rough and tumble.

But when our elected officials and our political campaign become entirely untethered to reason and facts and analysis, when it doesn’t matter what’s true and what’s not, that makes it all but impossible for us to make good decisions on behalf of future generations.  It threatens the values of respect and tolerance that we teach our children and that are the source of America’s strength.  It frays the habits of the heart that underpin any civilized society — because how we operate is not just based on laws, it’s based on habits and customs and restraint and respect.  It creates this vacuum where baseless assertions go unchallenged, and evidence is optional.  And as we’re seeing, it allows hostility in one corner of our politics to infect our broader society.  And that, in turn, tarnishes the American brand.

The number one question I am getting as I travel around the world or talk to world leaders right now is, what is happening in America — about our politics.  And it’s not because around the world people have not seen crazy politics; it is that they understand America is the place where you can’t afford completely crazy politics.  For some countries where this kind of rhetoric may not have the same ramifications, people expect, they understand, they care about America, the most powerful nation on Earth, functioning effectively, and its government being able to make sound decisions.

So we are all invested in making this system work.  We are all responsible for its success.  And it’s not just for the United States that this matters.  It matters for the planet.

Whether it was exposing the horrors of lynching, to busting the oil trusts, to uncovering Watergate, your work has always been essential to that endeavor, and that work has never been easy.  And let’s face it, in today’s unprecedented change in your industry, the job has gotten tougher.  Even as the appetite for information and data flowing through the Internet is voracious, we’ve seen newsrooms closed.  The bottom line has shrunk.  The news cycle has, as well.  And too often, there is enormous pressure on journalists to fill the void and feed the beast with instant commentary and Twitter rumors, and celebrity gossip, and softer stories.  And then we fail to understand our world or understand one another as well as we should.  That has consequences for our lives and for the life of our country.

Part of the independence of the Fourth Estate is that it is not government-controlled, and media companies thereby have an obligation to pursue profits on behalf of their shareholders, their owners, and also has an obligation to invest a good chunk of that profit back into news and back into public affairs, and to maintain certain standards and to not dumb down the news, and to have higher aspirations for what effective news can do.  Because a well-informed electorate depends on you.  And our democracy depends on a well-informed electorate.

So the choice between what cuts into your bottom lines and what harms us as a society is an important one.  We have to choose which price is higher to pay; which cost is harder to bear.

Good reporters like the ones in this room all too frequently find yourselves caught between competing forces, I’m aware of that.  You believe in the importance of a well-informed electorate.  You’ve staked your careers on it.  Our democracy needs you more than ever.  You’re under significant financial pressures, as well.

So I believe the electorate would be better served if your networks and your producers would give you the room, the capacity to follow your best instincts and dig deeper into the things that might not always be flashy, but need attention.

And Robin proves that just because something is substantive doesn’t mean it’s not interesting.  I think the electorate would be better served if we spent less time focused on the he said/she said back-and-forth of our politics.  Because while fairness is the hallmark of good journalism, false equivalency all too often these days can be a fatal flaw.  If I say that the world is round and someone else says it’s flat, that’s worth reporting, but you might also want to report on a bunch of scientific evidence that seems to support the notion that the world is round.  And that shouldn’t be buried in paragraph five or six of the article.  (Applause.)

A job well done is about more than just handing someone a microphone.  It is to probe and to question, and to dig deeper, and to demand more.  The electorate would be better served if that happened.  It would be better served if billions of dollars in free media came with serious accountability, especially when politicians issue unworkable plans or make promises they can’t keep.  (Applause.)  And there are reporters here who know they can’t keep them.  I know that’s a shocking concept that politicians would do that.  But without a press that asks tough questions, voters take them at their word.  When people put their faith in someone who can’t possibly deliver on his or her promises, that only breeds more cynicism.

It’s interesting — this is a little going off script.  But we still have our house in Chicago, and because Michelle, me and the kids had to leave so quickly, it’s a little bit like a time capsule, especially my desk — which wasn’t always very neat.  So I’ve got old phone bills that I think I paid — (laughter) — but they’re still sitting there.  And for a long time, I had my old laptop with the AOL connection.  But there’s also these big stacks of newspapers from right before the election.  And every time I go back, I have occasion to look back and read what I said at the time.  And Lord knows I’ve made mistakes in this job, and there are areas where I’ve fallen short, but something I’m really proud of is the fact that, if you go back and see what I said in 2007 and you see what I did, they match up.  (Applause.)

Now, part of the reason they match up is because in 2008, during the campaign, people asked me really tough questions about whether they’d match up.  And we had to spend a lot of time worrying about whether what I said I could deliver on, and whether we believed it was true.  And there was a price if you said one thing and then did something completely different.  And the question is, in the current media environment, is that still true?  Does that still hold?

I think Robin understood this because she asked those questions.  She asked me some of those questions.

One of the reasons I ran for this office was to try and change the tone of our politics in Washington.  And I remember back in early 2008 — eight years ago this month — Robin wrote a story wondering whether I could; whether it was even possible.  At the time, I probably thought the piece was fairly cynical.  And while I still believe Americans are hungry for a better politics, as I’ve said several times now, one of my great regrets is that the tone of our politics has gotten worse.  And I won’t take all the responsibility for it, but I’ll take some.  We all own some of it.  I’ll take my share.  But Robin asked that question.  She cast a critical eye from the very beginning.  And that was useful.  Still is.

As I believe that that for all the sideshows of the political season, Americans are still hungry for truth, it’s just hard to find.  It’s hard to wade through.  The curating function has diminished in this smartphone age.  But people still want to know what’s true.

Think about it.  Hollywood released films about getting stuck on Mars, and demolition derbies in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and you even had Leo DiCaprio battling a grizzly bear.  And yet it was a movie about journalists spending months meticulously calling sources from landlines, and poring over documents with highlighters and microfiche, chasing the truth even when it was hard, even when it was dangerous.  And that was the movie that captured the Oscar for Best Picture.

I’m not suggesting all of you are going to win Oscars.  But I am saying it’s worth striving to win a Toner.  (Applause.)

So, look, ultimately I recognize that the news industry is an industry — it’s a business.  There’s no escaping the pressures of the industry and all its attendant constraints.    But I also know that journalism at its best is indispensable — not in some abstract sense of nobility, but in the very concrete sense that real people depend on you to uncover the truth.  Real people depend on getting information they can trust because they are giving over decision-making that has a profound effect on their lives to a bunch of people who are pretty remote and very rarely will they ever have the chance to ask that person a direct question, or be able to sort through the intricacies of the policies that will determine their wages or their ability to retire, or their ability to send their kid to college, or the possibility that their child will be sent to war.

These are folks who trust you when you tell them that there’s a problem in their schools, or that their water has been poisoned, or that their political candidates are promoting plans that don’t add up.

That’s why the deep reporting, the informed questioning, the in-depth stories — the kind of journalism that we honor today — matters more than ever and, by the way, lasts longer than some slapdash Tweet that slips off our screens in the blink of an eye, that may get more hits todays, but won’t stand up to the test of time.  (Applause.)  That’s the only way that our democracy can work.

And as I go into my last year, I spend a lot of time reflecting on how this system, how this crazy notion of self-government works; how can we make it work.  And this is as important to making it work as anything — people getting information that they can trust, and that has substance and evidence and facts and truth behind it.  In an era in which attention spans are short, it is going to be hard because you’re going to have to figure out ways to make it more entertaining, and you’re going to have to be more creative, not less.  Because if you just do great reporting and nobody reads it, that doesn’t do anybody any good, either.

But 10, 20, 50 years from now, no one seeking to understand our age is going to be searching the Tweets that got the most retweets, or the post that got the most likes.  They’ll look for the kind of reporting, the smartest investigative journalism that told our story and lifted up the contradictions in our societies, and asked the hard questions and forced people to see the truth even when it was uncomfortable.

Many of you are already doing that, doing incredible work.  And in some ways, the new technologies are helping you do that work.  Journalists are using new data techniques to analyze economics and the environment, and to analyze candidates’ proposals.  Anchors are asking candidates exactly how they’re going to accomplish their promises, pressing them so they don’t evade the question.  Some reporters recently watched almost five hours of a certain candidate’s remarks to count the number of times he said something that wasn’t true.  It turned out to be quite a large number.  So talk about taking one for the team.  That was a significant sacrifice they made.

This is journalism worth honoring and worth emulating.  And to the young aspiring journalist that I had a chance to meet before I came on stage, those are the models you want to follow.

As all of you know, I just came back from Cuba, where I held a press conference with President Castro that was broadcast all over the country.  So in a country without a free press, this was big news.  And it was a remarkable thing that the Cuban people were able to watch two leaders — their own, and the leader of a country that they’d grown up understanding as their archenemy — answer tough questions and be held accountable.  And I don’t know exactly what it will mean for Cuba’s future.  I think it made a big difference to the Cuban people.  And I can’t think of a better example of why a free press is so vital to freedom.  (Applause.)

In any country, including our own, there will be an inherent tension between the President and the press.  It’s supposed to be that way.  I may not always agree with everything you report or write.  In fact, it’s fair to say I do not.  (Laughter.)  But if I did, that would be an indication that you weren’t doing your job.

I’ll tell you — I probably maybe shouldn’t do this, but what the heck, I’m in my last year.  (Laughter.)  I had an in-depth conversation with President Putin a while back about Syria and Ukraine.  And he had read an article in The Atlantic that Jeff Goldberg had done about my foreign policy doctrine.  And he said, well, I disagree with some of the things that you said in there.  And Jeff is a remarkable journalist who I admire greatly, and all the quotes that were directly attributed to me in there I completely agreed with.  I said, well, but some of the things that were shaped may not fully reflect all the nuance of my thoughts on the particular topic that President Putin was mentioning.  But I pointed out to him, of course, that unlike you, Vladimir, I don’t get to edit the piece before it’s published.  (Laughter and applause.)

So you are supposed to push those in power for more evidence and more access.  You’re supposed to challenge our assumptions.  Sometimes I will find this frustrating.  Sometimes I may not be able to share with you all of the context of decisions that I make.  But I never doubt how much — how critical it is to our democracy for you to do that; how much I value great journalism.  And you should not underestimate the number of times that I have read something that you did, and I have called somebody up and said, what’s going on here?  Because as Bob Gates told me when I first came in — I think it was my first or second week — I said, well, what advice do you have, Bob?  You’ve been around seven presidents.  You’ve served in Washington, in the administration.  He said, Mr. President, the only thing I can tell you for sure is that you’ve got about two million employees, and at any given moment in any given day, somebody, somewhere, is screwing up.  (Laughter.)

So you help me do my job better, and I’m grateful for that.  Because the point of politics, as Robin understood it — certainly as I’ve tried to understand it throughout my tenure in this job — the point of politics is not simply the amassing of power.  It’s about what you do with that power that has been lent to you through a compact, with a citizenry, who give you their proxy and say “I’m counting on you” to not just make my life better, but more importantly, to make my kids’ lives better, and my grandkids’ lives better.  Who will we help?  How will we help them?  What kind of country do we leave to the next generation?

My hope is, is that you continue to ask us questions that keep us honest and elevate our democracy.  I ask that you continue to understand your role as a partner in this process.  I say this often when I speak to Democratic partisan crowds:  I never said, “Yes, I can.”  I said, “Yes, we can.”  And that means all of us.  (Applause.)  If we can keep supporting the kind of work that Robin championed, if we cultivate the next generation of smart, tough, fair-minded journalists, if we can all, every single one of us, carry on her legacy of public service and her faith in citizenry — because you have to have a certain faith to be a really good journalist; you have to believe that me getting it right matters, that it’s not just sending something into the void, but that there’s somebody on the other end who’s receiving it, and that matters — if you continue to believe that, if you have faith, I have no doubt that America’s best days are ahead.

So thank you to Robin’s family.  Congratulations to this year’s winner.  And thank all of you.  God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

Full Text Political Transcripts March 28, 2016: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Remarks at the 2016 Easter Egg Roll

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President and First Lady at the 2016 Easter Egg Roll

Source: WH, 3-28-16

 

South Lawn

10:41 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  How’s everybody doing today?  (Applause.)  Happy Easter!  You guys brought the sun out, so we appreciate that so much.  This is always one of our favorite events of the year.  It’s so much fun.  And I don’t want to talk too long, but I do want to make sure that everybody thanks our outstanding Marine band, who does such a great job.  (Applause.)  I want to thank all the volunteers who have helped to make this day possible.  Give them a huge round of applause.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama!  (Applause.)

MRS. OBAMA:  Yay!  Thank you, honey.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

MRS. OBAMA:  Here, you take Sunny.  Hi, everybody!  (Applause.)  Happy Easter Egg Roll Day!  Are you all having a good time?

AUDIENCE:  Yeah!

MRS. OBAMA:  It is going to be perfect weather.  The sun is coming out, which is always a great omen for the day.  We’re just thrilled to have you all here.  Today is a little bit bittersweet for us, because this is the Obama administration’s last Easter Egg Roll.

AUDIENCE:  Aww —

MRS. OBAMA:  Yes.  And if we think about what we’ve accomplished over these past seven years, it’s pretty incredible.  Because when Barack and I first got here, one of the goals that we had was to open up the White House to as many people from as many backgrounds as possible.  So open it up to our kids, to our musicians, to explore our culture, to expose families to healthy living, and to just have a lot of fun.

THE PRESIDENT:  And our military families.

MRS. OBAMA:  And also to our military families.  I’ve got the peanut crew back here reminding me of stuff.  But we can’t forget all of our military families, who we love, honor and respect, for their service and sacrifice.  (Applause.)

And since we started having Easter Egg Rolls, we’ve had more than 250,000 people come to this lawn every year.  It’s been amazing.  Today we’re going to have 35,000 people who will come in and out of the South Lawn over the course of the day.  And we couldn’t be more excited for this last Easter Egg Roll.  We have danced.  We have done yoga.  We’ve got our Soul Cyclers here.  We’ve got some tremendous athletes and entertainers and artists who are going to read and play games with you all.  We’ve got a little “whip” and a little “nae nae” — or however you do it.  (Laughter.)  Something like that.

So we just want you to have fun.  And the theme this year in our final year is pretty simple.  It’s:  Let’s celebrate.  Let’s celebrate all the good work that we’ve done, all the great messaging we’ve had.  All the amazing change that we’ve seen in this country.  And we want to celebrate our families.  We want to celebrate our nation — everything that makes us strong.  It’s our diversity, it’s our values.  That’s what makes us strong.

And me and this President, we have been honored to be here as your President and First Lady to be able to host you in our backyard every single year.  So I hope you guys have a terrific time.  We’re going to be out there doing a little egg-rolling.  We’re going to have a fun-run today.  I’m going to be running around the White House with a bunch of kids — and any adults who feel like they can hang.  (Laughter.)  You guys can run along with me.  Don’t feel shy.

So just have a good time.  And just know that we love you.  We love you all, and we’re grateful for the love and support that you’ve shown us all these years.  So thank you all.

THE PRESIDENT:  Happy Easter, everybody!

MRS. OBAMA:  Happy Easter!  (Applause.)  Let’s celebrate!

END
10:45 A.M. EST

Full Text Political Transcripts March 23, 2016: Speaker Paul Ryan’s Speech on the State of American Politics

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

FULL TEXT: Speaker Ryan on the State of American Politics

“I want to thank you all for coming. I want to thank Chairman Brady and the Ways and Means Committee for hosting us here. I had the privilege of joining this committee my second term in Congress. It’s the perfect setting for what I want to talk with you about today. Because it is here, in this committee, that we debate some of the biggest, most consequential issues. Our tax code, health care, trade, entitlement programs, welfare reform. t’s a big deal to be on this committee. And understanding the privilege and the responsibility that came along with it, we took our job seriously.

“And we always held ourselves to a higher standard of decorum. We treated each other with respect. We disagreed—often fiercely so—but we disagreed without being disagreeable. I speak of this in the past tense only because I no longer serve here. But it almost sounds like I’m speaking of another time, doesn’t it? It sounds like a scene unfamiliar to your generation.

“Looking around at what’s taking place in politics today, it is easy to get disheartened. How many of you find yourself just shaking your head at what you see from both sides? You know, I see myself in each of you. I came here as a curious college intern. Trying to get a sense of everything. Trying to figure out where to take my life. I would always ask older, more experienced people: what do you know that you wished you knew when you were my age?

“This is my answer to that. Here is what I know now that I want you to know—that you cannot see yourself today. And that is not just a lesson for young minds, but a message for all Americans. Our political discourse—both the kind we see on TV and the kind we experience among each other—did not use to be this bad and it does not have to be this way. Now, a little skepticism is healthy. But when people distrust politics, they come to distrust institutions. They lose faith in their government, and the future too. We can acknowledge this. But we don’t have to accept it. And we cannot enable it either.

“My dad used to say, if you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem. So I have made it a mission of my Speakership to raise our gaze and aim for a brighter horizon. Instead of talking about what politics is today, I want to talk about what politics can be. I want to talk about what our country can be…about what our Founders envisioned it to be. America is the only nation founded an idea—not an identity. That idea is the notion that the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life. Our rights are natural. They come from God, not government.

“While it was a beautiful idea, it had never been tried before. Early on, as our founders struggled to establish a suitable order, they decided that we would not maintain this idea by force. In the first Federalist paper, Alexander Hamilton wrote that “in politics,” it is “absurd to aim at making” converts “by fire and sword.” Instead, we would govern ourselves, with the people’s consent. Again, there was no manual for how to do this. That’s why they call it the American experiment.

“So they made each other—and those who came after—take an oath to uphold the Constitution. And every generation since has inherited this responsibility. Leaders with different visions and ideas have come and gone; parties have risen and fallen; majorities and White Houses won and lost. But the way we govern endures: through debate, not disorder. This is one thing about our country that makes it the greatest on earth.

“I must admit, I didn’t always find this idea so exciting…As I said, I came to Washington unsure of what I was going to do with my life. And then I ended up working for a guy named Jack Kemp. Jack once played quarterback for the Buffalo Bills. He went on to represent the people of Western New York in the House in the 1970s and 80s. He served in the Cabinet under President George H.W. Bush. And, like me, he was once our party’s nominee for vice president.

“But I first met Jack exactly where you’d expect…at Tortilla Coast. It’s true…I was waiting on his table. I didn’t bother him that day, but I told a friend I’d love to have the chance to work for him. And, as luck would have it, such an opening soon arose. The thing about Jack was, he was an optimist all the way. He refused to accept that any part of America–or the American Idea–could be written off. Here was a conservative willing—no, eager—to go to America’s bleakest communities and talk about how free enterprise could lift people out of poverty. These were areas that hadn’t seen a Republican leader come through in years, if ever.

“I had the chance to accompany Jack on some of these visits. I saw how people took to him. I saw how he listened, and took new lessons from each experience. He found common cause with poverty fighters on the ground. Instead of a sense of drift, I began to feel a sense of purpose. Jack inspired me to devote my professional life to public policy. It became a vocation.

“Ideas, passionately promoted and put to the test—that’s what politics can be.That’s what our country can be. It can be a confident America, where we have a basic faith in politics and leaders. It can be a place where we’ve earned that faith. All of us as leaders can hold ourselves to the highest standards of integrity and decency. Instead of playing to your anxieties, we can appeal to your aspirations. Instead of playing the identity politics of “our base” and “their base,” we unite people around ideas and principles. And instead of being timid, we go bold.

“We don’t resort to scaring you, we dare to inspire you. We don’t just oppose someone or something. We propose a clear and compelling alternative. And when we do that, we don’t just win the argument. We don’t just win your support. We win your enthusiasm. We win hearts and minds. We win a mandate to do what needs to be done to protect the American Idea.

“In a confident America, we also have a basic faith in one another. We question each other’s ideas—vigorously—but we don’t question each other’s motives. If someone has a bad idea, we don’t think they’re a bad person. We just think they have a bad idea. People with different ideas are not traitors. They are not our enemies. They are our neighbors, our coworkers, our fellow citizens. Sometimes they’re our friends. Sometimes they’re even our own flesh and blood, right? We all know someone we love who disagrees with us politically, or votes differently.

“But in a confident America, we aren’t afraid to disagree with each other. We don’t lock ourselves in an echo chamber, where we take comfort in the dogmas and opinions we already hold. We don’t shut down on people—and we don’t shut people down. If someone has a bad idea, we tell them why our idea is better. We don’t insult them into agreeing with us. We try to persuade them. We test their assumptions. And while we’re at it, we test our own assumptions too.

“I’m certainly not going to stand here and tell you I have always met this standard. There was a time when I would talk about a difference between “makers” and “takers” in our country, referring to people who accepted government benefits. But as I spent more time listening, and really learning the root causes of poverty, I realized I was wrong. “Takers” wasn’t how to refer to a single mom stuck in a poverty trap, just trying to take care of her family. Most people don’t want to be dependent. And to label a whole group of Americans that way was wrong. I shouldn’t castigate a large group of Americans to make a point.

“So I stopped thinking about it that way—and talking about it that way. But I didn’t come out and say all this to be politically correct. I was just wrong. And of course, there are still going to be times when I say things I wish I hadn’t. There are still going to be times when I follow the wrong impulse.

“Governing ourselves was never meant to be easy. This has always been a tough business. And when passions flair, ugliness is sometimes inevitable. But we shouldn’t accept ugliness as the norm. We should demand better from ourselves and from one another. We should think about the great leaders that have bestowed upon us the opportunity to live the American Idea. We should honor their legacy. We should build that more confident America.

“This, as much as anything, is what makes me an optimist. It is knowing that ideas can inspire a country and help people. Long before I worked for him, Jack Kemp had a tax plan that he was incredibly passionate about. He wasn’t even on the Ways and Means Committee and Republicans were deep in the minority back then. So the odds of it going anywhere seemed awfully low. But he was like a dog with a bone. He took that plan to any audience he could get in front of. He pushed it so hard that he eventually inspired our party’s nominee for president—Ronald Reagan—to adopt it as his own. And in 1981 the Kemp-Roth bill was signed into law, lowering tax rates, spurring growth, and putting millions of Americans back to work.

“All it took was someone willing to put policy on paper and promote it passionately. This is the basic concept behind the policy agenda that House Republicans are building right now. As leaders, we have an obligation to put our best ideas forward—no matter the consequences. With so much at stake, the American people deserve a clear picture of what we believe. Personalities come and go, but principles endure. Ideas endure, ready to inspire generations yet to be born.

“That’s the thing about politics. We think of it in terms of this vote or that election. But it can be so much more than that. Politics can be a battle of ideas, not insults. It can be about solutions. It can be about making a difference. It can be about always striving to do better. That’s what it can be and what it should be. This is the system our Founders envisioned. It’s messy. It’s complicated. It’s infuriating at times. And it’s a beautiful thing too. Thank you all for being here today.”
– See more at: http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/full-text-speaker-ryan-state-american-politics#sthash.g3GUP1yX.dpuf

 

Full Text Political Transcripts March 22, 2016: President Barack Obama’s Speech to the People of Cuba

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by President Obama to the People of Cuba

Source: WH, 3-22-16

Gran Teatro de la Habana
Havana, Cuba

10:10 A.M. CST

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Muchas gracias.  Thank you so much.  Thank you very much.

President Castro, the people of Cuba, thank you so much for the warm welcome that I have received, that my family have received, and that our delegation has received.  It is an extraordinary honor to be here today.

Before I begin, please indulge me.  I want to comment on the terrorist attacks that have taken place in Brussels.  The thoughts and the prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium.  We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people.  We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally, Belgium, in bringing to justice those who are responsible.  And this is yet another reminder that the world must unite, we must be together, regardless of nationality, or race, or faith, in fighting against the scourge of terrorism.  We can — and will — defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.

To the government and the people of Cuba, I want to thank you for the kindness that you’ve shown to me and Michelle, Malia, Sasha, my mother-in-law, Marian.

“Cultivo una rosa blanca.”  (Applause.)  In his most famous poem, Jose Marti made this offering of friendship and peace to both his friend and his enemy.  Today, as the President of the United States of America, I offer the Cuban people el saludo de paz.  (Applause.)

Havana is only 90 miles from Florida, but to get here we had to travel a great distance — over barriers of history and ideology; barriers of pain and separation.  The blue waters beneath Air Force One once carried American battleships to this island — to liberate, but also to exert control over Cuba.  Those waters also carried generations of Cuban revolutionaries to the United States, where they built support for their cause.  And that short distance has been crossed by hundreds of thousands of Cuban exiles — on planes and makeshift rafts — who came to America in pursuit of freedom and opportunity, sometimes leaving behind everything they owned and every person that they loved.

Like so many people in both of our countries, my lifetime has spanned a time of isolation between us.  The Cuban Revolution took place the same year that my father came to the United States from Kenya.  The Bay of Pigs took place the year that I was born. The next year, the entire world held its breath, watching our two countries, as humanity came as close as we ever have to the horror of nuclear war.  As the decades rolled by, our governments settled into a seemingly endless confrontation, fighting battles through proxies.  In a world that remade itself time and again, one constant was the conflict between the United States and Cuba.

I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas.  (Applause.)  I have come here to extend the hand of friendship to the Cuban people.  (Applause.)

I want to be clear:  The differences between our governments over these many years are real and they are important.  I’m sure President Castro would say the same thing — I know, because I’ve heard him address those differences at length.  But before I discuss those issues, we also need to recognize how much we share.  Because in many ways, the United States and Cuba are like two brothers who’ve been estranged for many years, even as we share the same blood.

We both live in a new world, colonized by Europeans.  Cuba, like the United States, was built in part by slaves brought here from Africa.  Like the United States, the Cuban people can trace their heritage to both slaves and slave-owners.  We’ve welcomed both immigrants who came a great distance to start new lives in the Americas.

Over the years, our cultures have blended together.       Dr. Carlos Finlay’s work in Cuba paved the way for generations of doctors, including Walter Reed, who drew on Dr. Finlay’s work to help combat Yellow Fever.  Just as Marti wrote some of his most famous words in New York, Ernest Hemingway made a home in Cuba, and found inspiration in the waters of these shores.  We share a national past-time — La Pelota — and later today our players will compete on the same Havana field that Jackie Robinson played on before he made his Major League debut.  (Applause.)  And it’s said that our greatest boxer, Muhammad Ali, once paid tribute to a Cuban that he could never fight — saying that he would only be able to reach a draw with the great Cuban, Teofilo Stevenson.  (Applause.)

So even as our governments became adversaries, our people continued to share these common passions, particularly as so many Cubans came to America.  In Miami or Havana, you can find places to dance the Cha-Cha-Cha or the Salsa, and eat ropa vieja.  People in both of our countries have sung along with Celia Cruz or Gloria Estefan, and now listen to reggaeton or Pitbull.  (Laughter.)  Millions of our people share a common religion — a faith that I paid tribute to at the Shrine of our Lady of Charity in Miami, a peace that Cubans find in La Cachita.

For all of our differences, the Cuban and American people share common values in their own lives.  A sense of patriotism and a sense of pride — a lot of pride.  A profound love of family.  A passion for our children, a commitment to their education.  And that’s why I believe our grandchildren will look back on this period of isolation as an aberration, as just one chapter in a longer story of family and of friendship.

But we cannot, and should not, ignore the very real differences that we have — about how we organize our governments, our economies, and our societies.  Cuba has a one-party system; the United States is a multi-party democracy.  Cuba has a socialist economic model; the United States is an open market.  Cuba has emphasized the role and rights of the state; the United States is founded upon the rights of the individual.

Despite these differences, on December 17th 2014, President Castro and I announced that the United States and Cuba would begin a process to normalize relations between our countries.  (Applause.)  Since then, we have established diplomatic relations and opened embassies.  We’ve begun initiatives to cooperate on health and agriculture, education and law enforcement.  We’ve reached agreements to restore direct flights and mail service.  We’ve expanded commercial ties, and increased the capacity of Americans to travel and do business in Cuba.

And these changes have been welcomed, even though there are still opponents to these policies.  But still, many people on both sides of this debate have asked:  Why now?  Why now?

There is one simple answer:  What the United States was doing was not working.  We have to have the courage to acknowledge that truth.  A policy of isolation designed for the Cold War made little sense in the 21st century.  The embargo was only hurting the Cuban people instead of helping them.  And I’ve always believed in what Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the fierce urgency of now” — we should not fear change, we should embrace it.  (Applause.)

That leads me to a bigger and more important reason for these changes:  Creo en el pueblo Cubano.  I believe in the Cuban people.  (Applause.)  This is not just a policy of normalizing relations with the Cuban government.  The United States of America is normalizing relations with the Cuban people.  (Applause.)

And today, I want to share with you my vision of what our future can be.  I want the Cuban people — especially the young people — to understand why I believe that you should look to the future with hope; not the false promise which insists that things are better than they really are, or the blind optimism that says all your problems can go away tomorrow.  Hope that is rooted in the future that you can choose and that you can shape, and that you can build for your country.

I’m hopeful because I believe that the Cuban people are as innovative as any people in the world.

In a global economy, powered by ideas and information, a country’s greatest asset is its people.  In the United States, we have a clear monument to what the Cuban people can build: it’s called Miami.  Here in Havana, we see that same talent in cuentapropistas, cooperatives and old cars that still run.  El Cubano inventa del aire.  (Applause.)

Cuba has an extraordinary resource — a system of education which values every boy and every girl.  (Applause.)  And in recent years, the Cuban government has begun to open up to the world, and to open up more space for that talent to thrive.  In just a few years, we’ve seen how cuentapropistas can succeed while sustaining a distinctly Cuban spirit.  Being self-employed is not about becoming more like America, it’s about being yourself.

Look at Sandra Lidice Aldama, who chose to start a small business.  Cubans, she said, can “innovate and adapt without losing our identity…our secret is in not copying or imitating but simply being ourselves.”

Look at Papito Valladeres, a barber, whose success allowed him to improve conditions in his neighborhood.  “I realize I’m not going to solve all of the world’s problems,” he said.  “But if I can solve problems in the little piece of the world where I live, it can ripple across Havana.”

That’s where hope begins — with the ability to earn your own living, and to build something you can be proud of.  That’s why our policies focus on supporting Cubans, instead of hurting them.  That’s why we got rid of limits on remittances — so ordinary Cubans have more resources.  That’s why we’re encouraging travel — which will build bridges between our people, and bring more revenue to those Cuban small businesses. That’s why we’ve opened up space for commerce and exchanges — so that Americans and Cubans can work together to find cures for diseases, and create jobs, and open the door to more opportunity for the Cuban people.

As President of the United States, I’ve called on our Congress to lift the embargo.  (Applause.)  It is an outdated burden on the Cuban people.  It’s a burden on the Americans who want to work and do business or invest here in Cuba.  It’s time to lift the embargo.  But even if we lifted the embargo tomorrow, Cubans would not realize their potential without continued change here in Cuba.  (Applause.)  It should be easier to open a business here in Cuba.  A worker should be able to get a job directly with companies who invest here in Cuba.  Two currencies shouldn’t separate the type of salaries that Cubans can earn.  The Internet should be available across the island, so that Cubans can connect to the wider world — (applause) — and to one of the greatest engines of growth in human history.

There’s no limitation from the United States on the ability of Cuba to take these steps.  It’s up to you.  And I can tell you as a friend that sustainable prosperity in the 21st century depends upon education, health care, and environmental protection.  But it also depends on the free and open exchange of ideas.  If you can’t access information online, if you cannot be exposed to different points of view, you will not reach your full potential.  And over time, the youth will lose hope.

I know these issues are sensitive, especially coming from an American President.  Before 1959, some Americans saw Cuba as something to exploit, ignored poverty, enabled corruption.  And since 1959, we’ve been shadow-boxers in this battle of geopolitics and personalities.  I know the history, but I refuse to be trapped by it.  (Applause.)

I’ve made it clear that the United States has neither the capacity, nor the intention to impose change on Cuba.  What changes come will depend upon the Cuban people.  We will not impose our political or economic system on you.  We recognize that every country, every people, must chart its own course and shape its own model.  But having removed the shadow of history from our relationship, I must speak honestly about the things that I believe — the things that we, as Americans, believe.  As Marti said, “Liberty is the right of every man to be honest, to think and to speak without hypocrisy.”

So let me tell you what I believe.  I can’t force you to agree, but you should know what I think.  I believe that every person should be equal under the law. (Applause.)  Every child deserves the dignity that comes with education, and health care and food on the table and a roof over their heads.  (Applause.)  I believe citizens should be free to speak their mind without fear — (applause) — to organize, and to criticize their government, and to protest peacefully, and that the rule of law should not include arbitrary detentions of people who exercise those rights.  (Applause.)  I believe that every person should have the freedom to practice their faith peacefully and publicly. (Applause.)  And, yes, I believe voters should be able to choose their governments in free and democratic elections.  (Applause.)

Not everybody agrees with me on this.  Not everybody agrees with the American people on this.  But I believe those human rights are universal.  (Applause.)  I believe they are the rights of the American people, the Cuban people, and people around the world.

Now, there’s no secret that our governments disagree on many of these issues.  I’ve had frank conversations with President Castro.  For many years, he has pointed out the flaws in the American system — economic inequality; the death penalty; racial discrimination; wars abroad.  That’s just a sample.  He has a much longer list.  (Laughter.)  But here’s what the Cuban people need to understand:  I welcome this open debate and dialogue. It’s good.  It’s healthy.  I’m not afraid of it.

We do have too much money in American politics.  But, in America, it’s still possible for somebody like me — a child who was raised by a single mom, a child of mixed race who did not have a lot of money — to pursue and achieve the highest office in the land.  That’s what’s possible in America.  (Applause.)

We do have challenges with racial bias — in our communities, in our criminal justice system, in our society — the legacy of slavery and segregation.  But the fact that we have open debates within America’s own democracy is what allows us to get better.  In 1959, the year that my father moved to America, it was illegal for him to marry my mother, who was white, in many American states.  When I first started school, we were still struggling to desegregate schools across the American South.  But people organized; they protested; they debated these issues; they challenged government officials.  And because of those protests, and because of those debates, and because of popular mobilization, I’m able to stand here today as an African-American and as President of the United States.  That was because of the freedoms that were afforded in the United States that we were able to bring about change.

I’m not saying this is easy.  There’s still enormous problems in our society.  But democracy is the way that we solve them.  That’s how we got health care for more of our people.  That’s how we made enormous gains in women’s rights and gay rights.  That’s how we address the inequality that concentrates so much wealth at the top of our society.  Because workers can organize and ordinary people have a voice, American democracy has given our people the opportunity to pursue their dreams and enjoy a high standard of living.  (Applause.)

Now, there are still some tough fights.  It isn’t always pretty, the process of democracy.   It’s often frustrating.  You can see that in the election going on back home.  But just stop and consider this fact about the American campaign that’s taking place right now.  You had two Cuban Americans in the Republican Party, running against the legacy of a black man who is President, while arguing that they’re the best person to beat the Democratic nominee who will either be a woman or a Democratic Socialist.  (Laughter and applause.)  Who would have believed that back in 1959?  That’s a measure of our progress as a democracy.  (Applause.)

So here’s my message to the Cuban government and the Cuban people:  The ideals that are the starting point for every revolution — America’s revolution, Cuba’s revolution, the liberation movements around the world — those ideals find their truest expression, I believe, in democracy.  Not because American democracy is perfect, but precisely because we’re not.  And we — like every country — need the space that democracy gives us to change.  It gives individuals the capacity to be catalysts to think in new ways, and to reimagine how our society should be, and to make them better.

There’s already an evolution taking place inside of Cuba, a generational change.  Many suggested that I come here and ask the people of Cuba to tear something down — but I’m appealing to the young people of Cuba who will lift something up, build something new.  (Applause.)  El futuro  de Cuba tiene que estar en las manos del pueblo Cubano.  (Applause.)

And to President Castro — who I appreciate being here today — I want you to know, I believe my visit here demonstrates you do not need to fear a threat from the United States.  And given your commitment to Cuba’s sovereignty and self-determination, I am also confident that you need not fear the different voices of the Cuban people — and their capacity to speak, and assemble, and vote for their leaders.  In fact, I’m hopeful for the future because I trust that the Cuban people will make the right decisions.

And as you do, I’m also confident that Cuba can continue to play an important role in the hemisphere and around the globe — and my hope is, is that you can do so as a partner with the United States.

We’ve played very different roles in the world.  But no one should deny the service that thousands of Cuban doctors have delivered for the poor and suffering.  (Applause.)  Last year, American health care workers — and the U.S. military — worked side-by-side with Cubans to save lives and stamp out Ebola in West Africa.  I believe that we should continue that kind of cooperation in other countries.

We’ve been on the different side of so many conflicts in the Americas.  But today, Americans and Cubans are sitting together at the negotiating table, and we are helping the Colombian people resolve a civil war that’s dragged on for decades.  (Applause.)  That kind of cooperation is good for everybody.  It gives everyone in this hemisphere hope.

We took different journeys to our support for the people of South Africa in ending apartheid.  But President Castro and I could both be there in Johannesburg to pay tribute to the legacy of the great Nelson Mandela.  (Applause.)  And in examining his life and his words, I’m sure we both realize we have more work to do to promote equality in our own countries — to reduce discrimination based on race in our own countries.  And in Cuba, we want our engagement to help lift up the Cubans who are of African descent — (applause) — who’ve proven that there’s nothing they cannot achieve when given the chance.

We’ve been a part of different blocs of nations in the hemisphere, and we will continue to have profound differences about how to promote peace, security, opportunity, and human rights.  But as we normalize our relations, I believe it can help foster a greater sense of unity in the Americas — todos somos Americanos.  (Applause.)

From the beginning of my time in office, I’ve urged the people of the Americas to leave behind the ideological battles of the past.  We are in a new era.  I know that many of the issues that I’ve talked about lack the drama of the past.  And I know that part of Cuba’s identity is its pride in being a small island nation that could stand up for its rights, and shake the world. But I also know that Cuba will always stand out because of the talent, hard work, and pride of the Cuban people.  That’s your strength.  (Applause.)  Cuba doesn’t have to be defined by being against the United States, any more than the United States should be defined by being against Cuba.  I’m hopeful for the future because of the reconciliation that’s taking place among the Cuban people.

I know that for some Cubans on the island, there may be a sense that those who left somehow supported the old order in Cuba.  I’m sure there’s a narrative that lingers here which suggests that Cuban exiles ignored the problems of pre-Revolutionary Cuba, and rejected the struggle to build a new future.  But I can tell you today that so many Cuban exiles carry a memory of painful — and sometimes violent — separation.  They love Cuba.  A part of them still considers this their true home. That’s why their passion is so strong.  That’s why their heartache is so great.  And for the Cuban American community that I’ve come to know and respect, this is not just about politics. This is about family — the memory of a home that was lost; the desire to rebuild a broken bond; the hope for a better future the hope for return and reconciliation.

For all of the politics, people are people, and Cubans are Cubans.  And I’ve come here — I’ve traveled this distance — on a bridge that was built by Cubans on both sides of the Florida Straits.  I first got to know the talent and passion of the Cuban people in America.  And I know how they have suffered more than the pain of exile — they also know what it’s like to be an outsider, and to struggle, and to work harder to make sure their children can reach higher in America.

So the reconciliation of the Cuban people — the children and grandchildren of revolution, and the children and grandchildren of exile — that is fundamental to Cuba’s future.  (Applause.)

You see it in Gloria Gonzalez, who traveled here in 2013 for the first time after 61 years of separation, and was met by her sister, Llorca.  “You recognized me, but I didn’t recognize you,” Gloria said after she embraced her sibling.  Imagine that, after 61 years.

You see it in Melinda Lopez, who came to her family’s old home.  And as she was walking the streets, an elderly woman recognized her as her mother’s daughter, and began to cry.  She took her into her home and showed her a pile of photos that included Melinda’s baby picture, which her mother had sent 50 years ago.  Melinda later said, “So many of us are now getting so much back.”

You see it in Cristian Miguel Soler, a young man who became the first of his family to travel here after 50 years.  And meeting relatives for the first time, he said, “I realized that family is family no matter the distance between us.”

Sometimes the most important changes start in small places. The tides of history can leave people in conflict and exile and poverty.  It takes time for those circumstances to change.  But the recognition of a common humanity, the reconciliation of people bound by blood and a belief in one another — that’s where progress begins.  Understanding, and listening, and forgiveness. And if the Cuban people face the future together, it will be more likely that the young people of today will be able to live with dignity and achieve their dreams right here in Cuba.

The history of the United States and Cuba encompass revolution and conflict; struggle and sacrifice; retribution and, now, reconciliation.  It is time, now, for us to leave the past behind.  It is time for us to look forward to the future together — un future de esperanza.  And it won’t be easy, and there will be setbacks.  It will take time.  But my time here in Cuba renews my hope and my confidence in what the Cuban people will do.  We can make this journey as friends, and as neighbors, and as family — together.  Si se puede.  Muchas gracias.  (Applause.)

END
10:48 A.M. CST

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