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

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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
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
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
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
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
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
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
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
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
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
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
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
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
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
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?
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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
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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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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.
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(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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Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 68)
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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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 72)
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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Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
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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.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 88)
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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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?
PLANET DEPOS
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 125 128)
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.
PLANET DEPOS
888.433.3767 WWW.PLANETDEPOS.COM
Videotaped Deposition Cheryl Mills, Esq.
Conducted May 27, 2016 (Pages 129 132)
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 October 22, 2015: President Barack Obama’s Statement at Veto Signing of Defense Spending Bill National Defense Authorization Act Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at Veto Signing of National Defense Authorization Act

Source: WH, 10-22-15

Oval Office

3:52 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  As President and Commander-in-Chief, my first and most important responsibility is keeping the American people safe.  And that means that we make sure that our military is properly funded, and that our men and women in uniform get the support, the equipment, the support for their families that they need and deserve when they protect our freedom and our safety.

The bill that has been presented to me authorizing our defense — excuse me — the bill that’s before me, authorizing our defense spending for this year, does a number of good things.  It makes sure that our military is funded.  It has some important provisions around reform for our military retirement system, which is necessary to make sure that it is stable and effective.  It’s got some cybersecurity provisions that are necessary for an increasing threat.

Unfortunately, it falls woefully short in three areas.  Number one, it keeps in place the sequester that is inadequate for us to properly fund our military in a stable, sustained way and allows all of our armed forces to plan properly.  I have repeatedly called on Congress to eliminate the sequester and make sure that we’re providing certainty to our military so they can do out-year planning, ensure military readiness, ensure our troops are getting what they need.  This bill instead resorts to gimmicks that does not allow the Pentagon to do what it needs to do.

Number two, unfortunately it prevents a wide range of reforms that are necessary for us to get our military modernized and able to deal with the many threats that are presenting themselves in the 21st century.  We have repeatedly put forward a series of reforms eliminating programs that the Pentagon does not want — Congress keeps on stepping back in, and we end up wasting money.  We end up diverting resources from things that we do need to have the kind of equipment and training and readiness that are necessary for us to meet all potential threats.

And the third thing is that this legislation specifically impeded our ability to close Guantanamo in a way that I have repeatedly argued is counterproductive to our efforts to defeat terrorism around the world.  Guantanamo is one of the premiere mechanisms for jihadists to recruit.  It’s time for us to close it.  It is outdated; it’s expensive; it’s been there for years. And we can do better in terms of keeping our people safe while making sure that we are consistent with our values.

So I’m going to be vetoing this authorization bill.  I’m going to be sending it back to Congress.  And my message to them is very simple:  Let’s do this right.  We’re in the midst of budget discussions — let’s have a budget that properly funds our national security as well as economic security.  Let’s make sure that we’re able, in a constructive way, to reform our military spending to make it sustainable over the long term, and let’s make sure that, in a responsible way, we can draw down the populations in Guantanamo, make sure that the American people are safe, and make sure that we’re not providing the kinds of recruitment tools to terrorists that are so dangerous.

END
3:57 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency July 14, 2015: President Barack Obama’s Statement on Iran Nuclear Deal Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Statement by the President on Iran

Source: WH, 7-14-15

State Floor

**Please see below for a correction, marked with an asterisk.

7:02 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Today, after two years of negotiations, the United States, together with our international partners, has achieved something that decades of animosity has not — a comprehensive, long-term deal with Iran that will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

This deal demonstrates that American diplomacy can bring about real and meaningful change — change that makes our country, and the world, safer and more secure.  This deal is also in line with a tradition of American leadership.  It’s now more than 50 years since President Kennedy stood before the American people and said, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.”  He was speaking then about the need for discussions between the United States and the Soviet Union, which led to efforts to restrict the spread of nuclear weapons.

In those days, the risk was a catastrophic nuclear war between two super powers.  In our time, the risk is that nuclear weapons will spread to more and more countries, particularly in the Middle East, the most volatile region in our world.

Today, because America negotiated from a position of strength and principle, we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region.  Because of this deal, the international community will be able to verify that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not develop a nuclear weapon.

This deal meets every single one of the bottom lines that we established when we achieved a framework earlier this spring.  Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off.  And the inspection and transparency regime necessary to verify that objective will be put in place.  Because of this deal, Iran will not produce the highly enriched uranium and weapons-grade plutonium that form the raw materials necessary for a nuclear bomb.

Because of this deal, Iran will remove two-thirds of its installed centrifuges — the machines necessary to produce highly enriched uranium for a bomb — and store them under constant international supervision.  Iran will not use its advanced centrifuges to produce enriched uranium for the next decade.  Iran will also get rid of 98 percent of its stockpile of enriched uranium.

To put that in perspective, Iran currently has a stockpile that could produce up to 10 nuclear weapons.  Because of this deal, that stockpile will be reduced to a fraction of what would be required for a single weapon.  This stockpile limitation will last for 15 years.

Because of this deal, Iran will modify the core of its reactor in Arak so that it will not produce weapons-grade plutonium.  And it has agreed to ship the spent fuel from the reactor out of the country for the lifetime of the reactor.  For at least the next 15 years, Iran will not build any new heavy-water reactors.

Because of this deal, we will, for the first time, be in a position to verify all of these commitments.  That means this deal is not built on trust; it is built on verification.  Inspectors will have 24/7 access to Iran’s key nuclear facilities.

*Iran [Inspectors] will have access to Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain — its uranium mines and mills, its conversion facility, and its centrifuge manufacturing and storage facilities.  This ensures that Iran will not be able to divert materials from known facilities to covert ones.  Some of these transparency measures will be in place for 25 years.

Because of this deal, inspectors will also be able to access any suspicious location.  Put simply, the organization responsible for the inspections, the IAEA, will have access where necessary, when necessary.  That arrangement is permanent.  And the IAEA has also reached an agreement with Iran to get access that it needs to complete its investigation into the possible military dimensions of Iran’s past nuclear research.

Finally, Iran is permanently prohibited from pursuing a nuclear weapon under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which provided the basis for the international community’s efforts to apply pressure on Iran.

As Iran takes steps to implement this deal, it will receive relief from the sanctions that we put in place because of Iran’s nuclear program — both America’s own sanctions and sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council.  This relief will be phased in.  Iran must complete key nuclear steps before it begins to receive new sanctions relief.  And over the course of the next decade, Iran must abide by the deal before additional sanctions are lifted, including five years for restrictions related to arms, and eight years for restrictions related to ballistic missiles.

All of this will be memorialized and endorsed in a new United Nations Security Council resolution.  And if Iran violates the deal, all of these sanctions will snap back into place.  So there’s a very clear incentive for Iran to follow through, and there are very real consequences for a violation.

That’s the deal.  It has the full backing of the international community.  Congress will now have an opportunity to review the details, and my administration stands ready to provide extensive briefings on how this will move forward.

As the American people and Congress review the deal, it will be important to consider the alternative.  Consider what happens in a world without this deal.  Without this deal, there is no scenario where the world joins us in sanctioning Iran until it completely dismantles its nuclear program.  Nothing we know about the Iranian government suggests that it would simply capitulate under that kind of pressure.  And the world would not support an effort to permanently sanction Iran into submission.  We put sanctions in place to get a diplomatic resolution, and that is what we have done.

Without this deal, there would be no agreed-upon limitations for the Iranian nuclear program.  Iran could produce, operate and test more and more centrifuges.  Iran could fuel a reactor capable of producing plutonium for a bomb.  And we would not have any of the inspections that allow us to detect a covert nuclear weapons program.  In other words, no deal means no lasting constraints on Iran’s nuclear program.

Such a scenario would make it more likely that other countries in the region would feel compelled to pursue their own nuclear programs, threatening a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region of the world.  It would also present the United States with fewer and less effective options to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

I’ve been President and Commander-in-Chief for over six years now.  Time and again, I have faced decisions about whether or not to use military force.  It’s the gravest decision that any President has to make.  Many times, in multiple countries, I have decided to use force.  And I will never hesitate to do so when it is in our national security interest.  I strongly believe that our national security interest now depends upon preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon — which means that without a diplomatic resolution, either I or a future U.S. President would face a decision about whether or not to allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon or whether to use our military to stop it.

Put simply, no deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East.  Moreover, we give nothing up by testing whether or not this problem can be solved peacefully.  If, in a worst-case scenario, Iran violates the deal, the same options that are available to me today will be available to any U.S. President in the future.  And I have no doubt that 10 or 15 years from now, the person who holds this office will be in a far stronger position with Iran further away from a weapon and with the inspections and transparency that allow us to monitor the Iranian program.

For this reason, I believe it would be irresponsible to walk away from this deal.  But on such a tough issue, it is important that the American people and their representatives in Congress get a full opportunity to review the deal.  After all, the details matter.  And we’ve had some of the finest nuclear scientists in the world working through those details.  And we’re dealing with a country — Iran — that has been a sworn adversary of the United States for over 35 years.  So I welcome a robust debate in Congress on this issue, and I welcome scrutiny of the details of this agreement.

But I will remind Congress that you don’t make deals like this with your friends.  We negotiated arms control agreements with the Soviet Union when that nation was committed to our destruction.  And those agreements ultimately made us safer.

I am confident that this deal will meet the national security interest of the United States and our allies.  So I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal.

We do not have to accept an inevitable spiral into conflict. And we certainly shouldn’t seek it.  And precisely because the stakes are so high, this is not the time for politics or posturing.  Tough talk from Washington does not solve problems.  Hard-nosed diplomacy, leadership that has united the world’s major powers offers a more effective way to verify that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon.

Now, that doesn’t mean that this deal will resolve all of our differences with Iran.  We share the concerns expressed by many of our friends in the Middle East, including Israel and the Gulf States, about Iran’s support for terrorism and its use of proxies to destabilize the region.  But that is precisely why we are taking this step — because an Iran armed with a nuclear weapon would be far more destabilizing and far more dangerous to our friends and to the world.

Meanwhile, we will maintain our own sanctions related to Iran’s support for terrorism, its ballistic missile program, and its human rights violations.  We will continue our unprecedented efforts to strengthen Israel’s security — efforts that go beyond what any American administration has done before.  And we will continue the work we began at Camp David to elevate our partnership with the Gulf States to strengthen their capabilities to counter threats from Iran or terrorist groups like ISIL.

However, I believe that we must continue to test whether or not this region, which has known so much suffering, so much bloodshed, can move in a different direction.

Time and again, I have made clear to the Iranian people that we will always be open to engagement on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect.  Our differences are real and the difficult history between our nations cannot be ignored.  But it is possible to change.  The path of violence and rigid ideology, a foreign policy based on threats to attack your neighbors or eradicate Israel — that’s a dead end.  A different path, one of tolerance and peaceful resolution of conflict, leads to more integration into the global economy, more engagement with the international community, and the ability of the Iranian people to prosper and thrive.

This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction.  We should seize it.

We have come a long way to reach this point — decades of an Iranian nuclear program, many years of sanctions, and many months of intense negotiation.  Today, I want to thank the members of Congress from both parties who helped us put in place the sanctions that have proven so effective, as well as the other countries who joined us in that effort.

I want to thank our negotiating partners — the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China, as well as the European Union — for our unity in this effort, which showed that the world can do remarkable things when we share a vision of peacefully addressing conflicts.  We showed what we can do when we do not split apart.

And finally, I want to thank the American negotiating team.  We had a team of experts working for several weeks straight on this, including our Secretary of Energy, Ernie Moniz.  And I want to particularly thank John Kerry, our Secretary of State, who began his service to this country more than four decades ago when he put on our uniform and went off to war.  He’s now making this country safer through his commitment to strong, principled American diplomacy.

History shows that America must lead not just with our might, but with our principles.  It shows we are stronger not when we are alone, but when we bring the world together.  Today’s announcement marks one more chapter in this pursuit of a safer and more helpful and more hopeful world.

Thank you.  God bless you.  And God bless the United States of America.

END
7:17 A.M. EDT

Full Text Political Transcripts May 22, 2015: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Emails

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Full Text Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Emails

Source: FOIA, 5-22-15

U.S Department of State Freedom of Information Act….

 

Political Musings May 19, 2015: Clinton answers press questions on emails, income, donations, Benghazi scandals

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Clinton answers press questions on emails, income, donations, Benghazi scandals

May 19, 2015

Ever since officially launching her presidential campaign Hillary Clinton has done almost everything possible to avoid talking to the press, her 28-day drought finally ended on Tuesday, May 19, 2015. While in Iowa at a roundtable event about small…

Full Text Political Transcripts May 19, 2015: Hillary Clinton answers 6 questions from the press in Iowa

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

Hillary Clinton answers 6 questions from the press in Iowa

Source: USA Today, 5-19-15

FIRST QUESTION: Do you regret the way the Clinton Foundation handled foreign donations when you were U.S. Secretary of State? Your opponents say the donations and your private email account are examples of the Clintons having one set of rules for themselves and another set of rules for everyone else.

CLINTON: “I am so proud of the foundation. I’m proud of the work that it has done and is doing. It attracted donations, from people, organizations, from around the world, and I think that just goes to show that people are very supportive of the life-saving and life-changing work that it’s done here, at home and elsewhere. I’ll let the American people make their own judgments.”

SECOND QUESTION: Given the situation in Iraq, do you think we’re better off without Saddam Hussein in power?

CLINTON: “Look, I know that there have been a lot of questions about Iraq posed to candidates over the last weeks. I’ve been very clear that I made a mistake plain and simple. And I have written about it in my book. I’ve talked about it in the past and you know what we now see is a very different and very dangerous situation. The United States is doing what it can, but ultimately this has to be a struggle that the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people are determined to win for themselves. We can provide support, but they’re going to have to do it.”

THIRD QUESTION: On your income disclosure, you are in the top echelon of income earners in this country. How do you expect every day Americans to relate to you?

CLINTON: “Well, obviously, Bill and I have been blessed and we’re very grateful for the opportunities that we’ve had, but we’ve never forgotten where we came from, and we’ve never forgotten the country that we want to see for our granddaughter, and that means that we’re going to fight to make sure that everybody has the same chances to live up to his or her own God-given potential. So I think that most Americans understand that the deck is stacked for those at the top, and I am running a campaign that is very clearly stating we want to reshuffle that deck. We want to get back to having more opportunities for more people so that they can make more out of their own lives. And I think that’s exactly what America’s looking for.”

FOURTH QUESTION: Can you explain your relationship as secretary of state with Sidney Blumenthal? There’s a report out this morning that you exchanged several emails. Should Americans expect that if elected president that you would have that same type of relationship with these old friends that you’ve had for so long?

CLINTON: “I have many, many old friends, and I always think that it’s important when you get into politics to have friends that you had before you were in politics and to understand what’s on their minds. He’s been a friend of mine for a long time. He sent me unsolicited emails, which I passed on in some instances, and I see that that’s just part of the give-and-take. When you’re in the public eye, when you’re in an official position, I think you do have to work to make sure you’re not caught in the bubble and you only hear from a certain small group of people, and I’m going to keep talking to my old friends, who ever they are.”

FIFTH QUESTION: We learned today that the State Department might not release your emails until January 2016. A federal judge says they should be released sooner. Will you demand that they are released sooner, and to follow up on the question about the speeches, was there a conflict of interest in your giving paid speeches into the run-up of your announcing that you’re running for president?

CLINTON: “The answer to the first is: No. And the answer to the second is: I have said repeatedly, I want those emails out. Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do. I respect the State Department. They have their process, as they do for everybody, not just for me, but anything that they might do to expedite that process, I heartily support. You know, I want the American people to learn as much as we can about the work that I did with our diplomats and our development experts. Because I think that it will show how hard we worked, and the work we did for our country during the time that I was secretary of state, where I worked extremely hard on behalf of our values, and our interests and our security. And the emails are part of that. So I have said publicly — I’m repeating it here in front of all of you today — I want them out as soon as they can get out.”

SIXTH QUESTION: But will you demand their release?

CLINTON: “Well, they’re not mine. They belong to the State Department. So the State Department has to go through its process and as much as they can expedite that process, that’s what I’m asking them to do. Please move as quickly as they possibly can.”

“Thank you all very much”

 

Full Text Obama Presidency April 2, 2015: President Barack Obama’s speech announcing a ‘framework’ agreement for a nuclear weapons deal with Iran — Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

President Barack Obama’s speech announcing a ‘framework’ agreement for a nuclear weapons deal with Iran — Transcript

Source: WaPo, 4-2-15

OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody.

Today, the United States, together with our allies and partners, has reached a historic understanding with Iran, which, if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

As president and commander in chief, I have no greater responsibility than the security of the American people, and I am convinced that if this framework leads to a final, comprehensive deal, it will make our country, our allies, and our world safer. This has been a long time coming.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been advancing its nuclear program for decades. By the time I took office, Iran was operating thousands of centrifuges, which can produce the materials for a nuclear bomb. And Iran was concealing a covert nuclear facility.

I made clear that we were prepared to resolve this issue diplomatically, but only if Iran came to the table in a serious way.

When that did not happen, we rallied the world to impose the toughest sanctions in history, sanctions which had a profound impact on the Iranian economy.

Now, sanctions alone could not stop Iran’s nuclear program, but they did help bring Iran to the negotiating table. Because of our diplomatic efforts, the world stood with us, and we were joined at the negotiating table by the world’s major powers: the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China as well as the European Union.

Over a year ago, we took the first step towards today’s framework with a deal to stop the progress of Iran’s nuclear program and roll it back in key areas.

And recall that at the time, skeptics argued that Iran would cheat, that we could not verify their compliance, and the interim agreement would fail. Instead, it has succeeded exactly as intended. Iran has met all of its obligations.

It eliminated its stockpile of dangerous nuclear material, inspections of Iran’s program increased, and we continued negotiations to see if we could achieve a more comprehensive deal.

Today, after many months of tough principle diplomacy, we have achieved the framework for that deal. And it is a good deal, a deal that meets our core objectives.

This framework would cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran will face strict limitations on its program, and Iran has also agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history. So this deal is not based on trust. It’s based on unprecedented verification.

Many key details will be finalized over the next three months. And nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed. But here are the basic outlines of the deal that we are working to finalize.

First, Iran will not be able to pursue a bomb using plutonium because it will not develop weapons grade plutonium. The core of its reactor at Arak will be dismantled and replaced. The spent fuel from that facility will be shipped out of Iran for the life of the reactor. Iran will not build a new heavy water reactor. And Iran will not reprocess fuel from its existing reactors, ever.

Second, this deal shuts down Iran’s path to a bomb using enriched uranium. Iran has agreed that its installed centrifuges will be reduced by two thirds. Iran will no longer enrich uranium at its Fordo facility. Iran will not enrich uranium with its advanced centrifuges for at least the next 10 years. The vast majority of Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium will be neutralized.

Today, estimates indicate that Iran is only two or three months away from potentially acquiring the raw materials that could be used for a single nuclear bomb. Under this deal, Iran has agreed that it will not stockpile the materials needed to build a weapon. Even if it violated the deal, for the next decade at least, Iran would be a minimum of a year away from acquiring enough material for a bomb. And the strict limitations on Iran’s stockpile will last for 15 years.

Third, this deal provides the best possible defense against Iran’s ability to pursue a nuclear weapon covertly, that is in secret. International inspectors will have unprecedented access not only to Iranian nuclear facilities, but to the entire supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program, from uranium mills that provide the raw materials to the centrifuge production and storage facilities that support the program.

If Iran cheats, the world will know it. If we see something suspicious, we will inspect it. Iran’s past efforts to weaponize its program will be addressed.

With this deal, Iran will face more inspections than any other country in the world. So, this will be a long-term deal that addresses each path to a potential Iranian nuclear bomb.

There will be strict limits on Iran’s program for a decade. Additional restrictions on building new facilities or stockpiling materials will last for 15 years. The unprecedented transparency measures will last for 20 years or more. Indeed, some will be permanent. And as a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran will never be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon.

In return for Iran’s actions, the international community has agreed to provide Iran with relief from certain sanctions. Our own sanctions and international sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council. This relief will be phased, as Iran takes steps to adhere to the deal. If Iran violates the deal, sanctions can be snapped back into place.

Meanwhile, other American sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism, its human rights abuses, its ballistic missile program, will continue to be fully enforced.

Now let me re-emphasize, our work is not yet done. The deal has not been signed. Between now and the end of June, the negotiators will continue to work through the details of how this framework will be fully implemented and those details matter.

If there is backsliding on the part of the Iranians, if the verification and inspection mechanisms don’t meet the specifications of our nuclear and security experts, there will be no deal.

But if we can get this done and Iran follows through on the framework that our negotiators agreed to, we will be able to resolve one of the greatest threats to our security and to do so peacefully.

Given the importance of this issue, I have instructed my negotiators to fully brief Congress and the American people on the substance the deal. And I welcome a robust debate in the weeks and months to come.

I am confident that we can show that this deal is good for the security of the United States, for our allies and for the world.

But the fact is we only have three options for addressing Iran’s nuclear program. First, we can reach a robust and verifiable deal, like this one, and peacefully prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The second option is we can bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, thereby starting another war in the Middle East and setting back Iran’s program by a few years. In other words, setting it back by a fraction of the time that this deal will set it back. Meanwhile, we’d ensure that Iran would raise their head to try and build a bomb.

Third, we could pull out of negotiations, try to get other countries to go along and continue sanctions that are currently in place or add additional ones and hope for the best. Knowing that every time we have done so, Iran has not capitulated, but instead has advanced its program. And that in very short order, the breakout timeline would be eliminated and a nuclear arms race in the region could be triggered because of that uncertainty.

In other words, the third option leads us very quickly back to a decision about whether or not to take military action because we’d have no idea what was going on inside of Iran. Iran is not going to simply dismantle its program because we demand it to do so.

That’s not how the world works. And that’s not what history shows us. Iran has shown no willingness to eliminate those aspects of their program that they maintain are for peaceful purposes, even in the face of unprecedented sanctions.

Should negotiations collapse because we, the United States, rejected what the majority of the world considers a fair deal, what our scientists and nuclear experts suggest would give us confidence that they are not developing a nuclear weapon, it’s doubtful that we could even keep our current international sanctions in place.

So when you hear the inevitable critics of the deal sound off, ask them a simple question: Do you really think that this verifiable deal, if fully implemented, backed by the world’s major powers, is a worse option than the risk of another war in the Middle East? Is it worse than doing what we’ve done for almost two decades with Iran moving forward with its nuclear program and without robust inspections?

I think the answer will be clear. Remember, I have always insisted that I will do what is necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and I will.

But I also know that a diplomatic solution is the best way to get this done and offers a more comprehensive and lasting solution. It is our best option by far. And while it is always a possibility that Iran may try to cheat on the deal in the future, this framework of inspections and transparency makes it far more likely that we’ll know about it if they try to cheat, and I or future presidents will have preserved all of the options that are currently available to deal with it.

To the Iranian people, I want to reaffirm what I’ve said since the beginning of my presidency. We are willing to engage you on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect.

This deal offers the prospect of relief from sanctions that were imposed because of Iran’s violation of international law. Since Iran’s supreme leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons, this framework gives Iran the opportunity to verify that it’s program is, in fact, peaceful. It demonstrates that if Iran complies with its international obligations, then it can fully rejoin the community of nations, thereby fulfilling the extraordinary talent and aspirations of the Iranian people. That would be good for Iran, and it would be good for the world.

Of course, this deal alone, even if fully implemented, will not end the deep divisions and mistrust between our two countries. We have a difficult history between us.

And our concerns will remain with respect to Iranian behavior so long as Iran continues its sponsorship of terrorism, its support for proxies who destabilize the Middle East, its threats against America’s friends and allies, like Israel.

So make no mistake, we will remain vigilant in countering those actions and standing with our allies.

It’s no secret that the Israeli prime minister and I don’t agree about whether the United States should move forward with a peaceful resolution to the Iranian issue. If in fact Prime Minister Netanyahu is looking for the most effective way to ensure Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon, this is the best option.

And I believe our nuclear experts can confirm that.

More importantly, I will be speaking with the prime minister today to make clear that there will be no daylight, there is no daylight when it comes to our support for Israel’s security and our concerns about Iran’s destabilizing policies and threats towards Israel.

That’s why I’ve directed my national security team to consult closely with the new Israeli government in the coming weeks and months about how we can further strengthen our long-term security cooperation with Israel and make clear our unshakeable commitment to Israel’s defense.

Today, I also spoke with the king of Saudi Arabia, to reaffirm our commitment to the security of our partners in the Gulf. And I am inviting the leaders of the six countries who make up the Gulf Cooperation Council, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain to meet me at Camp David this spring to discuss how we can further strengthen our security cooperation while resolving the multiple conflicts that have caused so much hardship and instability throughout the Middle East.

Finally, it’s worth remembering that Congress has, on a bipartisan basis, played a critical role in our current Iran policy, helping to shape the sanctions regime that applied so much pressure on Iran and ultimately forced them to the table.

In the coming days and weeks, my administration will engage Congress once again about how we can play — how it can play a constructive oversight role. I’ll begin that effort by speaking to the leaders of the House and the Senate today.

In those conversations, I will underscore that the issues at stake here are bigger than politics. These are matters of war and peace. And they should be evaluated based on the facts, and what is ultimately best for the American people and for our national security. For, this is not simply a deal between my administration and Iran. This is a deal between Iran, the United States of America and the major powers in the world, including some of our closest allies.

If Congress kills this deal not based on expert analysis, and without offering any reasonable alternative, then it’s the United States that will be blamed for the failure of diplomacy. International unity will collapse, and the path to conflict will widen.

The American people understand this, which is why a solid majority support a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue. They understand instinctively the words of President Kennedy, who faced down the far greater threat of Communism, and said, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” The American people remembered that at the height of the Cold War.

Presidents like Nixon and Reagan struck historic arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, a far more dangerous adversary, despite the fact that that adversary not only threatened to destroy our country and our way of life, but had the means to do so.

Those agreements were not perfect. They did not end all threats. But they made our world safer. A good deal with Iran will do the same. Today I’d like to express my thanks to our international partners for their steadfastness, their cooperation.

I was able to speak earlier today with our close allies, Prime Minister Cameron and President Holland and Chancellor Merkel, to reaffirm that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder in this effort. And most of all, on behalf of our nation, I want to express my thanks to our tireless — and I mean tireless — Secretary of State John Kerry and our entire negotiating team. They have worked so hard to make this progress. They represent the best tradition of American diplomacy.

Their work, our work, is not yet done and success is not guaranteed. But we have a historic opportunity to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons in Iran and to do so peacefully, with the international community firmly behind us. We should seize that chance. Thank you. God bless you. And god bless the United States of America.

Full Text Obama Presidency April 2, 2015: State Department Full Text of Iran Nuclear Weapons Program Deal Parameters

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Parameters for a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Nuclear Program

Source: State.gov, 4-2-15

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 2, 2015

Below are the key parameters of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program that were decided in Lausanne, Switzerland. These elements form the foundation upon which the final text of the JCPOA will be written between now and June 30, and reflect the significant progress that has been made in discussions between the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran. Important implementation details are still subject to negotiation, and nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. We will work to conclude the JCPOA based on these parameters over the coming months.

Enrichment

  • Iran has agreed to reduce by approximately two-thirds its installed centrifuges. Iran will go from having about 19,000 installed today to 6,104 installed under the deal, with only 5,060 of these enriching uranium for 10 years. All 6,104 centrifuges will be IR-1s, Iran’s first-generation centrifuge.
  • Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium over 3.67 percent for at least 15 years.
  • Iran has agreed to reduce its current stockpile of about 10,000 kg of low-enriched uranium (LEU) to 300 kg of 3.67 percent LEU for 15 years.
  • All excess centrifuges and enrichment infrastructure will be placed in IAEA monitored storage and will be used only as replacements for operating centrifuges and equipment.
  • Iran has agreed to not build any new facilities for the purpose of enriching uranium for 15 years.
  • Iran’s breakout timeline – the time that it would take for Iran to acquire enough fissile material for one weapon – is currently assessed to be 2 to 3 months. That timeline will be extended to at least one year, for a duration of at least ten years, under this framework.

Iran will convert its facility at Fordow so that it is no longer used to enrich uranium

  • Iran has agreed to not enrich uranium at its Fordow facility for at least 15 years.
  •  Iran has agreed to convert its Fordow facility so that it is used for peaceful purposes only – into a nuclear, physics, technology, research center.
  • Iran has agreed to not conduct research and development associated with uranium enrichment at Fordow for 15 years.
  • Iran will not have any fissile material at Fordow for 15 years.
  • Almost two-thirds of Fordow’s centrifuges and infrastructure will be removed. The remaining centrifuges will not enrich uranium. All centrifuges and related infrastructure will be placed under IAEA monitoring.

Iran will only enrich uranium at the Natanz facility, with only 5,060 IR-1 first-generation centrifuges for ten years.

  • Iran has agreed to only enrich uranium using its first generation (IR-1 models) centrifuges at Natanz for ten years, removing its more advanced centrifuges.
  • Iran will remove the 1,000 IR-2M centrifuges currently installed at Natanz and place them in IAEA monitored storage for ten years.
  • Iran will not use its IR-2, IR-4, IR-5, IR-6, or IR-8 models to produce enriched uranium for at least ten years. Iran will engage in limited research and development with its advanced centrifuges, according to a schedule and parameters which have been agreed to by the P5+1.
  • For ten years, enrichment and enrichment research and development will be limited to ensure a breakout timeline of at least 1 year. Beyond 10 years, Iran will abide by its enrichment and enrichment R&D plan submitted to the IAEA, and pursuant to the JCPOA, under the Additional Protocol resulting in certain limitations on enrichment capacity.

Inspections and Transparency

  • The IAEA will have regular access to all of Iran’s nuclear facilities, including to Iran’s enrichment facility at Natanz and its former enrichment facility at Fordow, and including the use of the most up-to-date, modern monitoring technologies.
  • Inspectors will have access to the supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program. The new transparency and inspections mechanisms will closely monitor materials and/or components to prevent diversion to a secret program.
  • Inspectors will have access to uranium mines and continuous surveillance at uranium mills, where Iran produces yellowcake, for 25 years.
  • Inspectors will have continuous surveillance of Iran’s centrifuge rotors and bellows production and storage facilities for 20 years. Iran’s centrifuge manufacturing base will be frozen and under continuous surveillance.
  • All centrifuges and enrichment infrastructure removed from Fordow and Natanz will be placed under continuous monitoring by the IAEA.
  • A dedicated procurement channel for Iran’s nuclear program will be established to monitor and approve, on a case by case basis, the supply, sale, or transfer to Iran of certain nuclear-related and dual use materials and technology – an additional transparency measure.
  • Iran has agreed to implement the Additional Protocol of the IAEA, providing the IAEA much greater access and information regarding Iran’s nuclear program, including both declared and undeclared facilities.
  • Iran will be required to grant access to the IAEA to investigate suspicious sites or allegations of a covert enrichment facility, conversion facility, centrifuge production facility, or yellowcake production facility anywhere in the country.
  • Iran has agreed to implement Modified Code 3.1 requiring early notification of construction of new facilities.
  • Iran will implement an agreed set of measures to address the IAEA’s concerns regarding the Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) of its program.

Reactors and Reprocessing

  • Iran has agreed to redesign and rebuild a heavy water research reactor in Arak, based on a design that is agreed to by the P5+1, which will not produce weapons grade plutonium, and which will support peaceful nuclear research and radioisotope production.
  • The original core of the reactor, which would have enabled the production of significant quantities of weapons-grade plutonium, will be destroyed or removed from the country.
  • Iran will ship all of its spent fuel from the reactor out of the country for the reactor’s lifetime.
  • Iran has committed indefinitely to not conduct reprocessing or reprocessing research and development on spent nuclear fuel.
  • Iran will not accumulate heavy water in excess of the needs of the modified Arak reactor, and will sell any remaining heavy water on the international market for 15 years.
  • Iran will not build any additional heavy water reactors for 15 years.

Sanctions

  • Iran will receive sanctions relief, if it verifiably abides by its commitments.
  • U.S. and E.U. nuclear-related sanctions will be suspended after the IAEA has verified that Iran has taken all of its key nuclear-related steps. If at any time Iran fails to fulfill its commitments, these sanctions will snap back into place.
  • The architecture of U.S. nuclear-related sanctions on Iran will be retained for much of the duration of the deal and allow for snap-back of sanctions in the event of significant non-performance.
  • All past UN Security Council resolutions on the Iran nuclear issue will be lifted simultaneous with the completion, by Iran, of nuclear-related actions addressing all key concerns (enrichment, Fordow, Arak, PMD, and transparency).
  • However, core provisions in the UN Security Council resolutions – those that deal with transfers of sensitive technologies and activities – will be re-established by a new UN Security Council resolution that will endorse the JCPOA and urge its full implementation. It will also create the procurement channel mentioned above, which will serve as a key transparency measure. Important restrictions on conventional arms and ballistic missiles, as well as provisions that allow for related cargo inspections and asset freezes, will also be incorporated by this new resolution.
  • A dispute resolution process will be specified, which enables any JCPOA participant, to seek to resolve disagreements about the performance of JCPOA commitments.
  • If an issue of significant non-performance cannot be resolved through that process, then all previous UN sanctions could be re-imposed.
  • U.S. sanctions on Iran for terrorism, human rights abuses, and ballistic missiles will remain in place under the deal.

Phasing

  • For ten years, Iran will limit domestic enrichment capacity and research and development – ensuring a breakout timeline of at least one year. Beyond that, Iran will be bound by its longer-term enrichment and enrichment research and development plan it shared with the P5+1.
  • For fifteen years, Iran will limit additional elements of its program. For instance, Iran will not build new enrichment facilities or heavy water reactors and will limit its stockpile of enriched uranium and accept enhanced transparency procedures.
  • Important inspections and transparency measures will continue well beyond 15 years. Iran’s adherence to the Additional Protocol of the IAEA is permanent, including its significant access and transparency obligations. The robust inspections of Iran’s uranium supply chain will last for 25 years.
  • Even after the period of the most stringent limitations on Iran’s nuclear program, Iran will remain a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which prohibits Iran’s development or acquisition of nuclear weapons and requires IAEA safeguards on its nuclear program.

Political Musings February 16, 2015: Boehner willing to let DHS funding expire to force Democrats on immigration

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Boehner willing to let DHS funding expire to force Democrats on immigration

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Although the Republican leadership promised not government shut downs, Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, R-OH let it be known on his Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 appearance on Fox News Sunday that he is willing to let…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency February 2, 2015: President Barack Obama’s Speech Unveiling the FY2016 Budget

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on the FY2016 Budget

Source: WH, 2-2-15

Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C.

11:27 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Thank you, everybody.  Please, have a seat.  Well, good morning, everybody.   It is good to be here at the Department of Homeland Security.  And let me thank Jeh Johnson not only for the outstanding job that’s he’s doing as Secretary of DHS, but also for a short introduction.  I like short introductions.  (Laughter.)  Give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

This is a great way to start the week, because I get to do something I enjoy doing, which is saying thank you.  Nobody works harder to keep America safe than the people who are gathered here today.  And you don’t get a lot of attention for it — that’s the nature of the job.  But I know how vital you are, and I want to make that sure more Americans know how vital you are.  Because against just about every threat that we face — from terrorist networks to microscopic viruses to cyber-attacks to weather disasters — you guys are there.  You protect us from threats at home and abroad, by air and land and sea.  You safeguard our ports, you patrol our borders.  You inspect our chemical plants, screen travelers for Ebola, shield our computer networks, and help hunt down criminals around the world.  You have a busy agenda, a full plate.  And here at home, you are ready to respond to any emergency at a moment’s notice.

It is simply extraordinary how much the Department of Homeland Security does every single day to keep our nation, our people safe.  It’s a critical job, and you get it done without a lot of fanfare.  And I want to make sure that you have what you need to keep getting the job done.  Every American has an interest in making sure that the Department of Homeland Security has what it needs to achieve its mission — because we are reliant on that mission every single day.

Now, today, I’m sending Congress a budget that will make sure you’ve got what you need to achieve your mission.  It gives you the resources you need to carry out your mission in a way that is smart and strategic, and makes the most of every dollar.  It’s also a broader blueprint for America’s success in this new global economy.  Because after a breakthrough year for America — at a time when our economy is growing and our businesses are creating jobs at the fastest pace since the 1990s, and wages are starting to rise again — we’ve got some fundamental choices to make about the kind of country we want to be.

Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?  Or are we going to build an economy where everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead?

And that was the focus of my State of the Union Address a couple weeks ago — what I called middle-class economics.  The idea that this country does best when everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules.

The budget that Congress now has in its hands is built on those values.  It helps working families’ paychecks go farther by treating things like paid sick leave and childcare as the economic priorities that they are.  It gives Americans of every age the chance to upgrade their skills so they can earn higher wages, and it includes my plan to make two years of community college free for responsible students.  It lets us keep building the world’s most attractive economy for high-wage jobs, with new investments in research, and infrastructure and manufacturing, as well as expanded access to faster Internet and new markets for goods made in America.

It’s also a budget that recognizes that our economy flourishes when America is safe and secure.  So it invests in our IT networks, to protect them from malicious actors.  It supports our troops and strengthens our border security.  And it gives us the resources to confront global challenges, from ISIL to Russian aggression.

Now, since I took office, we have cut our deficits by about two-thirds.  I’m going to repeat that, as I always do when I mention this fact, because the public oftentimes, if you ask them, thinks that the deficit has shot up.  Since I took office, we have cut our deficits by about two-thirds.  That’s the fastest period of sustained deficit reduction since after the demobilization at the end of World War II.  So we can afford to make these investments while remaining fiscally responsible.  And, in fact, we cannot afford — we would be making a critical error if we avoided making these investments.  We can’t afford not to.  When the economy is doing well, we’re making investments when we’re growing.  That’s part of what keeps deficits low — because the economy is doing well.  So we’ve just got to be smarter about how we pay for our priorities, and that’s what my budget does.

At the end of 2013, I signed a bipartisan budget agreement that helped us end some of the arbitrary cuts known in Washington-speak as “sequestration.”  And folks here at DHS know a little too much about sequestration — (laughter) — because many of you have to deal with those cuts, and it made it a lot harder for you to do your jobs.

The 2013 agreement to reverse some of those cuts helped to boost our economic growth.  Part of the reason why we grew faster last year was we were no longer being burdened by mindless across-the-board cuts, and we were being more strategic about how we handled our federal budget.  And now we need to take the next step.  So my budget will end sequestration and fully reverse the cuts to domestic priorities in 2016.  And it will match the investments that were made domestically, dollar for dollar, with increases in our defense funding.

And just last week, top military officials told Congress that if Congress does nothing to stop sequestration, there could be serious consequences for our national security, at a time when our military is stretched on a whole range of issues.  And that’s why I want to work with Congress to replace mindless austerity with smart investments that strengthen America.  And we can do so in a way that is fiscally responsible.

I’m not going to accept a budget that locks in sequestration going forward.  It would be bad for our security and bad for our growth.  I will not accept a budget that severs the vital link between our national security and our economic security.  I know there’s some on Capitol Hill who would say, well, we’d be willing to increase defense spending but we’re not going to increase investments in infrastructure, for example, or basic research.  Well, those two things go hand in hand.  If we don’t have a vital infrastructure, if we don’t have broadband lines across the country, if we don’t have a smart grid, all that makes us more vulnerable.  America can’t afford being shortsighted, and I’m not going to allow it.

The budget I’ve sent to Congress today is fully paid for, through a combination of smart spending cuts and tax reforms.  Let me give you an example.  Right now, our tax code is full of loopholes for special interests — like the trust fund loophole that allows the wealthiest Americans to avoid paying taxes on their unearned income.  I think we should fix that and use the savings to cut taxes for middle-class families.  That would be good for our economy.

Now, I know there are Republicans who disagree with my approach.  And I’ve said this before:  If they have other ideas for how we can keep America safe, grow our economy, while helping middle-class families feel some sense of economic security, I welcome their ideas.  But their numbers have to add up.  And what we can’t do is play politics with folks’ economic security, or with our national security.  You, better than anybody, know what the stakes are.  The work you do hangs in the balance.

In just a few weeks from now, funding for Homeland Security will run out.  That’s not because of anything this department did, it’s because the Republicans in Congress who funded everything in government through September, except for this department.  And they’re now threatening to let Homeland Security funding expire because of their disagreeing with my actions to make our immigration system smarter, fairer and safer.

Now let’s be clear, I think we can have a reasonable debate about immigration.  I’m confident that what we’re doing is the right thing and the lawful thing.  I understand they may have some disagreements with me on that, although I should note that a large majority — or a large percentage of Republicans agree that we need comprehensive immigration reform, and we’re prepared to act in the Senate and should have acted in the House.  But if they don’t agree with me, that’s fine, that’s how our democracy works.  You may have noticed they usually don’t agree with me.  But don’t jeopardize our national security over this disagreement.

As one Republican put it, if they let your funding run out, “it’s not the end of the world.”  That’s what they said.  Well, I guess literally that’s true; it may not be the end of the world.  But until they pass a funding bill, it is the end of a paycheck for tens of thousands of frontline workers who will continue to get — to have to work without getting paid.  Over 40,000 Border Patrol and Customs agents.  Over 50,000 airport screeners.  Over 13,000 immigration officers.  Over 40,000 men and women in the Coast Guard.  These Americans aren’t just working to keep us safe, they have to take care of their own families.  The notion that they would get caught up in a disagreement around policy that has nothing to do with them makes no sense.

And if Republicans let Homeland Security funding expire, it’s the end to any new initiatives in the event that a new threat emerges.  It’s the end of grants to states and cities that improve local law enforcement and keep our communities safe.  The men and women of America’s homeland security apparatus do important work to protect us, and Republicans and Democrats in Congress should not be playing politics with that.

We need to fund the department, pure and simple.  We’ve got to put politics aside, pass a budget that funds our national security priorities at home and abroad, and gives middle-class families the security they need to get ahead in the new economy.  This is one of our most basic and most important responsibilities as a government.  So I’m calling on Congress to get this done.

Every day, we count on people like you to keep America secure.  And you are counting on us as well to uphold our end of the bargain.  You’re counting on us to make sure that you’ve got the resources to do your jobs safely and efficiently, and that you’re able to look after your families while you are out there working really hard to keep us safe.

We ask a lot of you.  The least we can do is have your backs.  That’s what I’m going to keep on doing for as long as I have the honor of serving as your President.  I have your back.  And I’m going to keep on fighting to make sure that you get the resources you deserve.  I’m going to keep fighting to make sure that every American has the chance not just to share in America’s success but to contribute to America’s success.  That’s what this budget is about.

It reflects our values in making sure that we are making the investments we need to keep America safe, to keep America growing, and to make sure that everybody is participating no matter what they look like, where they come from, no matter how they started in life, they’ve got a chance to get ahead in this great country of ours.  That’s what I believe.  That’s what you believe.  (Applause.)  Let’s get it done.

Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
11:43 A.M. EST

Political Musings January 12, 2015: Obama admits he was wrong should have sent high profile official to Paris rally

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Obama admits he was wrong should have sent high profile official to Paris rally

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Barack Obama finally admitted he was wrong. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters during the daily press briefing on Monday, Jan. 12, that the administration “should have sent someone with a higher profile” to the…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency December 10, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Remarks At Early Education Summit — Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President At Early Education Summit

Source: WH,  12-10-14

South Court Auditorium

11:58 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Hey!  Give Alajah a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Everybody have a seat.

Now, Alajah clearly knows where power is.  (Laughter.)  She knows who has clout and who does not.  You did a wonderful job.  I’m so proud of you.  Good job.

MS. LANE: Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT:  You’re welcome.  (Laughter.)  In addition to Alajah, we have some important personages here.  I want to thank, first of all, America’s Secretary of Education — somebody who is so passionate about making sure every child gets a chance in this country — Arne Duncan.  Where’s Arne?  (Applause.)  We’ve got some of early education’s strongest supporters in Congress from both parties who are here.  We’ve got Bob Casey from the great state of Pennsylvania.  (Applause.)  We’ve got representatives Richard Richard Hanna.  Where’s Richard?  There he is.  (Applause.)  Jared Polis.  (Applause.)  Bobby Scott.  (Applause.)

I want to thank the business leaders and philanthropists and mayors, all who came here from across America to make big new commitments to our kids.  And I know we’ve got thousands of parents and teachers and alumni from Head Start and Early Head Start watching this live in New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale.  So please give them a shout out, as well.  Thank you, guys.  (Applause.)

Now, you may know that last week brought some good economic news, building on the momentum that we’ve seen over the past couple of years.  Over the first 11 months of 2014, our economy has created more jobs than in any full year since the 1990s.  So already — we’ve still got a month to go — we’ve already seen more jobs created this year than any time in over a decade.  Over the last four years, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and every other advanced economy combined.  Overall wages are rising again, which is a welcome sign for millions of families.  So for all the work we have left to do, America is outpacing most of the world.  And if we seize this moment, we have the chance to lead the next century just like we led the last one, and make sure that citizens in this country, our children, can have a better life than we did.

But in order to reach our full potential, kids like Alajah need a chance to reach their full potential.  Because what makes America exceptional isn’t just the size of our economy or our influence around the globe — that is a byproduct of a more fundamental fact about America.  The promise we make to our children; the idea that no matter who they are, what they look like, where they start, how much their parents earn, they can make it if they try.  It’s the essential promise of America -– that where you start should not and will not determine how far you can go.

And we’re here today because it’s never too early in a child’s life to begin delivering on that promise.  I’m preaching to the choir now, but I’m going to go ahead and preach.  Study after study shows that children who get a high-quality early education earn more over their lifetimes than peers who don’t.  They’re more likely to finish school.  They’re less likely to go to prison.  They’re more likely to hold a job.  They’re more likely to start a stable family of their own — which means that you have a generational transmission of the early starts that kids can get.  Early education is one of the best investments we can make not just in a child’s future, but in our country.  It’s one of the best investments we can make.

Today, my Council of Economic Advisers is putting out a report showing that for every dollar we invest now, we can save more than eight dollars later on, by boosting graduation rates, increasing earnings, reducing violent crime.  And the study also shows that access to high-quality, affordable childcare means more employment and higher incomes for working parents, especially working moms.  Not surprising there.  I mean, men, we’re getting better, but we’re not where we need to be.  And moms all too often are juggling between work and childcare.  When we have good, high-quality early childhood education, then suddenly we’re freeing up everybody to be on the field.

So early education is a win for everybody.  It saves taxpayer dollars.  It gives our children a better chance.  And some states are proving that it’s possible to give every child that chance.  For 16 years, every child in Oklahoma has been guaranteed a preschool education.  Georgia is building on their successful preschool program by launching something called “Talk With Me Baby” — which sounds like an Al Green song, but is actually — (laughter) — I’m not singing.  But it’s actually a program to make sure make sure language learning begins at the very first weeks of a child’s life.  Now, let’s face it — Oklahoma and Georgia are not places where I do particularly well politically.  They’re not known as wild-eyed liberal states.  But it just goes to show you that this is an issue that’s bigger than politics.  It’s not a red issue or a blue issue.  It’s about doing what’s best for our kids, for our country, and that’s an American issue.  And we’ve had some terrific Republican, as well as Democratic, governors and mayors who have really taken leadership on this issue because they recognize it’s a good investment.

And that’s why, in my 2013 State of the Union Address, I laid out a plan to make sure our children have every opportunity they deserve from the moment they are born.  And I asked Congress to work with me to make high-quality pre-K available to every four-year-old in America.  Congress hasn’t gotten that done yet, but Democrats and Republicans came together to take some steps in the right direction, with new grants that will expand preschool for children across the country.

And in the nearly two years since I called on Congress to take action, we’ve seen 34 states, along with cities and communities across our country, take action on their own.  All told, they’ve invested more than a billion dollars in our children.  In Michigan, a Republican governor signed the nation’s second-largest state budget increase for early education into law.  Last month, voters in Denver approved a ballot measure to renew and expand their preschool program through 2026.  In New York, Mayor de Blasio made pre-K for all a centerpiece of his campaign.  And this year, more than 50,000 children are enrolled in New York City preschools — more than twice as many as in 2013.  (Applause.)  There must be a New Yorker here.

So we’re making progress.  But here’s the thing:  For all the progress we’ve made, for all the children who are on a better path, today fewer than 3 in 10 four-year-olds are enrolled in high-quality preschool.  It’s not that working parents don’t want their kids to be in safe, high-quality learning environments every day.  It’s that they can’t afford the costs of private preschool.  And for poor children who need it most, the lack of access to a great preschool can affect their entire lives.  We’ve got kids in this country who are every bit as talented as Malia and Sasha, but they’re starting out the race a step behind.  And they deserve better.  And the whole country will do better if we fix that.  So that’s what this day is all about.

I’m pleased to announce that my administration will award $750 million of new investment in our youngest Americans.  Secretary Duncan is awarding $250 million in new Preschool Development Grants to 18 states.  We’re giving tens of thousands more children the opportunity to go to high-quality preschool: almost 3,000 preschool students in Nevada, for example, will be able to attend full-day preschool, instead of a half-day program.  Montana will create new high-quality preschool programs that will serve kids in 16 communities, including eight communities on Indian lands.

And in order to create a full pipeline of learning programs, from birth all the way to the beginning of Kindergarten, Secretary Burwell is announcing the winners of a $500 million competition that will bring early care and education to more than 30,000 infants and toddlers next year.  Our child care centers will partner with our Early Head Start Centers to help kids from virtually every state, from rural Virginia to my hometown of Chicago.

So we’re stepping up, but as all of you I’m sure have already heard, investing in our kids is not just the job of the federal government — it’s the job of all of us.  So in my State of the Union Address this year, I promised to pull together a coalition of elected officials, and business leaders, and philanthropists who are willing to help more kids access the high-quality preschool that they need.  And here you are.  (Laughter.)

Today, we are delivering on that promise with a new campaign called “Invest in Us.”  I want to highlight a few of commitments folks in this room because I think it shows how much interest there is in this issue, how much evidence there is behind making the kinds of investments for our kids that we’re talking about.

So first of all, you’re bringing entire communities together on behalf of children.  In Northeast Ohio, for example, Cuyahoga County, the city of Cleveland, local schools, businesses, foundations, and child welfare agencies have all embraced a single plan to ensure that all three- and four-year olds have access to high-quality education.  So today the Greater Cleveland Community is announcing $10.2 million in new investments in early childhood programs.  And that’s going to make a difference.  Susie Buffett is leading an effort that will invest $15 million in Omaha.  That’s making a difference, bringing folks together.

Second, as important as preschool is, you’re working to make sure a great education starts even earlier.  The George Kaiser Family Foundation reaches out to new parents in Tulsa with a hospital visit before the baby even goes home.  After that, they provide parenting classes and literacy programs all the way through a child’s third birthday, because they believe that every parent can be a teacher and every home can be a preschool.  And as a consequence, they’re committing $25 million, in additional dollars, to help achieve that goal.

Number three, you’re supporting early education programs that we already have.  So the Foundation for Child Development is working with the New York City Department of Education to help train early-learning teachers.  Disney is giving away $55 million worth of books and apps for young learners.  And judging by trick or treating here at the White House this year, if Disney wanted to throw in some of those princess costumes from “Frozen,” that will make a difference.  (Laughter.)  I mean, there were a lot of Elsas.  They just kept on coming, sort of nonstop.  (Laughter.)

And finally, you’re investing in new, innovative approaches that have the chance to transform the way we teach our children.  So thanks to neuroscientists and psychologists and child development experts, we know more about how young minds work than ever before.  So we’re got the Bezos Family Foundation announcing a $5 million commitment to turn these new insights into new tools for teachers and parents, so that our children get the most out of the time and money that we invest in them. And J.B. Pritzker and M.K. Pritzker, their family foundation is committing $25 million to build on cutting-edge research to help our most vulnerable children succeed.

So all told, in addition to what we’re going to be doing at the federal level, organizations here today are making more than $330 million in new commitments.  That’s worth applauding.  (Applause.)  And that’s pretty extraordinary, that’s real money, even in Washington, that’s real money.  (Laughter.)  But it’s also just the beginning.  So I’m calling on all Americans across our country to make their own commitments to our children.  And I’m asking our members of Congress for their commitment as well.  Outside Washington, giving our children a fair shot from the earliest age is a priority that crosses party lines.   So I hope that the new Congress next year will work with me to make pre-K available for all of our kids.  It will not just grow the economy for everybody –- it will change young lives forever.

Just ask Chuck Mills.  Where is Chuck?  Chuck is here.  There’s Chuck, right there.  Chuck was born in 1962, the youngest of six children, raised by a single mom.  A lot of the kids in the neighborhoods where Chuck grew up did not finish school, and a lot of those young people ended up in prison.  But in 1966, Chuck’s mom saw a flier at a church for a new program called “Project Head Start.”  Chuck became part of just the second class of Head Start students -– and two years later, he had learned so much that he skipped kindergarten and went straight to first grade.  And Chuck’s been overachieving ever since.  (Laughter.)  He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy.  Captain Mills piloted Marine One for two different Presidents.  That is something that you want the best people for.  (Laughter.)  Today, Chuck is the founder and CEO of not one, but two companies in Northern Virginia.  “My life,” Chuck said, “can be summed up in the words, ‘Wasn’t supposed to.’”

“Wasn’t supposed to.”  Well, that’s not just Chuck’s story; that’s America’s story.  America is a nation that “wasn’t supposed to.”  Our entire story is improbable.  All of us are here because this country gave someone in our family a chance to beat the odds.  None of us were supposed to.  Those of us lucky enough to share in this country’s promise now have a responsibility to ensure that for all the young people coming behind us who aren’t supposed to, that they have those same opportunities.

There are a whole bunch of Chucks out there, all across the country.  We have to invest in them.  We have to invest in our communities.  We have to invest in us.  And if we do that, we give every child the same chance that we got, then America will remain the greatest nation on Earth.  And I thank all of you for the extraordinary efforts you are making in fulfilling that promise.

Thank you, God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END
12:16 P.M. EST

Full Text Obama Presidency November 24, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Remarks on the Resignation of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel — Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on the Resignation of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

Source: WH, 11-24-14 

State Dining Room

11:10 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: About a year ago, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel was visiting our troops in the Republic of Korea thanking them for their service and answering their questions, and they asked about the usual topics, about our national security, the future of our military. And then one soldier, a sergeant from Ohio asked him, what was the most pertinent question of the day, which was what was your favorite college football team. To which Chuck replied, born and raised in Nebraska, I don’t have a choice; I am a strong Cornhuskers fan.

Now there was a time when an enlisted soldier might have been reluctant to ask that kind of question of the Secretary of Defense. But Chuck Hagel has been no ordinary Secretary of Defense. As the first enlisted combat veteran to serve in that position, he understands our men and women like few others, because he’s stood where they stood, he’s been in the dirt and he’s been in the mud, and that’s established a special bond. He sees himself in them and they see themselves in him. And their safety, their lives, have always been at the center of Chuck’s service.

When I asked Chuck to serve as Secretary of Defense we were entering a significant period of transition. The draw-down in Afghanistan, the need to prepare our forces for future missions and tough fiscal choices to keep our military strong and ready. Over nearly two years, Chuck has been an exemplary Defense Secretary, providing a steady hand as we modernized our strategy and budget to meet long-term threats, while still responding to immediate challenges like ISIL and Ebola. Thanks to Chuck, our military is on a firmer footing, engaged in these missions and looking ahead to the future.

Now last month, Chuck came to me to discuss the final quarter of my presidency and determined that having guided the department through this transition, it was an appropriate time for him to complete his service. Let me just say that Chuck is and has been a great friend of mine. I’ve known him, admired him and trusted him for nearly a decade since I was a green-behind-the-ears, freshman senator, and we were both on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. If there’s one thing I know about Chuck, it’s that he does not make this or any decision lightly, this decision does not come easily to him, but I consider myself extraordinarily lucky to have had him by my side for two years. And I am grateful that Chuck has agreed to stay on until I nominate a successor and that successor is confirmed by the Senate. Which means that he’ll continue to guide our troops at this challenging time.

I’ll have more opportunity to pay tribute to Chuck’s life of service in the days ahead. For now, let me just say this: Chuck Hagel has devoted himself to our national security and our men and women in uniform across more than six decades. He volunteered for Vietnam and still carries the scars and shrapnel from the battles that he fought. At the VA, he fought to give our veterans, especially his fellow Vietnam veterans, the benefits they had earned. As head of the USO, he made sure America always honors our troops. As a Senator, he helped lead the fight for the post-9/11 GI Bill, which is helping so many of our newest veterans and their families realize their dreams of a college education. As Secretary, Chuck has helped transition our military and bolstered America’s leadership around the world. During his tenure, Afghan forces took the lead for security in Afghanistan. Our forces have drawn down. Our combat mission there ends next month, and we’ll partner with Afghans to preserve the gains we have made.

The NATO Alliance is as strong as it has ever been, and we have reassured our allies with our increased presence in Central and Eastern Europe. We’ve modernized our alliances in the Asia Pacific; updated our defense posture and recently agreed to improve communications between the U.S. and Chinese militaries. Chuck has been critical to all these accomplishments.

Meanwhile, Chuck has ensured that our military is ready for new missions. Today our men and women in uniform are taking the fight against ISIL in Iraq, in Syria, and Chuck helped build the international coalition to ensure that the world is meeting this threat together.

Today our forces are helping to support the civilian effort against Ebola in West Africa, a reminder, as Chuck likes to say, that America’s military is the greatest force for good in the world.

Finally, in a very difficult budgetary environment, Chuck has never lost sight of key priorities. The readiness of our force and the quality of our life of our troops and their families. He’s launched new reforms to ensure that even as our military is leaner, it remains the strongest in the world and so our troops can continue to get the pay, the housing, the healthcare, the childcare that they and their families need — reforms that we need Congress to now support.

At the same time, after the tragedies we’ve seen, Chuck has helped lead the effort to improve security at our military installations and to stamp out the scourge of sexual assault from the ranks.

Chuck, I also want to thank you on a personal level. We come from different parties, but in accepting this position you send a powerful message — especially to folks in this city — that when it comes to our national security and caring for our troops and their families, we are all Americans first. When I nominated you for this position, you said that you’d always give me your honest advice and informed counsel. You have. When it’s mattered most — behind closed doors, in the Oval Office –you’ve always given it to me straight. And for that I will always be grateful.

I recall when I was a nominee in 2008, and I traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq. Chuck Hagel accompanied me on that trip along with Jack Reed. And it’s pretty rare at a time when sometimes this town is so politicized to have a friend who was willing to accompany a nominee from another party because he understood that whoever ended up being President, what was most important was that we were unified when we confronted the challenges that we see overseas. And that’s the kind of class and integrity that Chuck Hagel has always represented.

 

Now, Chuck, you’ve said that a life is only as good as the family you have and the friends you surround yourself with. And in that, you are blessed. I want to thank Lilibet, your son Ziller and your daughter Allyn for the sacrifices that they’ve made as well. I know that as reluctant as we are to see you go, they are equally excited to getting their husband and father back. And I’m sure the Cornhuskers are also happy that a fan will be there to cheer them on more often.

Today, the United States of America can proudly claim the strongest military the world has ever known. That’s the result of investments made over many decades, the blood and treasure and sacrifices of generations. It’s the result of the character and wisdom those who lead them, as well — including a young Army sergeant in Vietnam who our rose to serve as our nation’s 24th Secretary of Defense. So on behalf of a grateful nation, thank you Chuck. (Applause.)

SECRETARY HAGEL: Thank you very much.

Mr. President, thank you -– thank you for your generous words, for your friendship, for your support which I have always valued and will continue to value. And to my not old, but my longtime, dear friend Vice President Biden, who I have always admired and respected, and both the President and I have learned an awful lot from the Vice President over the years -– thank you. And I want to thank the Deputy Secretary of Defense who is here, Bob Work, and the Chairman and Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Marty Dempsey, who also is here. I want to thank them for being here this morning.

I also want to thank you both for your tremendous leadership of the Defense Department and what you mean to our men and women and their families all over the world; and for the honor I’ve had to serve with each of you and the privilege it’s been in every way.

And I want to thank the entire leadership team at the Pentagon. Without their support and wise counsel over the last couple of years our many accomplishments, and the President noted some, I have been part of that -– but it’s a team. It’s all these tremendous men and women, as you know Mr. President, that make this happen and I couldn’t be prouder of them and what we have accomplished over the almost two years that I’ve had the honor of serving in this position.

And as the President noted I have today submitted my resignation as Secretary of Defense. It’s been the greatest privilege of my life; the greatest privilege of my life to lead and most important, to serve — to serve with the men and women of the Defense Department and support their families. I am immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished during this time. We have prepared ourselves, as the President has noted, our allies and Afghan National Security Forces for a successful transition in Afghanistan. We bolstered enduring alliances and strengthened emerging partnerships while successfully responding to crises around the world.

And we’ve launched important reforms that the President noted — reforms that will prepare this institution for the challenges facing us in decades to come. I believe we have set not only this department –- the Department of Defense -– but the nation on the stronger course toward security, stability and prosperity. If I didn’t believe that, I would not have done this job.

As our country prepares to celebrate Thanksgiving I want to –- you, Mr. President, and you, Vice President Biden, -– acknowledge what you have done and how grateful I am to both of you for your leadership and your friendship and for giving me this opportunity to serve our country once again.

I will continue to support you, Mr. President, and the men and women who defend this country every day so unselfishly; and their families, what they do for our country, so unselfishly. And as I have said –- and as the President noted –- I will stay on this job and work just as hard as I have over the last couple of years, every day, every moment, until my successor is confirmed by the United States Senate.

I’d also like to express my gratitude to our colleagues on Capitol Hill — my gratitude to them for their support of me, but more importantly their support of our troops and their families and their continued commitment to our National Security.

I also want to thank my international counterparts for their friendship and their partnership and their advice during my time as Secretary of Defense. Their involvement with me and their partnership with me — in so many of these important areas as we build these coalitions of common interests as you have noted, Mr. President –- are so critically important and to them, I am grateful I will be forever grateful.

And finally I’d like to thank my family. My wife Lilibet, who you have mentioned, Mr. President, who was with me this morning as she has been with me throughout so many years, and during so many tremendous experiences. And this experience and opportunity and privilege to serve as Secretary of Defense has been one of those; and to my daughter Allyn and my son Ziller.

Mr. President, again, thank you. To you and to all of our team everywhere, as we know Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, it is a team effort. And that’s part of the fun of it, to help build teams and to work together to make things happen for the good of the country and make a better world. For all of that I am immensely grateful. And to all of you, your families, happy Thanksgiving. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

END 11:25 A.M. EST

Political Musings November 24, 2014: Obama forces Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to resign over war with ISIS

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Obama forces Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to resign over war with ISIS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned on Monday morning, Nov. 24, 2014, the New York Times was the first to break the story. President Barack Obama asked Hagel to step-down based on the way the war against ISIS, the Islamic…READ MORE

Political Musings October 29, 2014: US-Israel crisis reactions: Obama official calls Netanyahu coward, chickenshit

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

US-Israel crisis reactions: Obama official calls Netanyahu coward, chickenshit

By Bonnie K. Goodman

United States Israel relations have gone downhill fast. At the beginning of the month, President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a friendly meeting at the White House, but in four weeks, the fragile personal relationship has…READ MORE

Political Musings October 28, 2014: Obama, Labor Department boosting unemployment extension by raising benefits

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Obama, Labor Department boosting unemployment extension by raising benefits

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has decided to take matters in their hand, and they are intending to raise unemployment benefits for states with higher unemployment. The Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration (NPRM) announced by…READ MORE

 

 

Full Text Obama Presidency September 25, 2014: President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder’s Statement on Holder’s Resignation — Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Statement by the President and Attorney General Eric Holder

Source: WH, 9-25-14

State Dining Room

4:30 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  Please have a seat.  Bobby Kennedy once said, “On this generation of Americans falls the full burden of proving to the world that we really mean it when we say all men are created free and equal before the law.”

As one of the longest-serving Attorney Generals in American history, Eric Holder has borne that burden.  And over the summer, he came to me and he said he thought six years was a pretty good run — I imagine his family agrees.  Like me, Eric married up.  He and his wife, Dr. Sharon Malone, a nationally-renowned OBGYN, have been great friends to Michelle and me for years.  And I know Brooke and Maya and Buddy are excited to get their dad back for a while.

So this is bittersweet.  But with his typical dedication, Eric has agreed to stay on as Attorney General until I nominate his successor and that successor is confirmed by the Senate.  Which means he’ll have a chance to add to a proud career of public service — one that began nearly 40 years ago as a young prosecutor in the Department that he now runs.

He was there for 12 years, taking on political corruption until President Reagan named him to the bench as a judge.  Later, President Clinton called him back.  So all told, Eric has served at the Justice Department under six Presidents of both parties — including a several-day stint as acting Attorney General at the start of George W. Bush’s first term.  And through it all, he’s shown a deep and abiding fidelity to one of our most cherished ideals as a people, and that is equal justice under the law.

As younger men, Eric and I both studied law.  And I chose him to serve as Attorney General because he believes, as I do, that justice is not just an abstract theory.  It’s a living and breathing principle.  It’s about how our laws interact with our daily lives.  It’s about whether we can make an honest living, whether we can provide for our families; whether we feel safe in our own communities and welcomed in our own country; whether the words that the Founders set to paper 238 years ago apply to every single one of us and not just some.

That’s why I made him America’s lawyer, the people’s lawyer.  That comes with a big portfolio — from counterterrorism to civil rights, public corruption to white-collar crime.  And alongside the incredible men and women of the Justice Department -– men and women that I promise you he is proud of and will deeply miss -– Eric has done a superb job.

He’s worked side by side with our intelligence community and the Department of Homeland Security to keep us safe from terrorist attacks and to counter violent extremism.  On his watch, federal courts have successfully prosecuted hundreds of terror cases, proving that the world’s finest justice system is fully capable of delivering justice for the world’s most-wanted terrorists.

He’s rooted out corruption and fought violent crime.  Under his watch, a few years ago, the FBI successfully carried out the largest mafia takedown in American history.  He’s worked closely with state and local law enforcement officers to make sure that they’ve got the resources to get the job done.  And he’s managed funds under the Recovery Act to make sure that when budgets took a hit, thousands of cops were able to stay on the beat nationwide.

He’s helped safeguard our markets from manipulation, and consumers from financial fraud.  Since 2009, the Justice Department has brought more than 60 cases against financial institutions, and won some of the largest settlements in history for practices related to the financial crisis, recovering $85 billion –- much of it returned to ordinary Americans who were badly hurt.

He’s worked passionately to make sure our criminal justice system remains the best in the world.  He knows that too many outdated policies, no matter how well-intentioned, perpetuate a destructive cycle in too many communities.  So Eric addressed unfair sentencing disparities, reworked mandatory minimums, and promoted alternatives to incarceration.  And thanks to his efforts, since I took office, the overall crime rate and the overall incarceration rate have gone down by about 10 percent.  That’s the first time that they’ve declined together, at the same tim, in more than 40 years.

Eric’s proudest achievement, though, might be reinvigorating and restoring the core mission to what he calls “the conscience of the building” — and that’s the Civil Rights Division.  He has been relentless against attacks on the Voting Rights Act –- because no citizen, including our servicemembers, should have to jump through hoops to exercise their most fundamental right.  He’s challenged discriminatory state immigration laws that not only risked harassment of citizens and legal immigrants, but actually made it harder for law enforcement to do its job.

Under his watch, the Department has brought a record number of prosecutions for human trafficking, and for hate crimes — because no one in America should be afraid to walk down the street because of the color of their skin, the love in their heart, the faith they practice, or the disabilities that they live with.

He’s dramatically advanced the cause of justice for Native Americans, working closely with their communities.  And several years ago, he recommended that our government stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act — a decision that was vindicated by the Supreme Court, and opened the door to federal recognition of same-sex marriage, and federal benefits for same-sex couples.  It’s a pretty good track record.

Eric’s father was an immigrant who served in the Army in World War II only to be refused service at lunch counters in the nation he defended.  But he and his wife raised their son to believe that this country’s promise was real, and that son grew up to become Attorney General of the United States.  And that’s something.  And that’s why Eric has worked so hard — not just in my administration, but for decades — to open up the promise of this country to more striving, dreaming kids like him.  To make sure those words — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — are made real for all of us.

Soon, Eric, Sharon, and their kids will be a bit freer to pursue a little more happiness of their own.  And thanks to Eric’s efforts, so will more Americans — regardless of race or religion, gender or creed, sexual orientation or disability, who will receive fair and equal treatment under the law.

So I just want to say thank you, Eric.  Thank you to the men and women of the Justice Department who work day in and out for the American people.  And we could not be more grateful for everything that you’ve done not just for me and the administration, but for our country.  (Applause.)

ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER:  I come to this moment with very mixed emotions:  proud of what the men and women of the Department of Justice have accomplished over the last six years, and at the same time, very sad that I will not be a formal part — a formal part — of the great things that this Department and this President will accomplish over the next two.

I want to thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity that you gave me to serve and for giving me the greatest honor of my professional life.  We have been great colleagues, but the bonds between us are much deeper than that.  In good times and in bad, in things personal and in things professional, you have been there for me.  I’m proud to call you my friend.

I’m also grateful for the support you have given me and the Department as we have made real the visions that you and I have always shared.  I often think of those early talks between us, about our belief that we might help to craft a more perfect union.  Work remains to be done, but our list of accomplishments is real.

Over the last six years, our administration — your administration — has made historic gains in realizing the principles of the founding documents and fought to protect the most sacred of American rights, the right to vote.

We have begun to realize the promise of equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters and their families.  We have begun to significantly reform our criminal justice system and reconnect those who bravely serve in law enforcement with the communities that they protect.

We have kept faith with our belief in the power of the greatest judicial system the world has ever known to fairly and effectively adjudicate any cases that are brought before it, including those that involve the security of the nation that we both love so dearly.

We have taken steps to protect the environment and make more fair the rules by which our commercial enterprises operate.  And we have held accountable those who would harm the American people — either through violent means or the misuse of economic or political power.

I have loved the Department of Justice ever since as a young boy I watched Robert Kennedy prove during the Civil Rights Movement how the Department can and must always be a force for that which is right.  I hope that I have done honor to the faith that you have placed in me, Mr. President, and to the legacy of all those who have served before me.

I would also like to thank the Vice President, who I have known for so many years, and in whom I have found great wisdom, unwavering support, and a shared vision of what America can and should be.

I want to recognize my good friend Valerie Jarrett, whom I’ve been fortunate to work with from the beginning of what started as an improbable, idealistic effort by a young senator from Illinois, who we were both right to believe would achieve greatness.

I’ve had the opportunity to serve in your distinguished Cabinet and worked with a White House Chief of Staff — a White House staff ably led by Denis McDonough that has done much to make real the promise of our democracy.  And each of the men and women who I have come to know will be lifelong friends.

Whatever my accomplishments, they could not have been achieved without the love, support and guidance of two people who are not here with me today.  My parents, Eric and Miriam Holder, nurtured me and my accomplished brother, William, and made us believe in the value of individual effort and the greatness of this nation.

My time in public service, which now comes to an end, would not have been possible without the sacrifices too often unfair made by the best three kids a father could ask for.  Thank you, Maya.  Thank you, Brooke.  And thank you, Buddy.

And finally, I want to thank the woman who sacrificed the most and allowed me to follow my dreams.  She is the foundation of all that our family is, and the basis of all that I have become.  My wife, Sharon, is the unsung hero.  And she is my life partner.  Thank you for all that you have done.  I love you.

In the months ahead, I will leave the Department of Justice, but I will never — I will never — leave the work.  I will continue to serve and try to find ways to make our nation even more true to its founding ideals.

I want to thank the dedicated public servants who form the backbone of the United States Department of Justice for their tireless work over the past six years, for the efforts they will continue, and for the progress that they made and that will outlast us all.

And I want to thank you all for joining me on a journey that now moves in another direction, but that will always be guided by the pursuit of justice and aimed at the North Star.

Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
4:41 P.M. EDT

Political Musings September 18, 2014: Weekly jobless claims drops, Congress recesses, unemployment extension ignored

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Weekly jobless claims drops, Congress recesses, unemployment extension ignored

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Congress is about to recess yet again, and once more, they ignored the unemployment benefits extension, while world crises overwhelmed their legislative priorities amidst reports of weekly jobs claims falling. On Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014, the Department of Labor released…READ MORE

Political Musings September 4, 2014: Damage control for Obama, Biden’s tough response on ISIS as Congress plans war

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Damage control for Obama, Biden’s tough response on ISIS as Congress plans war

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The news of the beheading of another American journalist by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) commenced a new round of responses from President Barack Obama and his administration and differing levels of how to militarily respond to…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency August 26, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech to the American Legion National Convention about VA Reform Executive Actions and Improving Mental Health Care for Veterans

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Remarks by the President to the American Legion National Convention

Source: WH, 8-26-14 

Charlotte Convention Center
Charlotte, North Carolina

12:07 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  Please, everybody, have a seat.  Hello, Legionnaires!

AUDIENCE:  Hello!

THE PRESIDENT:  I want to thank Commander Dellinger for the introduction, but more importantly, for your service in the Army.  And as you conclude your tenure as Commander, thank you for your tireless commitment to America’s veterans.

I want to thank the entire leadership team for welcoming me here today, including your National Adjutant, Dan Wheeler; your Executive Director in Washington, Peter Gaytan; Nancy Brown-Park, all the spouses, daughters — (applause) — hey! — sisters of the Auxiliary, and the Sons of the American Legion.  (Applause.)  And let me say that I join you in honoring the memory of a friend to many of you — an Army veteran and a great Legionnaire from North Carolina, Jerry Hedrick.  (Applause.)

To Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan, Mayor Dan Clodfelter — thank you for welcoming us to the great state of North Carolina and to Charlotte, and for your great support of our troops and our veterans.

And I do have to mention the President of Boys Nation –Matthew Ellow, from Lacey’s Spring, Alabama.  I welcomed Matthew and all the incredible young people of Boys and Girls Nation to the White House last month.  I was running a little bit late, so they just started singing, filling the White House with patriotic songs.  And then they sang Happy Birthday to me, so I was pretty moved.  And they’re a tribute to the Legion and to our country.

I’ve brought with me today our new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Bob McDonald.  (Applause.)  And for those of you who are not aware, Bob is one of America’s most accomplished business leaders.  He comes from a military family.  He excelled at West Point, served as an Army Airborne Ranger — so he’s got a reputation for jumping into tough situations.  (Laughter.)  And he’s hit the ground running, visiting hospitals and clinics across the country, hearing directly from veterans and helping us change the way the VA does business.  And by the way, Washington doesn’t agree on much these days, but he got confirmed 97 to 0.  (Applause.)  People understand he’s the right man for the job.  He has my full support.  And, Bob, I want to thank you for once again serving your country.  (Applause.)

It’s an honor to be back with the American Legion.  In the story of your service we see the spirit of America.  When your country needed you most, you stepped forward.  You raised your right hand, you swore a solemn oath.  You put on that uniform and earned the title you carry to this day — whether Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, Coast Guardsman.

Among you are proud veterans of World War II; of Korea; of Vietnam; of Desert Storm and the Balkans; and our newest veterans — from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Across the generations, you served with honor.  You made us proud.  And you carry the memory of friends who never came home — our fallen, our prisoners of war, those missing in action — heroes that our nation can never forget.

When you took off that uniform, you earned another title –the title of veteran.  And you never stopped serving.  As Legionnaires, you put on that cap, wore that emblem — “for God and country” — and took care of one another, making sure our veterans receive the care and the benefits that you’ve earned and deserve.

And just as you defended America over there, you helped build America here at home — as leaders and role models in your communities, as entrepreneurs and business owners, as champions for a strong national defense.  You helped the United States of America become what we are today — the greatest democratic, economic, and military force for freedom and human dignity that the world has ever known.

Now, these are challenging times.  I don’t have to tell you that.  Around the world as well as here at home.  You turn on the TV and we’re saturated with heartbreaking images of war and senseless violence and terrorism and tragedy.  And it can be easy to grow cynical or give in to the sense that the future we seek is somehow beyond our reach.  But as men and women who have been tested like few others, you should know better.  You know that cynicism is not the character of a great nation.  And so, even as we face, yes, the hard tasks of our time, we should never lose sight of our progress as a people or the strength of our leadership in the world.

Think about it — six years after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression — in some ways, the crisis had the potential of being worse than the Great Depression — thanks to the decisions we made to rescue our economy, thanks to the determination of the American people, we are stronger at home.  Over the past 53 months, our businesses have added nearly 10 million new jobs — the longest streak of private sector job creation in American history.  Construction and housing are rebounding.  Our auto industry and manufacturing are booming.  Our high school graduation rate is at a record high.  More young people are earning their college degrees than ever before.  Millions more Americans now have quality, affordable health care.  We’ve cut the deficit by more than half.  And now we have to sustain this momentum so more people share in this progress, so our economy works for every working American.

And just as we’re stronger at home, the United States is better positioned to lead in the 21st century than any nation on Earth.  It’s not even close.  We have the most powerful military in history — that’s certainly not close.  From Europe to Asia, our alliances are unrivaled.  Our economy is the most dynamic.  We’ve got the best workers.  We’ve got the best businesses.  We have the best universities and the best scientists.  With our domestic energy revolution, including more renewable energy, we’re more energy independent.  Our technologies connect the world.  Our freedoms and opportunities attract immigrants who “yearn to breathe free.”  Our founding ideals inspire the oppressed across the globe to reach for their own liberty.  That’s who we are.  That’s what America is.

And moreover, nobody else can do what we do.  No other nation does more to underwrite the security and prosperity on which the world depends.  In times of crisis, no other nation can rally such broad coalitions to stand up for international norms and peace.  In times of disaster, no other nation has the capabilities to deliver so much so quickly.  No nation does more to help citizens claim their rights and build their democracies.  No nation does more to help people in the far corners of the Earth escape poverty and hunger and disease, and realize their dignity.  Even countries that criticize us, when the chips are down and they need help, they know who to call — they call us.  That’s what American leadership looks like.  That’s why the United States is and will remain the one indispensable nation in the world.

Now, sustaining our leadership, keeping America strong and secure, means we have to use our power wisely.  History teaches us of the dangers of overreaching, and spreading ourselves too thin, and trying to go it alone without international support, or rushing into military adventures without thinking through the consequences.  And nobody knows this better than our veterans and our families — our veteran families, because you’re the ones who bear the wages of war.  You’re the ones who carry the scars.  You know that we should never send America’s sons and daughters into harm’s way unless it is absolutely necessary and we have a plan, and we are resourcing it and prepared to see it through.  (Applause.)  You know the United States has to lead with strength and confidence and wisdom.

And that’s why, after incredible sacrifice by so many of our men and women in uniform, we removed more than 140,000 troops from Iraq and welcomed those troops home.  It was the right thing to do.  It’s why we refocused our efforts in Afghanistan and went after al Qaeda’s leadership in the tribal regions in Afghanistan and Pakistan, driving the Taliban out of its strongholds, and training Afghan forces, which are now in the lead for their own security.  In just four months, we will complete our combat mission in Afghanistan and America’s longest war will come to a responsible end.  And we honor every American who served to make this progress possible — (applause) — every single one, especially the more than 2,200 American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan to keep us safe.

And now, as Afghans continue to work towards the first democratic transfer of power in their history, Afghan leaders need to make the hard compromises that are necessary to give the Afghan people a future of security and progress.  And as we go forward, we’ll continue to partner with Afghans so their country can never again be used to launch attacks against the United States.  (Applause.)

Now, as I’ve always made clear, the blows we’ve struck against al Qaeda’s leadership don’t mean the end to the terrorist threat.  Al Qaeda affiliates still target our homeland — we’ve seen that in Yemen.  Other extremists threaten our citizens abroad, as we’ve seen most recently in Iraq and Syria.  As Commander-in-Chief, the security of the American people is my highest priority, and that’s why, with the brutal terrorist group ISIL advancing in Iraq, I have authorized targeted strikes to protect our diplomats and military advisors who are there.  (Applause.)

And let me say it again:  American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq.  I will not allow the United States to be dragged back into another ground war in Iraq.  Because ultimately, it is up to the Iraqis to bridge their differences and secure themselves.  (Applause.)  The limited strikes we’re conducting have been necessary to protect our people, and have helped Iraqi forces begin to push back these terrorists.  We’ve also been able to rescue thousands of men and women and children who were trapped on a mountain.  And our airdrops of food and water and medicine show American leadership at our best.  And we salute the brave pilots and crews who are making us proud in the skies of Iraq every single day.  (Applause.)

And more broadly, the crisis in Iraq underscores how we have to meet today’s evolving terrorist threat.  The answer is not to send in large-scale military deployments that overstretch our military, and lead for us occupying countries for a long period of time, and end up feeding extremism.  Rather, our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader strategy to protect our people and support our partners to take the fight to ISIL.

So we’re strengthening our partners — more military assistance to government and Kurdish forces in Iraq and moderate opposition in Syria.  We’re urging Iraqis to forge the kind of inclusive government that can deliver on national unity, and strong security forces and good governance that are ultimately going to be the antidote against terrorists.  And we’re urging countries in the region and building an international coalition, including our closest allies, to support Iraqis as they take the fight to these barbaric terrorists.

Today, our prayers are with the Foley family in New Hampshire as they continue to grieve the brutal murder of their son and brother Jim.  But our message to anyone who harms our people is simple:  America does not forget.  Our reach is long.  We are patient.  Justice will be done.  We have proved time and time again we will do what’s necessary to capture those who harm Americans — (applause) — to go after those who harm Americans.  (Applause.)

And we’ll continue to take direct action where needed to protect our people and to defend our homeland.  And rooting out a cancer like ISIL won’t be easy and it won’t be quick.  But tyrants and murderers before them should recognize that kind of hateful vision ultimately is no match for the strength and hopes of people who stand together for the security and dignity and freedom that is the birthright of every human being.

So even as our war in Afghanistan comes to an end, we will stay vigilant.  We will continue to make sure that our military has what it needs.  And as today’s generation of servicemembers keeps us safe, and as they come home, we also have to meet our responsibilities to them, just as they meet their responsibilities to America.  (Applause.)

When I was here at the Legion three years ago, I said that the bond between our forces and our citizens has to be a sacred trust, and that for me, for my administration, upholding our trust with our veterans is not just a matter of policy, it is a moral obligation.

And working together, we have made real progress.  Think about it.  Working with the Legion and other veterans service organizations, we’ve been able to accomplish historic increases to veterans funding.  We’ve protected veterans health care from Washington politics with advanced appropriations.  We’ve been able to make VA benefits available to more than 2 million veterans who didn’t have them before, including more Vietnam vets who were exposed to Agent Orange.  (Applause.)  We’ve dedicated major new resources for mental health care.  We’ve helped more than 1 million veterans and their families pursue their education under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

And moreover, as the Legion and other veterans groups have said, once veterans get in the door the care you receive from the VA is often very good.  The specialized care is among the best in the world.  And many of the hardworking folks at the VA are veterans themselves — veterans serving veterans.  And we can never thank them enough for their good work.

But what we’ve come to learn is that the misconduct we’ve seen at too many facilities — with long wait times, and veterans denied care, and folks cooking the books — is outrageous and inexcusable.  (Applause.)

As soon as it was disclosed, I got before the American people and I said we would not tolerate it.  And we will not.  And I know the Legion has been on the frontlines, fanning out across the country, helping veterans who’ve been affected.  And I know Bob is going to give you an update on the actions that we’re taking.  But what I want you to know, directly from me, is that we’re focused on this at the highest levels.  We are going to get to the bottom of these problems.  We’re going to fix what is wrong.  We’re going to do right by you, and we are going to do right by your families.  And that is a solemn pledge and commitment that I’m making to you here.  (Applause.)

Already we’re making sure that those responsible for manipulating or falsifying records are held accountable.  We’re reaching out to veterans — more than a quarter million so far  — to get them off wait lists and into clinics.  We’re moving ahead with reforms at the Veterans Health Administration.  And to help get that done, you supported, and Congress passed, and I signed into law the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, which means more resources to help the VA hire more doctors and nurses and staff.  It means if you live more than 40 miles from a VA facility, or your VA doctors can’t see you fast enough, we’ll help you go to a doctor outside the VA.

And we’re instituting a new culture of accountability.  Bob doesn’t play.  Bob likes to recall a cadet prayer from West Point, which should be the ethos of all of us:  “Choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”  And with the new legislation that I signed into law, Bob and the VA now have the authority to more quickly remove senior executives who don’t meet our high standards.  If you engage in unethical practices, or cover up a serious problem, you should be and will be fired.  (Applause.)

And by the way, if you blow the whistle on higher-ups because you’ve identified a legitimate problem, you shouldn’t be punished, you should be protected.  (Applause.)

So my bottom line is this:  Despite all the good work that the VA does every day, despite all the progress that we’ve made over the last several years, we are very clear-eyed about the problems that are still there.  And those problems require us to regain the trust of our veterans, and live up to our vision of a VA that is more effective and more efficient and that truly puts veterans first.  And I will not be satisfied until that happens.  (Applause.)

And we’re in the midst of a new wave of veterans — more than a million servicemembers returning to civilian life.  So we have to do more to uphold that sacred trust not just this year or next year, but for decades to come.  We’re going to have to stay focused on the five priorities that I outlined last year.  And I just want to reiterate them for you just so you know what it is that we’re committing to.

Number one, we need to make sure our veterans have the resources you deserve.  And the new funding we just helped — we just passed with the help of Senators Burr and Kay, that helps.  But as you know, it’s not enough.  Even in these tough fiscal times, I’ve, therefore, proposed another increase in veterans funding for next year.  And I’ll continue to resist any effort to exploit the recent problems at the VA to turn veterans health care into a voucher system.  We don’t need vouchers.  You need VA health care that you have earned and that you can depend on.  (Applause.)  We need to make the system work.

Second, we need to make sure veterans are actually getting the health care you need when you need it.  Reforming the VHA and more doctors and staff is a good step.  But with this new wave of veterans, we’ve got to deliver the care our newest veterans need most.  And that includes tailored care that treats our women veterans with respect and dignity.  (Applause.)  It means doing even more to help veterans from all wars who are struggling with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress.  And we have to end this tragedy of suicide among our troops and veterans.  (Applause.)  As a country, we can’t stand idly by on such tragedy.

So we’re doing even more — more than ever — more awareness, more outreach, more access to mental health care.  So long as any servicemember or veteran is suffering, or feels like they have nowhere to turn, or doesn’t get the support that they need, that means we haven’t done enough.  And we all know we need to do more.  Veterans called for it.  We heard you — which is why today I’m announcing 19 new executive actions to help improve mental health care for those American heroes and their families.  (Applause.)

So just one example:  We’re expanding suicide prevention training across the military and the VA, so colleagues and clinicians can spot the warning signs and encourage our troops and veterans to seek help.  We’ll improve access to care, with more peer support — veterans counseling veterans — at VA hospitals and clinics.  We’re calling on Congress to help us ensure that our troops get coverage for mental health care that’s on par with the coverage for other medical conditions.  And we’re going to make it easier for servicemembers being treated for mental health conditions to continue their care as they transition to the VA, so automatically connecting them with the support they need, making sure they don’t lose access to any medications they may be taking.

And maybe most of all, we’re going to keep saying loud and clear to anyone out there who’s hurting, it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help; it is a sign of strength.  Talk to a friend.  Pick up the phone.  You are not alone.  We are here for you.  And every American needs to know if you see someone in uniform or a veteran who is struggling, reach out and help them to get help.  They were there for America.  We now need to be there for them.  (Applause.)

Our third priority:  We have to keep attacking the disability claims backlog.  Now, the good news is, since its peak last year, we’ve worked with you to slash the backlog by more than 50 percent.  There had been a surge in the backlog in part because of an influx of new veterans; in part because we opened it up for folks who had PTSD, folks with Agent Orange symptoms.  And now we’ve had to work that backlog back down.  The trend lines are good.  But we don’t just want those claims processed fast; we need to make sure they get processed right.

So we’re going to keep at this until we end this backlog once and for all.  And as we do, we’re going to keep working to liberate you from those mountains of paper.  We’ve got to move towards a paperless system — electronic health records that our troops and veterans can keep for life, and that could cut down on some of the bureaucratic red tape so that you’re getting the benefits that you’ve earned a little bit faster.  (Applause.)

Number four:  We need to uphold the dignity and rights of every veteran, and that includes ending the tragedy of homelessness among veterans.  (Applause.)  Again, we’ve got good news to report.  Today, I can announce that, working together over the last few years, we have been able to reduce the number of homeless veterans by one-third.  (Applause.)  And that means on any given night, there are 25,000 fewer veterans on the streets or in shelters.  But we’re not going to stop until every veteran who has defended America has a home in America.  That’s a basic commitment that we have to uphold.  (Applause.)

And finally, we need to make sure our troops and veterans have every opportunity to pursue the American Dream.  That includes a home of their own.  You know, under the law, our servicemembers are entitled to reduced mortgage rates, but the burden is on them to ask for it and prove they’re eligible, which means a lot of folks don’t get the low rates they deserve.

So, today, we’re turning that around.  We’re announcing a new partnership in which some of America’s biggest banks and financial institutions will simplify the process, proactively notify servicemembers who qualify for lower rates and make it easier to enroll.  In other words, we’re going to help more of our troops and military families own their own home without a crushing debt.  (Applause.)

We’re also going to keep helping our troops transition to civilian life.  Because of the work we’ve done together, if you already have a military truck driver’s license, every state now waives the skills test so it’s easier for you to get a commercial driver’s license.  (Applause.)  And we’re going to keep pushing more states to recognize the incredible skills and training of our veterans.  If you could do a job in a warzone, if you’re a medic in a warzone, you shouldn’t have to go take nursing 101 to work in a hospital here in the United States.  (Applause.)  If you can handle million-dollar pieces of equipment in a warzone, that should count for something in getting certified back here at home.  If you can do the kinds of jobs so many of you have done in the most extreme circumstances, I’m pretty confident you can do that job right here at home.  (Applause.)

To help our troops and veterans pursue their education, we worked with loan servicers to automatically cap interest rates on student loans to our servicemembers at 6 percent.  For veterans going back to school under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, we’ll keep standing up against dishonest recruiting and predatory practices that target and prey on you and your families.  So far, about 6,000 colleges and universities have pledged to adhere to our principles of excellence, promising to do right by our veterans.  And more than a thousand colleges and universities have adopted our “8 Keys” to make sure that they’re truly welcoming veterans and helping them succeed on campus.  And by the way, every school in America should join them.  You should be proud if you’re educating a veteran, and you should be doing right by them.  (Applause.)

And we’re going to keep helping our veterans find those private sector jobs worthy of your incredible talents.  Our new online Veterans Employment Center is a single one-stop shop connecting veterans and their spouses to more than 1.5 million jobs that are open right now.  And we’re joining with states and local leaders to identify nearly two dozen cities and regions with the most opportunities for veterans.  And with Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden leading the call, America’s businesses are joining forces to hire or train veterans and spouses — more than half a million so far, and growing.

So veterans’ unemployment is going down, and it’s now actually lower than the national average.  It was higher to begin with, and we have been driving it down.  But we’ve got more to go, especially for our post-9/11 veterans.  So we’re going to keep saying to every business in America, if you want somebody who knows how to get the job done, no matter the mission, hire a veteran.  Hire a vet.  (Applause.)

So fixing what’s broken at the VA; ensuring the resources you deserve; delivering the health care that you’ve earned; eliminating the backlog; standing up for your rights and dignity; helping you realize the American Dream that you so honorably defended — these are our commitments to you.  This is what we’re focused on.  This is what we can do together — especially as our war in Afghanistan comes to an end and we welcome home our newest veterans.

There are a lot of them here tonight.  We salute Captain Scott Miller of Indiana, a proud Hoosier and a proud Marine.  In Afghanistan, he went out on dangerous patrols, traveling to remote villages, meeting with tribal elders, building trust, forging partnerships to push back insurgents.  And here at the Legion, he continues to serve by encouraging businesses across America to give back to the veterans who defended our way of life and make our prosperity possible.  So thank you, Scott.  Where is Scott here today?  (Applause.)  We are proud of him.  There here is.

We salute Master Sergeant Carol Barker of Greensboro, North Carolina.  As a first sergeant of her medevac unit, she was responsible for more than a hundred troops, helped save the lives of our wounded warriors in those critical first hours when life so often hung in the balance.  And here at the Legion, she continues to serve, helping homeless veterans come in off the streets, and begin their lives anew with a roof over their heads.  Thank you, Carol.  Where’s Carol?  (Applause.)

We salute Sergeant Joe Grassi, who grew up just outside New York City.  After his hometown was attacked on 9/11, he left his civilian job, he joined the Army.  A squad leader in Afghanistan, he spent most of his time on the flight line, in the 120-degree heat, supplying our helicopter crews.  And here at the Legion, he continues to serve, helping veterans complete their disability claims, and raising his voice in Washington for a strong national defense, because, he says, “Some things are worth fighting for.  America is worth fighting for.”  Thank you, Joe.  We’re proud of you.  Thank you, sir.  (Applause.)

Scott, Carol, Joe — they’re among the patriots here today who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.  And I would ask all our Post-9/11 Generation veterans to stand if you are able and accept the thanks of a grateful nation.  I ask these men and women to stand because the American people have to know that even as our war in Afghanistan comes to an end, our obligation to this generation of veterans has only just begun.  And this cannot just be the work of government and veterans groups alone.  I want every American to take this commitment seriously.  Please stand, Post-9/11 Generation, all of you who’ve served in Afghanistan and Iraq.  We’re grateful for you.  (Applause.)

This is not just a job of government.  It’s not just a job of the veterans’ organizations.  Every American needs to join us in taking care of those who’ve taken care of us.  Because only 1 percent of Americans may be fighting our wars, but 100 percent of Americans benefit from that 1 percent.  A hundred percent need to be supporting our troops.  A hundred percent need to be supporting our veterans.  A hundred percent need to be supporting our military families.  (Applause.)

And everybody can do something.  Every American.  Every business.  Every profession.  Every school.  Every community.  Every state.  All of us, as one American team.  That’s how we will truly honor our veterans.  That’s how we will truly say thank you.  That’s how we will uphold the sacred trust with all who’ve served in our name.

God bless you.  God bless our veterans.  God bless the United States of America.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
12:41 P.M. EDT

Political Musings August 22, 2014: Holder’s visit to Ferguson calms community after Michael Brown shooting, unrest

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Holder’s visit to Ferguson calms community after Michael Brown shooting, unrest

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Attorney General Eric Holder was the first member of President Barack Obama’s administration to visit Ferguson, Missouri since unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown’s shooting death by a white police officer, Darren Wilson on Aug. 9…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency August 20, 2014: Attorney General Eric Holder’s Remarks in Ferguson, Missouri about Michael Brown Shooting and Unrest — Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Excerpts of Attorney General Eric Holder’s Remarks at a Community College

Souce: DOJ, 8-20-14

Florissant Valley Community College ~ Wednesday, August 20, 2014

“The eyes of the nation and the world are watching Ferguson right now. The world is watching because the issues raised by the shooting of Michael Brown predate this incident. This is something that has a history to it and the history simmers beneath the surface in more communities than just Ferguson.

“We have seen a great deal of progress over the years. But we also see problems and these problems stem from mistrust and mutual suspicion.

“I just had the opportunity to sit down with some wonderful young people and to hear them talk about the mistrust they have at a young age. These are young people and already they are concerned about potential interactions they might have with the police.

“I understand that mistrust. I am the Attorney General of the United States. But I am also a black man. I can remember being stopped on the New Jersey turnpike on two occasions and accused of speeding. Pulled over…“Let me search your car”…Go through the trunk of my car, look under the seats and all this kind of stuff. I remember how humiliating that was and how angry I was and the impact it had on me.

“I think about my time in Georgetown – a nice neighborhood of Washington – and I am running to a picture movie at about 8 o’clock at night. I am running with my cousin. Police car comes driving up, flashes his lights, yells “Where you going? Hold it!” I say “Woah, I’m going to a movie.” Now my cousin started mouthing off. I’m like, “This is not where we want to go. Keep quiet.” I’m angry and upset. We negotiate the whole thing and we walk to our movie. At the time that he stopped me, I was a federal prosecutor. I wasn’t a kid. I was a federal prosecutor. I worked at the United States Department of Justice. So I’ve confronted this myself.”

“We are starting here a good dialogue. But the reality is the dialogue is not enough. We need concrete action to change things in this country. That’s what I have been trying to do. That’s what the President has been trying to do. We have a very active Civil Rights Division. I am proud of what these men and women have done. As they write about the legacy of the Obama administration, a lot of it is going to be about what the Civil Rights Division has done.

“So this interaction must occur. This dialogue is important. But it can’t simply be that we have a conversation that begins based on what happens on August 9, and ends sometime in December, and nothing happens. As I was just telling these young people, change is possible. The same kid who got stopped on the New Jersey freeway is now the Attorney General of the United States. This country is capable of change. But change doesn’t happen by itself.

“So let’s start here. Let’s do the work today.”

Political Musings August 12, 2014: Clinton attacks Obama on Syria in Atlantic then will hug it out in the Vineyard

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Clinton attacks Obama on Syria in Atlantic then will hug it out in the Vineyard

By Bonnie K. Goodman

In what promises to be an odd get together Hillary Clinton and Former President Bill Clinton will attend the same party on Wednesday, Aug. 14 as President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in Martha’s Vineyard only…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency August 7, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at the Signing of the VA Bill, the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at the Signing of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act

Source:  WH, 8-7-14

Wallace Theater
Ft. Belvoir, Virginia

12:05 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Fort Belvoir!  (Applause.)  Everybody, have a seat.  I think I’m going to take Sergeant Major McGruder on the road.  (Laughter.)  I’m just going to have him introduce me wherever I go.  (Laughter.)  He got me excited, and I’m being — I get introduced all the time.  So thank you, James, for your incredible service to our country.  Give James a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

I also want to say a big thanks to America’s new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Bob McDonald, who is here.  Stand up, Bob.  (Applause.)  As some of you may know, Bob headed up one of the biggest, most successful companies in the world.  But he also was a West Point grad, also a Ranger who served valiantly on behalf of his country.  And this a labor of love for him, and he has hit the ground running.  He’s heading out to VA hospitals and clinics around the country, starting with Phoenix tomorrow.  So thank you, Bob, for accepting this charge and this challenge, and making sure that we’re doing right by our veterans.  I know you’re going to do a great job.  Really proud of him.  (Applause.)

I want to thank all the members of Congress who are here today, and I especially want to thank those who led the fight to give Bob and the VA more of the resources and flexibility that they need to make sure every veteran has access to the care and benefits that they have earned.  Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Richard Burr, Representative Mike Michaud, Representative Jeff Miller — give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  That’s for the good work.  (Applause.)

And we are all grateful to our outstanding veterans service organizations for all the work that they do on behalf of our veterans and their families.  So thank you very much to all the veterans service organizations.  Most of all, I want to thank General Buchanan and Sergeant Major Turnbull, and all of you who serve here at Fort Belvoir.

For nearly a century, this base has helped keep America strong and secure.  Seventy years ago, troops from here –- the 29th Infantry Division, the Blue and Gray -– were some of the first to storm Omaha Beach.  And in recent years, many of you have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.  And you’ve risked your lives on multiple tours to defend our nation.  And as a country, we have a sacred obligation to serve you as well as you’ve served us -– an obligation that doesn’t end with your tour of duty.

Every day, hundreds of thousands of dedicated public servants at the VA help us honor that commitment.  At VA hospitals across America, you’ve got doctors and nurses who are delivering world-class care to America’s veterans.  You’ve got millions of veterans and their families who are profoundly grateful for the good work that is done at the VA.  And as Commander-in-Chief, I’m grateful, too.

But over the last few months, we’ve discovered some inexcusable misconduct at some VA health care facilities — stories of our veterans denied the care they needed, long wait times being covered up, cooking the books.  This is wrong.  It was outrageous.  And working together, we set out to fix it and do right by our veterans across the board, no matter how long it took.

And we’ve already taken the first steps to change the way the VA does business.  We’ve held people accountable for misconduct.  Some have already been relieved of their duties, and investigations are ongoing.  We’ve reached out to more than 215,000 veterans so far to make sure that we’re getting them off wait lists and into clinics both inside and outside the VA system.

We’re moving ahead with urgent reforms, including stronger management and leadership and oversight.  And we’re instituting a critical culture of accountability — rebuilding our leadership team, starting at the top with Secretary McDonald.  And one of his first acts is that he’s directed all VA health care facilities to hold town halls to hear directly from the veterans that they serve to make sure that we’re hearing honest assessments about what’s going on.

Now, in a few minutes, we’ll take another step forward when I sign into law the VA reform bill that was passed overwhelmingly, with bipartisan majorities — and that doesn’t happen often in Congress.  It’s a good deal.  (Laughter and applause.)

This bill covers a lot of ground — from expanding survivor benefits and educational opportunities, to improving care for veterans struggling with traumatic brain injury and for victims of sexual assault.  But today, I want to focus on the ways this bill will help us ensure that veterans have access to the care that they’ve earned.

First of all, this will give the VA more of the resources that it needs.  It will help the VA hire more doctors and more nurses and staff more clinics.  As a new generation of veterans returns home from war and transitions into civilian life, we have to make sure the VA system can keep pace with that new demand.  Keep in mind that I have increased funding for the VA since I came into office by extraordinary amounts.  But we also have extraordinary numbers of veterans coming home.  And so the demand, even though we’ve increased the VA budget, is still higher than the resources that we’ve got.  This bill helps to address that.

Second, for veterans who can’t get timely care through the VA, this bill will help them get the care they need someplace else.  And this is particularly important for veterans who are in more remote areas, in rural areas.  If you live more than 40 miles from a VA facility, or if VA doctors can’t see you within a reasonable amount of time, you’ll have the chance to see a doctor outside the VA system.

Now finally, we’re giving the VA Secretary more authority to hold people accountable.  We’ve got to give Bob the authority so that he can move quickly to remove senior executives who fail to meet the standards of conduct and competence that the American people demand.  If you engage in an unethical practice, if you cover up a serious problem, you should be fired.  Period.  It shouldn’t be that difficult.  (Applause.)  And if you blow the whistle on an unethical practice, or bring a problem to the attention of higher-ups, you should be thanked.  You should be protected for doing the right thing.  (Applause.)  You shouldn’t be ignored, and you certainly shouldn’t be punished.

“To care for him [or her] who shall have borne the battle.”  That’s the heart of the VA’s motto.  That’s what the bill I’m about to sign will help us achieve.  But I want to be clear about something:  This will not and cannot be the end of our effort.  Implementing this law will take time.  It’s going to require focus on the part of all of us.  And even as we focus on the urgent reforms we need at the VA right now, particularly around wait lists and the health care system, we can’t lose sight of our long-term goals for our servicemembers and our veterans.

The good news is, we’ve cut the disability claims backlog by more than half.  But let’s now eliminate the backlog.  Let’s get rid of it.  (Applause.)  The good news is, we’ve poured major resources into improving mental health care.  But now, let’s make sure our veterans actually get the care they need when they need it.  The good news is, we’ve helped to get thousands of homeless veterans off the street, made an unprecedented effort to end veterans’ homelessness.  We should have zero tolerance for that.  But we’ve got to — still more work to do in cities and towns across America to get more veterans into the homes they deserve.

We’ve helped more than a million veterans and their spouses and children go to college through the post-9/11 GI bill.  (Applause.)  But now, we’ve got to help even more of them earn their educations, and make sure that they’re getting a good bargain in the schools they enroll in.

We’ve rallied companies to hire hundreds of thousands of veterans and their spouses.  That’s the good news.  With the help of Jill Biden and Michelle Obama — two pretty capable women.  (Laughter.)  They know what they’re doing, and nobody says no to them, including me.  (Laughter.)  But now, we’ve got to help more of our highly skilled veterans find careers in this new economy.

So America has to do right by all who serve under our proud flag.  And Congress needs to do more, also.  I urge the Senate, once again, to finally confirm my nominee for Assistant Secretary for Policy at the VA, Linda Schwartz; my nominee to lead the Board of Veterans Appeals, Constance Tobias; my nominee for CFO, Helen Tierney.  Each of them have been waiting for months for a yes-or-no vote — in Constance’s case for more than a year.

They’re ready to serve.  They’re ready to get to work.  It’s not that hard.  It didn’t used to be this hard to just go ahead and get somebody confirmed who is well qualified.  Nobody says they’re not.  It’s just the Senate doesn’t seem to move very fast.  As soon as the Senate gets back in September, they should act to put these outstanding public servants in place.  Our veterans don’t have time for politics.  They need these public servants on the job right now.  (Applause.)

So let me wrap up by saying two months ago, I had the chance to spend some time with some of America’s oldest veterans at Omaha Beach.  Some of you may have seen on television the celebration, the commemoration of those incredible days, the 70th anniversary of D-Day.  And this is my second visit to democracy’s beachhead.  It’s the second time I’ve gone as President.  And it’s a place where it’s impossible not to be moved by the courage and the sacrifice of free men and women who volunteer to lay down their lives for people they’ve never met, ideals that they can’t live without.  That’s why they’re willing to do these things.

And some of these folks that you met, they were 18 at the time.  Some of them were lying about their age.  They were 16, landing either at the beach or sometimes behind the lines.  The casualty rates were unbelievable.  Being there brought back memories of my own grandfather, who marched in Patton’s Army, and then came home.  And like so many veterans of his generation, they went to school and got married and raised families.  And he eventually helped to raise me.

And on that visit to Normandy, I brought some of today’s servicemembers with me because I wanted to introduce them to the veterans of D-Day and to show the veterans of D-Day that their legacy is in good hands, that there’s a direct line between the sacrifices then and the sacrifices that folks have made in remote places today.  Because in more than a decade of war, today’s men and women in uniform — all of you — you’ve met every mission we’ve asked of you.

Today, our troops continue to serve and risk their lives in Afghanistan.  It continues to be a difficult and dangerous mission, as we were tragically reminded again this week in the attack that injured a number of our coalition troops and took the life of a dedicated American soldier, Major General Harold Greene.  Our prayers are with the Greene family, as they are with all the Gold Star families and those who have sacrificed so much for our nation.

Four months from now, our combat mission in Afghanistan will be complete.  Our longest war will come to an honorable end.  In the years to come, many from this generation will step out of uniform, and their legacy will be secure.  But whether or not this country properly repays their heroism, properly repays their patriotism, their service and their sacrifice, that’s in our hands.

I’m committed to seeing that we fulfill that commitment.  Because the men and women of this generation, this 9/11 Generation of servicemembers, are the leaders we need for our time — as community leaders and business leaders, I hope maybe some leaders in our politics, as well.

From the Greatest Generation to the 9/11 Generation, America’s heroes have answered the call to serve.  I have no greater honor than serving as your President and Commander-in-Chief.  And I have no greater privilege than the chance to help make sure that our country keeps the promises that we’ve made to everybody who signs up to serve.  And as long as I hold this office, we’re going to spend each and every day working to do right by you and your families.  I’m grateful to you.

God bless you.  God bless America.  With that, I am going to sign this bill.  Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)

(The bill is signed.)  (Applause.)

END
12:18 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency July 31, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Remarks Welcoming New Secretary Julian Castro to HUD

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at HUD

Source: WH, 7-31-14

Department of Housing and Urban Development
Washington, D.C.

3:50 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Now, let me start off by making two points.  The first is, clearly, HUD has the rowdiest employees.  (Applause.)  I now realize that.  The second point is that before I came out here, Shaun Donovan made a point of saying that this wasn’t as exciting to people as Michelle coming.  (Laughter.)  Now, I know that.  (Laughter.)  I hear that everywhere I go.  (Laughter.)  There’s no reason to remind me, to rub it in.  (Laughter.)  That’s why I married her.  (Laughter and applause.)  To improve the gene pool.

I am here today because I stole one terrific Secretary of HUD from you, but I’ve delivered another terrific Secretary of HUD to you.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank all of you for the great job that you’re doing day in and day out.  And we appreciate the members of Congress who are here — although I have to say that Joaquin never had a choice.  (Laughter.)  The other two, obviously they care.  (Laughter.)  The brother, he’s like, okay, I’ve got to show up.  (Laughter.)  But I appreciate them being here.

Let me just say a few words about Shaun.  From his first day when he got here, Shaun knew he had his work cut out for him.  You will recall that the housing market was the epicenter of the crisis that went through in 2008-2009.  There were millions of families whose homes were underwater.  Hundreds of thousands of construction workers were out of a job.  Too many veterans lived out on the street.

But we were very fortunate because Shaun is just one of those people where he sees a problem he’s going to work to solve it.  And if what he tries the first time doesn’t work he’s going to try something else.  And he’s a geek, he’s a wonk.  (Laughter.)  He studies the spreadsheets.  He recruited top talent.  He promised that if everyone here at HUD worked just a little bit harder, you could really turn things around for struggling families.  And all of you accepted that challenge.

We’ve still got work to do, but think about the progress that we’ve made.  Home prices, home sales, construction all up.  Veterans homelessness down by nearly 25 percent.  (Applause.)    Millions of families are now seeing their home values above water, which obviously is a huge relief for them.  When natural disasters strike, like the Colorado floods or Hurricane Sandy, you are right in there helping the families rebuild.

And a lot of that is thanks to Shaun; a lot of it is thanks to the fact that all of you under his leadership took up the challenge, and you remembered what it is that this agency is about.

I love the way that your new Secretary characterized it.  This is — this should be a department of opportunity.  And housing, for so many people, is symbolic of the American Dream.  It means that you’ve got something stable, something you can count on, something that you own.  And to watch the transformation that has happened around the country, first and foremost because of the resiliency of the American people and their hard work, but also because that every step of the way you were in there trying to help them — that really makes a difference.

So I could not be prouder of the work that Shaun did.  But I can tell you that nobody is more passionate about these issues than Julián.  He knows the difference between smart policy and investments that can make a difference and just talk.  And he’s all about action, not just talk.

He’s seen it firsthand in how he grew up.  He’s seen it firsthand, as a mayor.  He revitalized parts of San Antonio that had been neglected for a long time.  He helped the Eastside Promise Zone take root and to grow.  He championed the kind of investments that keep communities strong over the long term — like economic development and expanded early childhood education. And most of all, he knows how to lead a team.  And this is a big team and you guys have gotten some big things done.  But we’ve got a lot more to do.  Even bigger things need to get done.

So in talking to Julián and initially trying to persuade him to take this task, what I saw was that spirt of hard work that’s reflected in how he was brought up and the values that were instilled in him.  And he, every single day, wants to make sure that those values live out in the work that he does.

And I know everybody in this room, you’ve got a story to tell, too, about somebody who, along the way, gave you some opportunity; about somebody who — maybe you were, like me, raised by a single mom and — like that first apartment that really — had your own bedroom and it was clean.  (Laughter.)  And it was in a decent neighborhood and there was a decent school district.  And how happy everybody was, and the transformation that could take place in people’s lives.  That’s a story I want you to tap into every day that you come to work.

Sometimes work in Washington can be discouraging.  Sometimes it seems as if the agenda that you’re trying to pursue helping working families and middle-class families — sometimes it seems that’s not the priorities up on Capitol Hill.  But if you remember why you got into this work in the first place, if you remember that this is not just a job but it should also be a passion — (applause) — that it should also be part of giving back, that you shouldn’t just be checking in and punching the clock, but every single day there’s somebody out there who could use your help — and I know when they get that help — and they write letters to me and they’ll tell me, you know what, you transformed my life — there’s no better feeling on Earth than that feeling that you somehow played a small part in a family succeeding.  (Applause.)

And that success then last generations, because some child or grandchild suddenly is feeling better and they start doing better in school, and maybe they avoided getting into trouble and ending up in the criminal justice system, or dropping out of school and not being able to find a job — all because of what you did.  What an incredible privilege that is.  What an incredible honor.

And that’s the attitude I want you to have every single day that you’re here.  I tell folks, I’ve now been President for more than five and a half years, and I’ve got two and a half years left, and I want to squeeze every single day — I want to squeeze as much out of every single day.  (Applause.)  This is not just a job, this is a privilege that we have.  And we’ve got to do — we’ve got to take advantage of it.  We’ve got to seize it.  Because that’s what makes it worthwhile.

It’s something that when I travel around the country I try to describe because people are so inundated with cynicism and bad news, and I want to tell them a story of good news.  There are people in agencies like HUD, every single day they care about you, and they want to help you.  And big organizations are never going to be perfect, and there are always going to be some bureaucracies, there’s always going to be some red tape, there’s always going to be some things that don’t work quite as smoothly as we want.  And your job is to fix that stuff, or work around that stuff.

And I want everybody here to — when you’re working with this new Secretary, who’s got energy and drive, he’s young, he’s good-looking, he talks good — (applause) — you can’t let him down.  (Laughter.)  You’ve got to be open to try new things and doing things in a different way, and doing them better.  But more importantly, you can’t let those families out there down, because they’re counting on you.

So I’m eager to work with him, but more importantly, I’m eager to work with you.  And every single day when you come to work, I just want you to know that I can’t do my job unless you’re doing your job.  Julian can’t do his job unless you’re doing your job.  And whether you are managing a financing program to build low-income or affordable housing, or you are helping with some of our initiatives like Promise Zones, or you are coordinating with regional offices — whatever your task, whether you are upper management or you’re the new kid on the block who’s coming in, you can really have an impact that lasts for generations.

Don’t squander that.  Don’t succumb to the cynicism.  Don’t start thinking that this is just a job.  Remember the mission that you’ve got.  And if you do that, I guarantee you, under Julian’s leadership, years from now you’re going to be able to look back and really be proud of everything that you’ve accomplished, because there are going to be a whole lot of people’s lives who are a lot better.

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

END
3:57 P.M. EDT

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