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tv   U.S. Ambassador to Russia Nominee Jon Huntsman Testifies on Capitol H Ill  CSPAN  September 20, 2017 1:39am-2:47am EDT

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[inaudible [inaudible conversations] the committee will come to order. we have an unusual proceduretoda today. as usual, we will defer to the outstanding senators who are here to introduce the others and we thank them for being here. it is an honor to have you in the committee that we will let them go first so they can go on to their other business and we will then convene the business meeting for just a moment andur hopefully pass the nominees and pass some bills out and then we will resume with the greathear testimony from the nominees. with that again, we welcome youu
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if i can remember the seniority order we thank you for being back here with another and i don't know whether senator lee or senator manchin came next. thank you for being willing to come and make good comments thank you. >> thanks for holding this hearing and i am here primarily to introduce wes mitchell but i have to comment on the great willingness of jon huntsman to o serve the country once againsm this time in another peaceful setting in moscow at this time. the nominating to serve as the secretarsecretary of affairs itn honor to introduce him.
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he was born in lubbock texas and is a sixth generation texan and i'm confident he will bring his texas can-do attitude to the state department and just went here by his wife elizabeth and their two children as well as other relatives. outside of being a texan, he's made a name for himself as the founder fo for the center for european policy analysis which he created with larry hersh for the purpose of strengthening the economic and military ties between the united states and europe. this nomination couldn't come at a more critical time. russia as we know is using both military and his hyper capabilities to intimidate and pressure western nations while terrorist groups infiltrate the people. as we sit here today, russia is conducting its largest militaryy exercise in years. also troubling is the news that russia sold sophisticated weaponry to turkey to try to
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drive a wedge in our nato alliance. through his work, he's advocated a strong u.s. position to include u.s. leadership andlude participation. along with ambassador nikki haley, this will bring a background in leadership for the region threatened by conventional and nonconventional forces. i had the chance to visit with some of our colleagues and met with their leaders whoho unanimously expressed their growing concern over the russian influence and the destabilizing effects of the refugee crisis in europe. they looked to the west for security and trade and i can't think of a better place for them to luck. he's created one of the largest trusts in the united states, and
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i think he's just the kind of person we need to send to reinsert u.s. leadership following years of neglect. that's why i wholeheartedly support the nomination and encourage thencouraged the commo the same. i look forward to working with him, secretary to listen and the rest of the administration of the word to reestablish the leadership in promotion of the democratic values in the region so thank you jermaine corker and ranking member for having me here today and the entire committee i commend the nomineem for your support. >> it's great to be senator manchin it looks like. let me say what a pleasure it is to be here and for allowing me to come and in a bipartisan way because the person we are here to speak on behalf of his truly a bipartisan person so i want to thank senator lee for being here
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also because i know they've been great friends but he's a dear friend of mine and governors have a bond unlike most others in the political life. we have the same problems in the same concerns for constituents and we try to share our successes and help each other not to repeat the same mistakes we've made s so to say in the unusual bond but to his wife and everyone, we've enjoyed each other and have become fast friends. they have six of seven children here with them today, two grandchildren and many more on the way i'm sure. but with that being said, john has a resume that is unbelievable. and when you think about whatbo john has done in the past both china and singapore, deputy secretary of commerce affairs and assistanforaffairs and assiy of commerce for trade development but john is known
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most for his two terms as governor from utah and the people overwhelmingly supported him and endorsehavesupported him and voted for him. but such great shape financially and we've had a lot of talks when the crash happened in 08. what i know is the compassion he has and i've said this before. we've both gone through mining tragedies that we've had in ourt states. not just those of the families involved up to all of us and i watched the compassion he had for each and every one of them making sure it never repeats itself again. i've worked with john in a group called no labels, we were the first cochairs to bring people together in a bipartisan way looking for a solution but to exasperate the problems. we have a troubled world we live in and at this time we are the
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only superpower in the world but superpower means more than having super military it means having diplomatic might also. that's going to take a person with skills unlike anythingg we've seen before. russia is a challenge but it's what we have to work with to find a pathway forward. there's only one person i know that i believe can go to russia, try to find a pathway and open up a dialogue and find agreements where we may have disagreements and move forward with. i come here with great pleasurer and say thank you. john is a tremendous patriot and also a great friend and i appreciate it very much. i would encourage all of my week some sides of the aisle to vote unanimously for this nominee we have before us.
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>> thank you very much mr. chairman. i am not going to repeat all of the resume items mentioned thato i will echo the conclusion i cannot imagine anyone as qualified as you and does my boss governor jon huntsman. i saw him in every imaginableeig circumstance as he worked through positions. in every circumstance he had one objective, to find the right outcome and make sure that families throughout utah were left in a better position than he found them and he succeeded. it's no coincidence he became
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the most popular governor in america. his approval rating soared to 90%. i never met a member of the 10% group.t i'm not sure they exist. but the fact that he was able to do all that he did as a change agent for a governor in utah while still remaining the most popular governor in america is itself remarkable. also, what is remarkable is the fact that this is someone that served in every administration since the reagan administration and in addition to that he was tapped by president obama to serve as the ambassador to china. an interesting side note here is i think it is worth mentioning separately he will have served as the ambassador for the world's most populous nation and
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if confirmed to this position, bearing the largest footprint.ta i think that is the kind. in addition to this, he served in a variety of capacities in corporate america as an executive in the chemical corp. he served on the board of the ford motor corp. and then there is of course his most cherished and important position, that of being the chairman of the board or perhaps the chief operating officer of the huntsman family. sean and his lovely wife at seven amazing children and that is no exaggeration and i would encourage each of you to get to know them. in short this is someone that will represent the interest of t the united states and every moment in circumstance regardless of where you fall onc the spectrum. you will be pleased with the services. if he is confirmed as the u.s. ambassador to russia.
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thank you, senator lee and all for your comments and taking the time to be here. you all are welcome to leave and we are going to move into an important business meeting and it would indicate you don't have anything else to do if you stayed. [laughter] so the committee hearing is adjourned briefly and we will move to the business meeting. we have a number of items on the agenda including three pieces o legislation, we have hr 939 bb genocide relief and accountability act of 2017. this is a priority for the house foreign affairs committee and wa are glad to work with them in that regard and it seeks to ensure adequate assistance into
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those that suffered at the hands of isis and in particular those that wish to in-house where is the appropriate support. we think the senator for her work on the group which we are incorporating into hr 390. we will consider the trafficking victims reauthorization act of 2017 the trafficking victims protection act of 2000 was where we as a country and doe and as d became addressed with a typical reality of modern slavery. this committee has come a serious oversight and the staten department implementation ofde trafficking victims protection act 2015 report was a turning point that came together in a united way toward the state department to know that we and
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they must take the integrity of the reports seriously. i want to thank the senator for his leadership and no doubt you're consistent and passion is clear and remarkable and i think you forgot. we also thank you for ther provisions of the child soldiers recruiting feechild soldiersrecf strategy requirement. senator menendez and senator rubio have exercised leadership also in the oversight efforts and contributed substantially to this bill. the reauthorization of the trafficking victims protection act allows us to reinforce our oversight and statute to strengthen the integrity of the ranking system in a constructive way. we are also breaking new ground in requiring the regional bureau secretaries to work collaboratively with the ambassador and embassies and countries where the rankings are allocated from tier three to tier two.
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watch lists to prepare an action plan to get the countries on the path. the bill authorizes a full seveh years for the initiative we approved in the committee. we work with the appropriations committee to authorize the current levels for the duration of the bill. it's important that we take every opportunity to fulfill the responsibilities to authorizeesu appropriations. we will also consider 168 resolutions for respect human rights and encouraginggovern governments in ethiopia. the united states has an important relationship with the government and we cooperate with them on areas of mutual interest iincluding regional stability, counterterrorism.
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there's a great potential for ethiopia and to our own interesn and this would call on our friend to address long-standing tensions with a majority to do transparent justice and necessary political reforms. thanks to those on the committee for bringing up the resolution. we will also vote on a number of nominees today and i think my colleagues for allowing the committee to take the step forward today. and i will read their names later. are there any other or comments? >> let me first thank you for this business meeting. the legislative matters we have all very important. i am pleased that we are able to move forward on 390 of the genocide emergency and relief and accountability act
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introduced by congressman smith. it deals with circumstances in iraq. there is an agree to amen to a t that will include the accountability of thet war crims accountability act so we will be combining both iraq and syria into one bill and providing accountability for the war crimes. i was pleased to be the sponsor of the war crimes accountability act passed the committee in june so this is a matter that has already been at. it is critically important and we all will say never again. the only way that never again will be realized is that they make sure that those that commit the atrocities are held fully accountable. the united states must be in a leadership. the leadership. this will provide assistance for the investigation so that we can have the information necessary
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to hold those that arenecessary responsible accountable and it helps the victims. you were very kind and your comments in regards to the reauthorization of theation trafficking and the passion i have on this issue. i think we all would agree on the committee there is no one that has shown a greater leadership so we thank you for your commitment to end this modern-day slavery and the challenge to the united states. you've been in the forefront on ending modern-day slavery. i strongly support thepo reauthorization act and i also want to acknowledge the work of senator menendez and ruby have and i think you very much for recognizing the two important points in this bill. first, we want the facts, not the politics. whether it is a democratic administration or republic, we d found these determinations to be made by the facts of the
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country. second with regards to children, i appreciate the tier three rankings for the countries that do not meet the minimumeet the conditions and that we prohibit u.s. grants from including reimbursement on recruitment or placement because that becomes debt bondage. i want to bring up what i authored with senator rubio to make it clear that our counterterrorism partners didn't get a free pass on human rights and democracy in this resolution is very clear about that. i've asked in regards to the nominees to have the nominees be sedated for discussion and vote. i would be glad to separate those and i appreciate senator shaheen. thank you mr. chairman for the
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work that you and senator cardin have done on the genocider emergency relief act. i also want to very much thank you and a senato the senator fog to incorporate into thisisin legislation the work that i have been doing on the group on the conflict. even though it's been pushed off of the front pages of the paper, the environment there isment the increasingly complex and on saturday we sold our democraticc forces in russia and hezbollah clash where the russian forces bombed the region, so this is a conflict that continues and so far we have not had a clearco strategy for how we address the region and our troops in the partners have been forced to
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jump from one maneuver to the next. for the study required by the legislation i hope will help out troops and diplomats prepare foa contingencies. it does require government consultation from both the departments of state and defense. .. conflict. thank you, mr. chairman. and senator cardin. >> thank you. and the other comments be made about legislation? >> is this an appropriate time to offer amendments? >> i'll tell you what we'll do. one member moving down the
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hallway is actually here now. why don't -- thank you, so much, sir. 100 denominations and then the legislation if that's okay. so as the ranking member requested, what i would like to do first is that to the honorable barbara lee to be representative of the u.n. general assembly, chris smith to be admitted to the general assembly. the honorable steve mnuchin to the imf african development bank, and her development bank, international bank for reconstruction and development. european construction development, african development and asian development bank. mr. stephen king to be ambassador to the czech republic and the honorable john bath to be ambassador to afghanistan. all those in favor of an en bloc
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vote, do we have a section on not? all those in favor say aye ko. opposed? would back him the eyes have it. now we have two other members that we will vote -- do you want to vote vote on the two of them together? >> are they to do that separately make a brief statement. next i would like to call up -- >> mr. chairman, with your indulgence can i say a brief word about mr. bass? i just supported his nomination and i think it's eminently qualified this is the bush record of foreign service aired i submitted a question for the record to mr. bass and related to send, the kubla compact which is the benchmark for reforms by president connie and chief executive abdullah. and my question, estimate confirmed whether or not he would work to provide this
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committee should detail specific unclassified assessment of where the afghan government is falling short on the commitments and how kabul plans to address the shortcomings. the response i got was somewhat vague. i know we had a lot to respond to. i still have confidence he will serve and serve her well which is why i support his nomination. we need to stay vigilant of the committee with respect to the issue moving forward. >> maybe before it comes to before you get a better response on that. someone else? >> i wish to be recorded as a no vote on the nominations related to mr. mnuchin. >> so ordered. anyone else? with akamai we will move to roll call vote individually. the first nomination, the first vote will be on mr. david manchester, ambassador to the
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bahamas. >> mr. chairman, bayless said drugs bound for the united states and what united states and which made their ambassador must possess the skills to advance strategic current counternarcotics operation in addition of the estimated 526 million tourists visiting the bahamas and the united state required and unwavering attention to counselor services. i am concerned mr. manchester? these requirements. he's been described in a number of news reports as abrasive, poor manager and prone to verbal tirades. additionally he's made a number statements during his nomination hearings including the bahamas and the united states and that the united states would want to avoid a south china sea situation with a hamas. statements indicate less than a thorough understanding of the basic diplomatic and national security issues. i note that u.s. ambassador has not been ambassador since 2011
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bits are unable to confirm one during the obama administration. nevertheless i cannot support mr. manchester and if we have confidence the nomination process in hearing by meaningful, i don't believe this person deserves our support. >> any other comments? with that, we'll have a roll call vote on his nomination. the clerk will call the roll. roll back -- [roll call]
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[roll call] [roll call] >> the clerk will report. [inaudible] >> denominations agreed to in committee a way past the floor. the next vote will be on ms. kt mcfarland, ambassador to singapore. the clerk will call the roll. >> mr. chairman, if i could very briefly. ms. mcfarland is a very engaging person who clearly has a desire for public service and i admire that in her. however, given the range of strategic challenges across the globe that our country faces, in spite of u.s. ambassador seen as a unifying figure pitfall in extensive consideration
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commencement make friends record taken into account statements during nomination hearings, i've concluded her past record will make it very difficult for her to serve in the unifying force. for that reason, i'm unable to support her nomination. i prayed she is the effort before the committee to explain her record of statements. this includes setting vladimir putin is one who really deserves the nobel peace prize for his work in syria, saying even if it's torture is probably worth doing or saying of saudi arabia, they are arabs. they're not going to say to your face something that will accept you. it does not appeal very judicious in the statements made in the past and the language is very important to be an ambassador. additionally i have concerns regarding the nominee's involvement is deputy to general flynn during the transition process proportionally answers to increase were not sufficiently responsive to me all my concerns. for that reason i will not support her nomination.
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>> thank you. any other comments? i did think she tried to answer those questions and did so adequately. i know she's been in the entertainment business in the past and sometimes people say things, but i thank you for your concerns. with that, the clerk will call the roll. [roll call] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> the clerk will report. [inaudible conversations] >> the nominee has passed. we will move to the floor and i thank you all for participating. with that, we will move to legislation and we will move to h.r. 390. senator cardin, would you like to speak to this or any other member? okay. i will entertain a motion to consider the substitute amendment of the mccain corker murphy amendment on block voice vote. >> so moved. >> is there second? so moved and second. the question is on the motion to substitute to approve the amendment of the mccain corporate murphy amendment on block by voice vote. all those in favor say aye. opposed?
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with that, the amendment is agreed to. are there any other further amendments? seeing none, is there a motion to approve the legislation is amended? >> so moved. >> is there a second? the most designed to approve h.r. 390. all in favor say aye. opposed? the eyes have it. legislation is amended is agreed to. thanks who moved to trafficking the dems for reauthorization of 2017. senator cardin, would you or any other member like to speak? >> verity spoke. i'm fine. >> i would entertain a motion to consider substitute amendment and revised on block by voice vote. >> so moved. >> is there second? >> the substitute amendment flake wine and black by voice vote. all those in favor say aye. opposed? with that, the eyes cohabit. the amendment is agreed to. any further amendments? see none come a motion to approve the legislation
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>> so moved. the question is on the motion to prove tbc eight authorization is amended at all in favor say aye the legislation is amended and agreed to. next will move to us read 168. senator cardin, would you or any other member like to speak to this? first i will entertain a motion to consider substitute amendment on block a voice vote. >> so moved. >> is there a second? question on the motion to approve on block by voice vote. all those in favor say aye. opposed. the amendments are agreed to. any further amendments? neil: come is there a motion to approve the legislation is amended? is there second? the question is the notion to prove as rezulin 16 is amended. all in favor say aye. opposed? with that, the eyes cohabit.
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the amendments agreed to to. this completes the committee's business. i ask consent that the author is to make technical changes without objection so authorized with that in without objection the committee will stand adjourned. the business meeting will stand adjourned and we will reconvene our hearing. i want to thank everybody for their cooperation in moving through that. it is very much appreciated. i would give a brief opening statement i'm sure senator cardin voted the same. europe and eurasia are home to some of the closest partners and also some of our greatest challenges. formed in 1949 to defend the free people of the west from soviet threat, nato remains vital to the security of europe and united states.
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european union is also a critical partner in trade, politics and global humanitarian efforts. additionally, the united states oldest and best allies, france and the united kingdom are european countries. further to the of european and eurasian affairs to manage these relationships that the united states to reassert itself on the world stage, yet russia's backpacks complicate much of the good the united states tries to do. the russian federation possesses not only the second most powerful military in the world, but also a seat on the united nations security council for its veto protects were criminals such as bashar al-assad. in the last several years, russia has invaded ukraine where he continues to illegally aggravate the war. vladimir putin entered the syrian war in the side of the regime and has repeatedly used chemical weapons on civilians.
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last year, russian efforts to influence the 2016 u.s. election fundamentally damaged our bilateral relationship. if that weren't enough, russia in violation of the inner range treaty is in violation and failing to meet its obligations under the treaty on open skies. on the other hand, many issues of common interest in figuring out a way to move between these issues successfully is a great challenge for our next ambassador. today's nominees will need to perform some of the most important diplomatic work better country could require to preserve our interests throughout europe to guard against further russian aggression. we thank them for their willingness to serve and welcome them to the committee. senator cardin. >> let me welcome both of our witnesses. it really is a pleasure to have the two nominees before us.
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i can't think of two more important positions that this committee will consider than the two positions we are considering today. they are that kind of sequential. i had a chance to meet with both of our nominees and i found the discussions to be extremely helpful and very encouraging as to the amount of agreement to the importance of the assignment and the manner in which our nominees will carry out that responsibility if confirmed. governor huntsman, a pleasure to have you back. you just can't seem to avoid the desired to serve the community and we thank you for that. you're entitled to a little time off, but you seem not to want a lot of time off from public service. we thank you for your willingness and i want to thank your family because this is a family commitment. though interesting observations as to whether russia is more challenging or less challenging than china.
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you have really taken on some of the most difficult challenges in our country and he started with singapore, but you taught in someplace and then decided to go on. we thank you for that. as the chairman pointed out, russia is really a challenged relationship we have. they attacked us in our democracy and 2016. they invaded ukraine is still illegally occupied crimea. they are supporting the assad regime in syria. that is why congress passed the sanctions act against russia to make it clear that type of behavior will not go unchallenged. we will look forward to you in implementing that legislation. our goal is to change russia's behavior, particularly as it reflects u.s. interests. it is not to have a chummy relationship with russia without a change in behavior.
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guess they want to have constructive relationships of all countries, but for us to have that bond, we need to have a country that respects our independence and respects universal values and today russia has done neither. i hope that for russia's fighting for freedom in their country, that they will continue to be welcomed for civil society, which has been the tradition of the u.s. representation mission and i appreciate your commitment to continue that tradition and i hope there will be regular dialogue sponsored by the united states on human rights. boris mann saw, the slain opposition leader called the act the most pro-russian legislation ever enacted. so we will be looking to you to help us implement the progression people legislation
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known as the men in ski act. we look forward to a discussion today and we thank you for your willingness to serve. to mr. mitchell, thank you for your willingness to serve. i also acknowledge your family. i can't think of a more important reaching in the world and our democratic values. we are stronger when united with europe, with the sanctions applied with europe support, able to get iran's attention. before that, we weren't able to do that. same thing true with russia. we've been in unity with russia. we now believe we've got a ticket to the next plateau. the next possibility will be to maintain the unity. we need to build resiliency and democratic institutions across
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europe airbrushes aggression is not obviously named at the united states. principal targets in europe. we strengthen the resiliency and work with regional organizations such as beos p.e. another had a worse ranking democrat on the commission. many challenges in addition to russia. you've got rags, turkey and how we deal with turkey. the migration issues. you have unity against isis. you have concerns of erosion in the democratic process and some of our european countries were members of e.u. and nato. you have a full plate and we look forward to the discussion we thank you for your willingness to be here and take on this responsibility. >> governor, we thank you so much for being here and i want to join in the senator cardin and thanking him for many years of service both interstate and on behalf of us here in our
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country, china and other places also. great meeting with you yesterday and i strongly support your nomination. i'm glad your family is willing to do this. we had some conversations about the wonderful spouse and why she would do this and maybe you speak to that in a moment. we do hope you'll introduce them. we thank you for burdening them with you. we know it's a partnership. were anxious to hear your testimony. if you could summarize in about a minute any other materials you want to enter into the record we are glad to do so. again, thank you for her distinguished past service in thank you for your willingness to serve our country in this way. with that, if you would begin, we would appreciate it. >> thank you, chairman corker peered ranking member cardin, thank you for your comments as well, for your kind and encouraging words about her return to public service and also sitting in my time as governor of the great state of
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utah. in reflecting on the series, have to say never once invaded one of my surrounding states. came very close in the state of nevada from time to time, but all was well. i want to thank all members of this committee. it's truly an honor to be here before you today's before you today as president trump dominates the united states ambassador to the russian federation. i want to thank the president for his confidence in me and for the opportunity with your approval to represent the american people during what is as we all know -- i want to express my gratitude to secretary of state rex tillerson for his support as well. most important to all of this are the people sitting behind me , senator corker thank you for pointing that out. a wonderful family. i want to start rethinking my wife, mary kaye, without whom we wouldn't be here today. and all of our children.
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six out of seven are here. dr. mary ann, who is here with husband kevin morgan. daughter abby who is here with jeff livingston. i never called them deadbeat sons-in-law mind you. they are all the best in the world. our daughter lady, who is here with eduardo fernandez. there we go. our son john, otherwise known as lieutenant jg huntsman who is part of ea q1 29, in the squadron who is here with lovely wife, morgan. our son will, who is also a naval officer in the eod training pipeline is not with us unfortunately. the training apparently is so strict he couldn't get a few hours off, so will have to consult with the armed services committee on outland next time. and her daughter gracie, who was
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served last couple months as my foreign-policy adviser and dr. ashok who is here as well. their love and support is absolutely sustained me through many phases of my life in a different hat that had the pleasure of wearing both in public and private tears. obviously, we could not undertake this new challenge with your support and the complete endorsement of our family. i've had the privilege of serving as ambassador three times, including to china into singapore. i am fully cognizant of the profound responsibility is a chief must assume. during a previous service including as governor in the great state of utah and the private sector, i've always prided myself on leading dynamic teams in achieving important goals by bringing individuals together from different backgrounds and different points of view. if confirmed by look forward to working with colleagues from the state department and all other u.s. government agencies to
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advance the interests of the american people. i'm confident my previous experience does prepare me for the sensitive diplomatic mission, i'm under no illusion that serving as the u.s. ambassador to the russian federation will be easy or simple. our relationship with russia is among the most consequential and complex foreign policy challenges we face. as a nuclear superpower come a permanent member of the u.n. security council, we have no choice but to deal with russia on a range of issues touching a noble stability and security. here we also need to recognize that today, controversy to international law, russia continues to threaten stability in europe, including by violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors. russia also restricts the human rights of its own people. there is no question, underline
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no question, that the russian government interfered in the u.s. election last year in moscow continues to meddle in the democratic processes of friends and allies. finally, russia's disregarding the terms control obligations and commitments. s. stuart to balance multiple challenges, and i appreciate the leadership and insight the committee has demonstrated on russia and if confirmed, i welcome the opportunity to collaborate with all of you in the months and years ahead. in short if confirmed, i will focus on four primary approaches. first, i will engage russian government officials from the highest tiers to the local level to advance american interests. key among our goals are defeating isis, countering terrorism, upholding arms control and non-proliferation obligations and commitments. finding a political solution to the conflict in syria in resolving the crisis in ukraine in a way that it expects and
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restores its territorial integrity. i will also not hesitate to prevent government officials that they are accountable for options. exhibit a is the fact that interference in the u.s. election has led directly to the current low level of trust in the relationship. the views of congress were heard loud and clear on this point within the unanimous passage of senator gregg mentioned of encountering america's adversaries through sanctions act. second, i will work to protect the interest of the american people to include u.s. has no scholars, tourists and other american visitors who spent time in russia and engage its good citizens. i believe people to people exchanges and private interactions are important way to show her disagreement are with the government of russia, not with these people. third, i'll seek out russian people across all walks of life to share areas, to relay
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american values and deep in my long-held appreciation for russia's system -- rich and fascinating history. i look forward to being a civil society leaders, including those in the religious and human rights communities. while the russian government has sought to limit u.s. diplomacy, our diplomatic continues to engage ordinary russians and outfitters and maintain diverse outreach approach. i plan to take part in the effort as i strongly believe cultural understanding is enriched by an open and respectful exchange of ideas and thoughts. i look forward to meeting as many russian citizens of possible during my travels throughout this great country. fourth, but certainly not last in importance, i will work to ensure the safety and security of my team, america's team, who worked tirelessly on behalf of our nation. despite russia's actions against
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u.s. mission diplomatic staffing, the team both the americans and russians have continues to serve with recessional of them and unwavering commitment under difficult conditions. in particular want to pay tribute to outgoing ambassador john taft, one of the foreign service's finest for his dedicated leadership encourage under challenging times. i will be honored to work side-by-side with the mission team to ensure the continued critical work of the u.s. diplomatic and consular mission. i want to extend my personal appreciation for those americans and russians to serve at the u.s. mission and have since left because our staff has been cut short the russian government's unfortunate decision. mr. chairman, mr. ranking member or members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you. i welcome your comments and your questions. >> thank you very much.
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senator cardin. >> governor huntsman, i must tell you i look at a lot of statements made by nominees and i thought your statement was as clear and as direct on the major issues and i applaud you for that and appreciate your candor with the committee and the manner in which you presented the challenges he would have if confirmed as ambassador. i staff always givest areas they want to question on to make sure there's clarity in each of those cases you provided clarity in your opening statement, but that won't prevent me from asking a couple questions anyway. let me move on to the human rights issues you and i have talked about that you mention in your statement. our concern is not with the russian people. russian people are good people that want basic freedom. i wish he was with the russian government has denied basic rights to its own citizens in this interfered with the sovereignty of other countries.
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you mentioned that the meeting with leaders in the civil societies of the platform for that type of a discussion. how do you tend to use people to people contact between russians and americans in using our embassy in order to further the hopes. and that may just tell you that i am impressed when they meet with russian and i've met with a lot of russians were they really do look at the united states as their hope for their future giving them an avenue in order to be able to keep hope alive in russia. how do you intend to use their position as ambassador, our embassy to further object is? >> thank you for that question, senator cardin. i very much appreciate the conversation we were able to have in your office. for me, the united states mission, whether the embassy or
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consulate in this case the russia should be seen as beacons of hope, aspirational for the russian people as they know they were for the chinese people. the term for a title of ambassador, although it might get you in a couple doors that you otherwise might not get in, should also be seen as aspirational and tied to u.s. values. i've worn this title before. i've seen when you actually express those values and go to the aid of those under assault from governments, they find that there's hope in what america does and i find that to be our most powerful weapon at the end of the day. i hope to use it effectively. i hope to use a tactically. i hope to use it tastefully. but there is one certainty and i will be out and there will be a good in promoting america's values as part of who i am, part
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of my family and upbringing and part of the american tradition. i'll never forget visiting one case in china if you would allow me the reflection. a young woman who had been beaten because her home had been torn down by the chinese authorities. there is no petitioning of government and no appeal process. she took up the issue herself and was beaten for it and paid a price. i went to visit her one day in her home in the ambassador's car driving through the back alleyways and i walked into her little room. she had been cut off from the internet and a lot of other things that she had a tear in her eye. i know it was not because mr. huntsman arrived, but rather because the united states had arrived. i could tell just a being with her but that meant the world, where no one else would show up,
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nobody else would stand by people who have that support locally. and it meant the world. it is reflections like that that i carry with me everyday of my life and i'm reminded of the values we stand for, whether republican or democrat. i will ensure that our embassy and missions shine that light in a way that is aspirational, positive and does represent the best of the united states. >> i can assure you that you have this committee who stands with you and please feel comfortable working directly with us on advancing those issues. i want to raise one more issue to let you know that we are deeply concerned about the security of our mission in russia. we know there have been efforts made to deal with the safety of our personnel in an appropriate way. there have been of course encouraging to listening devices in different places and the u.s.
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mission. so we invite your assessment. you mention the safety of your personnel. we want you to know that we hope you will be very candid with congress as to need so we can work together to make sure those on the front line of diplomacy have protections they need. >> thank you, senator. the unfortunate decision by the russian government to cut arc staff significantly will impact our ability to carry on anything representing the normal relationship. although i have every confidence that those who remained the 455, now that we've met with the russians had demanded to be offensive. he commented me among the best and brightest in the foreign service and other agencies will carry out the mission. i have no doubt about that. i've seen it happen before. for me as chief of mission, mission security and integrity
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will be top of the list. with your support and endorse that, once i arrive, the first order of business is to assess what the cutdown, cutbacks and personals has meant in terms of overall security. because security has an impact on our ability to do the work, which has an impact on overall operating well within the embassy annex in them over the years when they can operate at a high level of morale, things get done in the work of the american people to accomplish. mission safety will be top of mind for me. always has been. i know we have some challenges particularly as it relates to the harassment of diplomat. >> very good. senator flake. thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, ambassador huntsman for being here and thank you to the family as well. we've had the privilege to know the huntsman for quite a while.
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back in may teamed 92 or 1990-1892. we were taught on the gross piano. right there. it is just a pleasure to be here and a pleasure to have you and i went to thank you for your willingness to serve in think the family for their willingness to sacrifice not just this time, but many times in the past for your public service and it is a family sacrifice certainly and that is appreciated. let me just say or ask one question. what can congress do to help you succeed in your mission on behalf of the united states and russia? >> thank you, senator flake get a pleasure to see you again. thank you for the musical legacy her family left to my own family promotes continues to live on as her daughter marion just returned from second concerto in
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china. .. from somebody on the site you will get all the information's but having somebody that can provide a different perspective would be important. so the thought that we could
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work together and maintain an open dialogue with your staff on whether the there is progress on these issues because we need to move the relationship to a bit of a higher altitude. right now we are at a low point and it reminds me of 1986 i remembered that year. if it doesn't serve the purposes of the region or the world while nor does it serve the people in both countries. so, working on those issues together allowing me a fair hearing when i return to the progress so that we can see if there is reason to move the relationship to a different level. i think that has to be done as a joint effort between executive and legislative branches. in terms of the congressional travel to the russian delegations to the senate and the house, is that helpful?
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>> i will just show your one experience where it was a tough assignment. i bought forward to some of your colleagues the idea of maybe we could organize a large bipartisan republican and democrat. senator johnny isakson was part of that and i discussed it with him the other day. he still remembers that trip. they were able to articulate at the highest levels of the united states some of our concerns in ways the chinese really understood in new and profoundly important ways and about the last lasting impression on both sides i would say if we could organize this mission, we have
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some very important messages to set and perceive. >> some of the most compounding things for the american people to understand in that position that you're in with russia, we have some issues with russia which would be an understatement to say the least. we also have to deal with russia. i think the biggest challenge that you are going to be facing is to muster them with the north korean situation. the world has to turn against a very united fashion. there is a willingness to help
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and a lot of people think this can't end well on the trajectory it on. are their thoughts on that as we move into this position fax debate could >> we should take the time to explore where we have the overlapping interest. we take different approaches and different attitudes about denuclearize in the korean peninsula. it's on issues around proliferation so that brings us together with russia for the purposes of addressing dpr k..
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it was an expression of the un security council coming together with the most aggressive approach to north korea in history and that included russia and china. and it's targeting areas of north korea's economy that i think are most lucrative for them and if the sanctions are implemented, that will be part of the work once we are on the ground. it will take a toll on things like trade in textile which is an 800 billion-dollar category for north korea, the trading of the raw material of gas and oil, which is a large product or large money category and the remittances from workers in the case may be 60,000 which is another large cash flow. so, i'm heartened by the support on the last round of sanctions, just to september 11 a few weeks ago. we'll see if that is where we can come together more and more in addressing a significant
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threat not just of northeast asia bunortheast asiabut indeede world. >> we are all hopeful that the sanctions will be in that regard and certainly about as strict of sanctions you can get. the difficulty is tha the regime that doesn't care much about the people that they govern so the question is how effective the sanctions were going to be. unfortunately they've shown in the past that the sanctions have been a conduct changer is a would be in other civilized nations. i think we have to think about what's the next step is going to be and there is no question about that.
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i'm going to excuse you and your family and those that have come here to hear this. again, we sincerely appreciate your willingness to serve. thank you so much. with that, subject to the call of the chair.
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