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tv   Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Press Briefing  CSPAN  November 26, 2019 1:40pm-2:03pm EST

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providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events from washington, d.c. and around the country. so you can make up your own mind. created by cable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span. your unfiltered view of government. >> secretary of state mike pompeo held a briefing today at the state department to talk about iran and terrorism. the secretary was also asked about a range of other issues including turkey's use of russian weapons. the situation in syria. and president trump's concerns about ukraine. this is 20 minutes.
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>> good morning, everyone. i want to comment this morning on a few terrorism-related matters. a terrorist regime, a couple other items as well. before i begin, though, i want to confirm with a heavy heart that a united states citizen was killed in the terrorist attack on a u.n. vehicle in kabul on november 24th. there were five other civilians who were injured, including staff. we extend our condolences to the family and friends of the victim following this tragic incident and send our best wishes for a speedy recovery for those who were injured. attacks targeting u.n. personnel working to help the afghan people are unconscionable and we condemn this act in the strongest possible terms. today also marks the 11th anniversary of the mumbai terror attack. we remember the 166 innocent
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victims, including six americans, the brutality of the attacks shocked the entire world. it is an affront, an affront to the victims and their families that those who conducted the attacks have still not been convicted. moving on to the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism, islamic republic of iran, president trump and i have sh following closely the protests that have recently broken out across that country. the iranian people are once again on the streets because of the regime's poor economic management and instead of addressing the grievances, tehran has responded with violence and by blaming those outside of the country. last week the regime shut down the internet to prevent the truth about the protests from getting out. i asked iranians to share their messages with the united states so we could expose and sanction the abuses of the iranian regime. we have received to date nearly 20,000 messages, videos, pictures, notes of the regime's abuses through telegram
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messaging services. i hope they will continue to be sent to us. we will continue to sanction iranian officials who are responsible for these human rights abuses, just like we did last week to iran's minister of communications. the iranian regime also continues to export cruelty outside its own borders. last week an iranian dissident was assassinated in istanbul after he defected to turkey from iran. the killing is yet another tragic example in a long string of suspected iran-backed assassination attempts outside of iranian soil. the regime's brutality and amorality know no international boundaries. to the courageous people of iran who refuse to face down 40 years of abuse, we say the united states hears you, supports you and we will continue to stand with you in your fight for a
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brighter future for your people and your great nation. as part of our long-standing strategic partnership with egypt, we continue to raise the fundamental importance of respect for human rights, universal freedoms and the need for robust civil society. we call on the egyptian government to respect freedom of the press and to release journalists detained in a raid last weekend. turning to the chinese communist party. we have all seen the papers released in recent days. they detail the chinese party's brutal detention and systematic oppression of uighurs and other muslim minority groups. these reports are consistent with an overwhelming and growing body of evidence that the chinese communist party is committing human rights violations and abuses against individuals in mass detention. we call on the chinese government to immediately release all those who are arbitrarily detained and to end its draconian policies that terrorized its own citizens.
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not just muslims that are the largest -- that are the target of the hostility, christians, tibetno o tibetans and other minority groups have felt the heavy hand of oppression. we congratulate the people of hong kong, a free, fair and peaceful district council elections on the 24th of november. the united states continues to support democratic values, fundamental freedoms in hong kong as guaranteed by the one country, two systems framework and aspirations of the hong kong people. i also have a short announcement on cuba. today, the united states is taking action to prevent cuba from circumventing u.s. sanctio sanctions. a cuban state-run company and the prime area facilitator of illegal oil imports from venezuela, to further contain their action we are putting sanctions on another cuban company pursuant to executive order 13850. it was sanctioned back on july
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of 2019 and has since had trouble finding companies willing to conduct business with it. it has relied on this company to obey sanctions as it carries out the oil for repression scheme between cuba and venezuela, a scheme declared illegal by the legitimate government of venezuela. the venezuelan and cuban people continue to suffer at the hands of despotic actors that put their interests above the interests of their people. today's action will further squeeze the illegal profit-making scheme cuba carries out to help the illegitimate dictator maduro and his unravelling network of corrupt advisers. finally, after the holidays, i will be hitting the road for some important diplomatic activities. first i will head to beautiful louisville, kentucky. university of louisville will host me for remarks at the mcconnell distinguished speaker series. i will share some thoughts on what the trump administration is continuing to do here in the western hemisphere to protect the american people. then i will travel to london to chat with the president for a
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nato leaders meeting where the president and other allied leaders will talk about a host of ways to strengthen the alliance which is celebrating its 70th anniversary. then to morocco, one of our strongest partners in the region. i'm looking forward to reviewing our country's strong economic security partnership and discussing future areas of cooperation. finally, on to portugal, to lisbon, as the case with so many of our european friends, our robust ties are built on shared values of freedom and democracy. i look forward to thattist ha v well. with that i'm happy to take a few questions. >> thank you. happy thanksgiving, mr. secretary. thank you for coming down. this is twice in two weeks. >> good tradition to get into. >> i just want to ask you briefly about the hong kong. the president is kind of i don't want to say waffling but hasn't made up his mind about the legislation that came out of congress on this. that would involve sanctions. i'm just wondering, is this
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something you are personally supportive of and are you willing to take action, sanctions or otherwise, in relation to the uighurs? then if i could, i will accept that you will not like this question or think that it's irrelevant or unimportant, so stipulate your annoyance, last friday, the department released telephone call logs and some correspondence that showed you had two brief conversations with rudy giuliani in late march. this has led to speculation and reports that you were actually involved in the campaign to recall ambassador yovanovitch from ukraine. wondering, did you discuss ambassador yovanovitch in those calls with mayor giuliani and did the state department mislead or misinform congress as to the circumstances around her departure in the two letters that were sent to steny hoyer and elliott engel? thank you.
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>> as for hong kong, i think the administration has been pretty clear about our expectations about how beijing will treat people throughout the country. we have human rights standards that we apply all across the world and hong kong is no different. in addition, in hong kong we have the commitment of the chinese government as part of their obligations to maintain one country and two systems. that's what we are continuing to work towards. congress has now taken action, i won't get out in front of what the president will do before too long but suffice to say i think the administration's policies have been pretty unambiguous in our support for the chinese communist party's continued commitment to the promises that they made remains unwavering. i think you saw that from the people of hong kong this past week. that's what they are asking for, too, the continued maintenance of the understandings that we're committed to under international law. i don't have much to say with respect to the ukraine
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investigation. other than this. we continue to comply with all the legal requirements. you saw we released documents i guess it was last week now, we will continue to do that as required by law and as appropriate so that appropriate oversight can be conducted. but with respect to the larger set of issues, we had a very clear policy with respect to ukraine and we executed it successfully. there are still many challenges. still have russians in the dombass, the president of the ukraine working through the issues it has with corruption for a very long time now. the state department has been working on that for now my year and a half plus here. we will continue to work on it. every action that i took and have taken will continue to be driven towards that objective.
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>> i'm with voice of america. so reporters without borders strongly condemned today the iranian intelligence threat against journalists working for the international media like voice of america, bbc radio-free europe. with intimidation on social media in iran. what's your take on it? >> i have seen those reports and i have certainly seen iranians engage in activity that's fundamentally at odds with central understandings we have here in america about how the press ought to be treated. i don't know that i have much more to add other than the entirety of how the president has thought about the middle east and the malevolent activity of the islamic republic of iran drives towards working to eradicate what you have just described. what we have advocated for inside of the islamic republic of iran is a change in the behavior of the regime. behave like a normal nation which permits its people to engage in commerce, to take care
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of the families, that would have normal press freedoms. those are the very very objectives that our policy has been aimed at for the entire time of the trump administration. we will keep working on. when i see those reports, it reminds me that our work is certainly not yet complete. >> mr. secretary, one on turkey. turkey is testing the s-400, it looks to be on f-16s. is that cause for concern, will the u.s. take any action in response, possibly levelling sanctions, and the other just going back to ukraine, do you believe the u.s. and ukraine should investigate the theory that it was ukraine and not russia that hacked the dnc e-mails in 2016? >> i will take your second question first. any time there is information that indicates that any country has messed with american elections, we not only have a right but a duty to make sure we chase that down. i served as cia director for the
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first year and a half of this administration. i can assure you there were many countries that were actively engaged in trying to undermine american democracy, our rule of law, the fundamental understandings we have here in the united states, and you should know we were diligently, diligently working to make sure that we addressed each of them with every tool of american power that we had. so whomever it is, by the way, it's not just -- i said nations. it's not just state actors. there are non-state actors, too who are out there acting in ways that are deeply inconsistent with what we are trying to do to protect our elections. america should leave no stone unturned. whatever nation it is, if we have information that so much as suggests there might have been interference or an effort to interfere in our elections, we have an obligation to make sure that the american people get to go to the ballot box, cast their ballots in a way that is unimpacted by these malevolent actors trying to undermine our western democratic values. your first question about turkey and the f-400, yeah, it's concerning.
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we are hopeful, we are still talking to the turks, still trying to figure our way through this thing. i don't want to get out in front of what the president may or may not do. but we have made very clear to the turkish government our desire to see them move away from putting into full operationalization the s-400 weapons system. yes, ma'am. thank you. happy thanksgiving to you as well. >> on hong kong, a quick follow-up. would you recommend president trump to endorse the bipartisan legislation on the hong kong human rights and democracy act? the reason i ask is because if enacted, it will require secretary of state to certify if hong kong retains enough autonomy for favorable trading terms. and separately, if i may, as you
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just mentioned, new leak of documents published by the international consortium of investigative journalists, icij, revealed the strategy behind a campaign of reeducation of muslim minority groups. would you say that u.s. pressures have any effect on china's actions and does a new document allow more complex actions to take against china? thank you. >> so your first question is, i can't really answer it because you point out quite correctly in the second part of that question, that question will come to me if it were to become law, the president signs it or it becomes law. that will come to me. i will have to make the determination. i don't want to prejudge that. i want to make sure that the process here can be run in a very neutral way and no one thinks the secretary of state got out in front of the analysis
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that we will be tasked annually to do under that statute to evaluate whether the requirements there can be certified to. so we are aware of it. or teams already have a lot of foundational activity in place that we can perform i think a pretty thorough analysis pretty quickly to see if that certification can be made and if in fact this becomes law, and when we do, we will make that, that will be a published certification. we will send it to capitol hill as required by statute. your second question is about, really about what's the effect of this newly released information. i think there are really a couple. first, i think it confirms what we have been saying here at the state department and the united states government for some time now about what's taking place there, very significant human rights abuses. i think it confirms, it shows that it's not random and it is intentional and it is ongoing. i think those papers simply confirm that. i think the world can see that. which leads me to the second point.
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i think it's the case now that you will see many more countries around the world acknowledging what's taking place there and working alongside of the united states to create space and improve human rights conditions for the people. i'm hopeful that those papers, the release of those papers will encourage others to join in what we view as a very important outcome we are trying to achieve. yes, ma'am. >> i have a comment for the department on the new numbers reports coming out. there's new information out there that the communist party has detained over time up to a million uighurs. does state department have anything on that number? >> our best analysis that the number of a million is a reasonable number to think about the number of persons that have been over the extended period of time held or detained or wrongfully denied their fundamental human rights. i think we think that number's about right. >> just a quick follow-up, sir. the president tweeted just a
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short while ago that he encouraged you essentially to testify in the impeachment investigation. is that something you are considering? >> when the time is right, all good things happen. >> [ inaudible ] and the clashes between hezbollah, what are you considering to help facilitate peaceful demonstrations in both countries and on lebanon, any updates on military aid to the lebanese army? one more on iran, will the u.s. be able to provide access to the iranian people soon, internet access? >> so let's see. as for internet access, it's come back on just a bit. we have encouraged the leadership of the islamic republic regime to turn it back
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on so people can communicate. it's worth noting while that was done to tamp down the protests that took place and frankly deny the world access to see some of it, it's not working. indeed, it's working at cross-purposes. i talked about the 20,000 messages we received which we believe all came from inside the islamic republic of iran. we expect we will get thousands and thousands more over the coming days as well. so there is the capacity for iranians to communicate outside of the country. the second piece is it shouldn't surprise anyone that when you turn your internet off, the little bit of commercial activity that is already taking place inside of iran is diminished. lots of commerce all around the world takes place through electronic communications and the inability to speak there will further decrease the iranian economy, which will further deny them to have the resources to conduct terror campaigns around the world. the second question, first question was iraq. >> lebanon. >> i don't have anything to say on lebanon funding issue today.
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but as for iraq, we have been in contact with all the various elements inside of iraq that we have. our mission there is largely count counterterrorism mission. that's who the vice president went to visit this week. he went to the kurdistan region all in an effort to help the iraqi people stand up a free and independent and sovereign iraq. that's our goal for the iraqi people and we are prepared to work with the iraqi leadership, all of the iraqi leadership, to try and deliver that on behalf of the iraqis. we have made no -- we have no qualms in talking about the fact we think the iranian presence there is harmful to that, decreases the risk that the iraqi people can have a sovereignty that they so richly deserve and we are confident that the iraqi leadership wants the same thing we are helping them work towards. ...
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>> during this thanks giving week we are showcasing book tv programs normally available weekends here on c-span2. tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern u.s. intelligence.
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followed by philip mod on cia detention centers used to interrogate suspected terrorists after 911. head of the cia ultra mind control program. booktv tonight on c-span2. >> a year after the results of the first audit covering the entire defense department was released a senate armed service subcommittee wanted to know if the audit recommendations for being implement it. lawmakers heard from deputy defense secretary david norquist. >> good morning. this hearing on the subcommittee on readiness and management support will come to order. today the subcommittee meets to receive the testimony from deputy secretary of defense, david norquist, concerning the department of defense is 2018, 2019 audit. last year when he was serving as the dod


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