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tv   Washington Journal Rep. Jim Banks  CSPAN  November 28, 2018 1:45pm-2:15pm EST

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are only threating 100 a day come into the port of entry and apply for asylum. there's a case currently being adjudicated in california as to whether or not the metering process is legal. so i think that is going to be an important thing to watch. there's also the legal case over the administration's new asylum ban for individuals applying in between ports of entry. we'll see that adjudicated as well. and we're going to watch the administration pour in more resources to the immigration agency and the immigration court to speed up cases and that new 180-day policy to see whether or not they can actually speed up these cases. there's a lot going on in and o lot of different areas. >> sara pierce for the migration policy institute. thank you for your time. >> representative jim bank. s is a republican from indiana.
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just recently back from afghanistan. he's joining us to talk about it. >> great to be here. >> what led you to go? >> i served in afghanistan in 2014 is and 2015 right just prior to being elected to congress. this was my first trip back as a member of congress. i led a bipartisan delegation. there were seven of us in total. and we came home last week with a better picture of what's going on. still a lot of questions i have, but we came home with a renewed sense that our efforts there are as important as ever. and in a bipartisan fashion, we came home with a lot of questions we have for the administration as well. >> is the picture good or bad currently? >> i served there in 2014 and 2015. so not that long ago. i us came home with the sense that the picture is worse than it was a few years ago. with a sense that's more dangerous in afghanistan today than it was at that point.
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that's because the threat has evolved. we're no longer dealing with just defeating the taliban. today the rise offist knits afghanistan is is perhaps a much more startling situation than what we news fafaced in years p. there's 21 terrorist group who is have a foothold in afghanistan, but. isis appears to be the most dangerous threat perhaps that we have ever faced in that country. that part of it was startling to me. i have called on the administration in recent months to give us an update, a progress report on what has been achieved in afghanistan since this administration enacted the south asia strategy. they have yet to do that. but in afghanistan, we were able to get a better sense, ask questions about what the strategy has brought about. i renew that call upon my return back home from viz vitting afghanistan.
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the administration must give the american people and congress specifically those of us on the armed services committee a progress report just a year later after enacting that policy to let us know what they have achieved so that those of us who serve on committees related to national security like the armed services committee have a sense of what we continue to invest n in. 17 plus years later the her honor people are wary. they demand those answers. i. hope the administration will give us that. >> we have heard stories about groups like isis and the taliban being held at baby this administration and others. what's changed? >> there's no doubt this administration has done very well to defeat isis in syria and iraq. with that we have seen isis p h pushed into afghanistan gaining a foothold. isis knows that if they can disrupt the situation in afghanistan, perhaps there's nowhere elsewhere they could cause harm to the people there that would gain headlines and news as much as it does in afghanistan. wednesday as we were leaving afghanistan to come home to our
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families, there was an attack on a ceremony that killed 50 people, injured dozens more of the afghan people that isis took credit for. so that's an example of the type of disruptive nature they are bringing to the situation there. it complicates the picture. >> even as you mentioned that, we showed the headline that three soldiers dying in an a attack by the taliban. >> that's right. it's important for the american people to remember that we are at war in afghanistan. we continue to invest heavily there in blood, sweat and tears, the financial informsment by the united states of america and nato into afghanistan is substantial. and it's not going to go away any time soon. the situation is as dangerous is
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and complicated as it's ever been. our effort there is are important. the situation has evolved, but this administration owes all of us a progress report on what they have accomplished over the past year with their change in strategy. >> with their changing strategy. >> our guest with us to talk about the trip to afghanistan. if you want to ask him questions about that, 202-748-8000. for democrat, 248-748-8001 for republicans and 248-748-8002 for independents. and for veterans 248-748-8003. you can reach out on twitter. and the photos we were talking about, you spoke with military leaders and government leaders and specifically who have you spoke with and what are they saying to you? >> the highlight of the trip, a great leader for afghanistan, on the ballot next year for re-election. that election picture is unclear, of one, when the election will occur, and two,
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how well president ganni will do in the election. but there is a lot of hope, shy talk about as well, for reconciliation. in fact, because of the cease fire last year, the president ganni negotiated with the taliban, it was only a short period of time, but it did occur, and it brought some hope that there is an opportunity ripe in this moment for reconciliation with the taliban. and some of the election fixture next year plays into. that the special envoy, as well, and their efforts, are bringing some hopes in afghanistan as well, to achieve a civil society, a stable country in afghanistan, that is what is critical to occur before we can create peace and go after these new evolving threats like isis. so we all hope for. that it is unclear when that reconciliation will occur. >> and just to be clear, isis k, what is that? >> isis k is sort of the, i
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don't have the correct pronunciation of what the k stands for but the islamic rege than they envision for -- region that they envision for their territory which includes parts of afghanistan and other parts of the region. so it is the new evolved isis threat, as they have been defeated in iraq, and syria, that's propping up in a new way. their threat is serious. and it must be addressed adequately. >> we have calls lined up for you. our first call comes from memphis, tennessee, this is rachel, line for democrats, with representative jim banks your guest. go ahead. >> caller: yes, i just wanted to comment on the representative's assessment and i have to 100% disagree. there has been more violence against the afghan forces by the taliban this year, bombings, constantly, we are not there fighting terrorism, we are
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establishing a military, permanent military presence, ultimately to encircle china, and this has been discussed in various, you know, think tank papers, and we have three more service men die for no reason whatsoever, while our defense contractors are making record profits, we have no oversight from congress. i feel like congress should basically put the check, and let the pentagon spend and do whatever they want, while we have so much, you know, hardship going on at home, and as i want to strongly, you know, disagree, and express my frustration and anger at what we are doing there, and how i'm not being told the truth from our representatives. >> rachel, thank you. >> i appreciate that feedback. i'm not sure we disagree on everything in the sense that, as
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you're suggesting, and that's why i have called on this administration to give a progress report to the american people. this administration enacted a new strategy that many of us celebrated a little over a year ago, the south asia strategy, which is a conditions-based strategy in afghanistan, that according to the administration, is different than what the strategy was there before. so after visiting afghanistan and asking that question to our military leaders, to ambassador bass, even many of the afghan leader, it is still unclear to me what has been accomplished in the south asia strategy over the past year and that's why i've renewed a strong call to our administration to gives that you progress report sooner rather than later. i also believe that it would be very good for president trump to visit afghanistan. there has been a lot of chatter about whether or not this president will visit a war zone. it would be very healthy for him to go to afghanistan, meet with our military leaders, just like i did with my bipartisan delegation that i led, hear from
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them on the ground, and this president could, i believe, put more of his weight behind the situation in afghanistan, and bring it to a strong and successful conclusion during his administration. he would be a champion for that, if he did so. >> should he have done that visit already? >> well, i'm not one who has been critical of him for not visiting a war zone. because a lot goes into that. and i don't believe that the president needs a photo op to show that he supports the troops. but i am one to believe that he could invest more of his efforts into what is going on in afghanistan. and i hope that he does that. he still has time to do that. he has been focused on a lot of other issues, in the first two years of his presidency, but if he were the president that ended the longest war in american history, that would place him in the history books in a way that i believe the president would want to be. >> for our line for afghanistan, war veterans, this is brian, in woodbridge, virginia. >> caller: yes, what a lot of
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these military people are telling you, the all volunteer army does not have enough troops there, to actually secure the population from the combatants, from the nonviolent, from the civilian population. and in order to go into warfare, we should have learned that in vietnam, you have to have enough troops on the ground to cut off the noncombat tant civilian population from being resupplied and infiltrated by the combatants. so it a fool's errand. because half of the population want peace. they want the united states to be there. but the other half are resentful. so what the taliban and the enemy does, they just reinfiltrate individuals and people, they get refuge because half of the population don't want us there, and individuals pop up, and then have an idea, and it could go on forever. >> thanks, caller. thank you. >> no doubt, the situation there
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is as dangerous as it has been in a very long time. and what we've seen since the obama administration, again, i served there in 2014 and 2015, when we moved from operation enduring freedom to operation freedom sentinel and we took a backseat and pushed the afghan forward in a train, advise and assist nature so the afghans were fighting the war rather than the americans and with the nato forces leading the war. so with that, today we only have a fraction of the nato troops in afghanistan that we have had in years past. more isolated in certain places, rather than on forward operating bases throughout the country. so what the caller is suggesting is true, that we don't have the troops there to create a safe and secure picture like we've had before and with the rise of isis k in the country and other groups that have maintained a foothold, the taliban capturing parts of the country that they haven't held since 2001, it's a
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more dangerous picture today than we would like. >> would you call for the president then a drawdown in operations there, what happens to the vacuum that would occur? >> well, that's the problem. and that's why i'm not calling for. that and that's why i want the president to maintain a focus on afghanistan. if we pulled out of afghanistan, we would see the same result that we saw in iraq, in years past, where pulling out left a vacuum for isis to build, and maintain a strong presence to begin with. so, but it is important that the president provide us and his administration provide us with a progress report on what the south asia strategy. >> as those afghan troops are concerned, are they ready to handle this? >> we med with afghan military lead -- we met with afghan military leaders and visited one of their training sites where they train the afghan troop, and there is no doubt, and we've been doing that for a decade plus, and doing our best, with our nato advisers, to train up an afghan military, but it is
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still not, it is clear it is still not adequate. >> georgia, joe is next, republican line, you're on with our guest jim banks of indiana. >> caller: i would like to ask jim, you know, jim, we got, with afghanistan, we lost a lot of people there, and we also, it is very costly, my question to you is, with all of the money we're spending there, and we've got a 21 trillion dollars debt, and my main mission the next two years to re-elect donald trump and what can we do to cut spending and all my republicans and i and i have been a republican all my life, they are very upset that the republican congress has not cut one dime of spending and afghanistan may be fine, i don't know, but that is something you will have to determine, but where can we cut some spending, my friend? >> let me begin with your first point. this president would go down in history in a way that few presidents have, if he were the president that ended the longest war in american history successfully, by coming, by drawing a conclusion in
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afghanistan, that would create a safe, secure, civil society, there and defeat the taliban, defeat isis, other terrorist groups that have a strangle hold in that country. so i believe that that would be electorally beneficial for him but also historically would frame him in a good light as well. and i hope he does that. i hope he visits afghanistan. i hope that he addresses the american people, perhaps in a prime time presidential address that would explain what has been achieved there with the south asia strategy, the new conditions-based strategy that he implemented a little over a year ago. so that would be good for the president if he did that. but as far as spending goes, our investment in afghanistan is a drop in the bucket of what it would take to reform spending programs on capitol hill and the nation's capital to address a $21 trillion national debt. and we have to do that. i hope that the president and
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this congress can be more serious about that moving forward than what we've been over the past couple of years. there has been a strong dissatisfaction of mine as well. >> from roeld, san jose, california, democrats line. >> caller: hi, you mentioned that, you know, you didn't want the president to have a photo op in afghanistan but that's what he does all the time, so why are you so surprised about not having him in afghanistan? my second part of the question is, why is he bashing pakistan, that can help afghanistan, since they're right besides them? and now that we are such good friends with saudi arabia, why can't we have saudi arabia help out? because it is a muslim country. and so is afghanistan. >> a great point on pakistan. part of the south asia strategy was to put more pressure on pakistan than what we've placed on them before, for creating a safe haven for the taliban, which is clear that that still continues to this day. so we've cut off some forms of
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foreign aid to pakistan, and that is one of part of the south asia strategy that i have been pleased with, that has been articulated in a way that much of the rest of the strategy hasn't. so would respectfully disagree with you there. the more pressure they put on pakistan, to stop them from creating that safe haven for the taliban, the more effective we can be at defeating the taliban in afghanistan. so as far as the, what i mean by the president not needing a photo op to prove that he supports our military, you have to remember as well, that this president was, is the president that negotiated the deal with congress earlier this year to rebuild the american military, restore what was about a 20% cut to our military during the previous administration. that alone in my mind, as a veteran of the war in afghanistan, as a navy reserve veteran, someone who has served in uniform, this president, i'm telling you, doesn't need a photo op to prove that he supports our troops and supports
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the military. he proved it in negotiating a deal that to rebuild the american military to begin with. the next step is for this president to give us that progress report, show us what he has achieved in afghanistan, and what it is going to trake to win there moving forward. >> when you're walking around with the congressional delegation, what was security with you and did you have concerns between the sites that you visited? >> i will give you a bit of a picture there of how much, of what has evolved since 2014, 2015 from then until today. when i served there in 2014, 2015, we often convoyed in vehicles outside of the wall, outside the city of kabul and today our troops travel by helicopter almost anywhere they go. our delegation did likewise. we traveled on blackhawks throughout the country to perform our oversight duties as we asked questions about different aspects of the efforts in afghanistan. so we traveled around the kabul area, to bagram airfield and throughout the country by
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helicopter. >> this is from bluffton, indiana, republican line, preston, hello. >> caller: hello. yes, i was wondering if you plan to meet with the president or brief the president on your presence in afghanistan. >> a great question. i maintain contact with the administration especially at the pentagon as a member of the armed services committee, there is an avenue there for us to communicate with our leaders there. and we will communicate with the president as directly as i, can when i get those opportunities to continue to encourage him to provide that update that we've asked for. i've called on that update before. once again, i'm not criticizing the administration, as a member of congress, and the armed services committee, there are a number of us who would like this president to give us, and the administration, whether where it is secretary mattis, at the pentagon, or others within the administration, his national security adviser, others, to give us that update, and report
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they're asking for. >> a couple of foreign-related matters. this current back and forth of clashes between ukraine and russian troops, what should be done, and what has been the united states positioning on this issue, at least what do you think of it? >> so far, it has been perhaps over the past 48 hours, mixed signals. i believe that we need to stand with ukraine. i'm pleased that this president reversed the previous administration's orders and this president giving lethal aid to ukraine, to fight back, against russian incidents like this. so that has what has occurred in the past. in this case, though, everyone in washington, myself included, we need to be more vocal in supporting ukraine. i've done that over the past 24 hours. and in the small way that i can, as a member of congress, but hope that the administration will stand with ukraine as well. >> the administration's positioning over the death of jamal khashoggi, what has been your response to the
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administration's response ton this issue? >> well, so far the administration's response there has been a mixture of statements as well. so i believe that if, and i haven't been briefed yet, i was hoping to be briefed this week further on this situation, and it appears that our intelligence agencies, who i trust and believe, if they determined that khashoggi was ordered to be assassinated by the royal crown prince, then we should absolutely seek sanctions of some sort on those who are responsible for his death. i haven't been briefed on that. i haven't seen that intelligence. so i withhold comments further until i do. >> to the larger issue of maintaining ties with saudi arabia, even though this goes on? >> there are some who want to cut off saudi arabia all together. there are others who want to turn a blind eye to what appears to be that directed, that directive from the royal crown prince, so i don't think that we can afford to take either of
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those paths. saudi arabia is an important ally of the united states. their enemies are our enemies. that doesn't mean that we can't, that we should turn a blind eye, we need to punish those who are responsible for that murder. >> republican lied, from great neck, new york. ryan, go ahead. >> caller: hi, thank you for taking my call. looking at afghanistan, to continue there, is that something that the united states will do, today, we argue, with the oil, with the trump, with the policy in the middle east, i think our government wants to ignore all of it, you know, and some republican authorities like mr. rand paul, is taking the side, with khashoggi, murdering women and children in yemen, it should not be ignored. what do you think about it? is the united states helping
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saudis, helping in the middle east? >> i agree, once gain that we can't turn a blind eye to what our intelligence agencies are suggesting are a directive from the royal crown prince and she should seek to hold those accountable for that murder who were involve and for our intelligence agencies are stating that he was responsible for that, then we should absolutely target those sanctions of him and others responsible. >> the domestic issue, the potential of a government shutdown at this stage, what do you think of that happening? >> i'm still optimistic that that won't occur. we still have a week and a half here to make sure it doesn't. republican leaders met with the president yesterday, and most of them have an optimistic view that we will be able to get something negotiated and passed before december 12k3w4se 7. >> when it comes to the price tag specifically the border wall, the president looking at $5 billion and the senate $ --
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>> should that be satisfied? should that be met? >> i believe so. i think it is an important message to build the wall, to secure the border not just because of immigration issues but the illegal drug flow into our country, and then the real and serious national security threat that an open border poses as well. so i believe the $5 billion investment is a worthy investment. i hope that we negotiate a package that would provide the administration the funding to do that. >> let's go to maryland, michael, go ahead, you're next up. >> caller: yes, jim, this is michael from maryland. two things. in afghanistan, and also quickly about the v.a. in afghanistan, about 80% of the population is sunni muslims. why can't we use surrounding, you know, arab countries to assist us, and help us stand up an army there to fight the surrounding taliban and whatever
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that keep coming in from other, pouring in from other countries? so that's number one. number two, to save dollars, and to improve service within the v.a., we spend about $160 billion a year on the v.a., and about $40 billion of that goes into care. why not do some out of the box thinking and basically just privatize the entire v.a., increase the amount of care from $40 billion to like $50 billion, and give people a credit card to go anywhere they want? >> thanks michael. we will have to leave it there. >> let me start with your second question. what this administration has -- done with this congress to reauthorize the choice act and expand choice for more veterans i believe is along the lines of what you're suggesting, which is, that is an absolutely the direction that we need to head. previous to the choice 2.0 legislation out of this
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congress, veterans could, about 30% of our veterans could access health care outside of the v.a., and with choice 2.0 and the reauthorization of the choice program under this congress, it will be about 50% of veterans who will be able to access health care outside of the v.a. along the lines of what you're suggesting. i absolutely agree that we need to apply common sense to how we modernize the v.a. i chair a sub committee that is related to modernizing electronic health records and modernization of technology at the v.a., by doing that, we can provide better care, and access to our veterans around the country, and that's why i'm invested on the veteran, the v.a. committee, and on these issues that you're talking about. as far as afghanistan, training the afghan troop, the afghan army, over 17 years, we failed to train them in a way that places them at the forefront of efforts there. that's why we continue to maintain a presence, because we don't have a stable situation
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there, like we need to. but the nato investment by a number of other countries is important to those efforts. and i hope that this administration will nurture the nato relationships that have led to an investment by dozens of other countries as well. >> one more call from brian in massachusetts. >> caller: good morning, c-span. i would like to -- hello. >> go ahead, brian. >> i would like to thank mr. banks for his service first of all. and afghanistan, i think it is just a corrupt country that has been a 17-year failure. we pull out of that, that government is going to fall within a heartbeat. and you look at, we got a drug heroin problem here in the united states, and where does most of the heroin come from? afghanistan. that is kind of odd. you mentioned supporting the ukraine, and happy that we're selling arms, it seems just the loss of life overall, of these mistake, saud saudi arabia is an
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ally but they have the mosques all over the world with madrases -- >> caller, i apologize, we are short of time. what would you like our guest to address specifically? >> tai for your time. >> many comments there, that are important to address, as far as the corruption in afghanistan, president ganni has been at the forefront of fighting corruption, is why i'm pleased with his leadership in that country. i hope he is re-elected because he has been that type of reformatory go after corruption in his country, first and foremost, and that is important to create a civil society, a stable situation in afghanistan, that is fundamental to creating peace and achieving american interests, as well as afghan interests as well. >> you were elected as part of the majority. you will come in next year as part of the minority. what does that mean to you? >> i don't know. i have never served in the minority before. i served in the state house in indiana for six years under super majority and this is my
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first foray to being in the minority in a legislative body but there are two opportunities and i serve on two committee, the armed services economy and the veterans affairs committee, so i still see opportunities there to work with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to address those issues most important to me. >> representative jim banks, with the people of indiana and the third direct, thanks for your time. >> thank you. in about 15 minutes, we will have live coverage of a hearing on efforts to change the legal guardianship framework for older americans. that's live, starting at 2:30 eastern, right here on c-span 3. in the meantime, here is the first and second ladies, melania trump and karen pence hoping to prepare care packages for troops overseas. >> thank you, everyone, for so graciously sharing your time with us


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