tv National Security Adviser Robert O Brien on Threats to United States CSPAN February 6, 2020 3:24am-4:31am EST
clients, but they can still call me. it is known as the worst of both worlds. it at leastyes, gave me the opportunity to take the time to come over and see the candidates inaction. bill: yes, this is a good place to meet all the candidates. i can tell you that. i started the day with klobuchar and buttigieg and here i am. >> very good, thank you very much. bill: thank you, nice to meet you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪ the new hampshire primary is tuesday. watch results and candidate speeches starting at 7:30 p.m. eastern live on c-span,
c-span.org, or listen on the free c-span radio app. national security advisor robert o'brien addressed ambassadors and state department officials in threats facing the united states. he also commented on the impeachment trial against president trump. >> good morning. good morning, everyone. happy wednesday. halfway through the week. , distinguished guests, welcome. we are extraordinarily privileged to have our national security advisor to the president with us this morning. book called "while america slept".
but we had a chance to get to when he served in the bush administration as a delegate to the united nations and he has had an amazing career. originally from california. relationsational early in your career in geneva working on some of the post first goal for issues and a classic example of our system, where you have somebody who is successful in a variety of andds in the private sector then comes in and serves the government and robert, it is a delight to have you here. i wanted to thank a few people first. this event is part of our center for diplomatic engagement, which exists to help bridge the diplomatic corps in our government in the private sector, so we can better understand each other. we have some of our supporters ,ere today, united airlines
sailor academy. all have to doou every single day in trying to inform your capitals about how we are thinking about the world is critical. we want to be supportive of that. we exist to be part of that. we are a close part of our u.s. government, our state department, which many of you know. robert, i'm going to ask you to say a few words and then we will have a little conversation. >> i appreciate that kind introduction. that is one that your mom appreciates. [applause] thank you. center foridian diplomatic engagement is one of the key institutions in washington. for our foreign colleagues here serving, it is an invaluable asset. thank you for all that you do and it is great to be back with a good friend. the speaking engagements come in
now. more people want to hear from me now than when i was a costa jon voight. i don't know why. when stuart asked me to speak, being with a friend and being youg friends, i bring greetings from excellencies from the president of the united states. i know a number of you were in the house chamber last night. i'm impressed that you got up early this morning after the speech last night. i'm not sure there is a whole lot i can add this morning to the speech and i'm hoping that he is not going to rip up my speech. [laughter] when we get done here. almost sixffice months ago now. it is hard to believe. the president asked me. he said, you are having a good time, i hope. he said, what has it been, a month? he said -- i said, six months. trump years are like dog years. we move pretty quickly. one of the things i talked about when i got to the nsc was
streamlining the nsc and reforming the nsc. i know a lot of you have interactions with us. i thought i would talk a little bit about that. traditionally, it has been a relatively small organization. the personal foreign-policy staff of the president of the united states. that staff ballooned under the last administration up to about 200 36 policy professionals. to give you a little context for that, when president kennedy was in office dealing with the cuban missile crisis, he had 12 policy professionals. president carter had about 40. president clinton had about 70. during the bush years, there were about 100 policy professionals at the nsc. i brought secretary rice in very early on. one of the nice things about predecessors,ur my predecessors have been extremely generous with their time and counsel to talk to me about their tenure in office and what work and what didn't work.
and their time with the president. war in iraq, the war and afghanistan, the global war on terror, and everything else that i think that's probably sufficient. i agreed. over the past several months, we have been primarily through attrition letting folks go back to their home agencies, take the skills and expertise and experience you received while at the white house back to the department of state, defense, homeland security, treasury, and become a better official in those departments as you execute the foreign policy of the united states. i think that's worked well. the other thing, we have tried to bring process back. over the past several years, there has been a lack of process. process is one of those things that will make your eyes glaze over, and i promise not to talk
about it for more than a moment. but i feel it is important to build consensus among our professionals across the inter-agency and departments and make sure that the very best advice filter, their way up to the president. we had 60 meetings, principal committee meetings over the last 5.5 months. the other thing we did as part of those meetings, and i remember when i was on the others to the table as a plus-one to nsc meetings as the hostage envoy, sometimes you look across and there would be an 06 from the pentagon representing the pentagon. i have a ton of respect for 06's, i was 04, so i feel i have to salute everybody when i see them in uniform. but at a deputy level committee, with folks who are deputy assistant secretary or a colonel or that sort of thing, that's
not really giving you the full advice of the department. i instituted a policy, principals come to principal committee meetings and deputies to deputy committee meetings. that doesn't mean that if someone has a funeral, health issue, travel, that sort of thing, the next person in line is there. if they can't make it, and that is understandable, they will not just sit around the table, and they are welcome to come to the meeting and take notes. but the folks who should be there will be around the table. after a week or two of this, everyone started showing up to the meetings. and i think that's an important thing. it is important for the president. it is important for the country that the folks who are making policies are the ones who are sitting around the table talking about policy. that's how you get good process. while we have been doing this, we've had a number of foreign policy successes. disruptor andis a
works at a different speed than i think we have seen in prior administrations, or administration in which i've been part of. he moves quickly and decisively. last week, we unveiled a vision for the middle east peace process, a serious, realistic and detailed plan to bring peace to the middle east, an accord between the palestinian people and israelis. that took a lot of political courage and political capital. i don't think any president has done that in their first term. that's usually a second term event because it is fraught with danger, but we have put together a proposal that calls for a two state solution, palestinian capital in the city limits of a secondsalem, and u.s. embassy, so it would be the second city after rome where we two embassies to
sovereign countries in the same city. an excellent opportunity for the palestinians. a $50 billion economic plan that could go higher. we encourage the palestinians to come to the table. we were able to unite the israelis, which was no easy task given the election in a few election, their third for the folks in iowa who are a little upset, look at israel, they are in the third election in less than a year, so don't feel too bad. but we are moving forward to bring peace and opportunity to the holy land. we took decisive action to end the reign of terror of cause and solemani -- wqassem soleimani. in davos, every head of state from the region, including from states that might not be the biggest fan of american foreign policy, said this is a game changer. the american military and
coalition partners, many of whom you represent here today, took a caliphate the size of great britain and eliminated the isis caliphate. to soldiers brought justice al-baghdadi. one of the touching moments in the state of the union was carl mueller holding the picture of his beautiful daughter, an aid worker, doing the sorts of things many of us have done and our kids have done, going to dusty and desolate places to help our fellow man. instead of being able to realize her dream of helping people in and, she was taken captive subject to unspeakable things. justice was brought to baghdadi. we've had unprecedented personal diplomacy in north korea. when president trump came into office, that was the number one foreign-policy challenge. the obama administration was preparing for war in the korean
peninsula. we've de-escalated tensions and there is help for a denuclearize korean peninsula. kim jong-un has not lived up to the promises he made in singapore, they commitments to denuclearize north korea, but we will continue doing the hard work of diplomacy. working very hard on that, and we will keep pushing forward. we've encouraged our nato allies to burden share. that was something that people scoffed at the president, said you cannot get this done. i went back before taking office and did some research for a paprer i wrote. every president since jimmy carter made it part of the campaign platform to encourage nato to pay, non-american nato members to pay more money towards our collective defense, and every single president including heroes of mine like
president reagan, h.w. bush, bush, no one was able to get that done. president trump got that done, and by 2024 we will have over $400 billion in additional spending by non-american nato members on defense. that's good for them, for us. a strong nato is good for the world. we withdrew from the ineffective inf treaty. the russians had been cheating on that treaty for many years. the other thing, it tied our hands. while we did not build and the russians supposedly did not build missiles covered by the treaty, our friends in the people's republic of china built thousands of noncompliant missiles. they were not part of the treaty, and you don't blame them, they had an opportunity and they did that. but the days of unilateral american disarmament are over. we ended defense sequestration, a policy notke it
to criticize the prior administration, but perhaps the most difficult policy to overcome from the last administration. but in three years, we for $2.2 trillion back in the military, navy, newr a 355-ship weapon systems that will revolutionize warfare and make america stronger. the president believes and i believe in a simple approach to foreign policy and national security, peace through strength. that was president reagan's policy, a successful policy going all the way back to biblical, roman times. and we believe weakness is provocative and encourages bad actors, malign actors to do things that damage the united states and our friends and allies. we're going back to a peace through strength posture. underlining all this is an
understanding of something i don't think any president in my lifetime save ronald reagan truly understood, that our economic security is what underpins our national security. so president trump since coming to office has reordered the global trade order. we had, the united states was on the wrong, the losing end of many trade relationships. the president says, i don't blame you, you were getting a great deal, our trade deficit was $600 billion in the case of china, why wouldn't you do that for your people? i play my predecessors. so in the last -- blame my predecessors. so in the last several weeks, we signed the phase i deal in with the protection of american intellectual property. we signed the largest trade deal in the history of the world, usmca, that will result in at least 100,000 new jobs and bring
fairness back to the system. it also creates an incredible bloc between the u.s., mexico and canada and eliminates loopholes were foreign governments not part of the north america trading system would exploit nafta to obtain further advantage against the united states. as you heard last night, unemployment is at a record low, but not just the unemployment rate. what's interesting, the rate started to fall several years before the president took office. the reason it was falling, americans were leaving the labor force. what's happened now, the rate has fallen to record lows for african-americans, women, youth, workers, blue collar across-the-board, and at the same time that 3 million more americans have entered oriented re-entered the job market. the list of accomplishments is long and impressive, and the
president did a much better job laying that out last night and i did in my remarks. but that economic success gives us the ability to seek peacve the middle east and stand with friends and allies to make the world a better place. i believe president trump is a transformative figure who reinvigorated american strength at home and abroad and laid the foundation for a second american century. not long ago, it was commonplace, i put together some essays, it was common to believe america was in decline, and the best thing we could do was manage that decline, follow the british empire and become a second-rate power but in style. america is not declining. its best days are ahead of us, i believe, and as you travel, when you get outside washington, new
york, get out to the rest of the country, you find optimism, happiness, and a real faith in the future of the united states. so i leave you with that message and thank you for all your service. you do us a great service by being here, representing your countries so ably. it has been my great privilege to work with many of you, and i look forward to working with all of you. thank you all, god bless your countries and god bless amer ica. [applause] working with all of you during my tenure here. >> thank you, robert, for that introduction. you mentioned the reordering of the nsc. if you look at the history, the honest broker model
or when there's a breakdown in the relationship between the nsc, operating more independently. i wonder, do you have a role model, or are you trying to do your own thing in terms of the structure and your relationship with the cabinet agencies? obviously we have this cabinet form of government. >> great question. individually. i was wondering if you could comment on you have a model on this we try to do your own think in terms of structure and relationship with the cabinet agencies who we have this tablet form of government to play a critical role. great question and a do the same thing that evanescence good advisor be the party has said when he took office, and that is you look to brent scowcroft. general schoolcraft did a superb job in organizing the nsc but also in executing his mentioned as the nationals get advice to the president. his model, the honest broker model. what i told the president, i'll
call you what i said in my in it for the job i told him my job of it i'll all bring the experience and biases from our past careers into our current jobs, but if my job is to come to you and give you the very best advice that your cabinet secretary, if you are my views on unhappy to five it to you. i want you to hear from secretary pompeo and secretary esper and secretary mnuchin and other, all of our great cabinet secretaries. you need to hear their advice and then i'm happy to weigh in and give you my thoughts on it. to do that for the president you can't go in the process with a bias, with a predetermined outcome and try to drive the meetings in the direction you want. you have to try and keys out of everyone the very best counsel that we can get up to the boss. that's my goal and i got a lot of faith in the folks the worker cabinet agencies and departments. i think we got excellent foreign service officers and with excellent officers. with fantastic folks over at homeland, energy and treasury.
so our goal is to get the president the best advice we can. once he makes the decision of the elected leader of the united states and leader of the free world, it's our job and into transmit that backdoor cabinet colleagues and make sure these agencies are opening the president goals and policies in a in a way that benefits the people of the united states. >> excellent. i did want to mention you can follow us on hashtag inside at meridian. we have in addition to our ambassadorial gas, people -- press, people watching in their living rooms, maybe not more comfortable surroundings but different surroundings. in your pajamas. in your book, lord palmerston quote, nations done a permanent allies or enemies but they have permanent interests. i was wondering as you think about strategy, you have an inbox but you have some things you want to achieve
strategically, longer-term whether it's the indo-pacific strategy compose one if you could come how you prioritize your longer-term objectives while working with all of the issues at the moment. that's probably the biggest challenge anyone sitting in the chair has come and look, that goes for senior leaders in business in the cabinet as well. we have the urgent and critical and important matters and then you've got the critical and important matters that may not be urgent. they may not be something we are dealing with today. the phone discovering is the ring to let you know there was a terrorist attack or losing life of an american servicemember or
some sort of an event that have to get up to the president to deal with immediately. balancing all those things that happen on a daily basis with our long-term plans which are set forth in the national security strategy of the united states, which is great power competition. look, our challenge and the challenge of our generation is the rise in china and the continued role in the world stage that russia plays. these are massive countries, great powers. they have incredible nuclear arsenals, conventional arsenals. we've never seen a defense buildup, you probably have to go back to kaiser wilhelm to fight an analogy to what china has done with their navy and efforts in indo-pacific to assert a dominant role in the pacific. we need to focus on great power competition and that something i talk with my staff and my colleagues about every day and we need to do that at the same
time that we are dealing with venezuela. trying to bring democracy to the long-suffering people of venezuela dealing with the situation at afghanistan which is been an 18 year military engagement for the united states trying to bring peace to afghanistan. middle east peace, obvious he did with iran and its malign influences across the region trying to establish a new hegemony or in part in the middle east. there's a lot of challenges with to deal with day-to-day but overall, but the big challenges as laid out and the president national security strategy is great power competition. we need to make sure we keep our eye on the ball and not get distracted or not put too much effort in the day-to-day challenges but maintain a steady and a wary eye on our big competitor. >> i think george scholz said diplomacy is like attending a .arden -- tending a garden you have to do it every day. and i think the crisis of the day does intrude on the execution a long-term strategy which is so critical. speaking of an inbox question or crisis of the day i wonder if you want to comment on, we have this new first phase, phase one
trade agreement with china. in ancient china either strategic competitor what to do with the blue water navy, relationship is complex, but we now have this pandemic which we are monitoring and does reports coming out of china, were not sure if those reporter i could. i know there are some things you can't talk about and can't talk of. from a national security standpoint are you coordinating or discussing when something like this takes place, how do we respond? a couple of quick points. first of all look, we've got to be very careful about the rise of china and china has vacation -- china has engaged in debt trap policy across the pacific. they moved up the second island chain. they're building naval bases across the indian ocean into africa. it's been described as a string of pearls. they've engaged in a massive defense buildup and so we have to be, keep a wary eye on what's happening there. that's united states will not be
displaced from indo-pacific. we will not be displaced from the south china sea. we will continue to believe in freedom of operations. beijing has appropriator tempted to appropriate a huge swath of the pacific ocean treat it like it some internal lake in mainland china, , be like treating like it's lake tahoe in california or in the united states. we got to keep a wary eye on that. having said that and would also been the victim of massive, massive theft from china. hundreds of billions of dollars figure in intellectual property has been taken from the united states. its intellectual property that was not created or innovative or earned by china, it was stolen and given to the companies and the abuse that intellectual property to obtain competitive advantages against us in the business world and the commerce world, and that's not fair.
china is too great of the country. i said this to my chinese college. china is too great of the country is too many smart hard-working people to have to steal our innovation and knock it off and sell it to undercut our companies that putting the money into research and development. those are big issues. having said that, the president said this, i believe we won a great relationship with china. china has amazing people, hard-working, smart, innovative themselves so there's no reason to take things from us. and china has a great future and we want to have a great relationship with china. the phase one trade deal shows that, while we may be competitors and we may have strong differences on the rule of law and how society should operate, freedom, we are very opposed to what's happening in hong kong, very opposed with happening with the uighurs and reeducation camps. we have to be concerned about the sink but the same time want to have a great relationship with china. in the context of this pandemic is a terrible situation that has befallen our friends in china. for the people that lost their lives, , family members lives in china, they have our condolences
and sympathy. today as we sent them maybe yesterday as we said 747s toevacuate some of our citizens, the cargo hold of the 747s were full of medical and other supplies donated by rankling grams, dispersed by the lds church in salt lake to take supplies and to take things that will help people as a sign of our friendship to the people of china come for the people of the united states. we will do everything we can to help china contain this pandemic. there was some very promising news the last couple of days china is welcoming the w.h.o. and the china to help address this terrible crisis that has beset the chinese. they will be an american component to the w.h.o. team so we will do everything we can. we have communicated we are standing by and will do everything we can to help china deal with this pandemic notches up the chinese people but to help people, help in the united states because this is a very dangerous and concerning virus. we need to do everything we can to contain it now and we are there for the chinese people and
for the chinese government to assist them as they face this grave crisis. this is something that goes beyond politics and it's something we all need to be concerned about. i know many other countries are also involved both trying to contain the virus in your country but also reaching out to the chinese to see how we can help them deal with this terrible epidemic. last night i think the president talked about venezuela quite a bit and i think it's extraordinary there are now 59 countries that are in
effectively coalition to try to look at the future venezuela but madura seems to have endured and survived by obviously spending money around the country, where the country from in a crisis and how does this move forward and out of the sort of standoff, if you will? >> it's a great question. one of the nice moments last night was when the president and it is juan guaido, the legitimate president of venezuela has been recognized by almost 60 countries as you point out. he stood up and that was one of the rare bipartisan moments. we should've had more bipartisan moments so that was a moment for republicans and democrats stood together and honored juan guaido, and through him were honoring the people of venezuela who are really suffering and are
having a tough time. look, the reason that venezuela does not have democracy and is not free because cuba, russia and china are propping up a dictator who does not have the support of his people, who was illegitimate and who is exercising a tyranny over the people of venezuela. so we call on china and russia and cuba to stop meddling in venezuela, to pull their support from the dictator and to let the people of venezuela have a great life. the terrible thing come some ways it's like zimbabwe in africa which at one point was the great country, beautiful country in africa. venezuela was a riches country for capital in latin america and is it's been destroyed by series of socialist dictators and we need to do every weekend to support president guaido and the venezuelan people to get the country back and to have the great glorious future that they are entitled to by the god-given resources both human and natural resources that they have in venezuela and we can help them and you're getting we can. we call the chinese and russians and tell them to knock it off.
just a couple more question before we open it up. you mentioned russia. i remember in your book going back use of open with crimea in the lack of international come from international response to crimea being the kind of thing that you look at in the early 20th century and say this is an example of an aggressive move that the world needs to respond to. i know we're trying to improve relations with russia. that's something that has been explored but we're not out of the inf treaty. we have russia involved in libya.
obviously syria, and venezuela, but where do we go with russia and did you put them in the same category as china as a major threat, challenge to the united states? and what is the different approach your taking to russia or using the same kinds of tools? >> another good question. look, russia is important country, an important power. one reason devonport is there over 1400 nuclear missiles with warheads, and they are modern. president putin has put a lot of money into his military over the past several years to reassert russian power. russia has been more adventurous around the world recently. not just with the frozen conflicts in moldova and georgia, now ukraine, although i wouldn't call that frozen. that's still pretty active. venezuela, syria, libya. so russia is returning to the type of foreign policy that i saw growing up in the '70s and '80s when the soviet bear was all over the world.
.. so we're hoping that through engagement with the russians that they'll realize that those adventures don't-- aren't good in the long-term and the people of libya and venezuela ought to determine their own future without the wagner mercenaries with one side or the other or dictators like assad or maduro. we'll reach out to the russians, it wasn't 70, 75 years ago that russia and american troops met at the river after having fought the struggle of the century, maybe the struggle of history
and russian american troops shook hands across the river and we had a great victory with russia as our ally. we're going to do this, but not going to let down allies in the world including ukraine and one thingle' point out, what's ironic about the talk about ukraine lately. i was in ukraine in 2014 for the parliamentary elections and the ukrainians begged me, please, you're the arsenal democracy, we don't want soldiers here, we want to fight ourselves, give us some aid. it wasn't the-- it was this administration that gave them aid to defend themselves again so, we're going to confront the russians where we need to, but at the same time i think we'll
negotiate, we'll start negotiating, negotiations soon on arms control and on the nuclear issue, which is important to the safety of the world to every country, not just the u.s. and russia and we'll confront the russians where we need to, where they're engaged overseas. wrap up one question, so a lot of presidents tried to bring peace between the israelis and palestinians. the old model, it's the thing that steps back and parties have to decide what they want and the united states kind of stepped back and we've put forward a plan, even though i think some aspect of the plan looked like aspects of previous plans, but you know, we also need some of the arab countries and other people who are concerned about the issue to sign on and to support palestinians who are disencourage r gauge-- the disencourage r gauge-- disengaged disengaged. do you see this as the best option today? i know it's controversial. middle east peace isn't an easy thing so we thought we'd knock
that out quickly and -- look, this is something that every president, i think, since president truman has grappled with. it's, peace between the israelis and palestinians is a difficult issue. it's shows a lot about the president and jared kushner working with secretary pompeo, all those involved in the process showed a lot of courage taking it on. we're doing it not because it's something we have to do as americans, but because we think it's the right thing to do for the people of palestine or the
west bank and gaza and for the people of israel. we decided to put forward a plan, it's a two-state solution, it's a capital in east jerusalem and access of the al axa mosque, opened it up to pilgrims from outside of jordan and israel and the west bank. so the custodianship of the holy place will remain with the king of jordan. it's probably not a perfect plan from the palestinian point of view, but what they need to do is sit down at the table and negotiate, they don't like the lines in the map and change things, they need more money for economic development, those are things that could be on the table in negotiation, but until we get them sitting down together, it's difficult for the palestinians to get what they want. this could be the two-- the israeli birth rate is strong and sadly because of anti-semitism, jews are returning to israel. if the freeze doesn't hold and peace process doesn't work, it may be physically impossible to have a two-state solution for the israelis and palestinians in
the not too distant future. we think it's an opportunity for them to get together for their people and we've been encouraged by the reaction of arab governments. there's a very positive reaction from the saudis. there's a positive reaction from the uae. and morocco, and egypt -- and compared to prior peace plans, stuart, i've been surprised how many folks in europe and the region who would have previously dismissed such a plan out of hand in solidarity with the palestinians have come forward and told the palestinians, this is an opportunity, this is the start and you need to sit down and negotiate and get the best deal you can for your people so
they can have a future. look, the palestinians are talented, hardworking, they're entrepreneurial. with the kind of money that's being offered in this package and the opportunity to have their own state and access to ports of entry, palestine could become the singapore of the middle east if they opted for this, and i hope they do instead of keeping their people, especially in gaza, in just grinding poverty and no future. so, they're at a crossroads and i hope they take the high road. >> great, i think we'll start with our friendly ambassador of colombia, and frank has some microphones so he'll be coming around and will come up here. ambassador. >> good to see you again, ambassador. many instruments of russian policy, financing, in case of venezuela they're the lifeline of the maduro government. are there any sanctions or
actions against those institutions providing maduro with the cash to survive? >> thank you good -- thank you. that's a great question and ambassador is one of my good friends and helped me in my prior job when i was the hostage envoy. we worked together to bring an american home and i'm grateful to you and to president duque. that's a great question and we'll look in the next several weeks and we're letting the russians and we're letting the company know that their support of the maduro regime is not -- it's not a good business decision, but it's also immoral what it's doing to the people of venezuela. i think you'll see some action, either voluntarily from the company or the u.s. will likely take action in the near future on that issue, it's a great question. >> great. yes, sir.
>> ambassador. what yeah, i'm ambassador from death >> yeah, i'm ambassador from south korea. i appreciate your -- and i have one brief question. you just mentioned that the -- there's no progress for the -- do we expect to the negotiation table before the presidential election in the united states? what do you forsee. thank you, ambassador. and another great question and -- >> and another great question and look, president moon is critical, president abe our friends in the region are critical to moving that diplomacy forward. and my relationship with ambassador chung is great and
with south korea on the difficult negotiations we have with dprk, with north korea. my hope is that north korea will come back to the table. we had some good talks with them late in the fall in scandinavia and we hope they'll come back to the table and then come back to sweden and meet with us. but we'll have to see. look, chairman kim made the commitment to denuclearize the north korea peninsula, that was chairman kim's commitment. what i've said if i was in the north korean foreign service or otherwise, i would certainly want to implement the commitment
of chairman kim. not to do so would seem to be at a minimum career limiting. so, we're hoping that this the north koreans will implement the commitment that their leader made to not just president trump, but to the world and we'll continue to work closely with our south korean friends and friends in japan and in the region and continue to work with the russians and chinese on this issue. as far as when it happens, i think what this president has shown and what president trump has shown both with the peace plan and otherwise is there's an utter disregard on his part for u.s. domestic politics when it comes to doing what's right for the american people. he'll be doing what's right for the american people, whether it's popular, unpopular, risky, not risky, right up until the day of the election. that's not something in my brief. we don't take any notice of the domestic political calendar, we just try and get wins for the american people and that's what the president is trying to do. so i hope that we'll see them at
the table soon. we'll see that's up to the north korean. >> philippine ambassador, thank you so much for giving us a copy of the middle east peace plan, of which our secretary publicly endorsed and supported. on the question of north korea, we wanted to know, are you still or are you asking the chinese to play a major role in the denuclearization of north korea? some people are saying that the north koreans trust the chinese more than the americans. >> well, the chinese have been a long time ally of the dprk and that's an excellent question. and president trump has said this in the past, the situation in north korea can't be solved without the chinese. we can't do it with just our allies, they have to stop the ship to ship transfers and the folks in china and remittances back to north korea to keep the economy going. we need the chinese to assist us as we pressure the north koreans to go to the table. we'll certainly be engaged with our colleagues in china on this issue.
look, i don't think that china is super excited about having north korea with a large nuclear arsenal and long range ballistic missiles on their border. i mean, look, we're farther away from north korea than the chinese are. i'm not sure that they're thrilled with the idea of having a nuclear north korea, so i think it's in china's interest to work with us. they have been working with us and we'll continue to press them to do everything they can to help chairman kim realize the commitment he made in singapore. >> great. like a speed round here. ambassador to the ukraine. >> ukraine, so, first of all, i would like to thank you for your kind words about my country and for the assistance given to ukraine by the united states. my question is the following, would you agree there's need for more active u.s. involvement into the existing negotiating form between the u.s. and russia, and do you feel like
there's a need to fill the gap which exists, both special on the united states or ukraine, thank you. >> thank you, ambassador and i had a great experience in ukraine. by the way, if you haven't been to ukraine, go. the food is fantastic, the people are warm, and the architecture and the culture in ukraine is really spectacular. so if you get a chance to visit ukraine, do so. i spent time in kyev on the western border of poland when i was a western observer in 2014. and it was one of the first i staffed the president was meeting with president zelensky at the u.n. i didn't realize when i came on board that ukraine would be as policy issue or domestic policy issue, but listen, we're here to support ukraine and we're in constant touch with our colleagues in paris and other european capitals on the normandy process.
i think there was some progress that was made in the last round of the normandy talks. so we want to see that progress built upon and we want to see the russians live up to the commitments that they've made both in the province. and we'll continue to support our friends in ukraine. so it's a -- an independent ukraine is a ukraine that controls its own sovereignty and interact with europe the way it wants to not the way that moscow wants it to. and it's important to the u.s. and the world and especially to europe. we're very supportive of president zelensky in his efforts to reform corruption in ukraine and i think he can count on continued friendship and strong support from the united >> we'll do av
question here and then i'd like to ask a press, i believe a couple of press questions. >> yes. thank you so much, ambassador o'brien. i would like to ask a question on your view for us your point toward african country and african union because you are coming together as a unit. thank you so much. >> ambassador, that's a great question. i'm going to turn this into a travel log, but if you get a chance to visit rwanda, it's an amazing place. it's one of the cleanest countries you'll ever visit. the people are incredibly warm there. you get a chance to go see the gorillas, which the president and the rwandan people are literally saving this wildlife heritage of the world. i'm not sure the gorillas would survive if it wasn't for the president and efforts of rahwanda rwanda. and it's becoming a great
commercial capital in east africa in the great lakes region and it's a tremendous success story. a lot of us remember the difficult days of rwanda and you know, those days are long past and rwanda has become a great leader in africa. so if you get a chance to spend time in africa, make sure that it's on your eye ten ryitinerary and it's wonderful in the east africa region. -- itinerary and it's wonderful in the east africa region. look, africa is critical to the world and when we look at the number of young people in africa, when we look at the demographic trends in the world, africa is going to, you know, every five years play a more and more important role in the world economy and world politics because of its size, because of the number of people. africans are showing optimism in the future having kids and the birth rates in many other parts of the world are declining.
so it's important that we remain engaged in africa. we have a number of initiatives across africa, whether it's pepfar, whether it's new trade initiatives. the opic is there, the bank is there, we're very committed to strong commercial ties to africa and building up africa through trade and investment and not through the old mechanism of foreign aid, unfortunately too much of that aid was siphoned off to corrupt leaders and corrupt governments. so, look, we think there's a very bright future in africa and we're going to be engaged with africa and recently had-- he think you were there, mr. ambassador. all the ambassadors over to the
white house for a meeting or my colleague and ambassador from egypt was there and others of you. our approach to africa is different from the chinese, for example, we're not going in for diplomacy where we loan an africa company for a railroad and bring americans in to build the railroad and not develop skills with the locals. and maybe it's shoddy or maybe the sports stadium is falling apart and use the debt you've incurred and high interest rates in order for us to have leverage over your government. that's not how we do our foreign policy. we're encouraging american companies and private sector to go into africa, to do good deals in africa. africa is a very resource rich. resource rich because the natural resources because of the people of africa. we want american companies to go
into africa, train african workers, make money in africa, treat africa like it's a, you know, with the respect that it's due and not just as a place for foreign largess or to be taken advantage of. it's different from the russia and chinese approach. we're there to be partners with africa and we want to see african country like rwanda to become strong and respect human rights, respect the rule of law and develop great futures for their country. and for countries that are doing that, we'll be there for them. >> congratulations for the act that is going to increase the amount of u.s. direct foreign investment in places like africa. ap. associated press. >> thank you, ambassador bolten for-- thank you ambassador o'brien. i don't have a book out so -- >> you don't have a mustache either. >> on ukraine, we're going to be seeing an acquittal probably and you know, the president's always said that he thought that his request for an investigation of the bidens was ok, that he did
nothing wrong. so in light of the acquittal that's probably coming is the administration going to continue to seek investigations in the ukraine and secondly bolten, which was on my mind, is the nsc or the white house dragging its feet on the view, on the declassification, review of bolten's manuscript? >> yes, so, i think there are a couple of questions in there. let me try and answer them in turn. first on ukraine, look, i'm not aware of any request the president made to investigate the bidens per se. i think what the president wanted done, he wanted ukraines to investigate corruption in the ukraine. and he made that very clear and look, we want governments around
the world that have-- especially when a new government comes in to replace a government in which corruption had flourished, we want governments to investigate corruption. we don't want to send u.s. foreign aid -- i think of every time we send foreign aid and i'm in favor of sending aid to our friends around the world that need it, but i think of a single mom, you know, working in detroit and paying taxes and some of those tax dollars are going to the foreign aid, to some country that we want to help because americans have big hearts, and want it assist folks overseas so i think of that single mom's tax dollars going to a place where some corrupt leader is going to take it and divert it to a swiss bank account or a cayman bank account
or use it for misdeeds against their own people. i don't want to see corruption anywhere the u.s. is involved whether it's ukraine or anywhere else. with respect to the acquittal today. i think i'm looking forward to it. i think it's a terrible pall over the united states and our ability to operate in the foreign policy arena because of the investigation. i think it was unfounded. look, i personally found, i'll go off script here and i'm not involved in the impeachment. i came to the administration or at least the white house after some of the events that have been at issue occurred, but i've spent my entire life, whether it was in africa, afghanistan, europe, talking about the rule of law. i spent my life as a lawyer for the most part in private
practice engaged in international arbitration. i think the rule of law is one of the critical things that the united states and our allies in the west have to share with the world. and there was no indicia of fairness in the house proceedings against the president. and i think that's why you're going to have such a prompt acquittal in the senate today, an acquittal that's welcome and i think the american people are-- it's difficult for americans to go out and talk about the right to confront witnesses, the right to have counsel, the right to have public hearings when none of that took place in the house. so i welcome the senate's acquittal. i think it's going to be bipartisan acquittal just like the vote against the impeachment article was a bipartisan against the impeachment. i think a bipartisan acquittal today. the good news is that the president has thick skin and he's a -- he's a tough guy, so while this impeachment thing is
going on, we've had the usmca signed, we've had the chinese phase one deal signed, we've negotiated a peace, a ceasefire in northern syria, in turkey to save the lives of many, many kurdish fighters. we've taken out, taken terrorists off the battlefield, some of the most despicable human beings in the world, taken them off the battlefield. so the president has shown the ability to get the work of the american people done, the economy is on fire, but i think the acquittal will, it's something i welcome and something that the vast majority of the american people welcome and as far as ukraine goes as i said in my earlier answer we're looking forward to a continued strong relationship with president zelensky and with the ukrainian people as they confront very, very serious challenges on their eastern border. great. thank you. ask our former chairman, governor/ambassador jim blanchard. >> well, with all due respect, i don't think that the president is known for having thick skin,
but otherwise, i'm going to forgive you on that one. two quick questions, one is, have you read the mueller report and the second one is, what do you think about john bolton writing a book about his memoirs working in the white house while the president's continuing to serve his current term? what do you think about that? and did you read the mueller report? >> yeah, so i read a fair amount of the mueller report. i wasn't at the white house when that came out, but i'm pretty familiar with the mueller report. and it was a, you know, i think the mueller report is an exoneration of the president. again, i think there were folks that truly, truly believed and had the opinion that the president, that the will of the american people in the election was somehow illegitimate and i think they took actions against the president from day one that were very unfortunate. and disappointing. so i think, i think we're beyond the mueller report. i think we'll be beyond impeachment today and i think this is a real opportunity for the president to get continued wins for the american people and
i'd like to see some bipartisanship return to washington. look. when i was in the bush administration and finished off and tendered my resignation the last day of afghanistan and secretary clinton asked me to stay on. i stayed on for a year and a half and was happy to do so. we need to have civility returned to this city and we need to have some bipartisan that's been utterly lacking. that's good for the american people. i thought there were some instances of bipartisanship last night, but things that happened in the house chamber when veterans and others were being
honored and there was not bipartisan support for them. there was disappointing. so i think we need to get back to bipartisan support. as far as tell-all books i'm not going to comment on ambassador bolten and his situation why he did what he did. i'm not going to write a tell-all when i leave office, i think the president is entitled to my trust and vice versa. if he wants to discuss policy issues or views on conversations with foreign leaders or go through military operations that are sensitive, he deserves to have my discretion and my confidentiality. and so, i'm not going to do, i'm not going to write a tell-all book and you know, even to write a biography or a memoir. there ought to be a decent amount of time after you've left office so you don't put the united states at risk. it's in review. as far as the book goes, the book is under review by professionals na do this sort of thing. i mean, anyone who has worked in the white house or other agencies and has signed a-- the types of nondisclosure agreements you have to sign to have access to top secret and compartmented conversationinformation. and if you want to spend time in government there's a review process for that and ambassador bolten's book is in review by career professionals and they'll be in cutch with him-- touch with him. and they've been in touch with his counsel. we're running out of time. i think we have time for one or
two questions. we'll go back here. thank you, from the economist. ambassador o'brien you referred to in arms control talks with russia. could you elaborate on that, particularly specifically on the process of extending star, less than a year to go for the deadline. thank you for asking. and we spent a lot of time and folks get wound up about various issue around the world. there's probably no more serious issue than any president of the united states faces than the issue of nuclear arms, especially with countries like russia and china that have massive nuclear inventories. as do-- as does the united states. so we think that a process, an arms control process, even a process to reduce the number of nuclear weapons that the major powers hold is important. it's something that's very important to the president. it's an awesome responsibility to be the president or to advise the president on these issues. i think we have been in touch
with the russians and will continue to be in touch with the russians. how the framework is set up, whether it is a new start, better -- those of the things we have to work out, but i also think and more importantly the president believes, china needs to become involved in negotiation and so we are going to work on some of those talks in the coming months and year and it is a very important issue to us and we'll see how the framework developed. i expect we will be going to beijing to talk about how we can reduce the threat of nuclear war
and how we can reduce those threats that are existential. >> thank you for sharing your insight. of bertie and, we appreciate your service. we know your family gave up a beautiful life to be here at the beltway. know many ofand i the colleagues here work with your team and i'm sure they know how to find them. we look forward to your continued engagement. >> it is an honor to be here. thank you for having me. [applause]
>> article two was adopted. >> do you solemnly swear that in all things pertaining to the trial of the impeachment of donald john trump, president eve the united states, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the constitution and law so help you god? >> the senate will indian the court of impeachment. >> what we have seen over the last couple days is a dissent into constitutional madness. >> again, we think the basis upon which this has moved forward is irregular to say the least. >> donald john trump, president of the united states, is not guilty as charged in the second article of impeachment. >> for the third time in u.s. history, a president has been impeached and acquitted. from the house hearings to the senate trial, c-span has provided live, comprehensive trial of the impeachment of president trump.
you can find all of our video and related resources at c-span.org/impeachment. c-span, your place for unfiltered coverage of congress. on saturday, 2020 presidential democratic candidates will be speaking at the new hampshire mcintyre shaheen 100 club event dates ahead of the new hampshire primary. live coverage starts at 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. next, the executives of several e-cigarette manufacturing companies testified on capitol hill about how their companies are addressing the youth vaping epidemic. the hearing comes as the federal government banned sales of certain e-cigarette vaped pods, including fruit, dessert, and mint flavors. >> the