tv The Daily Briefing With Dana Perino FOX News August 14, 2018 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
>> thank you for joining us. i'll see you at 4:00 p.m. with david asman on fox business. here's dana. >> dana: sarah sanders set to brief reporters at the bottom of the hour as the trump campaign takes legal action against omarosa. i'm dana perino. this is "the daily briefing." today's move comes after omarosa released another audio recording of the trump campaign. workers discussing an alleged tape of the president using a racial slur during the taping of "the apprentice." something the president has denied. laura ingle has more. >> there's a lot to get to. because these documents were filed with an arbitration group, instead of of a public court system, the paperwork will be
private. president donald trump's campaign has filed an arbitration action against former aide omarosa manigault newman alleging breach of a confidentiality agreement that she signed in 2016. as many have reported, she released the new book titled "unhinged." manigault newman has released three recordings so far. she made a conversation she said she had with high level white house staff and. trump. the first was a recording of chief of staff john kelly firing her in the situation room inside the white house and then a subsequent phone call with the president. she next released a recording with top campaign officials discussing how to spin a release of a video of candidate trump using a racial slur, something that. trump and his aides have denied ever happened. manigault newman appeared on cbs this morning and was asked why she made these tapes
specifically the ones involving top aides. >> yes, i'm the kind of person that covers her own back. in trump world, everyone lies. everyone says one thing one day and they change their story the next day. i wanted this type of documentation to show in the event i found myself in the position as where they're questioning my credibility, saying they never discussed the accusations, the president had never heard these accusations when this tape proves that they discussed it at high levels of the trump campaign. >> so katrina pearson, a former spokesperson told fox today they heard rumors about an alleged tape from "the apprentice." the statement reads as follows. >> dana: thanks, laura.
>> thanks. >> dana: closing arguments set for tomorrow morning the paul manafort trial. the defense rested earlier today without calling any onces. catherine herridge is live outside the courtroom. where do things stand right now, catherine? >> in the last half hour, the jury has come back in to the courtroom on the ninth floor of the building behind me. they heard directly from the defense that they will not be presenting witnesses or evidence and that the defense is resting its case. the judge reminded the jury that the defense is under no obligation to prevent a case to rebut the government's arguments. we have a really good sense of the tech talk of the next couple days. there's what is called a charging conference this afternoon where the judge meets with the lawyers so jurors are absent and they talk about the instructions to the jury and whether the parties want to weigh-in or have any objections to what the judge is proposing. he anticipates the closing
arguments from both sides. he would like them to run 90 minutes or less. same time for his instructions to the jury. so he believes that the jury should have the case late tomorrow. final note, dana, there was a sealed proceeding this morning and really fueled speculation that there was some kind of problem with one or more of the jurors. when we were back in the courthouse just a half hour ago and the jurors returned, it was all 12 and the four alternates. so if there was a jury problem, apparently for now has been resowed, dana. >> why didn't manafort testify? >> in the last few minutes, dana and quite unexpectedly, we had the lead attorney for paul manafort, kevin downing, speak briefly to reporters. he laid out the arguments against his client testifying for the court. let's listen. >> we've rested on that. >> what do you say to those that have said this makes your client look guilty?
>> well, we live in the united states of america. you're presumed innocent until proven guilty. we believe the government cannot meet that burden. >> source close to the defense told fox news that they want to keep the focus on manafort's former business partner, rick gates. this is the government's star witness and they want the focus to be on questions about gates credibility as a star witness for the government rather than on their client and as a final note, manafort faces a second prosecution in the district of columbia. so if he took the stand here in virginia, that could complicate that proceedings, dana. >> dana: that makes a lot of sense. thanks, katherine. >> it does. you're welcome. i'm joined by bret baier anchor of "special report." lots to cover here. sarah sanders will brief at the bottom of the hour. so we're keeping an eye on that. let's start with paul manafort. the trial has been getting a lot of attention.
the defense rested today, probably deciding there's nothing that they could do to improve their chances of manafort being found not guilty by the jury if he took the stand. your thoughts. >> yeah, listening to the defense attorney, they sound confident. we'll see. that's what defense attorneys do. they portray this confidence. if you're paul manafort, you're hoping they're confident and the government didn't make the case and cross the burden for the jury to come back with a guilty plea. for the rumors there was a jury problem, seems like it's moving ahead. closing arguments tomorrow. this judge has really moved things along. it has not drug on as some people thought it might. we should have both closing arguments and statements by tomorrow afternoon. >> dana: during this trial, the judge did not allow anyone to bring up anything to do with the 2016 campaign. you could not say president trump, you could not say
oligarch. so that has been separate and apart from the mueller investigation. there's new polling, a cnn poll, showing that 2/3s of americans, 66%, say mueller should try to complete his investigation before the mid-term. 26% say that should not be his goal. the poll also asked how important will the investigation be in casting your vote for congress. 63% say it will be somewhat important. i wonder about the polling whether it's important or not. on "the five", a few colleagues say nobody cares about this. they could be right, this poll indicates that somewhat of interest to voters out there. >> you know, it comes from both sides. it could be republicans saying that they don't want democrats to take control to launch an impeachment proceeding. that takes a lot of the time and focus away from things that the country could be getting done. it could be the other way. democrats are saying this
president, this administration, needs to be stopped and those things should happen. that poll is a little -- depends how you look at it. >> dana: president trump tweeting about that investigation today. his attorney general saying if we had a real attorney general, this witch hunt wouldn't have been started. looking at the wrong people. what do you think of the fact that attorney general jeff sessions now for almost 20 months has been under this kind of glare from the president? >> it is pretty remarkable, if you think about it. president trump hired the attorney general. he, the attorney general, recused himself from the russia probe. obviously the president didn't think that was the right thing to do. but he has stayed on and continued to act on a number of different issues outside of that. he's still fighting for trump administration policies when it comes to justice but gets lambasted on twitter day after
day. we've never seen anything like it. i don't think jeff sessions will step down. >> dana: if he hasn't by now, he probably won't. let me ask you about omarosa. there's an ongoing feud with the white house and omarosa. the trump team saying look, you signed something, an mda in 2016 on the campaign. they will file a complaint against her. i thought about that phrase "feed a cold, starve a fever." how do you think the white house is doing trying to get passed this one? >> you're right. if you wanted to take the focus off of this book, off of omarosa, you wouldn't be tweeting nonstop about it and you wouldn't follow the tweets calling her a dog. however, this president is a counter puncher and we've seen it before. we saw it with the michael wolf book. the tweets and the comments
about the book that was discredited in sourcing, but got a ton of attention and thereby sold a ton of books. this is how it operates. >> dana: i think perhaps -- it's an interesting strategy. when i worked in that world, it's not one i followed. but i think the president tweets for fire and fury, helped to discredit and thinking that nobody will be defending me against omarosa so i better do it myself. >> sure. in the past that has worked over time to his supporters buck them up and say this is nonsense. but he also creates his own vortex of controversy when he ends a tweet calling a female a dog that worked for him and he hired in his white house. i'm just pointing out that these are things that the news cycle could be different had one tweet not appeared this morning.
we'll see how the rest of the day goes. >> dana: i expect there will be litigation against her. that could go on for a while. if they decide to do that, it opens it up to discovery and you have testimony from both sides. i don't know if that will happen. they threaten a lot of lawsuits that don't go for toward. the threat of a lawsuit can make somebody stop talking. >> i think this is going to arbitration. that's what they're saying, to see if it can be upheld, this nondisclosure agreement, which as you know is unique as well for not only a campaign but in government service. >> dana: in government service, i've never heard of it. >> kellyanne conway will be on "special report." we'll talk about a bunch things including this. >> dana: must mean the weather is good down there. >> shepard: it is. >> dana: thanks. fox news alert. 35 people were killed in italy after a bridge collapsed sending cars plunging nearly 150 feet to
the ground. here's a live look at the scene. rescue crews are still working. live to the white house where sarah sanders will brief reporters moments from now. we expect her to be asked about the omarosa tapes and the complaints filed against her. voters heading to the polls in key midwestern states. how will the primaries impact the mid-terms and hope for a blue or red wave? >> four or five, depending how you count of minnesota's eight congressional states are very competitive. so the outcome of these races could determine which party controls the u.s. house of representatives come november. fact is, every insurance company hopes you drive safely. but allstate helps you. with drivewise. feedback that helps you drive safer. and that can lower your cost now that you know the truth... are you in good hands? is not a marathon.
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a man hunt is underway for an armed suspect that briefed a military base earlier today. the suspect jumped over the fence at joint base san antonio around 10:00 a.m. today. this person escaped in a stolen vehicle. u.s. marshalls are in pursuit and the base is on lockdown. primary day across the country with voters heading to the polls in minnesota. big races there, the battle for governor and both senate seats are up for grabs this year. the incumbent fighting off challenges from three democrats. if she wins, she will face off against republicans for her seat. and al franken's set is open. joining me now, larry sabato, always a pleasure to see you. aside from florida, which is a bunch of races there this year
this mid-term, is minnesota a state that we should be paying attention to? >> yes, incredibly. minnesota was not that competitive overall. the governorship changed hands a lot. used to be heavily democratic. it's the only state that ronald reagan didn't carry. it's changed. it's evolved. it's one of those states that trump came close to carrying, was within a couple points of carrying but nobody expected him to do well in. we're watching that. yes, governor, two senate seats and four toss-ups in the house out of their eight seats. it's the largest proportion for any state that is a toss-up of any state with more than five congressional seats. >> how would you recommend a candidate to break through the noise? if you have three statewide races, that's huge for any state. then you have all the competitive house races that you
mentioned. how would you break out of the noise? >> well, yeah, dana, my advice, which is widely ignored, would be that candidates spend their money on voter contact and get out the vote. they have their own friends and neighbors vote and it may be different than some of their ticket mates. so instead of putting another ad on tv when people will see a glut of them, spend your money finding extra votes. abraham lincoln said find them and vote them. that was the key to politics and still is. >> there's interesting races in wisconsin. paul ryan has decided not to run. he's held that seat in wisconsin for many, many years. a democratic candidates are iron worker randy bryce and kathy myers. among the crowded republican field, bryant steele is a frontrunner and also in the race, jeremy ryan, kevin
adamstein and paul neyland. that's a lot of people. that seat doesn't come open very often. >> that's exactly it. a lot of bottled up ambition in that district. you often see this with a long-term incumbent retires. a lot of results in wisconsin, including that seat, will be determine with what happens with state walker running for a third term as governor. actually, his fourth election as governor. he had the recall election that split his first term. he's well-known, but he's never gotten more than 52% of the vote. so this is his toughest challenge yet and it will affect all of the people below him. >> dana: exactly. let me ask you about vermont. in the minute that we have left, take a listen to this young man running there. he's got an unusual age. watch. >> i mean, my campaign
transcends age. i want people to think of me as pragmatic progressive that happens to be 14. >> dana: so that is ethan. he's 14 years old running for governor. that's always unusual and fun to see young people getting out there. should we be paying attention to vermont tonight? >> we pay attention only because -- i encourage that young man. i like to see young people involved in politics. obviously a 14-year-old won't be governor. but the governor is a republican. that surprises a lot of people. vermont is such a blue state. governor phil scott. he's likely to win re-election. one of the problems that the democrats are having in gubernatorial elections, vermont, massachusetts and maryland all have moderate republican governors and they're all favors for re-election. normally you think a democrat would pick up those seats in a democratic year. doesn't seem to be happening. >> dana: the governors you
mentioned have high approval ratings. thanks, larry. loved having you. thank you. >> thanks, dana. >> dana: a new study finds three of every ten congressional candidates have significant security issues with their websites. the study was released at the defcon security conference. we are waiting for the white house briefing. we'll go there live as soon as it begins. plus, wet weather forcing a couple to be rescued on their wedding day while crews brave wild fires across the midwest. will they get relief from mother nature? this is not a bed.
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>> dana: a bride and groom trapped in new jersey for their wedding. and in the west, winds and thunderstorms expected this weekend. adam klotz, tell us what's going on. >> just really big storms moving across the mid-atlantic. eventually we'll talk about some of that fire, severe fire weather across the western portion of the country. here's the rain that just continues. every time folks have seen rain in d.c., pennsylvania, what we've seen in those areas is rain getting up to two to four inches. it just continues time and time again. so that is an issue that they are going to be dealing with unfortunately here for a little while. i'm having a few issues here with my clicker.
>> it's a great graphic. >> we'll have to look at it a second longer than i had intended. >> dana: i lived in england a year. the past several months have felt like that. it's raining all the time. >> and the rain continues over and over. this is our radar estimated precipitation here in the last seven days. heavy rounds of rain over and over again. that is what we've been seeing across this region. here's the future radar. there's still some rain in the region and it's more isolated here in the next couple days. we will be drying off by the middle of the week. unfortunately there's flood warnings across the region. that's something that we have to watch for. elevated fire danger out west. it's dry and rainless here for a little while. that's where you have the red flag warnings, the fire weather watches in some locations. that isn't going to change. something interesting is going to be happening here the next couple days. western rainfall, pay attention
specifically to northern california. there are going to be thunderstorms in this region. we call them dry thunderstorms. the rain will be falling and going to be evaporating before it hits the ground. this is a worse situation. you still get lightning. you can still cause more wild fires in this region. this is happening again during thunderstorms. so the rains there, what we need, it evaporates -- >> dana: growing up out west, i know the fire danger. my family in wyoming is looking for rain. that is -- >> a little rain, yeah. >> dana: thanks, adam. appreciate it. the white house briefing is minutes away. we'll bring it to you as soon as sarah sanders steps away. a look at the shifting landscape for the mid-term. hey there people eligible for medicare.
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>> dana: america's election headquarters up and running with primaries in four states. we're keeping a close eye on several key races in the midwest. team fox coverage and analysis. peter doocy is live in wisconsin. we begin with mike emanuel in minneapolis. mike? >> dana, good afternoon. shocking allegations of abuse have taken a high profile rising star in the democratic party off of the campaign trail heading into today's minnesota primary. congressman keith ellison is the deputy chair of the democratic national committee. he's been a member of congress since 2007. ellison is considered the frontrunner to be the attorney
general in a field of five democrats. over the weekend, his ex-girlfriend accused him of abusing his mother and claims there's evidence. she told minnesota public radio why she doesn't intend to release the video she has of ellison mistreating her. >> it's not on me to try to keep proving to people this happens. when i originally was going to share my story, i had no intention of taking about video or texts. it was simple as me sharing what happened to me. >> ellison put out a statement sunday night saying -- >> ellison has the edge in the attorney general's race in terms of name i.d. and money behind his campaign. one expert says the abuse allegations raised questions
about his fitness to be the minnesota attorney general. if he wins tonight, it's not over. >> the possibility of a tape i think becomes a weapon to be used that could happen, for example, a week or a couple days before the general election. so i think the worst thing for ellison at this point for this accusation to be hanging out there where it could possibly linger on through the general election. >> something working in keith ellison's favor, early voting that happened before the allegation surfaced. others have noted that a lot of minnesotans are at their summer cabins. a mid august primary may have light turnout. bottom line, if he wins tonight, experts say it's still career threatening. dana? >> thanks, mike. now to the primaries underway in wisconsin where democrats are fighting for the chance to unseat republican governor scott walker and there's a crowded field in the battle to replace
paul ryan. peter doocy is in wisconsin. peter? >> dana, the last three times democrats have tried to unseat scott walker or beat scott walker, they have failed. twice in general elections, once with a recall. that frustrates democrats in wisconsin because while he's been in office, walker has been butting heads with public workers unions by forcing them to pay more for certain benefits and rolling back certain bargaining power they had. now democrats have an eight candidate field trying to knock him off. whoever wins could reveal a lot about what kind of candidate democratic voters in the midwest believe gives them the best chance to flip gop offices and seats. republicans are about to take a senate candidate that gives them the best chance of a blue wave. the target is incumbent democratic senator tammy baldwin. republicans trying to challenge here including kevin nicholson
from the college of democrats that broke with the party and his family over the pro choice part of the democratic platform. he's got a fund-raising lead but he doesn't have the backing of wisconsin's gop heavyweights like paul ryan. another very important primary is the race to replace paul ryan. he wants his former aid, brian style to succeed him. the district has five other republicans running as well who will face the winner of the democratic party in the first district. come november, first district here in wisconsin no longer is a sure thing for the republicans. dana? >> thanks, peter. the white house sounded optimistic about the mid-terms. larry kudlow telling politco these are very good terms. the confidence indices are telling a very important story
and potus' polling in the low to mid 50s. the blue wall has crashed. joining me now, senator al franken and josh holmes, former chief of staff to mitch mcconnell. drew, i'll go to you first and allow you to respond to larry kudlow about the economy and whether that will help republicans keep the house. >> thanks, dana. i'm afraid it won't. here's why. people don't see the economy in terms of gdp or abstract numbers. so republicans attempting to take away people's healthcare coverage, driving up the cost of healthcare coverage, starting a trade war can tariffs and limiting the state in local tax deductions for taxpayers, that's a blue state issue mostly but in the ten largest state and tax paying states, there's 22 vulnerable republican house seats. you can flip the house there with people that are paying a lot more in federal income taxes
because of the trump tax bill. >> dana: josh, i sure you'll disagree. for the fox house power rankings looking overall, likely are leaning republican seats at 204. likely lean democrat seats at 202. evenly split there. 29 of the seats are considered toss-ups. do you think for the republicans that they have a story to tell about the economy that could help them take it over the -- get them more red in that column? >> no question. it was james carville said it's the economy, stupid. the economy is the good story for the republicans. i wish it was an easy action larry preducted. some of the consumer confidence indicators showed how you vote in november. but we have significant structural issues with retirement and just your malaise
of an environment to overcome. the economy is nothing but good. if we want to talk about how american people feel about the economy, you have millions of people that received a bonus as a result of the tax cuts. so there's a lot of different stories to share. >> dana: we'll show you the viewers and ask drew about this. the economic indicator since the president's inauguration, they're up. as you point out, i know you're saying people don't look at real gdp. consumer confidence up 14%. democrats out there on the campaign trail, is their message about the economy not doing as well as people feel it is or that republicans say it is? is that message working? >> well, i think it is. you see that the economy is humming along in some ways, not as real wage growth. trump's favorable numbers are around 40%. no economic news has helped raise his numbers. there's a disconnect between how
people perceive the economy and how people perceive what the government is doing about the economy. those are two different subjects. >> dana: i was going to ask you about this. it caught my eye. a new group called the black economic alliance. basically they're saying it's nonpartisan and formed by african american business leaders. they decided to endorse four democrats in four closely races. the group also endorsing incumbent virginia senator tim kaine. this is a group saying they're nonpartisan, a business oriented group. josh, you think some republicans should appeal to them? >> absolutely. i'm a huge fan of people getting involved in the process both in terms of the activist side and in terms of the donation side. the more people that pay attention and participate in the process the better it is for everybody. i happen to think the candidates
will lose and lose horribly in november that you just mentioned. the exception being tim kaine that holds on in virginia. >> dana: i was surprised by that one. tim kaine doesn't think the race is close. but maybe they have other information. your thoughts on this new group? >> dana: they're looking not just at close races, they're looking at states where african americans are 10% of the population and where turnout could be an issue. not just in this campaign cycle but future cycles looking ahead to the 2020 cycle. so virginia is one of though states like especially georgia is where they endorsed stacey abrams. i think they're thinking about the long game. >> one last question to you both. florida looks like senator nelson trailing a little bit behind rick scott. but with cuban americans, rick scott up over him. puerto rican americans -- excuse me. portuerto ricans saying there'st
a huge gap there. florida is a big state to watch. drew, we just talked about minnesota. i know you know minnesota well. florida a really big state. quick thought from both of you on the gubernatorial race in florida. start with you, josh. >> i think rick scott will win. he's been an incredible candidate. bill nelson has been playing defense. scott there with the numbers. it's good news for him in november. >> all right, drew. >> nelson is a fighter. he's not gone on the air yet. if josh's old boss would let nelson get back to florida and campaign, it would improve things a great deal for him. >> dana: we'll blame mitch mcconnell for that one today. thanks, guys. >> he will take it. >> thank you, dana. >> dana: sarah sanders set to brief the white house press corps momentarily. we'll bring that when it begins. the mid-term races are heating up. we'll special to a republican looking to unseat democratic
>> shepard: shepard smith on the fox news deck. we're waiting on the white house briefing and we'll have other news. a grand jury bomb shell on predator priests on the catholic church in the state of pennsylvania. a wide range investigation. it's the crisis in the catholic church coming up on "shepard smith reporting." >> dana: fox's alert. a pennsylvania grand jury report just released the names of 300 priests accusing them of either sexually abusing minors or helping cover it up. the report identified 1,000 victims and says the number may be much higher. the victims mostly young boys,
but also included girls and many victims were supplied with alcohol or pornography. the six diocese served 54 of pennsylvania's 67 counties. a key congressional race in california's 16th district. jim costa facing off against republican challenger elizabeth haynes. costa got 63% of the vote and hanks got 43%. here's a clip of a facebook ad. >> everybody told me that i would never work for congress just like they tell you in our homes and cities will never get better. everyone is wrong. great things can come from great adversity. >> elizabeth heng joins me. i first saw that ad. your story is very interesting.
tell me why you decided to throw your hat in the ring. it's a tough district. hillary clinton winning it at 57% to donald trump's 36%. so there's democrats out in force, but you came in there at 47% in the primary. >> yeah, when i got into this race, a big part of my message was that great things can come from great adversity. in that ad, that facebook ad, i highlight my family. my parents lived in cambodia and lived through the genocide and came to the united states as refugees, legal refugees. for some reason, facebook didn't like that message and last week they blocked it. when i got to the race, they knew i would be talking about big topics. this is one of the poorest congressional districts in the country. my parents focused on determination and preservation in order to instill in us the
values of the united states. that's the message that i want to give. >> dana: tell me what is the right answer on immigration especially for the community you want to represent. >> as a daughter of refugees, i understand the importance of having an immigration policy that works for our country. for too long, republicans and democrats have punted this topic. i'm glad that our country is having this discussion now, right? >> dana: if you could hold on. sarah sanders is at the podium. we'll have you back. here's sarah sanders. >> bringing closure to the families that have been waiting 60 years. the process of identifying and verifying the remains is challenging. but one that this administration is committed to. overseeing this process, kelly mccabe, the director of defense for the pow accounting agency, leading the dod's worldwide operation of research, investigation, recovery and identification and supporting
functions. the director strives to get the fullest accounting of the missing personnel. the director and his colleagues, the defense pow/mia accounting later torre director and dr. mcmahon, director of dod dna operations have joined us today to take your questions on this topic. after this, i'll be back to address other questions and the news of the day. >> thank you, sarah. ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. the august 1 repatriation and home coming in hawaii of the remains of the korean war unaccounted for was a poignant manifest station of the commitment secured by president trump and pledged by chairman kim at the singapore summit. for the families of the 7,700 still unaccounted for from the korean war, this first step in full filling this commitment has undoubtedly provided a seed of hope. last week over 700 of these family members gathered in
arlington, virginia to receive government updates and they were resoundingly appreciative of the successful advocacy of the president and his administration. two of those family members that attended, charles and larry mcdaniel were the recipients of a dog tag that their father, charles mcdaniel, of indiana. it was a sole personal effect returned by the north koreans. the remains of the 55 cases are well into the painstaking multifaceted analyses by dr. john bird and his forensic science team in hawaii and in the coming weeks dr. tim mcmahon and his dedicated dna specialists in delaware will begin their meticulous testing. the capabilities of our labs will be challenged. in the months and years ahead, they will make identifications from these remains and give families long sought answers. we're guardedly optimistic the 1
august repatriation is the first tangible action of others with which we will be able to account for more of our missing from the korean war. the second action of the singapore commitment is the recovery of remains. we're having discussions with the korean people's army for the expressed purpose of resuming joint field operations and having additional repatriations. our mission to search for, find and account for missing department of defense personnel from world war ii through operation iraqi freedom is one not limited to the korean peninsula. today 186 personnel from dpa and private partners are deployed in seven nations and yesterday 50 of those members returned from laos and philippines.
our global mission is humanitarian in every respect. the impact of a missing american to their family is not constrained by time or generations and leads an enduring pain and void. this is why former enemies like vietnam use cooperation on the pow mia mission as a bridge to normalization and today's thriving bilateral relationship with the united states. the fact that the united states of america vigorously pursues the fullest possible accounting of our missing reflects our values as a nation. the sacred obligation, if not moral imperative, remains a high priority for the department of defense. inherent to the teamwork, resources and resoluteness provided by multiple agencies is a vow that those were sent to harm's way will not be forgotten and their families will receive answers to their decades of uncertainty. my colleagues and i welcome your
questions. >> gentlemen, i was with president clinton in 2000 when he went to a place in vietnam north of hanoi where one of these recovery efforts were under way. i have some familiarity with this. even there when things are discovered, it takes a long time to establish the trail forensically. i'd like to ask you both what conditions are the remains or parts of remains you received so far and how challenging will the forensic work have you a long, long way or what you received something to get you close to identifying and confirming? >> we would characterize the preservations of the remains to moderate to poor. however, what our lab specializes in is making identifications in circumstances where you have very little to work with. so i'm confident that we're going to do well with the remains in these 55 boxes over the coming months and maybe the
next several years. when you look at what is at stake, we're going to be doing a lot of dna sampling. that's what dr. mcmahon's lab does. they process the samples and go into a mass database where they can be compared to other samples and compared to the family members. so it takes some time to get the samples processed through the lab and takes some time to get them into the mass comparison. once they're in there, we'll start looking for the quick identifications that can be made where you have compelling matches that showed themselves early on. we also look for comparisons to dental records that can be distinctive. we look for individuals that are unusual in the sense of being tall, very short, very old. anything that distinguishes somebody we can usually get a good clue and identify them
faster. but because of the preservation of the remains, that will just sort of guide the methods that we can bring to bear on the case. the case is dna intensive in the way we go about this. >> what does that number represent? >> the number of boxes. >> individuals? >> no. the number of boxes that the remains came in. at no time did we expect there to be one body, one box. nor did the north koreans try to pitch it that way to us. >> thank you, director. what type of certainty do you have that the remains that the north koreans have handed over are those of missing americans or other nationalities missing in the war? >> we have a high confidence. in the early 90s for five years, the north americans we
repatriate remains that they had recovered. out of the 208 boxes in five years, we estimated 400 individuals. from that, 200 were americans. so the likelihood, you're correct, there may be some of u.n. sending forces, there may be some south korean soldiers remains as well as chinese and north korean. our laboratories, dna and the forensic laboratory have the technology and the capabilities to differentiate those remains over the course of the next several years. >> i think you mentioned about potential future action to search for more remains in joint efforts as the pentagon and secretary mattis mentioned that. if i understand right, the bush administration ended the program in which the u.s. officials would help search for remains in part because of security
concerns. can you describe what you're looking for from the north that could resume those kinds of operations, joint operations? what steps you are and how close you are for doing that. >> we operated between 1996 and 2005. over time we conducted 33 joint activities with the north koreans. security is primarily our responsibility for our personnel. we also pay attention to communications, having an ability to medevac personnel should they get hurt. we're looking for a commitment from the north koreans that communications, medical evacuation requirements can be met and more importantly we can conduct the joint operations in a collaborative way as we had done for ten years. it comes down back in 2005 to their behavior on the international stage. the president rightfully so was concerned that their nuclear
activity, missile activities were counter productive to our joint operations, which is why we suspended -- >> with the political talks going on or specifics about being in the field that you're looking at right now? >> both. secretary pompeo in getting a reaffirmation from the north koreans last month affirmed that they do want to establish communications with us and to conduct joint operations. we have not started those negotiations. we'll do so. it's on a separate track. it could be drawn out into the greater geo political stream. right now it's a military to military contact and humanitarian endeavor that is separate and distinct from anything else. the 45 countries that we work with all rightfully recognize this as a humanitarian endeavor, including countries like russia and china where we have
tremendous cooperation with them. >> thank you, sarah. gentlemen, the recent death of former congressman bill hendon of north carolina brought back a lot of the rehashing of serious charges that he made that those that were in vietnam as prisoners or dead were not fully accounted for. has the book finally been closed on those americans that served in vietnam and prisoners of war? >> it has. there's close to 1,600 that are -- that remain missing an unaccounted for. within that set of unaccounted for is what we call last known alive. it's a small subset of individuals who for whatever reason were seen alive at a certain point during the war and remain unaccounted for.
our priority with the vietnamese is to get to that small subset. it's down to 25. not necessarily prisoners of war but last known alive at the time that they were seen. >> last question. >> real quick. of the remains and the 55 boxes, can we confirm for a fact that all of them are human remains or are we still questioning that? >> yes, we did a cursory inspection of the remains before we loaded them on the aircraft to ensure that at least some of what was in each box was human. when we got to south korea, we spent two days going through every box in detail conducts what we call a field forensic review. the purpose of that review is to ensure that every item is consistent with being human. if there were animal remains, we would have culled them out.