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tv   Secretary of State Pompeo at the Economic Club of Washington DC  CSPAN  July 29, 2019 9:01am-9:36am EDT

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earlier this week with a lot of the appropriators on both sides of the hill and they're eager to get to work. senator lamar alexander from tennessee told the both of us that he was meeting for dinner with dianne feinstein who is the ranking senator on the subcommittee that he chairs. they are eager to get to work and basically have these bills ready to go by the time august recess is done. so for those subcommittee clerks and the center members of the appropriations committee staff, particularly in the senate, there's not really going to be an august recess, so i would imagine that the folks who work in senior rolls for senator shelby and senator leahy, if they go to the beach, they'd better have good internet access when they get there. >> we'll keep an eye on it from
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niels lesniewski, senior senate reporter for roll call. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> and live now to remarks from secretary of state mike pompeo. he's part of a discussion on foreign policy taking place at the economic club of washington d.c. this morning. this is live. >> so, look it, it's an important question. it's about priorities and resources and how you allocate time and how do you think about the problems that, you know, for me the first -- the first half when i came in now, 16, 17 months ago to the state department after having been the cia director was to make sure that the state department was ready in the moment of crisis. spent a lot of time making sure my team was ready for the day what happens when something bad happens and are your people, and things you hadn't thought about. priorities, the first thing i do every morning is read about
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china. i talk about the broad array of issues that present opportunities for the united states and risks from china. >> the trade negotiations are going on. you're not the lead in trade negotiations. bob lightheiser is. >> we've had some and then other places we've gone backwards. the chinese have been very helpful on north korea and they've done more on u.n. resolutions than anytime in history. they're helpful in afghanistan, and the project there, too. some things that people don't spend a lot of time thinking about. so far so good, the sanctions on the islamic republic in iran although we sanctioned a china company last week or perhaps the week before for having violated those sanctions.
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there are diplomatic fronts where we have-- we don't share the same values, but we have overlapping interests and we work on the problems. >> and what would be the u.s. response if the chinese military were to go into hong kong to put down the protests there. >> i never answer hypotheticals what i will and won't do? well played. [laughter] >> having said that, we've been pretty clear. protest is appropriate. we see this in the united states. i am confident there will be protesters when i drive through the building to the state department today. and we hope the chinese will do the right thing respecting agreements are in place with respect to hong kong. >> okay, so you've been to north korea and met with the leader of north korea and you've been there on occasions when the president met with him. what type of person is he? does he have great interesting thoughts? does he speak english? do you communicate in english with him?
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and what is your impression of the leader of north korea. >> i spent more time with him than any american, i passed dennis rodman on the last trip. [laughter] >> okay, he's bright, he has managed to rise to the level of leadership in a difficult environment where he was a very young man when his time came. from my very first interaction with him he's been very candid with me about the things that are important to him and priorities set and how the negotiations might proceed. he's now repeated that he's prepared to denuclearize, now is not time to execute. i hope we can achieve that. i head to asia and bangkok and we hope to unlock the rubik's cube and presented as the leader of north korea and hope that he can see his way clear so we get the brighter future that president trump is talking
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about. >> do you expect another summit date and time? >> there's nothing planned. >> why did the last summit kind of abruptly end? >> there was a vast spread to put it in economic terms. >> all right. >> i can't go into all of this. we've had a number of conversations running up to this and my team worked hard and the idea that the leaders could bridge that gap in that moment turned out to not work that day. >> do you think that the u.s. position has been that we would not lift sanctions until there was a so-called denuclearizati denuclearization, would you consider letting the north korea en keep what they have and-- or is that too hypothetical? >> too hypothetical. >> host: i didn't want to give you the answer. i've talked about this publicly a couple of times, we hope that there are creative solutions to
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unlocking this. it's a very difficult challenge for each of us. we have to remember these aren't u.s. sanctionings, these are u.n. security sanctions, we are mindful we're the steward of enforcing those. >> let's go to an easier part of the world, the middle east. >> okay. [laughter] >> the straits of hormuz, are we commit today-- committed to keeping the straits of hormuz open? >> i'm very confident the world understand it's important that america is prepared to be a significant part of that, but we need countries to acities us in transit. we'll be successful. >> if a u.s. ship were taken by iran, we would do something
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militarily, i don't know. what about a british ship or-- are we not defending the. >> we've seen them do this, take a british ship so this is not a hypothetical. i was working with-- i guess i'm now working with my third british foreign minister as secretary of state. and find a solution to both, a, right that injustice and prevent it from happening again and that's the mission set. >> recently you gave a visa for a foreign minister to come to the united states. you're familiar with that. >> yes. when he was in the united states were there any direct or indirect talks with him and the state department about anything that you can talk about? >> no talks. >> no talks. okay-- >> all though he spoke. >> the american media decided to give him a megaphone to talk about things that were untrue about things going on in iran
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and i look forward to speaking to the iranian people that way. offered and so far they have not taken me up on that offer. >> president trump imposed sanctions on iran. do you think they will have the effect of bringing iran to the negotiating table or not? >> you have to step back a little bit. remember the objective. the objective is that national security strategy was laid out now two pfa and a half years ag it's broader. we tend to focus on tactical. you have to step back more brad r broadly what we're doing in the middle east. and with iran it's the state sponsor of terror and they have a path to developing a nuclear weapon and cause proliferation throughout the middle east. and our strategy was to take 180 turn from what the
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previous administration has done. they've had the kleptocrats and the houthi, are preparing attacks on saudi arabia. we're trying to go the other way. trying to reduce their resources, building out their nuclear and missile programs. i remember, i'm sure no one in this room, but many said american sanctions alone won't work. well, it worked. we've taken over 95% of the crude oil shipped by iran off the world and taken it off the market. brent crude 63, 70% lower than when we were in the jcpoa, we've manage today protect the economic growth the world needs doing our best to deny the resources to the islamic republic or iran regime. >> the iranian agreement, one
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more favorable to your point of view and the president's point of view, this year, next year or you can't predict? >> i don't do time. timelines are a fool's errand in my business. a fool's errand in my business and-- >> and the iranians are enriching uranium greater than before. are you worried that somebody might attack the iranian facilities or you're not worried about that? >> yes, they're arranging more, there's a temporary reduction in enriched uranium has now ended and they're moving back in the wrong direction and we're urging them to think about it. for us it's not about the levels that in the jcpoa and it's about the capacity to build out a nuclear weapons system in the time frame that matters to you and your kids and your grandkids. the previous agreement didn't remotely touch that? >> in the middle east do you see any prospect for peace between israel and palestinians? there's been talk of a plan and do you see any progress being
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made? >> so there's a reason it hasn't been solved for 40 years or more. and in the end, this will be the decision of prime minister of israel and the leadership in the west bank in gaza. i've been deeply involved in mr. kushner's efforts there. and he'll be travelling, my team will be travelling with him in the coming days to flesh out for our partners in the region, our path forward. in the end we can have our vision, our plan and hope to get the gulf states to join in that effort and to say this is the path forward. in the end, the decision whether to make this fundamental approach is up to those two countries, leaders. >> is the arab position and united states position, a one-state solution or a two-state solution. >> you will see shortly. >> will you give us a hint? [laughter] >> we prefer what the israelis
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and palestinian agree to and what the nature of that will look like. any progress between qatar, saudi arabia and the uae in resolving their dispute. are we in the middle of that? trying to resolve that? >> we've made clear. we hope they go together-- >> what about yemen, any prospects in reducing the conflicts there? >> yeah, real progress. it's uneven. in the end, the players who will get to play the final card there will be the iranians. and the houthis have to make a decision. they have to decide whether they want to continue the down the path of being disruptive and launching missiles into saudi arabia. >> negotiations are involved with the taliban and the u.s. is in that. do you see any ren for us to be in afghanistan, anything in the near future?
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>> real progress. i prefer not to do timelines. we're talking to all afghans. we've spoken with the president and spoke to him on friday night, friday morning and speaking to opposition, those who are not inside the department of the with. we have spoke n-- across afghanistan, met with ng pochlt's, with women's group and a broad swath. we want them to take their country back and reduce for us what is tens of billions a year in expenditure and eform must risk to your kids and grandkids fighting for america. we think there's a path and make sure that the american counterterrorism has the potential to reduce value in the united states. >> before the united states, would you expect we reduce our troops in afghanistan? >> that's my directive of the
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president of the united states he's been unambiguous. and those of you who served know that resolute support has countries from across europe and around the world. we hope at that overall the need for combat forces in the region is reduced. >> all right. >> but it's not only my expectation, it's-- it would be job enhancing. >> all right. [laughter] >> so on russia, you've met with mr. putin many times, i assume? >> a few times, yes, sir. >> and any impressions of him that you might convey? is he very smart, very tough. does he understand english or a an interper very well. >> and we've had a strategic dialog we hope that will handle a broad set of proliferation issues, know the just nuclear proliferatio
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proliferatio proliferations, a broad array. we hope china will. china needs to be part of them, and i hope president putin will support this. >> would you say there's any progress related to ukraine or anything with the ukraine. is that your thoughts on the discussions? >> i just finished up the parliamentarian elections and a new president and i hope that that will engender a more creative set of ideas, how to -- the conflict is very real. >> crima, do you think that's never going to be returned to the ukraine, right? >> the u.s. position is that that is unacceptable. crimea must come back. >> there are protests in russia about the local elections and the leader has been in jail and reports that he's been poisoned. we don't know if that's accurate or not. do you have any idea, the
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united states protesting the russian government for what is occurring? >> i've read the reports and i don't have anything to add. i think that even understands the u.s. position. >> this goes for, you asked about hong kong, russia, we always have freedom to live out -- you were in the cia the beginning of this administration. do you have any doubt that the russians interfered with our last presidential election? >> oh, none, none. and the one before that. and the one before that. and the one before that. and the one in 2018, and people forget we've had an election since 2016. we have to protect 2020. well, good people who ran in 2018 cared a lot about us protecting that one. we did so very effective and we'll do so in 2020.
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and i know exactly what will get reported. it ain't just russia. that's bad english, will try and correct it. there are more than russia trying to undermine western democracy, that's true since the founders created this great nation. we have to be ever vigilant. >> there's bills in the house and now the senate to give more, and the administration on the legislation-- >> i'm sure that they have the resources needed for that. we have the resources we need and the money. the burden is on me to execute. >> have you communicated to mr. putin we don't like what he did and shouldn't do so again. >> on a number of occasions. >> and the response? >> noted. that's a diplomatic term for, i hear you brother.
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>> he doesn't admit anything, i assume. so, okay, with respect to england. there's a new prime minister. you've met boris johnson before. >> i have. i met him when i was cia director and i believe he was foreign secretary at the time when i met him. >> does the current trump administration support a brexit or remain on you don't have a position on that. >> i have confidence in the british people. >> now the british ambassador had to resign because his cables were leaked by somebody. you tell your own ambassadors they should be a little more careful what they say to you because somebody could leak what they're writing. is that a worry? >> not at all. if they did, they'd i go mo-- they'd ignore me. the power of the state department the fact that we have the officers on the ground. many countries can do policy and think tanks, but we have people, we want them to give us the granularity, and report it
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truthfully and candidly and our mission to make sure they don't end up in "the washington post." >> with respect to mexico, we have concern about people coming over the border. are you confident the mexican government is now doing what it can to keep people from not coming over the border. >> they are. >> they're doing enough, you think or-- >> no, it's not enough. they still have high side of 2000 every day. it's unacceptable so they need to do more, we need to do more. congress needs to change the rule, we have to create a deterrence. it has to be the case that those who want to come here legally can and those who want to come by some other mechanism choose not to because they're not going to find a way. i remember as a member of congress. people would come and say, hey, we live in-- think a country around the world and they say they want to come here and get citizenship. i won't tell you the joke i
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told, but the simplest way to go through mexico, come on. you want to encourage them, file the paper work, go through the process. we are the most welcoming nation, and it's not the case that we can be lawless and have the sovereignty broken and there's a national security risk. very, very broadly speaking. when i speak with my mexican counterpart in el salvador, who understands the challenge, it's theirs, not ours, we've got to get this right. >> mexico and canada we've redone nafta, now usmca. are you worried at that congress won't pass that legislation? >> i hope they will. i hope they will. the president is doing everything he can to create growth in the united states, american usmca would contribute substantially. >> i don't do vote counting. and speaking the border at
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vence. would the u.s. send troops in if necessary to keep further violence to occur there? >> you tried at the beginning and now you're trying at the end. the president said clearly we'll do all we can to make sure that the venezuelan people could get democracy back. >> we're close are today and again, we'll do our part and we've built a crate owe ligs from the members of the aos to what we call lima group and those countries who understand that maduro is not the dually elected president, progress every day. >> president trump sometimes tweeted things not favorable for people working for him. he's never untweeted anything unfavorable about you. it's early. [laughter]. >> guest: what was your relationship with the president, you didn't know him before? >> no, when i interviewed to be
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cia director. >> who nominated to you to be cia director? >> i don't know. >> the cia doesn't have the ability to find out who recommended you. >> you never believe that the cia only does foreign espionage, never been able to-- >> somebody presented you. >> maybe the vice-president or a member of congress. >> did you say i'd like to be the director of cia or a surprise to you. >> a surprise, i'd like to be the director of central intelligence. some people say you should run for the senate from kansas and in fact, mitch mcconnell has twisted your arm a few times and you say you'll not run. the filing date june of 2020. you probably know. >> i didn't, but-- >> would you consider it or off the tanl for--
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table for a while? >> it's off the table, i'll serve as secretary of state. and director coats who i have tremendous respect for will be leaving and there's a time for everyone and i hope i get to do this a whole longer. >> my experience, some people get close to the president, they think i can do the job, too. has to occurred to you that you could do the job and any interest in running for president in your life? >> i've said that i've never been able to say what my next gig will be. i will say the service i had at chance, almost 20 years in federal service, 18 years of federal service in the time, the army, congress, the executive branch. it's been a blessing and i hope i did things better. and america has given me a lot. if i thought i could do a good
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turn. there is nothing i wouldn't consider. and if the president is reelected would you serve one, two, three, four years. >> haven't thought about it. and the question is whether the president would still want mike pompeo as secretary of state. >> when you have decisions for the president. is he best with oral communications, written communications? what's the process the decisions are made, nsc or informal? >> there's a robust nsc process. when i brief him i prefer to have documents, the way i prefer to receive information. i'm always bringing something, a one-page summary, an outline what i think are the priorities and think about how we should frame this particular problem and the president does like to
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engage in oral exchanges. i found them elucidating. >> except when henry kissinger was in, how is your relationship with john bolten. >> we come at things from a different viewpoint. ambassador bolten has his responsibility to try to make sure all the ideas of vetted. the secretary of intelligence and others have theirs. i disagree with them often and most of them sometimes. we have a few dozen ambassadors here, what would you give them insight as to the best way to influence the president of the united states on foreign policy matters? >> deliver value. that's what i talked about every day. what's what you all do every day and about your business.
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it's not about like does he like mike or al or alice, did you show up a with informed fact-based theory that can deliver the commander's intent. if we do that and show up with the best answer, we'll drive policy. if we don't, we'll just be banging our gums. >> now, there are reports today the new head of the central intelligence, of the cni, it will be, john ratcliff from congress and some people say he's too political for that position. you've served in cia, do you believe he's too political for that position? >> in my final term in congress, i know him well, he's very smart. i remember people saying i'd be too political to be the cia director, too. i hope that history will inform us all that wasn't the case, that i did my job and that i
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delivered on behalf of the american people in an appropriate way and didn't allow politics to interfere in facts to the president of united states. >> you were first in your class at west point that's tough fob first in your class. what happened to the second place. >> one is the secretary of defense, he was a classmate. and i give him a hard time about our relative order of finish. >> you went to harvard law school, why did you abandon the practice of law? >> had a great opportunity. i had partners i worked for and enjoyed my time, i was older-- gone to law school a little later and had a chance to start a business with kansas with three of my business friends in the whole world. we started a company which was a machine shop in kansas. >> i thought you once told me were you negotiating with somebody on the opposite side
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of that deal and that person ended up to be your wife. >> true, true. she took my money twice. [laughter] >> okay. so what is the best part about being secretary of state? >> i love susan, by the way. we're still married and everything is good. [laughter] >> you had to say that. >> i have friends in the room who are texting her right now. >> host: so the best part of being secretary of state is what? >> you get a chance to help ordinary americans understand what we're doing and trying to deliver them in an environment where fewer and fewer of their kids have to be in armed conflict. that's our mission to get american outcomes through diplomacy. >> what's the worst worth of being secretary of state? >> i'm enjig every mome-- i'm enjoying every moment. the state department are you involved with foreign service officers, trying to encourage them to be more involved in the state department? how do you try to deal with the
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foreign service officers? >> yeah, look, the one of the things that i love doing is leading teams, leading organizations. that's what i loved when i was a platoon leader and ran aerospace in wichita, kansas. when i came in, we had deep plans how to make enforcement officers, civil service, staff, better. we've got real training in the work and the ethos for the 20th century diplomate each of which is aimed at-- these folks will be there long after i'm gone, many of them. they came before me and will be here. i want to make sure that they have the opportunity to grow and learn and deliver for america in their space so we have an opportunity to take good care of them and make sure they get the training and education they need as well. >> let me just conclude. we are out of time. i notice you have colorful socks on. is that part of your diplomatic-- >> it is. these are army soldiers, toy soldiers, a bit of an inside joke and i've got like 40 pairs
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of these. >> 40 pairs? >> and sent from all over the world after the first picture i was with my north korean counterpart. >> you're leaving the united states, when. >> tomorrow for bangkok. >> how do you deal with jet lag when you're secretary of state? >> just keep going. >> everybody travels a lot. >> i'm fortunate that i can sleep just about anywhere and get a couple hours of sleep and get ready to get on. it doesn't bother me. >> okay. so, thank you very much for your service and thank you very much for coming here today. >> thank you all very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] ♪
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♪ >> if you missed any of our live coverage of secretary of state mike pompeo, you can watch this event again on-line shortly at our website just type mike pompeo into the video search box, which you'll find at the top of our home page. well, coming up live later today it's a conversation with john sopko shall special for afghanistan reconstruction. he's expected to discuss security in afghanistan at the center or strategic and international studies. you can watch that live starting at 11 a.m. on c-span. after that, it's a live discussion on the 2020 census and the president's efforts to count citizens and non-citizens in the use hosted by the federalist society. watch live coverage beginning at 12:35 p.m. eastern also on
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c-span, on-line at or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> tonight on the communicators, ohio representative bob latta, the ranking member on the house energy and house subcommittee on communications and technology. talks about recent action by the government regarding the tech industry. >> when you think about the almost 50 billion robo calls made into this country. it's going to hopefully provide relief to the american citizens out there. it's important because a lot of people say we have a lot in the district and out in front of the top issues that people talk to me about and it's also the issue that the fcc and ftc reef every year is about robo calls. >> watch the communicators tonight at 8 eastern on c-span2. >> tonight on c-span, vaping
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and the youth nicotine epidemic. congress is investigating the issues, we start add 8 p.m. with opponents of vaping. >> kids do not associate vaping a and-- is like kleenex or bandaids and there have been articles written about this, kids think they're jewelling, they don't think that they are vaping or using e-cigarettes, they think they're jewelling. >> and the ceo of jewel, a manufacturer. >> we don't want underage consumers to use this project. we need to make sure that no underage consumers use this product. it is terrible for business, it's terrible for public health, it's terrible for our reputation. none of this is good stuff. >> watch tonight on c-span, on-line at or listen wherever you are with the free
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c-span radio app. >> and now a discussion on the economic challenges and opportunities for workers with disabilities, following the discussion panelists answer questions from the audience. the center for american progress is the host of this program. it's about 90 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> good morning, everyone. i'm president of the centers for american progress and i'm honored to welcome all of you to today's events. as all of you know, this morning marks the 29th anniversary of the day that the americans with disabilities act


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