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H. R. McMaster Archive
  National Security Adviser Defends Presidents Disclosure of Classified...  CSPAN  May 16, 2017 5:03pm-5:22pm EDT

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we're looking at here? what are we going to be read being when we open the pages? >> the gist of it is that there's been a huge myth that's taken root, that there's an epidemic of campus rape. there's a culture of campus rape, where it's encouraged and condoned, even by the administrators. that that's out of control. that it's increasing. that it's worse on campus than it is off campus. and that it requires completely demolishing all due process and the presumption of innocence for the accused people, 99% of whom are male. that's not an accident. this comes from extreme feminists, male hating, stream feminists in some cases. but it also is enormously pushed ahead by the obama administration. >> watch afterwords sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2's book tv. >> national security advisor h.r. macmaster spoke to reporters earlier today about a
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report alleging president trump reveal classified informationed to russian officials during a recent white house meeting. he also gave an itinerary of the president's upcoming first foreign trip which includes stops in the middle east and europe. this is 20 minutes. sean: good morning, the president of turkey's shortly going to be arriving at the white house. prior to his arrival, as i promised general mcmaster will give an update on the president's trip that starts this friday. i know there are additional questions regarding news of the day. without further ado, general mcmaster. general mcmaster: good morning, everybody. last week we discussed the president's upcoming trip. i promised i'd come back and go through the schedule in more detail. i'm happy to do that today. sean tells me there is another topic you might want to talk about as well. i'm happy to answer any
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questions about that after we go through the schedule here. first of all, secretary tillerson will accompany the president for most of the trip breaking off just before the g-7 meeting. as you know the trip will begin in saudi arabia. historic trip. after arrival ceremony the president will have coffee with the king. attend a royal banquet. and hold bilateral meetings with the king, crown prince, and the deputy crown prince. he will also participate in a signing ceremony of several agreements that will further solidify u.s.-saudi security and economic cooperation. that evening, the president and the first lady will join members of the saudi arabia royal family for an official dinner. the next day, the president will hold bilateral meetings with gulf cooperation council leaders and broader meetings with all the gulf state leaders. in the afternoon he will meet and have lunch with leaders of more than 50 muslim
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countries where he will deliver an inspiring yet direct speech on the need to confront radical ideology and his hopes, the president's hopes, for a peaceful vision of islam. that dominate across the world. the speech is intended to unite the broader muslim world against common enemies of all civilization and demonstrate america's commitment to our muslim partners. he president will then participate in the inauguration of a new center intended to fight radical islam and promote moderation. by establishing and operating this center, our muslim friends, including saudi arabia, are taking a firm stand against extremism and those who use a perverted interpretation of religion to advance their criminal and political agendas. the president also looks forward to participating in a twitter forum with young people who will be able to live tweet his remarks to people all over the world.
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the president will then continue on to jerusalem where he will meet with the president and lay a wreath. the president will deliver remarks at the israeli -- israel museum. and celebrate the unique history of israel and the jewish people. while reaffirming america's unshakable bond with our closest ally in the middle ast. later that day, will he meet with prime minister netanyahu. that might the president and the first lady will join the prime minister and mrs. netanyahu for a private dinner. the following morning the president will meet abbas in bethlehem where he will convey his administration's eagerness to facilitate an agreement that ends the conflict. and he will urge palestinian leaders to take steps that will help lead to peace. and he will visit the church of the holy sepulcher and say a prayer at the western wall. he will have an audience with
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the pope at the vatican. he looks forward to celebrating the rich contributions of catholics to america and the world and to discussing a range of issues of mutual concern, some of which i summarized last time. before leaving the vatican, the president will meet the cardinal secretary of state and will tour st. peters. later that afternoon, the president will meet with the king and the prime minister of belgium as the heads of state and government of the host country to the nato alliance. he'll also, though, meet the president before departing rome for brussels. the next morning the president will travel to the e.u. headquarters to meet with the presidents of the european union and of the european council. he'll then hold a working lunch with the newly elected press of
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france, whom he will meet in person for the first time. that afternoon, the president will deliver remarks at the unveiling of nato's memorial to our shared struggle in front of a piece of the berlin wall and segment of the world trade center. he will reaffirm america's commitment to the alliance and repeat his insistence for the good of the alliance all members must share responsibility and burden. joined by secretary mattis, will he participate in the nato leaders meeting and dinner before traveling to sicily for the g-7. throughout the summit he will meet bilaterally with leaders, including the italian prime minister. and the formal meetings, will he press america's economic agenda and call for greater ecurity cooperation. on the first night of the summits, he will also attend a concert performed by the la scala philharmonic orchestra, followed by a leaders dinner
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hosted by the president of italy. before departing for home, the president will speak to american and allied service men and women and their families. he will thank them for their sacrifices they make to keep us safe and also recount the highlights and accomplishments of the trip. so i ask sean to call on any of you who have questions. reporter: general mcmaster, in your email you said "the washington post" story which came out late yesterday afternoon, was false. do you stick by that assertion? do you think that every element of that story is false? do you have anything to correct in terms of what you said at the podium yesterday afternoon? general mcmaster: i stand by my statement yesterday. the premise of that article is false. in any way the president had a conversation that was inappropriate or that resulted in any kind of lasting national security. i think the real issue -- i think what i'd like to see
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debated more is our national security has been put at risk by those violating confidentiality and those releasing information to the press that could be used connected with other information available to make american citizens and others more vulnerable. reporter: can you tell us if the prime minister netanyahu will join president trump at the western wall? general mcmaster: no israeli eaders will join president trump to the western wall. he's going to the western wall mainly in connection with the theme to connect with three of the world's great religions and to pay homage to each of these religious sites he's visiting. highlight the theme we have to be united against the enemies of all civilized people and we have to be joined together with
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an agenda of tolerance and moderation. reporter: reporting on the president's conversations with the russians. are you denying he revealed information that was given to the u.s. by intelligence partner? general mcmaster: what we don't do is discuss what is and what isn't classified. what i will tell you in the context of that discussion, what the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and any leaders with whom he's engaged. reporter: received from an intelligence partner? eneral mcmaster: i'm not going to be the one to confirm that information that could jeopardize our security. reporter: you have sharing elationships with the u.s.
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will stop providing that information? general mcmaster: i'm not concerned. that conversation was wholly appropriate to the conversation. i think wholly appropriate with the expectations of our intelligence partners. reporter: have you reached out to foreign partners who might have contributed such information to the u.s. and talked to them about it and tried to reassure them? if so what was the reaction? general mcmaster: i have not. i'm not sure what conversations have been held about that. reporter: going back to earlier. if there was nothing the president shared he shouldn't have shared, why doesn't the counterterrorism advisor contact the c.i.a. about what he said? general mcmaster: maybe from an overabundance of caution. i have not talked to him about that. about why he reached out. reporter: what he knew and understand -- general mcmaster: i was in the room. the secretary of state was in
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the room. the deputy advisor for national security was in the room. and none of us felt in any way that that conversation was inappropriate. reporter: when was the decision made to share that information with the russians? did the president spontaneously on the spot decide to give that information over? or was there an interagency process or decision-making process? general mcmaster: the president -- it is appropriate for the president to share whatever he thinks is necessary to advance the security of the american people. hat's what he did. as to your question on how that information been shared previously, i'm not sure about that. when did he make the ecision? he made the decision in the context of the conversation which was wholly appropriate. the president was meeting with the foreign minister about the
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terrorist threat. he also raised some difficult issues. what we expected in terms of different behavior from russia in key areas like ukraine and as in syria. but then the president was emphasizing, hey, we have some common interests here. we have to work together in some critical areas. we have an area of cooperation with transnational terrorist organizations. sis in particular. an organization that had already taken down a russian airliner and murdered over 200 people in october of 2015. so this was the context of the conversation in which it was wholly appropriate to share what the threat was as a basis for common action and coordination. and cooperation. reporter: in the moment then during the context of that onversation? reporter: i want to follow up about the western wall being part of israel? general mcmaster: that sounds like a policy decision. the president's intention. i did answer the question in terms of what his intention is.
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the president's intention is to visit these religious sites to highlight the need for unity among three of the world's great religions. unity in confronting a very grave threat to all civilizations, and unity in embracing an agenda of tolerance. reporter: did the president reveal a city? the spin is the president revealed the name of the city and that gave away information that undermines an ally. general mcmaster: all of you are very familiar with the threat from isis. all of you are very familiar with the territory and controls. if you were to say from where do you think a threat might come from territory that isis controls, would you probably be able to name a few cities. it was nothing you would not know from open source reporting in terms of a source of concern. and it had all to do with operations that are already ongoing, had been made public or months.
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reporter: back to my question. was this information that was shared with the russians also the same content shared with our allies? specific to the threat the president says was in relation to airlines is that an imminent threat, justification for in that moment needing to share it with the russians? general mcmaster: i don't want to get into specifics what exact information was shared with what allies. information on this topic of the threat was shared with multiple allies. as you know there are already policies being put in place to protect against that threat. and you and many others have reported widely on this. reporter: something our allies -- general mcmaster: in terms of the specifics, i have no basis for comparison what was shared with what country. i will tell you it was our impression of all of us, we were in the meetings, what was shared was wholly appropriate
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iven the purpose of that conversation and the purpose of what the president was trying to achieve through that meeting. eporter: when you came out after the story broke, you said the president did not disclose any sources or method. did he not reveal anything about military operations. why were you denying things that were not even reported? what the report said is that the president revealed classified information that had been shared by one of our allies in the middle east. the question is simply a yes or no question here. did the president share classified information with the russians in that meeting? general mcmaster: as i mentioned already. we don't say what's classified or what's not classified. what i will tell you again is what the president shared was wholly appropriate. the story, the story combined what was leaked with other information.
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and then insinuated about the sources and methods. i wanted to make clear to everybody that the president in no way compromised any sources or methods in the course of this conversation. reporter: you say that national security has been put at risk by the leak of this. do you have any idea how this got out and what steps are you taking by virtue of discovering this, as you did, to try to limit the potential for any more leaks of national security. general mcmaster: i think national security is put at risk by this leak and leaks like this. as you know there are a number of instances where this has occurred. i think it's important to investigate these sort of things and make sure that we have trusted organizations across our government that allows for the free sharing of information and collaboration. in terms of national security what is critical you can
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assemble the experts you need. you want a bigger group because you need their expertise. you need the tools they need to bear from different agencies and departments. so what we really have to do is make sure we have a very high degree of confidence in all of our organizations and all of our sit thames and processes so we can do what we do for the president which is give our best advice and give him options to deal with these problems. reporter: clearly you can't have confidence by virtue of what happened yesterday. do you have an idea how this got out? how can you tighten up the ship as it were to ensure from your perspective this stuff doesn't get out? general mcmaster: i think it's incumbent on all of us to bring in the people with the right authorities to figure out how this leak occurred and other breaches. reporter: general mcmaster, is here now an active investigation into how this information was leaked? can you tell us about who is running that investigation? i also would like to ask you iven that president trump is
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now going to be meeting face-to-face with literally dozens of foreign leaders, is there sensitivity to his discretion in what sort of information he decides to declassify? how is that something that you are advising him ahead of this foreign trip? general mcmaster: there are no sensitivities in terms of me or anybody who has been with the president. he shares information the way that is wholly appropriate. i should just make maybe a statement here that the president wasn't even aware where this information came from. he wasn't briefed on the source or method of information, either. i'm sorry that has to be the last question. we do have the president of turkey coming. momentarily. thank you very much. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017]