Sep 7, 2022

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 9/06/22 Transcript

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 9/06/22 Transcript
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Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre 9/06/22. Read the transcript here.

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Ms. Jean-Pierre: (00:00)
Hi everyone. Good afternoon. Welcome back. I know you guys are excited to be back with us. Okay. So I’d like to introduce Secretary Gina Raimondo, who has joined us here many, many times before. We’re excited to have her back today to announce the next steps that the Department of Commerce is taking to implement the $50 billion of CHIPS Act funding. So with that, I’m going to let the secretary take it away.

Secretary Raimondo: (00:29)
Thank you. Thank you. Hello everybody. Hello everybody. It’s great to be here. And this is a very exciting day. For those of us who are obsessed with and excited about CHIPS, this is a big day. As you all know, thanks to President Biden’s leadership and the bipartisan work in Congress, we now have an incredible opportunity to unleash the next generation of American innovation, protect our national security and preserve our global economic competitiveness. As we have talked about for decades in the United States, our innovation ecosystem and investments in innovation have been in decline and today begins a new chapter in revitalizing US innovation and research and development and today we begin to reverse the decline and lead the world again in semiconductor innovation and research and development. CHIPS for America, as the bill is called, represents a historic investment in our domestic manufacturing industry, which has critical implications for our economic and national security.

Secretary Raimondo: (01:40)
With this funding, we’re going to make sure that the United States is never again in a position where our national security interests are compromised or key industries are immobilized due to our inability to produce essential semiconductors here at home. This past year, we saw the impact of the chip shortage on American families when car prices drove a third of inflation because of lack of chips, factory workers were furloughed. Household appliances were often unavailable. All because of a lack of semiconductors. And as our economy and military become more reliant on technology, it’s that much more essential that we develop a strategy with values, outcomes, and structures that enable us to plan for an economy and manufacturing infrastructure that positions us to compete today and into the future. So I want to take the next few minutes to lay out for you where we are and how the department of commerce plans to implement the $50 billion in CHIPS funding that we will be overseeing.

Secretary Raimondo: (02:45)
So with the CHIPS funding, we’re setting out to achieve four primary objectives. First to establish and expand domestic production of leading edge semiconductors in the United States. Today, the United States consumes more than 25% of the world’s leading edge chips and produces zero of those chips. Number two, we want to build the sufficient and stable supply of mature node semiconductors. We consume 30%, produce 13%. We need to fix that. Number three, invest in research and development to ensure the next generation semiconductor technology is developed and produced right here in the United States. And number four, in the process of doing all this, we will create tens of thousands of good paying manufacturing jobs, and more than a hundred thousand construction jobs. This effort will ensure the pipeline for these jobs expands to include people who have historically not had a chance to participate in this industry, including women, people of color, veterans and people who live in rural areas. And that is explicitly required in statute. And we will carry out Congress’ intent. To achieve these goals, CHIPS for America will support three distinct initiatives. Two of those initiatives, which total $39 billion, will make investments in domestic chip manufacturing here in the United States. First, we will make large scale investments in leading edge manufacturing. CHIPS for America will target approximately $28 billion in manufacturing incentives to establish domestic production of leading edge logic and memory chips that require the most sophisticated processes available today. Second, we will invest about $10 billion in new manufacturing capacity for mature or current generation semiconductors. This will help us increase domestic production across a range of chips, including the chips that are used in cars, medical devices, communication technology.

Secretary Raimondo: (04:56)
And third, and finally, we’re going to make historic investments to strengthen America’s research and innovation leadership. $11 billion. And this is not as talked about. We always focus on the incentives for the companies, but in many ways, this could be the most exciting piece of what we’re doing. $11 billion will go to research and development programs, including the creation of a national semiconductor technology center. In terms of timeline, we expect to be in a position to receive application from companies no later than February of 2023. So we’re targeting February of 2023 to put the notice of funding opportunity on the street so companies can begin to apply. Our priority is funding applications for incentive programs. It’ll be put out on a rolling basis and we will evaluate each application one at a time.

Secretary Raimondo: (05:57)
Before I close, I want to take a second or minute to send a very clear message about how we plan to protect taxpayer dollars in this program. This is not a blank check for companies. This is not for them to pad their bottom line. There are clear guardrails on this money and the department of commerce intends to be vigilant and aggressive in protecting taxpayers. CHIPS funds cannot be used for stock buybacks. CHIPS funds are not intended to replace private capital. That is key. We’re going to look after every nickel of taxpayer money. Taxpayer funds are only used to fill gaps and secure other funding as loan guarantees, not to replace private capital.

Secretary Raimondo: (06:41)
These funds are intended to help companies maximize the scale of their projects. We’re going to be pushing companies to go bigger and be bolder. So if a company already has funding now for a $10 billion project, we want them to think bigger and convince us how they can go from 10 billion to 50 billion with use of the taxpayer financing. We, Commerce Department, has the ability to claw back money and make no mistake about it, we will use that claw back authority if, after giving the money to a company, they fail to start their project on time, fail to complete their project on time, fail to meet the commitments that they’ve made.

Secretary Raimondo: (07:20)
We’re also going to be implementing the guardrails to ensure those who receive CHIPS funds cannot compromise national security by … They’re not allowed to use this money to invest in China. They can’t develop leading edge technology technologies in China. They can’t send latest technology overseas. These are some of the most stringent taxpayer protections and guardrails we’ve ever had. And the American people are counting on us to get it right. And it’s responsibility that we take very seriously.

Secretary Raimondo: (07:57)
I’ll just end by saying, by thanking the President and by thanking Congress for their leadership. No one has done more to revitalize American manufacturing than president Biden and CHIPS for America is a key component of that work. With this, we’re going to jumpstart high tech manufacturing and drive economic growth. We’re going to create the kinds of jobs that will create opportunity for Americans, high wage jobs that we’d want our children to have. We’re going to revitalize an innovation ecosystem that for decades has been withering and will add rocket fuel to our global competitiveness, ensuring that America maintains its status as a leader for generation to come. First and foremost, this is about protecting our national security and providing a blueprint for long term economic prosperity. And so we’re excited. People say to me, Secretary, CHIPS passed, what do you do now? Now we get to work and we’re excited to begin that work.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (08:55)
All right. We’re just going to take a couple questions as we have to get out of here at a certain time today, as you all know. Go ahead, Phil.

Speaker 1: (09:03)
Phil. Thanks Karine. Thanks Madam Secretary. On your point about tax payer protections, there seems to be a natural tension here in the sense that huge sum money, very clear urgency on the government side, finite universe of private sector entities that could probably take advantage of this. Walk me through how this actually works in terms of ensuring that those companies don’t have leverage given how much the federal government wants to kick this into high gear.

Secretary Raimondo: (09:25)
Yeah. Great question. So today we put out our strategy document, which I’m sure you’ve all read every word of. So we put out the strategy document today, which sets forth our principles and criteria at a high level. And now we begin the work of putting forth, between now and February, more granular criteria and strings attached. So what we know is companies who receive CHIPS fundings can’t use those fundings funds to invest in other countries, can’t use them for stock buybacks. Companies who receive chip funds can’t bill leading edge or advanced technology facilities in China for a period of 10 years. Companies who receive the money can only expand their mature node factories in China to serve the Chinese market.

Secretary Raimondo: (10:17)
So this is what we know. What I can tell you is we’re also right now recruiting a team at the Commerce Department of experts. We’re going to have folks who have a history of hard nose negotiation from the private sector, people who are semiconductor industry experts, and we’re going to negotiate these deals one at a time, and really putting the screws to these companies to prove to us. We’re going to need proof from them to us in the form of financial disclosures, in capital invest plans, prove to us the money is absolutely necessary to make these investments. They’re not going to get any more than necessary to make these investments. And as I said in the beginning, this isn’t money to make them more profitable or pad their bottom line. It’s the money to make these investments and also invest in the community.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (11:10)
[inaudible 00:11:10].

Speaker 2: (11:11)
Thanks. On a different topic, CFIUS is reviewing the situation with TikTok. When do you expect that will resolve itself? That review? And will the administration, after that review, take any action to ban TikTok? Or short of that, how would the administration expect to address security concerns presented by the app by the government of China?

Secretary Raimondo: (11:33)
Yeah. So as you say, it’s under review and I have nothing more on that today on.

Speaker 2: (11:37)
On another thing that is a bit all in the air, China tariffs, I know USDR made an announcement about that last week, but that wouldn’t necessarily preclude the administration from lifting tariffs on some goods. Where does that stand right now?

Secretary Raimondo: (11:50)
Also I have nothing on that.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (11:51)
Good, Alex. Oh, I’m sorry.

Speaker 3: (11:55)
I was actually going to ask these very same questions. If you don’t mind though, on the tariff question, it’s been in the public domain for quite some time. Is it fair to assume that’s not going to happen before the midterms?

Secretary Raimondo: (12:08)
I don’t have anything else to say.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (12:11)
On topic. Okay. If it’s on topic, go ahead.

Speaker 4: (12:12)
Yes, this [inaudible 00:12:12] will be on topic. You talk about this stringent review and information’s going to be posted by February. Bottom line for us, how quickly is an American going to get hired with this money and how quickly before somebody is buying a phone with one of these American made chips in it?

Secretary Raimondo: (12:35)
Yeah. So, great question.

Speaker 4: (12:38)
And then I have a follow up to that.

Secretary Raimondo: (12:38)
You’ve already seen chip companies making big announcements. Micron is announcing a huge new facility. I was just in New Hampshire, Onsemi is breaking ground on a new facility. Intel announced a new facility. These investments have been made by these companies because the CHIPS Act passed and they have confidence. Now that the money will be put out the door. So I can’t answer you how quickly exactly a specific chip is going to come. But the point is you’re already seeing it. Global Wafer has made an announcement, $5 billion investment in Texas. So I’d say immediately, the effects are immediately being felt. In terms of our process, February, like you said, we’ll begin the process. I think you can start … I’m going to hope to start putting money out the door next spring to specific companies. Here’s the thing, there’s going to be a range of projects. There’ll be smaller simpler projects, maybe for expansion of existing facilities. And then there’ll be very large complex leading edge projects. I think you could see in the spring of next year, some of the smaller money going out the door.

Speaker 4: (13:54)
And you listed a very stringent list of criteria. Can’t be invested in stock buybacks, can’t be …

Speaker 4: (14:03)
It can’t be invested in stock buybacks; can’t be for chips that get made or sold in China, unless they’re for the Chinese market; a bunch of other things. Do you know that companies exist right now that are willing to meet those stringent demands? Did you check that before you publish it?

Secretary Raimondo: (14:17)

Speaker 4: (14:18)
So they’re ready to go with what’s there?

Secretary Raimondo: (14:20)
Yes. Yes.

Speaker 4: (14:20)
And do you at the Commerce Department then have the money necessary to hire those top-notch negotiators, the specialists, or do you need more from Congress?

Secretary Raimondo: (14:27)

Speaker 4: (14:27)
Because often what ends up happening: We get a big government announcement, multibillion dollars; here it comes from the federal government, and three years later, we’re writing stories, telling stories about how that money was mismanaged and the department that was overseeing it didn’t have enough. You’re saying you do?

Secretary Raimondo: (14:40)
Yes. Yes, I do. What we’re doing right now is we’re in the process of hiring about 50 people. We do have the money. They will be expert. And I have absolute confidence we will be able to do this.

Secretary Raimondo: (14:53)
Also, the answer to your first question is, again, Micron wouldn’t be announcing a massive expansion in Idaho if CHIPS weren’t passed. So, yes, they know the strings are attached. And, yes, they will operate under those strings.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (15:07)
Okay. Final question. Ed, it’s so good to have you back, my friend.

Speaker 5: (15:12)
Thank you, Secretary. Can you talk a little bit more about the protections or guardrails from doing work with China? Just the administration was reportedly pushing back on Intel’s plans or publicly announced plans to boost silicon wafer production in China. Has that kind of plans stopped? And will that prevent companies like Intel from getting this kind of funding?

Secretary Raimondo: (15:37)
So, I’ve said, if they take the money, they can’t use the money to invest in China, they can’t build a leading-edge fab in China for a period of 10 years. If they expand their mature node factories in China, it’s only to serve the Chinese market. And, by the way, if they take money and then do any of those things, we’ll claw back the money.

Speaker 5: (16:01)
As I understand it, this was announced previously. Is there like some type of grandfather clause? Will they be able to start this production now? Or does the fact that they had already announced this allow them to continue with those plans?

Secretary Raimondo: (16:14)
We’re going to take it on a case-by-case basis. Here’s what I will tell you: The number one objective of implementing this is to protect America’s national security. Every deal we do, every criteria that we evaluate these companies against, it’s going to be with a lens toward protecting national security. So we’re not going to allow any deals to happen that we think undermine our national security.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (16:37)
All right. Thank you, Secretary. Appreciate it.

Secretary Raimondo: (16:39)
Thank you. All right. Bye, guys. Thank you.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (16:48)
Okay. Thanks, everybody. Thank you, Secretary Raimondo. All right. I have one thing at the top. And as you all know, we probably have about 30 minutes or so for the next event that the President has, so we all have to get out of here in 30 minutes.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (17:03)
Okay, so I just want to take a moment to acknowledge the attack in Canada over the weekend. It is senseless and devastating. I won’t get ahead of the Canadian law enforcement as they continue their work. Our thoughts are with the victims of this horrific attack. We stand with Canada, our ally and neighbor, and all those affected by this tragedy, and condemn this senseless violence.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (17:29)
With that, Seung Min, you want to kick us off?

Seung Min: (17:31)
Yeah. I saw the President’s tweet congratulating Liz Truss, the new Prime Minister of the UK. Has he spoken with her or does he plan to later today? What is his plans?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (17:39)
So he’s going to speak to her later today, this afternoon. He’s planning to call her to congratulate her, the new Prime Minister. And so that’s going to happen later this afternoon.

Seung Min: (17:52)
And I have another one on the fatal shooting of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The Israeli military has now said there’s a, quote, “high probability” that an Israeli soldier accidentally killed her, but they also said that no one will be held responsible. So I wanted to know the White House’s reactions to the Israeli military’s conclusions and also whether it is acceptable to the President that no one will be held accountable in that death.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (18:13)
So I know this report came out yesterday, as it was reported by the Israeli Defense Forces, as you just said. We have extended our deepest condolences to the family of Shireen Abu Akleh, a renowned Palestinian American journalist who was killed in the West Bank. We strongly condemn this killing, as we have for the past several months. Ms. Abu Akleh was an inspiration to millions and a friend to many in the U.S. government. Her death is a great loss and a tragedy.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (18:45)
We continue to call on all sides to maintain calm and avoid further escalation. As you just mentioned and I just said, it was reported yesterday that the Israeli Defense Forces had concluded its investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death and stated there was a high possibility that her death was accidentally hit by IDF gunfire, as you just mentioned, Seung Min.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (19:12)
We welcome Israelis’ review of this tragic incident, and we underscored the importance of accountability in this case, such as policies and procedures to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. Our thoughts remain with Abu Akleh’s family as they grieve this tremendous loss. Not only was Shireen an American citizen, as I just mentioned, she was a fearless reporter whose journalism and pursuit of truth earned her the respect of audience around the world.

Speaker 6: (19:46)
Thanks, Karine. President Biden said last night he didn’t think Russia should be designated a state sponsor of terrorism, even after President Zelenskyy, in an interview with ABC’s David Muir, said he had asked the President about taking that step. Why does the President think that? And is this about keeping limited diplomatic channels open still?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (20:06)
So as the President has said, and as we do think as well, it is not the most effective or strongest path forward, as we have said many times before, to hold Russia accountable. This designation could have unintended consequences to Ukraine and the world. For example, according to humanitarian expert and NGOs we have spoken to, it could seriously affect the ability to deliver assistance in areas of Ukraine.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (20:36)
Another one is it could drive critical humanitarian and commercial actors away from facilitating food exports to help mitigate the global food crisis and jeopardize the Black Sea port deal that has already led to over a million tons of Ukrainian food exports reaching the world, including those on the Horn of Africa likely facing famine. It would also undercut our unprecedented multilateral condition that has been so effective to holding Putin accountable and could also undermine our ability to support Ukraine at the negotiation table. So, again, we do not think this is the most effective way to go or the strongest path forward.

Speaker 6: (21:20)
There are also concerns about potentially inadvertently punishing allies who might still have trade relations with Russia.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (21:26)
So, look, what we have done is we’ve already put in place severe consequences in line with those that would be imposed under such designation. Our sanctions export controls and efforts to further isolate Russia from the global economy are having a significant impact. So that’s the way we kind of have seen with the work that we’ve already done.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (21:48)
Under this, Russia defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time in more than a century. As we have said, we are choking off Russia’s military supply chains. For example, Russia has to rely on North Korea, as you all heard, and Iran for military equipment. And just last week, the G7 committed to implement a price cap to push down the price of Putin’s oil and starve him of his main source of revenue to fund this war.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (22:15)
So again, we are, of course, going to support using further tools that will work to promote accountability for Russia’s war against Ukraine. And so that’s going to be our focus as we move forward.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (22:28)
Go ahead.

Speaker 7: (22:29)
When the President speaks with the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, will he discuss the Northern Ireland arrangements? Is there an expectation that he’ll call on the Prime Minister to delay implementation of the protocol bill that she has supported that would allow the United Kingdom to override the provisions of the agreement between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland? How’s that going to come into the conversation?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (22:53)
So I’m not going to get ahead or speak to what the President might say or will say on the call. I’ll say this: that we’ll have a readout after the call later this afternoon. But he has been clear about his continued interest in Northern Ireland.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (23:07)
Our priority remains protecting the gains of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement and preserving peace, stability, and prosperity for the people of Northern Ireland. Again, I’m not going to get ahead of what the President will or won’t say.

Speaker 7: (23:20)
Okay. And the UK is obviously going through some serious economic concerns. They have an energy crisis that’s going on. Is there any room for aid, assistance, or more to be done in terms of supporting them on lowering energy costs domestically?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (23:36)
So you’ve heard us say this: that what we see Russia is doing, we’ve been very clear about this, is that they’re using energy, they’re weaponizing energy. And it’s choosing to … One of the things that has been out there, the shutdown of the pipeline of Nord Stream One. So the sanction we’ve imposed, we believe, do stand in the way of the pipeline to continuing operating. So the U.S. and Europe have been collaborating to ensure sufficient supplies are available. As a result of these efforts, European gas storage will be full by the critical winter heating season. So we have more work to do, but, again, we’re working closely with our allies on this.

Speaker 7: (24:14)
And then one final one. Is there any status update on U.S.-UK trade negotiations? And do you expect that to be a topic on the call with the new Prime Minister?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (24:23)
So I don’t have any updates on that. Again, I’m not going to get ahead of what’s going to be on the call, what the President is going to say to the new Prime Minister. Certainly, we’ll have a readout for all of you once it’s done.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (24:34)
Go ahead.

Speaker 8: (24:36)
Just one question. The President tweeted earlier today, “I want to be clear, not every Congressional Republican is a MAGA Republican.” He went on to talk about “an extreme set of MAGA Republicans in Congress.” But he’s also said frequently over the last several days, talked about how not one Republican backed the agenda that he’s had in, for example, the Inflation Reduction Act or the Recovery Act. And more broadly, he’s talked about how the Republican Party is “not your grandfather’s Republican Party,” that the whole party has changed.

Speaker 8: (25:10)
So can you talk a little bit about what group of people does he think are MAGA Republicans? When he says not one Republican supported the agenda, so does that mean that every Republican in Congress is essentially a MAGA Republican?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (25:24)
So he’s been very clear when he’s talked about MAGA Republicans, ultra-MAGA Republicans. He’s talked about the leadership in the Republican Party. One of the first time he actually used that term was to talk about Rick Scott’s plan, which was, to your point, using an agenda that they had, which was to put Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block. And for him, that was an extreme measure that is taking away something that was … If you’re thinking about it, Medicare, Social Security, very popular. That is, a majority of Americans support that, as well as well as the Inflation Reduction Act. Republicans and Democrats and independents support those policies. And you have leaders in the Republican Party who are offering extreme agenda. And so that’s what he means.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (26:18)
And I’ll just quote the President. On Friday, he took, actually, Peter’s question, the only reporter that he took a question from on Friday. And he said, in answering your question about this … I know I’m only saying that because Peter felt a certain way that I didn’t take his question on Friday in the briefing room. But the President did take your question that day. Well, I hear you.

Peter Doocy: (26:44)
Word travels fast.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (26:45)
Word … There we go. Okay, so, “When people voted for Donald Trump,” this is President Biden, “and support him now, they weren’t voting for attacking the Capitol. They weren’t voting for overruling an election. They were voting for a philosophy he put forward. So I’m not talking about anything other than: It’s inappropriate and it’s not only happening here, but other parts of the world, where there’s a failure to recognize and condemn violence whenever it is used for political purposes, failure to condemn an attempt to manipulate electoral outcomes, a failure to acknowledge when elections were won or lost.” And so that is from the President, what he thinks. He’s talking about the leadership. He’s talking about the leadership who put out extreme agenda. Also talk, in what I just laid out, and not condemning violence when there’s violence out there.

Speaker 8: (27:45)
So just one quick follow-up. While you can talk about what people meant or didn’t mean by voting in the 2020 election, but there are lots of Republican, just regular Republican voters who do support, for example, Rick Scott’s ideas about what to do with the budget or what to do with Social Security or entitlement programs. There’s-

Speaker 8: (28:03)
… out what to do with the budget or what to do with Social Security or entitlement programs. There’s lots of Republican voters who do agree with the president that they think the election was… with the former president, I mean.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (28:11)
Mm-hmm. Yeah. No, I hear you.

Speaker 8: (28:13)
So does the president consider all of those people who support these extreme agendas that he’s talking about to be the MAGA Republicans that-

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (28:22)
So he has been very clear that he’s talking about office holders. He’s talking about elected officials who have these MAGA, ultra MAGA, Republican agendas. And he’s been very clear about that. Look, here’s the thing. The point that we are making is majority of Americans support Medicare. Majority of Americans support Social Security. Majority of Americans support our democracy and want to protect our democracy, want to protect our freedom, want to protect our rights. And that’s who the president’s going to continue to stand up for and fight for. I’m going to try and call on people I haven’t called on yet. Go ahead.

Speaker 9: (28:59)
Thank you.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (28:59)
Since we don’t have a lot of time. And I’ll get to you.

Speaker 9: (29:01)
Follow for you on the questions about Russia and the president’s decision not to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. Is that a final decision by President Biden?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (29:15)
Yes, it is. I’ll let his words stand for himself. He answered it pretty simply. I just laid out why we think it wouldn’t be the strongest path forward. I laid out three reasons. Also, we want to make sure that Ukraine has what it needs in case it has to go to the negotiation table. So it is very important that we give them the strongest negotiation arm that they can have.

Speaker 9: (29:43)
And did the president directly convey that to President Zelensky before publicly saying that he had made that decision, and has he conveyed to members of Congress, leaders in Congress?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (29:54)
I can’t speak to conversation, private conversation, specifically on this that the president has had with members of Congress or President Zelensky. As you know, they spoke recently. We laid out a readout of how that conversation went and what was discussed.

Speaker 9: (30:09)
What about congressional leaders?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (30:09)
Again, I just said I can’t speak to what conversations that the president had, private conversations that he’s had, with members of Congress.

Speaker 9: (30:15)
How was it, then, specifically, he made that determination because it was-

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (30:18)
I don’t have a timeline.

Speaker 9: (30:20)
[inaudible 00:30:20].

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (30:20)
No. Well, I don’t have a timeline on when he made that decision. He was asked that directly yesterday. He answered that in a straightforward way. I just laid out what our concerns are with that.

Speaker 9: (30:32)
Can you just update us, Karine? I know you’ve answered some version of this question before, but as we’re sort of starting in September here, has the president or anyone within the administration been briefed on the intelligence community’s assessment of the classified or sensitive documents that have been retrieved at Mar-a-Lago?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (30:53)

Speaker 9: (30:55)
And is there a protocol for that, given that we are talking about sensitive government documents?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (30:59)
So, again, and I’ve said this many times at this podium. We have said this many times on your airwaves, which is we get the interest. We understand the interest. We’re not going to comment on an ongoing, independent investigation, anything that’s related to it. This is something that the president has been very clear about, in making sure there is no political interference and making sure that the Department of Justice has that independence when it comes to investigations. So I’m just not going to comment anything related to it.

Speaker 9: (31:34)
One more quick, on a different topic. Just following up on the questions about the MAGA Republicans. The president was very firm in his language and direct, saying that the former president and MAGA Republicans, he believes, pose a threat to America’s democracy. Does he then denounce the efforts by some Democrats to prop up Republicans who support the MAGA agenda in the primaries?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (31:58)
I’m not going to talk about political action or what is happening in the midterms.

Speaker 9: (32:03)
[inaudible 00:32:03].

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (32:03)
I’m not going to talk anything that’s related to the midterms or politics as well. I cannot, standing where I am, and also in the role that I have. So I’m going to go to the back, and then I’ll come back front. I’ll come back.

Speaker 10: (32:17)
Karine, [inaudible 00:32:19].

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (32:19)
Go ahead. I haven’t… Go ahead, sir.

Speaker 10: (32:20)
Thank you, Karine. Thank you very much. President Biden is the current holder of executive privilege, and does President Biden believe that Trump can claim executive privilege for government documents that he took with him to Florida?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (32:36)
Again, anything related to the independent investigation… again, independent investigation that’s being done by the Department of Justice… we are not going to comment, regardless of content or any underlying material. Not going to comment from here.

Speaker 10: (32:49)
But Judge Cannon herself said that Biden hadn’t weighed in. That’s refuted in the National Archives letter. But does President Biden have an opinion on, and has he exerted his opinion on, whether executive privilege applies to former President Trump after he left office, after he left [inaudible 00:33:08]?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (33:09)
I’m not going to comment about what the judge said yesterday, the Court has laid out. Again, that is for the Department of Justice, this whole independent investigation. Just not going to comment on it at this time. Go ahead, Courtney.

Courtney: (33:24)
Thanks, Karine. I wanted to ask you. The Department of Veterans Affairs put out an interim rule this morning on access to abortion, offering veterans abortions in special instances. I know we have the conversation in here shortly after the fall of Roe about this idea of doctors performing abortion procedures on federal land. And you had talked about how that wasn’t the best path forward at the time. What changed, and what do you believe is the legal justification to make this happen at VA clinics?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (33:53)
So I would leave that to the Veterans Affairs Department. That is their decision to make, and I would refer you to them on that particular question. I’m going to get around because we don’t have a lot of time at all. Go ahead, [inaudible 00:34:05].

Speaker 11: (34:05)
Thank you. In his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Modi gave a call for making India a developed country in the next 25 years, and that means 2047, when India celebrate its 100 years of independence. As you know this year is [inaudible 00:34:20]. In what way US can help India, assist India, in making India a developed nation by 2047 or next [inaudible 00:34:32]?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (34:31)
So, as the United States and, as you know, India, and I’ve said this to you before in this room, will continue to work together every day to deliver opportunities, security, freedom, and dignity to our peoples. We are partners in many important areas, including defense, vaccines, climate, tech, and our ever-growing people-to-people connections. The United States will continue to work with India to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific and address the challenges both our countries face around the world. That is our commitment that we have in our partnership with India.

Speaker 11: (35:07)
And secondly, what is the president’s assessment of the situation in Afghanistan right now, a year after the Taliban took the power there?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (35:16)
Say that one more time.

Speaker 11: (35:20)
What is the president’s assessment of the situation in Afghanistan right now, a year after the Taliban took the power?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (35:23)
So we are committed to supporting the Afghan people. And we have said that many times before, and we are proud to be the largest single provider of humanitarian assistant to Afghanistan. We are working closely with the United Nations and other partners to provide this assistance directly to the Afghan people, without benefit to the Taliban.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (35:43)
We will remain vigilant against any terrorism threats directed at the United States or our allies, as we have demonstrated just recently in July, as you know, when we took out the leader of Al Qaeda. And we will continue to prioritize relocation efforts to our Afghan allies and welcome our Afghan allies to the United States, since our commitment to them is enduring.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (36:08)
We will also continue to press the Taliban for the safe release of Mark Frerichs and to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Afghans, including women and girls. And that is going to continue to be our commitment. I’m just going to go around to folks I haven’t called. Go ahead. And then I’ll come down to you here.

Speaker 6: (36:25)
Thanks, Karine. There are multiple inspector general posts where the president has yet to nominate a permanent IG. There may be someone acting there but has yet to nominate a permanent IG. The State Department hasn’t had a permanent IG since before President Biden took office. So what is the president doing, what is the White House doing behind the scenes, to find those permanent IGs for those really important positions?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (36:46)
It’s a great question. I don’t have anything here to read out or lay out to you about our process in filling the permanent IGs. I would refer you to State Department specifically on what they have laid out and how they’ve worked through that. I don’t have any updates on naming anyone or anything that we have to share to preview to you as well.

Speaker 6: (37:07)
Yeah, I understand. But these are the president’s nominees. State Department doesn’t make that [inaudible 00:37:12].

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (37:11)
No, but you also asked me what is it that we’re doing as well. So that’s why I said you should go to the State Department to figure out what is it that they’ve been doing while we’re trying to figure out the permanent IGs. I don’t have anything to preview at this time on our process or where we are on that particular question.

Speaker 6: (37:28)
And then, really briefly on student loans. I know the administration has encouraged people who are applying for loan forgiveness, when that opens up, to do so by November 15th. But is there kind of an end deadline? When is the last time people can apply for that? Is there some sort of deadline, considering, of course, that this would already have to be debt that’s already been accrued?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (37:48)
We’ve talked about this. I talked about this last week, about the timeline and how that’s going to work. And you mentioned November 15th. So we are saying that, in order to receive, before the payment pause, which expires on December 31st, 2022, as you want to get that relief and the pause is coming off, that’s the best way to make sure that, as those two things are happening and you’re not put in a bind, America’s not put in a bind. That’s why we recommend doing it by November 15th. But the Department of Education will continue to process applications as they are received, even after the pause expires on December 31st. So it’ll be continuing. The reason why we gave the deadline of November 15th is because we know the pause is going to be lifted. So, as we have said, we want to make sure that we give Americans a little bit of breathing room, and that’s why we have that deadline.

Speaker 6: (38:41)
People can apply into 2023?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (38:43)
Yes, they can. Yes. Okay. Oh, Peter. Go ahead.

Peter: (38:46)
Thanks, Karine. A follow-up about the MAGA Republican attention. So if we’re all in agreement that it is incorrect to say the 2020 election was stolen, what about the 2016 election?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (39:00)
Look, I’m not going to go back to where we were or what happened in 2016. We’re going to focus on the here and now. We’re going to focus on what’s happening today, this inflection point that the president pointed out very clearly and very decisively in a few speeches about what the country needs to do at this time to bring the country together. And he believes that’s where majority of Americans are when it comes to protecting our democracy, when it comes to protecting our rights, and when it comes to protecting our freedoms. That’s what we’re going to talk about. That’s what we’re going to focus on, on where we are at today.

Peter: (39:35)
But just in trying to understand the new attention on the MAGA Republicans, you tweeted, in 2016-

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (39:41)
Oh, I knew this was coming.

Peter: (39:42)
… Trump stole an election. You tweeted-

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (39:44)
I was waiting, Peter, when you were going to ask me that question.

Peter: (39:47)
Well, great. Here we go. You tweeted Trump stole an election. You tweeted Brian Kemp stole an election. If denying election results is extreme now, why wasn’t it then?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (39:58)
Let’s be really clear. That comparison that you made is just ridiculous. I have been-

Peter: (40:02)
How is that ridiculous?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (40:03)
Well, you’re asking me a question. Let me answer it.

Peter: (40:06)
Yes. And you said it was ridiculous.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (40:09)
I was talking specifically at that time of what was happening with voting rights and what was in danger of voting rights. That’s what I was speaking to at the time. And here’s the thing. I have said Governor Kemp won the election in Georgia. I’ve been clear about that. I have said President Trump won the election of 2016, and I’ve been clear about that. What we are talking about right now is… Let’s not forget what happened on January 6th, 2021, when we saw an insurrection, a mob that was incited by the person who occupied this campus, this facility, at that time. And it was an attack on our democracy. Let’s not forget people died that day. Law enforcement were attacked that day. That was the danger that we were seeing at the time. That’s what the president has called out. And that’s what he’s going to continue to call out.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (41:01)
So, yes, when you have MAGA Republicans, a extreme part of Republicans, who just deny or do not want to really say what exactly happened on that day or say it was a protest, when it clearly was not a peaceful protest… That’s not what we saw on that day. Yes, the president’s going to call that out. And here’s the thing. Majority of Americans agree with him. Majority of Americans agree with this president on protecting our democracy, protecting our freedom, and protecting our rights. That’s what we’re talking about today. And that’s what the president’s going to focus on.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (41:35)
All right. We’re going to have to move. We’re going to have to move. I’m going to call on folks I haven’t called on. Go ahead.

Speaker 12: (41:38)
Thanks, Karine. I’m just wondering if you have any sort of preview for the event tomorrow with former President Obama and former First Lady Obama?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (41:53)
I do. I do. So tomorrow, President Biden is looking forward to welcoming back President Obama and Michelle Obama to the White House for the unveiling of their official White House portraits. Over the course of their-

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (42:03)
… unveiling of their official White House portraits. Over the course of their eight years together in office, a close partnership between the two men grew through the highs and lows of the job and of life. President Biden and Dr. Biden are honored to have former President Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama back to the White House for the unveiling of their portraits, which will hang on the walls of the White House forever as reminders of the power of hope and change.

Speaker 13: (42:30)
Obviously this ceremony is happening as per in recent history, tradition: predecessor and successor. Obviously it didn’t happen under the last administration. Would President Biden hold the same ceremony for President Trump, should his portraits be done before his first term?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (42:46)
So we defer those questions to the White House Historical Association, who actually, they lead the process on official portraits for both presidents and their spouses. So that question lies with them.

Speaker 13: (43:02)
And is there any more interaction that the former President and current President will have tomorrow? Or is it just the ceremony?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (43:04)
I don’t have anything else to share at this time. If there’s more interaction or more to share, we certainly will. Okay. Go ahead.

Speaker 14: (43:14)
Going back to the new UK Prime Minister, can you talk a little bit about what President Biden’s relationship is with her? Has he met with her in the past? Does he know her well?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (43:24)
That’s a good question. I can go back and actually ask to see if they have a prior relationship. But I do want to say this as we talk about the change that’s happening, the new Prime Minister. Our countries have a close, longstanding, special relationships as friends and NATO allies. And we are looking forward to continued close cooperation on key priorities, including supporting Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian aggression and addressing the challenges posed by China. So we see our relationship not just with the leadership, but also the people of the UK.

Speaker 15: (44:02)
Karine, is the president planning to call-

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (44:05)
I’m going to try and call on people who I haven’t called.

Speaker 15: (44:07)
Is the president planning to call the President of Kenya, [inaudible 00:44:07] the President-elect of Kenya?

Speaker 16: (44:07)
Thanks Karine. I want to ask you the question about migrants, whether they have or haven’t been walking across the southwest border. Senator Ted Cruz has publicly invited, suggested that you come down to see that for yourself. Would you?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (44:23)
Who? Who?

Speaker 16: (44:23)
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. He’s suggested that you come down and see for yourself, whether migrants are actually crossing the border by foot. Is that something that you would take him up on?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (44:35)
So I’ve been to the border. I went in 2018. I stood outside facilities where the Trump Administration was separating families, tearing babies out of their mother’s arms. Some of those kids still haven’t been reunited with their families.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (44:54)
So one thing I will say is, I certainly don’t need lectures or invitations from Republicans about the border or border policies. And I certainly won’t take advice on border from anyone who voted against securing record level of funding for the Department of Homeland Security. And while folks are sending invites, I’ll use this opportunity to invite him or anyone else next time to vote for record funding for DHS as President Biden has requested. So we’ll move on. No, we’re move on from that.

Speaker 16: (45:35)
A quick question. On the migrants who drowned last week near Eagle Pass, what is the administration doing to avert those kind of tragedies?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (45:46)
That is tragic when we hear news like that. Our hearts go out to the families, certainly. And that is what we try to work very hard to do to secure the border and make sure that we don’t see those types of … those tragedies and heartbreaks.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (46:06)
I know the Department of Homeland Security is working very hard onto continuing to secure our border, to do work that was not done in the past several years. And so we’re going to continue to focus on that. Okay, go ahead.

Speaker 11: (46:22)
Karine, a question on Kenya.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (46:24)
Okay, go ahead Kenya. What’s going on?

Speaker 11: (46:26)
Since you just spoke about the president calling the new Prime Minister of the UK. Is he planning to call the President-elect of Kenya after he was affirmed, his victory was affirmed by the Supreme Court yesterday? And is he also planning to call the new president of Angola, the president and the President-elect-

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (46:47)
So I don’t have … I spoke to Angola a couple times last week, and the President actually took a question I know on Angola specifically about 10 days or so. On Kenya, I’ll say this. We congratulate William Ruto on his election as president of Kenya. We also congratulate the people of Kenya on the conclusion of a peaceful electoral process. We commend Raila Odinga and other candidates for abiding by the Supreme Court filing. Transparent electoral processes and the peaceful adjudication of disputes are testaments to the strength of democratic institutions. The United States and Kenya share a strong and longstanding partnership based on a commitment to democracy, security, economic prosperity. We look forward to enhancing this partnership with president Ruto and his new government. I don’t have any calls to read out or preview for you at this time.

Speaker 11: (47:41)
And then, on Ethiopia. Last Friday, you talked about the special envoy, Michael Hammer going to Ethiopia. The main problem in Ethiopia right now, especially around Tigray is about the blockade that’s been there for almost 21 months. Is the President, is the special envoy going to press Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali to lift the blockade and grant access to the 6 million people who have been sealed off?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (48:08)
I’m not going to get ahead of the special envoy. I know we announced that as you mentioned last week. I’m not going to get into any conversation that he may potentially have. Clearly, this is a priority for this President, and when we will have more to share, we’ll share more. I got to jump around. No, no, no, no. I got to jump around. I got to jump around. Go ahead. Go ahead.

Speaker 17: (48:27)
Thank you so much. I’ve got a question on Israel and Iran tensions. Israel’s on high alert and the Prime Minister of Israel has talked about taking unilateral action against Iran’s nuclear program. Will the Biden Administration back to any Israeli action against Iran’s nuclear program? And can you update us a little bit on the Mossad chief? He’s in town. Who’s even meeting with? What’s he been doing?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (48:49)
So don’t have anything to share about Mossad being in town. He had been announced several weeks now that he would be. Don’t have more to share on that. Look, I’m going to, when it comes to the JCPOA, I’m going to keep it very, very simple here. We have said this many times. We have taken a deliberate and principle approach to these negotiations from the start. If Iran is prepared to comply with its commitments under 2015 deal, then we are prepared to do the same. The administration along with our allies is preparing equally for scenarios with and without a mutual return to the full implementation of the JCPOA. The president will only conclude a deal that he determines in the national security interest of the United States.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (49:40)
Again, not going to negotiate, not going to have conversations or hypotheticals of what may or may not happen. We have been very clear about what we intend here and is to make sure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapon. And that is our ultimate goal here.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (49:57)
Okay. We’re just going to move around, because I literally have two minutes. Go ahead.

Speaker 18: (50:01)
I actually want to follow-up on the Iran nuclear deal question.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (50:04)

Speaker 18: (50:05)
What is the timeline that President Biden’s looking at before the State Department diplomats sort of say time’s up?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (50:12)
I don’t have a timeline for you. I can give you an update on the status of the negotiations. Look, it’s a regular back and forth. As we have said, we are studying the response and coordination with our E3 allies. As you know, we have received a response. Again, we’re not going to negotiate in public. Some gaps have closed in recent weeks, but others have remained as you all know. The President will only, again, conclude a deal that he determines is in the national security interest of the United States. I’m going to get into further detail or negotiate from here. I can take one last question. One last question.

Speaker 6: (50:47)
Can I ask about Shireen, my colleague? You read the message, the statement about Shireen Abu Akleh. The administration continues to talk about accountability, but there hasn’t been any. There have been no charges. What is the Biden Administration going to do to press for accountability? What steps are going to be taken?

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (51:08)
So what I can tell you is that we have been in constant communication. We have been very public about making sure that there is accountability. The US Security Coordinator, the USCC, as it relates to the investigation, finding that there was no reason to believe the killing was intentional and it was instead, the result of tragic circumstances is based on a series of engagements and a review of the totality of the available evidence, situational and environmental factors.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (51:42)
Again, our profound condolences go to the family. We hear their concerns. We understand their concerns. The examination was conducted by two members, again of the USCC with over 42 combined years of forensic expertise. In addition to the forensic and ballistic analysis, the USCC was granted full access to both Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian Authority investigation. By summarizing both investigation, the USCC concluded that gunfire from IDF positions was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh. The USCC found no reason to believe that this was intentional, but rather the result of tragic circumstances. Again, our hearts go out to the family members.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (52:31)
And I have to go. It’s 1:03. I’ll be back tomorrow. I’ll be …

Speaker 6: (52:35)
This isn’t accountability. How do journalists in this room read this? I mean, it feels almost like our government doesn’t have our back that an ally can kill an American journalist with impunity.

Ms. Jean-Pierre: (52:43)
I disagree. I disagree. One thing that this President has been very clear about making sure that we stand up for our journalists. We stand up for the freedom that they should be given in order to report, whether it’s here or across the globe. And the President has always been clear about fighting for human rights. That will never change. He has talked about it, boldly and clearly, and he’s talked about it with leaders as well. So that is something that he respects, the freedom of speech, and he’ll continue to speak to that. All right, guys, I got to go.

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