Transcription of the Press Conference at 12:15 on 4/17/2013 by mizmo

Lightly edited and formatted

Here we go

good afternoon

i know there are several matters you rae interested in discussing

a couple of issues under investigation by fbi

thought i would start with that

statement from fbi and US secret service

a letter sent to president at a offsite mail facility

was noticed to have contained a suspicious siubstance

tests were undertaken

fbi has lead in investigation

they will be conducting further tests

to determine nature of the substance

there was another letter, detected by capitol police, sent to a us senator

that also has been subject of investigation by fbi

for more info about these matters i refer you to the fbi

the prseident has been briefed on these letters, last night and again this morning

there is obvs a lot of interest in the explosions in boston

i wanted to make clear as you heard from pres yesterday

our hearts and prayers go out to victims and families of those injured and killed in this heinous and cowardly act

full weight of us gov't behind investigation as led by fbi

pres said we will find out who did this, why, and bring those responsible to justice

very important to allow this investigation to run its full course

and maintain integrity of investigatin

on matters related to investigation i would direct you to fbi

fbi giving press briefings on ground in boston

president has been brief regularly on the incident in boston

beginning almost immediately after it took place

this morning the president convened oval office meeting with natl security team

attorney general, fbi director, president staff, tom donlan, his homeland seucrity advisor lisa monaco, dpt advisor, kathy rummler, dep chief of staff, dep national security advisor, and vice pres advisor jake sullivan

president will travel to boston tomorrow for intefraith service

first lady will be joining pres on trip to boston

with that i will take your q's

q: public already nervous... has fbi told white house anything about the whether or not letters related to the incident?

point you to fbi statement - my understanding they have not made that connection

q: have they ruled out?

i will refer you to fbi

q: nothing you can say to public?

i can tell you for a long time now well established procedures and protocols anytime suspicious powder located in mail center its tested. mail is screened, these tests taken in remote sites to reduce risk to recepients and general population

those tests take place at accredited facilities and take a certain amount of time as fbi has indicated

procedures in place, in operation now, we are in the midst of that process now

q: nothing you can say if there any connection?

i would point you to the fbi which has the lead in the investigation into each matter and what they have said about this

and their assessments on any connection

q: is there any indication on the boston explosions on whether this look sto be foreign or domestic toerrists?

what president said yesterday remains true today

there is an active investgation ongoing

full weright of federal govt behind this investigation being led by fbi

all components of fed govt assisting including intelligence community

in this investigation

as pres said... we do not know at this time ye whether it was an org or an indivudal, foreign or domestic - but we will find out.

we will hold acctable and to justice those responsible

not even 48 hours old, it is important that we maintain integrity of investigation

it is important as both state and local law enforcement off'ls and federal off'ls have made clear the am people provide whatever info thye might have that could be of assistance

there is an 800 number, 1800callfbi

which has been put out to provide a method for individs who might have info to contact law enforcement on this matter

that is absolutely the responsibloe thing to do

details of progress of investigation

assessments about preliminary ... who may be responsible

i will not make, as a matter of upholding integrity of investagtion others will not as well

q: there's still police tape up around penn ave in front of white house - are there other threats?

i'm not aware of any

secret service said yesterday through normal procedures and abundance of caution particular actoins are taken

i would refer you to secret service on that

q: pres discouraged about there are no leads?

i wouldn't say any way or the other

important to allow inevstigators to do their work

he had a substantial meeting earlier today

lisa monaco updating him cont throughout day evening night

i wouldn't characterisze his view of the investigation bc that would characterize investigation

q: his demeanor in boston?

one of resolve

one of commonality we all feel as americans with ppl of boston and those vistign bos for the marathon

then demonstrated their bravery... in its immediate aftermath

i would obvs ask you to wait until you hear his remarks

but as u heard him say yesterday from this podium

the way that the ppl of bos, the city of bos responded... reminds us and reminds the world of just who we are as a ppl

q: how did he react to the briefings on the letters

the pres was brief on these matters, i dont have a way to characterize his reaction

he understands there are procedures in place

a process in place that ensures suspicious materials at remote locations are then sent for secondary and more intense testing

and that process is underway now

q: following on q, fbi statement says no indication of link to attack in boston

why won't they explicitly rule out a connection, why won't you?

i would point to fbi

they say there is no indication

thats a pretty clear statement

[she's arguing with him]

i think they have made a fairly clear statement

that was available in the statement they put out

i am not going to assess it further from here

remind you that these investigations - boston and leters in question - are just under way

i wouldn't presume to characterize nature of investigations

i woulod point to statement by fbi

no indication of a connection

q: the statement refers to two differnt facilities. 3 facilities and letters, or just 2?

i would refer you to the fbi

i'm aware of letter sent to senator and to president

if there have been reports of other potential letters, i dont know if that was the case

q: is this concerning to the adminstration that there is osmething else going on here? a follow on? a lone wolf? someone trying to capitalize on concern after obs?

those rae questions that investigators are looking to answer

look at what secret service has said

make clear that we have had procedures in place for quite some time now when it comes to the processing of mail sent to white house complex that ensure the mail is processed off site to mitigate risk to recpeients and general public

those procedures have been in place some time and effective

i would ask you to check with fbi to see what assessments they'll make along the lines you're asking

q: si this something that happens every so often and we just don't hear about it or is this unusual?

again, the fbi and secret service are best to ask these q's of bc they handle the porcessing and investigation

capitol police and secret service handle the assessments of it

it is certainly the case as the fbi has pointed out when prelim tests done, secondary and tertiary tests are made bc of the need for accruacy and to be sure about what substances might be

for the history of this i'd refer you to fbi, secret service, capitol police

q: the lteter / envelope received here. same return address?

again, that's a subject of investigation, i have no info on the nature of the mailing label or return address, that would be for fbi to address

q: was there a letter in envelope?

i dont know

want to make clear this is a matter under investigation by fbi

they have lead on investigation and providing info

q: gun control votes on capitol hill today - looks like it's going down in defeat. what does this say what happens next will pres continue his fight

pres believes very strngly that the senate should pass the background checks bill

you have heard him speak passionately about this issue

families of newtown victims have been in dc speaking about passing common sense legistlation to reduce gun violence

reason why these aren't law already is bc they are difficult, path to 60 in this case is difficult but not unachievable

we hope members of the senate after speaking with newtown families on capitol hill right now meeting with lawmakers

consider who they are representing

90% of am people support expanded background checks

majorities in every state

where there is data available overhwelmingly support background states

repubs, dems, gun owners, independents - support background checks

if you are opposed to this legistlation... explain why you are against something that 90% of the people are for

the vast majority of people in your state support

there has been a lot of bogus info about what is in this amendment that was crafted by two highly rated by the NRA senators

a senator from WV - one of strongest gun cultures in country - and conversative repub senator from PA

gun registry rumors - bogus - specifically prohibits such a registry

members of senate need to ask themselves who are you representing

president want sthis done but it's not about th epres, it's about the familiies

VT, newtown, aurora families

common sense, reasonable legislation to pass to close loopholes

to prevent ppl who should not by law have access to a gun

q: what do you do know this was the single best chance you had?

what i wont do is give post game analysis before the game is over

this vote has not happened

q: do you still think this can pass?

i think each senator has to decide for him or herself ultimately

what they tell press or tweet is not the same as what they vote

still an opportunity

everyone in the whitehouse is working on this issue from pres down

q: satisfied on timing of vote? thought you might have more time? satisified with the way harry reid has brought to floor today? it appears heading for defeat?

the way the senate runs is obvs handled by majority leader and leadership

that the senate would be ovting on bipartisan, common sense, compromise to expand background cehck system

has been known ...

it is certainly the case that every esnator should have read this amendment

and if they havent, should be ashamed

they should read it before they vote

esp if they are gonn avote no

and again, im not going to give post game analysis before the game has occurred

we believe that 60 senators, that there is a path, a very difficult path, to get to 60

there ought to be a path to get to 100

q: achievable with more time?

thats a hypothetical

we've been talking about this for a very long time

under discussion and public now for a number of days

this is not...

not a complicated issue

it's a 90/10 issue

q: straight out... no diff if votes next week or today? pres is making calls?

the senate will vote

whenever it votes, it ought to pass this amendment. it's pretty simple

what's complicated that 90% of the am ppl want this done

yet a substantial % of the senate seems to disagree with the vast majority of the peopl eo ftheir states

it's not about the pres

they disagree with families of newtown

disagree with those who still grieve over their losses in aurora

it's about *them*

q: obvs with the security the pres talked about in other cities, the visiblity, edginess around capitol hill. does pres feel any burden to give the country some sense of how to cope with the edginess that all we feel is creeping into country

i think you heard pres say

we will not be terrorized

i think you saw in ppl of bos and reaction of americans across country proof of that statement

thats who we are

you heard him say this yesterday and im sure he'll echo that tomm

q: a lot of ppl talking about whether these incidents connected or not? feeling like 2001, terror attack then suspicious letters and ppl being concerned

q: does pres believe nation under attack again?

you heard pres address boston bombings 2x now

youll hear him again tomm

has been brief on the letters

updated on the fact that fbi is investigating and fruther tests being done

pres made a committment that will find who is responible for bombings and bring them to justice

fbi will make assessments about these letters well procedure from there once we know

first thing sfirst

before we speculate... before we make connections....

that we dont know exist. that the fbi has made a clear statementa bout - we need to get the facts

pres based his judgements and things he say on the facts

q: when he's having these meetings with his team is he expressing any concern... only 48 hours yes but...

q: why thers not a suspect yet? pres expressing frustration?

pres has faith in fbi which has the lead

faith in entire homeland security team

has not even been 48 hours

important to allow investigation to proceed

and maintain integrity of investigation

pres very confident in all of the agencies at the federal level that are involved

putting full weight of fed govt behind investigation

confident we will find who is respondible

q: verge of any sort of breakthrough?

i wouldn't characterize investigation or progress being made

important to maintain integirty of investigation

q: immigration reform?.... cant hear

q: preoccupies some of pres's time how does he balance this now as he's pushing these important issues

q: but also figuring out investigation

q: how does he balance that, does some of this overshadow his push on domestic front?

these are all top prioities

pres top priority is safety and security of am people

these bombings in bos have his absolute focus

he has directed the entire fed govt with the fbi at the lead to make this investigation its priority

there are also many other issues that are essential to making progress in this country

reduce gun violence

fix broken imigration system

help our economy grow and create jobs

that is the abs nature of the world we live in and the biz we need to conduct

pres is focused on all of this

q: give us a sense... speaking in bos tomorrow... any other plans to visit privately with victims or family members?

i have no other updates on the pres travel tomm if there are change sor additions we'll make you aware of them

pres has been in contact with officials in massachusetts and bos, i have no other conversations related to the incidents in boston to read out to you at this time

pres will obvs be seeing anumber of ppl on the ground in bos including local and state officials

q: gun bill vote... i want to get senes what is pres' message specifically to those dems, who said they'd vote no, 6 of whom seem to say will not vote in support, members of his party

pres believes that every sesnator ought to support common sense legistlation to stop gun violence, all 100 of them

something like legistlation to improve background check system... should garner support in senate that it has in the country

but make no mistake... on this matter... on this issue... others realted to reducing gun violence. overhwelming number of dems support it, overwhleming no of repubs oppose it. and that is a shame

when it comes to background checks - this is not a q of different states see it differently. state after state after state support is overwhelming

blue, red, pruple, rural, urban states

am ppl have been clear that this is ocmmon sense

does not infringe upon 2nd amendment rights

it ought to pass

q: accused pres of using newtown famliies as 'props' what is white house's response?

newtown families arent her for pres

they are here bc their children were murdered

they are asking senate to do something that is common sense

q: talk a bit about dem senators, why pres wanted to meet with them, whether prepared to talk about chained CPI, if he might be able to defend position on that

a variety of topics will come up

looks forward to meeting with group of senate dems

has been engaged thru a variety of modes reaching out to lawmakers in both parties

this is part of that process

alot of biz that he believes we need to get done here in dc on behalf on am ppl

senate dems key to that progress he wants to see made

white house worked with senator to put together list

has had 2 dinners with repub senators

confident that outreach will continue

meetings large and small will continue

as he continues to work with senate and congress to get common sense things done

q: ??

only been two so far this is the third

why are some meetings at white house, some at jefferson hotel

q: background on gun debte who or what is source of bogus info you mentioned a few moments ago

accusations made or suggestions put out there that voting for amendment is a vote for a gun registry

is on its face, absurd, false, and wrong

legislation itself prohibits that

expanding background system in place for more than a decade

where it doesnt have loopholes it has been effective

has prevented criminals and those mentally unstable from obtaining weapons

what should be clear to

those senators who are ocnsidering this

this is common sense

if youre responsible gun owner

ensures that... checks are conducted

you want everyone else to have to abide by the same rules

if you want to sell a firearm

and youre a responsible citizen

you want to know whether or not the person you're selling to is a criminal or mentally unstable

thats what the system was designed to do

this amendment closed the loopholes

q: specify who you see as souce of bogus info

ive seen it in so many places its hard to keep track

it's out there and its false

senators should read the legislation

q: will we hear from pres after the vote?

no sched announcements to make

q: ppl responsible for attack - fear of backlash among arab/muslim american community, can you alleviate fear?

point everyone to statement pres made - we should not jump to any conclusions

allow the investigation to run its course

and to follow leads wher ethose leads take them

then we will know

before then.... its not helpfulo to jump to any conclusions

channel 7 cut it off

my hands are on fire :)

tufts medical center briefing

two doctors and a nrse on the scene

q: will pres push for equality for same sex couples

im gonna take a break, sorry :(

pres says the bill is a compromise -- no one will get everything they want

that's the nature of compromise


--something about immigrants--

we will work with lawmakers of both parties as the bill is considered

important to note that this is a bipartisan bill

in line with president's views

q: ??

we're not going to assess individual items

is broadly consistant with his principals

i don't want to charactarize -- i want to broadly point out... it's signigicant process

we're not there yet

q: pres scheduled to go to kansas, put off -- does he want to stay close to his advisors? or is ig logistical?

he's going to boston -- decision was made not to travel both thurs. and friday

pres will remain here on friday

the issues he would talk about in kansas and today will remain front and center

q: has he made any ammendments with his sched.?

more meetings in boston -- nothing else beyond that

q: has he canceld because of more beifiengs?

not that I'm aware of

q: has mail to wh been halted?

I will refer you to SS. processes in place prevent harm

q: what proceedures were in place?

the discovery of suspicious substances was made at offsite facilitues

q: what person/group is the problem when it comes to pushing gun legistlation

this isn't over -- not going to asses the game as I said to john

senators should examine the bill, their conciouses, then vote

we hope this ammendment gets 60 votes

no one would have predicted months ago we woudl have got this far

this ought to be passed

hsa the support of 90% of americans

are not too many issues in amer of significance that have 90% support -- no broad based support

gun owners, non-owners, urban, rural, etc

have to wonder why this is so hard

the senators who vote no -- represent the people who have said they want this done

we know the vast majority of americans support this

q: you've been making this case -- not getting enough senate support. Any theory why? Will you shame the senators by name?

first, let's wait for the vote.... and hopefully there will be reason to be pleased by the outcome

I'm not oging to get ahead of the vote

q: is it your expectation the pres will continue talking about guns regardless of vote?

I went with him to Newtown -- you heard him spoke

I'm not going to predict the future

we're not ready to concede that

q: I send condolences... pres said boston was an act of terror. do you consider the bombing in middle east earlier this month an act of terrorism?

I'd have to know more about the issue -- the DOD would have a better answer

We have troups in afghanistan

pres' plans to destroy al quida

I would refer you to the DOD for details

q: pressure cooker bombings are common with terrorist groups -- just happened in India... do you see connection between those bombings in the ones in boston?

I would refer you to the state dept. about our reponse on the incidents you have mentioned.

president is focused on boston

q: on immigration, lots of protest on capital hill -- asking president why ???

q: took 21 years to get green card.... ?

need for comprehensive immigration reform is clear..

need to do everything i discussed earlier

thank you.