THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY JOE LOCKHART, BARRY TOIV AND ANN LUZZATTO
The Briefing Room
1:46 P.M. EST
MR. LOCKHART: What can I do for you?
Q When will the President's attorney, David Kendall, file this sanctions motion against Ken Starr?
MR. LOCKHART: My understanding of that from the Counsel's Office is that they worked on that through the weekend and it may be filed as early as this afternoon. But I don't think that I will know until they've actually done the filing.
Q And will the contents of that filing be made public, or will he ask that it be sealed?
MR. LOCKHART: My understanding -- and you should check with Mr. Kendall's office -- but my understanding is that will remain under seal.
MR. LOCKHART: You should talk to Mr. Kendall's office about that.
Q Is that on the President's instructions?
MR. LOCKHART: You should talk to Mr. Kendall about that.
Q Where will it go? To the Justice Department?
MR. LOCKHART: I believe to the District Court.
Q The President obviously supports this motion.
MR. LOCKHART: It's fair to assume Mr. Kendall's talked to his client.
Q Well, what role did the White House Counsel's Office have? You said you spoke to Counsel's Office?
MR. LOCKHART: Yes. I had probably a dozen questions similar to this this morning when I arrived, so I sought some --
Q But they weren't working with Kendall on this, they were just intermediaries?
MR. LOCKHART: No, no. I was asking them if they knew the answer to the question.
Q The President has said he can't comment on the case because of the investigation. But what is your understanding exactly
of what the rules cover in terms of what he can't talk about? Is it more than simply the depositions or the testimony?
MR. LOCKHART: No, I think it's a combination. I think there have been others who have explained this over the weekend, but there are some things with the deposition, with the gag order -- that covers some of it. Others, probably the best description is just the common sense rule, something if you maybe got outside of Washington and talked to lawyers who aren't affiliated one way or the other would tell you that it's best to, after, as the President has, denied emphatically the allegations against him, then sought to work within the process of whatever the investigation might be.
And I draw your attention to a source that has frequently been a critic to us, but the general counsel for President Reagan and President Bush was asked yesterday by a Sunday interviewer what his advice would be and he said his advice would be exactly the same. And he advised President Bush and President Reagan on the same grounds.
Q Which is the common sense thing that you're referring to.
MR. LOCKHART: Yes.
Q But I'm speaking concretely of what is covered by the applicable rules of the court.
MR. LOCKHART: There is nothing covered by the rules of --
Q Did the President misspeak?
MR. LOCKHART: I think he combined -- I mean, there certainly are some things --
Q He wasn't -- he clearly, when he was asked a question about Paula Jones he referred to the rules on that. But when he said, I'm following the rules, he was talking about Starr's investigation.
MR. LOCKHART: To the extent that you interpreted it as a hard and fast rule, then that is not the case.
Q Will we be told if Kendall asks for sanctions against --
MR. LOCKHART: That will be up to Mr. Kendall to decide what he reveals and what he doesn't.
Q On the rule -- just so I understand your last statement, when the President said he was only abiding by the rule of law, there is no rule of law that he's --
MR. LOCKHART: To my knowledge, there is no specific regulation to anybody but the prosecutors who are privy to the secret grand jury testimony to talk about.
Q So why would the President invoke a rule of law that he was abiding by?
MR. LOCKHART: I think what the President was doing was talking about that -- there were several things in his mind that he was talking about, but I think, as we know now, there is no specific rule involving this independent counsel investigation.
Q You mean to keep silent?
MR. LOCKHART: That is correct, yes.
Q So, in other words, he did misspeak?
MR. LOCKHART: If what this is about is to say that he misspoke, you certainly, if that was your interpretation of what he said, that was the wrong interpretation.
Q So we misinterpreted it?
MR. LOCKHART: Let me be clear. There certainly -- we're not operating here under any assumption that there is a specific concrete rule within the independent counsel.
Q What is the law? Can the President fire the independent counsel?
MR. LOCKHART: I think if you look at the independent counsel statute, the Attorney General can remove him for, I think it's just cause.
Q And can the President recommend to the Attorney General that she remove him?
MR. LOCKHART: I think the independent counsel statute only talks about the Attorney General.
Q Is that under consideration in any way, shape or form?
MR. LOCKHART: No.
Q If he wanted to, though, he could say to the Attorney General, I think you should fire him, he's doing a bad job
MR. LOCKHART: That's certainly possible if he wanted to.
Q Has there been any discussion about it?
MR. LOCKHART: None.
MR. LOCKHART: None.
Q If he's doing such a terrible job, though, why hasn't there been any discussion of that?
MR. LOCKHART: You know, I think that the appropriate person to raise issues, if there are a complaint, is the President's personal attorney. As you all know, he is doing that as early this afternoon. That is the appropriate place to seek relief and that's where it stands.
Q There are several White House aides who have now been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury. What is either the President's White House lawyers or his personal lawyer doing in terms of trying to talk to those witnesses and find out what they discussed before the grand jury?
MR. LOCKHART: I think there's a common practice, as it was described to me, as lawyers being lawyers. They talk among themselves and gather whatever information they can. I can't get into the specifics of who's talked to who, but I can certainly tell you there has been some conversations between the lawyers and that that Independent Counsel's Office has been notified that those conversations are going on.
Q And is that White House lawyers, Mr. Ruff's office, or is that all been by Mr. Kendall?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not aware of Mr. Kendall, but I can certainly tell you that White House Counsel's -- or representatives in the White House Counsel's Office have.
Q Do you expect that the President will be asked or subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury?
MR. LOCKHART: I have no way of knowing that.
Q I mean, is there no anticipation here, or judgment?
MR. LOCKHART: I have no way of knowing that. The proper place to put that question is to the independent counsel.
Q But he hasn't been, so far as you know?
MR. LOCKHART: Not that I know of.
Q Joe, considering what the President's attorney has said about Ken Starr and his office, does the President stand by his pledge to cooperate fully with Ken Starr?
MR. LOCKHART: Absolutely.
Q Can you tell me if there's been any coordination between the White House and Congressman John Conyers with respect to the letter that Conyers wrote to the Attorney General asking for an inquiry into Ken Starr's conduct?
MR. LOCKHART: My understanding of that is that Representative Conyers' office called down seeking some information, and some information, I don't know exactly what it was, was provided. But that is the extent that I know of coordination.
Q And of whom did they ask that information?
MR. LOCKHART: I believe it was Counsel's Office.
Q Do you know what the nature of the information was?
MR. LOCKHART: No, I don't.
Q Would you be able to take that question?
MR. LOCKHART: I can look into that.
Q Joe, I think it's clear that some of the leaks are not coming out of Starr's office, but other places -- perhaps even from the President's side of this case. Is there a similar determination on the President's part to make sure there are no leaks coming out of his side that help his side of the case?
MR. LOCKHART: I think that if you look at the 60 or 70 sourced leaks over the last couple of weeks that cite people familiar with the investigation or sources close to the investigation you'd be hard pressed to see that somehow they were coming out of this building. And I think the President has urged everyone to cooperate fully with the independent counsel's investigation.
I think what it does raise is you could sort of go on ad nauseam over who was leaking something, but there clearly is information being leaked and it raises the question of, well, how do you get to the bottom of it. And I think what Mr. Kendall's doing is proceeding on a path that will have someone independent look into where this is all coming from.
Q Joe, you're not objecting to people who leak information that's not subject to the grand jury secrecy rules, right?
MR. LOCKHART: No.
Q You're only talking about the things covered by 6E, things that are said to the grand jury?
MR. LOCKHART: Sure, sure. Right. That is the -- my understanding of what's relevant --
Q It's okay if members of the prosecution talk about information they got in a venue other than the grand jury?
MR. LOCKHART: Well, I'm not exactly sure how broad the umbrella is. I think it's slightly broader than just what happens in the grand jury room. It has to do with what information comes out of the grand jury. For instance, the grand jury issues a subpoena; if someone is subpoenaed and then someone else reveals that information, that would be violating the secrecy of the grand jury.
So it's not necessarily what just happens in the room when you're testifying. But I think people -- it is correct to assume that people are free to talk about their own testimony. They are free to talk to other people. But I think there are a series of leaks that are accurately -- I presume accurately portrayed as directly from the Independent Counsel's Office. There are many others which we have now found have information that's proved to be false, or information that is somehow distorted in its content -- that it's hard to see where else it might be coming from.
But we're not in a position to judge that. And we are not going to judge that. We should allow, through the process that the President's attorney is going through, to see if someone can look into it, who's an independent outsider.
Q The Newsweek story on Ashley Raines was sourced to Clinton's defense team. Would that have been an appropriate leak?
MR. LOCKHART: Again, I'm not certain. It's difficult from my reading of that story to precisely pinpoint what sourced to someone close to Clinton's defense team and what is sourced more broadly. I'm not aware of anyone who I've talked to on the defense team -- both the private lawyers or the Counsel's Office -- that was involved in disseminating any of that information.
But again, it's not for me or for anyone here to decide what's been leaked. It ought to be looked at by someone independently.
Q Aren't the piecemeal leaks the most compelling reason so far for the President to avoid that and come out and tell his story in some more comprehensive fashion?
MR. LOCKHART: John, we've gone over that time and again. The President --
Q -- revisiting the question in light of this problem you have identified?
MR. LOCKHART: No. I don't think that if there are illegal leaks and if there's an ulterior motive for their illegal leaks, that they should dictate what our posture should be. And we have gone over and over again where we are. So, I don't think so.
Q Joe, I'm unclear on something that you said earlier. Did you say that the White House's Counsel's Office is debriefing the witnesses that appear before the grand jury or their attorneys?
MR. LOCKHART: There are lawyers within the White House Counsel's office as -- routinely talk to other lawyers involved in the case.
Q Answer yes?
MR. LOCKHART: Answer yes.
Q Are you saying then that lawyers that are working for the government are debriefing the witnesses who are appearing in the IC's investigation?
MR. LOCKHART: Talking to lawyers, as far as I know. And as my understanding of this, this is a common practice among White Houses -- the current White House and White Houses in the past.
Q Not to put too fine a point on this, these are Ruff's people and not Kendall's people you're talking about?
MR. LOCKHART: That is correct.
Q And it's lawyers, not witnesses?
MR. LOCKHART: I am not certain of that. But my understanding is lawyers. But I can go back and check that fine point.
Q They are free to speak, those who have been subpoenaed?
MR. LOCKHART: They certainly are. They certainly are. Anyone who has testified before the grand jury -- and this is common practice.
Q And I think it is Kendall as well, isn't it, Joe?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm just saying that I don't know by firsthand. But I think you can assume that Mr. Kendall and maybe some of the other lawyers have. I want to speak from knowledge, not from --
Q Just a quick deviation. Can you confirm the U.S. is sending another 3,000 ground troops to Kuwait?
MR. LOCKHART: Does that mean I'm done?
MR. LOCKHART: We'll come back to that. We'll let Ann talk about that.
Q I don't know if you want to do this separately, but tomorrow the trip the President's taking to meet with Democrats in Virginia is closed press. Are there any arrangements at all for coverage?
MR. LOCKHART: Can we hold that.
Q Do you want to save that for later? That's fine.
Q Joe, can you characterize the President's reaction to watching the comments being made by Mr. Kendall and Mr. Begala over the weekend? Is he pleased? Does he think they're on the mark? How did he react when he saw them?
MR. LOCKHART: I think it would be fair to assume the President shares the sentiments of his lawyer. And I think Mr. Kendall was quite eloquent on the fact that these leaks, if they're coming from the Independent Counsel's Office, are unlawful and they're grossly unfair.
Q Once a witness goes and testifies to the grand jury, obviously you would find it improper for some of the White House to question them directly about it. How does the President deal with Betty Currie and some of the stewards who have testified and now have to work with him every day? Is there any restriction on either what he can say to them now, or the President's questioning -- conversation with Betty Currie immediately following his deposition in the Paula Jones --
MR. LOCKHART: I think again common sense would prevail here that any conversations about the ongoing investigation would be limited to the lawyers.
Q Joe, you mentioned that the President approved of the statements of his attorneys and so forth over the weekend. Is it safe to say that it's a White House strategy to condone the criticism of the reporting as well?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't think so. And I think -- I hope that we have been careful and except for a few limited examples, I think we have tried to be careful. The problem here is I think we all understand how the town works, and when people who have access to information provide that information and it appears to be reliable I can't criticize somebody for printing it.
There have been a couple of examples of stories that have not panned out and have proved to not be the case. But I think our criticism has been on the source of these leaks. And if they are coming from the Independent Counsel's Office, we believe that something should be done about it and that the President's attorney is pursuing a legal case.
Q But, Joe, just to follow up on that, there were a couple of instances yesterday on the talk shows when representatives of the White House challenged reporters and asked them if they had been receiving illegal leaks from Starr's office. What were they trying to accomplish by doing that? Are you trying to suggest that we're somehow complicit in illegal activity?
MR. LOCKHART: No, because certainly the only illegal activity that would transpire in transmitting secret testimony from the grand jury would be by the prosecutor or the person transmitting it, not be the person who published it.
Q But isn't it slightly -- are you against all leaks from the Independent Counsel's Office? Because I mean, the grand jury testimony is illegal, but the White House officials and people close to the legal team have also been leaking.
MR. LOCKHART: Let me tell you what, being a little more clear, what were against is what the law is against. The law is against transmitting secret information from a grand jury. It's very clear. There is a criminal code that lays down -- and it's very clear why you can't do that.
You all heard probably more lawyers that you wanted to hear over the weekend talking on this subject on all sides. But I think everyone can agree that the grand jury process is designed to pull in as much information as you can, and then let people -- average American people -- decipher it. And the secrecy around that process is very important.
Q Is the President himself pulling together in information on this -- writing it out, perhaps, as far as possibly being called before the grand jury, or just to refresh his memory so when he does talk, he'll have all the facts?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not aware of any activity like that.
Q How much time is being consumed of his on this matter?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not aware a lot of time at all. I think you've seen him over the last week or so going about the business of trying to pursue the agenda he laid out in the State of the Union.
Q So it's still in just a little box? The box isn't getting any bigger?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know when it got in the little box, but I'm not aware if it is in a little box that it's gotten any bigger.
Q The President looks awfully tired and his bags are bigger than normal under eyes, and I'm just wondering -- and there has been at least one report that quoted Israeli and Arab officials as saying during -- at least during their meetings with him he did seem distracted. Do you think the President is tired or is this just allergies or -- is this taking a toll on him in some way, even if it's not consuming a tremendous amount of his time?
MR. LOCKHART: I mean, I think Mike has spoken up here that we can't say that somehow that this hasn't completely -- that the President is unaffected by this. There are distractive elements here. But the President is focused on doing the job. He's had a busy couple weeks, both with the foreign leaders from the Middle East to a very successful and busy visit from the Prime Minister of Great Britain. And he is pursuing a very aggressive agenda that he laid out in the State of the Union, and that is something that is worthy of all of his time and effort.
Q Joe, you guys gave a pretty broad interpretation to the gag order in the Paula Jones case in terms of what the President could not discuss about his deposition. How do you square that with the statements from the White House over the weekend, that the President spoke to Betty Currie to refresh his recollection about matters that he discussed in a deposition? Wouldn't that be a violation of the gag order?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not sure of that.
Q I'm just trying to get a clarification as to who he could speak to about his deposition and who he can't.
MR. LOCKHART: Well, I'm not certain about any of the circumstances surrounding that conversation, if there was a conversation, so I can't speak to the specifics.
Q Joe, can I clarify your promise earlier that there would be continued cooperation with Starr? Does that mean the White House has made a decision that if he's called to testify in either a deposition or before the grand jury, he will?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know that -- I'm not going to get into a hypothetical question. The President has pledged to cooperate -- now several years ago -- and we have cooperated. And I don't want to get into a hypothetical question.
Q Anything new about the executive privilege issue?
MR. LOCKHART: No. I checked this morning; there were no discussions over the weekend and no discussions this morning. So we'll have to see how that moves forward.
Q Is that because the White House hasn't tried to reopen the discussions, or because Starr's office hasn't been responsive to further negotiation?
MR. LOCKHART: No, we haven't -- as far as I understand it, the conversations haven't moved forward. I don't know exactly where the ball rests right now, but they have not moved forward and we'll have to see where it goes.
Q Joe, you touched on this earlier, but why would Mr. Kendall, after a very angry public statement on Friday and release of a long letter, file his court matter under seal today?
MR. LOCKHART: I think you're best to put that question to Mr. Kendall, but this is a legal matter and he is in a position to decide how to pursue that legal matter.
Q Joe, on that, you said that there had been no discussion on recommending to Reno that she fire Starr. But isn't going the Kendall route a different means to the same end?
MR. LOCKHART: No.
MR. LOCKHART: Because I think the Kendall route is trying to stop what are potentially illegal and grossly unfair leaks, and that's what that's about.
Q And not to get rid of Starr?
MR. LOCKHART: I think as the statute is written it's the Attorney General who's the only one in the government who can remove the independent counsel. And as far as I'm aware, Mr. Kendall's motion, when it's filed, will have nothing to do -- will have no impact.
Q Do you know what relief he's seeking?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't.
Q Joe, has the White House completely responded to Starr's subpoenas for information? Have you answered that fully?
MR. LOCKHART: My understanding is that there's a certain ongoing nature to requests, but I can't really get into the specifics of what has been produced, or particularly what they've asked for beyond the sort of broad expanse that I think we've laid out. And I'm not aware of any request that has gone unfulfilled.
Q If you feel that the investigation or the secrecy of it is in any way tainted, is Mr. Kendall or the Counsel in any way challenging sending the material over in a timely fashion because of that?
MR. LOCKHART: Not that I'm aware of. I think Mr. Kendall is seeking the appropriate relief.
Q Joe, when Starr continually says that he's going to take appropriate action if there are leaks that he is going to remedy the situation internally, has the White House concluded then that he is just fully incapable of investigating --
MR. LOCKHART: I think that Mr. Kendall's -- the legal position that Mr. Kendall will take will argue that someone else should look into that.
MR. LOCKHART: I think you're asking someone to look into what's being done in their office and I think an objective, reasonable person could argue that if this has happened, that someone from the outside should take a look at it.
Q Who should that be? I mean, somebody from the Office of Professional Responsibility?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know what the answer to that question is. That obviously would be a question to put to Mr. Kendall.
Q Joe, how long has Ashley Raines worked at the White House?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know the answer to that question.
Q Did she start as an intern or --
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know the answer to that. I can look into that.
Q Is she still an intern?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know that she ever was an intern. I do know that she's on staff here at the White House now.
Q And do you know whether or not Counsel's Office has talked to her today, or to her lawyer?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't.
Q Are Mr. Nelvis and Ms. Currie still on the payroll?
MR. LOCKHART: They're not only on the payroll, they're at work as far as I know.
Q Is Ms. Raines at work today, do you know?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know the answer to that.
Q Is it awkward for them to be on the job, working around the President?
MR. LOCKHART: I can't imagine why it would be.
Q You can't?
MR. LOCKHART: No. I mean, if you want to -- you have a situation with Mr. Nelvis, for instance, that was reported that he saw something and testified to something that he neither saw or testified to. So I think that these people know what they've said and they know what they testified to, and I don't think it's awkward.
Q What do you make of the retraction by the Wall Street Journal of their story about Mr. Nelvis?
MR. LOCKHART: I can't imagine that that was an easy thing to do, but it was the right thing to do and the responsible thing to do. And I think they should be applauded for that.
Q What about Ms. Raines' credibility?
MR. LOCKHART: What about it?
Q Well, do know -- is she credible? Do you know anything about her?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know anything about it. I don't know her so I can't address that.
Q Do you know -- can you respond to any of the press comments this morning citing White House officials and others saying that there are plans to question her credibility?
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not aware of anybody planning to question anyone's credibility.
Q What about the report that Republican leadership has begun talking about perhaps beefing up the staff of the House Judiciary Committee in advance of possibly considering impeachment proceedings?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't have any response to that. They'll do what they think they need to do.
MS. LUZZATTO: Are there -- is there an Iraq question?
Q Yes. (Laughter.)
Q There's a British paper reporting that December 17th -- sorry, February 17th is a deadline which the U.S. is going to put for Iraq either to open up its weapons sites once and for all or face a military strike.
MS. LUZZATTO: We've said on numerous occasions that there are no time lines and no deadlines; that we are working very hard right now in support of those who are seeking a diplomatic solution and that we have no deadlines at the moment. I think Secretary Albright has spoken to a sort of perimeter in terms of timing.
Q But that ultimatum stands, right?
MS. LUZZATTO: I don't know what you're referring to.
Q Well, the ultimatum that either they open up their weapons sites or --
MS. LUZZATTO: Oh, absolutely. I mean, that is the outcome that we insist on that must happen, that the UNSCOM team has unfettered, free access to all sites when it chooses.
Q Ann, was there more telephone diplomacy by the President in the last 24 hours?
MS. LUZZATTO: Not in the last 24 hours, I don't think. I think he did make some calls over the weekend, and I think that they've all been reported. He spoke to King Fahd and to Prime Minister Cooke, to Prime Minister Howard and to Prime Minister Chretein. I believe those are the new ones; none since.
Q What was the purpose of those calls?
Q Did the Canadians and the Australians offer any kind of support for the United States in terms of logistical support or diplomatic support and in terms of U.S. -- if it decides to launch a strike against Iraq?
MS. LUZZATTO: Well, I've seen reports in the wires that have come from those regions, but I don't want to comment specifically on what was discussed in the calls.
Generally, after the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Ambassador Richardson have made their travels in the region, talked to both leaders in the region in the Middle East, as well as those in capitals of allies -- and they've had very good meetings. They received strong support for the position that UNSCOM needs to be allowed free access and that its integrity cannot be breached -- I think the President wanted to make personal -- have personal conversations with some of the leaders to continue those discussions, talk about the gravity of the situation. But I don't want to get into specifics about what offers of support were put forward.
Q Has there been any discussions with the Russians between Secretary of State Albright and Primakov recently?
MS. LUZZATTO: You might ask at State. Not that I am aware of.
Q And, in addition, if the Russians and the French are still opposing military action, would the United States still be prepared to go ahead even with the other allies like Britain --
MS. LUZZATTO: As we have said, the outcome that is desired is that Saddam Hussein's ability to threaten to develop his weapons of mass destruction programs be greatly diminished and his ability to threaten his neighbors be taken away. And that is the outcome that we insist upon. And if the diplomatic efforts now underway do not achieve that, then other options are open, as we have said.
Q There's a report that Great Britain's going to seek another resolution from the Security Council. Is the administration supporting that or discouraging that, or what's the position on that?
MS. LUZZATTO: We have said that we do not feel that we need a resolution. Obviously, if there is one and if it has the broad support that one would suspect that it would, we certainly wouldn't oppose it. But our position is that we do not need a resolution.
Q If Russia were to oppose it, would you discourage Britain from pursuing --
MS. LUZZATTO: Don't want to talk about hypotheticals at this point.
Q Ann, is the President or his national security advisors disappointed that there hasn't been more support for a military strike, particularly among the Arab allies who were part of a coalition during the Gulf War?
MS. LUZZATTO: Well, I think that, as has been said both by I believe Secretary Albright and by Sandy Berger yesterday on some of the shows, that we fully believe that we will have all the cooperation we need should the military option become the necessary way to go.
Q What's the purpose of having this readiness, these 2,000 troops? Are they going in?
MS. LUZZATTO: You should talk to the Pentagon about that. I know that there has been some requests for troop -- for adjustments in force from Zinni and I think -- to the President -- and they have been authorized. And the Pentagon can give you more details on that.
Q Who was the request from?
MS. LUZZATTO: Zinni, the CINC Commander for the region. Commander-in-Chief of Central Command.
Q Trent Lott today said that he still favors more aggressive kinds of tactics, including extending a no-fly zone throughout Iraq and a no-drive zone and a radio-free Iraq and so forth. Can you speak to each of those as to whether you have considered them and might they be forthcoming?
MS. LUZZATTO: Well, I think -- we're obviously open to any creative suggestions that would achieve our oft stated goals, and we'd certainly like to see Iraqi public opinion be -- we'd like to see the leadership, the current leadership in Iraq replaced. But our immediate and current focus is what we have defined as the need to greatly diminish Saddam Hussein's capacity to reconstitute his programs for weapons of mass destruction.
Q What about extending the no-fly zones, particularly? Is that a prospect?
MS. LUZZATTO: I don't want to talk about -- any suggestions that are creative and go to helping us solve our problem would be listened to. But I don't want to respond to those specific suggestions at the moment.
Q Could I just clarify one thing, Ann? The President is signing off on these individual deployments of as few as 3,000 troops in response to Zinni's request?
MS. LUZZATTO: This is a new adjustment request -- is that right, P.J.? And the Pentagon, I believe, has talked --
COMMANDER CROWLEY: It's expansion of an exercise that's ongoing called intrinsic action.
Q Called what?
MS. LUZZATTO: Intrinsic action. And you can get more details.
Q The President is signing off on these additional deployment?
MS. LUZZATTO: I believe -- is that an adjustment that required authorization?
COMMANDER CROWLEY: That's one I think that Zinni probably gave to Cohen and Cohen approved it.
MS. LUZZATTO: That may be something that doesn't rise to the level of a new authorization. But again, the Pentagon would be able to add.
Q Can you just tell us if the President or the national security team have had any meetings today on this subject. Or are the meetings scheduled later this week to discuss this matter?
MS. LUZZATTO: They've met -- I think they met daily last week. I believe that they will be meeting several times this week in different configurations, and obviously there is almost continuous discussion back and forth.
Q Do you know of any specific meetings today?
MS. LUZZATTO: I believe there is a meeting this afternoon.
Q Ann, do you expect the President to make one final warning to Saddam before he takes any action?
MS. LUZZATTO: I don't want to speculate about particular details of what might be next steps.
Q Ann, is the idea of combat flights out of Saudi a complete dead letter, or is that still a source of ongoing talks and negotiations with the Saudis?
MS. LUZZATTO: I think the answer to that is that we believe that we will have all the cooperation we'll need to do whatever we would have to do should that option become necessary.
Q Has the President talked with Kofi Annan recently about any possible troops that the Secretary General might have in the region?
MS. LUZZATTO: Not specifically, no. Those two parties, I don't believe, have talked. But let me just say that it's our understanding Ambassador Richardson is going to be traveling to Tokyo and to China this week to discuss -- to continue these discussions about a strong international response to Iraq's defiance of the Security Council resolutions.
Q The trips are at the request of the President, or how did those trips come about to Tokyo?
MS. LUZZATTO: I don't know. They are part of the ongoing series of discussions that the foreign policy team is having with its counterparts and others.
Q Ann, getting back to the original question, the first one that you took -- you can rule out that there has been any notification to Iraq of a date at all, right?
MS. LUZZATTO: There are no deadlines.
Q This report specifically cited February 17th as the date and you're saying that has not been communicated to Iraq?
MS. LUZZATTO: I am not aware of the report, and it is my understanding that it has not been communicated. And we have said on a number of occasions that there are no deadlines and there are no time lines. Secretary Albright has suggested a rather broad period -- I think the word "weeks" was used. But that is the only reference we've made.
Q Will there come a point when Iraq will be flat out told that it's over and unless there is immediate notification that the weapons sites are open for free inspections --
MS. LUZZATTO: I don't want to discuss any particulars of what may or may not be done.
Q Ann, in Japan last week, Governor Ota of Okinawa ruled out the possibility of a floating heliport to replace the important air base that the U.S. maintains on Okinawa. What would the U.S. response be? What would you plan to do with the air base, given that the option to replace it is now ruled out?
MS. LUZZATTO: This is still a matter for the governor of Japan to resolve.
Q Ann, you keep saying you're open to a diplomatic solution. Is there any formulation being offered by anyone that looks more hopeful than others that we should be looking at -- from Russia, France, China, anybody?
MS. LUZZATTO: Last week we did suggest that the proposal that appeared to have been formulated by the Russians and the Iraqis fell short of what we have said is the necessary outcome. And other than that, no.
Q You don't see anything that looks more positive than that?
MS. LUZZATTO: Or don't want to comment right now.
Q Have you tried calling Saddam? You've called everybody else in the world.
MS. LUZZATTO: Is that it?
Q Barry, where did he go? Golfing?
MR. TOIV: Yes. Recreational activity. Welcome to today's briefing. Do you have any questions about anything else?
Q What is the situation for tomorrow?
MR. TOIV: I can do a week ahead for you, since we didn't do it on Friday. Today you already know. Today is over as far as the President's public events. Tomorrow the President is going to travel to Wintergreen, Virginia.
Q Where is that?
MR. TOIV: That's in Virginia. (Laughter.) It's by Charlottesville. And he's going to address the House Democratic Caucus at their issues conference there. That's closed press, though. We'll take a pool down for protective purposes, but it's closed press.
Q Why is it closed?
MR. TOIV: I think that's the way that the Caucus wants it, and they're going to have a good discussion there.
Q What's the agenda?
MR. TOIV: The agenda is this year's agenda, the legislative agenda for 1998. Now, it's possible -- I wouldn't rule out the possibility of the President making a statement before we leave tomorrow because, as you may know, the economic report of the President is going to be issued tomorrow by the Council of Economic Advisors, and the President may have something to say about that tomorrow. But I don't want to make that definite because that hasn't been decided yet.
Q Where do we get the report? When?
MR. TOIV: Tomorrow morning I believe it will be issued. To tell you the truth, I don't know what the logistics are. Why don't you check with us -- check back here and we'll let you know.
Q What time will he make that departure statement?
MR. TOIV: We are leaving about mid-morning. I don't have the exact time. We'll have a schedule out to you soon.
Q Barry, what's the read on the compromise coming out of the Hill on campaign finance, on political and union dues disclosures, 30 days for a primary, 60 days for a general election, possible compromise on campaign finance legislation?
MR. TOIV: Don't have any information on that for you. Obviously, we're hoping that we'll be able to enact campaign finance reform, but I don't have any specifics for you on that.
Q What can we expect in the Philadelphia speech?
MR. TOIV: Well, I'll get to that. I'll get to that. Done with tomorrow? Wednesday, the President is going to travel to the State Department where he will sign the Accession Protocol for the admission of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to NATO. That's going to be sort of a kickoff event for the public campaign on the expansion of NATO.
Q Isn't there a foreign leader visit tomorrow or is that --
Q The Bulgarian President.
MR. TOIV: That's right. No slight intended. The President of Bulgaria will be visiting tomorrow. I believe the coverage of that will be stills only.
Q Press conference?
MR. TOIV: No, no press conference.
Q Why wouldn't we have a press conference?
MR. TOIV: We could think about it. We'll think about it.
Anyway, this is the kickoff for the campaign for NATO enlargement. It's going to take place on Wednesday over at the State Department. It's going to take place on the 8th floor of the State Department. The Vice President, members of Congress, foreign ministers of the three countries will be there; members of the Diplomatic Corps, the President's senior foreign policy team, and also distinguished former government officials will also be there. Don't have any names for you on that yet.
That day we will also -- the President will give out the first annual Ron Brown Award for corporate leadership. Last May, some of you may recall, the President at the White House Conference on Corporate Citizenship, called for the establishment of an award to honor corporate citizenship as kind of a companion to the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award. And this is to honor companies that succeed by meeting the needs of their employees and their communities. And it's an award that's sponsored and managed by the conference board.
So that will also take place on Wednesday. And finally on Wednesday -- very busy day -- as you all know, some of you know, Mike McCurry is up at Harvard today as kind of an exchange program, a scholarly exchange program. We'll have Professor Bernard Bailyn Wednesday night for the First Millennium Lecture. This is something that we've already announced. But he will be in the East Room Wednesday evening for a lecture and discussion. Professor Bailyn will be lecturing on the ideas on which America was founded and how those ideas can carry us into the next century.
Q What did you say Harvard got in exchange? (Laughter.)
MR. TOIV: Harvard got Professor Mike McCurry.
Q I just wanted to make sure I understood.
MR. TOIV: In addition to what you've already seen, Mike is going to be teaching today on the subject of foreign policy and the American public. He wanted everybody to know.
Q Is there coverage of the Millennium Lecture?
MR. TOIV: The coverage is -- I believe it's pool coverage. It will also be the first event -- first White House event ever available in cyberspace. And that will be interactive, as well. People will be able to watch this on their computers and they will be able to actually use their computers to e-mail questions for Professor Bailyn.
Q How will you watch it? How do you get to this?
MR. TOIV: Well, if the folks involved had gotten me the information in time, I'd be able to give you the cyber address. But we will make sure that's available to you. I'm sure you'll have that by the end of the day.
And, what else?
Thursday, the President goes to Capitol Hill and in a public event meets with Democrats from the House and Senate where they will announce a unified Democratic agenda for 1998 -- legislative agenda. That will be in the form of a press conference on Thursday. I believe it's going to take place in the Russell Building in the Caucus Room.
Q Is the press going to take part in the press conference?
MR. TOIV: Yes.
Q Is there a time on that?
MR. TOIV: Well, let me call that a public event, actually. I misspoke. Someone described it to me that way, but now that I stand here thinking, I suspect that -- (laughter) -- I suspect that won't be a press conference, per se.
Q Why would you change your mind? (Laughter.)
Q What time?
Q What time is it?
MR. TOIV: That is Thursday morning. Does anybody have a schedule there? It's Thursday morning, I believe, but I don't have the time. (Laughter.
Friday, the President will travel to Philadelphia and he'll address the American Association for the Advancement of Science there. And he'll use that speech to talk about our agenda for science research and public health. And he'll tape the radio address in Philadelphia on Friday. And there will also be a DCCC fundraiser that evening that he will attend before coming back.
Q And so he spends the weekend here?
MR. TOIV: Don't know what the weekend plans are at this point. There are no events planned that I'm aware of.
One other thing is that, just to let you know, tomorrow in the Roosevelt Room, Mrs. Gore will announce her participation in the Winter Olympics. She's announce the members of the --
Q Which event? (Laughter.)
MR. TOIV: What's that? She has a couple in mind, actually. She has a couple in mind, but I think that she's being prevailed upon to not get too involved. But if I could find it here -- she's going to announce the members of the U.S. delegation to the Olympics and she's going to talk about her role there. I think she's going to get there on the 17th. The press conference is going to take place -- and I think that will be more of a press conference --will be tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. in the Roosevelt Room. I think it's an open press event -- unless you all jam the Roosevelt Room too much, in which case we'll have to make it pool.
Anything else? Any other issues? Questions?
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 2:30 P.M. EST