Press Briefing by Dee Dee Myers
The Briefing Room
3:10 P.M. EDT
MS. MYERS: Once again, it's Myers, first name, Dee Dee.
A couple of quick things before we get started here. This week, as you know, we'll be focusing a large part of the President's time on crime. As he was out travelling around the country last week, one of the things he kept hearing was that people want something done about violence. The American people want more police on the streets, tougher penalties and prevention programs that work.
As Congress comes back from recess, Speaker Foley has promised the President that they will take up the crime bill as the first order of business. We expect that to be on the floor shortly. At the same time, the President will be pushing for the crime bill to get passage of that, and other administration officials -- cabinet officials -- will be out this week campaigning on crime, working to get the administration's crime agenda passed.
In addition to his speech at the Justice Department today, the President called HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, who is meeting with residents of a public housing project in Chicago. You may recall last week, the President asked Secretary Cisneros and Attorney General Reno to come up with a constitutional way for search and seizures to continue in the housing projects, working with the Chicago Housing Authority. He made that call earlier today.
On Tuesday, tomorrow, Secretary of Education Richard Riley will be speaking at the National School Boards Association meeting in New Orleans about the administration's initiative to stop violence in schools, including the safe schools initiatives.
On Wednesday, there will be around 200 opinion leaders here from 50 Republican congressional districts. They will be briefed on the crime bill as well as other administration initiatives to combat violence. They'll hear from the Vice President, Attorney General Reno, Drug Czar Lee Brown, Deputy Education Secretary Madeline Kuhnan.
On Thursday, the President will meet with the Law Enforcement Steering Committee, which consists of representatives from most major law enforcement organizations around the country. Then he will have a rally here at the White House with mayors from around the country honoring police heroes, also from around the country, and highlighting the need for more police on the streets and community policing.
Then next Tuesday the President will participate in the MTV series, "Enough is Enough" which will be a town hall meeting with young people here in Washington. So that's the crime agenda for the coming week and into next week.
A couple more things. Later today, probably 4:00 p.m. or 4:15 p.m., we will do a backgounder in the Roosevelt Room. Additional information on the commodities trade.
Q: A "how to" session? (Laughter.)
MS. MYERS: It's a little counseling advice. A little investment advice. (Laughter.) No, it will be two things --
Q: Lesley Stahl wants to come. (Laughter.)
MS. MYERS: She could use some help. Two things -- one, we'll provide additional -- the additional documents that we've been talking about -- I think filling out some of the details on Mrs. Clinton's commodities trades. We'll also provide additional information on the 1979 and 1980 tax returns.
Q: What do you mean by additional information?
MS. MYERS: Well, there's -- I don't want to get into the details here, but there's -- in the course of reviewing documents, we've discovered a small amount of income that was previously undetected. And so I think what we'll do it talk about how the Clinton's will address that.
Q: Whitewater related or not?
MS. MYERS: No, no, no. It's 1979, 1980 commodities related.
Q: Is this commodities stuff?
Q: How much more?
MS. MYERS: About $6,000.
Q: Was this not on the tax returns?
MS. MYERS: Correct.
Q: So this is income they didn't report?
MS. MYERS: Correct.
Q: So this has to be an amended return -- well, the statute of limitations has gone.
MS. MYERS: But nonetheless --
Q: Are they going to file an amended return and pay additional taxes?
MS. MYERS: They have taken responsibility for it and will certainly pay additional taxes as required.
Q: Interest and penalty?
MS. MYERS: Of course. And we'll have the details of that a little bit later. I'm not prepared to go into them at this point.
Q: Dee Dee, just to clear something up. In the background briefing originally on the commodities, and a number of us attended, we asked whether or not -- what Mr. Blair's role was in assisting Mrs. Clinton. We were told at the time that he was one of several people who helped her -- and this was in our briefing, which was the first one. Why the sudden change? Why didn't anyone know beforehand that he had actually executed trades for her? That's a little bit different than his just being just one of a number of advisers.
MS. MYERS: Well, again, I think this is something that they can address a little bit later. But I will say that at the time we said that certainly Mr. Blair was an important person; he provided advice to Mrs. Clinton; but ultimately she made the decisions about whether or not to make the trades, about when to make the trades.
Q: He was described, though, as one of several people who she got help from. Now it turns out that he was actually placing the orders for her. That's a substantial difference.
MS. MYERS: I think he was one of several people that she probably got advice from. He placed some -- I'm not sure if it was all of her trades. But think the bottom line, the point that we were trying to make was that Mrs. Clinton made the decisions herself; she received information from a number of sources, including Mr. Blair, including newspapers and perhaps other people. But I don't think we were as clear as we could have been on how exactly the trades were executed.
Q: The story yesterday was that she was not making the trades herself, that he was executing them.
MS. MYERS: I think he probably made most of them, but she made the decisions. I think -- we didn't specifically say, because I don't think we knew at the time exactly how the trades were executed, in terms of who picked up the phone and called the broker.
Q: It wasn't until recently that Mrs. Clinton gave this information to the White House staffers who were briefing reporters?
MS. MYERS: Correct, I don't think -- that question didn't specifically come up before. I think had we known the information, we certainly would have tried to pass it on.
Q: Is there any chance that Mrs. Clinton, as has been requested a number of times, will come out here and talk to reporters and answer some of these questions so we don't have to go through it thirdhand?
MS. MYERS: I think she's been answering questions as she'd traveled around the country from a number of reporters. I think she's been very --
Q: So we have to go out in the countryside --
MS. MYERS: Well, she's been available, I think, regularly -- on a regular basis, and has answered a number of questions; and she'll continue to do that.
MS. MYERS: Sure. She answers questions --
Q: Don't you mean occasionally or irregularly?
MS. MYERS: I think regularly. Not in any regular scheduled form, but I think a couple times a week she's hit with questions which she answers. And she'll continue to do that.
Q: Did the IRS fined the $6,000?
MS. MYERS: No, it was as a result of our own internal review.
Q: How could they forget how to file taxes on $6,000? That's a fairly large sum of money.
MS. MYERS: Again, I think that they will address that at the background briefing and go through it in as much detail as they can.
Q: Can you give us the status of the Supreme Court --
MS. MYERS: Sure.
Q: Dee Dee, on this point, you just said that this question wasn't raised --
Q: Can we -- no, we have a deadline to --
MS. MYERS: Let's just go on to the court and then we'll come back.
Q: get this one --
MS. MYERS: Well, we're running out of time.
Supreme Court -- I'm just going to quickly give this to you. The President had his first formal meeting on the Court today. Lloyd Cutler, Special Counsel to the White House, led the meeting. Other people who attended included Mack McLarty, Chief of Staff; Phil Lader; Deputy Counsel Joel Klein; Bruce Lindsey; and the Vice President.
Basically they discussed both potential candidates and the process that will ensue as nominees are reviewed. There's no formally scheduled meeting to take this up again, although I'm sure there will be one. That's essentially the status.
Q: Have any overtures been made to anyone yet?
MS. MYERS: No decision has been made. There are, again, a number of names were presented to the President today.
Q: Have any overtures been made to anybody to see if there's any interest?
MS. MYERS: The job has not been offered to anybody.
Q: I'm saying have any overtures been made to see if somebody would be interested?
MS. MYERS: I will say this -- the President has not discussed this with any of the potential candidates. I expect that he will at some point, and I expect that we'll do everything we can not to talk about that.
Q: Has anybody sounded anybody out?
MS. MYERS: I'm not going to comment on what conversations might have been held between members of the administration and potential candidates, other than to say that there are a number of candidates; that I do expect there will be conversations; and that we will say as little about it as humanly possible.
Q: Dee Dee, you said the question wasn't raised about her participation, but John Podesta specifically said this was a nondiscretionary account, which means that she has to do it herself.
MS. MYERS: No, no, it doesn't. It means that the -- and, again, I should let him talk about this. But I believe what that means is that the broker cannot place trades without her permission; the broker being Mr. Bone.
Q: And he didn't?
MS. MYERS: Well, if Mr. Blair called in any trades on her behalf, they were with her permission.
Q: How did he know that?
MS. MYERS: Again, I'll let John talk about that in more detail.
Q: Can you talk about the chain of events which has allowed the person who spoke on background to say to The Washington Post that Mrs. Clinton had had her trades executed by someone else? How did that --
MS. MYERS: Again, there's going to be a briefing on this, and I will let them discuss the details.
Q: Can you say on the record here how it is that that person came into the knowledge? Did Mrs. Clinton suddenly offer it up? Was Mrs. Clinton here --
MS. MYERS: Again, they're prepared to talk about that. I'm sorry, I'm not. So, at 4:00 p.m. they can take that up.
Q: Dee Dee, on the Court -- during this meeting, did they have any discussion about this -- issue, or other issues that have come up in connection with the possibility of putting Mitchell on? Because Bruce had said over the weekend that the President had not yet been briefed on that particular issue.
MS. MYERS: They had a discussion about a number of things, including some of the, I think, political and legal questions surrounding some of the potential nominees. So I think it's safe to say that that came up.
Q: And is there any better sense now of the time line of how long the President thinks this is going to take, or would like to have this take?
MS. MYERS: No, no time line. I think the President wants to move quickly on this, but I think he wants to take the time necessary to carefully consider a number of candidates and to make a decision. He has said, and Mr. Cutler has said that it could take as long as a couple of weeks. I think we stand by that timing.
Q: subject came up, did they have a report from Mr. Dellinger on that?
MS. MYERS: I don't know.
Q: Haley Barber the Republican Chairman said today that it would be wrong for the President to name a partisan political figure like Mitchell to the Court because the Court is supposed to be above politics, and the Court specifically considers issues like term limits, that it would be making a mistake and be a setback for the Court to do that? Does the President have any -- do you have any reaction to that point of view?
MS. MYERS: I think presidents always choose Supreme Court justices who reflect their views of the Constitution and other important issues. I think that that is certainly something that -- there's a tremendous amount of precedent for that in the history of our country. I think anyone that the President chooses will be somebody who the President believes is of the highest quality, who has a sound legal mind as well as a big heart, which is a qualification that he outlined earlier. And there is a lot of precedent for naming members of the United States Senate, if that's what you're implying, or people from political backgrounds -- governors -- to the Court. So I don't think that that is an issue at all. I think the President's going to find the person he believes is best qualified, and who meets his criteria.
Q: Democrats around the country, led by Ann Lewis and Lynn Cutler and Tony Coelho and a few others have formed a "Back To Work" committee to defend the President and Mrs. Clinton and to say that Americans were more interested in issues than in Whitewater and related issues. Have they talked to the White House about their efforts? Are they coordinating it all with the White House on this? And one of the things that they said is that they didn't hear enough of defense of the President from members of Congress -- the administration itself wasn't doing that great of a job at it. How do you react to this committee?
MS. MYERS: Well, it's an independent group formed independently. Obviously, a number of the people who were on that committee have ties to the White House or are friends of people who work here. I think we're familiar with what they do, and sometimes know what they're doing in advance. However, I don't think we coordinate with them. The decisions they make are their own. But I wouldn't suggest that we don't know anything about -- we know who they are.
Q: How about the second part? I mean, was there such a group needed because members of Congress and the administration weren't effective or vocal enough in defending the President?
MS. MYERS: I don't want to point any fingers, but I'd say any group that's formed and organized to defend the President is a good thing in our view. I mean, we're happy to have them.
Q: Can you run down for us the President's contacts today on the subject of the shelling in Gorazde?
MS. MYERS: Sure. He was first notified -- he was contacted by Tony at about 6:00 a.m. this morning just to give him sort of a status report. They spoke again at about 7:00 a.m. There was sort of a fair amount of back and forth then between --
Q: Spoke to him on the telephone?
MS. MYERS: Yes. Both were on the telephone. There was a fair amount of back and forth at that point between the U.N. and NATO. When the U.N. finally made a formal request, Tony was notified and notified the President about that, and I guess the --
Q: What time was that?
MS. MYERS: I don't have the exact time on that.
Q: Was it before or after the jog?
MS. MYERS: I don't. Tony just said that he had several more conversations with him. Before or after the jog was the question, and the answer is, I don't know. Then, the attack happened, I guess it was around 9:00 a.m. our time when we got word of that here. The President then had a meeting with foreign policy advisors, which was actually scheduled a while ago, and the topic of Bosnia really didn't come up. It was about other things.
Q: Wait a minute, it didn't come up? Are you saying in the course of this meeting in here, after he had spoken about Bosnia publicly, they didn't talk about it?
MS. MYERS: No. He had talked with his advisors earlier, but the meeting was scheduled to talk about other issues and it focused largely on other issues.
Q: What did he talk about?
Q: North Korea, China?
Q: war going on?
MS. MYERS: No.
MS. MYERS: There are other ongoing policy issues that have to be taken up over time --
Q: The GATT? (Laughter.)
MS. MYERS: I don't want to -- the President meets regularly with foreign policy advisors to talk about ongoing issues. We don't always make it public. We thought today was an opportunity to answer some of your questions about the situation in Gorazde. So we did a pool spray. Normally, we don't do a pool spray.
Q: Can you discuss what subjects were taken up?
MS. MYERS: They were longer-term congressional issues, budget issues, things like that, mostly revolving around questions of budget.
Q: Defense budget?
MS. MYERS: Defense budget -- correct.
Q: Did Korea come up?
MS. MYERS: Korea was not on the agenda, no. But the President also met privately with Tony this morning.
Q: And since that meeting this morning, was he -- anything else?
MS. MYERS: I think Tony has kept him briefed on developments as they happen. I think he's talked to him a couple of times in the last three or four hours to keep him up to date as things unfold.
Q: He hasn't talked to Christopher at all?
MS. MYERS: He talked to Christopher this morning, but not in any -- not at any length about -- not in the meeting about Gorazde.
Q: When was the President informed yesterday? Before or after the strike?
MS. MYERS: He was informed before that the U.N. had made the request and that it was likely to be approved.
Q: And that's the same thing that happened today --
MS. MYERS: Correct.
Q: Do you know what time?
MS. MYERS: I believe it was while he was at church; and Tony got word that the U.N. had made the request; he then notified the mil aide; the mil aide then notified the President. Then Tony spoke to him -- I guess that was sometime between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., I believe. So he knew in advance of the attack, but not by much, since that all happened relatively quickly.
Q: There's been a lot of hesitance up until now, until recently, to take these kind of military action. Can you talk a little bit about where it is at that he decided to take -- and I know it was done in conjunction with the U.N. and so forth -- buy why he supports an action -- it is a high risk action at this point --in other words, just where his state of mind is on these kind of high risk foreign policy ventures.
MS. MYERS: Well, this has been something that we've supported since the decision was taken in June at the foreign ministers meeting in Athens, which was to use -- to allow close air support and to protect UNPROFOR troops on the ground -- U.N. Resolution 836 and the subsequent discussions there by the foreign ministers. This is the first time that the U.N. has actually made a request for close air support to protect the UNPROFOR troops on the ground. And as the President said yesterday, it's an action we support and will continue to support as the U.N. deems necessary and make that request.
Q: Wasn't there a request a couple of weeks ago by Akashi and -- because he delayed so long they didn't get it in time?
MS. MYERS: Well, what happened in those -- this is the first time, I should say, where the request has come and they've been able to identify targets on the ground. What happened last time around Tuzla was that the request came, the planes were up in the air, but they couldn't identify an appropriate target, and so they didn't ever fire.
Q: Everything that the President and Secretary Christopher and others have said today, has reinforced the notion that this was more or less automatic; that given the administration's approach on this, the policy it has chosen, it required no sign off really by the President, although, presumably I guess, he could have stopped it. Is that a fair interpretation?
MS. MYERS: Yes. I think the political decision was made when the U.N. resolution was passed and then reaffirmed, particularly in Brussels this winter.
Q: As a practical matter, this particular use of American military force was out of our hands, wasn't it?
MS. MYERS: Well, it was under NATO command and control, which is ultimately U.S. command and control. I mean, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe is an American. The Commander of CINC-South is an American. The pilots flying the planes were American. But the --
Q: But when the matter was reported to the President, it was more to inform him than it was to solicit his endorsement of this?
MS. MYERS: Correct. Because, again, the political decision had been made that should the U.N. request it, that NATO forces stood ready to provide close air support to protect UNPROFOR forces on the ground.
Q: Does the President have any intent to be in contact with Boris Yeltsin --
MS. MYERS: He called him last night. Sorry. And they had a good conversation; it lasted about 10 minutes. And today, Secretary Christopher has talked to Kozyrev. Secretary Perry has talked to Grachev. There have been a number of conversations between Christopher and Ambassador Redman, who is there and in touch with our allies on the ground in -- there and Sarajevo, actually.
Q: Did we solicit the U.N. -- last week, did the United States ask the U.N. to call for strikes? In other words, did we set the stage for this, set it in motion?
MS. MYERS: No. No, that was a decision, again, made by General Rose on the ground as a result of circumstances. There were discussions ongoing about cessation of hostilities when the Serbs stepped up their attack Gorazde.
Q: At that point, did we communicate through the U.N. command that we wanted some action taken?
MS. MYERS: No, this was a decision, again, that was made by General Rose based on -- he is on the ground, I think, and in the best position to judge whether or not UNPROFOR troops are in fact in danger.
Q: And can you distinguish between whether this automatic action was taken to protect UNPROFOR troops or whether it was taken because of the safe haven nature of Gorazde, or was it taken for some other political reason?
MS. MYERS: Well, I think Secretary -- what Secretary Christopher said about that, and the President shares this view, is that he really doesn't draw that distinction. You have UNPROFOR forces on the ground, U.N. military observers there, in order to protect the safe havens which is also called for under a U.N. resolution. When the Serbs are shelling Gorazde, putting the U.N. observers at risk as well as the rest of the population, then we took action to protect the U.N. military observers who are there, the U.N. personnel. But the broader result of that is that in order to protect the U.N. personnel, they have to stop shelling, which in effect protects the people of Gorazde.
Q: But the primary authority was the authority to protect UNPROFOR troops, though, correct?
MS. MYERS: Right. And the UNPROFOR troops are there -- but, yes.
Q: Are there more than a handful of troops as was reported by The New York Times --
MS. MYERS: There is not a huge number of people there. But --
Q: Why don't you describe the number?
MS. MYERS: I don't have it. I can certainly see if we can get a more precise number. But we're also --
Q: Christopher said --
MS. MYERS: No, I didn't hear him say that. I just don't have an exact figure. There's a small number, but there are 800 Ukrainian troops waiting to go into Gorazde as soon as there is a cessation of hostilities there. So that's an important point, as well.
Q: Who is making the tactical decisions on these air strikes, using F-18s as opposed to Spector gunships, for example, and 500-pound bombs as opposed to --
MS. MYERS: Admiral Smith is the CINC-South commander now and, ultimately, at the top of the chain of command at Aviano.
Q: He's calling that shot? Not Rose and not --
MS. MYERS: Correct. It is a NATO -- NATO controls the command and control decisions. And so they decide how to respond to the request for close air support.
Q: Dee Dee, can you answer the question whether the United States has asked the Russians to intervene with the Serbs around this enclave to get them to back off?
MS. MYERS: I think we've had an ongoing conversation with the Russians about how best to meet our objectives, which is a long-term peace and negotiated settlement there -- a cessation of hostilities. And so the President, again, went through the conversations that occurred today, is certainly interested in continuing to work with the Russians on the situation in Gorazde as well as the broader situation in Bosnia as a whole.
Q: Have we specifically asked them to do anything with respect to this enclave?
MS. MYERS: We asked them to continue to work with us on this, which they have agreed to do.
Q: Dee Dee, the Secretary of State said this afternoon that NATO is resolute about conducting more raids if the Serbs continue shelling Gorazde. Are we to understand that if there are further -- if there is further use of air power by NATO, it inevitably is going to be American air power? Or are we going to see French or British air power spelling us on this?
MS. MYERS: That's a NATO decision. There are, I believe, French planes -- and you might want to double-check this with the Pentagon -- but I think there are French planes at Aviano as well, and there may be others. But that's a NATO decision; I think they'll use the resources they feel are best suited to the situation.
Q: Has the White House found out why the first two times air power was used it happened to be American air power?
MS. MYERS: Again, that's a NATO command decision -- something that they'll make a decision best how they think the situation should be best dealt with.
Q: Dee Dee, given Yeltsin's obvious irritability about not being informed before the attacks took place at both times, was there talk between Mr. Lake and the President about possibly informing him if they do this again?
MS. MYERS: I think the President explained to President Yeltsin that this was a decision that was signed off on -- took place under existing U.N. authority; and that the U.N. commander on the ground, General Rose, made the request to NATO. That decision went up the NATO chain of command and it went forward. It didn't require additional sign-off either from President Clinton or any of the other members of the Security Council.
Q: So is that to say they will not then in the future?
MS. MYERS: Well, I think that the authority already exists on how those air strikes are carried out, and I think President Yeltsin was reassured by the existing structure.
Q: Did the British and the French get a heads up, Dee Dee?
MS. MYERS: I don't know.
Q: You don't know whether any other NATO people got a heads up?
MS. MYERS: I don't.
Q: The U.S. did, though, of course.
MS. MYERS: Well, we knew that the request had gone, and that we believed that it would be responded to, if an appropriate target could be identified.
Q: Could you take the question, please?
MS. MYERS: Whether any other --
Q: NATO members were given advance notice.
MS. MYERS: Sure. You can also check at State, or DOD actually would probably know. But I'll take it.
Any other questions? Can we finish Bosnia? Crime? Let's go to crime.
Q: The President made a claim that one in --
Q: Still Bosnia. Mr. Churkin was talking -- in Bangkok, shedding some interesting light on responsibilities on the guard. Do you look at options during this -- on Serbia? To put it otherwise, do you exclude air strikes against military and defense industry installations in Serbia?
MS. MYERS: There is no existing U.N. authority for that. There is U.N. authority to protect the UNPROFOR forces on the ground, to protect the safe havens. That would take additional action, and certainly not something the United States would do unilaterally.
Q: Can I ask you -- Christopher seemed to describe a new policy where the Serbs had to fall back to their positions of almost two weeks ago, essentially returning about one-third of the area that they've claimed in the last two weeks. Does that decision or does that request to the Serbs have the President's endorsement? And if so, why have you now decided to ask the Serbs to withdraw from Serbian-held territory, essentially for the first time?
MS. MYERS: I think Secretary General Boutros BoutrosGhali requested that the Serbs pull back to their March 30 position, which was outside Gorazde. That is something that we support. I think that -- what we've asked is that they stop shelling of Gorazde, that they pull back to the March 30th positions, and that they resume dialogue toward a cessation of hostilities both specifically around Gorazde and generally throughout the country. I think that we believe that's the best way to move the peace process forward at this point.
Q: How do you account for the fact that the President said that the conversation with Yeltsin was pretty good, went well, and yet Yeltsin seems to be pretty steamed about things? He doesn't seemed to be mollified at all by that conversation.
MS. MYERS: Well, I think that's perhaps a question for President Yeltsin. President Clinton believes it was a good conversation. He explained to him, I think, the chain of events that led to the bombings, both -- well, yesterday afternoon our time, and felt that the Russians would continue -- were committed to continue to work the U.N. and others -- the United States and others -- toward a comprehensive settlement in Bosnia. I think we'll continue to do that. Deputy Foreign Minister Churkin is on the ground. He's been very helpful over the course of that process. He's been in touch with Ambassador Redman and others, and we look forward to working with them on this.
Q: Could you tell us what else the President is doing tomorrow, and what plans, if any, he has to meet with the German presidential candidate who's here?
MS. MYERS: I'll give you a week ahead, and then we can come back to crime. Tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m., he will meet with joint congressional leaders, bipartisan meeting. Then at 4:15 p.m. he will --
Q: Subject? Crime.
MS. MYERS: Of the joint leadership meeting? I think it will include some foreign policy as well.
Q: Where, in the White House?
MS. MYERS: Yes, it's in the Cabinet Room.
Q: Could that be, when you say foreign policy, specifically -- Gorazde and Bosnia?
MS. MYERS: Yes, I think that that will come up under the circumstances. There have been a number of -- there have been ongoing congressional consultations. Beginning yesterday, members of Congress have been consulted and just brought up to date on our activities there.
At 4:15 p.m. he will meet with Rudolf Scharping, the German opposition leader here. That will be White House photo only; no pool op. And then tomorrow night he goes to the Radio and TV Correspondents Dinner at the Washington Hilton.
On Wednesday, he will give a speech at 12:30 p.m. to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. That's at the J.W. Marriott. Then at 2:15 p.m., back at the White House for an event with the Olympic team on the South Lawn.
On Thursday --
Q: Tonya will not be here?
MS. MYERS: No. The U.S. Olympic Committee defined the team, and she is not included.
On Thursday at 10:30 a.m. he will meet privately with the Law Enforcement Steering Committee. Then at 11:00 a.m. he will meet with mayors and law enforcement officials also on the South Lawn.
And Friday is still coming together. Saturday, radio address live, and that's the only event on the schedule for the weekend at this point.
Q: When will he announce a Supreme Court nominee?
MS. MYERS: As soon as he makes a decision.
Q: Travel next week?
MS. MYERS: None this week. I think next week is still up in the air. I think we are looking at travel for -- I think you should probably expect that we'll go out at some point.
Q: He's not going to the Democratic meeting in Williamsburg?
MS. MYERS: Oh, yes, I guess at some point he probably will.
Q: When is that?
MS. MYERS: That's this weekend.
MS. MYERS: Unclear.
MS. MYERS: Oh, it is on here. He's supposed to go on Saturday and come back, RON at the White House.
Q: He was supposed to do that last year, too. But he stayed overnight.
MS. MYERS: Coming back Saturday night as of right now.
Q: I thought he was supposed to last year, too.
MS. MYERS: You can't trust him.
Q: Whoa! (Laughter.)
Q: On the crime bill, the President didn't mention this morning a point of major contention, and that is the regional prisons and the tie to the truth in sentencing law, which many governors oppose, including the outgoing president of the Governors Association, a Democrat, Romer. Is he prepared to concede on that, and is he prepared to make any -- or has he done so?
MS. MYERS: I don't think he's taken a position on every element of the crime bill.
Q: This apparently is a pretty major one. The 85 percent service of the terms is apparently a sticking point for the governors, and --
MS. MYERS: Right. And again, I think the President has made clear what his priorities are in the crime bill. He has not taken a position on every provision and doesn't intend to. Some of that will have to be worked out in Congress.
Q: Is this one of his priorities, and is this one he's taking a position on?
MS. MYERS: No. I'll double-check. I'm pretty sure he hasn't taken a position on that and doesn't intend to. I think you know the provision that he's taken a position on and been --
Q: I know some of the positions, but I wasn't sure about this one.
MS. MYERS: Well, yes, 100,000 cops on the street; three strikes you're out; some prison construction stuff; and alternatives for young people.
Q: Would he be willing to yield on the truth in sentencing and keep the prisons, or is that a necessary cog of the prison -- of regional prisons?
MS. MYERS: Again, that's something that will have to be worked out by Congress. I think he's articulated his position on the elements in the bill that he's most committed to and the rest of it will have to be worked out by the House and then by the conference committee.
Q: What is the source of this claim that one in 20 school kids carries a weapon to school?
MS. MYERS: I'll take that and find out where that statistic comes from.
Q: Last week, the President said, if possible, he'd like to go forward with the family tax credit sometime during his term. Do you have any time frame in mind?
MS. MYERS: No. I think he's said in the past it will depend on economic circumstances.
Q: What does the administration plan to do about that Chicago ruling? Is the Justice going to appeal it, and does the President disagree with it? Does he think that those kinds of sweeps are constitutional?
MS. MYERS: Where he's asked the Attorney General and Secretary Cisneros to do is to come up with a new rule that will allow the sweeps to continue in a constitutional way. They are looking at that now and as soon as they have -- he's asked them to do it within the next two weeks.
Q: Essentially, the administration will appeal the decision?
MS. MYERS: I don't have an answer on that. I think what he's looking for is a change in the regulation so that there is a constitutional way to go about doing it as opposed to appealing the decision.
This just in. Thank you. (Laughter.)
END 3:41 P.M. EDT
William J. Clinton, Press Briefing by Dee Dee Myers Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/269575