Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
1:02 P.M. EDT
MR. EARNEST: Good afternoon, everybody. TGIF. (Laughter.)
Q: Oh, yeah? For who?
Q: Could you elaborate? (Laughter.)
MR. EARNEST: This is the fifth of five briefings this week, so looking forward to completing this one.
Q: That's a rather savage editorial observation.
MR. EARNEST: I'm sorry?
Q: That's a rather savage editorial observation.
MR. EARNEST: I suspect that there are some who share that view, even on the other side of the podium here today. So we'll get started.
Jim, I think this may be a milestone today, right?
Q: Indeed, it is.
MR. EARNEST: Well, congratulations on your many years of service to the Associate Press. (Applause.) So, Jim, you're a true professional, man. We're really going to miss you, but we certainly wish you and your family the best.
Q: Thanks. Thanks to you and your staff, and to all my hardworking colleagues here. It's been an honor to work with you guys.
Anyway, we got news today.
MR. EARNEST: Yes, we do. Let's get to it.
Q: Just yesterday, Director Archuleta was insisting that she was going to remain in the job. So I think we're curious what changed. Did she submit her resignation at the President's request today?
MR. EARNEST: Jim, I can tell you that Director Archuleta did offer her resignation today. She did so of her own volition. She recognizes, as the White House does, that the urgent challenges currently facing the Office of Personnel Management require a manager with a specialized set of skills and experiences. That's precisely why the President has accepted her resignation, and assigned Beth Cobert to take on the responsibilities of the OPM Director on an acting basis.
Some of you have had the opportunity to interact with Ms. Cobert. She has been serving in the administration for several years now. But prior to working in the administration, she spent three decades working as a management expert at McKinsey. She had experience working with a wide variety of public, private, and even non-profit entities to make significant progress and improvements and enhance the broad deployment of new technology.
And while serving at OMB in the senior role as the Chief Performance Officer and Deputy Director of Management at OMB, Ms. Cobert led the implementation of the President's management agenda to improve how government functions. This involved overseeing offices related to government performance, government procurement, and financial management.
So the President believes that she is, at least on an acting basis, the right person for the job while we search for a permanent replacement for Director Archuleta.
Q: Do you think that the current leadership under Director Archuleta -- does the President think that there was an actual failure under her leadership?
MR. EARNEST: Well, I think what the President thinks is that it's quite clear that new leadership, with a set of skills and experiences that are unique to the urgent challenges that OPM faces are badly needed. And that accounts for the acting director that the President has appointed.
It certainly doesn't take away from, or diminish, Director Archuleta's service to the Office of Personnel Management. While she was there, she strengthened the use of evidence-based practices and data to drive human capital strategies. She led the development of workplace flexibility programs to allow federal government employees to better balance their obligations at the workplace with their responsibilities at home. She prioritized the health care of federal employees to keep costs low and expand coverage. And she also understood that cybersecurity at OPM needed to be a priority. And it's precisely because of some of the reforms that she initiated, that this particular cyber breach was detected in the first place.
But given the urgent and significant challenges that are facing OPM right now, a new manager with a specialized set of skills and experiences is needed.
Q: When did the White House become aware of the number of 21 million people affected by this breach?
MR. EARNEST: Well, Jim, as you know, these investigations into the scope of these kinds of incidents are extraordinarily complicated, particularly when you're talking about data that involved tens of millions of individuals. And it is only in the last couple of days that those who are responsible for leading this investigation reached this final conclusion about the scope of the intrusion and consistent with the President's directive that as much information as possible should be shared with the public. That's why the decision was made just yesterday, by the Office of Personnel Management, to release some more of this information.
Now, we also recognize that the public is due additional information. And when I refer to the public, I'm talking about those individuals that were -- that had data that was compromised. So there is a responsibility that OPM recognizes to follow up with those individuals and ensure that they're given advice, that they're informed about what exactly happened. And OPM has already committed to ensuring that those individuals will receive a comprehensive suite of credit reporting and identity theft prevention tools. This would obviously be on top of the suite of services that have been provided to those individuals whose data was compromised in the first reported breach.
Q: Does the administration have any sense of what whoever is responsible for this breach might be doing with this data? Is it possible that they could sit on this data while these protections that you're talking about take effect and then strike later? What securities are you taking into account for the long haul?
MR. EARNEST: Well, Jim, I don't have an analysis to share with you in terms of what we suspect this actor -- what the true intent of this actor may have been. But obviously we want to make sure that those who may be affected by this breach get as much protection and support that we can offer them, and that's a promise that OPM is committed to fulfilling.
Q: And are you willing at this point to confirm that somehow the breach was -- that the Chinese were responsible for this breach?
MR. EARNEST: At this point, I don't have anything to say publicly about the attribution of this activity.
Q: When was the President briefed about the conclusions that 21 million people were affected?
MR. EARNEST: Well, obviously this conclusion was only reached in the last few days, and the President was briefed shortly after those conclusions were reached.
Q: And what was his reaction to that large number?
MR. EARNEST: I wasn't there when the President was briefed. I can tell you, as a general matter, that as it relates to this incident, the President believes that this is significant and that this needs to continue to be a priority of his administration, not just at OPM, but across the federal government to make sure that all of the agencies in the administration are focused on this priority. That it is critical to their mission to safeguard their computer networks and to safeguard their data.
And you'll recall that I've pointed out on a couple of previous occasions that the last cabinet meeting that the President convened a month or two ago, prior to this news about OPM having been publicly reported, that cybersecurity and the effective and prompt implementation of cybersecurity measures at government agencies was an item on the agenda. And I think that should be an indication to you that this administration, including the President, is focused on this priority even when it's not on the front page of the newspapers.
Q: I mean, would you describe him as being angry? Because there's been so many different technical snafus, big issues, that have come up for his administration while he's been here. Is he angry that this kind of a thing is --
MR. EARNEST: I'm not sure I'm willing to agree with the premise of the question, but let me try to answer it. I think the President recognizes seriously that this needs to be a priority. And this is obviously a priority that many private sector leaders have acknowledged exist for them as well. After all, the private sector has experienced breaches that affect significantly more people than even this significant breach here in the federal government computer network.
So obviously this is something that both public and private entities are dealing with. And the President is determined to ensure that all of his leaders of government agencies understand that this is a -- this needs to be a priority because it goes to the core effectiveness of each of these agencies.
Q: And for the OPM hack specifically in the way it's affected security clearances, how long is it going to take to fix that? How long is it going to take before that sort of can be fully operational again?
MR. EARNEST: Well, I don't have an update on those details, so I'd refer you to OPM for that.
Q: Josh, how do we know -- yesterday during the conference call, then-OPM Director Archuleta -- or I guess she'll still be OPM director until the end of today -- said that she believes that nobody's data has been compromised as of yet. How does OPM know that? How does the administration know that?
MR. EARNEST: Well, again, this is based on the work of our investigators. And again, as they have information to share about their investigation then they'll share it, but I don't have new information to share from here.
Q: And last week, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said that China was a leading suspect -- the leading suspect in the OPM hack. You're not going to suggest that the DNI Director was, I guess, talking out of school?
MR. EARNEST: What I'm going to suggest is that --
Q: What do you make of his comments?
MR. EARNEST: Well, again, I'd refer you to his office for an explanation of his particular comments. I don't have any information to share here publicly about who may have been responsible for this incident.
Q: You're not saying that's wrong? You're saying you don't want to --
MR. EARNEST: I'm suggesting that for questions about Director Clapper's comments, you should contact his office.
Q: And forgive me if this question has been asked. I know you said in of one of the recent briefings here that your personal data may have been swept up in this hack. Do we know if the President's personal data has been swept up in this? Is it involved in any way?
MR. EARNEST: I don't have information about the President's personal data. But even if I did, I'm not sure I'd share it in this setting.
Q: And you said that just about every federal employee since year 2000 -- that would of course include the President -- had their data swept up by these hackers.
MR. EARNEST: Again, I don't have any information about the President's personal data.
Q: Okay. And the FBI says that the background check system failed in denying Dylann Roof from buying a firearm before the Charleston shooting. I don't know if you're aware of that. What do you make of that? What does it say about the state of the current firearms background check system?
MR. EARNEST: Well, what I know is I know that the FBI is continuing to investigate exactly what happened when it came to the purchase of the firearm by the suspect in the Charleston shooting. And so I don't have any additional information beyond what the FBI has already shared. And I'm going to decline much comment just because there is an ongoing investigation to determine what exactly happened.
Q: And I know the President tweeted -- speaking of South Carolina -- he tweeted about the Confederate flag coming down. Did he watch it? Were officials here watching that unfold on television?
MR. EARNEST: I don't know whether or not the President watched it -- watched the flag come down or not. But obviously his message on Twitter is a pretty good indication of his reaction to it.
Q: And just to get back to OPM very quickly. What do you say to these 21 million people whose data has been potentially compromised? I guess it hasn't been violated yet, but they are all now in this very vulnerable position. That's a lot of people. And what is the White House message to all of those people -- 21 million people?
MR. EARNEST: Well, certainly the administration feels a responsibility to communicate with them as best we can about what exactly has happened. That's why OPM has established a website with as much information as they could compile about this particular incident.
They're in the process of building structures, both a call center as well as a mechanism for providing a whole suite of credit monitoring and identity theft protection tools. This would be a first step in trying to provide them the support and protection that they need. Obviously we recognize the significance of this incident. And protecting the data of the federal government and the federal employees is a top priority, and I think that's why you've seen the Office of Personnel Management take a number of concrete steps to address this particular situation.
Q: And, I'm sorry, just before I let you go, Katherine Archuleta said on the conference call yesterday that she wanted to stay on to deal with this. Was there a subsequent conversation that changed all of that? Or did she just decide later on last night or this morning that she wanted to go?
MR. EARNEST: I'm not aware of any subsequent conversations, but for questions about her decision to offer her resignation today I'd refer you to her office.
Q: Thanks. Yesterday on the call, one of the officials said that this breach occurred when someone used a compromised credential, which obviously can't happen if you have two-factor authentication. Most people have that just on their email accounts and it's standard practice to have that in most offices. How is it that that is not standard practice in the federal government? How long do you think it will take for that to happen? Because short of that, it seems likely that this could happen again many times over. I think one of the officials on the call said that some agencies have it 100 percent but most agencies don't.
MR. EARNEST: Well, there is an ongoing effort by the Office of Management and Budget to conduct a rapid reassessment of the state of cybersecurity measures and accelerate the implementation of reforms that need to be adopted. One of those is to factor authentication. And there are a number of agencies -- I think as was referenced on the call -- that have fully adopted those security measures. This two-factor authentication is a security measure that is becoming more and more common because of the risks that exist in cyberspace, and so implementing these reforms is something that the Office of Management and Budget is trying to accelerate all across the federal government.
There is one other aspect of this that is important and is a relevant security-related reform, and that relates to the conduct of privileged users. There is some indication that once the system was breached, that by using privileged access that's what allowed these actors to do exactly what they did.
So one of the things that our experts tell us is that it's important to limit the number of privileged users in a computer system. And I think this is something that is becoming more common across computer networks both inside government and outside government. It's also important to think carefully about the capability that is given to those privileged users; and if their activity or capability can be limited in some way, that can often be a wise thing to do.
The other thing is that it's possible and important to closely monitor the activity of privileged users; that maintaining logs about how often or how frequently they log in and log out and maintaining a log of their activities is also another way to try to counter, or at least limit this particular vulnerability.
These policies around privileged users is also something that the federal government across agencies is seeking to implement, again because privileged users obviously do pose some vulnerability.
Q: Do you have an estimate as to how much it's going to cost to deal with the -- I guess it's 22 million total people who are affected by this -- all the credit monitoring and identity protection, and any potential viability that the government might bear for the misuse of their information?
MR. EARNEST: I don't have those numbers in front of me, and I'm not sure that those numbers are available at this point. Once we're in a position to announce more details about the suite of services that can be provided to those whose data may have been compromised, we'll have some more information about the potential cost involved.
Q: And quickly on Iran. It's been announced that they're going to extend the Joint Plan of Action through the weekend -- through Monday -- to give more time for the talks. It has a lot of people wondering, is there any scenario where short of the deal the negotiators will leave the table? So can you just give us an update of the President's thinking? Are they very, very close, or is he in the mode of however long it takes and they could be there through summer?
MR. EARNEST: Well, Julie, I think the way that we have described this before continues to be an apt description of where things stand now, and that is that the United States, our P5+1 partners and Iran have never been closer to an agreement; that important progress has been made over the last couple of weeks since the negotiators have been in Vienna to trying to complete a final agreement. That said, there continue to be significant sticking points that remain. And that's the essence of the ongoing negotiations.
The President has indicated to his negotiating team that they should remain in Vienna and they should continue to negotiate as long as the talks continue to be useful. And if it becomes clear that Iran is not interested in engaging in a constructive way to try to resolve the remaining sticking points, then the negotiators should come home.
And that is essentially what's driving the timetable there. And it's not deadlines, it's the usefulness of ongoing conversations.
Q: Josh, on the OPM breach. What happens -- is there something in place that if personal information is accessed -- you said it wasn't at this point -- but if it is accessed, what kicks in from the federal government? What happens?
MR. EARNEST: Well, April, what the Office of Personnel Management is committed to doing is contacting those individuals whose data may have been compromised, and offering them a suite of identity theft prevention and credit monitoring tools to try to safeguard the -- to safeguard and to protect them from the improper use of their personal information. And this is a suite of tools that has not been provided yet, but they are working hard to arrange that and to contact those individuals whose data may have been compromised.
Q: Realistically, if someone was able, or a group of people were able to break into that system, they may be able to break into someone's personal information. And if that happens, what kicks in? Is there a fingerprinting somewhat that you can possibly really find and pinpoint who did this, if it is broken into -- into someone's personal information?
MR. EARNEST: Well, April, there is an ongoing investigation to learn more about who precisely may have been responsible for this breach. I don't have any information about those investigative tools that are being used, but rest assured that's something that continues to consume the time and attention of a lot of cybersecurity experts.
Q: And on the Confederate flag, many people -- I guess I'd include the President -- noted the significance of it coming down today. But from sources on the Hill, they're saying that it's not over, what happened -- which you talked about yesterday how Republicans are still trying to make efforts to keep it on national park ground. Is there a concern in this White House that this could come back up at some point soon?
MR. EARNEST: I think as a general matter, April, the President was pretty direct when he talked about this in Charleston just two weeks ago. And I think the President was hopeful that the ongoing debate in this country would not just stop at the Confederate flag but would actually continue into a debate and discussion about policies that can make our country more fair. And that's where the President hopes the debate will continue to move.
Q: You were very strong in your statement yesterday basically condemning the Republicans on the Hill about trying to reverse the amendment about the National Park Service. Again, there is concern on the Hill from Democrats that Republicans are still wanting to do this and trying to make it happen. Is there a concern in this White House that they're going to do that again? You spoke so eloquently and so strongly yesterday when asking you is there a concern today about them trying to come back and do it again.
MR. EARNEST: Well, again, I think that this will obviously be a decision for Republicans to make. And I do think that the decision that they make will give the country a lot of insight into the values and priorities and agenda that that party promotes.
Q: Thanks, Josh. In OPM's public remarks and in yours, there's been a long emphasis on the identity theft component of the breach at OPM, but there's obviously a national security component here too. I'm wondering whether the President has ordered any kind of special review to assess the extent of the damage to America's national security. And hoping against hope that you might be able to give a sense of how many current or former intelligence or military officials have been compromised.
MR. EARNEST: I think, Olivier, for obvious reasons that's not information I would be willing to share here. I'm not aware of any specific national security review that is being conducted. Obviously there are assessments that are done all the time about the safety and security of the country and those individuals who put themselves in harm's way to try to protect the country.
At the same time, there is an interagency 90-day review that the President has ordered. This is a review that is chaired by the Office of Management and Budget. It includes the Office of Personnel Management as well as the Director of National Intelligence and a wide range of national security and law enforcement agencies.
The goal of this 90-day review is to take a look at a wide range of policy questions related to cybersecurity and the defenses that are erected to protect the federal government's computer networks. There obviously are significant national security implications for doing that. And that is a review that's underway, and we'll ask for another 90 days and will be something that will be considered carefully for its impact on the country's national security.
Q: When did the President order that review?
MR. EARNEST: It was a review that -- I don't know exactly when this started. We can get you the start of the 90-day clock, if you will.
Q: That would be helpful. And then I think Julie got to this a little bit, but I want to try it a little differently. OPM and the federal government more broadly is offering all these remedies -- identity theft protection; there is stress counseling being offered to people whose information was hoovered up. What's the price tag on that? And wouldn't we have been better off spending the money on cybersecurity before this all happened than on this remedy?
MR. EARNEST: Well, again, as I mentioned to Julie, at this point, I don't have a price tag to share with you. I will say that when it comes to the effective and judicious use of taxpayer dollars, the administration has long advocated to make sure that our agencies are properly funded so that all that priorities that they have can be met. And right now, there is a vigorous debate on Capitol Hill among Republicans who want to slash government funding, and slash funding for agencies that will necessarily have an impact on a wide variety of priorities that these agencies confront, including basic cybersecurity. And so I would anticipate that this will be part of that budget debate that's already occurring up in Congress right now.
Q: One last one. It's nowhere near the top of the agenda when it comes to the OPM hack, but out of personal curiosity, I underwent a background check to get my hard pass to get into the White House. Am I going to get one of those letters?
MR. EARNEST: That's a good question. I don't know the answer to that. But, obviously, you'll find out at some point. (Laughter.)
Q: My question is basically when will the people who had their information hacked find out -- is my first question. And when will former military -- will this apply to former military, too? And how do you locate these people? Is there a timeline on when people are going to find out if their information has been breached or not?
MR. EARNEST: Well, Susan, they're working very diligently -- we're obviously talking about a large number and this is a complex investigation, but they are working diligently to determine whose data may have exactly been compromised. And there will be an effort after that to locate those individuals and communicate to them the risk that they face, and communicate to them the kind of assistance and protections that the federal government can provide to mitigate that risk.
Q: Do you have an idea when that will occur right now?
In weeks or --
MR. EARNEST: At this point, I don't have a deadline to provide you. Obviously it's something that we're working very aggressively to meet. Let me just say it this way -- that there is an understanding that promptly notifying those individuals whose data may have been compromised is a top priority of the investigation, and so that is something that they're very focused on. And once we begin notifying people, then we'll obviously be able to let all of you know as well.
Q: One more question on the Steinle death. You have been criticized for not reacting, saying it was -- not even saying it's a tragedy before you refer it to DHS -- us, the reporters -- for information.
MR. EARNEST: Can you start over your question? I didn't catch the beginning of it.
Q: The Steinle death in San Francisco. I was wondering if the White House feels like this is a tragedy, if there needs to be a call to action on this, and whether there needs to be something done. You had characterized it as -- at one point, reporters interpreted that you characterized it as the House Republicans were to blame for killing immigration reform and that was -- her death -- you were sort of blaming her death on House Republicans. First of all, do you feel like this is a tragedy, that it needs a call to action? And is that a right characterization -- did you blame her death on House Republicans?
MR. EARNEST: I did not. And it's not the first time I think that my remarks have been unfairly characterized. But I don't lose a lot of sleep over that.
Obviously, the President has spoken in very compelling terms about gun violence and spoken out I think quite persuasively about the need for action to be taken in this country to reduce gun violence. And there are some common-sense steps that can be taken to reduce gun violence. And the fact is there are some steps that Congress could take right now that have the strong support of the American people, that even have the strong support of gun owners in this country.
But Congress has resisted taking some of those common-sense steps that would not undermine the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, but could have the positive impact that keeping guns out of the hands of criminals or others who shouldn't be able to get their hands on them.
Q: A lot of people are saying it takes a call to action on immigration. And there's --
MR. EARNEST: The President did act on immigration reform -- something that Republicans didn't do. That is also a fact.
Q: An ICE official testified earlier this week that it was not just -- he blames San Francisco for the lack of abiding by their detainer request. But he also said that their policy at ICE is to go after all the criminal warrants they can against an illegal immigrant before they act to deport him or her. So I'm wondering, is that a bureaucratic crack that can be fixed? Is that something that the administration can do something about right now?
MR. EARNEST: Well, I haven't seen the claims of that particular ICE official. I can tell you what the policy is that the President put in place back in November, and this is a policy that ensures that our limited government resources, our limited law enforcement resources -- these law enforcement resources are even further limited because Republicans failed to take action on comprehensive immigration reform in the Congress that would have made historic investment in border security.
That being said, the President's policy is to make sure that we are focusing our limited law enforcement resources on criminals, on those who pose a threat -- a public safety threat, on those who pose a national security threat -- that those should be the priority for deportation ahead of focusing on splitting up families.
Q: You have said that before. But this case -- is there something that needs to be done in light of this case? Obviously this -- who's to blame for this case?
MR. EARNEST: Again, Susan, I guess there are a lot of people who are eager to assign blame. I think we're eager to try and find some solutions. And unfortunately, those solutions -- well, certainly one thing that would help would be comprehensive immigration reform legislation. We have bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation that passed the Senate, and was blocked by the House of Representatives, by Republicans in the House for purely political reasons.
And that does not represent blaming them for a tragic death that obviously occurred, but it is blaming them for putting their own political interests and ambitions ahead of the public safety and national security of the United States. They do it frequently, and it is appalling and offensive.
Q: So nothing is being done right now on sanctuary cities?
MR. EARNEST: Well, Susan, again, I've said before too, but the fact is, as a part of the package of executive actions that the President announced back in November was the creation of the Priority Enforcement Program. And this does significantly improve the ability of the federal government and federal law enforcement agencies to cooperate with local law enforcement agencies to make sure that we are focusing our investigative and law enforcement resources on criminals and on those who pose a threat to communities.
And again, that is something that the President had to do because common-sense reforms were blocked by Republicans in the House of Representatives.
So again, that's where the President's priority lies. And we're going to continue to urge Congress to take that common-sense step that is clearly in the best interest of our economy, would reduce the deficit. It obviously would have a positive impact on public safety. But in the minds of House Republicans, I guess their own political interest trumps all that.
Q: And in an area of possible bipartisanship, Secretary Lew -- Treasury Secretary Lew this morning was talking about working with Paul Ryan on international tax reform to help pay for highway funding. I'm wondering, are those new negotiations, or have they been going on for a while? And has the White House put a timeline or any direction on those talks?
MR. EARNEST: Well, Cheryl, the White House officials and Secretary Lew, principally, have been engaged in conversations for quite some time with House Republicans about the possibility of pursuing tax reform. The idea that the administration has focused on is this idea of using some elements of tax reform to close loopholes that only benefit the wealthy and well-connected, and use some of the revenue that's generated by those loophole closings to invest in infrastructure that we all benefit from. That would have a positive impact on our economy, it would have a positive impact on economic growth, and it would have a positive impact on job creation.
And that is a principle that this administration has strongly advocated for. We've also put forward a detailed proposal for making progress in that area. Republicans have not signed on to that proposal, unsurprisingly, but there has been an indication from some Republicans that, at least in principle, or at least the concept of closing some tax loopholes and using revenue to invest in infrastructure is something that they have indicated an openness to at least considering. And that's been the foundation of conversations between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, but also between Republican leaders in Congress and senior economic officials in the administration.
Q: So then you're not seeing like a breakthrough today by any stretch? It's just more --
MR. EARNEST: Unfortunately, I don't have any breakthroughs to announce today. Believe me, if I did, I would be doing it.
Q: So we know that the Iran talk deadline -- not even a deadline -- whatever -- July 13th is some new day for something. So is there any expectation on the President's part that anything could happen between now and July 13th? And how is that kind of shaping his weekend? In other words, can you give us any pre-readout on how he'll be checking in on Iran? Is he going to use some of this time in between to call foreign leaders, or is he just leaving everyone alone until something gels?
MR. EARNEST: Well, I'm not aware of any calls with foreign leaders related to this particular matter that are already on the President's schedule for the weekend. I would anticipate that over the course of the weekend, the President will continue to be regularly updated by his national security team and possibly even directly by the team that's leading the negotiations out in Vienna.
But that's the way that this process has been functioning over the last several days, and that will continue into the weekend.
Q: Do you think he'll get a daily -- something in the Sit Room? Or just kind of --
MR. EARNEST: Well, I'm confident that he'll get at least a daily update. I don't know if it will require him stepping foot in the Situation Room or not, though.
Q: And then, also on Iran, does the President have any doubt whatsoever in his mind that Hillary Clinton will be a strong public supporter of an Iran deal when it's announced? Is this a situation like trade where you guys think that she had a little bit of breathing room to say nothing? Or do you think, because it's foreign policy and because she was Secretary of State and because of Jake's involvement in this, that she is firmly in the public support camp? Do you consider her a validator on an Iran deal?
MR. EARNEST: Margaret, I think what I would do is I'd point you to her public comments after the Lausanne agreement was announced in which she spoke supportively of that ongoing diplomatic effort. But I think, like everybody else, Secretary Clinton will have an opportunity to evaluate a final agreement, if one is reached, and she'll make her own decision about whether or not to support it.
Q: Today's national monument -- was Senator Harry Reid the driving force behind the national monument being name in Nevada?
MR. EARNEST: Well, Mark, obviously Senator Reid has already spoken publicly about this affinity for this particular area of the Nevada desert. And he has been an important advocate for that particular piece of property. And the President was pleased that he was able to use his executive authority to ensure that that important space could be preserved for future generations of Americans to enjoy.
Q: Is there not politics at play in this?
MR. EARNEST: Well, I recognize the instinct to conclude that everything that happens within the Capital Beltway is somehow influenced by politics one way or another. But I think, in this case, both Senator Reid and President Obama recognized the significance of this piece of land and recognized how important it would be to ensure that it could be protected and preserved for future generations of Americans to enjoy,
Q: I know you haven't been able to discuss specifically how much the OPM hack will cost. But when Director Archuleta was before the Hill, she talked about the need this year for a supplemental to cover a couple of costs -- new software and whatever it would take to pay for some of the things raised in this briefing. To what degree did the reaction on Capitol Hill yesterday -- which included many Republicans and at least one prominent Democrat calling for her to be fired -- influence the administration's calculations about the ability to get the money you're going to need to address this problem and Director Archuleta's ability to get that as an advocate for the administration dealing with the Hill?
MR. EARNEST: Well, Major, I guess the -- you raise an interesting point. And I guess we can all sit here and hope that the passion and zeal that was on display by some members of Congress, mostly Republicans, as it relates to the livelihood of the Director of the Office of Personnel Management will be on display when it comes to protecting the identity of about 22 million Americans.
And if that requires additional resources, both to protect the system or to ensure that these individuals can be afforded the identity theft protection and credit monitoring that they should get, then we'll certainly look forward to the strong bipartisan support that it should have.
Q: Did the President or the Director come to the conclusion that it would be much harder, if not impossible, to have those conversations if she remained at the head of OPM?
MR. EARNEST: Well, I'm not aware of a discussion along those specific lines.
Q: The President is due to deliver a significant speech Tuesday in Philadelphia, the NAACP. Considering the context of the moment, would you suggest to us this is something where the President tends to drive the same message the same way, or a new message in a different way?
MR. EARNEST: Well, Major, let me answer your question this way. Next week, the President will underscore the administration's focus on the need to reform and improve America's criminal justice system.
On Tuesday, as you point out, at the 106th NAACP Annual Convention in Philadelphia, the President will outline the unfairness in much of our criminal justice system, highlight bipartisan ideas for reform, and lay out his own ideas to make our justice system fairer, smarter, and more cost effective, while keeping the American people safe and secure.
On Wednesday, the President will travel to the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to deliver remarks about expanding economic opportunity for everybody.
And then the President will continue his focus on criminal justice reform on Thursday by making the first visit by a sitting U.S. President to a federal prison -- the El Reno prison outside of Oklahoma City. And while there, the President will meet with law enforcement officials and inmates, and conduct an interview with Vice for a documentary that will air in the fall about the realities of our criminal justice system.
And so that will be the focus of the President's public events next week. And obviously the speech that he'll deliver at the NAACP will be a focal point.
Q: So that will be less about the arc of racial relations in the country in the last two or three years, and much more about this specific issue, this policy issue of criminal justice reform?
MR. EARNEST: Yes, criminal justice reform will be the focus of his remarks there.
Q: What are the administration's attitude so far based on what it's heard in the last 48 hours between the European Union and Greece? You indicated earlier this week that you thought there might be a landing spot; it appears they're moving in that direction. What's the overall assessment you have?
MR. EARNEST: Well, at this point, we have seen, and we certainly welcome, the proposal that was put on the table by Greece. It is something that's currently being considered by their creditors. We have said for quite some time now that the solution, or the resolution to Greece's financial challenges is a package of reforms and financing that will put Greece back on the path of economic growth and debt sustainability. Doing so would allow Greece to remain part of Europe's currency union, and that's something that we believe is -- or that the Greeks have articulated is in their interest.
Q: But this more meat on the bones now. I'm just trying to get your sense of what you think of it.
MR. EARNEST: Well, obviously this will be something for Greece and their creditors to evaluate. And we are just pleased to see that --
Q: A step in the right direction.
MR. EARNEST: Well, we're pleased to see that Greece has taken the step of putting forward a specific proposal, but it's one that their creditors will have to evaluate.
Q: Josh, can I follow up on your discussion about the President's schedule next week? Our smart colleagues at the Washington Post are reporting that on Thursday the President is going to commute the sentences of dozens of non-violent offenders to call attention to his desire to see those with drug convictions and others -- the attention of criminal justice reform. Can you confirm that he will indeed do that with this executive power on Thursday, and how that decision will help get the reforms out of Congress that he seeks, rather than to inflame his critics that he is doing something under his own authority without consulting them?
MR. EARNEST: Alexis, I don't have any additional information about next week to share at this point. I can say, as a general matter, that the President has used his executive authority previously to commute the sentences of some non-violent offenders, and I certainly wouldn't rule out the possibility that he would use that kind of authority in the future.
But I guess, let me finish by saying that that is certainly not a replacement for the kind of broad-based criminal justice reform that the President believes is necessary and that enjoys some bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. And the President is committed to working in bipartisan fashion to make progress on legislation that would do far more to bring more fairness and more justice to our criminal justice system than the President can do on his own.
Q: Can you just comment on why you're hesitant to respond to this since it's been reported? They clearly have lots of details in the Post. I mean, you can't comment on this? You know the answers.
MR. EARNEST: Well, I'm certainly not going to make any announcements about the exercise of presidential authority prior to the President making a decision to exercise that authority.
Q: That's never happened before?
MR. EARNEST: I don't know if it's ever happened before, but it's certainly not going to happen in this instance.
Q: Josh, even on my colleague's last day, you didn't really answer his question about -- (laughter) --
Q: Why would his last day be different than his first day?
Q: Use me however you want.
Q: And he's not leaving until you do. (Laughter.)
Q: Let me try one more time. I think it's fair, especially with the 22 million people who have had their identities compromised, and some of the other Americans who are interested in this, that the White House tell them whether or not they believe this was a failure in management.
MR. EARNEST: Well, Jim, I think what it exposes is that there are significant challenges that are faced not just by the federal government, but by private sector entities as well. And this is something that large organizations that maintain large computer networks are continually trying to address. And that is the ever-evolving threat in cyberspace. And this is a priority. The President has discussed this as a priority -- even on those occasions when it's not landing on the front page of every newspaper or, in your case, leading the evening news. And that's an indication the President recognizes how important it is, and recognizes that this is not an insignificant challenge.
Q: Well, let me just follow up by asking it this way then. If this had not happened, would she still be the Director of OPM? Wasn't this in direct reaction to a failure in management?
MR. EARNEST: Well, I think, in this case, it is clear that the Office of Personnel Management is facing a set of urgent challenges that require a manager with a specialized set of skills and experiences. There's no doubt about that.
At the same time, one of the first things that Director Archuleta did as the director of Office of Personnel Management is begin a process of upgrading the cybersecurity and defenses at the Office of Personnel Management. In fact, it's a result of those reforms that she put in place that this breach was detected in the first place. But again, given the urgent challenges that they're facing right now, it's clear that a manager with a specialized set of skills and experiences is needed. Those are, conveniently enough, the skills and experiences that Ms. Cobert brings to the job, but ultimately we'll need a permanent replacement. And that's something that we'll start working on today.
Q: I guess you're going to stay. (Laughter.)
Q: If I could just -- one more on Iran, if I could. There Iranians seem to be saying -- (phone rings.) A lot of noise today.
MR. EARNEST: Really. Just trying to raise the degree of difficulty in this briefing, I guess, right? (Laughter.) Distractions and --
Q: The Iranians seem to be saying, among other things, that the allies, the P5+1, are not united in their requests of Iran. And I know that you don't want to get into details about the negotiations, but can you tell us whether or not there is one message coming from this group to the Iranians? Or are there different contingencies -- constituencies in this negotiating group?
MR. EARNEST: Well, let me answer that in a couple of ways. The first is, obviously we're talking about, when it comes to the P5+1, we're talking about six different entities here -- the Europe Union and several other countries. And so these are sovereign countries with their own view. But I will point out that these negotiations would not have reached this point were there not solid unity among the United States and our international partners.
And the truth is, this is the kind of unity and unanimity of opinion that didn't exist when President Obama took office. You'll recall in 2009, in early 2009, Iran was on the march and making significant progress toward developing a nuclear weapon. And the international community was fractured in their response, was flummoxed in terms of how to confront this urgent challenge. And it's because of the leadership of the President that the international community has been united -- has been united in imposing sanctions against Iran that compelled them to the negotiating table, that halted Iran's nuclear program and, in fact, rolled it back in some key areas, and have made significant progress in trying to reach a diplomatic agreement that would shut down every single pathway that Iran has to a nuclear weapon and get Iran to cooperate with a set of inspections that would verify their compliance with the agreement.
So I think that is an indication of just how far that we've come. And a lot of that progress, if not all of it, is attributable to the leadership of the President of the United States.
Q: Thanks, Josh. If I can go back to OPM for just a minute. Who is in charge of making sure this doesn't happen elsewhere in the federal government?
MR. EARNEST: Well, what I would say is that there are a couple of OMB initiatives that are charged with doing that. And the first is this -- what I think that they're calling their "cyber sprint." And this is the effort to rapidly reassess the cybersecurity at federal agencies across the administration. And this is where they're considering the two-factor authentication implementation. This is where they're considering the privileged user thing that I was talking about with Julie, making sure that they're limiting the number of privileged users and limiting the capability of those privileged users, and, where appropriate, monitoring the activities of those privileged users to try to prevent this kind of thing from happening again.
But those kinds of common-sense steps are things that the OMB is leading a review to determine where those kinds of steps have not yet been implemented and holding agencies accountable for implementing them in short order.
There also is this broader 90-day report that is being convened by OMB. Again, the department of -- I'm sorry, the DNI, the Director of National Intelligence and the Office of Personnel Management are involved in this broader 90-day review. They're being assisted by a range of national security and law enforcement agencies to take a broader look at a wide range of key policy questions that relate to information security and cybersecurity.
And again, that's an indication that this is a priority. The other indication I can give you is the fact that -- or one example, one illustration of how this is a priority is that at the previous Cabinet meeting that was convened by the President of the United States, cybersecurity was at the top of the agenda. And this is an issue that was extensively discussed where OMB talked about how they were going to work with DHS to make sure that all of the Cabinet agencies were meeting their goals and were meeting deadlines when it came to -- when it comes to implementing these common-sense reforms that are critical to securing the federal -- the computer networks of the federal government.
Q: All these things you talk about, though, are just in process, which isn't very comforting to people who work for the federal government and see what happened to these employees. So why should they be assured?
MR. EARNEST: Well, because, Chris, I think the other thing that we have to acknowledge and the other thing that has to be recognized here is that the technology that we're talking about is ever evolving -- and it actually evolves really quickly. And we need to make sure that our defenses are always adapting to those challenges. And that's why there's never going to be a time when anybody is going to come up here and stand at this podium and say our work on cybersecurity has been finished. The day that we do that will be probably the most vulnerable that federal government networks would be -- because we know that our adversaries are determined, they're creative, they're innovating, and they're capitalizing on technological developments to seek out and exploit new vulnerabilities.
Q: It almost sounds like you feel we can't keep up.
MR. EARNEST: No, I think what I'm suggesting is that we have to work really hard to keep up. And right now there's plenty of evidence to indicate that there's a lot more work to be done to keep up.
Q: There are a lot of proposals out there that you just mentioned by the federal government. But the region's senators -- Virginia, Maryland, Eleanor Holmes Norton, here -- are proposing that far beyond what was proposed yesterday, which was three years of monitoring, that there be a lifetime of monitoring of identity protection, $5 million in identity theft insurance. Is that something the President would get behind?
MR. EARNEST: We have not taken a close look at that proposal as of yet. Obviously, at OPM, they are developing the suite of identity-theft protection and credit-monitoring services that could be provided to those individuals whose information may have been breached or compromised.
But at this point, that's something that they're still working to develop. We'll obviously consider the proposal that has been put forward to Congress.
Q: The President of the National Federation of Federal Employees has expressed concern that the original breach, which was 4.2 million people, that the government was already struggling to keep up with it and expressed his worries that how could they possibly then keep up with something that's nearly five times as big. Will there be anything that goes out officially between now and the time when you're able to identify exactly who all the people are and get those letters out advising federal workers what's going on, what you're doing, how this will all unfold?
MR. EARNEST: There is a website that has already been established, and I believe it's at OPM.gov/cybersecurity -- and this is where individuals who believe that they may have had their data compromised. So again, these are individuals who may have, like Olivier, applied for a background check. So that information about what steps they can take right now is information that OPM has made available.
But there will be additional communication that will be shared with those individuals once we have more information at our fingertips and have more granular knowledge that we can then use to determine who exactly is at risk and make sure that they get the information protection that they need.
Q: And finally, given what's happened, I realize it's very soon after all this was announced and it's only been a few days that the President has had this, but has there been any discussion about something that's beyond OMB, something that is a particular person, sort of where the buck stops here, who is in charge of federal government cybersecurity?
MR. EARNEST: Well, there has been -- this has been a challenge in a lot of ways. And this is the essence of another debate that is ongoing and not moving fast enough in Congress; that one of the challenges in confronting cybersecurity vulnerabilities is the seam that exists between private-sector computer and security professionals and law enforcement and national security professionals in the public sector.
And one of the most important things that we can do to improve cybersecurity -- both in the public and private sector -- is to streamline communication between law enforcement and national security officials and leaders in the private sector. And the President has put forward very specific legislation up to Congress more than six months ago that Congress hasn't passed yet. This should not be something that gets bogged down in partisan politics. This should be a place where Democrats and Republicans should be able to work together. And we haven't seen Congress do that yet in a way that's brought a bill to the President's desk. So that's certainly one way that we could address one of the seams that you've identified.
The other thing that the administration has sought to do is to try to benefit from the extensive capabilities and knowledge that exists in the private sector. And we have seen a number of computer security experts join the federal government to try to lend a hand not just to this effort that's underway at OPM but also to address some of the broader policy challenges that exist across the federal government.
And we certainly are going to do everything we can to continue to ensure that those individuals have an opportunity to serve their country and serve in the federal government and help us confront this very significant challenge.
Q: Since you brought up Congress, let me just re-ask a question sort of in a different way that we've already heard today. I was looking at the OPM IG report from last month, and there were a lot of things like "they're developing" and "they're in process of," among the findings that OPM didn't even maintain a comprehensive inventory of servers. How did it get to this point?
MR. EARNEST: Well, I guess for an update in terms of where they are, I'd refer you to OPM. The other challenge that Director Archuleta acknowledged again at the beginning of her service is that the Office of Personnel Management had to maintain a lot of legacy systems. These, in some cases, were even outdated computer networks. And securing them against modern threats is a significant challenge, and I do think it raises questions about proper levels of funding. It certainly raises questions about something we've discussed in this room before, which is the procurement system that's in place when the government purchases information technology. Sometimes the cumbersome system of government IT procurement leads to such a protracted process that by the time the purchase is made, the software that's being purchased is, if not obsolete, at least out of date. And trying to reform and improve those systems and make them more efficient is actually something that Beth Cobert has been working on at OMB.
So again, I think that makes her a good choice to be the acting director of OPM. But it's clear there are some significant challenges. And this is not -- despite the intense focus and expertise that's being leveraged to address the situation, I don't expect this is a situation that's going to be resolved next week or next month. These are some longer-term challenges that are going to require a sustained focus. And we're certainly mindful of not just how big the challenge is right now, but also, as I was saying earlier, we're mindful of how this a threat that is continually evolving. And it's going to require an adaptive process to make sure we're doing everything necessary to safeguard our computer systems.
Q: Josh, thanks. I'm going to sort of stay on OPM for a second. It's apples to oranges in some way to compare Cobert to Archuleta because I don't know what Cobert will do in the position even as the acting director. But you mentioned lacking a specialized set of skills and experiences, did Archuleta lack a specific set of skills and experiences? And if she did, why was she in the job to begin with, especially if Cobert seems to have those skills and experiences to begin with?
MR. EARNEST: Well, Kevin, because it's now clear that there are some significant and urgent challenges that are facing the Office of Personnel Management that require a manager with a set of specialized skills and experiences like those skills and experiences that Ms. Cobert has.
The fact is, Director Archuleta was an effective Director of OPM because she did strengthen the use of evidence-based practices in data to drive human capital strategies. She led development of workplace flexibility programs. She prioritized the health care of federal government employees. She developed and implemented targeted strategies to increase diversity and inclusion across the federal government. And even though she doesn't have a particular expertise when it comes to cybersecurity, she did commence a review of cybersecurity and the implementation of cybersecurity reforms at OPM that led to the eventual detection of the intrusion that we're now discussing.
So again, the President accepted Director Archuleta's resignation today and decided that Ms. Cobert is the appropriate person to lead the Office of Personnel Management. But that should not in any way diminish the service of Director Archuleta.
Q: Did the President call Director Archuleta?
MR. EARNEST: Director Archuleta came to the White House and offered her resignation in person this morning.
Q: Is there a punishment mechanism for a country or a group of actors that did breach the OPM?
MR. EARNEST: Well, Kevin, for a long time this was a significant policy question. And there were concerns that had been raised that there wasn't an effective mechanism for responding to these kinds of incidents. But because of an executive action that the President announced in early April of this year, he designated authority to the Secretary of Treasury to impose financial sanctions against individuals or entities that either carry out nefarious cyber activity or benefit from it. And that does mean the President and the Secretary of Treasury do have new tools that they can use to either respond to these incidents and to make clear just how seriously the United States considers these kinds of breaches.
That said, I don't want to suggest that there is anything in the works to prepare for that kind of response to this particular situation. As we've talked about in this room as it relates to other situations, we often -- for good reason -- don't talk a lot in advance about the possible use of financial sanctions principally because it could allow the individuals or the entities that are being sanctioned to take steps that would allow them to evade that penalty.
So I don't want to speculate on possible responses at this point, but it is true that the President and the Secretary of the Treasury now have new authorities that they can use to respond to these kinds of situations because of the executive action that the President announced back in early April.
Q: A couple more. On the NAACP speech, is the President of the opinion that restoring voting rights for felons is a good idea?
MR. EARNEST: Well, I think this will certainly be something that's discussed in the context of criminal justice reform. And there is a strong argument that some have made about how once an individual has paid their debt to society, that those voting rights should be restored. And I know that there is bipartisan support for a policy like that.
Q: And that is something the President would support?
MR. EARNEST: I have to admit, Kevin, I don't recall if the President has spoken about this publicly, but we can certainly get you an answer.
Q: Okay. And finally, General Dunford was saying that Russia is the biggest threat to the U.S., in his opinion. And this is a man that you said yesterday obviously has spent a lot of time thinking about these issues and he has his opinion. You also said it's not necessarily conclusive among the national security team that they feel the same way. But I'm just curious, given his experience and given the trust that the President has placed in him, and the belief and his skillset, does it not make sense then that his opinion carries a great deal of weight, and that the President probably should consider it strongly?
MR. EARNEST: Well, the President certainly will do that once -- we are hopeful that, based on General Dunford's decades of experience in the United States military and his extensive and distinguished service to the country and his strong performance before Congress yesterday, that he'll be confirmed in bipartisan fashion by the United States Senate.
And once General Dunford joins the team -- if he is confirmed -- I am confident that his views and his opinion and his insight, and his experience will factor heavily in the President's decision-making when it comes to national security. But the President has some other distinguished members of his national security team that also have opinions that are worth listening to.
Q: You do know that Mitt Romney agreed -- or actually said before the General that Russia is the number-one threat for this country.
MR. EARNEST: I may have heard something about that.
Q: Was Mitt right? Or is the General wrong?
MR. EARNEST: Well, again, you'd have to ask them. But the fact is, as I mentioned yesterday I think, I'm not aware of any sort of specific or comprehensive analysis that's been done by the President's national security team that's arrived at that conclusion. But obviously when dealing with Russia, particularly over the last couple of years since the election where we have seen Russia start to ramp up their destabilizing activities, particularly in Ukraine, we've been very mindful of that threat. And the President has played an important leading role in presenting a united front in confronting Russia for their destabilizing activities.
Q: Thanks, Josh. Following up on Kevin's question on OPM, what do you expect Ms. Cobert will be able to accomplish in her new role?
MR. EARNEST: Well, she certainly will be responsible for implementing many of the reforms that OPM has announced in the last couple of days. And they can -- I'd refer you to OPM for a more comprehensive set of those reforms.
There is an effort underway at OPM to draw on the knowledge and expertise of IT experts inside the federal government. But also computer security experts outside the federal government.
And as a management expert, I would expect that Ms. Cobert would be well positioned to bring that expertise from a variety of sources together to focus it on the significant challenges that are being faced by OPM right now, and trying to move out quickly to implement many of the reforms that they suggest.
Q: OPM Press Secretary, Sam Schumach, said this morning that OPM doesn't yet have a contractor to provide this suite of services -- this credit monitoring, identity-theft protection that they promised to these individuals whose personal information has been compromised. Have they found one yet?
MR. EARNEST: The information as of this morning is the latest that I have as well. But --
Q: Did the White House -- oh, go ahead.
MR. EARNEST: I'm confident that once they have entered into a contract like this, they'll begin the steps of notifying individuals of the protections that are available to them. And I'm sure we'll have a conversation with all of you about that as well.
Q: Is the White House concerned that they don't yet have a contractor for these 21 million people?
MR. EARNEST: Well, obviously they're going to work quickly, but I also think it's important for them to make sure that they're choosing the right contractor with a strong record of performance to do this job right.
Luis, I'll give you the last one then we'll go to the week ahead.
Q: Thanks, Josh. Back to Iran. Can you tell us, what is the President's thinking at this timeline? What does he believe the consequences will be if no final deal is reached at this stage? And I also want to ask you, does the President have plans to attend the reopening of the Cuban embassy in Washington?
MR. EARNEST: As it relates to the Iran talks, I'm not going to speculate about possible outcomes at this point. One thing I'll remind you is that the administration has indicated that all of the options remain on the table for ensuring that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon. What we're pursuing right now is a diplomatic opportunity that exists. The President believes it is the best way for us to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and that's what our negotiators are working assiduously to succeed in doing.
I don't have any scheduling announcements as it relates to the President's travel. I believe that the embassy opening is scheduled for the third week in July, I believe. But I don't have any scheduling updates to provide at this point.
Let's do the week ahead, and then I'll let you all get started on your weekend.
On Monday, the President will deliver remarks at the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. The White House has held the Conference on Aging each decade since the 1960s to identify and advance actions to improve the quality of life for older Americans. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act, as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security.
The conference is an opportunity to recognize the importance of these key programs, while bringing together older Americans, caregivers, government officials, members of the public, business leaders and community leaders to discuss the issues that will help shape the landscape for older Americans in the next decade and explore policy solutions to address them.
On Tuesday, the President will travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to deliver remarks at the NAACP's 106th national convention. We'll have some additional details about the President's travel available in the coming days.
As I mentioned, on Wednesday, the President will travel to Durant, Oklahoma, where he will visit the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and deliver remarks on expanding economic opportunity. The President will then spend the night in Oklahoma.
On Thursday, the President will continue his focus on criminal justice reform by making the first visit by a sitting President to a federal prison -- the El Reno federal prison; the formal name is the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution located just outside of Oklahoma City.
As I mentioned earlier, while there the President will meet with law enforcement officials and inmates and conduct an interview for a Vice documentary that will air in the fall about the realities of our criminal justice system. Further details on the President's travel to Oklahoma will be available in coming days. I would expect that the President will return to Washington on Thursday night.
And the President's schedule for Friday is still a little up in the air, but we'll get you more details on that next week.
Q: You left out the commuting sentence as part on Thursday.
MR. EARNEST: I'm sorry?
Q: You left out the commuting sentence as part on Thursday.
MR. EARNEST: Oh. No, I didn't. (Laughter.)
All right, guys. Have a great weekend.
Q: Anything Friday or Saturday?
MR. EARNEST: This Friday and Saturday?
Q: Next Friday and Saturday?
MR. EARNEST: I don't have anything that far ahead yet at this point.
Q: How about this Friday and Saturday? How about Sunday?
MR. EARNEST: I don't have anything at this point. Okay.
Thanks, guys. Have a good weekend.
END 2:12 P.M. EDT
Barack Obama, Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/311481