Joe Biden

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan

June 12, 2024

Aboard Air Force One
En Route Brindisi, Italy

11:02 A.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Okay. I have two things at the top, and then I'll hand it over to Jake Sullivan.

So, tomorrow, Senate Democrats will introduce a bill that would safeguard access to IVF for families across the country.

The Biden-Harris administration strongly supports protecting access to IVF. Americans should have the right to make deeply personal decisions about their health, lives, and families, but that fundamental right is under re- -- relentless attack.

It has been nearly two years since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. What followed has been nothing short of devastating.

Since Roe was overturned, Republican elected officials have implemented 21 extreme state abortion bans. One out of three women of reproductive age now live in a state with an abortion ban. In nearly all these states, doctors could be charged with a felony for simply doing their jobs. Contraception is under attack. Just last week, Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would guarantee the right for women to access contraception. And IVF is under attack.

About one in five American women struggle with infertility, and many rely on IVF. This is a basic issue of reproductive freedom.

President Biden believes that women must have the freedom to make deeply personal healthcare decisions, including the right to decide if and when to start or grow their family.

We are committed to protecting access to reproductive care and will continue to urge Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade into federal law.

And finally, in anticipation of your questions, I just want to read the President's statement from yesterday. And it reads:

"As I said last week, I am the President, but I am also a dad. Jill an- -- Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today. So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery. As I also said last week, I will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal. Jill and I will always be there for Hunter and the rest of our family with our love and support. Nothing will ever change that."

End quote. And from that, I don't have anything beyond the statement that the President put out yesterday, as I just read through.

But right now, I do have Jake Sullivan, our National Security Advisor. He's going to -- he's going to discuss our strong support for Ukraine and -- for Ukraine now and in the -- into the future as we head into the G7 in the upcoming hours.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you.

Q: Hey, Jake.

MR. SULLIVAN: Hey, guys. How are you?

So, the President is looking forward to seeing his fellow G7 leaders as well as the leaders of a number of guest countries over the course of the next couple of days.

As you guys have all seen, it's going to be an action-packed schedule. And we did a background briefing on this yesterday, so you got a good laydown of what the agenda looks like and the main issues.

Before I talk about a couple of specific issues relevant to the G7, I just wanted to make a couple of comments about the ongoing effort to secure a ceasefire and hostage deal.

So, we're continuing to work for a ceasefire along the lines of the May 27th Israeli proposal, as outlined in President Biden's speech on May 31st. The proposal has been endorsed by the G7, by countries around the world. It was then supported this week by a U.N. Security Council resolution.

Hamas has now submitted a response to that proposal, and we have now reviewed its contents. Many of the proposed changes are minor and not unanticipated. Others differ more substantively from what was outlined in the U.N. Security Council resolution.

The United States will now work with the mediators, specifically Egypt and Qatar, to bridge final gaps consistent with the President's May 31st speech and with the contents of the U.N. Security Council resolution.

Our aim is to bring this process to a conclusion. Our view is that the time for haggling is over. It's time for a ceasefire to begin and for the hostages to come home.

And I know, as I said before, that you've already gotten a preview, so I'm not going to go into details on individual sessions.

I did want to take some time before turning to your questions to discuss what will be a big focus for us on the first day on the ground.

Tomorrow, President Biden and President Zelenskyy will sit down to discuss our strong support for Ukraine now and into the future.

Following that meeting, the leaders will sign a bilateral security agreement making clear our support will last long into the future and pledging continued cooperation, particularly in the defense and security space.

You all will recall that in July of '23, just under a year ago, at the Vilnius Summit, President Biden organized the G7 around a joint declaration of support for Ukraine that highlighted our commitment to pursue these security agreements.

Our G7 partners have done so. Another 25 countries have actually signed on to that joint declaration. Many of them have also done these security agreements.

So, we announced last year that each country would essentially commit to negotiate a long-term bilateral security arrangement with Ukraine. At this point, 15 countries have signed their agreements, and I'm pleased to share that our negotiations with Ukraine have concluded and we'll sign this agreement tomorrow.

Our goal here is straightforward. We want to demonstrate that the U.S. supports the people of Ukraine, that we stand with them, and that we'll continue to help address their security needs not just tomorrow but out into the future.

In the agreement, which we will share with all of you later this week, we outline a clear vision of work with our allies and partners, with Ukraine in order to continue to strengthen Ukraine's credible defense and deterrence capability. Any lasting peace in Ukraine has to be underwritten by Ukraine's own ability to defend itself and deter future aggression.

And by signing this, we'll also be sending Russia a signal of our resolve. If Vladimir Putin thinks that he can outlast the coalition supporting Ukraine, he's wrong. He just cannot wait us out, and this agreement will show our resolve and continued commitment.

Through this commitment, we're also securing commit- -- through this agreement, we're also securing commitments from Ukraine on reforms and on end-use monitoring for weapons we provide.

And in deepening cooperation with Ukraine, our government will benefit from Ukraine's insights and experience, its battlefield innovations, and its lessons learned from the front.

Our view is that Ukraine's security is central to Europe's security and therefore central to America's security.

So, this agreement, together with the mutually reinforcing security agreements from a broad and powerful network of countries, provides a pathway to a stable, independent, democratic, and secure Ukraine.

You'll hear more about this tomorrow, but I want to share two final notes.

First, we're explicit in the agreement that we intend to work with Congress over the coming months to find a path to sustainable resources for Ukraine. And finally, this agreement covers the kind of support that Ukraine has sought as it bravely defends its freedom.

They have asked for our weapons and assistance as they fight to defend their territory. They have not asked our forces to join the fight. So, this agreement does not include any commitment to using our own forces to defend Ukraine. It is a pledge that we will ensure Ukraine can defend itself today and deter future aggression as well, as the President said last year.

Finally -- and thank you for bearing with me -- today, we've announced sweeping new measures to intensify the pressure on Russia. These actions will ratchet up the risk that foreign financial institutions take by dealing with Russia's war economy.

The Department of Treasury is making clear that foreign banks risk being sanctioned for dealing with any entity or individual blocked under our Russia sanctions, including designated Russian banks.

Treasury and Commerce are also issuing complimentary prohibitions to restrict the ability of Russia's defense industrial base to take advantage of access to certain U.S. software or IT services. And Commerce is announcing steps to more aggressively target transhipment to Russia of U.S.-branded items, regardless of where those items are produced, and a new measure to crackdown on diversion through shell companies.

We're imposing around 300 new sanctions and Entity List additions of specific companies or individuals. And the targets for those include Russian financial infrastructure, including major non-bank entities that help Russia finance its war effort and evade sanctions; entities and individuals across multiple evasion and foreign procurement networks, like networks that support Russia's UAV production, gold laundering, and procurement of sensitive items like anti-UAV equipment, machine tools, industrial materials, and micro- -- microelectronics.

The foreign targets include more than two dozen PRC entities and individuals and additional targets across multiple other third countries in multiple regions -- in East Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Central Asia, and the Caribbean.

They include Russia domestic war economy targets, including entities across the defense and related materiel transportation and technology sectors. They include future energy, metals, and mining revenue generation targets and areas such as future LNG projects, future coal and oil projects, and gold smuggling.

And we're also targeting additional Russian elites, including those involved in the deportation and so-called reeducation of Ukrainian children.

Altogether, these actions heighten the risk for financial institutions dealing with Russia's war economy, close down avenues for evasion while diminishing Russia's ability to benefit from access to foreign technology, equipment, software, and I- -- IT services.

And you'll see from the President tomorrow that our commitment to Ukraine will continue and we will show our resolve through the specific actions we are taking and through close coordination with all of our partners.

The final thing I will just note is that discussions continue on the ground in Puglia on unlocking the proceeds of the Russian sovereign assets. We consider those discussions constructive, productive, driving forward.

I don't have anything to announce to you today, but I believe that we are making good progress in generating an outcome in which those proceeds from those frozen assets can be put to good use.

And with that --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead, Colleen.

MR. SULLIVAN: -- thank you for your patience.

Q: Can you confirm the U.S. has sent another Patriot missile system to Ukraine? And will -- can we expect additional weapons, then, to be part of the security agreement going forward?

MR. SULLIVAN: The security agreement doesn't announce the delivery of particular weapon systems. It sets a frame for the kind of ongoing cooperation that we've had with Ukraine over the past two years, including in identified areas like air defense.

I can't confirm because I'm not here to make any announcements on particular air defense capabilities today. I will tell you that it has been a top priority of President Biden to get more air defense systems to Ukraine. And if and when we have announcements on that, we'll be sure to let you know.

Q: Jake --

Q: Jake, on the -- on the ceasefire discussions. There are reports -- we have -- we have reports that Hamas is asking for written assurances from the United States of a permanent ceasefire. Can you say what the U.S. position is on that and whether you think that is possible to -- to move this process forward and -- and --

MR. SULLIVAN: I have not heard that specific Hamas request today. Obviously, this is a fast-moving situation. And also, there's a lot of different Hamas voices. So, we'll await consultation with Egypt and Qatar, who speak through an authoritative channel with Hamas. And then we'll make our determinations about the best way to deliver this ceasefire and hostage deal consistent with what the President laid out and what the Security Council resolution laid out.

Q: And, Jake, on the Russian frozen asset. Can you -- I know you said you don't want to talk anymore. But is the expectation for a clear, detailed plan of the terms or a framework for further discussion? And is the amount still $50 billion? And will it be signed by G7 or just some members?

MR. SULLIVAN: This is a leaders' declaration. Anything that we do with respect to Russian sovereign assets is not going to lay out every detail because we need our technical experts to work through it. What we are working towards is a framework that is not generic, that is quite specific in terms of -- of what it would entail.

But, of course, the core operational details of anything that is agreed in Italy will then have to be worked through, and the leaders would give direction to the experts to work that through on a defined timeframe, again, if and when we're prepared to announce something on this.

Q: Jake, two questions. First on the agreement that you're planning to do with the Ukrainians. So, last -- at the NATO summit in Vilnius, there was a lot of early discussion about this, mostly as a substitute for rapid entry into -- into NATO. And there was discussion of using the -- the Israel model here, which, of course, with Congress is a 10-year-long commitment for a certain amount of funding and then -- and then security commitments.

Can you compare what you're about to go announce here to what we do with Israel? And would you compare it, as well, to the agreement that President Bush reached that announced secur- -- security arrangements for Ukraine with Britain, with Russia, in fact, you know, 20 years ago when --

MR. SULLIVAN: Are you talking about the Budapest Memorandum?

Q: (Inaudible.)

MR. SULLIVAN: I believe that was in the 1990s --

Q: It was (inaudible) --

MR. SULLIVAN: -- following --

Q: That's right.

MR. SULLIVAN: -- the -- the breakup of the Soviet (inaudible) --

Q: It was very vague and, of course, has left the Ukrainians with a bit of a bitter feeling in their mouths for -- understandably.

MR. SULLIVAN: Obviously, that document came in a totally different context at a totally different time. This document comes on the foundation of two years of the U.S. supplying substantial resources, military assistance, intelligence, economic support. And it essentially projects continued backing of Ukraine's capacity to defend itself and deter future aggression.

With respect to comparing it to other models, I would call this the Ukraine model. It does not include specific dollar figures. It includes a commitment to work with Congress on sustainable funding going forward, which we will do. And it lays out a framework for how we work with Ukraine and with other allies and partners to ensure Ukraine has what it needs in terms of the physical capacity as well as the intelligence and other capacities to be able to defend itself effectively and to deter Russia.

The other thing that I would say about the document that's very important is that it is part of a latticework of other agreements, where the whole will end up being greater than the sum of its parts because it will be a broad range of nations all working together to reinforce the same types of support for the same purposes.

Finally, with respect to the question of how it relates to NATO, at Vilnius last year, the NATO Joint Statement signed on to by all Allies, including the United States, said that Ukraine's future is in NATO, and it said that Allies would be in a position to give an invitation to Ukraine to join NATO when conditions are met and all Allies agree.

When the President went out and described the process leading to this bilateral security agreement, he said this would be a bridge from now to Ukraine's ultimate membership in NATO when conditions are met and all Allies agree.

That bridge involves us helping Ukraine have the capacity that it needs for its own security and for sustaining -- sustaining its own sovereignty and territorial integrity. So, that's how they link together.

You'll see that in the text of the document, as you've seen it in the text of other bilateral security agreements that have been signed by other countries.

Q: And on the sanctions that you mentioned. As you noted, a good number of them are -- are noted -- are directed at the PRC. Some of your colleagues have made the point that support with dual-use technology for the PRC has really surged in the past six or eight months.

What do you see as the Chinese strategy here? Are they viewing this differently than they did a year ago? Are they holding to the kind of warnings that you gave them at Riverside when the President discussed support for Russia with Xi Jinping and urged him not to provide weapons or technology?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, we have made clear our concerns to the PRC about the supply of certain dual-use capabilities to Russia that are being used in the Russian war machine to slaughter Ukrainians and to back an illegal war of aggression.

And we have also worked closely with our European partners to speak in a common way about how this undermines peace and security in Europe writ large.

And we have also been clear with the PRC that we reserve the right to take action against particular companies and entities that we are -- believe are engaged in supporting Russia's war machine through the provision of inputs, whether it's industrial materials or microelectronics or UAV parts or whatever it may be.

And we have put our money where our mouth is. We have already imposed sanctions on PRC entities. Today, we are doing more.

But, of course, we're not only focused on China. We're focused on the broad network of entities and individuals working to try to circumvent sanctions and get these inputs to Russia.

And so, today's action is quite comprehensive in going after entities and individuals across multiple regions of the world.

But going forward, what the Treasury Department has shown today is that financial institutions from any country, including the PRC, that continue to fil- -- facilitate transactions with sanctioned Russian entities connected to the Russian defense industrial base, to the Russian war machine, they are now at risk -- at serious risk of running afoul of the Treasury Department and of falling under a sanctions regime.

So, we'll continue to consult with the PRC. We'll continue to make our views known.

In terms of their motivations or their perspective, I'll let them speak for themselves. It is difficult for me to speculate. What I can speak to is our clear position that we are going to take action to reduce the flow of material going to Russia, including from China. And today's action is a step in that direction.

Q: Jake, on -- on Gaza. In -- did you see anything in Hamas's response that you would consider to be a significant hurdle to an agreement? And in terms of a timetable, what are you looking at? Are -- you know, you obviously don't want a lot of haggling here, but what's a realistic timetable for a deal to be reached? Are we looking at a week? Two weeks? Three weeks?

MR. SULLIVAN: It's very difficult to ever predict the

tempo or timing of a negotiation, especially a complex negotiation like this one -- especially a negotiation that has an indirect dimension to it. So, I will not be making any wagers on how long this will take.

I'm also not going to characterize particular changes that Hamas has suggested. I think I want to let the mediators work together to try to figure out what is a way to bridge remaining gaps.

I would point out that, in his remarks on May 31st, the President anticipated that Hamas would come back, they would suggest some changes, and that the important thing was that all parties sit at the table until -- the proverbial table here -- until we get to an agreement. That's what we're reinforcing today.

We believe that the time has come to get this done. We believe it can get done. But there are elements of what Hamas put forward that we don't think are consistent with what was laid out in the Security Council resolution. So, we'll have to work through that.

And I think, for today, I'm -- I'm best leaving it at that.

Q: Can you --

Q: Can -- can I just follow-up on the ceasefire, Jake? Has -- Benny Gantz was a key figure in the ceasefire negotiations. Has his exit complicated in any way the President's push for peace?

MR. SULLIVAN: Israel stood behind the proposal that was provided in late May, through the mediators to Hamas, before Minister Gantz left the government. And Israel continues to stand behind it.

And so, from our perspective, the key thing is the position of the Israeli government today, and the Israeli government has continued to stand behind the proposal.

Q: Could you clarify on the seized assets? I'm not sure if you can. But are they intended to be used for the war effort or for post-war in -- in sort of the rehabilitation of the country?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, first, the concept here is to pull forward the windfall profits from the seized assets so that you can have a substantial source of funding backed by the immobilized assets.

Second, the goal is not to wait until some indefinite point in the future. It's to provide the necessary resources to Ukraine now for its economic energy and other needs so that it's capable of having the resilience necessary to withstand Russia's continuing aggression.

Q: Jake, on --

Q: (Inaudible) numbers thrown around, including $50 billion. Some U.S. officials have said it could be more than that or less than that. Do you have a number in mind -- a target number in mind? Or is it up to the leader discussions?

MR. SULLIVAN: I do have a number in mind. I think the negotiations have a number in mind, but that's one I'll leave for further announcements if and when --

Q: Should we not be using "50" in our stories right now?

MR. SULLIVAN: (Inaudible) announcements to come.

Q: Can you --

Q: Can you talk about the vehicle? I mean, there's been a couple of models proposed -- proposed here. One, this would be a loan to an entity that would then provide a grant to Ukraine. Is that the system that we're kind of narrowing in on?

And, if so, are those loans individual from the contributor states? Or would a single G7 nation make that loan to the middle entity?

MR. SULLIVAN: Again, I want to be careful not to get ahead of the negotiations. I think we are moving towards a common understanding of the mechanism. I'm not going to characterize it further now. But what I will say is that we expect the participation of multiple countries in this, not just one country.

(Cross-talk.)

Q: Jake, on the -- on the Russian Assets --

(Cross-talk.)

Q: On the Russian assests --

Q: Sorry. Sorry, could I just finish?

Q: Sorry.

Q: Do -- do you think you can get around Congress with a -- that the CBO score will be low enough?

MR. SULLIVAN: We definitely are not going to, quote, "get around Congress." We have no intention of doing that. Whatever we do will be consistent with the authorities Congress has given us.

Q: Do you think the executive authorities will be sufficient for whatever the CBO score is here?

MR. SULLIVAN: All I will say is we're not going to do anything that's inconsistent with -- with our authorities. And we will, of course, work hand in hand in consultation with Congress to ensure that everybody is on the same page on this.

Q: On the -- on the Russian asset, the vehicle -- like, the mechanism of dispersing the money to -- to Ukraine. Have you settled on a -- on any kind of a -- an administrator? Will it be the World Bank? Will it be some other organization that basically oversees the -- the disbursement of those funds? Because you wouldn't give larger -- like, the full amount wouldn't go to Ukraine at once, right?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, I guess my multiple efforts to -- (laughter) -- avoid frontrunning any agreements that may emerge over the course of the next couple of days are -- are going for naught right now.

All I -- (laughter) -- I'm going to try to row back into my zone of comfort.

All I will say is that we now have good experience using

external mechanisms for the disbursement of funds. We have done it bilaterally. Other countries have done it. Those lessons will be relevant to how this plays out. And I will leave it at that.

Q: Is Prime Minister Modi is still expected to attend? And if so, can you walk us through the President's plans and whether the allegations with respect to the attempted killing on U.S. soil is sort of hanging over that? Is the President avoiding Prime Minister Modi or not? Are you satisfied with Indian cooperation so far?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, you know, we've made our views known on this issue, and it will be a continuing topic of dialogue between the U.S. and India, including at very senior levels.

President Biden actually spoke with President Modi by phone while we were in Paris to congratulate him on the election outcome and on being named Prime Minister for a third term.

He expects to see Prime Minister Modi here. It's up to the Indians to formally confirm his attendance, but our -- our expectation is that the two of them will have the opportunity to encounter one another. What the nature of that encounter is is still fluid because so much of the schedule is fluid.

Q: Jake, on China.

Q: Does the President --

Q: Just to follow- -- sorry --

Q: Does the President expect tough conversations on Gaza from other leaders? I know there's unity behind -- G7 unity behind the ceasefire proposal. But there's split opinions about the ICC warrant on Netanyahu, for example.

And on that note, today, the U.N. inquir- -- a U.N. inquiry found that both Hamas and Israel are guilty of war crimes and violating international law. If you can comment on that, please.

MR. SULLIVAN: So, I haven't had a chance to read that report. I've just seen the headline. So, I'll refrain from comment until I can understand better what the substance of it is.

In terms of the question of what he expects the conversation to be like around Gaza, all of the G7 leaders that we have been consulting with in the run-up to Italy are focused on one thing overall: getting a ceasefire in place and getting the hostages home as part of that.

That is what is going to end the suffering. That is what is going to bring long-term security for Israel. That is what is going to get us to a day after so that both Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace, security, and dignity.

So, the President will be consulting with G7 leaders about the intensive efforts underway to make that happen. He has their full backing for what he is doing. He will have their encouragement, I believe, over the course of this time.

And it's not just the G7 leaders now; it's countries across the world all speaking with one voice and saying, "Let's get this deal done."

President Biden is determined to use every ounce of effort to do that.

Q: Jake --

Q: On China. Just to follow up --

Q: Since you --

Q: So, you -- you're taking, you know, new steps to sort of express your frustration with China over the supplying of dual-use items and other continued things. There's also going to be some language, we understand, in terms of overcapacity, excess industrial capacity, and there's also some work to be done on -- on debt and the slow process of settling debt. China is, of course, the largest creditor to -- to many developing countries.

Is this a moment where the G7 is -- is sort of squaring up and -- and taking stock of China's behavior? And, you know, what -- do you expect, sort of, a unified front despite the, you know, differences that might exist?

MR. SULLIVAN: You know, the communiqué in Hiroshima last year put it well when it said each country has its own distinctive approach to China, but we're united around a set of common principles, and we're also united around the proposition that we need to align and coordinate in dealing with some of the challenges that China's policies and practices pose to our economies and to our security.

Overcapacity is one of those issues. The President has been vocal about that. Frankly, European countries have been vocal about that.

The President has taken action with respect to Chinese overcapacity, including the -- the 301 review announcements from a few weeks ago. Now Europe has taken action.

So, I do think you can expect to see a common framework around some of these issues emerging as part of the final text of the communiqué. But I will leave that communiqué to speak for itself so that I'm not announcing every outcome here on the plane on the way over.

Q: Jake, it's two weeks since the President's decision to allow limited strikes into Russian territory around Kharkiv by the Ukrainians.

We've seen President Putin respond by saying he may place weapons that could hold some Western or NATO countries at risk. He didn't say where. He didn't say what kind. Have you seen any action in -- in response, other than what Putin and some of his aides have said?

And can you explain what, if anything, they're doing around Cuba with this set of exercises?

MR. SULLIVAN: So, first, we've seen what President Putin and other Russian officials have said, and we'll continue to watch what they actually do as we go forward.

Second, our position here, we believe, is straightforward and commonsensical. Russians are launching attacks from one side of the border directly onto the other side of the border, and Ukraine ought to be able to fire back across that border so that Russia cannot just use the border as a way of gaining an advantage that allows them to take more Ukrainian territory. That, to us, is just pretty straightforward and common sense. And the change in policy came with it on the basis of a change in circumstance, which was this new front opened opposite the border in -- in Kharkiv Oblast.

Your other question was about -- oh, Cuba. So, just to take a step back, we have seen these Russian naval deployments sailing into Cuba in the Bush administration, the Obama administration, the Trump administration, and now the Biden administration.

It's something we watch closely, carefully. It's something that we went out publicly on several days before it happened so the world would understand the context and the world would also know that we are watching. And so, we will see how this unfolds in the coming days.

But we have seen this kind of thing before, and we expect to see this kind of thing again. And I'm not going to read into any particular motives --

Q: But it looks the same --

MR. SULLIVAN: -- by Russia.

Q: But it looks a lot like those previous exercises.

MR. SULLIVAN: There are elements in this one that are different, that are distinct. But fundamentally, the notion that Russia takes a -- some of its Russian naval assets and does a port visit to Havana is something we have seen before.

Q: What is distinct here?

MR. SULLIVAN: One of the distinct things is -- I think we have gone out and explained is they have a submarine associated with this port visit that they have not had before. They also have similar capabilities on a surface ship that they have had before. So, for us --

Q: But they're transferring or emplacing any -- any missiles, anything like that?

MR. SULLIVAN: We have not seen anything like that, and the Cubans have gone out with their own statements reinforcing that that is not happening. Of course, we don't necessarily literally take the Cubans' word for it, but we, through our own means, have not seen anything to that extent and do not expect anything like that to occur.

Q: Jake --

Q: Can you say how --

Q: -- after the G7 wraps up, you're going to be going to Switzerland with the Vice President. What -- what's the level of optimism that that conference can -- can move the ball forward on Ukraine? And, like, you know, what -- what are you looking for at the end of that?

MR. SULLIVAN: We're looking for two things. One is for the maximum number of nations to sign up to what should be an indisputable proposition that any just peace has to be based on the U.N. Charter and the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the inviolability of orders that taking -- that taking territory by force is completely unacceptable. So, that would be a powerful outcome if we can achieve it.

And then the other thing is practical support for Ukraine's efforts on issues like energy security, the return of abducted children, the security of nuclear plants in Ukraine. We'll work through some of those issues as well and hope to get some momentum from them.

Q: Do you have any --

MR. SULLIVAN: I think we'll do one -- one more.

Q: Can you just comment quickly on this --

Q: Do you know why the Saudi's aren't coming?

Q: -- this --

Q: I'm sorry.

MR. SULLIVAN: I'm sorry?

Q: Do you know why the Saudis aren't coming?

MR. SULLIVAN: Pardon?

Q: MBS -- MBS isn't coming?

MR. SULLIVAN: I do not know why. No, I haven't had the chance to speak with them to understand that. So --

Q: Is that a disappointment in terms of maybe moving -- moving forward on --

MR. SULLIVAN: Well --

Q: -- the Middle East?

MR. SULLIVAN: -- we always welcome more countries, in- -- including influential countries like Saudi Arabia. But they haven't been to previous G7 summits, so this isn't unusual that they're not at this one.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Got to wrap it up.

Q: Can you comment really quickly between this on/off again deal between Iran and Russia -- this comprehensive security agreement?

MR. SULLIVAN: I -- I don't have any comment on it today. If I gain any greater insight or wisdom for you, I'll share it.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Thanks. Thanks. Thanks --

Q: (Inaudible) strikes in northern Israel?

MR. SULLIVAN: We continue to be concerned about the exchange of fire across the border. And we're particularly concerned about Hezbollah strikes that are aimed at civilian areas in Israel. It's something we're in close consultation with the Israelis on.

Look, fundamentally, as the President said in his speech on May 31st, generating a ceasefire and hostage deal in Gaza can put us on a path to get calm on the border between Israel and Lebanon and ultimately an agreement that provides sufficient security assurances that people can return to their home safely. That's what we're driving for, and that's what we hope to achieve.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Thanks, Jake.

Q: Thanks, Jake.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Hi. (Laughs.)

Q: Hi.

Q: Hi.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right, Colleen. What you got?

Q: A couple questions. First of all, can you tell us who from the President's family is with him on the trip? I think it's a couple of grandchildren, but I (inaudible).

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, what I can say: There are a number of family members traveling on this -- on this trip with the President. I don't have any names to share. But I can confirm -- and I think you've all seen it for yourselves -- there are family members traveling with him.

Q: And then, I know you read the statement at the beginning, but I wondered if you could say anything about how the President absorbed the news of his son's conviction.

And then, also, he has said that he was -- he has ruled out pardoning his son, but I wondered about a commutation -- whether that would be something that would be on the table -- a commutation.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, so, look, as I stated at the top, I don't have anything to say beyond -- to your first question -- beyond what the President's statement was yesterday. He has been very clear. We've been very clear. You know, he -- he loves his son. And he and the First Lady love their son, and they support their son.

I just don't have anything -- certainly anything beyond that.

What I will say is -- look, I -- I haven't spoken to the President about this since the verdict came out. And as we all know, the sentencing hasn't even been scheduled yet. But you saw the President do an interview just last week when he was in Normandy. And he was asked, you know, a question -- several questions -- a couple of questions about this. And he was very clear, very upfront, very -- obviously very definitive. And I just don't have anything -- he -- you have his w- -- own words. I just don't have anything beyond that.

Q: Can you explain (inaudible) --

Q: So, you're not ruling out that he would commute the sentence?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, what I'm saying is that the President -- the Pre- -- I have not spoken to the President about this. And what I'm saying is he was asked about a pardon. He was asked about -- he was asked about the trial specifically. And he answered it very clearly, very forthright.

As we know, the sentencing hasn't even been scheduled yet. I don't have anything beyond what the President said. He's been very clear about this.

Q: Can you just speak about the logistics of how much time he spent with Hunter, Karine? Because as I understand, when he went to Wilmington yesterday, Hunter went back to LA. And as far as we can figure out, the only time that they spent was on the tarmac. Is that accurate? I just --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I -- I'm just not going to speak to the President's private time with the family. And I just don't have anything beyond the statement. The President and the First Lady support their son. They love their son. I'm not going to get into -- into time that he spent with his family. That's something that we never do, and I'm not going to do that today.

Q: And then -- and then on the -- if no one el- -- just on the -- on the summit side of it, Karine. If we can -- if you can talk a little bit about the -- the President's plans to meet the Pope and also any kind of --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Plan to what?

Q: To meet the Pope.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, to meet the Pope.

Q: And if there's any bilats other than Meloni? And also any pull asides, maybe with her Erdo?an or Modi?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: As you know, these things -- and I think Jake kind of said it -- they're kind of -- they're very dynamic. They're very in the moment. There's a lot that goes on at these summits. And so, if there is a -- a pull aside, if there's anything beyond what we've shared with you up to -- up to now, we certainly will share that.

These engagements, as you know, tend -- they come and go. And they -- and when they do, they happen very quickly. And obviously, they happen, you know, sometimes unexpectedly. So, if we have anything like that to share, we certainly will have a readout. We will let all of you know.

As the -- far as the Pope, don't have anything specific here to share at this moment. But, again, we will -- we have, you know, next 48 hours or so. I'm sure we'll have a lot of readouts and a lot of things to share with all of you --

Q: Karine --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- as this is a very critically important summit.

Q: Is this -- are you thinking about this as being the President's -- potentially the President's last overseas trip in this term? Or is there still any discussion about Africa?

One of the core areas that the leaders will be talking about will be sustainability and development, and especially --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: -- with an eye to Africa.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. I think the President spoke to Africa, specifically, when he was asked. He said that he would love to do it, you know, in Febru- -- I think he may have even said in -- in February -- as early of next year. So, he's determined and wants to keep that commitment.

As you know, we had the Kenyan state visit. That went very well. And -- and there was a two-plus-two there.

I just don't have anything beyond his schedule on -- on that particular question about going to Africa.

Any additional scheduling, overseas OCONUS trips, obviously, we will let you know. I just don't have anything in the future to lay out for you at this time.

Q: Karine, does the White House have any reaction to the CPI report that just came out this morning? And -- and what does the President make of, you know, the expectation that the Fed may only do two rate cuts instead of three?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You're talking about the Fed?

Q: Rate cuts, yeah.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look -- and we've always been really clear about the Fed. They're independent. We do not comment on -- on the Fed. And we -- in this administration, we are very -- we are very committed to making sure that the Fed has the -- the space and the inte- -- independence to make those in- -- those monetary policy decisions. So, I don't have a comment on that.

What I will say more broadly: We -- the President did put out -- we put out a statement from the President on the S- -- CPI. He understands and we always want to acknowledge where the American people are. We understand that they're struggling. We understand that there's more progress to be made.

Obviously, we welcome the news coming out of the CPI data. Inflation is down more than two thirds with the lowest core inflation since April 2021. Wages are rising faster than prices over the last year. And since the pandemic, 15.6 million jobs created. And unemployment at or below 4 poi- -- 4 poi- -- 4 percent for the longest stretch in 50 years.

Look, the President has been really clear. He's from Scranton. He knows what it's like for families to sit around the kitchen table and make difficult decisions. That's why he's continuing to do everything that he can to lower costs.

And there's a contrast. Republicans in Congress, they want to give a tax break to billionaires and -- and corporations. That's not where we are.

We want to continue to make sure that we give folks some health -- hel- -- some ease on healthcare, right? That's why we did the insulin ca- -- tapping -- capping insulin at 30 -- 35 bucks a month for our seniors who are paying hundreds and hundreds of dollars a month; making sure that Medicare is able to negotiate, which is something that the last administrations, many other administrations have tried to do and they couldn't and this administration has been able to do.

So, look, we know that there's more work to be done. We're going to continue to do that work to lower costs. But we obviously welcome the CPI data and the progress that we're making.

Q: Do you have any update on FDIC chair, the search for a --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No update on FDIC chair. Obviously, the President is going to nominate someone who he -- who -- as he does with every nominee, who has the experience and the respect in their field. And once we do that, we'll certainly share -- share that information. And we understand how important it is to have an FDIC chair in place. So, we're going to certainly stay very laser focused on getting that done.

Q: The President today got the endorsement of three major seniors groups. And I realize you can't talk about the campaign --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No -- (laughs) -- I can't talk about the --

Q: I understand that, but --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you for saying that in your question.

Q: (Laughs.) But -- but can you say anything about the President's agenda for a second term in terms of deepening the work to aid seniors? You mentioned --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: -- you know, a few things.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Insulin. Yeah, the thirty- --

Q: Is it -- is it a top priority for him --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: -- going forward as part of the fight against inflation but also for seniors?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. No -- no, I appreciate the question. And I think that's really important. I've got to be really mindful not to speak about the 2024 election.

But to answer -- to -- to lean into your -- your question about the -- the second term, look, the President is going to continue to work on -- on behalf of the American people. That is what he's going to do.

Lowering costs -- obviously, as we talk about our -- his economic policy is at the center of that and continuing to do that. That's why the Inflation Reduction Act was so important, because it allows us to, yes, fight climate change by lowering costs on energy prices. Also, healthcare -- by lowering costs for 15 million Americans across the country that are going to see a lower cost -- 800 bucks lower a year. That's because of what this President has -- was able to do with only Democrats in Congress. Insulin -- I already talked about that -- for seniors capped at 35 bucks.

I mean, there's -- there's a lot more work to be done.

And -- and we see that -- we understand that -- that Americans are still struggling.

But we have seen some progress. And we want to continue that progress, whether it is creating more jobs, making sure that unemployment continues to be low -- it's a 50 -- a 50-year low, as we -- as we know. And so, we're going to be pretty consistent on doing that.

Healthcare, climate change, lowering costs across the board -- that is going to be pretty consistent with what we do.

Q: Karine, can I ask --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: -- about just another summit session tomorrow, which is the Partnership for Ini- --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: You know what I mean. The PGI.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, the P- --

Q: Partnership for Global Initiative Investment --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. Yeah.

Q: -- Investment Initiative.

Anyway, this is something that's very important for the President. He launched it as "Build Back Better World" in G7 Cornwall. How close is the G7 to reaching the goal of $600 billion by 2027?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: I mean, as I understand, this is also the President's second-term goal --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: -- that Jake mentioned to provide more resources to developing countries.

And then, just on a logistics note, we don't see the President attending the dinner for tomorrow, the G7 dinner, if you can explain why.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, it's going to be a jam-packed two days. Just starting with your last question first. There's going to be a lot of meetings happening, a lot of

sessions, as you know.

And so, the President is certainly going to be engaged for the -- the two days -- or two -- two -- two and a half days that he is in Italy at the G7. So, I wouldn't read too much into him not going to one dinner.

The President is going to be engaged with the leaders of the G7. And you all will see that and hear from us on that.

As it relates to initiative -- yes, this is an initiative that the President started himself. It is -- it is something that he's proud of. We will have more to share. I know Jake talked about that in -- a little bit at the top. I don't have anything more as to the second -- second stage of this. But we will have more to share, so stay tuned.

But -- but, yeah, this is a President that's come -- when he comes to these things, you see his leadership o- -- on the world stage. These are incredibly important engagement with these world leaders. And -- and so -- and he -- it -- there will be no lack of engagement. There will be full engagement with this President, as he continues to do so in -- in all of these OCONUSs trip, as you guys have covered.

I think you -- do you have something?

Q: Thank you. I have two quick questions. Sorry, the first one is on Hunter. Where was the President yesterday when the verdict came down? Can you just give us a little bit of color about where he was or if someone from the White House notified him?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What's your second question as well?

Q: If just -- if they -- if someone had to notify him or he was watching coverage. Yeah.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, I'm just not going to go dive into any specifics here. I'm just not going to do that from here. You know, this is -- this is about his -- his family. This is about his son, who he loves and obviously supports.

I -- I know these questions are going to come a million different ways. As I've said before when I've been asked about this, we're just going to be very consistent, stick to the statement that he put out. And I'm just going to leave it there.

Q: I think you know -- another one on the --

(Cross-talk.)

Sorry. I have another one on the border, the executive actions last week. Over -- like, over the last 24 hours, there have been a number of reports about suspected terrorists at ports of entry and then also a sting operation where suspected ISIS terrorists were collected throughout the United States. Do you guys believe so far that the executive actions are working, or is there going to be another announcement down the line with more to do?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things. DOJ, H- -- DOJ, DHS put out a joint statement. So, I would refer you to that statement on that particular question that you just asked me about those eight in- -- I believe there were eight individuals.

So -- and we are also grateful for the law enforcement for their quick -- quick work on this to make sure that we keep Americans safe.

This is another example of why we think some calls from Republicans to defund the FBI is -- is a bad idea, is troublesome. And so, we'll continue to call that out as well.

But, again, DHS and DOJ put out a statement, so I -- a joint statement, so I would refer you to that.

As it relates to the executive -- the executive action the President did last week, look, just to take a step back just for a second -- like, this is a president that has taken the issue of what we're seeing at the border, the immigration

system being broken very seriously -- I mean, very, very seriously.

That's why he put out a comprehensive legislation on day one. That's why he worked with senators -- both Republicans and Democrats -- for a couple of months to bring forth a -- a plan, a policy that he wants to sign. He wanted them to move forward with it, and Republicans rejected their own plan.

And so, he wants to see a bipartisan solution here, but that didn't happen. As you noted, he took an executive action.

As it relates to any impact of those actions, we're still early in the implementation phase. But we -- we look at this in its totality, when it comes to actions -- just the actions that we took this year as well. And so, it's including our work with international partners like Mexico.

En- -- encounters are down more than 50 percent from December. So, however, we understand that migration flows are dynamic, and we'll continue to -- to surge resources and personnel to the areas that need them.

But the President, again, wants to do this in a bipartisan way. He believes this the best way to deal with this broken system -- a system that's been broken for decades -- is to have both sides come together and have a legislative answer to this.

Q: Can you share any outreach from the White House to progressives that were frustrated by the actions announced last week?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, what I can say to you is that our office, the -- our Office of Leg Affairs is -- is consistently and constantly engaging with legislators, both on the House and the Senate, in both chambers, on -- on an array of issues, including immigration.

And you saw us -- I mean, you saw us for months -- you saw our team -- for months, the President directed his team to reach out to senators, both De- -- Democrats and Republicans.

And so, we have be- -- we've been in the -- in the process as well. Right? We've gotten our hands dirty in this in a sense of getting to work and trying to find a solution. And there is one. There is one. Republicans rejected because of the former President saying that it would hurt him and help Joe Biden.

And those are -- tho- -- and that's what you all have reported, is what I'm repeating here.

Q: Can you say a word or two about what the President will be doing in L.A.? Is it just solely a campaign event or is there any official business?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I would -- it's campaign. And so, I would refer you to the campaign. It's go- -- he'll only be doing campaign events. But that's for the campaign to speak to.

Q: And he'll --

Q: (Inaudible) any consideration to having the President just stay in Europe after the D-Day and France state visit? You -- he's gone across the Atlantic -- he will have done, basically, four crossings in 10 days, which is tough, even if you're not 81. So -- (laughs) --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, the President -- and most presidents -- have a jam-packed schedule. He came back for two really important events. One is Juneteenth, a holiday that he helped create it, signed into law, which -- which, you know, is a -- we believe is important holiday to -- to honor and to commem- -- commemorate. You all saw the President attend that event.

He also spoke about an issue that really truly matters --

Q: (Inaudible.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- guns. Look, gun violence -- guns is -- is an epidemic in our country, the number one killer of our children. And so, for him to come out -- come back and talk about these two incredibly domestic issues -- right? -- I think is important.

The President's schedule is jam-packed. It is. There is a lot to be done on behalf of the American people.

But the President is -- is looking forward to the G7. Important -- it's going to be an important summit to talk an a- -- about an array of issues -- that you heard Jake talk through -- that's going out currently right now.

And so, look, you know, again, the President has -- this is a president that is able to do foreign policy matters, dealing with that, and also domestic issues as well that matter to the American people.

We know that the gun issue, for example, is one of the important, top issues that Americans really care about. It affects many communities across the country.

Q: Karine, what do you think the President is going to say -- a lot of, you know, other foreign leaders have expressed -- you know, are anticipating or -- or have expressed concern that potentially President -- former President Trump could be reelected and what the implications would be. What is the President's message going to be to other leaders?

He often talks about, you know, going to that first G7 meeting and saying, "America is back." As the election nears, the polls are not clear. It's very much neck and neck. Is he going with any kind of a message --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: -- to the leaders about the o- -- you know, about -- I realize you can't say --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, I -- I --

Q: -- you know --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, I appreciate the question, and I get the question, especially in the year that we're in. I have to be super mindful and not -- and not speak to any question that alludes to, obviously, an election that's coming up in a couple of months. So, going to be super, super mindful.

What I will say more broadly -- and I know you all -- some of you traveled with us when he -- he went to Normandy and visited the beaches of Normandy, an 80 a- -- 80-year anniversary of D-Day. And you heard the -- the President talk about the importance of our alliances and our (inaudible) partnership and how, you know, it is important that we fight for democracy and our freedom, because it matters for all of us.

And so, you saw the President. It was incredibly powerful what he said on that Thursday speech and also the Friday remarks. And I think that is a show of what this President believes in. And so, I'm going to leave that there.

And then, you'll see the President goes to the G7, another important opportunity to engage with our allies and partners on what's going on globally in the world. Right?

Q: Can I just jump on (inaudible)?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Sure, sure.

Q: I mean, this is a topic that has taken more urgency, particularly after the European Parliament elections, where we see a surge of support for far-right parties. So, we assume that this will be a topic of discussion among leaders, especially with France holding snap elections; Germany, Olaf Scholz also weakened.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: And I think yesterday John Kirby told me that the President is confident that Ursula von der Leyen will be selected again for another term. But I just wanted to get an understanding of the President's head when he's speaking with leaders about the potential rise of far -- potential rise of far-right parties on both sides of the Atlantic.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, a couple of things. I do want to speak to the EU election results. I'm not sure if my NSC colleagues were able to talk about it in detail, but I'll say here on the record.

So, we congratulate the millions of citizens across the European Union's 27 member states who cast ballots in European Parliament elections. The successful administration and conclusion of these elections is a good example of democracy and democratic institutions for the world to see.

So, I'm not going to comment on election results themselves since we do not involve ourselves in the domestic politics of our allies and partners.

I will say that we have worked closely together with the EU to address global challenges and advance our national security interests, such as supporting Ukraine and holding Russia accountable for its actions on trade and other many issues. We certainly expect all of that, as we talked about the EU and our relationship and how we move forward, to continue.

And so, look, I -- you know, I'm not going to get into every specific state and their elections. But we believe that our relationship -- that relationship we -- that we have with the EU is going to continue.

I'm going to be, again, very mindful on coming into any speculation or hypotheticals here, especially as it relates to elections coming up this year.

All right.

Q: Do you have any names of CEOs that he's meeting with? We reported that there's, like, a CEO session with him and Meloni.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: We'll probably have more to share with you later. I don't have anything right now.

All right. Thanks, everybody. Enjoy the ride.

11:58 A.M. EDT

Joseph R. Biden, Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/372796

Simple Search of Our Archives