Obama to Take Syria Case Directly to American People

President announces his intentions to address U.S. public at a G20 press conference.
7:21 | 09/06/13

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Transcript for Obama to Take Syria Case Directly to American People
This is a special room. Report from ABC news. I'm Dan -- for a New York with -- ABC news digital special report president Obama's tough sell. As his campaign for support on a serious strike. Is failing to gain support he is after the president is about to hold a news conference in Saint Petersburg Russia. Where the G-20 summit is wrapping up today. And the president. Failing to gain any new backers for a US led strike on Syria back here on the support waning. In congress the president is expected to take the podium just a few moments the first I want to bring in ABC's Devin Dwyer and Washington DC watchdog that those latest developments. -- who advised a couple of minutes ago that the president had a meeting with Russia's president Vladimir -- what do we know about the details. That's right this was not expected the white house of course it canceled that one on one summit with president -- -- of the G-20 in Moscow. But we've we found out today both from the Russian president and from the White House that they met for about twenty minutes on the sidelines of the summit. This morning in Saint Petersburg before -- wraps up later this afternoon and we hope we heard that the discussion centered solely on Syria. Both men it sounds like still holding to their guns there on their positions there was no movement in any sort of agreement. But we did hear that they agreed to end their should be peaceful resolution -- the end of the day in Syria sit -- there is there. And -- matters to -- when he obviously is the primary focuses on economic issues tax particular. Om and Syria was certainly an issue that the president wanted to put on the agenda there and Russian president Vladimir Putin the host. Did concede somewhat to that as -- -- international support we can see that -- -- but what about your home in congress. Well right now it's clear that there are not enough votes in either chamber the house for the senate to pass this resolution that would authorize President Obama to take some sort of military action in Syria. Certainly it's choose too soon to declare -- dead but ABC news our political team has been tracking the votes on the hill which way people are committing. -- so far the majority of members still undecided there's a lot of skepticism out there in fact many members here in the waning days of their summer recess at home. Late this week and into the weekend holding town hall meetings were seen as some pretty feisty exchanges there with constituents opposing this. But right now the wind is blowing in eight in president Obama's face as he tries to corral these votes again it's. No sure bet but it's looking like that's going to be tough stance the president's -- that he does make that one of his key. -- mission is in fact is to try to draw support from congress but what is the possibility that if he doesn't get that support from either chamber. That he would go it alone. Well that's the big question right now is what will President Obama do if congress. Votes against this resolution on Syria. The president has been pretty firm -- saying that he has the constitutional authority in principle to act he says there's ample precedent precedent to do so that he could. Take action without congress she said from the beginning they going to congress which in part symbolism to show American unity but also. To get that stronger emphasis on this international -- against using chemical weapons but. Do White House officials that we've heard from had not just said either way definitively what the president will do perhaps they're keeping those cards. Close in the chest but we did here this morning from the deputy national security -- advisor who said. That it's neither the president's desire nor his intention. To strike Syria without congressional approval leaving the door open a little bit but clearly indicating that he really wants this congressional vote to -- House speaker John Boehner has shown his support for the president and now let's go to the president making -- announcement in Petersburg and the people -- for hosting. This huge want to. This city has a long and storied history. Including its historic resistance and extraordinary sacrifices. During the Second World War so I'll take this opportunity. To salute the people Saint Petersburg and express our gratitude. For their outstanding hospitality. The summit marks another milestone and the world's recovery from the financial crisis that erupted five years ago this month. Instead the looming threat of another financial meltdown. We're focused. For the first time in many years on building upon the gains that we've made. For the first time in three years instead of an urgent discussion to address. The European financial crisis we see -- Europe that has emerged from recession. Moreover the United States is a source of strength in the global economy. Our manufacturing sector is rebounding. New rules of strengthen our banks and reduced the chance of another crisis. Were reducing our addiction to foreign oil and producing more clean energy. And as we learned today over the past three and -- years our businesses have created seven and a half. Million new jobs -- pace more than two million jobs each year. We put more people. Back to work but we've also cleared away the rubble of crisis and lay the foundation for stronger and more durable economic growth. -- were also making progress in putting our fiscal house in order. Our deficits are falling the fastest rate in sixty years. And as congress takes up important decisions in the coming months. -- to keep making the case for. The Smart investments in fiscal responsibility that keeps our economy growing. Creates jobs and keeps the US competitive. That includes making sure we don't risk a US default over paying bills we've already racked up. I'm determined that the world has confidence in the full faith and credit of the United States. As the world's largest economy -- recovery is helping to drive global growth. And in the emerging markets in particular there's a recognition that -- they strong US economy is good for their economies to. -- we came to Saint Petersburg mindful of the challenges that will -- As it emerges from us. That's not jury to focus on boosting demand and reducing unemployment. As well as making some of the structural changes that can increase long term growth. Growth in emerging economies. To slow so. We need to make sure that we're working with them. In managing this process and I'm pleased that over the past two days we reached a consensus on how to proceed. We agree that our focus needs to be on creating jobs and growth that put people back to work. We agreed on ways to encourage the investments in infrastructure -- keep economies competitive. Nations agreed to continue pursuing financial reforms. And to address tax -- and tax. Avoidance which undermines budgets and unfairly shifts. The tax burden to other taxpayers. We're moving ahead with our development agenda with a focus on issues like food security and combating corruption and I'm very pleased that the G-20 nations agreed to make faster progress on phasing down certain greenhouse gases. A priority and that's an important step in our fight against climate change. During my trip we also continued our efforts to advance to -- -- trade initiatives the transatlantic trade and investment partnership. And the trans Pacific partnership and I believe that if we continue to move forward. On all the fronts that I described we can keep the global economy growing and keep creating jobs for people. Of course even as we've focused on our shared prosperity. And although. Primary task of the -- -- Is to focus on our joint efforts to boost the global economy. We did also discuss a grave threat to our shared security. And that's the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons. And what I've been emphasizing -- continue to stress is that this -- regime's brazen use of chemical weapons -- -- just a Syrian tragedy. It's a threat to global peace and security. Serious escalating use of chemical weapons threatens its neighbors. Turkey Jordan Lebanon Iraq. Israel. It threatens to further destabilize the Middle East. It increases the risk that these weapons will fall into the hands of terrorist groups. For more broadly it threatens to unravel the international norm against chemical weapons embraced by a 189. Nations and and those nations represented 98%. Of the world's people. Failing to respond. To this breach of this international norm would send a signal. To rogue nations authoritarian regimes and terrorist organizations that. They can develop and use weapons of mass destruction. And did not -- a consequence. And that's not the world that we want to live. This wired nations around the world have condemned Syria for this attack and called for action. -- is encouraged by discussions of my fellow leaders this week. There is a growing recognition of the world cannot stand idly by. Here in Saint Petersburg leaders from Europe and Asia and the Middle East have come together to save of the international norm against the use of chemical weapons must be upheld. And that Asad regime use these weapons on its own people. And that as a consequence there needs to be a strong response. The earlier foreign ministers said -- -- -- was responsible and called for the terms and necessary measures against the culprits of this crime. The organization of Islamic cooperation. -- general secretary. It's called the attack a blatant affront. All religious and moral values in the deliberate disregard of international laws and norms which requires a decisive action. So in the coming -- -- continue to consult with my fellow leaders around the world and -- will continue to consult with congress. And I will make. Best case that I can. To the American people as most of the international community for taking necessary and appropriate action. And I -- address the American people from white house on Tuesday. The kind of world we live. And our ability to -- this kind of outrageous behavior. Is gonna depend on the decisions that we make in the days ahead. And I'm confident that if we deliberate carefully and we choose wisely. And embrace our responsibilities. We can meet the challenges. Of this moment as well as those in the days ahead. So would -- -- takes questions. And got my hand US and I will start where Julie pace for making. Thank you Mr. President. You mentioned the number of countries that have condemned the use of chemical weapons but -- advisors also see -- leaving this summit. With a strong number of countries backing -- call for military action. President -- -- just a short time ago indicated it may only be a handful of countries including France Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Can you tell us publicly what countries are -- -- your call for military action and did you change any minds here. President Putin also mentioned your meeting with him earlier today can you tell us how that came about and did you discuss both Syria and -- Snowden thank you. The. I believe there will be a statement issued later. This evening. Although hopefully in time he -- to file back home. That indicates some of the additional -- Are making public statements. Last night we had a good discussion. And I want -- frozen credit. Facilitated. I think a full airing of views on the issue. And here's how I was right. Without giving the details -- betraying the confidence of of those who we're speaking. Within the confines of the -- It was unanimous. That chemical weapons were used. -- unanimous conclusion of the chemical weapons were used in -- There was a unanimous view that the -- against using chemical weapons. Has to be maintained. That these weapons were banned for reasons. And that the international community has to take those norms serious. I would say that the majority. Of the room. Is comparable we have our conclusion that. -- -- -- government was responsible. For their years. Obviously this is disputed by. Present -- but. If you hold. The leaders. Last night. I am confident that you get a majority said it is most likely. We are pretty confident. Is -- years. Where there is a division. Has to do with the United Nations. There are a number of countries that. Just as a matter of principle. Believe that -- military action is -- it needs to go through the UN Security Council. There are others and I put myself in this camp -- somebody was a strong supporter. The United Nations who very much appreciate the courage. The investigators. Who gone in and looks forward through. Seeing the UN report because I think we should try to get more information -- in this situation. It is my view and -- -- that was shared by a number of people in the room. That given. Security Council paralysis on this issue and if we are serious. About. Upholding. A ban on chemical weapons use. Then an international response is required and that will not come through. Security Council action. And that's where I think the division comes from. And I respect those who. Are concerned about setting precedents of action outside of -- UN Security Council resolution. -- I would greatly prefer. Working it through multi lateral channels and through the United Nations to get this done. But. Ultimately. What I believe in even more deeply. Because I think the security of the world and my particular test looking out for the national security of the United States requires. That. When there is a breach this -- Of a normal this important. And the international community is paralyzed. And frozen and doesn't act and then. That norm against unravel. And if that norm unravels then. Other norms and prohibitions. Start unraveling. And that makes for more dangerous world and that -- reporters even more difficult choices and more difficult responses. In the future. Over 414100. People were -- Over 400 of them. -- children. This is not something. We've had fabricated this is not some of them we. There are looking. Or using as an excuse for. Military action as I said last night I was elected and -- not -- I've spent the last four here is doing everything I can. To. Reduce our reliance on military power. As a means of meeting -- and international obligations and protecting the American people. But what I also -- is as -- there are times where. We have to make hard choices if we're gonna stand up for the things that we care about and I believe that this is. One of those times and if we end up using. The UN Security Council not as a means of enforcing. International norms and international law. But rather as a barrier and two. Acting calm after -- veteran national norms and -- national all of them. Think people right we're going to be pretty skeptical about the system. And whether it can work to protect. Those children that we saw those videos. And sometimes the further when we get from the horrors of that. The easier it is to rationalize. Not making tough choices. And I understand that and this is not convenient. This is not some of -- -- I think a lot of folks around the world. You know. Find their unappetizing sort of choices. But the question is. Do these norms mean something. And for not acting what does that -- Helpful if we're just issuing another statement of -- condemnation. For passing resolutions saying wasn't -- terrible. You know if there -- People who. You know. -- International inaction in want to. And and you -- say how terrible it is. -- these human rights violations that take place around the world and why are we -- -- -- about it and they always -- to the United States. Why is in the United States knows something about best of the most population on -- plus why are you allowing these terrible things to happen. And then hear the international community turns around. When. We're saying it's time to take some responsibility and says well. Hold on a second. We're not sure. That erodes. Our ability true. Maintain the kind of norms that there were looking at. Now -- -- -- politely answered -- -- -- question the conversation I have with. -- -- prudent was. On the margins. Be. For the plenary session and and you know -- it was a candid and constructive conversation. Which characterizes my relationship with a known as I've said before -- is always trying to look for. Body language and all -- but the truth of the matter is that. My interactions with him -- to be very straightforward. We discussed Syria. And that was primarily the topic of conversation mr. -- -- did not come up. Beyond me saying that. Re emphasizing that. Where we have common interests I think is important for the tourist work together. And on Syria -- -- should listen I don't expect us to agree. This issue of the chemical weapons use. Although. It is possible that. After the UN inspectors report. It may be more difficult for. Mr. proved to -- maintain his current position about the evidence. But what I didn't say it is. -- we both agree. But the underlying conflict. Can only be resolved. Through a political transition. And as envisioned by the Geneva. One in Geneva to process and so we need to move forward together even if you in the US and Russia. And other countries disagree on this specific issue for how to respond to. -- chemical weapons used it remains important for us to work together to try to -- All parties in the conflict. Try to resolve and because we've got four million people internally displaced we've got. Millions of people in Turkey Jordan Lebanon. Who. Are desperate. And the situations only getting worse. And that's not a neighbors -- us. Not a new America's interest does not and Russia's interest it's not in the interest of people the region and obviously it's not in the interest of Syrian troops in their lives completely disrupted in their country shattered. So that is going to continue to be a project to Mars and that does speak to. You know and -- issue that has been raised back home around missile issue. You've heard some people say well. -- we think if you're gonna undersized got to do something very good maybe this isn't big enough for maybe it's too lazy or. The other responses like that. What I've tried to explain -- We may not solve the whole problem but this particular problem of using chemical weapons on children. This one we might have an impact on and that's worth acting -- That's important to us. And what I've also said oozes bad. As far as the underlying conflicts concerned. Unless international community is willing to put a massive numbers of troops on the ground. And I know nobody sign up for that we're not gonna give a long term military solution. For the country. We're and that is something that. Can only come about I think of -- and as and different is our prospectus may be. Myself mr. Putin and others. Are willing to have set aside those differences and put some pressure on the parties on the ground. -- -- On the resolution to authorize the use of force. One of the big challenges right now isn't just Republicans. But is from some of your loyal Democrats it seems that the more they hear from classified briefings that the last likely they are to support you. If the full congress doesn't pass this we go ahead with the strike. And also -- senator Susan Collins one of the few Republicans who breaks with her party to give you supported time she says. What if we execute this strike and then a side decides to use chemical weapons again. Do we strike again and many Democrats are asking them as well how do you answer -- question. Well. First. Of all in terms of the votes in the process in congress. I knew this is going to be every left. Serbia on Saturday there was there we're gonna take -- to congress and -- our polling operations are pretty good. -- have a pretty good sense of what. Current popular opinions. And for the American people who have been through. Over a decade of war now. -- enormous sacrifice blood and treasure. Any hint. Further military entanglements and the Middle East are going to be viewed with suspicion and that suspicion. Will probably be even stronger in my party of -- in the Republican Party. Joseph -- lot of people who supported me. Remember that I -- to war in Iraq. And what's also true is is that that experience with the war in Iraq. Colors how people view this situation and not just back home in America but also. Here in Europe and around the world. That's. The prism through a lot of people George lot of people are analyzing the situation. So I understand skepticism. I think it is very important therefore for us to work through systematically. Making the case to. Every senator and every member congress. And that's what we're doing I dispute a little bit forever on the notion that people come out of classified briefings and there. Less in favor of -- I think that when they go through classified briefings made. Feel pretty confident that in -- chemical weapons were used in the -- -- amusement. Where. You'll. See resistance. Is people being worried about a slippery slope. And how effective. A decade limited action might be and our response. Based on. My discussions -- our military. Is that we can have a response that is limited that is proportional. That. -- -- -- limited is is both retirement and in scope. But that is meaningful and that degrade its -- capacity to deliver chemical weapons. Not just this time but also in the future and serves as a strong -- Now. Is it possible that -- doubles down. In the face. Our action and uses chemical weapons more widely. As -- -- possible. But they wouldn't be wise. I think at that point mobilizing the international community would be. Easier. Not harder. I -- -- be pretty hard for. The UN Security Council at that point to continue. To resist. The requirement for action and we would gladly join -- of an international coalition to make sure that it stops. So. He'll. One of the biggest. Concerns of the American people. Certain members of congress may have different concerns -- maybe certain members of congress who say we gotta do even more or. Claimed to have previously. Criticized me for. Not kidding aside an -- saying they're gonna vote -- and you'll have to ask member of exactly how they square that circle. But for the American people at least -- the concern really has to do with. Understanding that what we're describing here would be limited. And proportionate and designed. To address. This problem of chemical weapons use and -- A norm that helps keep all of us safe. And then that is going to be the case that I try to make -- not just -- congress -- to the American people over the coming days. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- forgotten. And speculated because right now I'm working together. As much -- possible. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- When I was asked similar questions I do not put this before congress. Just as a political. -- symbols. -- before congress because. I could not honestly claim that. The threat. -- -- -- -- use chemical weapons on an innocent civilians women and children -- days -- direct threat to the United States. In that situation obviously I don't worry about congress we knew what we have to do you -- -- people's -- I could not say that it was immediately directly going to have an impact on our allies and again in those situations. I would act right away just -- -- a situation like Bolivia where. There you've got troops. Rolling towards being -- and -- -- very concerned about. Time in terms of saving somebody right away. This was an event that happens. My military assured me that. We could -- Today tomorrow -- someone from. That we can do so proportionally and -- meaningful. Bad. In -- situation. I think it is important for us to have a serious debate and the United States. About musicians. Because these these are going to be the -- National -- threats that are most likely to recur. Over the next. 510 years they're very few countries who. Are gonna go at us directly from. Where we have to be vigilant. But. Our military is on -- Those countries that are large and powerful like Russia or China and we have become a relationship -- them where. We're not. Getting accomplice. A vessel. At least. You know all the west. Several factors there's been a recognition that neither country benefits -- So the kinds of national security threats that we're gonna confront their terror threat. There failed states they are. The proliferation of deadly weapons and those circumstances. You know present -- make a series of decisions about which one of these threats. Over the long term starts making us less and less safe and where we can work internationally we -- They're going to be times where -- As is true here and international community shot. Fir hole right here -- political reasons. And if that's the case. People know what to the United States and say. What are you gonna do. And and that's not responsible we always. Enjoy. You know there was. A leader of the smaller countries looks forward to last several days whose you know I don't envy you because. I'm a small country and the respect you're doing it. About. Chemical weapons problem they don't -- I have no passengers -- And it's tough because people do look to the United States and the question for the murder people as his back. -- responsibility. There were willing to -- And I believe that when you have -- limited proportional strike like this. Not Iraq putting boots on the ground not some long drawn out affair. Not without any humorous but we're manageable risks. That we should be -- over -- responsible. -- -- -- Thank you Mr. President. It's. This morning -- good evening I'm. I think it's still good morning for back home bye -- tonight will be tonight it's -- -- -- -- -- Wanna follow on grounds. Question because it seems -- members of congress are simply responding to their constituents and you're seeing a lot of these town -- And it seems as if the more you pressure case the more John Kerry presses. The case on your behalf. The Maurer the car opposition grows and maybe it's just for the more the opposition becomes vulnerable why do you think you've struggled with that. And you keep talking about a limited mission we have a report that indicates. You've actually asked for an expanded list of targets. In Syria and one military official told NBC news. Characterizes as mission creek canyon -- -- of that. Grass. Report is an actor. -- comments. Operational issues. You know -- source by. Some military -- One parent got pretty clear idea about us. What -- talked where the chairman of the joint chiefs. What we have consistently talked about something limited in proportional. That would -- assures -- capabilities. And terms. Opposition. Chuck expected this. This is -- And I was under no illusions when I. When -- worked on this on this -- First record of your car is good for our democracy. We will be more effective if we are unified. And you know part of what. We knew what news the reason. Some politics injected. Themselves -- no crisis. But I what I also says this is the murder people have gone through a lot. When it comes. The military -- inspectors. And so I understand -- and then when you start talking about chemical weapons. Corporation. Those images of those bodies. Can sometimes be forgotten -- -- from recycled. -- -- Frankly we weren't talking about. The need for international response right now. This would be whether they would -- yes. -- there would be some. Resolutions -- proper the United Nations. -- -- -- The world and the country we're you know. So. Try to. And partisans urgency about this and why we can't have an environment in which. Over time people start back and we've -- -- -- Tim -- There's -- -- ourselves whether it's something I believe. And then as I explained to bring -- -- contacts. Me making sure people understand -- I think is important. Before I take action. John -- Thank you for president in. Want to hear our closest allies. In the house said yesterday when you've got 97% of your constituents saying no it's kind of hard to say yes. Why should members of congress go against the will of their constituents in support your decision on this. -- and I still haven't heard direct response to -- honest question if congress fails to authorize this will you go forward with an attack on Syria. You're not getting a direct response Rihanna asks the question very well. It was a pretty basic questions. -- governance -- no idea. What what I -- and I will repeat is that. I. Put this before congress for -- I think we will be more effective and stronger. If in fact. Congress -- this action. I'm not going to -- parlor games now. About whether or not it's going to pass. When I'm. Talking substantively. To congress about why this is important and -- -- -- -- people about why this is important. Now. -- respect to. Congress and how they should respond certain constituency concerns. You know I do consider part of my. Job. To help make the case and to explain the American people exactly. -- I think this is the right thing to do. And it's conceivable that -- the other day. I don't persuade. A majority of the American people that story and and then -- -- congress is gonna have to decide. If I think it's the right thing to do four America's national security. And the world's national security. How the white vote and -- offense. As -- as most do -- crimes. Ultimate way you listen your constituents but you've also got to make. Some decisions. About what you believe. It is right for America. And has the same. For -- is present United States there -- whole bunch of decisions that I made that are unpopular as you well know. But I do so because I've -- records do and I trust my constituents. Want me to. Offer my best judgment. That's why they elected him that's why they reelected. Even after. Some decisions I made him vigorously. And I would hope and members of congress. Would end up doing the same -- Last one -- made. These kinds of interventions. These kinds of actions. Are always on. Because they seem distant and removed. An -- make sure I'm bigger I'm not about drawing. -- analogy to World War II. Other than to say. Win. -- do was get involved it was profoundly unpopular. Both in congress and around the country to help -- The man one record to. Just means. People. You know our first strike -- jobs bills to pay -- they don't want their sons and daughters -- put in harm's way. These. Entanglements far away are dangerous -- -- To bring beer -- now -- closer to home. -- -- -- -- -- Very -- By ultimately. It was the right thing to do and -- international community. Should be glad that it. It came together to do. When people say. That. Isn't there. A terrible. Spain. All of us that. Hundreds of thousands of people were slaughtered along. Well imagine there -- wonder what's going on right now. And as we asked. Should we -- There -- a lot. And experts say. The -- -- whole world. So. You know typically when. Any kind of military action is popular is because. Either there's been a very clear direct threat to us. -- -- -- An administration. Uses various -- to suggest this. American -- were directly threatened. Like in Panama Grenada. And and sometimes those -- more persuasive than others to -- before congress. And again we just went through something pretty tough. -- respect the right. So all that. I guess provide some context for why you might expect people -- us. -- deputy national security advisor said it is not your intention to attack. If congress doesn't approve it is he right. I don't. Think that's exactly what he said but. I think I've answered I've answered the question. Major here. Thank you Mr. President those of us who remember covering your campaign remember you saying that militarily when the United States accident not just important what it does -- how it goes about doing. And even when America sets its course is important to engage international -- listen to different ideas even as is pursuing that action. I wonder if you leave here and return to Washington -- the skepticism there -- hearing it here with any different ideas. That might delay military action for example. Some in congress has suggested giving the Syrian regime 45 days to sign the chemical weapons convention get rid of its chemical stockpiles. Do something that would enhance international. Sense of accountability for serious but delayed military action. Are you Mr. President looking at any of these ideas or we on a fast track to military action as soon as congress. Renders its judgment one way or the other. I am listening to all his ideas. And some of them are constructed. What's inside is in congressman wasn't ideas here. I want to repeat -- My goal is to maintain the international more. On. Banning. Chemical weapons. I want that enforcement. To be real. I want it to be serious I want people to. Understand that guessing. Innocent people. Delivering. Chemical weapons against children is not something we do. This prohibited. In active wars between countries we certainly don't do it. Against kids. And we've got to stand up for that principle if there are. Tools. That we can use to ensure that. Obviously my preference would be again to. Act internationally. In a serious way. And to make sure that. Mr. -- gets the message I'm not pitching. -- -- -- We're -- major I have been criticized. For the last couple of years by some of the folks who were now saying they would oppose. These strikes for not strike us and I think that I have a well deserved reputation. For taking very seriously and soberly. The idea. Military -- so we will look at these ideas so far at least I have not seen ideas presented. Bad as a practical matter I think would do the job but. You know. This is a situation where part of the reason I want Foster debate was make -- -- Everybody thought about. Both ramifications of action and. So -- the -- the only way to enforce its international norm is militarily. And even giving us the Asad regime extra time would not achieve your goals. What I'm saying major is that so far what we've seen. It is. Okay. Escalation by this urging of chemical weapons years. Your call it several months ago I said we now say where some confidence that -- -- small level. Aside his use chemical weapons. We not only sent warnings to a side. But we demarche meaning. We. Sent a strong message through. Countries that have relationships with a side. That. He should not be don't us. And rather then. Hold the line. We have where what we saw on August 21. So this is not -- if we haven't tested the propositions that. The guy or at least. Generals under his charge. Can show restraint when it comes to the -- and they've got one of the largest stockpiles in the world. One emphasized that we continue to consult with our international partners I'm listening to congress -- -- -- -- -- and if there are good ideas. That are worth pursuing. Not going to be okay. I will take last question. Tell you everything. Think you Mr. President. And yesterday -- -- to unscheduled bilateral meetings with your Brazilian and Mexican counterparts -- -- very strong concerns. About being allegedly targeted by -- say. What was your message to them and then -- days of relations that constant stream of termination system this -- this summer. And make it harder for you to build confidence with your partners in the international forums such -- this one. The I did you -- President. -- as well as. President of brilliant -- Brazil and Mexico respectively. To discuss. Of these allegations were made the press about innocent. I want sure we all the details of the conversation. But. -- -- -- -- -- is consistent with what -- The United States. Has an intelligence -- And our intelligence agency's job. Is to gather information that's not available through public sources. If they are available through public sources than -- one being an intelligence. In that sense. What we do is similar to what countries around the world do. -- their intelligence services. But what is true is that. We are bigger. We have. Greater capabilities. You know the difference between our capabilities and other countries. Probably -- the differences in military capabilities. Between countries. And what I've said is that. It is important for us to step back and review. What it is that we're doing because just because we can get information doesn't necessarily always mean that we showed. There may be. Costs and benefits doing certain things and we've got to whales and I think that traditionally what's happened. Over decades. Is that general assumption was -- -- -- -- just Puerto Rican guys you just gotta pull end and then you got to sift through later and try to figure out. What's useful. The nature of technology. And -- legitimate concerns around privacy and civil liberties means that it's important for us on the front end to say. Parents are we actually gonna get useful information here. And if if not for how useful is -- if it's not that important. Should we be more constrained. In. How we use certain technical capabilities. Now just more specifically than on on Brazil and in Mexico. I said that I would look into the allegations -- mean part of the problem here is. We get these through the -- -- -- I've got to. Go back and find out what's going on. Would respect these particular. Allegations. I don't subscribe to all these newspapers and although I think -- -- us now at least. And and then. What I assured him president Rousseff and -- And yet there was is that they should take. -- that I take these allegations very seriously I understand their concerns I understand the concerns. Mexican. And resilient people. And that we will work where there -- teams. To. Resolve. What is a source of tension. Now -- the last thing I'd say about this story is. Just because -- tensions doesn't mean that it overrides. All very. They are incredibly wide ranging interest that we share. We're. So many of these countries. And you know there's a reason why. I went to -- there's a reason why -- invited the president reserves to come to the United States. Brazil is an incredibly important country it is -- Amazing success story in terms of the transition from -- terrorism to democracy. It is one of the most dynamic. Economies in the world and obviously for the two largest. Nations in the hemisphere. To have a strong relationship that can only be good for. The people of our two countries -- well the region. Sims through Mexico and for our closest friends and allies and neighbors and so. You know we will work through this particular issue. It does not detract from the larger concerns. That we have been the opportunities that we both want to take advantage of. Thank you very much your -- thank you say -- for. The president addressing reporters there at Saint Petersburg at the conclusion of the G-20 summit in Saint Petersburg Russia there. Of course purpose of the summit is -- talk about economic issues but for the past two days Syria has certainly dominated headlines and whether or not the US will go forward with military action. I want to bring an ABC's -- Roddy who is in Saint Petersburg Russia along with Rebecca Jarvis who is following the market's reaction. Now I want to the president's statement but also rush's statement. In regards to a possible strike on -- and ABC's Devin Dwyer who was in Washington DC following the developments. On Capitol Hill as congress is grappling whether or not -- will grant approval. For a military strike -- -- I wanna start with you can you tell me a little bit about the details about the president's meeting. With Vladimir Putin. -- they met for about twenty minutes this afternoon they weren't actually supposed to meet it was not on the schedule. You may remember the -- are still have a summit this week there was supposed to get together in Moscow. But that was canceled after Russia gave Edwards noted asylum. The two of them decided to sit down and they were talking almost exclusively about Syria this is obviously the big topic of the day the US and Russia squared off against each other on what to do about the allegations of chemical weapons abuse in Syria. And indeed secure what do we know -- about Russia's response if in fact the US were to go forward to military strike. -- just before President Obama spoke President Putin gave his own press conference and he was asked what Russia would do. If the US went ahead with the strike. He did say that we wills continued to support Syria and the interesting thing was he mentioned. Russian arms sales to Syria and that he didn't say that's what they're responsive -- but he said that we're already helping them. We're giving them we're giving them arms and were helping them economically so perhaps. And -- of of what Russia might do they might increase some of the details that have been behind -- support of Syria and of course whether or not. Any kind of military action would take place within a big surprise that that kind of a strong -- -- that kind of showing of the hand. Was revealed -- prudent. You know he's been sort of tipping his hand a little bit so far this week you don't remember last week the foreign minister of of of Russia. Was asked a similar question he wouldn't speculate what Russia might do but he said that they would not go to war over Syria that it would not get involved militarily. But -- again this week Putin was asked the question just a few days ago. And and he was talking about. -- the longstanding cooperation and so on so yes maybe a little bit of tipping of the hands but definitely not anything concrete I think there's there's sort of maybe flashing their hand if that's if that's the way of putting it right here in Saint Petersburg here thank you Rebecca want to bring you into this because once Russia had made that announcement the markets reacted very strongly to that. Yet certainly spooked the markets when prudent essentially is -- it's been reporting said that. They will be supplying Russia will be supplying arms to Syria the market dropped almost a 150 points on that news. During the president's speech came off the lows but still the Dow is down and this is the single most important thing that Wall Street is watching keep in mind. We typically on a day like this would be following the jobs report it came out today a little bit weaker than expected but ultimately what I'm hearing from traders across Wall Street this morning. Is they care about this Syria is number one in their mind in terms of the major factor. They will influence the markets over the coming days and as we heard from President Obama. We're going to be getting -- address on Tuesday night so Tuesday. And Wednesday are big days that market watchers are gonna want to follow because that's where you might see some of the big volatility I should also point out. Loyal also trading higher on the news. And it's interesting -- because Syria doesn't supply the United States with oil. They really don't supply the world with very much oil but the Middle East supplies about a third of the world's oil. And the concern is here is similar to concerns that we've seen in the past for example under Saddam Hussein that some sort of retaliation. Would take out that supply or the supply routes. They distribute oil to the entire world that is why we're seeing these jitters in the oil markets and it's also why Americans. As they go to the pumps this weekend are going to see themselves paying a little bit higher prices well and. And Rebecca wanted to ask you about that because -- -- is difficult to kind of dig down a little bit deeper -- that but oil is that really the complementary driver behind this the concern with Syria or are there. Other factors that are -- because of course as you've been putting -- investors have been talking about Syria but then when you kind of look at some of the individual subjects. Oil obviously playing a predominant role -- other factors. That's where so when you think about this in the most tangible terms we're talking about obviously human atrocity but when you think about the economics that are happening right here in the United States. Oil the prices that you pay at the pump that's certainly an outcome. Obviously the stock market in the response that the stock market is having will impact your retirement savings in your 401K. And what we've seen previously. Other retaliation. Has -- this cyber threats the cyber attacks so. Web -- everything from Twitter to the New York Times the Washington Post we've seen all of these issues with web sites recently. And that's certainly something Americans might feel here as well if there is some form of retaliation but. The bigger fear of retaliation is -- just. Well I can't use my Twitter for a few minutes the bigger fear of retaliation. In terms of a cyber threat is. That it could actually. Change our markets that it could literally shut things down it could take money out of one account and move it somewhere else. That is the bigger fear. And it's the thing that when I talk to different. Security personnel those -- surveil. Our national security one of their number one concerns. Are those cyber threats because they recognize they can have such a more dramatic impact I mean even for example are -- our electric grid. Become something that could be at risk in those cyber threat. That has really changed dramatically over the past couple of days because I know obviously with the concern of cyber security. There can be -- differentiation between targets that are soft targets and those are hard to -- And and certainly from its houses which are hearing that in fact the shift has really been focusing more on some of those more critical infrastructures like you point out. With the electric grid and also obviously with financial institutions. Absolutely and I should say there is security less -- all of these different things from our grand. To the -- markets here up the New York Stock Exchange for example they have security systems sat up to try and keep these invasions out. The issue becomes if -- are some new form of virus if -- some new form of cyber threat. That we haven't seen before that we couldn't anticipate. Then obviously there could be a pretty dramatic outcome now. It's it's a concern hasn't happened yet. No but it is a concern it's something that certainly lawmakers have to keep their eyes on regulators have to keep their -- on and then obviously these institutions. Have to also keep their eyes on because it could be incredibly destabilizing. And and you know that for example with September 11 September 11 the loss of life was 100% there but they also targeted Wall Street. And Wall Street as you know is the financial senator. Most of the world really. And ultimately if you were to see stocks dropped significantly. Then there's that ripple effect on. Jobs just as we're trying to dig ourselves back out from recession there's the ripple effect on our daily lives. -- our Rebecca with the reaction from the market obviously very strong thank you for that I wanna go now. -- ago -- -- -- moments -- try to get Devin Dwyer from Washington DC talking about says some of the highlights from the president's address there as he was. Talking to drew reporters. Following up the G-20 summit as its conclusions there. And of course the big headline coming out of that twenty minute meeting that the president had with Russia's president Vladimir Putin. And a response to that. -- -- in fact that Russia would continue to arm and supply. Support to -- it is in fact the US were to have some kind of military intervention. And that of course following all of the watching that's happening here domestically. On whether or not there is support for the president's intention on Capitol Hill. Senate majority leader Harry Reid says that a resolution will we put on the calendar and a vote could happen next week for the full senate and that. All coming after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had supported the use of military action in Syria. By a margin of ten to seven a slim majority as the White House had looked for something a little bit stronger. In its position. On the house side the campaigning does continue. From the administration and that all following up from two days hearings both classified and unclassified. For full members of the house. -- I want to talk a little bit then about this active is America that the president had outlined in that press conference that he had. That's our get a pretty remarkable approach -- from the president it and it underscores just how difficult this case is that he's got to -- to the American people. Making a forceful argument America as a leader in the world that -- really in a way that it hasn't been for some time. And an argument that's a difficult sell with so many people saying that if these international norms are not upheld. That the whole world becomes more dangerous we heard the president touched on this just a couple days ago when he said that this isn't his red -- -- the world's red line. -- -- today he said when it comes to the UN and UN but when it UN has frozen and paralyzed it's up to the US. To break the logjam I mean it was quite the quite the argument from the president very consistent here that. That he said it is the US's role because of the capacities that it has to break the log jams in the international community when they exist and it's it's hard to see how that's gonna go over well with the American people although he did invoke as you heard -- -- World War II. Right AA exactly made it past conflicts have been brought up -- the president but also secretary of state John Kerry in his testimony on Capitol Hill. -- by my count the president was asked I -- three times on whether he would have intention to go forward military action if he does not get congress' approval. Is -- response that he gave on the first second and third time is that gonna satisfy the American public and maybe congress at large. Turtle -- He's not gonna tip kiss his hand here because he really wants to get this vote from congress badly -- -- he even said that explicitly is that. He's an intense negotiations right now with members on Capitol Hill calling. Dozens of members from Russia and over the past couple of days his aides are working the hill Vice President Biden is up there. He doesn't want to let people know that he you know Warner wouldn't act without congress he's focused right now on I'm trying to win this vote. -- you did hear his national security advisor we -- senator earlier this morning on the radio. He did say that it is near the president's desire nor his intention to act -- -- congress. Over the president quibble with his advisor statement that that's -- her -- AA he's the president and frankly shocked that response down very quickly. By one of them by -- -- there were there. What about the response from the White House as far as lack of support within the president's own party. In going for with military action. That's right a -- -- great question for the president. From ABC's -- John Karl writes a number of Democrats. Now we're hearing from including one just step over in Maryland when the president's closest allies if it pretty much summed up the president. Problem the French president faces in this party right now said. When 97% of my constituents vote no it's very difficult. For me. To vote yes. And that that's the problem that the president faces is the bottom line here is the American public. Is not yet with them it's hard for the public's representatives in congress to vote against their constituents. And as we were just discussing the president's argument to that point is basically that. Each member of congress needs to reflect on their own conscience and they need to be a leader they need to recognize that in the president's view. This is a step this military action as -- -- the US needs to take as part of its global responsibility. And that members need to in essence go against their constituents to uphold that responsibility and again and it's just a very tough sell them. And -- -- -- international community's concern as the president is trying to build a coalition and and certainly talking about the UN. Any kind of results are any kind of support of the UN might put forward in a resolution. There's also concerns. -- travel department excuse me is the State Department issuing travel warnings for some overseas Americans what -- that he tells behind us. That's right the State Department this morning did put out to travel alerts to to Lebanon Turkey. Asking nonessential. Embassy personnel and -- to diplomatic outposts in those. Countries to leave the area they're concerned primarily about retaliatory attacks from. -- groups like has the -- if the US were to strike Syria. But I think this touches on again another problem that the president and the administration will need to address is what plan do they have in place to address. Any sort of retaliation that comes from an attack on Syria and I think that's where you're also hearing again from members of congress expressed some concern. What happens if these retaliatory attacks begin to happen in places like Lebanon Turkey other countries against Israel. Does that draw the US into a wider war despite these assurances that it's going to be limited effort for a number of days. But again yes -- did -- the travel warnings today it's something to be on the lookout for in the days ahead and. Possibly put in the White House in a precarious position for not wanting to speculate but at the same time having take measures and precautionary steps in the event. Something were to take place. Devin thank you so much for your time and that's where you're inside the president of course wrapping up those two days of the G-20 summit in Saint Petersburg Russia. And of course the announcement -- from the White House that the president will address the nation on Tuesday about the latest. Intensity in Syria and the potential for military action. In that country have a complete report on abcnews.com. For now I'm down at their New York. With -- ABC news digital special report. This has been a special report from me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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