President Obama set a defiant tone Wednesday in his first news conference since he was re-elected. Below is a partial transcript of President Obama's news conference in the East Room of the White House. Topics included the Fiscal Cliff, tax reform, the Petraeus scandal, immigration, the Benghazi attacks, Susan Rice, climate change and Syria.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President.
Can you assure the American people that there have been no breaches of national security or classified information in the scandal involving Generals Petraeus and Allen?
And do you think that you as commander in chief and the American people should have been told that the CIA chief was under investigation before the election?
OBAMA: Well, I have no evidence at this point from what I’ve seen that classified information was disclosed that in any way would have had a negative impact on our national security. Obviously, there’s an ongoing investigation. I don’t want to comment on the specifics of the investigation.
The FBI has its own protocols in terms of how they proceed, and I’m gonna let rector Mueller and others examine those protocols and make some statements to the public generally.
I do want to emphasize what I’ve said before. General Petraeus had an extraordinary career. He served this country with great distinction in Iraq, in Afghanistan and as head of the CIA. By his own assessment, he did not meet the standards that he felt were necessary as the director of CIA with respect to this personal matter that he is now dealing with with his family and with his wife. And it’s on that basis that he tendered his resignation and it’s on that basis that I accepted it.
But I want to emphasize that from my perspective, at least, he has provided this country an extraordinary service. We are safer because of the work that Dave Petraeus has done. And my main hope right now is that he and his family are able to move on and that this ends up being a single side-note on what has otherwise been an extraordinary career.
And, you know, I think that there are certain procedures that both the FBI follow or DOJ follow when they’re involved in these investigations. That’s traditionally been how we view things in part because people are innocent until proven guilty and we want to make sure that we don’t pre-judge these kinds of situations.