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tv   Fast Money Halftime Report  CNBC  March 20, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm EDT

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briefed by intelligence presentation to u.s. senators said that's the consensus view. how much -- this is written by a guy named adam and greg. did they help draft the july 6th argument for the intel community? >> i'm sorry? >> did those writers from "the washington post" help you write the january 6th assessment? >> no, they did not. >> i wonder how they got almost the exact language? >> i don't know. this is the peril i trying to comment on newspaper articles that purport to report classified information. i can't say about them. they're often wrong. >> you mentioned earlier in one of our hearings that when anybody uses the i can't talk because i'm bound by position of anonymity, that is code for breaking the law, generally, right? when someone says i'm talking to a reporter.
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secret information. the reporter can't tell who it is because speaking on condition of anonymity, that should be interpreted i'm breaking the law and i shouldn't be outed. >> sometimes. i think there are other motives behind people requesting anonymi anonymity. >> so the fbi was consistent in the assessment that it hurt hillary and her potential candidacy and across all of that that they intended to help trump, that's your testimony this morning? >> correct. >> thank you. yield back. >> mr. king. >> mr. chairman, if you could yield me a few minutes into the next round. i'll start and make the comment. let me thank director comey and admiral rogers for being here today and cooperation you've always given to this committee. director comey, i understand
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your situation where you can't comment on the investigation, yet we have various scenarios laid out that could go on for months and months and months without anyone being able to prove them until the investigation is completed. i like to use the example, we could have said in 2012 president obama was overheard in a microphone saying if i'm re-elected tell vladimir we can work out better arrangements. i know he ridiculed candidate romney in 2012 election when romney said he thought russia was still a threat and in 2013, we saw that president obama invited russians into syria when they had been removed from the middle east 40 years before. also, as far as aid to ukraine, as far as i recall, obama administration always refused and argued that the republican platform in 2016 was stronger
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than the democratic platform. if there was an investigation going on, we can lay out these scenarios and say that proves something or it might prove something. until the investigation was completed, that type of almost possibly slanderous comments could be made. i'm not asking you to hurry the investigation along. you have to do what you have to do. but i guess i would ask you in remaining moments i have in this round, i know that it was just two weeks ago that director clapper said that as far as he knows all of the evidence he's seen there's no evidence of any collusion at all between the trump campaign and the russians. now, a detailed exhaustive report was put out talking about russian influence in the campaign and all of the intelligence apparatus had input into that. either you or admiral rogers have any reason to disagree with the conclusion of general clapper that there's no evidence of collusion between the russians and the trump campaign?
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>> mr. king, it's not something i can comment on. >> likewise, i'm not going to comment on an ongoing investigation. >> you're not going to disagree with general clapper. you're just not going to comment. the reason i point out is that's the situation the other way around. you kmant comment something and often there's an inference that because a person's name is brought up and he may have worked for someone at a certain time that there's a guilt implied in that. i'm not being critical of either of you. i'm saying this is a situation that can be damaging to the country and does advance the russian interest of trying to destabilize democracy and cause a lack of confidence in our system. with that i yield back, mr. chairman. >> recognize mr. schiff for 15 minutes. >> a couple questions before i pass. it wasn't simply that the russians had a negative preference against secretary clinton. they had a positive preference for donald trump, isn't that correct? >> correct. >> i want to ask you to say
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whether this is an accurate characterization of donald trump. i wouldn't put you in that spot. would it be logical for the kremlin to prefer a candidate that disparaged nato to be president of the united states? >> you're not going to put me in that spot? >> i'm not going to ask you if that's an accurate characterization of mr. trump's views but it would be advantageous for russia to have someone elected that had a dim view of nato? >> that's beyond my responsibilities. >> well, what is the russian view of nato? do they like nato? do they want to say nato strong? >> again, i'm sure you have already spoken to people who are greater experts than i, yeah, they don't like nato. they think nato encircles them and threatens them. >> would they have a preference for a candidate that expressed an openness appealing the
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restrictions over ukraine? >> i wouldn't answer that. >> would they like to see sanctions over ukraine go away nch. >> yes. mr. putin would like people who like him. >> would they have a preference for candidate that encouraged brexit and other departures from europe? would they like to see more brexits? >> yes. and have the russians in europe demonstrated a prenference for business people as political leaders with the hope they can entangle them in financial interests or that they may allow their financial interests to take precedence over the interest of the countries in europe they represent? >> in our joint report we recount that president putin expressed a preference for business leaders in leading other governments and mentions
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schroeder and -- i'm going to forget one. he believes that they are people that are more open to negotiation. easier to deal with. >> i'll yield. >> i would like to continue my questioning -- the line of questioning on michael flynn. i'm sure you can understand my concern that mr. flynn not only failed to disclose the contacts with the russian ambassador, but he said he did not remember whether he discussed sanctions against russia with that ambassador. i find that really hard to believe. wouldn't you think that at the height of our concern about russian hacking that mr. flynn would have remembered meeting with the russian ambassador and would have told him to stop m meddling in our affairs, but that didn't happen, did it? >> i can't answer that. >> not only did mr. flynn not remember talking to the russian ambassador or what they talked about, he also appeared to have
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lied to vice president-elect mike pence all about it. now, mr. comey, do you think mr. flynn's failure to disclose the communication and contact he had with the russian ambassador and the topic of conversation along with blatant lie to vice president pence meet the standard for an investigation by the fbi? >> i have to give you the same answer. i'm not going to comment. >> i know director comey that you probably can't comment on this as well. i think it's really important that we bre viewwe view review line. mr. flynn reportedly exchanged text messages with the russian ambassador. on december 28th, 2016, mr. flynn reportedly spoke on the phone with the russian ambassador. by then, it was pretty clear that the obama administration was going to take actions
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against russia. on december 29th, 2016, mr. flynn reportedly spoke on the phone with the russian ambassador again. that day the obama administration expelled 35 russian operatives from the united states and announced new sanctions. we have to know from press reportings that sometime in december mr. flynn met in person with the russian ambassador at trump tower. and that mr. trump's son-in-law was also there. the purpose of the meeting was to "establish a line of communication" with the kremlin. i should add that the white house and mr. flynn didn't disclose this december face to face meeting until this month. on january 12th, 2017, press reported that mr. flynn contacted the russian ambassador again and on january 15th, 2015, vice president-elect mike pence stated on several sunday morning
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shows regarding mr. flynn's conversation with the ambassador "what i can confirm having spoken to him about it is those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the united states took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions." on january 26th, the acting attorney general reportedly told president trump's white house counsel who immediately told president trump that mr. flynn was vulnerable to russian blackmail because of discrepancies between vice president-elect's public statement and mr. flynn's actual discussions. on february 10th, president trump denied knowledge of this telling reporters on air force one, "i don't know about that." in response to questions about mr. flynn's conduct.
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the white house also publicly denied that mr. flynn and the russian ambassador discussed sanctions. of course on february 13th, 2017, mr. flynn resigned as national security adviser. now, director comey, all of these accounts are open source press reportings. given russia's long standing desire to cultivate relations with influential u.s. persons, isn't the american public right to be concerned about mr. flynn's conduct. his failure to disclose that contact with the russian ambassador and attempts to cover it up. it looks like white house attempts to sweep this under a drug. don't we as american people have a right to know and shouldn't our fbi investigate job claims? >> i can't comment. i understand people's curiosity about our work and intense interest in it and often times
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speculation about it. we can't do it well or fairly to the people we investigate if we talk about it. i can't comment. >> i would like to turn to another topic to fl flynn. his failure to disclose until pressured last week by my colleagues on the house oversight and government relations committee. payments he received to the tenth anniversary gala of rt, the russian owned propaganda media outlet. according to the january 2017 declassified assessment report, rt's criticism of the united states was "the last facet of its broader and long standing anti-u.s. messaging likely aimed at undermining viewers' trust in the u.s. democratic procedures." this january assessment points out that this was a strategy that russia employed going back to before the 2012 elections
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according to the ic assessment. so admiral rogers, am i right that the rt is essentially owned by the russian government and how long has the intelligence community been look at rt as an arm of the russian government? >> we're aware and have been for some period of time of the direct connections. we're aware of monetary flow and other things. >> how long have you known about that? a few months? a few years? i mean, how long has the united states -- >> some number of years. i apologize, ma'am, i don't know off the top of my head. >> aren't i right to assume the former director of dia, mr. flynn, would have been appear that rt's role as an anti-u.s. russian prop granaganda --
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>> i'm not in a position to comment on that. >> would it be normal for a u.s. official to get paid to attend such an event and would it raise questions at the fbi if that person failed to disclose the payments received for that trip? >> i don't know in general. as to specific, i'm just not going to comment. >> yes, sir. i understand that you can't comment, but i would like to read an exchange between mr. flynn and a yahoo! news correspondent from july 2016 regarding his trip to russia during the rt event. the correspondent asked were you paid for that event? then there was back and forth for a bit and then mr. flynn said, "yeah. i didn't take any money from russia if that's what you're asking me." director comey, isn't it true that the house oversight
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committee last week received information and released publicly that mr. flynn accepted nearly $35,000 in speaking fees and traveling fees from rt, this russian government owned media outlet? >> i believe i've seen news accounts to that effect. >> moreover, isn't it also true is that according to the clause of the united states constitution, a person holding any office of profit or trust cannot accept gifts or payments from a foreign country and doesn't the dod, department of defense, prohibit retired military officers from taking any consulting fees, gifts, traveling expenses, salary from a foreign government including commercial enterprises owned by or controlled by a foreign government, like rt? >> that's not something i can comment on. >> can you speak to whether or not the clause would apply to someone like mr. flynn, a
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retired three-star general? >> i can't. >> so isn't it -- i just find it to be really hard to believe that given the clause does apply to retired officers like mr. flynn, i can't believe that mr. flynn, a retired military officer, would take money from the russian government in violation of the united states constitution, and i believe that such violations worthy of a criminal investigation by the fbi. what level of proof do we need to have a criminal investigation by the fbi of mr. flynn? >> i can't comment on that. >> shouldn't the american people be concerned -- i think that it's really hard for us to fathom that he would have received $35,000 as part of a
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speaking engagement to rt, russian propaganda outlet? >> i can't comment. >> my final question is working as an agent of a foreign power. am i correct that the foreign agents registration act requires that individuals that lobby on behalf of a foreign government must register with the united states government? >> i believe that's correct. the reason i'm saying that is i don't know exactly how to they define things like lobbying in the statue. if you're going to represent a foreign government here in the united states touching our government, you should be registered. >> isn't it true that last november, 2016, mr. flynn was working as a foreign agent doing work that principleabbenefited
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of turkey and didn't report on that until last week? >> i can't comment on that. >> mr. flynn was paid over half a million dollars for this work? >> similar answer. >> isn't it true that the trump white house on at least two occasions was asked by mr. flynn's lawyers whether he should report that work, the work he was doing on behalf of the turkish government and then the administration didn't give him advice to the contrary? do you know anything about that? >> have to give you the same answer. >> i know you cannot discuss whether any investigations are ongoing with u.s. persons and i respect that. i think it's important that the american people understand the scope and breath of what in public open source press reportings from mr. flynn's actions that led to his resignation. while we can't talk about whether there is an investigation, i believe us here at the house permanent select committee on intelligence must put those facts into the public
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domain and they are, one, that mr. flynn lied about his communication with the russian ambassador. secondly, that mr. flynn lied about taking money from the russian government and thirdly, that mr. flynn at a minimum did not disclose work as an agent of a foreign power and that the white house did not help in this concern. it's clear to me that mr. flynn should be under criminal investigation and i know you cannot comment. i believe it's my duty as a member of this committee to comment to the american people that his engagement of lying and failure to disclose really important information and contacts with a foreign ambassador do rise to the level of disclosure and to me criminal intent. so i say this to say that the american people deserve to know the full extent of mr. flynn's involvement with the russians and the extent to which it influences the 2016 election.
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i believe our democracy requires it. thank you. i yield back to my ranking member. >> time has expired. recognize myself for 15 minutes. mr. comey and mr. rogers, you both said that the russians favored donald trump this election, and you made that change from the beginning of december it was not that they were trying to help donald trump, but that changed by early january. mr. conway talked about that. >> i don't agree with that. we didn't change our view from december to early january. we, the fbi, and i don't know that anybody else did on the ic team. >> from my perspective -- >> at some point the assessment changed from going from just trying to hurt hillary clinton to know they were trying to help donald trump get elected.
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that was early december as far as i know. by january you would all change your mind on is that? >> that's not my recollection. >> that's not my recollection either, sir. >> do russians historically prefer republicans to win over democrats? >> i don't know the answer to that. >> did the russians prefer mitt romney over barack obama in 2012? >> i don't know that we ever drew a former analytic conclusion. >> did russians prefer john mccain in 2008 over barack obama? >> i never saw a u.s. intelligence had a position on that issue. >> isn't it ridiculous for anyone to say the russians prefer republicans over democrats? >> i didn't think that's what you just heard us say. >> i hope you didn't hear us to
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say that. we don't know if those particular races and i'm not equ qualified -- >> i'm asking a general question. historically going back to ronald reagan and all that we know about maybe who the russians would prefer that somehow the russians prefer republicans over democrats? >> i'm not going to discuss it. there is some analysis that discusses this because this did come up in our assessment on the russian piece. i'm not going to discuss this. >> mr. king? >> i would just say on that because we're not going into classified sections that indicating that historically russians have supported republicans, and i know that language is there. it puts somewhat of a cloud over the entire report. let me say this for the record.
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i know what your answer is going to be. on march 15th former acting director of cia who was acting director under president obama and put on the record i've had differences with in the past, he was asked about the question of the trump campaign conspireing with the russians. his answer was there is smoke, but there is no fire at all. there's no little campfire. there's no little candle. there's no spark. do you agree? >> i can't comment, mr. king. >> admiral rogers? >> i'm not going to comment on an ongoing investigation. >> that was my way of getting it on the record. i appreciate that. you were talking about the significance of leaks and how important it is we stop them, and to me and i've been here a while, i've never seen such a sustained period of leaks going back to december when not the intelligence committee but "the washington post" was told a conclusion of the report. that's number one.
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what it was going to be. situations in "the new york times" where they talk of meetings. they talk of transcripts. they talk about conversations. there was one in particular we spoke about trump campaign individuals meeting with russian intelligence agents. again, director comey, i don't know if you can comment but white house chief of staff said that day or the next day that mr. mccabe from your office went to the white house and told him that story was bs. any way you can comment on whether or not mr. mccabe told that to mr. priebus? >> i can't. i can agree with your general premise. leaks have always been a problem. i do think in the last six weeks, couple of months, there's been at least apparently a lot
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of conversation about classified matters that's ending up in the media. a lot of it is just dead wrong, which is one of the challenges, because we don't correct it. it does strike me there's been a lot of people talking or at least reporters saying people are talking to them in ways that have struck me as unusually active. >> i fully understand the media's fascination with intrigue and which faction of the white house is trying to outdo the other. that's all legitimate. that goes with the game. if you're talking about leaking classified information and you're talking about leaking investigations, you stated today there's an fbi investigation going on. if "the new york times" can be believe, i would think it would have to be someone from the fbi who is telling them about these purported meetings which mr. mccabe said was bs. someone familiar with that investigation spoke to "the new york times," so i use that as an
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example. and also to me there's a small universe on january 6th when yourself, admiral rogers, director brennan and general clapper went to trump tower to meet with president trump. the media reports are that at the end of that meeting, director comey, you presented president-elect trump with a copy of the new infamous or famous document. i don't know how many people were in the room but within hours that was leaked to the media and that gave the media the excuse or rationale to publish almost the entire thing. does that violate any law? you were at a classified briefing with the president-elect of the united states and it had to be a small universe of people who knew that you handed that to him and it was leaked out within hours. are you making any effort to find out who leaked it, and do you believe that constituted a criminal violation?
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>> i can't, mr. king, except i can say in general. any unauthorized disclosure of classified conversations or documents is potentially a violation of the law and a serious, serious problem. i spent most of my career trying to figure out unauthorized disclosures where they came from. it's very, very hard. often times, it doesn't come from the people who actually know the secrets. it comes from one who heard about it or were told about it and that's the reason so much information that reports to be accurate classified information is wrong in the media because people who haeard about it, didn't hear about it right. it's a problem when you find information that's classified in the media. we don't talk about it because we don't want to confirm it. it should be investigated aggressively and if possible prosecuted so people take as a lesson this is not okay. this behavior can be deterred and it's deterred by locking those up engaging in criminal activity. >> admiral rogers was in the
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room. this isn't a report circulated among 20 people. this isn't 20 people in nsa and 100 people in the fbi. it's not putting together a report of all of the intelligence agency. this is four people in the room with the president-elect of the united states. it was leaked out within minutes or hours of you handing it to him. it was so confidential if you read media reports that you handed it to him separately. i'm not saying it's you. i'm saying it's a small universe of people that would have known about that. if it is a disclosure of classified information, if you're going to start with investigating leaks, to me that would be one place where you can narrow it down. >> mr. king, i can't comment because i don't want to ever confirm a classified conversation with a president or president-elect. i can tell you my general experience it often turns out there are more people that know about something than you expected. at first both because there may be more people involved in the
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thing than you realize. not this particular will you in general. and more people have been told about it or heard about it or staff briefed on it and those echos are my experience what most often ends up being shared with reporters. >> can you tell us who else was in the room that day? >> no. i'm not going to confirm there was such a conversation because then it might accidentally confirm something that was in the newspaper. >> can you tell us who was in the room whether or not there was a conversation? >> i'm not confirming there was a conversation. in a classified setting, i might be able to share more with you but i'm not going to confirm any conversations with either president obama or president trump or when president trump was the president-elect. >> not the conversation or even the fact that you gave it to him, but can you tell us who was in the room for the briefing you gave? >> yending up in the newspaper? >> yes. >> i'm not going to do that. i'm not going to help people who did something that is unauthorized. >> we all know that four of you went to trump tower for the
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briefing. that's not classified, is it? >> how do we know that though? >> you can see the predicament we're in here. >> i get it. we're duty bound to protect classified information both in the first when we get it and then to make sure we don't accidentally jeopardize classified information about what we say about something that appears in the media. >> i would advise that director clapper and director wren brbre will be asked the same questions next week. i'll yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director comey, admiral rogers, thank you for your service and for being here. understanding that what both of you have been saying about the classified nature of the investigation, classified nature of the topics we're talking about, can you give us any
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indication of when we, the committee, may in a classified setti setting know something from you. would we have ongoing updates? >> i don't know how long the work will take. i can't commit to updates as you know. i have briefed the committee as a whole on some aspects of our work. i've briefed in great detail the chair and the ranking. i don't know -- i can't predict or commit to updates. as your work goes on, we're in constant touch with you. we'll do the best we can. i can't commit to that as i sit here. >> so as the house intel jeps committee and the senate intelligence committee are conducting our bipartisan investigations and looking wherever it may lead with individuals or circumstances, if you through the fbi investigation come across a
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circumstance with an individual or a situation, would he be aware of that under normal course of business? >> not necessarily but it's possible. >> can you tell us what we are doing or what we should be doing to protect against russian interference in future elections or meddling with our government or for that matter, any state sponsor iranians, north koreans, chinese, when any meddling they may be doing? >> first, i think a public discussion acknowledgement of the activity is a good positive first step because it shines a flashlight on it if you will. it illuminates a significant issue that we have to deal with.
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there's a variety of ongoing efforts within the government and in the private sector in terms of how do we harden our defenses. we also need to have a discussion about just what, for example, does critical infrastructure mean in the 21st century. i don't think they would have thought of an election infrastructure. it's critical. we view critical infrastructure as something that generated an industrial output. aviation, electricity, finance. we haven't traditionally thought of it in the informational dynamic. that's a challenge for us. and then continued partnership within elements of the government as well as in the private sector. that's key to the future to me. >> so just for the record, i had a whole list of specific questions about individuals and/or circumstances that don't want to be repetitive and have you say i can't comment on them. i would anticipate when we move to classified session that this committee will be able to
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explore some of those situations in a little more depth. i have a couple of other questions about the russian intervention but i don't have enough time to get into it right now. if you could give me a couple minutes when we get to the next round. okay. so very briefly, if you can describe the elements of the russia's active measures in the campaign in the 2016 election, we've only got 35 seconds, but that's the first thing i want to get into it about exactly what they were doing if you can tell us anything about that? >> we saw cyber used. we saw the use of external media. we saw the use of disinformation. we saw the use of leaking of information much of which was not altered. we saw several common traits we
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have seen overtime and i would argue the difference this time is that cyberdimensie dimension release of so much information they had extracted via cyber as a primarily tool to drive an outcome. >> in this setting can you talk to us at allused? >> i wouldn't go into specifics of how they executed hacks. i apologize. >> we'll try to get into that in classified. i'll hold off for now. thank you. >> gentleman yields back. mr. schiff is recognized for 15 minutes. >> i just had a couple follow-up questions. director comey, can you tell me what an sf86 is? >> it's the standard background clearance form that all of us who are hired by the federal government and want access to classified information fill out. >> would someone who is an incoming national security adviser have to fill out an
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sf86? >> i think so. >> would that sf86 require that the applicant disclose any payments received from a foreign power? >> i think so. the form is the form. i think so. and foreign travel as well. >> i make a request through you to the justice department or whatever ic component would have custody of mr. flynn's sf86, i make a request that that be provided to the committee. i yield now to mr. carson. >> thank you, ranking member. i would like to focus my line of questioning on russia's views toward ukraine. in march 2014, russia illegally annexed crimea beginning a conflict, which has effectively yet to be resolved. ed a mill radmiral rogers, can
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describe as you understand it how russia took crimea? >> i would argue the insertion of military force. they occupied it and physically moved it from ukrainian control. >> sir, we heard terms like little green men and hybrid warfare. can you please explain how these relate to russia and ukraine? >> on the ukraine side what we saw was over time rather than the kind of overt activity we saw to such degree on the crimea side, what we saw was a much bigger effort on the influence and the attempts to distance russian actions from any potential blowback to the yurksian stayurks i yur russian state if you will is the reference to little green men. the flow of information and provision of resources to
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support simple separation of the ukraine. >> admiral, has russia returned crimea back to ukraine, sir? >> no. >> do they have intentions to? >> they publicly indicated that they will not. >> admiral, why does russia even care about ukraine? >> i'm sure in their view they view this as a primary national interest for them. it's on the immediate periphery of the russian state. >> am i right, sir, that they see it as part of their broader objective to influence and impact russia's desire for self-determination? >> yes. i think that's part of it. >> the u.s. and rest of the world saw annexation for what it was, crime. shortly after russia invaded, the united nations essentially declared it a crime in a nonbinding resolution.
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our own government recognizing the seriousness of the event, instituted new sanction against russia, is that right, sir? >> yes, sir. >> this is a time when much of the world was united. russia invaded another country and illegally annexed its territory. as we all stood shoulder to shoulder with ukraine. one person who didn't see it that way, however, was president trump. on july 30th, mr. trump said of putin and i quote "he's not going into ukraine, okay. just so you understand, he's not going into ukraine. all right." admiral, hadn't putin already gone into ukraine two years before and hadn't left? >> we're talking about that crimea influence and ukraine generally, yes, sir. >> he still hasn't left? >> now we're getting into technical questions about are russians physically in the ukraine. is it surrogates that crimea is a clean example to me.
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they outrighted inva einnovated armed military force and annexed it. >> are they still in ukraine? >> they're supporting the effort to split that country. >> what would it mean to russia and to putin to have sanctions lifted? >> easing of economic impact. greater flexibility. more resources. >> according to nato analysis, the russian economy shrunk by as much as 3.5% in 2015 and had no growth in 2016. in big part because of western sanctions especially those against the oil and gas industry. we're talking about a loss of over $135 billion just in the first year of sanctions. a huge sum of money. sanctions aren't meant to push their economy over a cliff but
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put long-term pressure on putin to change his behavior. putin himself said in 2016, the sanctions are severely harming russia so we know they've had success in putting pressure on the kremlin. admiral, what would it mean geopolitically? would it help legitimate russia's illegal land grab? >> sir, i'm not in a position to talk broadly about the geopolitical implications. we have stated previously from an intelligence perspective, we tried to outline policy makers specifics of the russian invasion of crimea and specifics of the russian support to separatists in the ukraine and russians continue to pressure to keep ukraine weak. >> would it help? >> if we remove sanctions? >> there's a lot at stake for russia. this is big money.
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big strategic implications. if they can legitimate their annexation of crimea, what's next? are we looking at new iron curtain ascending across eastern europe? you know, most in our country recognize what is at stake and how the united states as a leader of the free world is the only check on russian expansion. so back to mr. trump and his cohort, at the republican convention in july, paul manafo manafort, carter page and trump himself changed the republican party platform to no longer arm ukraine so the same month that trump denied putin's role in ukraine his team weakened the party platform on ukraine and as we have and will continue to hear, this was the same month that several individuals in the trump orbit held secret meetings with russian officials. some of which may have been on
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the topic of sanctions against russia for their intervention in ukraine. this is no coincidence in my opinion. in fact, the document written by christopher steele answers that trump agreed to sideline russian intervention in ukraine as a campaign issue which is effectively a priority for vladimir putin. there's a lot that is yet to be proven but increasingly as we'll hear throughout the day, allegations are checking out and this one seems to be as accurate as they come. in fact, there is also one p pattern i want to point out. manafort, fired. page, fired. flynn, fired. why? they were hired because of their russian connections. they were fired. however, because their connections became public, they were effectively culpable. they were also the fall guys.
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i think after we hear the line of questioning, we might guess who can be next. mr. ranking member, i yield back. >> i yield the balance to representative spear. >> thank you, ranking member. thank you, gentlemen, for your service to our country. you know, i think it's really important as we sit here that we explain this to the american people in a way that they can understand it. why are we talking about all of this? so my first question to each of you is russia our adversary? mr. comey? >> yes. >> mr. rogers? >> yes. >> do they intend to do us harm? >> they intend to ensure, i believe, that they gain advantage at our ebxpense. >> director comey? >> yes. i want to be -- harm can have
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many meetings. they're an adversary so they want to oppose us and underminus in lots of different ways. >> one of the terms we hear often is hybrid warfare. i would just like to give a short definition of what it is. it blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyber warfare. the aggressor intends to avoid retribution. would you say that russia engaged in hybrid warfare in its effort to undermine our democratic process and engage in our electoral process? director comey? >> i don't think i would use the term warfare. i think you would want to ask experts in the definition of war. they engageded in a multifaceted campaign of active measures to undermine our democracy and hurt one of the candidates and hoped
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to help one of the other candidates. >> i would agree with the director. >> all right. thank you both. i actually think their engagement was an act of war. an act of hybrid warfare. i think that's why the american people should be concerned about it. now, in terms of trying to understand this, i think of a spider web with a tarantula in the middle. the tarantula in my view is vladimir putin, who is entrapping manyhis ed bidding and engage with him. i would include those like roger stone and carter page and michael and wilbur ross and paul manafort and rex tillerson. i would like to focus first on rex tillerson in three minutes i have here. he was ceo of exxonmobil.
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in 2008, he said that the likelihood of u.s. russia businesses was in fact a poor investment. russia was a poor investment climate. that was in 2008. in 2011, he closed the $500 billion deal with an oil company. the ceo is a confident of president putin, second most powerful man in russia, and probably a former kgb agent. the deal gives exxon access to the black sea and siberia for oil development. he gets minority interest in exxon in texas and the gulf. rex tillerson calls him a good
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friend. in 2012, mr. tillerson and they go on a road show in the united states to talk about this great deal that they had just consummated. also in 2012, there's a video of president putin and mr. tillerson toasting champagne at the deal. in 2013, mr. tillerson receives the russian order of friendship. he sits right next to president putin at the event. my question to you, director comey, is it a value to president putin knowing what you know of him and that his interest in doing harm to us, is it of benefit to mr. putin who have rex tillerson as secretary of state of state? >> i can't answer that question. >> admiral rogers?
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>> i'm not in a position to answer that question. >> all right. so in 2014, there's a sanction and he laments he will no longer be able to come to the united states to motorcycle ride with mr. tillerson. could you give me an understanding of what are some of the reasons that we impose sanctions? director comey? just in general. >> again, you would have to ask an expert. from my general knowledge, it's to punish activities that are criminal in nature that involve war crimes, that involve violations of u.n. resolutions or united states law in some other way. it's to communicate and enforce foreign policy interest in values of the united states of america. that's my general sense. an expert might describe it much better. >> admiral rogers? >> i would echo the director's
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comments. it's also a tool that we use to attempt to drive and shape the choices and actions of others. >> so in the case of him being sanctions who was sanctioned by the united states, in part, to draw attention to the fact that russia had invaded crimea, it's an effort to try and send a very strong message to russia, is that not true? >> i think that's right. >> yes, ma'am. >> all right. with that, mr. chairman, i'll yield back for now. >> gentle lady yields back. i give myself 15 minutes and yield to the gentle lady from florida. >> thank you so much, mr. chairma
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chairman. >> it's never proper for a foreign country to interfere in our democratic process. i agree with you director comey when you say this investigation is ongoing, we will follow the facts wherever they lead on a bipartisan level and there will be no sacred cows. illegal leaks and our ability to reauthorize important programs upon which our intelligence community relies. but i want to assure the american people there is also bipartisan agreement on getting to the bottom of russian meddling in our election, which must remain the focus of our investigation and yours. admiral ronlers, i believe what
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you said that a public acknowledgement of this meddling is important. and based on this theme i would like to ask you gentlemen if you could describe, what, if anything, russia did in this election that, to your knowledge, they did or didn't do in previous elections. how their actions were different in this election than previous ones. >> the biggest difference, from my perfespective was the use of cyber hacking as a vehicle to physically gain access to information, to extract that information and then to make it widely approximate publicly available without any alteration or change. >> the only thing i would add is that they were unusually loud in their intervention. they almost didn't care that we knew or they wanted us to see what they were doing.
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it was very noisy, their intrusions into different institutions. >> and what specifically, based on this loudness, did the fbi or the nsa do to prevent or counter this russian active measure that we read about in the intelligence community assessment? as loud as they were, what did we do to counter that? >> among other things we alerted people who were victims of intrusions to permit them to tighten their systems to see if they couldn't kick the russian actors out. also as a government we supplied information to all the states so they could look themselves to make sure there was no successful effort to affect the vote and there was none, as we said earlier. and then the government, as a whole, in october, called it out. and i believe it was director clapper and secretary jay johnson who issued a statement saying this is what the russians are doing.
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sort of an inoculation. >> and the loudness to which you refer, perhaps they were doing these kinds of actions previously in other elections, but they were not doing it as loudly. why do you think that they did not mind being loud and being found out? >> i don't know the answer for sure. part of their mission was to undermine our entire democracy enterprise, of this nation. it might be that they wanted us to help them by telling people what they were doing. their loudness, in a way, would be counting on us to amplify it by telling the american people what we saw and freaking people out about how the russians might be undermining our elections successfully. that might have been part of their plan. i don't know for sure. >> i agree with director comey.
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while there was cyber activity in the past, we never saw in previous presidential elections information being published in such a massive scale that had been illegally removed, from private individuals as well as organizations within the democratic process, both inside and outside the government. >> this massive amount, and this loudness, now that it's become public knowledge, now that we have, perhaps, satisfied their thirst, that it has become such a huge deal, do you expect their interference to be amplified in future u.s. elections? do you see any evidence of that in european elections, or do you think that this public acknowledgement would tamper down the volatility?
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i'll let mike rogers -- as an initial matter, they'll be back in 2018. they were successful because they introduced chaos, division, discord and sowed doubt about this terrific nation of ours and our democratic process. it's possible they're misreading that as it worked so we'll come back and hit them again in 2020. i don't know. we have to assume they're coming back. >> i fully expect that they continue this level of activity. because our sense is that they have come to the conclusion that it generated a positive outcome for them. in the sense that calling into question democratic process, for example, is one element of the strategy. our fbi teammates are working closely with european teammates. france and germany, for example, are about to undergo significant national leadership elections over the course of the next two months. >> and in terms of the european
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elections, what have you seen or any information that you could share with us about the russian interference? >> you've seen some of the same things that we've seen in the u.s., fake news, disinformation, attempt to embarrass people. >> looking forward to continuing with you. i yaeld back, mr. chairman. >> mr. turner is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. comey, mr. rogers, thank you for being here today for what appears to be and attempts to be forthcoming with the committee. i also want to thank the chairman and ranking membership. this is a bipartisan effort. as you look to what this committee is undertaking, everyone wants answers and everyone wants answers to all the questions that are being asked because this does go to
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such an important issue concerning concern ing our elections. mr. rogers, concerning the foreign intelligence surveillance act. admiral, as you know, foreign intelligence surveillance act provides the circumstances or authority under which the intelligence community may collector intercept the communication of a foreign person located outside of the united states or, as mr. comey has indicated, a person who is covered under a fisa court order. with mr. rooney and mr. gowdy you discussed minimization procedures under the foreign intelligence surveillance act. those procedures are supposed to protect the privacy rights of u.s. citizens. specifically, it's geared toward the communications of those who may be inadvertently or incidentally collected as a result of intelligence community's lawful collection of communication of others. mr. rogers, is the intelligence
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community required to cease collection of the interception of communications if the result of the collection or interception includes the communications of an incoming u.s. administration official, president-elect or the president-elect's transition team? >> it depends under what authority we were -- as i said early on, there's a series of questions we go through. is there criminal associated activity, does the conversation deal about threats to u.s. persons, breaking of the law. there's no provision. >> are you, under any circumstances, required to cease collection if the collection results in either the inadvertent or incidental collection of an incoming u.s. administration official, the president-elect or the president-elect's transition team. >> purely on the basis of exposure -- i want to make sure
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i understand the question. >> are you required to cease? if you are undertaking lawful collection under the foreign intelligence surveillance act of a person or individual, either because they're a foreign person located outside the united states or the person you're collecting against is the subject of a fisa court order, if incidental to that collection or inadvertently the collection results in the collection of communications of an incoming u.s. administration official, the president-elect or the president-elect's transition team, are you required under the minimization procedures to cease collection? >> not automatically. >> thank you. so the answer is no, correct? the reason why this is important is because the incoming administration may be having conversations with those


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