Skip to main content

tv   Inside Politics  CNN  March 20, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PDT

9:00 am
intelligence presentation, u.s. senators, said that's the consensus view. how much -- this is written by a guy named adam elaine something and greg. did they help draft the july 6th document for the intel committee? >> i'm sorry. do 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 of trying to comment on newspaper articles that purport to report classified information. i can't say much 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 a position of anonymity, that really is code for breaking the law generally, right? when somebody says i'm talking to a reporter. i have secret information, the reporter can't tell who it is
9:01 am
because as mr. gowdy was saying earlier, speaking on condition of anonymity, that really should be interpreted because i'm breaking the law, and i don't want to be outed. is that a fair statement? >> sometimes. i think there are other motives behind people requesting anonymity. that can be one of them. >> so it's your statement to us that the fbi was consistent in his assessment that it denigr e denigrated the u.s. electoral process, hurt hillary and her o candidacy, and cross all of that this they intended to help trump. that's your testimony this morning? >> correct. >> all right. yield back. >> mr. king. >> ladies and gentlemen, if if -- i'll just start with this and make the comment. first of all, let me thank director comey for being here today and for what i believe is the cooperation you've always given this committee. thank you for your service. >> you can't comment on the investigation, and yet we can
9:02 am
have various scenarios laid out which can go on for months and months and months without being able to disprove them until the investigation is completed. i just like to use the example. we could have said that in 2012 president obama was overheard in the microphone telling medvedev if i'm re-elected tell vladimir we can work out clear arrangements. we know that he ridiculed candidate romney in the 2012 election when romney said he thought russia was still a threat, and then in 2013 we saw that basically president obama invited the russians into syria when they were pretty much removed from the middle east 40 years before, and also as far as aid to ukraine, as far as i recall, the obama administration always refused to give aid to ukraine, and it could be argued that the republican platform in 2016 was actually stronger than the democratic platform in that. the investigation of the obama
9:03 am
administration, we could lay out all these scenarios and say let's prove something or it might prove something. until the investigation was completed, that type of almost possibly slanderous comments could be made. i would just, again -- i'm not asking to hurry the investigation along. you have to do what you have to do, but i guess i could ask you just in the remaining moments i have in this round. i know it was just two weeks ago that director clapper said that as far as he knows all the evidence he has seen there's no evidence of any collusion at all between the trump campaign and the russians. now, obviously a detailed exhaustive report was put out talking about russian influence in the campaign. all of the intelligence apparatus had input into that. you, admiral rogers, do you 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? >> mr. king, it's want something i can comment on.
9:04 am
likewise, i'm not going to comment on an ongoing investigation's conclusions. >> but you're not going to disagree with general clapper. you're just not going to comment. the reason i point it out, when you can't comment on something, or there's an inference out there that because a person's name is brought up because he may have worked for somebody at a certain time, that there's a guilt implied in that. i'm not in any way being critical of either of you. these are the situations that can be damaging to the country and does advance the russian interest of trying to destabilize democracy and cause lack of confidence in our system. with that i yield back, mr. chairman. >> chairman yields back. recognize mr. schiff for 15 minutes. >> i just have a couple of follow-up questions before i pass to representative sewell. it wasn't simply that the russians had a negative preference against secretary clinton. they also had a positive preference for donald trump. isn't that correct? >> correct. i want to ask you to say whether this is an accurate characterization of mr. trump. i won't put you in that spot,
9:05 am
but would it be logical for the kremlin to prefer a candidate that dispairaged nato to be president of the united states. you're not going to put me in that spot you said? i'm happy with that. >> i'm not going to put you in the spot of answering whether this is an accurate representation, but it would be logical for the kremlin to want somebody who had a dim view of nato, is that right? >> all kidding aside, i don't think that's something i should be answering. that's beyond my responsibilities. >> well, what is the russian view of nato? do they like nato? do they want to see nato strong? >> again, i am sure you have already spoken to people who are greater experts than i, but 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 to repeeling the sanctions over ukraine? >> i don't want to get into business in commenting on that. >> let me ask you this,
9:06 am
director. would they like to see the sanctions on ukraine go away? >> yes. would they have a preference for a candidate who expressed open admiration for putin? >> i hope you'll reformulate the question. mr. putin would like people who like him. >> would they have a preference for a candidate who encouraged brexit and other departures from europe? would they like to see more brexits? >> yes. >> and have the russians in europe demonstrated a preference for business people as political leaders with the hope that they can entangle them in financial interests or that they may allow their financial interests to take precedence over the interests of the countries in europe they represent? >> in our joint report, we recount that the russians that president buttin has expressed a preference for business leaders in leading other governments and mentions gerhart schroeder and -- i'm going to forget one.
9:07 am
berlusconi because he believes they are people who are more open to negotiation, easier to deal with. >> at this point let me yield to representative sewell. >> 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 pleating with the russian ambassador and would have been -- would have told him to stop meddling in our affairs, but that didn't happen. did it? >> he also appeared to have lied to vice president-elect mike
9:08 am
pence all about it. now, mr. comey, do you think mr. flynn's failure to disclose the communication contact he had with the russian ambassador and their topic of conversation along with a 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. now, i know director comey that you probably can't comment on this as well, but i think it's really important that we review a short timeline that's based on press reportings because we need to get this for the public record, i think. so on december 25th, 2016, 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. then it was clear that they were going to take actions against russia. on december 29th, 2016 mr. flynn
9:09 am
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 also 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 jared k irs hner 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 shouldn't disclose this december face-to-face meeting until this month. on january 20th -- january 12th, sorry, 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 shows regarding mr. flynn's conversation with
9:10 am
the ambassador, quote, "what i can confirm having spoken to him about it is that 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 26 the acting attorney general sally yates reportedly told president trump's white house council who immediately told president trump that mr. flynn was vulnerable to russian blackmail because of discrepancies between vice president-elect pence's public statement and mr. flynn's actual discussio discussions. on february 10th president trump denied knowledge of this, telling reporters on air force one, quote, "i don't know about that," in response to questions about mr. flynn's conduct. the white house also publicly denied that mr. flynn and the
9:11 am
russian ambassador discussed sanctions. of course, on february 13th, 2017 mr. flynn resigned as national security advisor. now, director comey, all of these accounts are open source press reportings. given russia's longstanding 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, his attempts to cover it up, and what looks like the white house's attempts to sweep this under the rug? don't we as the american people deserve the right to know and shouldn't our fbi investigate such claims? >> i can't comment. i understand people's curiosity about our work and intense interest in it, and mr. king said oftentimes speculation about it, but we can't do it well or fairly to the people we investigate if we talk about it.
9:12 am
i can't comment. >> i would like to turn to another topic about mr. flynn. his failure to disclose until pressured last week by my colleagues on the house oversight and government relations committee. government reforms committee. payments he received from russia for his 2015 trip to the 10th anniversary gala of rt, the russian owned propaganda media outlet. according to the january 2017 declassified ic assessment report, rt's criticism of the united states was "the last facet of its broader and longstanding anti-u.s. messaging likely aimed at undermight being 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 according to the ic assessment.
9:13 am
admiral rogers, am i right that the rt is essentially owned by the russian government, and how long has the intelligence community been looking at rt as an arm of the russian government? >> so we're certainly aware and have been for some period of time of the direct connections between the russian government and rt individuals with monetary flow and other things. >> how long have you known about that? a few months? a few years? how long has the united states -- >> some number of years. i apologize, ma'am. i just don't know off the top of my head. >> aren't i right to assume then that the former director of dia, the defense intelligence agency, mr. flynn, would be have been aware that rt's role as an anti-u.s. russian propaganda outlet, when he agreed to speak at their anniversary gala in 2015, isn't it reasonable to assume that he would know? >> imauto not in a position to comment on the knowledge of something else from another person, ma'am.
9:14 am
>> director comey, would it be unusual for foreign government official to be -- to get paid by a foreign adversary to attend such an event, and would it be unusual and raise some questions that the fbi if that person failed to disclose the payments received for that trip? >> i don't know in general, and as for the 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 a back and forth for a bit, and then mr. flynn said, "quote, "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 committee last week received information and released
9:15 am
publicly that mr. flynn accepted nearly $35,000 in speaking fees and traveling fees from r.t., this government -- russian government-owned media outlet. >> i believe i've seen news accounts to that effect. >> moreover, isn't it also true that according to the emoluments clause in the united states constitution a person owning office or trust cannot accegift pa payments from a foreign country, and doesn't the d.o.d., department of defense, prohibit retired military officers from taking any consulting fees, gifts, traveling expenses, says honorary salary from a foreign government, including commercial enterprises owned by or controlled by a foreign government like r.t.? >> it's not something i can comment on. >> can you speak to whether or not the emoluments clause would apply to someone like mr. flynn, a retired three-star general?
9:16 am
>> i can't. >> so isn't it -- i just find it to be really hard to believe that given the emoluments clause does apply to mr. flynn, i can't believe that in 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 flord f for us 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 know that he should have disclosed that he received $35,000 as a part of a speaking engamement to r.t., the
9:17 am
russian-u.s. anti-propaganda outlet. >> i can't comment on that. >> my final line of questioning is in regard to mr. flynn working as an agent of a foreign power. now, director comey, following on mr. hime's line of questioning, am i correct that the foreign agents registation act requires that individuals who lobby on behalf of a foreign government must register with the united states government? >> i believe that's correct. i know i keep saying i'm not an expert. the reason i'm saying that is i don't know exactly how they define things like lobbying in the statute, but as a general matter, if you are going to represent a foreign government here in the united states touching our government, you should be registered. >> isn't it true that just last november 2016 mr. flynn was working as a foreign agent doing work that principlely benefitted the government of turkey and, yet, he didn't report it until just last week? >> i can't comment on that. >> isn't it true that mr. flynn was reportedly paid over half a
9:18 am
million dollars for this work? >> same 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 that he was doing on behalf of the turkish government, and yet, the administration didn't give him any advice to the contrary? do you know anything about that? >> i have to give you the same answer. >> director comey, i know you cannot discuss whether any investigations are ongoing with u.s. persons, and i respect that. i think it's important, though, that the american people understand the scope and breadth of what in public open source press rorgts eporting of mr. fl actions that led to his resignation, and while we can't talk about whether there is an investigation, i believe that we here at the house permanent select committee on intelligence must put those facts into the public domain, and they are,
9:19 am
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 the foreign power and that the white house did not help in this concern. gentlemen, it's clear for me that mr. flynn should be under criminal investigation, and i know you cannot comment, but i believe it is my duty as a member of this committee to comment to the american people, that this -- that his engagement in lying and failure to disclose really important information in context with the foreign mabts ambassador do rise to the level of disclosure and to me criminal intent. 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 influenced the 2016 election. i believe our democracy requires
9:20 am
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 had -- they favored donald trump in 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. do russians -- >> i don't agree with that. i didn't try to misspeak earlier. we didn't change our view. we, the fbi. i don't know that anybody else did on the ic team. >> you mean from my perspective, we -- >> at some point the assessment -- >> at some point the assessment changed from going from just trying to hurt hillary clinton to know that they were actually trying to help donald trump get elected. that was early december as far as i know, and then by january
9:21 am
you had all changed your mind on that. >> that's not my recollection. >> that's not my recollection either, sir. >> okay. so is it -- do russians historically prefer republicans to win over democrats? >> i don't know the answer to that. >> do the russians prefer mitt romney over barack obama in 2012? >> i don't know that we ever did draw a formal analytic conclusion. >> did the russians prefer john mccain in 2008 over barack obama? >> i never saw a u.s. intelligence community analytic position on that. >> don't you think it's ridiculous -- for anyone to say that 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 say that. we don't know in those particular races, and i'm not
9:22 am
qualified enough -- >> i'm just asking a general question. wouldn't be it preposterous to say that going back to ronald reagan and all that we know about maybe who the russians would prefer that somehow the russians prefer republicans over democra democrats. >> there is -- i'm not going to discuss it in the classified segment of the reporting version that we did. there is some analysis that discusses this. remember, says this did come up in our assessment on the russian piece. i'm not going to discuss this. >> mr. king -- >> mr. chairman, i auto would just say, againer we're not going into classified sections. indicating that historically russians have supported republicans, and i know that the language is there. to me it puts somewhat of a cloud over the entire report. it seems to indicate that that's the direction they're going. i know what your answer is going to be, but i have to get this statement on the record.
9:23 am
on march 15th former acting director cia mike morrell, the acting director under president obama, and put on the record, i have differences with mike morrell in the past, but 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 with mr. morrell? >> i can't comment, mr. king. >> i'm not going to comment on an ongoing investigation. >> i understand that. that was my way of getting it on the record, so 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 have never seen such a sustained period of leaks. going back to december when not the intelligence community but the washington post was told the conclusion of the report, what
9:24 am
it was going to be. we have situations in the "new york times" where they talk of meetings. they talk about transcripts. they talk about conversations. russian intelligence agents. again, director comey, i don't know if you can comment on this, but the white house chief of staff said that day or the next day that mr. mccabe from your office went to him at the white house and told him that that story was b.s. is there any way you can comment on whether or not mr. mccabe told that to mr. zbloosh i can't, mr. king, but i can agree with your general premise. leaks have always been a problem. i read over the weekend something from george washington and abe happen lincoln complaining about them, but i do think in the last six weeks, couple of months, there's been at least apparently a lot of conversation about classified matters that's ending up in the
9:25 am
media. a lot of it is just dead wrong, which is one of the challenges because we don't correct it, but it does strike me. there's been a lot of people talking or at least reporters saying that people are talking to them in ways that have struck me as unusually active. >> i fully understand the media's fascination with palace intrigue, with which faction of the white house is trying to outdo the other. that's all -- to me that's all legitimate. that goes with the game. if you are talking about leaking classified information, if you are talking about leaking investigatio investigations, you are saying that there is an fbi investigation going on. if the "new york times" can be believed, i would think it would have to be somebody from the fbi who was telling them about these reported meetings, which mr. mccabe said was b.s., with russian intelligence agencies. somebody involved with that investigation spoke to the "new york times." i'll use that as an example. also, one where there's a smaller universe.
9:26 am
i think it was january 6th when yourself, admiral rogers, director brennan, says 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 the copy of the now infamous or famous dossier. 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 the rationale to publish almost the entire dossier. does that violate any law snl i mean, you were at a classified briefing with the president-elect of the united states, and it had to be a very small universe of people who knew that you handed him that dossier, 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? >> i can't say, mr. king, except i can answer in general. any unauthorized disclosure of
9:27 am
classified conversations. >> unauthorize disclosures. it's very, very hard. oftentimes it doesn't come from the people who actually know the secrets. it comes from one hop-out. people 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. people that heard about it, don't hear about it right. it is an enormous problem whenever you find information that is actually classified. >> if possible, prosecuted so people take as a lesson. this is not okay. this behavior can be deterred, and it's deterred by locking people up who have engaged in criminal activity. >> can you say -- admiral rogers was in the room. general clapper was in the room. you were in the room. director brennan were in the
9:28 am
room. this isn't unmasking of names where you have 100 people in the fbi or the nsa. it's not people all together in the room. this is four people in the room with the president-elect of the united states. i don't know who else was in that am radio. that was leaked out, it seemed, within minutes or hours of you handing him that dossier. it was so confidential that you actually handed it to him separately. believe me, i'm not saying it was you. i'm saying it's a small universe of people that would have known about that, and if it is a disclosure of classified information, if you are going to start with investigating leaks, to me that would be one place where you could really start to narrow it down. >> again, mr. king, i can't comment because i do not ever want to confirm aa classified conversation with a president or president-elect. i can tell you my general experience -- there are oftentimes there are more people that know about something than you expected. first, because there may be more people involved. not this particular, but in
9:29 am
general. more people have been told about it or heard about it are auto staff have been briefed on it, and those echos are in my experience what most often is shared with reporters. >> can you tell us what's in the room, whether or not there was a conversation? >> i'm not confirming there was a conversation. in a classified setting. >> not the kwfrg or even the fact that you gave -- can you tell us who was in the room for that briefing that you gave? >> you are saying later ended up in the newspaper? >> yes. >> my talking about who was in the room would be a conversation in the newspaper that was classified information. 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 briefing, and that's not
9:30 am
classified, is it? >> how do we all know that, though? >> you can see the predicament we're in here. >> i get it. i get it. we are duty-bound to protect classified information both in the first -- when we get it and then to make sure we don't accidentally jeopardize information. >> i would just advise that director clapper and director brennan will be asking them the same questions last week -- next week and perhaps they can give us some answers. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director keepy, admiral rogers, thank you for your service. thank you for being here. understanding that what both of you have been saying about the classified nature of the investigation, the classified nature of the topics we're talking about, can you give us any indication of when we, the
9:31 am
committee, may in a classified 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 ofour 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. >> if you through the fbi investigation come across a circumstance with an individual
9:32 am
or a situation, would we be made aware of that under normal course of business? >> not necessarily, but it's possible. >> okay. so can you either director comey or admiral rogers tell us what we are doing or what we should be doing to protect against russian interference in future elections or any meddling with our government or for that matter any state sponsor, iranians, north koreans, chinese with any meddling they may be doi doing. >> so, first, i think a public discussion and acknowledgment of the activity is a good positive first step. it shines a flashlight on this, if you will. it illuminates a significant issue. there's a variety of issues,
9:33 am
both with the government as well as the private sector in terms of how do we harden our defenses. i think we also need to have a discussion about just what, for example, does critical infrastructure mean in the 21st century. i don't think we traditionally would have thought of an election infrastructure. it's critical we traditionally viewed critical infrastructure as something that generated an industrial output, aviation, electricity, finance. i don't think we've traditionally thought about it. the informational dynamic, that's a challenge for us coming ahead, and then continued partnership between the elements of the government as well as in the private sector. that's the key to the future to me. >> just for the record, i also 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, but i would anticipate when we move to classified session that this committee will be able to
9:34 am
explore some of those situations in a little more depth. i have a couple of other questions -- >> i don't have enough time to get into it right now. you could give me a couple of minutes when we get to the next round. >> yes. >> k on. so very briefly, the -- if you can describe the elements of 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 about exactly what they were doing, if you can tell us anything about that. >> so we saw cyber use. 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, if you will, common traits that we have both seen over time as well as i would argue of the difference of
9:35 am
this time. there's a release of information that they had extracted to try to drive an outcome. >> in this setting can you talk to us about what tools they used? >> i'm not going to go under the specifics of how they executed the hacks. i apologize. >> we'll try to bet into that and classify. hold off for now. >> general yields back. mr. schiff is recognized for 15 minutes. >> just had a couple of questions. can you tell me what an sf 86 is? >> sf 86? >> yes. >> it's the standard background clearance form that all of us are hired by the federal government want to have access of classified information fill out. >> does someone who is an incoming national security advisor have to fill out an sf 86? >> yes, i think so.
9:36 am
>> would that sf 86 require that the applicant disclose any payments received from a foreign power? >> i think so. i mean, the form is the form. i think so. and foreign travel as well. >> i make a request through you to the justice department, to whatever ic component of mr. flynn's sf 86 request that that be provided to the committee. and i yield now to mr. carson. >> thank you, ranking member. i like to focus my line of questioning on russia's views towards ukraine. in march 2014 russia illegally annexed the ukrainian territory of crimea beginning a conflict which has effectively yet to be resolved. admiral rogers, can you please briefly describe, as you understand it, sir, how russia took crimea.
9:37 am
>> i would argue through the insertion of military force. they occupied it and physically moved it from ukrainian control. >> sir, we've heard terms like little green men and hybrid warfare. can you please explain how these relate to russia in ukraine? >> on the ukraine side what we saw was over time rather than the kind of overt kind of 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 russian state, if you will. hence, the use of the little green men. surrogates in military -- unmarked military uniforms, the flow of information, the provision of resources to support the forcible separation of the ukraine.
9:38 am
>> admiral, has russia returned crimea back to ukraine? >> do they have intentions to? >> they publicly -- >> admiral, why does russia even care about ukraine? >> i'm sure in their view they viewed this as a primary national interest. >> am i right, sir, that they see it as a part of their broader objective to influence and impact russia's desire tore self-determination? >> i yes, i think that's part of it. >> has russia tried to steal stolen territory in you the ukraine, the u.s. and the rest of the world say the annexation for what it was, a crime. shortly after russia invaded, the united nations essentially declared it a crime in a nonbinding resolution. in our own government recognizing the seriousness of the event instituted new
9:39 am
sanctions against russia, is that right, sir? >> yes, sir. >> this was a time where much of the world was united. russia invaded another country and illegally annexed its territory. as we all stood shoulder to shoulder with ukraine, the one person who didn't see it that way, however, was president donald trump. on july 30th in an interview with abc news mr. trump said of putin, and i quote, "he is not going into ukraine, okay? just so you understand, he is not going into ukraine, all right?" now, admiral, hadn't putin already gone into ukraine two years before and hadn't left? >> we're talking about that crimea and influence and the ukraine generally? yes, sir. >> he still hasn't left, correct, sir? >> now we're starting to get into some very technical questions about whether russia is physically in the ukraine. is it surrogates that the crimeans. they outright invaded with armed
9:40 am
military force and have annexed it. >> are they effectively still in ukraine? >> they're certainly supporting the ongoing effort in the ukraine to split that country. >> we'll get back to mr. trump in a minute. first, what would it mean to russia and to putin to have s e sanctions lifted? >> clearly easing of economic impact, greater flexibility, more resources. >> 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 sanctions. that's a huge sum of money. sanctions aren't meant to push their economy over a cliff but to put long-term pressure on putin to change his behavior.
9:41 am
putin himself said in 2016 that sanctions are severely harming russia, so we know we've had some success in putting pressure on the kremlin. admiral, what would it mean geopolitically? would it help? would it help legitimate russia's illegal land grab? >> i'm not in a position to talk broadly about the geopolitical implications. we have stated previously from an intelligence perspective, we have tried to outline the policy makers the specifics of the russian invasion of crimea, the specifics of the continued russian support to separatists in the ukraine and the russians' continued attempt to pressure and keep the ukraine weak. >> would it help clean the united states from her allies? >> if we remove the sanctions? >> there is a lot at stake here for russia. this is big money, big strategic implications.
9:42 am
if they can legitimate their annexation of crimea, what's next? are we looking at new iron curtain descending 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 maniford, carter paige, says 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 the topic of sanctions against
9:43 am
russia for their intervention in ukraine. this is no coincidence in my opinion. in fact, the dossier written by -- christopher steel alleges 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 in the dossier that is yet to be proven, but increasingly as we'll hear throughout the day -- this one seems to be as accurate as they come. in fact, there is also one pattern, i want to point out before yielding back, maniford, fired. paige, 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. i think after we hear
9:44 am
mr. quigley's line of questioning, we might guess who could be next. mr. chairman. mr. ranking member, i yield back. >> i yield the balance to representative -- >> 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? my first question to each of you is russia our adversary? mr. comey? >> yes. >> mr. rogers? >> yes. >> is -- do they intend to do us harm? >> they intend to insure, i believe, that they gained advantage at our expense. >> director comey? >> yes. i want to be -- harm can have many meanings. they're an adversary, and they
9:45 am
want to resist us, oppose us, underminus in lots of different ways. >> one of the terms that we hear often is hybrid warfare, and i would like to just give a short definition of what it is. it blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare, and cyber warfare. the aggressor intends to avoid attribution or 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 engaged in a multi-facetted campaign of active measures to undermine our democracy and hurt one of the candidates and hope to help one of the other candidates. >> i would agree with the director.
9:46 am
>> all right. well, thank you both. i actually think that 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, and the tarantula in my view is vladimir putin who is entrapping many people to do his bidding and to engage with him, and i would include those like roger stone and carter paige and michael caputo and wilbur ross and paul manifort, and rex tillerson. i would like to focus first on rex tillerson in the three minutes i have here. he was the ceo of exxonmobil. in 2008 he said that the likelihood of u.s.-russia
9:47 am
businesses was, in fact, a poor investment. that russia was a poor investment climate. that was in 2008. in 201 1 he closed the $500 billion deal with rossneft oil. the ceo of rossneft is igor -- who is a confidant of president putin, second most powerful man in russia, and probably a former kgb agent. rex tillerson calls him a good friend.
9:48 am
in 2012 mr. tillerson and mr. -- go on a road show here in the united states to talk about this great deal that they had just consequence mated. also in 2012 there's a video of president putin and mr. tillerson toasting champagne at the deal. in 2013 tillerson receives the russia order of friendship, and he sits right next to president putin at the event. my question to you, director comey, is is it of 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 to have rex tillerson as the secretary of state? >> i can't answer that question. >> admiral rogers? >> i'm not in a position to answer that question.
9:49 am
>> so in 2014 igor is sanctioned, and he laments that he no longer will 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? >> it involves war crimes or u.n. -- or it's to communicate and enforce foreign policy interests and values of the united states of america. that's my general sense, but an expert might describe it much better. >> it's also a tool that we use to attempt to drive and shape
9:50 am
the choices and actions of others. >> so in the case of igor session, 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. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. it's never acceptable, we can all agree, for any foreign power to interfere with our electoral process, and this committee has long been focused on russia's rep rehencible conduct, and we will remain focused on the threat eminating from moscow,
9:51 am
and i agree with you, director comey, when you say this investigation that is ongoing, we will follow the facts wherever they lead on a bipartisan level, and there will be no sacred cows. there are many important issues at stake, as you gentlemen have heard. there is bipartisan agreement on the danger of illegal leaks and our ability to reauthorize important programs upon which our intelligence community relies, but i want to assure the american people that there's also bipartisan agreement on getting to the bottom of russian meddling in our election, which must remain the focus of this investigation and yours, so admiral rogers, i agree in what you said that a public acknowledgment of this foreign meddling to be a problem is important as we move forward.
9:52 am
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 they didn't do in previous elections. how it was -- were their actions different in this election than in previous ones? >> i would say the biggest difference from my perspective was both the use of cyber, the hacking as a vehicle to physically gain access information to extract that information and then to make it widely, publicly available without any alteration or change? >> the only thing i would add is they were unusually loud in their intervention. it's almost as if they didn't care that we knew what they were doing or that they wanted us to see what they were doing. it was very noisy. their intrusions in different
9:53 am
institutions. >> 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 had been victims of intrusions to permit them to tighten their systems to see if they couldn't kick the russian actors out. we also, as a government, supplied information to all the states so they could equip 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. i believe it was director clapper and secretary jay johnson issued a statement saying this is what the russians are doing. sort of an inoculation. >> and the loudness to which you
9:54 am
refer. perhaps they were doing these kinds of actions previously in other elections, but they were not doing it as loudly. what -- why do you think that they did not mind being loud and being found out? >> i don't know the answer for sure. i think, in part, their number one mission is to undermine the credibility of our entire democracy enterprise of this nation, and so it might be that they wanted us to help them by telling people what they are doing. their loudness in a way which would be counting on us to amplify it by telling the person i mean what we saw and how the russians might be undermining our elections schl successfully. that might have been part of their plan. i don't know for sure. >> i agree with director comey. i mean, a big difference to me in the past was while there was
9:55 am
cyber activity, he never saw in previous elections information being published in such a massive scale that had been, you know, illegally removed both from private individuals as well as organizations associated with the democratic process both inside the government and outside the government. >> and this massive amount in this loudness, now that it's 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 acknowledgment would tamper down the volatility? >> well, i'll let -- maybe i'll just say as an initial matter, they'll be back. they'll be back in 2020. they may be back in 2018.
9:56 am
one of the lesson they may draw from this is that they were successful because they introduced chaos and division and discord and sewed doubt about the nature of this amazing country of ours and our democratic process. it's possible they're misreading that as it worked, and so we'll come back and hit them again in 2020. i don't know, but we think we have to assume they're coming back. >> calling into question the democratic process, for example, is one element of the strategy. we're working closely, we, our fbi working closely with our european teammates to provide the insights that we have seen they, themselves, france, about to undergo significant national leadership elections over the course of the next two months. >> and in terms of the european
9:57 am
elections, what have you seen or any information that you could share with us about the russian interference? >> you have seen some of the same things that we saw in the u.s. in terms of disinformation, fake news, attempts to release information to embarrass individuals. you're seeing that play out to some extent in european elections right now. >> we look forward to continuing with you. thank you so much, mr. chairman. >> gentleman yields back. mr. turner is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. comey, admiral rogers, thank you for being here today and for what appears to be attempts at being forthcoming with the committee. i also want to thank the chairman and the ranking member schiff. this is a bipartisan effort. i think as you look to what this committee is undertaking, everyone wants answers, and everyone wants answers to all of the questions that are being asked because this does go to such an important issue.
9:58 am
admiral rogers, i'm going to begin with a question to you. now, admiral, as you know, the foreign service -- foreign intelligence surveillance act provides the circumstances or the authority under which the intelligence community may collect or 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 discuss the minimization procedures under the foreign intelligence surveillance act and those minimization procedures are supposed to protect the privacy rights of u.s. citizens. specifically it's geared towards the communications of those who may be inadd verptly or incidentally collected as a result of the intelligence community's lawful collection of communications of others. mr. rogers, is the intelligence community required to cease
9:59 am
collection or the intercept of communications if the result of the collection or interception includes the communications of an incoming u.s. administration official, the president-elect, or the president-elect's transition team. >> it depends under what authority, as i said early on. there's a series of questions we go through. is this criminal associated activity? does it deal about threats of u.s. persons? breaking of the law. there's no simple yes or no. there's a series of -- >> is there any provision that requires you to cease collection? that is my question. are you under any circumstances required to cease collection if the collection results in the either 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 i understand the question. >> are you required to cease? if you are undertaking lawful
10:00 am
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 that you are 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? well, the reason why this is important is because intuitively we would all know that the incoming administration would have conversations with those that the intelligence community may be collecting against. either by making phone calls to them or receiving phone calls to them. it's important for us to understand that the minimization procedures that are intended to collect the privacy rights of americans do not

18 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on