tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN March 20, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
my point to you is despite the narrative that gets played over and over again with respect to what the investigation might mean in terms of collusion, every person, republican and democrat, that has been briefed on it has come to the same conclusion, that there is no collusion and that's over. while we can talk about an investigation big picture holistically, the idea that so many people are trying to jump to a collusion conclusion seems very, very misguide. jake. >> off the tillerson briefing -- [ inaudible ] next month to be -- was that extended on that trip? do you expect that to be taking april 5th, 6, 7, 8th. >> i will try to have a read out. i know they are going to talk about what he accomplished in japan, south korea and obviously in beijing. but i'm going to let the secretary of state debrief the president before i get ahead of
what was discussed in beijing. >> back to the previous comments. helping to square the circle a little bit, you said in the case of the president's tweets on this ongoing investigation more things will come out that may justify that but in the case of the collusion charges you have listed all the people said there is no investigation there. >> right. >> why in one case sit sufficient to say you can rule out collusion now and in the other you say more information still needs to come out. >> i'm not ruling anything out. i'm merely explaining to you that every person, republican, democrat, obama -- certainly obama administration, across a broad section. >> about the tweets. >> in terms of what? >> that there is -- >> but i think that there is -- on the investigation itself, we know from the people who have been briefed. on the other piece of it we know that it's an ongoing thing. and even according to the department of justice in terms of the information that's been provided and chairman nunes that they are still at the begin of
this process. that is a very different thing than a group of people saying there is an ongoing and from we've been briefed there is no evidence to suggest any type of collusion. that's a different -- hunter. >> thanks sean. on a slightly different topic in his first eight weeks in office president trump has made at least ten trips to the golf course. he regularly used to criticize president obama for his time on the develop course. how is his golf game different? >> one of two things, you saw him trying to use lies this time with prime minister abe to help foster deeper relationships in southeast asia. in asia, rather, and have a growing relationship that's going to help u.s. interests. how you use the game of golf is something that he has talked about. secondly, you know, we went to -- down to -- he had a mini cabinet meeting the other day -- two weekends ago, down at his club this virginia. and i remember so many people jumping to the conclusion that he is going down and playing golf. just because you go some where
doesn't mean you have done it. on a couple of conclusions he conducted meetings there, actually had phone calls. just because he heads there doesn't mean that's what is happening. >> i know he did meet with prime minister abe on the course but we are not getting a lot of details on other high level meetings that are taking place. if he is having productive meetings on the course go ynt the president and his aides being more forthcoming about what he is doing. >> the same reason that he can have dinner and lunch with somebody -- i think the president is entitled to a degree of privacy. we bring the collective pool to be there but the president is entitled to bathe of privacy as well. >> does the president believe the fbi will do a fair job of investigating any sort of links to russia during the election? then i have one more? >> there is a variety of institutions look at it, the house and senate intelligence committee, the fbi. but yeah i mean i think when you get to the bottom of it we'll have a much better picture of
what is happening and i think it will continue to vindicate him on that. go ahead. >> the follow-up, the president tweeted this morning a question about a potential dnc connection to russia during the election. >> right. >> is he under the impression that the clinton campaign had inappropriate contact with russia during the election? >> i think that's an interesting aspect of all of this that's not being covered. number one, from everything that had been publicly available on several occasions the dnc was asked by the fbi to allow their servers to be looked at despite all of the claims about their concerns about leaking. yet the question still doesn't come out, why wouldn't the dnc on multiple occasions rebuff the fbi? why were they not wanting did -- if they were so concerned about hacks and leaking, why did the dnc not ask the fbi to come look? not only did they not ask them, they rebuffed them on multiple occasions. why? what were they height hiding? what were they concerned of?
i think there is a serious question. it's not -- they are very clear about the concerns that they have as well as all the leadership in the democratic party yet when it came to hacks and leaks out of the dnc -- and they are quick to jump to the conclusion about who did it, and yet they wouldn't allow the fbi to investigate it. there is a whole second set of concerns here in terms of what was hillary clinton's role? when you look at the obama history -- the obama administration and the clinton -- the clintons' involvement with russia in terms of donations that the clintons received from russian entities, the idea that they sold off tremendous amount of the uranium to the russian government -- and yet where was the concern for that? what are we doing to look into that? it was the obama administration in 2009 that talked about a reset with russia and a desire the reset relationships. hillary clinton signed off on the deal that gave a russian company one fifth of the u.s. uranium supply. where is the question being
that? what did they get? there was discussion the other day about a russian officialet noing both campaigns they sought to do it. where is their certain on that campaign. the democrats are quick to point fingers yet when it comes to discussing their own collusion or questions involving their involvement with russian officials or buy offs to the russians there is no discussion there. you have got to wonder on both sides where is the parity when it comes to these kinds of investigations. margaret? >> sean, when you say there is more to come forward. you have got the fbi director saying there is nothing to back up the president's claims about wiretapping, you have a series of officials. when does this enfor the president? march 28th? >> it is not a question of a date it's a question of where we get answers. you look at someone like michael flynn and you ask the question how does an american citizen who
should be protected by law from having their identity unmasked -- how does that happen? because the fbi and relevant intelligence agencies have access to this document, they can figure out who it was. >> right. who it was. wiretapping of the president -- that. >> i understand that. what i'm getting at is there is a lot of information we have come to learn in terms of what happened in terms offer is valence throughout the 2016 election and throughout the transition. you look at somebody like michael flynn and you realize they might have been looking at somebody else at that time how does somebody's name that's supposed to be protected by law from getting disclosed put out in the public? why was it put out in the public? the people in the intelligence community would have had access to that information, could have found out who it was. you have got ask the question, why was a name that should have been protected been put out there. what were the motives, who was
mind that unmasking. >> are you saying the president has evidence -- >> no, i'm saying there is a lot more questions that need to get asked about what was being done in terms of surveillance, who was being surveilled, what techniques. why are certain people being sort of quote unmasked and having their identity known. what was going on? there is a lot more questions than answers that need to get ask. >> who does the president trust to provide those answers if not the heads of all those agencies? >> we have talked about this ad nauseum. that the house and the senate intelligence committees are looking into this. today the first of several hearings that chairman nunes intends to call. senator burr has already talked about it. there is ways to go. i get you want to know the end of the book right now but we are on the first chapter. >> burr and nunes, he does trust them to provide -- >> sure. we put out a statement saying so much that we asked them to look into it. i don't think it should come as any surprise as to we have noted multiple times that is where the
president believes the proper place and the process for all of these claims to go through. steve. >> the president had meetings with north korea, who were the meetings with, and what was his reaction to north korea's test of this new rocket engine? >> i think we continue to be concerned with north korea's activity. that's why not only have we continued to have conversations with officials in japan and south korea, but continue to urge china to step in and play a larger role in deterring both the ballistic and other nuke missile threats that north korea plays. i'm not -- i will try to have a further read out on some of those conversations. but i think there is a growing concern about north korea. i think that is part of what secretary tillerson is going to be discussing with him during their meeting. >> did tillerson get a promise from china to weigh in more on north korea? >> i think he sent a very clear signal that our pal see of strategic patience is over.
the president and the secretary of state have an expectation that china employ multiple points of pressure on north korea. we know that we don't agree 100% of the time with china. but as the state department noted yesterday, both president xi and secretary tillerson agree there are opportunities for greater cooperation between china and the united states and acknowledge that there are and will be in the future differences between the two countries. but i think that secretary tillerson's trip continued to -- or helped set us down that path. i think the follow on meet that is the leaders intend to have will be helpful in that vein. shannon? >> give the talk last week about the budget, the priorities for the american tax dollars, the need to cut programs like, you know, or make cuts to programs like wheels on meals and the arts, is the president going to consider curbing some of his trips to mar-a-lago, which the jao estimates could cost 3
million per trip? is he willing to cut back on those trips at all given his concerns for the priorities of american tax dollars? >> i think that is a vast reach. presidents always travel. i think the president, wherever he goes, he express the apparatus of the white house with us. that is just something that happens. the president will continue to go and travel around the country and have meetings to solve the nation's problems. again, i think just with -- bus i know you took a little bit of a shot there, i think even the "washington post," which is no friend to conservatives, even they sided with us that these false sort of narratives on meals on wheels -- it is not a federal program. 3% of their total budget comes from a block grant that's passed through there. it is a state run program. they had apparently a phenomenal weekend this week. i get that's a cute program to point at but it is false and misleading to try to make that narrative stick. >> i note to your point that all
presidents travel. no presidents travelled so often and so early to their own private residence. >> president bush went to crawford. >> not that early. >> i get it. but at the same time the president is very clearly working seven days a week. this is where he goes to see his family. he brings people down there. this is part of being president. john? >> thank you sean. turning back to the meeting with chancellor merkel on friday, did the president and the chancellor discuss the economic crisis in greece at all? and given the appointment of two officials to the treasury department who have been critical of the international monetary fund, does the administration see new or different roles for the imf in resolving the grook economic pros he is. >> let me refer to you the treasury department at imf. i think the readout that we provided on the chancellor's visit speaks for it self.
they spoke at length as far as what they discussed and what they meant. i'm not going to step on that. francesca? >> thank you. are you aware of any white house officials that are under investigation by the fbi? >> no. >> okay. and you mentioned the hangers on in the campaign earlier. and carter page. but there was also a question about roger stone. was he also in that category? is he someone that the president is still in frequent contact with? he is also called an informal adviser to the president and a confidant of him? >> mr. stone is somebody the president has known for a long time. he worked briefly on the campaign, i think until august of 2015, from recollection. but they -- they have talked from time to time, but i don't think any time recently. but they had a long relationship going back years where he would provide counsel. again, he played a role early on in his campaign but ended that role in august of 2015. and i don't know at all when the last time they even spoke was.
>> sean, did the -- in the meeting with gates this morning, did the president's cut in nih financeding come up? how does he square meeting with gates and sort of focusing on this whole need to continue medical research, and then at the same time want to cut medical search funding by such a large amount? >> i know they talked about cures and health. i think he applauds a lot of the work that they have done overseas in particular. i don't have a full read on that yet but i'll try to get you more on it. look, we have discussed the nih in particular. i think there is this assumption in washington that if you don't spend more on the on a subject that you are not caring as much. when you will be at some of the agencies and departments and programs that we've seen, you know in many cases they are not meeting their mission. i think there are cost savings that can be achieved so you can focus the dollars that are being allocated towards a more effective use of the mission at hand. but you know, it's
interesting -- only in washington do you literally judge the success of something by how much money you throw at the problem not actually whether it's solving the problem or coming up with anything. >> we are going to continue to monitor the sean spicer briefing over at the white house. i want to go to the house intelligence committee meeting. james comey, the fbi director and the director of the nsa, admiral mike rogers is also being questioneds well. >> i should emphasize something admiral rogers said earlier, we made no judgment on whether the russians were successful in any way on having an impact on the election. that's not in the report. we didn't opine in it that's not win our. >> i understand. but we are looking at russian activities and making a conclusion of why they did that. >> sure. >> in this case they preferred one candidate over the other. i was in moscow last august. i came home and did some media interviews and talked with folks and i said they are going to mess with our elections. that wasn't based on
intelligence analysis or specific information. it's just based on history. we knew that they would. i was always asked who do they want to win, and i said then, i don't think they care. i don't think they -- a believed they could determine who could win. i said a number of times they want to break down the foundation, take away the trust in our institutions, take away the faith in our electoral process. they agreed with me for a long time. suddenly they didn't. that was when the president asked for the report and he asked for it quickly and then the analysis changed quickly. it went from no, no, they don't really care, to no, no, they want mr. trump to win. i think there is another plausible explanation. which is what i want to talk to you about in the minutes i have remaining. let me ask you, do you believe
they expected secretary clinton to win the election? >> yes, as of august certainly, august, september. >> mr. rogers? >> yes. >> mr. comey, you indicated as of august, september, do you believe they ever came to a conclusion you know what, mr. trump is going to win? >> no, our -- the assessment of the intelligence commune was that early on they thought he might have a shot. so they wanted to mess with our election, hurt our country in general. that's always the baseline. they hated her, secretary clinton, wanted to harm her, and thought they might have a chance to help mr. trump. and later concluded that mr. trump was hopeless and they would focus then on just trying to undermine secretary clinton, especially with the european allies. >> got that. >> great. >> so up until center and through the fall, they believed that secretary clinton would win is that true? >> i think the assessment was late in the summer they concluded based on the polling, i think a lot of people, were reading, that mr. trump didn't have a chance and they shifted
to focusing on just trying to undermine her. >> i tell you if you were to tell me and i know you didn't, but i'm just saying if anyone were to tell me they concluded mr. trump was going to win i would say they were nuts. because there was no one in the world who thought that. every media organization, political organization, every government organization i'm familiar with last fall thought that secretary clinton want the next president of the united states. >> i think the russians agreed. >> absolutely did agree. and then this is the point -- this is such a fine line but it's such an important point -- and that is how can you know for certain if the russians were motivated by hurting the person they thought in fact fully expected was going to be the next president of the united states and comparing that with a motive that's kind of a hail mary pass you know what maybe this guy has a shot let's try to help him get elected. because those motives -- coming back to my original pointed, determining motives is very difficult. you have to have either very direct information or you have
to be able to get inside one's head and figure out what it is that's driving them. knowing the russians expected secretary clinton to win would you see that some of those things they have done would be consistent with undermining her president cease, not necessarily because any thought mr. trump was going to twin and they wanted to help him? >> i think it's two closely related sides of the same coin. to put it in a homily metaphor. i hate the new england patriots. no matter who they play, i am at the same time rooting for the patriots and hoping their opponents beats them because there are only two players on the field. the hatred for mrs. clinton was all the way along. when mr. trump was the nominee there was a sense of if would be great if he could win, help him, but we can hurt her no matter what. then it shifted to he has no chance so let's focus on hurting
her. that was the assessment of the intel jns community. understand the challenge sometimes of trying to understand sbechblt but the level -- we aren't going to go into specifics in an open unclassified forum but the multiple sources we had which were able to collaborate the judgment -- there was a witness we were high confidence in everything except for on one issue, to include the intent. >> i went through the 2,000 some odd pains, by the way not many people did. many people are casting aspersions and not doing that. having done, that i think a reasonable person could say what i've said here today that there is another element to this. there is another as you said mr. comey, another side of the coin. and this is a very, very difficult, in my opinion, thing to say with high levels of confidence which is why once
again the swell jens community isn't perfect sometimes and we do make mistakes. i would like to yield back and come back laider. >> gentlemen yielded back. >> a couple of questions by myself and mr. himes, then we'll go to mr. castro. director, you were asked about mr. clapper's comments. >> i understood the question to be about the report itself. >> i want to make it clear to people though, the intelligence assessment, unclassified intelligence assessment doesn't discuss the issue of u.s. person coordination with the russians. aassume that's because at the time of the report in january of this year that was under an investigation that you have now disclosed; is that right? >> correct. the counter-intelligence investigation is the fbi's business. the ic report was about what the intelligence community had about what russia had done. there is nothing in the report
about coordination or anything like that. it's a separate responsibility of the fbi to try and understand that, investigate it, and assess it. >> so we shouldn't read mr. clapper's comments as suggesting that he takes a different view of whether you had sufficiently credible information and evidence to initiate an fbi counter-intelligence investigation? >> i don't know exactly what he meant. all i can say is what the fact is, custom is as we just laid out. there is the report and then there is our investigate. >> the report doesn't cover the investigation? >> correct. >> mr. himes? >> thank you mr. schiff. gentlemen n my original questions to you, i asked you whether the intelligence community had undertaken any sort of study to determine whether russian interference had had any influence on the electoral process. ng you told me the answer was no? >> correct. >> correct. >> we said the u.s. intelligence community does not do analysis or reporting on the u.s. political process or u.s. public
opinion. that is not our -- >> thanks to the modern technology that's in front of me right here i have got a tweet from the president an hour ago saying the nsa and fbi tell congress that congress that russia did not influence the electoral process. that's not correct, that tweet. >> i haven't been following anybody on twitter while i have been sitting here. >> i can read it the nsa and fbi tell congress that russia did not influence the electoral process. the tweet has gone out to millions of americans, 16.1 million, to be exact. is the tweet, as i read it to you, is that accurate? >> well, it's hard for me to react. let me just tell you what we understand the state of what we've said is we've offered no opinion, have no view, have no information on potential impact because it's never something that we looked at. >> okay so it's not too far of a logical leap to conclude that
the assertion that you have told the congress that there was no influence on the electoral process is not quite right? >> it certainly wasn't our intention to say that today because we don't have any information on that subject and that's not something that was looked at. >> aid mirl rogers before i yield back to the ranking member there is another tweet that says nsa director rogers tells congress unmasking individuals endangers national security. my understanding of the community is there is a lengthy and specific process for if unmasking but it does not inherently in and of itself endanger. >> i assume the comment is designed to address the leaking of such information. again, i have not read what you are saying to me so i'm not in a position to comment on it. >> thank you i'll yield back to the ranking member. mr. castro. >> thank you. thank you, gentlemen, for your service to the nation and for your testimony today. i want to take a moment to turn
to the christopher steele dossier which was exposed to the media before the election. my question is how many claims in the dossier are looking more and more likely as if they are accurate. can you ask you, can you describe who christopher steel is? >> no, we are not going to comment on that. >> are you investigating the claims made in the dossier? >> not going to comment on that, mr. castro. >> okay. with he will the reputation of the author, christopher steel is a former accomplished british intelligence officer. this is not someone who doesn't know how to run a source. and not someone without context. the allegations it raises about president trump's campaign aides, connections to russians, when overlayed with known established facts and timelines from the 2016 campaign are very revealing. so let's begin. in general as my colleagues have discussed before is it true that a large number of ole garks and
businessmen in russia have profited from their close continuing relationships with the kremlin? >> would you say that one more time, sir. i want to make sure i understand. >> have ole garks and wealthy folks in russia profited from their connection to the kremlin? >> yes. >> and there are no free lunches in russia. if you get wealthy under putin it's because you support putin and are expected to support him. is that fair to say? >> i would assume there is a perception of advantage, but i would also assume it varies by the specifics and the particular relationship and individual we are talking about. >> sure. okay. putin never just trusts, he verifies, right. as former kgb man, he wants to keep tabs on hiswelliest citizens, especially those that could ever pose a threat to him; is that right? >> i assume he maintains
knowledge of those with particular centers of influence around russia. >> thank you. is it likely that the kremlin would accept or actively trade fafs or other valuable information, intelligence about ole garks or wealthy businessmen living ard broad? >> is it possible yes snrks i don't know that i would make a flat at the same time on that. >> it's certainly a possibility? >> it is a possibly. >> the dossier definitely seems right on these points a. quid pro quo relationship seems to exist twen the trump campaign and putin's russia. a july entry asserts russians were receiving intel from trump's campaign on russian ole garks and their families in the united states. an entry in june suggests trump has received regular flow of intelligence from the kremlin including on his democratic and other political rivals. which is something for something. a july 30th entry likewise states that quote a close source
to trump campaign confirms regular exchange with the kremlin has existed at least eight years, including intelligence fed back to russia on ole garks' activities in the united states. is it generally true that moscow actively seeks and supports whether through the ole garks, overt russian officials or undeclared russian intelligence officials sympathetics aboard? >> generally true. >> i mean, generally it is a tactic we have seen over time. again, i would caution us. we are talking about very specific cases theoretically here and i am not prepared to got into any specifics. >> i know my colleagues have touched upon this, but i think it's important in the context of christopher steel's dossier to bring it up again. so my question is, is it likely or plausible that the russians might seek out americans for
moscow's purposes? >> it is one of the focuses of our counter-intelligence mission, to try to understand the ways in which they try to do that. that's at the core of their intelligence gathering try and coopt, recruit americans to give them information. >> so the dossier states in an entry dated august 10, 2016 that a quote kremlin official involved in u.s. relations unquote suggests that moscow might offer assistance to quote sympathetic u.s. actors. does this sounds like a plausible tactic out of the russian play book? >> i'm not going to comment on that, mr. castro. >> eek okay, let's get even more specific. among the u.s. actors this kremlin official mentions are carter page and michael flynn, whom my colleagues have already discussed at length and custom the dossier describes as quote examples of successes by the kremlin officials. we know carter page went to moscow on july 7th.
we know carter page obtained approval from the trump campaign manager at the time, corey lewandowski as reported in politico citing national security campaign official j.d. gordon. let me ask you another question with respect to somebody else. is it correct that efor senchin the president of rosneft is long time aide and confidant to vladimir putin? >> i'm not going to answer that. >> in another entry the dossier states that during his visit page confirmed that quote if trump were elected u.s. president sanctions on russia would be lifted. although fortunately the white house hasn't been naive as to unilaterally lift sanctions on
russia it was reported on july 27th of this year they sold a stake in its company in what reuter's calls one of its biggest privatizations since the 1990s. furthermore, public records show the ownership structure of the stake ultimately includes a cayman islands land's companies who beneficial owners cannot be prais traced. what a coincidence. is this the subject of your investigation, one of the subjects of your investigation? >> same answer. >> okay. >> meaning i'm not going to comment. >> i understand. so let's move to wikileaks for a moment, who played such a prominent role in the 2016 election. as has been established before and re-established at this hearing wikileaks was an unwitting pawn or coconspirator. due agree this was done in order to offer moscow some measure of
separation as to mask its happened at having hacked and stole ten data in the first place but so it could still have it publicly posted to have it inflict damage on a clinton campaign? >> i think that's fair. >> yes. >> okay an entry from july 19th 2016 in the dossier states that a trump associate knew that the kremlin was using wikileaks in order to maintain quote plausible deniability of its involvement. three days after this entry, wikileaks carries out the kremlin's wishes and publishes upwards of 20,000 stolen dnc e-mails and 8,000 associated e-mail attachments. and the rest, as they say, is history. another entry dated august 17th has carter page and a russian associate discussing wikileaks, publishing e-mails in order to swing sanders supporters away from clinton and to trump. and again, from a sent 14th
entry in the dossier, quote, kremlin has further compromising material on clinton in form of e-mails and considers disseminating after parliamentary elections in late september. and on october 7th, wikileaks publishes john podesta's hacked e-mails. the coincidences keep piling up. ltsz' turn in the few minutes that i have remaining again to maul manafort as a follow-up to mr. himes' questioning. suffice it to say paul manafort was major part of the trump campaign, including serving as its compare man, convention manager and chief strategist before departing the campaign in disgrace in august 2016. it is also established the fact that man fort was a long time adviser to russian ukrainian political leadership. is paul mon part a subject in your investigation? >> i'm not going to comment on that. >> all right. director, can you describe to
the american people the russian concept of kproe naught? >> it is a technique they use to gather information on people that may be embarrassing or humiliating and using it to coerce cooperation. >> have you known instances where that has been successfully leveraged? >> yes, i believe our corporate intelligence has encountered it a number of times. >> does that include private places such is as hotels that are wire for audio and video? >> i don't think i remember enough about the particulars to say, about you in theory, sure. >> thank you. i yield back, i yield back to ranking member schiff. >> i recognize mr. heck. >> admiral rogers, before i get into my main body of my remarks i want to go back to your earlier comment about that there is no evidence to indicate that
there was a successful russian hacking of voter results or tabulations. what i did not hear you say is whether or not there had been any attempts to hack into election systems of any kind. >> i can answer because the fbi's responsibility is in the united states. we saw no indication of that. we saw efforts to pain trait voter registration boibs, state boards of elections at that level. we saw no efforts aimed at the vote itself. >> but you did see efforts to pane trade registration roles? >> correct. >> did you see efforts to penetrate any other portions of election systems other unanimous registrations? in this country it is a miley decentralized system. as a consequence, as you recall, then secretary of homeland security jeh johnson indicated that election systems should become a part of our critical infrastructure for cyber
security purposes? >> their efforts were aimed at voter registration systems in vary jous states. it takes different forms in various states. sometimes as a private vendor, sometimes at state. that's where it was focused and not on the voting machines itself, vote tabulations vote transmission that we've seen. >> thank you. i yield back to the ranking member, i think. >> time is expired. let me go to mr. turner. >> thank you mr. chairman. there have been a lot of statements that have been made up here as opposed to questions and we don't certainly feel the need to clarify all of them but there is one aspect that does need to be clarified because it is has also involved both of your testimonies. there has been discussion up here concerning the statements by james clapper, and rather than do the conjecture as it has been made, i'm going to just read it. chuck todd said let me ask you this, does intelligence exist that can definitively answer the following question, whether
there were improper contacts between the trump campaign and russian officials? same clapper said, we do not include any evidence in our report. i say our -- that's nsa, fbi, and cia, with my office and the director of national intelligence that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the trump complain and the russians. there was no evidence of that included in our report. chuck todd followed up. i understand that. but does it exist? james clapper answered, not to my knowledge. so the text is not merely related to the report. i yield back. >> mr. kpraufcrawford is recogn. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you gentlemen for being here today. i will start with director comy. despite your expressed disdain for the new england patriots i think tom brady would like to express his gratitude for the fbi's assistance in recovering
his stolen super bowl jersey i'll do that now. >> ift reason i don't like the patriots is they represent sustained excellence. as a giants fan that drives me crazy. laugh will. >> director comey are you familiar with an article, from the "washington post" entitled trump campaign guts gop's anti-russia stance on ukraine? >> i'm not familiar with that article. i don't remember it. >> i'll ask now to add this to the record. just for your edification, director, there is an allegation contained in that natural that at a national security administration platform meeting trump added an attempt that trump stipd out platform calling for lethal defensive weapons and replaced it with softer language calling for quote appropriate assistance. are you familiar with a march 189, 2017 story in the
washington examiner entitled how pundits got key parts of the russia story all wrong. are you familiar with that? >> i don't think i am. >> i'll consent to add it to the record. also for your edification we'll go to some of the meat of that story. are you aware of an allegation that trump staffers gutted the ukraine platform? >> am i aware of the article on that. >> the article or any activity to that end? >> i don't want to talk about anything -- i'm willing to talk about whether i have seen different things in the media. i don't want to talk about anything beyond that. >> safe to ayou are not aware of the final platform that contained all the original language bus a plorgs of the language added by a platform committee member? >> i don't want to comment on that. >> i want to go through some of the meat of this. reading from the platform, it says, quote, we will meet the
return of russian belligerence with the same resolve that led to the collapse of the soviet union. we will not accept any territorial change in eastern europe imposed by force or elsewhere, and we will bring to justice practitioners of aggression, end quote. does that sound like a pro-russian or pro putin statement? >> that's not for me to comment on. >> further in the platform it says, quote, we support maintaining and if warranted increasing sanctions together with our allies against russia unless and until you kpran's sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully restored. we also support providing assistance to the armed forces of ukraine and greater coordination with nato defense planning. again, that sounds like fairly clear language in relationship to russia. would you agree? >> same answer, mr. crawford. >> thank you. the final language i'll get to here in just a second.
there was an amendment, but the final language regarding that plank of the platform with regard to national security related to russia, it says, quote, we support maintaining and if warranted increasing sanctions together with our allies against russia unless and until ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity are full lee restored. we also support providing assistance to the armed forces of ukraine and greater coordination with the nato defense planning. again, that, to me, that sounds fairly clear and straightforward that that is not conducive to a putin administration, would you agree? >> i give you the same answer, mr. crawford. >> thank you. it's also important to note that that platform was adopted in coordination and concert with the trump administration as they met at the convention and they went through the platform process. the trump campaign agreed to the platform condemning kremlin belligerence calling for
continued and perhaps increased sanctions against russia as i indicated in the exthe of the platform for refusing to accept any territorial change in eastern europe imposed by force in ukraine or elsewhere and pledging to aid ukraine's armed forces. so i bring that up just to highlight and note the fact that none of that appears to be pro putin or pro-russian language. >> mr. crawford, will you yield back to me. >> yes, mr. cuomoey, i want to make sure, i know you are not going to comment on this, i hope that you will take this back to your investigators. because there seems to be the line out there that somehow the republican water watered down its platform. and that's not true. that didn't happen. in fact, what happened is that the platform was actually increased, increased its certainty against what russians were up to. and it actually amended the platform to make it stronger than what it initially was.
so you know, i know there is a lot of circumstantial evidence out there about all these supposed people that knew the russians. but the reality is, and remains the case, the republican party had a very strong platform, it was against the russians. and it was increased in its strength, not decreased like has been reported. i know that you won't comment, but i hope that at least you will provide this to your investigative team so we can at least get this off the table. will you take this? >> sure. >> back? we'll get it to you. sorry mr. crawford, i yield back. >> not at all. thank you mr. comey. i appreciate that. admiral rogers would you like to comment about new england patriots before i move forward? >> i am a chicago bears guy born and raised. >> admiral, are employees of the intelligence community agencies
require to disclose business with foreign nationals? >> yes. broadly. although i'll be the first to admit not all foreign interactions are the same. interactions with the british are in a very different place than other countries for example. >> appreciate that claire feick. to your knowledge, are elected officials required to disclose contact with foreign nationals? >> i don't know what the specifics are across the federal government because clearly in many jobs that's part interaction with foreign counter parts is part of your job. i'm the first to acknowledge that. i interact with foreign counter-parts as does director comey regularly in the course of our duties. >> are campaigns required to disclose contacts with foreign nationals. >> i don't know. >> are private citizens required in any way to report or disclose contact with foreign nationals? >> i don't know. >> is it customary for transition teams of a presidential campaign for
transition team members to meet with foreign nationals to your knowledge, is that customerary. >> that's an area i have knowledge on. >> is it usual. >> i don't have any knowledge. >> has it happened before. >> i have never been part of a transition team. >> are transition teams required to report contact with foreign nationals. >> i apologize i don't know the law there. >> thank you. i tooeld yield back to the chairman. >> thank you mr. crawford. ms. stefanic is recognized. >> thank you mr. chairman, thank you director comey and admiral rogers for your testimony today. director comey, broadly when the fbi has any open counter-intelligence investigation what are the typical protocols or procedures for notifying the dni, the white house, and senior congressional leadership? >> there is a practice of a quarterly briefing on sensitive cases to the chair and ranking
of the house and senate intelligence committees. the reason i hesitate is thanks to feedback we have gotten we are trying to make it better. and that involves a briefing of the deputy of justice, i believe the dni, and the -- some portion of the national security council at the white house. >> if that's quarterly -- >> brief them before congress is briefed. >> it's quarterly for all three then, senior kong leadership, the white house and the dni. >> i think that's right. that's my practice, not by rule or written policy. which is thanks to the feedback given to us, we are treeg to tweak it in certain ways. >> since your opening statement you confirmed there is a kaernt intelligence investigation currently open. it also referenced that it started in july. when did you notify the dni, the white house, or senior kong leadership? >> that's good question. congressional leadership,
sometime recently they were briefed on the nature of the investigation and some details i said. obviously the department of justice had been aware of it all along. the dni -- i don't know what the dni's's knowledge of it was because we didn't have a dni until mr. coats took office and i briefed him his first modern in office. >> just to drill down on this, if the open investigation began in july and the briefing of congressional leadership only occurred recently, why was there no notification prior to the recent -- the past monday? >> i think our decision was it was a matter of such sensitivity that we wouldn't include it in the quarterly briefings. >> when you said, our decision, is that your decision? is that usually your decision, what gets briefed in those quarterly updates? >> no, it's usually the decision of the head our counter-intelligence division. >> just to get the detail on the record, why was the decision made not to brief senior
congressional leadership until recently when the investigation had been open since july, a very serious investigation? why was that decision made to wait months? >> because of the sensitivity of the matter. >> stepping back more broadly, in the case of russia, we know that cyber hacking is just one tactic that's typically part of a broader influence or information warfare campaign. and we know the russian government is ready and willing to employ hacking as but one of many tools in their tool kit to obtain information for use against the united states. is there any evidence that russia tried to hack other entities associated with the 2016 presidential campaign in addition to the dnc or clinton campaign operatives? >> yes, many others. >> can you specify those others? did that include the rnc? did that include any other campaigns of the candidates in
the primaries, either democrats or republicans? >> what we can say in an unclassified seth what was in the report, we have evidence they were trying to infiltrate associations with the republican party and there were not releases of material taken, hacked from republican organizations. >> but the hacking, the use of cyber tools as part of their broader how do you call it hybrid warfare, information warfare campaigns, it was done to both parties? >> correct. >> thank you. taking a further step back to what's been this news recently, i'm referring to the yahoo data breach, last week the department of justice announced it was charging hackers with ties to the fsb in the 2014ia. >> data breach. was this hack done to your knowledge for intelligence purposes? >> i can't say in this forum. >> press reporting indicates that yahoo hacks targeted journalists, dissidents and
government officials. do you know what the fsb did with the information they obtained? >> same answer. >> i understand that. how did the administration determine who to sanction as part of the election hacking? how familiar with that decision process and how is that determination made? >> i don't know. i'm not familiar with the -- i don't recall. i don't have any personal knowledge of how the decisions were made about who to sanction. >> looking forward -- this is for both of you what is the nsa and the fbi doing to keep americans safe, to keep campaign entities, to keep any entity associated with a major campaign safe from aggressive russia cyber measures that were utilized in this past election? >> so we continue to maximize the insights we are generating about activity. for example, this started with nsa initially gaining access in
the summer of '156789 we became aware of that activity. shared it with our fbi teammates. that continues. we try to make sure that the insights we generate are shared with our law enforcement teammates who then interagent with the private sector. we are trying to work broadly across the u.s. government to increase cyber security. as you heard discussed ongoing discussions about what is the role of the voting infrastructure in the united states in terms of critical infrastructure. do we need to bring that within the critical infrastructure framework. i know that topic has been going on some period of time. >> director comey. >> that's right. and just making sure that we are sharing information when we get it that someone is being hit, and more importantly that we are showing people what we've learned from this cycle so they can tighten up. >> thank you. it seems to me in my first line of questioning the more serious a counter-intelligence investigation is, that would seem to trigger the need to
update not just the white house, the dni, but also senior congressional leadership. you said it was due to the severity. i think moving forward it seems that the most severe and serious investigations should be notified to senior con leadership. with that, thanks for the lenience chairman. i yield back. >> that's good feedback ms. safantic. >> thele change is times we want to keep it tight within the askedive branch. and the practice has been then we breach sbrs the executive branch. we have to figure out how to navigate that in a good way. >> we may have to update the law on that. gentleman yields back. schiff is recognized for 15 minutesen in we'll come back to our side for 15, and that should be it. >> thank you mr. chairman. just a couple of questions before i hand it back to mr. heck. do the russians favor the united states provision of lethal defensive weapons to ukraine, as admiral?
>> no. >> they would strongly oppose such an idea, would they not? >> they have been opposed to it to date. >> and i can tell you that the idea of providing lethal defensive weapons to ukraine has bipartisan support on the hill, including senator mccain, certainly myself and i would imagine many members of this committee. there was an effort at the convention to strengthen the platform by including a provision that would provide lethal defensive weapons to ukraine. that was defeated. the campaign manager for the trump campaign at the time, paul manafort denied the campaign was involved in defeating that amendment. but the delegate who offered the amendment later disclosed to the press that it was dropped at the insistence of the trump campaign. j.d. gordon a national security adviser for the trump campaign was forced later to admit in fact he had weighed in against the amendment that would have provided that the u.s. should
give lethal defensive weapons to ukraine. so i i would join my chairman in asking you to look into this, particularly since we know that ambassador kislyak attended the convention and if there was any communication between the russians and the trump campaign that had the effect and the coordination that resulted in the defeat of an amendment that was against russian interests. the committee would certainly like to know. and we welcome that inquiry. mr. heck? >> thank you ranking member. there are a lot of emotions kicking around in this room today. i perceive anger and outrage and subdued some betterness. the one i feel overwhelmingly is sadness. we have heard nothing but terribly disturbing evidence of what has happened to our country at the hands of arguably our greatest adversary. and what's worse, the evidence we have heard so far all seems -- all seems to lead to
the conclusion that they had help from the inside, that this was in part an inside job from u.s. persons, willing american accomplices or terribly naive ones, or probably both, who helped the russians attack our country and our democracy. we are both still at the early stages of our investigation. we are not indicting anyone. we are merely laying out some of the evidence and the facts dirty though they be, sleazy though they be. and no matter what we can safely conclude at this point that never in the modern era has a president and his administration had so many foreign entanglements, entanglements that continue to push american foreign policy away from its core roots, beliefs, interests, and alliances towards unprecedented positions that only putin himself could approve of. how else can we explain the
modification to the republican party platform in such a decidedly pro-russian way? republicans who were always so strong against geopolitical foes like russia. i know my colleagues on this committee take the russia threat very seriously. why wouldn't the people who enhabit the white house? how else can we explain an administration that beats up our oldest allies, like australia and britain, and our strongest and most sacrosanct alliance like nato but never ever say a bad word about putin. in fact they say a lot of good words about putin. an administration that we have heard desizively makes up baseless wiretapping charges against a former united states president, equates our intelligence agencies to nazi germany, and argues moral equivalence between a repressive authoritarian states with an ab hornet human rights record like russia and our free and open
democrat crazy. and yet this administration never ever utters any criticism of russia. let's be clear, though, this is not about party. it's not about relitigating the election. it's not as if anything we do here will put a president from a different political party in the oval always. i hope that it's clear that it's about something much more important. and no, it's not about political motivation to my friend and who said and suggested that earlier. this is about patriotism. about something way more important than party. this is about country. and the very heart of what this country is built on, which is open, free, fair, trusted elections. we don't take our investigation lightly. and i know you don't. indeed, you go through a he process to even decide to do that, whether to expend the resources, to begin with
credible allegations and reason to believe that there is something that warrants it. and i no doubt believe that you have talked to lawyers in and out of the prosecution divisions about whether or not this warrants an investigation. i know you don't take this lightly. but what we have seen is damning evidence today of what russia did. we've also seen damning evidence of how they did it. russia has a history of using active measures, many of which we have heard about today. let's recap them. we are getting near the end. hacking and dumping information to damage or embarrass their enemies. we heard about this of course with respect to wikileaks and gusi fer 2.0. using third parties and cutouts, business people and oligarchs and private individuals to cultivate relationships. we've discussed ambassador sergey kislyak, ross nerve ceo
sechin and vladimir putin himself. we have heard of companies the bank of cypress, ross nerve, and a confusing webb of offshore shell companies used it would seem to hide or to launder money. we've also heard how russia released disinformation to spread rumors and confuse the public and so diss trust in the ability to each know truth objectively using propaganda media outlets whether directly own by russia or not to release such disinformation in order to claim applausability deniability of russia's hands. here again we see wikileaks and gusi fer 2.0 but also use of propaganda outlets like, t rt a of course the use of u.s. persons of influence, whether through active collusion or coordination or naive acquies
acquiescen acquiescence, we don't yt know the full extent of russia to undermine our elections and undermine our democracy. on that last point we have heard about individuals on the trump orbit who fell somewhere on that spectrum from mere naivete, disturbing enough if it's within those supposed to be running our country's foreign policy to dupes, this gallery includes those already fired, roger stone, adviser to donald trump, paul man fort, adviser to donald trump, michael flynn, national security adviser to donald trump. carter page, adviser to donald trump. but the cloud of deep suspicion in russian entangle meant extends the those still