tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN March 20, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
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 in
power. rex tillerson. michael caputo, jeff sessions attorney general for donald trump, and members of the trump family itself. this matters. it's serious. our battleships weren't sunk and our towers didn't collapse a la 2011. but no mistake, 2016 is are year we should mark on our calendars. and it's still going on. the attack didn't end on election day. and will continue, as you have suggest, unless we, all of us in this room, stop it. a admiral rogers you have proudly worn that uniform your entire career. i am proud of your service and grateful for it. but i would ask you, sir, not even with respect to this specific investigation, to use your own words as someone who no doubt has been in theater, who has lost brothers and sisters in
combat, to explain to me, but more importantly, to the american people. don't' assume they know the answer. tell them in your words, why we should care about russia's active measures campaign aimed at destabilizing our democracy and that of our allies. in your words, sir, why should they care? >> i don't think it's in the best interests of our nation for any external entity to attempt to manipulate outcomes, to shape choices. that should be the inherent role of the democracy. the investigation we are going through i think is a positive in the sense it will help illuminate to all of us regardless of matter what are the implications here and what does it mean for us because i think our conclusion and that of the intelligence community broadly here is absent some change this behavior is not likely to stop. absent some change in the
dynamic, this is not likely to be the last time we'll be having these discussions about this kind of activity. i don't think that's in anybody's best interest for us as a nation. >> director comey? parallel question. again, in general terms. and not with respect to the specific investigation you have revealed here today. not asking you to go into specifics on any individuals. but, please, explain briefly to me, and more importantly, to the american public, why we should care about russia's use of u.s. persons, of americans, helping russia destabilize our democracy. >> like admiral rogers, i truly believe we are a shining city on a hill, to quote a great american, and one of the things we radiate to the world is the importance of our wonderful,
often messy but free and fair democratic system and the elections that undergird it. so when there is an effort by a foreign nation state to mess with that, to destroy that, to corrupt that, it's very, very serious, threatens what is america. if any americans are part of that effort, it's a very serious married. so you would expect the fbi the to want to understand is that so? and if so, who did what? but, again, i want to be very careful that people don't overinterpret my words. to preserve our ability to answer those questions we are not talking about our work. i am not here voluntarily. i would rather not be talking about this at all but we thought it was important to share at least that much with the committee and the american people. now we are going to close our mouths and do our work to see if we can answer those questions. because the answers matter. >> they do, indeed. i thank you both for those answers. and i thank you both for your service to our country. i would like to think that we can turn this from a sad event into a positive one.
this country has stood up and fought on behalf of its own health and welfare and that of its citizens and met any number of challenges throughout our nation's history. the worst things we could do is underestimate the nature this challenge before us today. with that ranking member, i would preach it if i could yield to my friend from texas, mr. castro, briefly. >> mr. castro. >> thank you. one more question with respect to leaks. i know that's been a big topic of the line of questioning and of course is a concern to all of us regardless of political party. but i want to ask you, director, is it possible that. sof those leaks could come from not the intelligence community but from members of the white house staff for example? >> sure. it could come from lots of different places. and it's often one of the things that's challenges as i said
about a leak investigation. think it's going to be a small circle but it turns out a lot of people either knew about it or heard os about it and had stories to tell to journalists about it. in my experience it's often coming from places you didn't anticipate. >> the reason i asked the question is because the president has berated the fbi and the intelligence community on the the issue of leaks and others have berated the intelligence community and the press because of these leaks. but i think it's worth considering that it's quite possible there are folks that have a kind of political munchausen by proxy situation where they leak information because they want to be the safe year once it blows up. there are all sorts of individuals that serve on political staffs. and i think that we ought to consider the possibility that perhaps it is somebody at the white house. thank you. i yield back. >> the gentlemen will yield back. mr. heard? >> thank you chairman.
gentlemen, thank you all for being here and thank you for your continued service to your country. i've learned the value of sitting in one place for a long period of time and listening. today has added to that understanding. and i'm going to try to ask questions that you all can answer in this format and are within your areas of expertise. and director rogers, my first question to you. the exploit that was used by the russians to penetrate the dnc, was it sophisticated. was it a zero day exploit, zero day being some time for those that are watching an tactic that has never been use to have. >> in an open forum i am not going to talk about how they executed hacks. >> if members of the dnc had not -- let me retraz this, can we talk about spearfishing? >> sure, in general terms, yes,
sir. >> spearfishing is when somebody sends an e-mail. and they -- somebody clicks on something in that e-mail. >> the user thinks they are receiving an e-mail either of interest or from a legitimate user. they will open it up and they will often click, if you will on a link or an attachment. >> was that type of tactic used in the --? >> again. i'm not in an unclassified forum just not going to be able to answer. >> eye apologize. director comey, when was the first time the fbi notified the dnc of the hack roughly? >> i think august of 2015. >> and was that prior to any of the information being leaked, being sent on -- put on wikileaks? >> yes. the first russian directed releases were middle of june of
next year by dc leaks and this gusi fer 2.0 persona and that was followed by wikileaks. about a year earlier. >> there was less thattan a year between the fbi's first notification of potential problems with the dnc network and that information getting on wikileaks? >> yes. >> have you been able to -- when did the dnc provide access to the fbi for your technical folks to review what happened? >> we never got direct access to the machines themselves. the dnc in the spring of 2016 hired a firm that ultimately shared with us their forensics from their review of the system. >> director rogers did the nsa ever get access to the dnc hardware? >> the nsa didn't ask for
access. that's not in your job. >> good copy. so director, fbi notified the dnc early, before any information was put on wikileaks. and when the -- you have still never been given access to any of the technical or the physical machines that were hacked by the russians? >> that's correct. although we got the forensics from the pros that they hired, which -- best practice always to get access to the machines themselves. but this -- my folks tell me, was an appropriate substitute. >> at what point did the compancompany the dnc used share that forensic information to you? >> i don't remember for sure. i think june. i could be wrong about that. >> the public went public in june of '16 with their conclusions.
i would assume it was around that time. >> about the time -- i think it was a little bit before the announcement but i'll say approximately june. >> so that was how long after the first notification that the fbi did of the dnc? >> ten months. >> ten months. so the fbi notified the dnc of the hack, and it was not until ten months later that you had any details about what was actually going on forensically on their network? >> that's correct. assuming i have the dates about right. but it was some months later. >> knowing what we know now, would the fbi have done anything different in trying to notify the dnc of what happened? >> oh, sure. >> what measures would you have done differently? >> we would have sent up a much larger flare. we would have just kept banging
and banging on the door. knowing what i know now, we made extensive efforts to notify. we would have -- i might have walked over there myself knowing what i know now. but i think the efforts that we made, our agents made, were reasonable at the time. >> good copy. and do you have a ballpark of the number of private sector entities that you have to notify of these types of breaches? >> hundreds and thousands. in this particular case, we had to notify hundreds. i think maybe more than 1,000 entities that the russians were hitting at the same time. >> admiral rogers do you have anything to add to that? >> no, because as we pass the information to the fbi, what started all of this was a pretty massive effort on the part of our russian counter-parts. >> i have said this many times. the outcome of grizzly staff what the intelligence community refers to as the russian hacking has been the wedge, whether real
or perceived between the executive branch, the intelligence community zprk the public. this ises an asymmetrical tool that the russians are using in order to destabilize liberal democratic institutions. and i think it is important that we do everything we can to review this, which i fully believe federal law enforcement is doing as you all have talked to here. and i'd like to end before yielding back to the chairman, that my colleague from california the ranking member said in his opening statement, the question most people have is whether we can really conduct this investigation in the kind of thorough and non-partisan manner that the seriousness of the issues merit or whether the enormous political consequences of our work will make that impossible. and he adds, the truth s i don't know the answer. i do. we must. the american people demand this. the future of our democratic institutions demand it. and i'm glad we have two people
like you all involved in this. mr. chairman, i yield back my time to you. >> gentleman yields back. mr. gouty has follow up. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to thank you and ranking member schiff for having this. mr. chairman, you were talking about russia before it became fashionable to talk about russia. if memory serves me connectly you referred to russia as possibly our greatest national security threat post 9/11. and as you know, chairman, i come from the state with a fellow named graham, who is also no fan of russia. director comey, admiral rogers, people in your line of work are incredibly rchted. both your current line of work and the work that you came from. and people in my line of work are not. and there is a reason. the the justice system is respected. and the political process is
not. so this is -- while this hearing is important, what's really important is what you do after this hearing. and i want you to go find every single witness who may have information about interference, influence, motive, our response, collusion, coordination, whatever your jurisdiction is, wherever the facts may take you, though the heavens may fall, go do your jobs. because nature abhors a vacuum. and right now you can't answer most of the questions, either by policy, by law, or because the investigation has not been complete. therefore, a have been umm exists which people in my line of work are more than happy to fill. so i need you to fill. i need to you do it with all deliberate speed. director comey, i think it's also important for my fellow citizens to take note of why the system that you come from, the one that i come from, is respected, and this system that i'm in now is not.
what is here satisfy? >> information you don't know of your own personal knowledge but comes from somebody else. i was trying to be less lawyerly. >> we'll go with your answer. it is almost never admissible in court. how about anonymous sources. when you were in the southern district could you ever call an anonymous source to testify in one of your proceedings? >> no. >> you couldn't each use here say unless there was a widely accepted exception. and according to some of the testimony i heard this morning it's qua drupal here say. a newspaper article would never be admitted as evidence in a courtroom. the system we respect would laugh you out of court if you came in armed with a newspaper
article. but in the political process that's enough. let me ask you this, cross-examination, why are you able to cross-examine witnesses in trial? why do we have a right to confront witnesses? >> it's embedded in our constitution. the reason it makes great sense it's the crucible out of which you get truth. >> it is the single best way to elucidate the truth, to test and to probe and to challenge and to test someone's personal exposure to the fact. cross-examination is the best tool that we have. how do you cross-examine an anonymous source? how do you cross-examine hearsay? i hope that you go find every single witness that you need to talk to and examine every single document. people are counting on you two, and your line of work, to find the facts. and people are welcome to draw whatever conclusions they want
from the facts. but when i hear the word evidence as i've heard lots and lots this morning, let me ask you this director comey, did you ever -- are you familiar with any trials where one witness may have said the light was red and one witness may have said the light was green? has that ever happened? >> yes, that's why you have a trial. >> does it ever happen where one bank teller said the assailant was 5'10" and the other said he was 6'2". >> sure. >> that's evidence. if you have got evidence he is 6'2" and evidence he is 5'11" -- he can't be both. the light can't be red and green. the word etched, while fancy and legal, the reality is, you find facts, and then the finder of the fact can draw conclusions and inferences from these facts. so i wish you luck as you begin this process. it is all important. the fact that someone may haveh a line of questions about leaks
does not mean they are not interested in all aspects of russia. and vice versa. the fact that they may not have asked questions about leaks doesn't mean they are not interested in them. you have jurisdiction over all of it. so god bless you as you go on this journey for the facts. and then people can draw whatever conclusions they want. i hope that you will fill the vacuum that is created when you all are not able to answer questions. with that i would yield back to the chairman. >> gentleman yields back. mr. comey, this is my final list of questions here. i just want to make sure we get this on the record. do you have any evidence that any current trump white house or administration official coordinated with the russian intelligence services? >> not a question i can answer. >> i figured you were going to say that but i just wanted to make sure we got it on the record. how about counsellor to the president, kellyanne conway. >> it's the same answer. ic constantly want to tell peope
don't overestimate the fact that i say i can't comment. i can't comment on anybody. >> i understand that but here's the challenge. you have announced you have this big investigation and now you have got people that are involved in our government that are secretary of state for example. these are important players and the longer this hangs out here, the bigger the cloud is. i know that you are not going to tell me whether or not you have any evidence, but i can tell you that we don't have any evidence and we are conducting our own investigation here. if you have some -- if you have evidence, i'd, especially as it relates to people in the white house that are working in the white house or the administration, i mean that would be something that we really should know about and know about quickly. so if you can't give it to the entire committee i hope that you can give it to at least myself and mr. schiff because there is a big gray cloud that you have now put over people who have important work to do to lead the country. the faster you can get to the bottom of this, it's going to be better for all americans.
>> i understand. thank you. >> all right. with that, i want to thank the members today, sp especially our witnesses. it was long day but i think a good discussion. >> the house intelligence committee wraps up its hearing. they have been going since 10:00 a.m. eastern, it's now 3:21 eastern. they had a short break. but a very, very intense q and a with the director of the fbi as well as the director of the national security agency. once again we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting. gloria, it was pretty amazing, we heard the director of the fbi confirm for the first time a criminal investigation is now underway, and it has been underway since july into these allegations that there may have been some coordination between trump associates and the russian government. >> you know, i think if you take
a step back for a minute, wolf, you would have to say this is the worst and most perilous day of donald trump's young presidency. in this hearing over the last bunch of hours we have seen the director of the fbi rebut donald trump directly. he said first of all, there was no wiretapping by the former president of trump tower. he confirmed an investigation into the question of whether there was cooperation as he put it between trump associates and the russians. he said the fact that the uk corroborated in some kind of a wiretap was wrong. and that he also said there was no evidence of election machine hacking. and so on all four of those points, you know, you would have to say, while sean spicer said
that nothing has changed, i think was his quote, i think a lot has changed after this hearing today because as devin nunes put it, and i think he's right, a cloud is hanging over the trump administration right now. and they are going to have a hard time figuring out how to handle it. >> dana bash, you heard white house press secretary sean spicer say they are not backing away from their original allegation -- they are not backing away at all based on what they heard from this testimony today. >> listen, sean spicer who we have all known and worked with for a long time is in -- in an impossible situation trying to defend the indefensible, and trying to explain the inexplicable. we see that every day. but i think it was on steroids today watching the white house briefing to the point where discussing specific individuals whom may or may not be
investigated from the trump campaign world talking about paul manafort, who we all covered it. we were there. we dealt with him. who ran the campaign. maybe didn't have the campaign manager tiling but he was effectively the campaign manager for several months. and sean spicer says that he had a very limited role and it was for a very limited period of time. what? i mean, it's just -- it doesn't make any sense on its face. and so what you see, again, you know, spicer trying to do his job, custom is to figure out a way to walk the thinnest of thin lines in not implicating his own boss without outwardly defending his own boss, it's very, very difficult. but it is absolutely not believable to hear him say something like that. and it just, again, puts the correlate of everything that we hear from the white house into
question. not mention the fact that the president is sending tweets, at least somebody from the official potus account during the hearing that real time one of the democrats on the panel had gym comy, the fbi director dispute. >> yeah, they included clearly, john, 16 days ago, the president leveled those four tweets, posted those four tweets accusing his predecessor, president obama, of basically committing a felony and illegally ordering a wiretap of trump tower in new york. comey, i have no information that supports those tweets. and we have looked carefully inside the fbi. the department of justice has asked me to share with you that the answer is the same for doj and all its components. the department has no information that supports those tweets. but we didn't hear any backing away from those tweets over at the white house briefing. >> no, because sean spicer kept saying these investigations are continuing. the second part of that statement is most significant. when he says the broader justice
department, main justice, donald trump's justice department says president trump was wrong. you just have to underline that and.line that and but then the fact that president trump wouldn't let it go. that they wouldn't say let it go. the tweets they are sent by the official potus account by the staff and mischaracterizing or taking out of context things that that the fbi director was saying at a congressional hearing. you start this spiral. to the point where we ended, chairman nunes at the end was saying to the fbi director finish as fast as as you can, do a thorough job because of the cloud you have created, finish as fast as uk. there is no statement in the public record and they have no evidence at the committee level of collusion. a lot of this mess is of the president's making of his own team in the sense that let's
assume all of the meetings were the russian ambassador were acceptable. they have created a lot of this on their own, whether through stubbornness, or refusing to meet with the media. we have no evidence that any of those meetings were nefarious. none. but the fact we have gone through months of it never happened, well, this happened. plus the president's tweets about the wiretapping, a lot of this is a mess of their own making. >> if those comments were not enough from the fbi director and the director of the national security agency, also, clarissa ward, we got a firm denial from the director of the national security agency admiral michael rogers there there was any british spying on trump tower in new york repeating it was non-sense, utterly ridiculous. that was the statement from the british government. and rogers said, yes, it's the same statement from the u.s. government. >> that's right. and he almost seemed a little embarrassed as he was sort of
recounting this episode and as they were discussing this because, let's be clear, for the gchq to be spying on a presidential candidate in the u.s. would be a direct violation of the five is agreement. this is one of the most important mechanisms for gathering and sharing intelligence between the u.s. and its key allies. it's just not embarrassing almost insuling to be accusing the brits to be involved in that kind of activity. i think you heard admiral rogers who works with the british allies some of the most important british allies to the u.s. in the world to go to them and say i'm sorry about this statement. >> we got a statement in from the former director of national intelligence james clapper, the white house keeps referring to a statement he made on meet the press a few weeks ago in which he said he hasn't seen any evidence of collusion between
trump soerkts and the russians. here's a statement they just released. former director of national intelligence james clapper has been clear while he was not aware of any conclusive evidence related to collusion between trump campaign and russians prior to leaving government he could not account for intelligence or evidence that may have been gathered since the inauguration of john 20th. they add, it is in the best interest of americans that we get to the bottom of what has been happening. has the deputy of justice, other agencies come up with new information since clapper left office on january 20th? >> as far as we know, no. we don't know that they have come up with anything new. but the problem for the fbi director and the reason why he refused to answer that question during the hearing today is simply that he doesn't know everything that may be uncovered
in this investigation. even though it's been going on since last july, this is a counter-intelligence investigation and they notoriously go on for months, sometimes years. there is no time line yet of how long this will go on. and so they cannot answer that question right now, wolf, because if it changes then he's going to be facing the same problem he had back last year which is where he promised at the end of the investigation to update members of congress and right now he has a certain amount of information but he doesn't know yet what the fbi will uncover as far as this investigation is concerned. >> can i say something about last july? i want to ask brian fallon about it because you were in the middle of it with the clinton campaign. at the time of comey's letter in october about the clinton e-mails, the fbi had been investigated donald trump's associates for three months. and you guys were the ones complaining about the cloud. and we didn't know about this.
>> right. and so i take congressman nunes's point that this has created a cloud over the trump white house right now. it will probably impair theirable to advance their legislative agenda. i think you wouldn't have written it up worse for the trump white house today in terms of the worse of all worlds testimo testimony. and so while i understand the situation and i think it's an unfair predicament, i have no simple thee for the trump white house because in our case director comey actually, the fbi went out in february of 2016 and confirmed the fact that the e-mail investigation at the heart of the campaign. we have no cloud over us for almost a year. at the same time we have now learned as of today there was an investigation launched in july. we can only assume it expanded to include these allegations of possible collusion. some point shortly thereafter.
and at that point the fbi director breathed not a word about that prior to november 8th. there were two candidates facing fbi public scrutiny. the public only knew about one. i didn't hear follow up questions, i think a question would have been appropriate about why he chose to only speak about one investigation and not the other. >> rick santorum? >> this is a huge cloud. i agree with that. what is the end point? what were the russians trying to accomplish? what is the pointed this investigation? the russians were trying to influence the election. we found out conclude sfl they didn't influence the vote count. they tried to hack into databases with voter files, were unsuccessful. they tried to get into the rnc and the dnc. didn't get into the rnc but got into the dcn and released the e-mails. what are they trying to find?
what's the point here. >> i think there is a specific answer to your question. >> good. >> it is a crime to aid and abet hacking. if there was collusion. if there was involvement on the part of the trump administration in the wikipedia hacks -- that is a crime. >> okay. that's great. but listen to who they are talking about. who are the people involved in the trump campaign that were quote potentially clueding. none of them have experience this this area, none of them are hackers, none of them are folks who have understandings of how this works. what's the collusion? >> senator, it's bigger than the hacking. this is about a disinformation campaign. this is about a program that the russians have which they have used, you know, in countries around the world before. >> right. >> and that's what the fbi is focused on. because they want to know what happened. and for us to understand how it happened and to prevent it from happening again. >> what evidence do they have that any of the people that we are talking about had any role to play?
>> we don't know. >> i agree. in the end this is going to be a political issue. >> we don't have evidence that it occurred. and you don't have any evidence that there was some beneficial -- something that benefitted the trump campaign. >> they have some significant extenuating circumstances adam schiff did a good job of laying it out today. number one a pattern of the trump campaign and president trump taking a pro-russian orthodoxy. >> russia is just one of them. >> a series of misstatements. when it comes to admitting or describing the nature of these meetings that trump associates have taken with russians officials. >> cover up worse than the crime? is that it? >> it begs the question if the nature of the conversations were benign, why were they dissemiblely and lying about it in the case of michael flynn. >> something to keep in mind also is ask members of the clinton administration what it's like to be under criminal investigation for months if not
years. ask members of the bush administration. ask nixon veterans what it's liking to investigated for watergate. this takes a toll on an administration. we now know that an investigation is underway. maybe, like iran -- like the monica lewinsky investigation it will not lead to any criminal charges although that of course led to impeachment. these things take on lives of their own and they are difficult to deal with. >> i want to be precise. you use to work with the u.s. attorney's office. when the director of the fbi says this, as with any counter-intelligence investigation he says that's been going on since july, which will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed? >> this is an even more complicated investigation because of what he said, because the way the fbi is organized traditionally is there is a national security investigation
group and criminal investigators. they usely don't work to the. since 9/11, they have made efforts to share information more. but it is extremely complicated to deal with those two sides of the fbi together and it takes a longer time. >> hold on for a moment. i want to bring in cnn national security analysis steve hall. he is a retired cia chief of russia operations. what's your major takeaway, steve, from what we just heard over these past many hours? >> wonderful, the thing that really struck -- stuck with me and struck me as well was i had gone into this perhaps with somewhat of an innocent hope that we could be bipartisan about this and that the intelligence oversight committees which i have dealt with during my career at cia could actually all come together. perhaps that was naive on my part. i saw so much partisan ship, so much chapping thrown up i don't think there is any way forward
on this with regard to getting to the bottom of the critical questions people have been raising without some sort of independent commission. schiff himself indicated this was the case. that was a big deal for me. >> the main point i think they were make being what russia's motivation was, first their motivation, they said, was to try to undermine democracy here in the united states, embarrass the united states. their second motivation was to hurt hillary clinton as much as possible because they hated hillary clinton. the third motivation may have been to actually try to help donald trump get elected president. although even the russians, according to comey and the admiral suggested they really believed the polls that it was unlikely he was going to be elected. but if she was going to be elected, they wanted her to come into office as weak as possible. steve, is that your assess men as well? >> i actually think that it's not a great analytical leap from a intelligence perspective or much of a partisan statement to
say that the russians would have of course favored donald trump. why? you look at candidate trump's position vis-a-vis russia. whether nato, crimea, eastern ukraine, all these issues that candidate trump held out were much more beneficial to russia than his opponent's. there was also of course apparently personal animus between vladimir putin and hillary clinton dating back to her time as secretary of state. but it's not that much of a leap to say, yeah, it would have been simply better for putin had trump been elected. >> but they didn't really believe he could be. they believed the polls as well, right? >> well, i think -- i think what we saw during the testimony here, it sort of went back and forth. there were times when they thought perhaps like many there is no way that this candidate can be lelktsed. but at the end of the day saw an opportunity. but i also think that director comy made interesting points about look you can be against one candidate and supportive of another candidate at the same
time. and if one of those falls away you can still be against one of them. it's not an either or type of thing. there is no doubt that candidate trump's positions were more favorable to russia and therefore the end result for them would have been better had he been elected and he was. >> the fbi director says there is a criminal investigation underway right now. actually it's been underway since july, that represents a significant development. and as the chairman of the committee pointed out a cloud is now hanging over this new white house? >> i really -- i sort of feel for the fbi for their counter-intelligence unit and investigation that's doing this because of course the political impetus was indicated there at the end by nunes was can wrap this up, can you get rid of the cloud that's over the -- but the problem is counter-intelligence did and the criminal part of that investigations are extre
extremely complicated. it's going to take time. director comey said i can't tell you when. it's because of the complexities and the intelligence gathering and the using of them in fact and prosecutions. >> everybody stand by, i want to bring in congresswoman jackie spehr, a democrat from california arc member of the house intelligence committee. congresswoman, thanks for joining us. we heard director comey say there is no evidence that he knows of to suggest that president trump was wiretapped by president obama. does -- i assume you believe that that issue is resolved now, that president trump owes an apology to the former president? >> absolutely, wolf. it was never in my mind worthy of the kind of time and energy that has been placed in the discussion about it. it was a reckless statement. it was false. the president owes president obama an apology.
i hope it's swift in come forward. i have never seen this president apologize for anything. it's going to be interesting to see if he does. >> we heard the ranking democrat, adam schiff, cite circumstantial evidence as far as potential cooperation, collusion, between trump associates and russians. do you have any hard evidence? >> well first of all, you know, the chair and the ranking member are privy to more information than the other members of the committee. so he may be looking at information that i don't have access to. certainly, we can connect the dots. you know, i refer to it as a spiderweb of relationships. the fact that there appears to be conversations that took place between russian operatives and members of the campaign would suggest that there was a level of aiding and abetting. >> but that's sell the
circumstanti -- but that's still circumstantial. you don't have that hard evidence? >> that's correct. >> tell me where does your committee, the intelligence committee go from here? >> the investigation moves forward. we have our staffs that are going to be hopefully in a position to see more of the evidence that the department made available for a very brief period of time last friday and only to the chair and the ranking member and a couple of key staff members. that information has to be made available to all committee members much like the cia is making that information available as well. i have for a long time felt that it's going to be very unlikely that this is going to be a thorough and in-depth investigation in part because it's going to take many more resources than we have and i'm not convinced yet that my republican colleague who is are in the majority really are interested in seeing whether or not there is this level of completion or engagement between those who are in the trump
campaign and vladimir putin. >> do you have confidence in the fbi director that he's doing what he's supposed to be doing? >> i certainly have a lot of confidence today. both he and admiral rogers showed i think great restraint but also were trying to be as open as possible. it was very important for the american people to be able to have an open hearing and to see from an open source standpoint what's at stake here and to hear from them speaking about russia as being an adversary, undermining our country, andities' important for us to ask the question, why are there so many in the trump cabinet that have relationships, long term relationships, with russia? and how does that further the united states' interests. >> congresswoman, thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you. >> just a few moments ago we heard again from the chairman of the house intelligence
committee, devin nunes, and he said this. >> i still don't have evidence of people that are in the white house -- all the name out there in the press that you all know about, we don't have any evidence on them either. so until we get evidence it's hard to really conduct an investigation. the best thing that can happen here is for the fbi to move as quickly as possible to get to the bottom of this. >> should they -- should comey have said that publicly in your view? do you wish he did not do that? >> look, if there is evidence -- that's what i said at the end. if there is evidence about anyone that's working in the administration that they have ties to russian intelligence services, i think you should be able to answer that. >> will the committee ask to talk to roger stone, michael flynn, carter page, trump associates who apparently had contacts with russians? will your committee ask to talk to them? >> you have to look at it on an individual base. clearly mike flynn is somebody
that obvious lease was in the administration we know he is part of a crime that occurred in terms of his name being leekds. but the others i don't have evidence of wrongdoing. >> will you bring them in? >> i'm not saying i won't bring them in. if evidence surfaces they were doing something with russian agents then we will bring them in, russian intelligence agencies. >> what does the cloud do to the work of the white house? >> i think this needs to be cleared up. the i think the investigation needs to be conducted and they need to get to the bottom this, as quickly as possible. and until that's done, and that was the point of my last statement. if they are not going to ask the most basic questions of people in the white house whether or not they had ties to russian intelligence services i think it's rear kick lous. >> in light of what you heard today do you think the president's credible has taggan a hit? >> i don't think. >> why would you say that? just that point when he was
tweeting you during the hearing. >> i didn't see that. >> and he was in direct conflict with what you, your colleagues and what the fbi director says how does his credibility not take a hit? >> i think you are referring to whether or not he was wiretapped, right. it all goes back to, i said this several times, if you take it literally, that didn't happen. the president is not taking it literally. what the president is saying now that surveillance activities were used. we don't know that yet until all these agencies get us the information by the end of the week. hopefully by the end of the week. then we can answer that question. >> but isn't he kind of, you know, kinds of parsing this a little bit. the average person in the public hears that and they don't understand the nuance that you are referring to when you say there is no physical evidence. >> right, i think it goes to there was not a wire stapp, physical wiretap. that we know. but i've said -- i can't say it any other way, guyings than i've said it before.
until we get all the names that were unmasked and we look at all the intelligence products that had american names in it, we won't know until we get to see that. >> mentioned a number of former obama administration first. do you think any of those officials he mentioned could have been behind some of these stories? >> if they were involved in unmasking the names yes. of course we don't know that until we get a lot of the same information. >> including the former president. [ inaudible ] >> but i don't think the president would ask for an unmasking. i don't believe. i mean, maybe they could but not that i'm aware of. >> as one member on the committee asked comey whether or not the president himself is being investigated and comey said he is not going to comment. bee he said he briefed you and mr. chiffon this. is president trump part of this investigation? >> i think this is the whole problem about announcing an investigation and not being able -- because then all of a sudden if you can't say absolutely no one is under investigation it's possible --
that's the whole cloud here, right. like, i don't have evidence of that, i continue to say that i would like to receive evidence if it exists but it doesn't exist as of right now? do you know if the fbi is looking into the president him and his business ties. >> i highly doubt that. but you know what, we don't know everybody. >> would you like to see the president apologize now -- >> all right. the chairman of the house intelligence committee, jeffrey toobin, that last statement he made when he was asked by manu raju if the president himself might be under investigation receipt now. couldn't completely rule that out? >> well, if you look at what they have acknowledged is the scope of the investigation, certainly candidate trump, the actions of candidate trump, would be within the am about it. does that mean he is personally is suspected of any wrongdoing, i don't know. but it is certainly possible give the fact that there is a
criminal investigation ongoing of the trump campaign. >> you know i -- >> if you continue to read twine the lines -- he said first off i have seen no evidence and then he wanted to say something, and he said i highly doubt it. i mean, come on. let's read between the lines here. >> could be clear, wolf, we have done reporting on this, and everything we've learned from talking to sources is that there is, at this point, the fbi is not looking at the president. again, what the fbi director said there, we should listen to exactly what he said. he was talking about a associates, people associated with the campaign. and i think that's part of this. now, he also muddled things by mentioning a criminal investigation a. lot of these counter intelligence investigations never ends up there. i'm not sure exactly how it's going to go because a lot of these -- a lot of the evidence, aed lo of the things that they are looking at is stuff they are never going to be able to present >> that's an important point, that the evidence collection used in a national security investigation is highly
classified. how it's collected, what the results are. so in addition to just finding out what happened, the ability of congress to tell a story of what happened is going to be extremely difficult because the intelligence agencies are going to be very reluctant to disclose any of how this all works. >> to nunes' point, though, this goes back to comey's letter in october. comey said he felt he had a responsibility to tell the committee when there were new developments. i didn't hear any question to that today, that, you know, anybody asking comey to come back. >> that's relief on comey's part. >> do you expect -- because nunes seems -- republicans want to get this over with and want an endpoint and have people cleared. do you expect that comey would come back? >> i'm sure the senators who watched the hearing today will want their own version of this. >> they'll have their own hearing. quickly to manu raju on capitol hill. you were doing the question of
the house intelligence committee chairman over there. what's been the reaction so far, manu? >> it's been surprise. i don't think members expected james comey to make that rather bombshell statement out of the gate that the investigation is ongoing between the trump campaign, its alleged contacts with russian officials. this is a question that a lot of members sitting on the committee have not gotten an answer to themselves, only that so-called gang of eight, the top leaders of congress have gotten the information. interestingly, wolf, when i just talked to devin nunes i asked him when he learned about the investigation, when the fbi announced it has been conducting since late july, he said he did not learn about it until the last couple of weeks. so last year during the campaign, as we knew about the hillary clinton investigation that was ongoing, even the chairman of the house intelligence committee did not know that there was an fbi investigation ongoing into the trump campaign and any
coordination that was taking place with russian officials. that was a pretty interesting and revelatory remark from devin nunes. he also does not believe that there is any evidence yet of coordination. he is standing by what he said, wolf, but he is waiting for the evidence to come forward. that's one thing, of course, that comey is looking to. >> dana, the justice department and fbi, they never speak about ongoing investigations. >> not never. >> that's what i was about to say. especially those investigations, comey said, that involved classified matters. >> right. >> but in unusual circumstances where it is in the public interest, it may be appropriate to release that kind of information. the bombshell was released. >> look, this genie cannot be put back in the bottle. it's out there. it's official. it's formal. under oath, public testimony, that this investigation is going on. so what that means is, you know, devin nunes, the chairman, said please, please, please make this fast. the time line, who knows. but what that does mean is that
we're going to hear either comey do what he did with the clinton -- with the clinton investigation, come out and say no indictments, there is no "there" there, or not. it's going to have to happen publicly because of the fact that the investigation is going on was broadcast in such a public way. >> john, we know because we've covered justice department, fbi criminal investigations, where they start is not necessarily where they finish. they could expand and expand. >> you mean whitewater? >> yes. >> that was a special prosecutor. >> yes. look, the president had a choice today after his government went on the record saying the wiretapping allegation, there is no evidence for it. he could have said i accept them at their word. instead his staff decided to ramp it up again. that tells us something about this president. we saw it during the campaign. he only recalibrates when he believes it's in his interest to do so. in the campaign he pulled back sometimes. they obviously think at the white house they're going
full-speed ahead here. we'll see how it plays out. 60 days into the administration. a supreme court confirmation process going on. big health care vote on thursday. and this -- the president lost this day to this. it's only 60 days in. a ways to go. >> this will dominate the news at least for now despite the other big issues. >> look, he has got a very well respected supreme court nominee going up there that's likely to be confirmed. that's very good news for him. maybe he'll get his health care bill through. we don't know. this hearing today was bad news for him. i wonder whether they're going to need an independent counsel. >> the point you made, the fact that we know there is an investigation and now they're on the clock. >> yes. >> before today this could have gone on forever and ever. now they're on the clock. there is accountability. >> we'll have more coming up. i'll be back one hour from now in "the situation room," the news continues with jake tapper and "the lead," after a very quick break.
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for the first time the fbi declaring that it is investigating whether there was 2016 coordination between the trump campaign and the russian government. "the lead" starts right now. a bad day for the president, who is now officially under the cloud of an fbi investigation with the fbi director also telling congress that he has no information to back up president trump's claim that president obama tapped his phone. judging the judge. hearings under way for president trump's supreme court nominee, as he faces a new claim that as a professor he made some controversial remarks about working women gaming maternity leave. plus, north korea warning of
a mercilus attack. what's a rocket engine test mean for kim jong-un's ability to hit the u.s. with a nuke? >> a truly extraordinary day in washington, d.c., as we learn unequivocally that the fbi is investigating ru investigating russia's meddling into the 2016 election. that includes, the fbi director says, looking into possible links between russia and any individuals associated with president trump's 2016 campaign. fbi director james comey confirming the existence of the investigation today. as if that were not potentially damaging enough to president trump, director comey and the director of the national security agency. admiral mike rogers, also said they knew of zero evidence to back up the latest two conspiracy they a conspiracy theories by the president