tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN March 29, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
in "the situation room." i'll be joined by the ranking member of the house intelligence committee, adam schiff. he'll be be among my guests. but first, leaders from the senate intelligence committee getting ready to brief reporters any minute now. we'll have live coverage. in the meantime, the news continues right now on cnn. here we go. how are you? i'm brook baldwin. thank you for watching cnn as the white house is facing new questions over the trump campaign's ties to russia. moments from now, the senate intelligence committee will be holding a news conference on its investigation. all of this comes amid the turmoil involving their counterpart over in the house, you know the story, the republican chairman in charge of the house committee, refusing to recuse himself over questionable actions involving the white house. moments ago, white house press secretary, sean spicer, commented on questions surrounding chairman devin nunes' secret visit on white house grounds. take a listen to this.
>> you talked about on monday. monday you said to us from the podium, you would look into how chairman nunes was cleared here and with whom he met. we tried the to ask you this yesterday as you walked out. do you have any intention to live up to the commitment you made on monday about how that happened in a process you just told us is above board and totally appropriate? >> i don't have anything for you on that at this time. but again, i don't -- >> have you looked into it? >> i have asked some preliminary questions. i have not gotten answers yet, but -- no, i don't have any further on that. >> let's go to someone who often sits in on that briefing. carol lee with "the wall street journa journal". carol, nice to see you. >> nice to see you. let's begin with our friend, april ryan, national urban radio white house correspondent, who sean spicer did begin with today, after the spar yesterday. you know, she, out of the gate -- right, we're talking to her later, by the way. but she asked about chairman
nunes. still the same question. how did he get to the white house? who cleared him? what do you know? what was in what he saw? still nothing from the white house! >> nothing. and you know, i don't think that we're likely to get anything from them, at least publicly on this. they clearly don't want to talk about it. and, you know, one of the things that sean spicer also said and answered april's questions was that he doesn't see any reason for chairman nunes to step aside or, you know, recuse himself as some democrats have called for him to do. that he thinks from the white house' perspective, the investigation is perfectly going just fine. and that was an interesting take on that, as well. but there are a lot of questions that we still don't have answered, and as that clip showed, the press secretary, a couple of days later, is still not inclined to be answering them. >> we know you'll keep asking. in the meantime, sean spicer was also asked about the president's
comment that making a deal on health care is, quote/unquote, such an easy one. here's the president, and then here is sean spicer's reaction. >> and i know that we're all going to make a deal on health care. that's such an easy one. so i have no doubt that that's going to happen, very quickly. >> i, again, would respectfully ask that you review the tape. he was having a light-hearted moment. it's on tape. everybody watched it. he was poking fun and making a joke. there have been comments before about how he didn't get and he was joking about how easy it was. it was a light-hearted moment. it was on tape. and the idea that there is this like, like trying to make it look like he was being utterly serious at the time is a little bit of a stretch. >> carol lee, you heard the president. did you -- did that sound like the president was being lighthearted? >> look, a lot of times, this is a president who talks in kind of, you know, a little bit of hyperbole, i guess is maybe a word that you would use. >> truth of hyperbole is a piece
of his book. we'll go with that. >> he just, he goes -- he tries to turn the page in ways that aren't necessarily always reflective of what's happened on the page that he's trying to turn. but we've heard this argument from the press secretary before, when it comes to things the president says. that he's being taken too seriously, that he didn't really mean it that way. look, nobody would believe or think after seeing what happened on friday, with health care and the struggles that this white house has had, that this is easy. and the president is also on the record before saying, who knew it was that hard. so it just seems like it's another one of those instances where the president is saying something and the press secretary is trying to explain it and none of it exactly makes any sense. >> maybe tax reform will be air quotes easier. we'll see. that was part of a back and forth with our correspondent, jim acosta, sitting in the briefing room talking to sean spicer. and he also asked about what president trump's comments, specifically on iraq, and keep
in mind, the comments came on day when the u.s. commander in iraq said it was likely that the u.s.-led, you know, coalition air strike did cause all those civilian deaths in mosul. here was that. >> what does he mean -- what does the president mean when he says they're fighting like never before? does he the take into consideration what happened during the bush administration and the obama administration -- >> no, no, i appreciate -- yeah, i think there's been some progress, particularly in mosul, the way that they have taken back that city. and i think that for a long time, there was a lot of concern about iran moving in and dominating parts of iraq. and i think with the advice and consent of u.s. military commanders, there's been tremendous progress in moving iraq forward to an area of civility and continuing to see the troops there in iraq stand on their own. and i think that he is very pleased with the action that general mattis and our soldiers and sailors, airmen and marines
are taking to do that. >> you know, critics are coming forward. they're saying, how insensitive those comments were. that it really is a slap in the face to anyone who's ever served in iraq. >> yeah. this was an interesting moment in the briefing. look, it's -- i think you might see the white house come out and say something else or maybe phrase things a little bit differently or clarify a little bit on this, on exactly what he meant. this is, obviously, a very sensitive issue and it's something that, i think, we're going to see come up again, for sure. >> mm-hmm. carol lee, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> with "the wall street journal." thank you. by the way, any minute now, just a reminder, we will be hearing from top-ranking members on the senate side, the senate intelligence committee about their own investigation into possible ties between the trump campaign and russians. this as the intel investigation has ground to a halt on the house side. you know, especially as we're
talking about no public hearings, they scrapped all their hearings for the week. in general, no private testimony, no meetings. just a complete standstill, as the embattled chairman on the house intel committee refuses to step aside, despite a growing chorus from both sides of the aisle. so manu raju has been all over this for us. he's our senior congressional correspondent. and i understand you just talked to chairman nunes? what did he say? >> yeah, that's right. i just caught him right off the house floor. i asked him about how this investigation can move forward. he's saying he's staying on. he's saying that they're trying to figure out the process for interviewing witnesses, as part of private testimony they're trying to gather. he says that they're moving forward, no matter what. he does not any that democrats are treating this investigation fairly, in his view. he believes that they're not being serious. and if they're not going to be serious about this investigation, he says, quote, i'm moving forward. so, a sign that this partisan stalemate is probably not going to end. right now, the fight is really over processes, after mr. nunes
cancelled a tuesday public hearing, where several officials from the obama administration era were set to testify, including sally yates, top justice department official, who apparently had some information, believing that the former trump national security adviser, michael flynn, could have been vulnerable to potential blackmail from the russians. that testimony we're probably going to hear on tuesday. it was abruptly canceled, because mr. nunes said he wanted to hear in a private setting from other officials, namely james comey, the fbi director. and that private briefing also did not happen. amid these calls from democrats that nunes should step aside, should recuse himself. so, all of this really just shows that there's -- this committee has been making virtually no progress this week in real big questions about whether it will make any progress going forward. and that's why focus is starting to shift over to the senate side, where richard berg, the chairman of the committee, and mark warner, the top democrat on the committee, are expected to brief reporters this hour about the status of their
investigation, as well as looking into any potential trump ties with russian officials, and their upcoming interview that they're going to have with jared kushner, who's, of course, president trump's son-in-law, and his contacts with russian officials, as well. so, we expect to hear all of that. a way to show a bit of a contrast from what's happening in the house, which at the moment is gridlock, brooke. >> we'll take it live and talk again, manu raju. thank you so much. just a programming note to all of you. house intelligence committee ranking member adam schiff will join wolf tonight in "the situation room." so tune in to that. also very shortly, someone quite significant will be testifying on capitol hill. this is someone who spent years in russia, speaking up and out against vladimir putin, exposing corruption, even challenging him politically. but vladimir carmoza say he was poisoned twice, most recently, last month for speaking out against the kremlin. he suffered organ failure, spent time in a coma. doctors gave him less than a 5% chance to live.
a year ago. we have this video that was actually posted on instagram by a close ally of putin's. it shows carmoiza with another prominent kremlin critic literally through the crosshairs of a gun. but vladimir carmoiza is very much alive and good enough to take a moment with me here live from capitol hill where he'll be testifying before a senate panel later this hour. mr. carmoiza, thank you so much for being with me. >> thank you for having me. >> as we talk about your health, you're still recovering and getting treatment there in washington, d.c. how are you doing, first of all? >> much better than seven weeks ago, i can tell you that. i'm doing some rehabilitation and physical therapy and medical tests, but mostly, main thing is i'm alive, of course, the same medical team with doctors in moscow who have saved my life twice now in 2015 and last month. and i'm very, very grateful to them for that. but i think it's another reminder that it is a dangerous
location to be in opposition to mr. putin's regime. and we're certainly very much aware of all the risks involved, but we will also continue doing our work, because we think our work is important and because we think that mr. putin's regime, frankly, is robbing russia, especially the young generation in russia, of its prospects and of its future. >> let me ask you about that. so you're alive and grateful, but you have a lot to say. you have this message. you're about to testify there on the hill. can you give me a preview? what are you about to tell lawmakers about vladimir putin and his, what you perceive as his end game? >> well, this is, of course, part of a large series of hearings, as you know, on capitol hill, related to russia. and this particular hearing i'll be testifying at in about 15 minutes is about the domestic situation in russia. of course, long before people began talking about possible intrusion of the russian government into u.s. elections and other actions outside of russian borders, we have had to deal with mr. putin's repressions inside our own borders, in our own country. we've had to deal with the suppression of independent media. with the rigging of election
after election after election. with repressions against independent journalists and political activities and human rights campaigners. and with typical, as we've said, many times before, with time, this internal repression will inevitably transform itself into external aggression. this is what we've been seeing in the last few years. this hearing is about the domestic situation. but i'm not going to talk just about the crackdowns and regressions. i'm going to talk about the other side of the story, which is very important to people to hear and see. and we're seeing this on full display this past sunday, when tens of thousands of people, mostly young people, in their 20s, early 30s, some in their teens, went out to the streets across russia in 82 different towns and cities, protesting against the government corruption under mr. putin, against impunity for this corruption, against the lack of accountability, against the arrogance, frankly of the people, the same group of people that has been in power for 17 years now. this is the putin generation.
this is the people born under vladimir putin and they're fed up with him. they're increasingly realizing that this regime is robbing the young generation of russians of their future. they want to see a normal, modern country based on democracy and the rules of law. >> you talk about repression and rigging of domestic elections, as far as, you know, the creme lun lynn, a spokesperson for putin is rejecting your allegations, telling cnn, quote, it's pure nonsense to make any connection of this unfortunate case with president putin. mr. kara-murza, do you still fear for your life? >> of course, i'm a human being, somebody tries to kill me twice in two years, that heavily makes you think. and i do try to take precautions as much as i can. for instance, my wife and children are outside of russia, for obvious reasons. but i want to go back once i'm physically able to. i do want to restart my work. because i think it's important and i think we have, frankly, a responsibility, before all of
those people, before all of those young people who are coming out across the country to say no to this regime and who are choosing a democratic future for russia. and i think we have to continue our work for their sake, for our ac sake with and for our country's sake. it's very important that the outside world stops equating russia with just the putin regime. vladimir putin wants you to think that russia is just about him and his regime. but what the whole world saw last sunday was this other russia on display. the faces of a post-putin russia. and it's very important to listen and to hear that russia as well. because if we're thinking about long-term interests and long-term goals and long-term cooperation, for example, between the united states and russia, it's very important to hear to different voices in russian society, not just the voice of vladimir putin. >> i'll let you go. you're minutes away from testifying there. vladimir kara-murza, best of luck to you, sir. >> thank you very much. >> and as he goes off and does that, we're also waiting and watching for a highly anticipated news conference from
the senate intelligence committee on its own investigation into trump's ties with russia. we'll take that live. also ahead, bill o'reilly makes fun of a councilman's hair and sean spicer dresses down a white house reporter. and now they're reacting in both moments, inspiring hillary clinton to speak out in her most political speech since the election. we'll discuss all of that, coming up next, here on cnn. der. when i first got on ancestry i was really surprised that i wasn't finding all of these germans in my tree. i decided to have my dna tested through ancestry dna. the big surprise was we're not german at all. 52% of my dna comes from scotland and ireland. so, i traded in my lederhosen for a kilt. ancestry has many paths to discovering your story. get started for free at ancestry.com. energy is amazing.
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welcome back. i'm brooke baldwin. you're watching cnn. it appears tempers have cooled inside the white house press briefing room. this after quite a heated exchange between press secretary sean spicer and april ryan. the veteran white house correspondent for the urban america networks. here's what happened about 24 hours ago. >> you've got russia, you've got wiretapping, you've got -- >> no, we don't have that. you -- i know -- >> -- on capitol hill -- >> i get it. but you keep -- i've said it from the day i got here until whatever, that there is no connection. you've got russia. if the president puts russian salad dressing on his salad tonight, somehow that's a russian connection. but every single person -- we
>> [ inaudible ] -- >> well, no, i appreciate your agenda, but the reality is -- no, no, hold on. at some point, report the facts. the facts are that every single person who has been briefed on this subject has come away with the same conclusion, republican, democrat. so i'm sorry that that disgusts you. you're shaking your head. i appreciate it -- >> [ inaudible ] -- >> but understand this. at some point, the facts are what they are. it seems you're hell-bent on trying to make sure whatever image you want to tell about this white house stays. because at the end of the day -- >> [ inaudible ] -- >> but you're asking me a question and i'm going to answer it. i'm sorry -- please, stop shaking your head again. >> spicer's demeanor there angeranger ed a lot of people. a number accused him of being sexist and racist. hillary clinton, for one, weighed in her most political speech since her loss in november. but today, let's talk about the mood between sean spicer and april ryan. you be the judge.
>> with that, i'd be glad to take your questions. april? >> why, thank you, sean. >> how are you today? >> i'm fine. and how are you? >> fantastic. >> april ryan is back with us today. also with us, nia-malika henderson, cnn's senior political reporter. deep breath, april. my goodness, what a difference, i guess, 24 hours makes. >> yes. >> did you know you were getting the first question? did you feel like everything was cooler now? >> brooke, let me tell you. brooke, you know what happened yesterday. and i just -- i took it in. it was what it was. and i went home. i didn't get home until very late last night. and somehow had to tell me that hillary clinton, secretary -- former secretary hillary clinton had spoken about me. and i was in shock. and then, i just couldn't believe it. and then this morning happened. you know, i talked about it.
and i didn't know -- i had not talked to sean. sean had not talked to me. and i just said, i'm going to work. and i'm going to do what i do. and i was on a couple of shows and, you know, one person asked me, joe madison, the black eagle, asked me. he said, what if he doesn't call on you? and i said, you know, i thought about that. and i was under the impression he may not -- i didn't know what was going to happen today. but i was prepared either way. but i'm glad that there's been a reset. there needs to be a reset. because we both is a job to do. yeah. >> what about the fact, though, april, apparently spicer praised you in some interview, calling you tough, that he treats all reporters the same and any suggestion of any iota of sexism is actually just an insult to you. would you agree with that? >> well, i thank him for saying i'm tough, but i still bleed and i hurt, too, at the same time. but, you know, the last couple
of days are very interesting. and he came out today in the briefing, talking about how this administration has really worked with women and women's issues. but, you know, what happened to he was an incident, but there was also another story about a female reporter, who was called an idiot from politico. so, it's two women, yeah, in the last couple of days. and i think there was a reset moment to sift it out. and, you know, we all are in there together, in this mosh pit, trying to ask questions. but you have to remember, this is a male-dominated town. and -- >> well, keep those elbows sharp. let me add one more to your list of whatever happened yesterday between these women. then you can add councilman m maxine waters to this and bill
o'reilly. but in case you missed it, roll it. >> we're saying to those who say they're patriotic, but they turn a blind eye to the destruction that he's about to cause this country. you're not nearly as patriotic as we are. >> so what does that mean, bill? we've been listening all morning, i can't -- >> i didn't hear a word she said. i was looking at the james brown wig. if we have a picture of james brown -- it's the same one. >> no, okay! i've got to defend her on that. >> you're all wrong -- >> i have to defend her on -- you can't go after a woman's looks. i think she's very attractive. >> i didn't say she wasn't attractive. i love james brown. >> april ryan, a respected journalist with unrivaled integrity was doing her job just this afternoon in the white house press room, when she was patronized and cut off trying to ask a question. one of your own california
congresswomen, maxine waters, was taunt eed with a racist jok about her hair. too many women, especially women of color, have had a lifetime of practice taking precisely these kinds of indignities in stride. but why should we have to? and any woman who thinks this couldn't be directed at her is living in a dream world. >> and nia, i'm not even going to touch the first piece of that sound bite, because i think we're all on the same page on the hair thing, as women. so let's just move on to hillary clinton and how that -- how she came out and how she spoke. the most political speech we have seen since early november. >> yeah, you know, and she assured, right, that she was right in the news by talking about maxine waters and talking about what happened to her and the comments made by bill o'reilly and talking about april ryan. so she was right in the twitter
atmosphere, because that was what twitters -- the twitterverse was going after, all day. and singling out talking about black women, talking about the trials and tribulations that some women face. there was this hashtag, black women at work, that was trending all day. i thought it was really clever. i think, right now, we began the speculation about hillary clinton's future, right? it's speculation that she obviously faced before she ran this last time. i think it's going to be speculation again about whether or not she is looking at 2020. we've seen speculation about whether or not she wants to run locally. the mayor's race, maybe, in new york, but the idea that she could make a comeback in 2020 and run again. i don't think there's ever been anyone who -- a serious contender who has run for president three times, of course, nixon ran and lost against kennedy and then ran again. so i think that sort of
chattering and speculation begins after that very full-throated political speech that really was in line with what she was talking about throughout her candidacy, about women, about women of color, that obviously didn't work for her and led to her losing in many ways. but i think all of the conversations about 2020 begin right now. >> maybe she wanted to stand up and make a statement on the councilman and april. last 15 seconds, april. you were part of this twitter hashtag. how's that been for you? >> well, my twitter has blown up. my twitter handle. i think i have about 50,000 more people since this all happened. it's amazing. but these are real issues that women have to face. and we have to look at this administration as a leader in how to change the dynamic. so, we'll see if they will pick up the chorus and lead or if
they'll let it sit there. we'll see. >> i respect you both so much. april ryan and nia-malika henderson, thank you, ladies. >> thanks, brooke. >> you got it. coming up here with the house investigation at a standstill, house of representatives there, moments from now, we are going to hear from the top leaders of the senate intel committee. what do they have to say about this investigation involving potential ties between the trump campaign and russia? we will find out, moments from now. keep it on cnn.
and let me just say that we can't say enough with the mission of the senate committee is, which is to look at all activities that russia might have taken to alter or influence the 2016 elections in the united stat states. in addition to that, the mission of the committee is to look at any campaign contacts from either committee, with russian government or russian government officials that might have influenced in any way, shape, or form, the election process. we take that very seriously. it's not something that, can done quickly. and when you look at our committee, it is, in fact, the oversight role that we function in every single day. this is just on a little larger scale. for those that might think or
have suggested that this is outside of our expertise, let me remind you, the last public investigation that we did was the senate investigation into benghazi. we devoted three professional staff to that investigation. it took one year. and in comparison to the public hearings that happened in the house, our report and findings were out much quicker than what they were. and i think are consistent, in fact, what the house process looked like at the end. so, let me share with you what we've accomplished to date. we have devoted seven professional staff positions to this investigation. these are staffers who already had the clearance and already had the knowledge of the materials that they were going to look at, that started on day one. now, what was day one? day one was the first public hearing that the committee held
with director clapper, director comey, admiral rogers, and director brennan. when they came to the united states senate to testify on the completion of the ica, the report of the last mirp administration on russian's involvement in the elections. the full committee had an opportunity to ask every one of the four ic members of initial questions, things that we knew to ask as of that time. let me assure you that as this investigation continues, we will certainly give those individuals at least once, if not more opportunities to come back, either in an official capacity or in a retired capacity, to come back and chair with us answers to questions we might have. the staff has been provided an unprecedented amount of documents. those documents include
documents that up to this point have only been shared with the gang of eight and staff directors on the house and senate side. it's safe to say that our staff currently is working through thousands of raw intelligence and analytic products to, one, determine whether the process that the reviewers went through to compile their report were in agreement with and to see if our confidence levels on their ratings of low, medium, or high confidence, in fact, match. to date, as i said, they've been provided thousands of pages of documents and have reviewed, to date, a majority of those documents. we're within weeks of completing the review of those documents. i might say that we're in constant negotiations with the
intelligence community about access to additional documents, to where we access those documents, to how our staff notes are kept, and whether, in fact, we have the capabilities within the intelligence community spaces to use computers. this is not abnormal. it's been involved in every investigation i've seen in the 17 years i've been on either the house or the senate committee. so, i don't find this to be unusual, but it is challenging, to say the least. it does not yet include the additional documents that the committee has requested and others that we will request, to enable us ultimately to come to some finality findings and conclusions of the mission of this investigation. >> this week we have scheduled meetings. to date, we have made 20
requests for individuals to be interviewed by the committee. as we stand here today, five are already scheduled on the books, and probably within the next ten days, the remaining 15 will have a scheduled date, for those individuals to be interviewed by our staff. we anticipate inviting additional interviews and some of those individuals may turn into private and public hearings by the committee, but yet to be determined. there have been a number of individuals who have volunteered to be interviewed. let me assure you that they will be processed, as the committee determines we're ready to conduct those interviews, or if they're even pertinent to the issues that we immediate to look
into. the only individual who's publicly been identified to date is jared kushner. and the committee will conduct an interview with mr. kushner when the committee decides that it's time for us to set a date, because we know exactly the scope of what needs to be asked of mr. kushner. tomorrow's hearing, which will be the first public hearing that we've held, is to examine russian capabilities, their capabilities to influence elections globally, what russia has done in the past, which is important for us to bring to light for the american people, what they're doing today, both here and throughout the world and more importantly, what we should expect for the future. we've got two panels, two hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon, to look at specifically the policies that we think russia is implementing
and to look at the technologies that display their capabilities. i would conclude with this and i'll turn it over to mark. we will always say to you this investigation's scope will go wherever the intelligence leads it. so, it is absolutely crucial that every day we spend trying to separate fact from fiction and to find some intelligence thread that sends us to the factual side of all the names and all the places that you in this room have written about. just the fact that you say it doesn't mean it's fact. it's incumbent on our staff and our members to, in fact, connect that intelligence thread to that, for us to make some determination as to the relevance of it in our investigation. so, mark and i work hand in hand on this. and contrary to maybe popular
belief, we're partners to see that this is completed and that we've got a product at the end of the day that we can have bipartisanship in supporting. mark? >> thank you, richard. let me -- i'm going to repeat many of the things that the chairman has said. but i think it's important to hear it from both of us. obviously, there's a lot of drama out there, about stories that all of you are running down, and i think echoing what the chairman has said, it's important for us, at least, and i think all of us here to remember to not lose sight about what the investigation is about. an outside foreign adversary effectively sought to hijack our most critical democratic process, the election of a president. and in that process, decided to favor one candidate over another. i can assure you, they didn't do
it because it was in the best interest of the american people. russia's goal, vladimir putin's goal is a weaker united states, weaker economically, weaker globally, and that should be a concern to all americans regardless of party affiliation. we're here to assure you, and more importantly, the american people who are watching and listening, that we will get to the bottom of this. we have known each other a long time and the chairman and i both have a serious concern about what the russians have done and continue to do around the world. and i'll come back to this in a moment when i talk about tomorrow's hearing. but some of the techniques that russia used in this election, as we find more and more, i think, would send a chill down anyone who believes in a democratic process in this country or around the world. and echoing what the chairman
has said, the committee will follow the intelligence wherever it leads. we need to get this right, and sometimes, that means, especially for somebody like me, who wants things done yesterday, that it's not going to happen as quickly as i would like, or as many members of our committee would like. but getting it right is more importantly than getting it done quickly. and i want to echo again something the chairman said. what i have been remarkably proud of is that the committee on both sides of the aisle, virtually every member, the level of seriousness that they put into this work, the attention that they have given, and the commitment, as well, to follow the intel wherever it leads. and i'll get into what the chairman has already said. over the last month, we've seen some progress. our staff has been out reviewing these thousands of pages of documents, trying to look back at the source materials.
we also, if the chairman has mentioned it, are starting to talk to some of those analysts who helped put together this report. and in many ways, we want to find out what was potentially left on the cutting room floor that may not have met the full levels of confidence, but still might be worthy of further looking. and as the chairman mentioned a number of those interviews are scheduled. the intelligence community, for the most part, in terms of access to people, has been very cooperative. on some of the documents, with some parts of the intelligence community, we still have a challenge. but we cannot do this job, we cannot tell the american people our conclusions, unless we have access to all the pertinent information. and one of the things that i really appreciate is that the chairman and i have committed to getting that. and i know that the patriots that work in the intelligence community want us, as well, to
go wherever the facts lead. as has been mentioned, the only person we've announced is jared kushner and we will schedule that, again, when we have the facts so we can ask the appropriate questions. also, richard said, there's a lot of names, the chairman has mentioned some of the folks like carter page or paul manafort or roger stone. we've indicated, there will be appropriate time, but it's got to be done in a timely way so any individual, those and others, and there will be others, that we have the right questions to ask. tomorrow's hearing, as the chairman mentioned, will be the first in a series. i think it will be interesting because some of the techniques ch t which the russians used in this past election go to the heart of how our elections work. i was a technology guy before i went into politics. and the very technology that has made our lives simpler can be misused in way to put false
information for folks who potentially only get their news off a twitter feed or a facebook news feed. and that raises serious questions, even beyond this investigation. so with that, i again want to thank the chairman for the cooperation we've had. and i think i speak on behalf of all the committee members. the most important thing we want to let you know is we're going to get this right and follow all the intelligence. happy to take your questions. >> yeah, we'll take your questions. let me set the ground rules real quick. we'll answer anything about the senate intelligence committee's investigation. we will not take questions on the house intelligence committee. we would refer those to the house intelligence committee. >> the white house has continually said that any discussion about coordination between the trump campaign and russian officials is a hoax. anyone who has seen any information about this knows there's nothing there. so from what you've seen so far, can you definitively rule out
that there was no coordination whatsoever between trump officials and russian officials during the election? >> it would be crazy to try to draw conclusions from where we are in the investigation. i think mark and i have committed to let this process go through, before we form any opinions and i would hope that that's what you would like us to do. as much as we would like to share minute by minute, even the snapshots we get as a team going through it are not always accurate when we find the next piece of intelligence. so let us get a little deeper into this before you ask us to write the conclusions. that's clearly something we intend to do down the road. all the way in the back real quick? >> senator, senator wyden sent a letter to both you and senator warner, urging the committee to look closer into financial ties between trump associates and russia. is the general sense that the committee is not slr investigating the financial aspect of this closely enough?
>> i think the committee is looking anywhere intelligence guests that there might have been any type of relationship of effort to influence u.s. elections. >> and i would simply add that i for a long time, before we even started the investigation, have believed that this president, like all prior presidential candidates of both parties, should have, in the best interest of the american people, release their tax returns. >> is [ inaudible ] among the 20 you've identified. and if necessary, does your committee have the resources to interview persons outside the united states? >> we're not going to get into names that are on our list, but i can assure you that it's length lengthy. mark and i have both agreed that we're willing to issue subpoenas. it's tough to make a subpoena going outside of the united states, so we understand the limitations, but i'll only say this, that he and i are tapping into everything that we can to
understand how we increase our reach in the ability to investigate and to get intelligence that would be pertinent to the investigation. >> have you personally coordinated with the white house at all on the scope of this investigation? and how do you prevent it from going offtrack? >> no, sir, i have not. and it's the relationship and the trust we have. >> let me also add to that. there have been -- all the members of the committee, i have been constantly impressed. and we know it's challenging. some folks want this to go away, some folks want this to be done, us reaching conclusions tomorrow or yesterday. but so many committee members on both sides of the aisle have constantly stepped up. so i think it's not only our relationship, but it's the fact that the committee has got our back and they want to see it through. yes? >> without naming another
committee, could you speak to the level of satisfaction on both sides of the aisle, within your committee, about the integrity of the committee, how it is working, its functions with and so on? >> well, i think the first assessment i would make is that not only for the first time have our members had access to gang of eight information. seven of our professional staff slots have access to gang of eight information. that is unprecedented in the history of the committee. and so i think it starts with the trust that the intelligence community has with the staff, the professional staff, and with the membership at large. it would be extremely easy for them to deny us to have access to some of the country's most sensitive things that deal with sources and methods. they have not. and i think that's what gives us high hopes that we can reach a conclusion, that has bipartisan support and that we feel confident explored every crevice that we can find. >> we are going to need to make sure we get all of that
information. and part of that is the normal course, i think, of the intelligence community having concerns. and i think we've earned their trust. but it continues -- >> [ inaudible ] one is that paul manafort has written to the community and i understand his lawyers have been talking to your staff trying to set up his interview. can you tell us whether that has happened already? and secondly from a logistical standpoint, hearing that people go and read some of these documents at the cia, for instance, it's a bewildering amount of information and they don't even know where it begins and where it ends. is there something being done to help you get through this volume, large volume of information? >> listen, i'm not sure who you're hearing it from. it's not the professional staff that's doing it. is it a lot of information? absolutely. is it clear to know where to go? yeah, it's in three birnnders.
in benghazi, our professional staff had to go out and figure out what intelligence they needed to ask for. didn't have access to gang of eight. had to figure out who to interview. and so i'm not going to tell you this one's easier. this is one of the biggest investigations that the hill has seen in my tenure here. >> and just to add, you know, the challenging of the times. you go to a footnote and you've got to go back. any of those individuals that are out in the public, we'll have to assess whether it's appropriate to see 'em. many of you might think it will be appropriate. we've got to know what the right questions are to ask. and to do that, you've got to have the underlying documents. >> not scheduled. >> senator warnner, there are challenges [ inaudible ] agencies in particular that are -- >> i knew you were going to ask that. and i'm going to not say, but i want to make sure the
intelligence community knows, some have been very responsive, some less so. but to do our job, we have to have this information. >> and let me answer on behalf of the agencies. not every document that an agency holds is the product of that agency. so, it is impossible from a legal standpoint for one agency to provide us another agency's document, so the faster we can work through who has ownership rights, the quicker we can ask the appropriate agency for a specific document. let me go right here. >> as part of your investigation, are you asking the house chairman to share his sources with you? and will you seek to review the white house visitor's logs? >> we're not asking the house to play any role in our investigation. we don't plant to play any rol in their investigation. >> senator warnner, are you confident that the white house is not interfering in the integrity of this investigation? and for both of you, is the ultimate aim to write a
bipartisan reform at the end of this investigation? >> let me start with the second part of your question. absolutely, in terms of bipartisan. if we don't come to some joint conclusion, with the manipulation that took place in the election and with the spirit of kuf the american people saying, what's going on here, i think we would not fulfill our duty. on the first question, i see no evidence. and i think one of the things that mr. kushner volunteering to testify was a good sign, but, i've said repeatedly and i think the chairman agrees, you know, this is the right venue, but if we see any attempt to stifle us with information or cut off the intelligence professionals giving us the access we need, you'll hear from us. >> down here. >> [ inaudible ] potential rewards russia with its questions of changes to the republican party platform, a
convention or the way the president constantly refuses to criticize putin. is that part of what you're looking at? >> that's not in the scope of the investigation. i'll leave that up to you guys to report. yes, ma'am? has the white house or the doj or anybody blocked sally yates from giving you guys information [ inaudible ]? >> i would like to see miss yates at some point. i did see her white house comment from the white house spokesman yesterday, that he said that they would be happy to have her testimony. i know there might be some doj concerns. but that's something we have to jointly decide on, when to take place. >> so they haven't blocked her giving [ inaudible ]? >> no. >> yeah? >> i think a lot of americans want to know if the president himself had anything to do with this. we have a government who has a trust issue right now.
a lot of americans. is there anything that you've seen, either of you or your staff, that would raise any direct links to the president himself, to what happened last ye year? >> again, we won't take a snapshot in time and make any observations on it, but we know that our challenge is to answer that question for the american people, in our conclusions to this investigation. >> so -- >> robert? >> any circumstance in which you wouldn't share with mr. warnner your sources on this investigation? >> he usually knows my sources before i do. >> and let me assure you, i've also got his cell phone. he hears from me sometimes more than he would like. >> the white house and supporters of the president complain at times that the intelligence community has leaked intelligence or communications scooped up by members of the -- by trump associates and members of the transition team improperly.
does the scope of the investigation include any of that? >> the normal course of business for the intelligence community is about leaks. so that's an ongoing process that we look at. we will try to assess leaks if they take place during the investigation in the some way. and if we find them, we will refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency by requesting a crimes report. >> have you seen anything that would suggest [ inaudible ]? >> my answer would probably be no, but we're so early in the investigation, i'm not sure we've triaged every piece that's out there. >> and i think one of the things we're both very concerned, because leaks can sometimes be extraordinarily damaging to our kpa capacity and to the men and women who serve our country in the ic. i do think that -- editorial
comment here -- if the administration has said they did nothing, then i would hope they would continue, there's nothing to leak, but on the other hand, the more cooperation we can get, the sooner we can move forward and get to the end and move this cloud. >> [ inaudible ] has an active counterintelligence investigation, has that caused you to change your investigation at all in terms of trying not to step on their toes or to do anything that could have undermined a potential criminal investigation? >> i'll leave up to the fbi to make any comments on ci investigation, if there is one, and the extent. but we're always conscious of the fact that we may go down a road and find that we're in conflict with a law enforcement process, at which time, we will work with the appropriate people to try to remedy that. >> but there are historical precedents, obviously. watergate had an investigation, while a doj investigation was
going on. >> senator warner, can you give us a sense of the scale of what the russians allegedly did the terms of number ofs of people and the different facets of the -- that? >> let me start off on that. i think -- we know about the hacking and the selective leaking of information. but as a former tech guy, what really concerns me is at least some reports, and we've got to get to the bottom of this, that there were upwards of a thousand paid internet trolls working out of a facility in russia, in effect, taking over a series of computers, which are then called a botnet. they can then generate news down to specific areas, it's been reported to me, we've got to find this out, whether they were able to, in effect, specific areas in wisconsin, michigan, pennsylvania, where you would not have been receiving off of your -- whoever your vendor
might have been, trump versus clinton, from the waning days of the election, but instead, clinton is sick, or clinton is taking money from some source, fake news. we've also seen, as well, the fact that if you think about -- if you look, for example, you google election hacking, during the period leading up to the election and immediately afterwards, you wouldn't get fox or abc or "new york times." what you would get is four out of the first five news stories that popped up were russian propaganda. rt news, and again, let's be clear. i'm not here to relitigate the election. but the fact that we have to, i believe, part of our responsibility, as well, is to put the american public on a higher level of alert, that this time it was russia, it could be other foreign nations, as well. we are in a whole new realm around cyber that provides opportunities, but huge, huge
threats for basic democracy. and we're seeing right now. >> and we're on the brink of potentially having two european countries, where russia is the balance disrupter of their leadership. and what we might assess is a very covert effort in 2016, in the united states, is a very overt effort, as well as covert, in germany and france, all right been tried in montenegro and netherlands. so we feel part of our responsibility is to educate the rest of the world about what's going on, because it's now into character assassination of candidates. >> and one of the things that we, with i think, as the committee working with the administration, you know, how we really think proactively about what kind of, even potentially, augmental strategy. we cannot allow this to happen again. this last time, it maybe favored one party. it can favor -- russia is going
to act in its self-interests, not in america's interests. we have to be careful in 2018 and also in 2020. >> thank you, senator. a question for you, senator burr. and i ask this with no disrespect, but because it's a question -- >> he disrespects me all the time. >> having served as an adviser on the trump campaign, can you serve hand over your heart, that you can oversee an impartial and serious -- >> absolutely. i'll -- i'll do something that i've never done. i'll admit i voted for him. we always hide who we vote for. that's part of the democratic process. but i've got a job in the united states senate. and i take that job extremely seriously. it overrides any personal beliefs that i have or loyalties that i might have. mark and i might look at politics differently. we don't look at the responsibilities we have on the committee differently, and that's to earn the trust and respect of the intelligence community, so they feel open and good about sharing information
with us, because that enables us to do our oversight job that much better. >> and let me just -- i have confidence in richard burr that we together, with the members of our committee are going to get to the bottom of this. and if you get nothing else from today, take that statement to the bank. >> have you guys been in contact with michael flynn or, representatives of michael flynn quality also, can you go into a little bit of the thought process between why you would have an interview behind closed doors, and why would talk jared kushner behind closed doors or you would do it publicly, why would do that? >> well, i think it's safe to say that we have had conversations with a lot of people. and you would think less of us if general flynn wasn't in that list. from the standpoint of the interview process, if you feel like you're being cheated because they're not in public, if there's relevance to them, they will e