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tv   CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow  CNN  March 30, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT

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optimistic about it any time soon. >> and russia's president, vladimir putin, and his team saying today that they would be willing to meet with president trump on the sidelines of this arctic summit, if the president does, indeed, go. but given this -- i mean, this is a dramatic shift in the posture of the administration toward russia. we have never seen the president, sara, tweet anything bad about russia or vladimir putin, let alone say anything. do you think that this indicates that his tone and his language on russia are also going to change? >> reporter: well, i think that's a great question, because we have not seen him say anything negative about putin, anything negative about russia. and an administration official told me today that it's not even necessarily that the president's view of putin has changed so much as the atmosphere, so it will be very interesting to see if the president takes any of this frustration that he's displaying privately and brings it out in public. that would certainly make, i think, the democrats feel better about the current state of things, and i think even some of trump's republican colleagues, particularly in the senate, i
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think it would make them feel more comfortable to hear him say something critical about russia. certainly, we have not heard that from the president and no indication yet about whether his tone will change. >> great reporting, sara murray, breaking that at the white house. thank you so much. let's take you to moscow, because before this hearing even begins, russia's president is weighing in. he's claiming that all of these claims of election meddling are just provocations and lies. paula newton is in moscow with more. what else did he say? >> reporter: oh, he said quite a bit. i mean, he had a roundtable in northern russia. this wasn't the topic at all, but he was asked a pointed question, did russia interfere in u.s. elections. his response -- "read my lips, no." having said that, though, he had a lot to get off of his chest. he basically was saying that, look, these, as you said, are all lies, these are all provocations, this is what's being done for political gain in the united states. i want you to take a listen.
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>> translator: we have said more than once, and i want to stress, we know that according to opinion polls in the usa, we have a lot of friends, and i want to address them directly, that we think the usa is a great country with which we want to have a kind partnership and relationship. everything else regarding russia is lies, hoaxes, and provocations. this is all being used for the domestic political agenda in the usa. >> reporter: it's interesting, because given sara murray's reporting from the white house, the kremlin knows this. they had already been hearing that, look, the idea of having this kind of summit that's being discussed right now would have to at least wait, especially as all of these investigations are under way. at the same time, vladimir putin saying, look, i don't understand why we have this kind of relationship. we do not interfere. it is not our policy to interfere. and all of this being done in order for certain political forces to gain some kind of advantage to, as he says, play the russia card.
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>> well, we do know, paula newton, that according to 17 different u.s. intelligence agencies, russia did interfere in the election. the question is just was there any coordination between russia and the trump campaign. appreciate the reporting from moscow. thank you. fbi director james comey pushing back against criticism of the agency investigating these alleged russia ties to trump associates. the cries of political motivation may sound familiar. he heard them from hillary clinton's supporters during his investigation of her e-mails during the campaign. comey says the backlash, well, from both parties, it is a badge of honor. >> i've never been prouder of the fbi. what makes it easy is we're not on anybody's side, ever. we're not considering whose ox will be gored by this action or that action, whose fortunes will be helped by this or that. we just don't care, and we can't care. we only ask, so, what are the
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facts? what's the law? what's the right thing to do here? >> all right, let's bring in our panel to talk about all of this. kerstin powers is our political analyst and columnist for "usa today." david drucker is our political analyst and senior congressional correspondent for "the washington examiner." nia-malika henderson is here, our senior political reporter, along with bob baer, our intelligence and security analyst as well as former cia operative, and michael allen, former staff director for the hoss intelligence committee. we've got a super, uber, big panel this morning, as we wait for this big senate intel committee hearing to begin. nia, just set the scene for us, because this is a committee that has its proverbial house in order. >> they do, and we saw that yesterday with that press conference with the chairman of this committee, richard burr, and the vice chairman, mark warner, one a democrat, one a republican, in a very stark contrast there between what we've seen out of the house. and they very much are wanting
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to in some ways be the adults in terms of this investigation, in terms of what congress is going to do. today we'll hear from cybersecurity experts. it's going to be about fake news. it's going to be about russia's dissemination of disinformation. so we'll hear how these senators are questioning these panelists. and one of the things that's going to be interesting to look for is to see if it is like the house panel, right? for the house panel, you could definitely see sort of the partisan lines being drawn and being drawn early and often. republicans very much interested, at least on the house side in terms of the leakers, and the democrats interested in the substance of the leaks. it will be interesting to see what happens here. we're going to see some real stars here, or potential stars in terms of different parties, people like kamala harris, people like marco rubio, people like tom cotton. and so, it will be a really interesting panel to watch in the beginning of what we're going to see over the next many months of this panel really doing a deep dive into russia in the 2016 campaign.
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>> absolutely. let's just take a moment and listen to the ranking member and chairman burr yesterday speaking about this. manu raju asking a very pointed question. here's a response. >> reporter: from what you have seen so far, can you definitively rule out that there was no coordination whatsoever between trump officials and russian officials during the election? >> manu, we 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. >> when we started this, we saw the scope, what was involved. i said it was the most important thing i'd ever taken on in my public life. i believe that more firmly now than even when we started. we're going to get it right. >> we're going to get it right, we're going to do it together, this is going to be a bipartisan effort. we will watch as they begin in just minutes. david drucker to you. the fact that richard burr, someone very close to the
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president, someone who sat on his national security advisory council during the election and the transition, did not say to manu, yes, we can rule out collusion, et cetera. it's striking, is it not? >> well, look, it's interesting that nobody has ever ruled out collusion, even on the house side where republicans have focused on the leaking. they've never ruled it out. i think what was interesting about the burr and warner news conference is that they're really taking their time here and they were very, very hesitant to draw even the hint of a conclusion, and that was i think the case for mark warner as well, because house democrats on their intelligence committee have been very out front and basically saying, yeah, there was collusion. they've tried in public, as they did in that public hearing last week to connect all the dots. and even though warner hinted around the edges that he believes there's a lot there, talking about why this is the most important thing he's ever done in his public life, he held
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back from drawing conclusions that there was collusion between trump associates and russian officials. and so, i think you're seeing on both sides of the aisle in the senate just a more methodical, bipartisan approach that wants the investigation to be led by facts, rather than conclusions leading to the facts they prefer. >> and we just are seeing the chairman, richard burr there of north carolina, and the ranking democrat, mark warner of virginia, walking in. they're about to make their opening remarks. obviously, they know the eyes of the world are on these remarks. we will bring them to you live as they prepare to do that amid all of the photo ops taking place right now. kerstin, to you. you've said neither of these committees can cut it. we need something independent like a 9/11-style commission. >> yeah. i think these are not the first committees to behave in a partisan manner. i think what congressman nunes has done has been sort of out of the norm in terms of his behavior, but typically, if you watch a lot of these hearings, not necessarily intelligence hearings, because they do less
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in public, but generally, hearings can be very partisan. and with something like this, i think where you have seen, at least on the house side it become overly partisan, and i think david raises an important point. i think from both sides, probably, it would be better to have an independent investigation, and there are people who say, well, you can never find a non-partisan person in washington. that's probably true, but you can find somebody who actually wasn't advising president trump on the campaign. so you know, that would be something that i think we have in both committees we have a situation where these are people who were very supportive of president trump and very close to him. >> bob baer, to you. interesting breaking news reporting out of sara murray at the white house, saying that the administration is giving up hope of a grand bargain with russia. comes on the same day as these hearings kick off on the senate side. it comes on the same day as vladimir putin says this is all bogus, we've done nothing to interfere in the u.s. election whatsoever. what do you make of the change of strategy, the posture towards russia by this administration now? >> well, poppy, i think reality
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is setting in. the trump administration knows it's a very serious investigation. there's a lot of lines to it, including u.s. banking, money, intelligence officers. it's a black cloud over the white house. and right now, the last thing anybody with common sense would do is make a gesture to russia to make up. you just can't do it now. our relations are going to be frozen as long as this investigation goes on. >> bob, let me just jump in. we're going to listen to chairman richard burr, his opening remarks. then we should hear from the ranking member, democrat mark warner. >> quite rare for us. an open hearing on an ongoing, critical intelligence question -- the role of russian acting measures past and present. as many of you know, this committee is conducting a thorough, independent, and non-partisan review of the russian active members campaign conducted against the 2016 u.s.
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elections. some of the intelligence provided to the committee is extremely sensitive and requires that most of the work be conducted in a secure setting to maintain the integrity of the information and to protect the very sensitive sources and methods that gave us access to that intelligence. however, the vice chairman and i understand the gravity of the issues that we're here reviewing and have decided that it's crucial that we take the rare step of discussing publicly an ongoing intelligence question. that's why we've convened this second open hearing on the topic of russian acted measures. and i can assure you to the extent possible that the committee will hold additional open hearings on this issue. the american public, indeed, all democratic societies need to understand that blind actors are using old techniques with new platforms to undermine our
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democratic institutions. this hearing entitled "disinformation, a primer in russian acted measures and influence campaigns" will consist of two panels and will provide a foundational understanding of russian acted measures and information operations campaigns. the first panel will examine the history and characteristics of those campaigns. the second panel will examine the history and characteristics of those campaigns and the role and capabilities of cyber operations in support of these activities. unfortunately, you will learn today that these efforts by russia to discredit the u.s. and weaken the west are not new. these efforts are at the heart of russian and previous soviet union intelligence efforts. you will learn today that our community has been a target of russian information warfare, propaganda, and cyber campaigns and still is.
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the efforts our experts will outline today continue unabated. the takeaway from today's hearing -- we're all targets of a sophisticated and capable adversary, and we must engage in a whole of government approach to combat russian acted measures. today we'll receive testimony from experts who have in some cases worked directly to respond to acted measures, who understand the history and context of active measures and whose significant experience and knowledge will shed new light on the problem and provide useful context. doctors goodson and mr. watts, we're grateful for your appearances today. this afternoon we will reconvene and welcome witnesses who will discuss the technical side of the question cyber operations, including computer network
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exploitation, social media and online propaganda activities and how they enable and promote russian influence campaigns and promote operations. we have a full day ahead of us and i am confident that the testimony you will hear today will help you establish a foundational understanding of the problem as the community continues its inquiry into russian activities. finally, i'd like to commend the vice chairman for his dedication to the goals of the committee's inquiry and to the integrity of the process. the vice chairman and i realize that if we politicize this process, our efforts will likely fail. the public deserves to hear the truth about possible russian involvement in our elections, how they came to be involved, how we may have failed to prevent that involvement, what actions were taken in response, if any, and what we plan to do to ensure the integrity of future free elections at the heart of our democracy. gentlemen, again, thank you for
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your willingness to be here and i turn to the vice chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i also want to welcome our witnesses today. today's hearing is important to understand the role russia played in the 2016 presidential elections. as to the u.s. intelligence community unanimously assessed in january of this year, russia sought to hijack our democratic process, and that most important part of our democratic process, our presidential elections. as we'll learn today, russia's strategy and tactics are not new, but their brazenness certainly was. the hearing is also important because it's open, as the chairman mentioned, which is sometimes unusual for this committee due to the classified nature of our work. we typically work behind closed doors. but today's public hearing will help, i hope, the american public writ large understand how
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the kremlin made effective use of its hacking skills to steal and weaponize information and engage in a coordinated effort to damage a particularly candidate and to undermine public confidence in our democratic process. our witnesses today will help us to understand how russia deployed this deluge of disinformation in a broader attempt to undermine america's strength and leadership throughout the world. we simply must, and we will, get this right. the chairman and i agree it is vitally important that we do this as a credible, bipartisan, and transparent manner as possible. as was said yesterday at our press conference, chairman burr and i trust each other, and equally important, we trust our colleagues on this committee that we are going to move together and we're going to get to the bottom of this and do it
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right. as this hearing begins, let's take just one moment to review what we already know. russia's president, vladimir putin, ordered a deliberate campaign carefully constructed to undermine our election. first, russia struck at our political institutions by electronically breaking into the headquarters of one of our political parties and stealing vast amounts of information. russian operatives also hacked e-mails to steal personal messages and other information from individuals ranging from clinton campaign manager john podesta, to former secretary of state colin powell. this stolen information was then weaponized. we know that russian intelligence used the "guccifer 2" persona, and others like wikileaks, and seemingly
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choreographed times that would cost maximum damage to one candidate. they did this with an unprecedented level of sophistication about american presidential politics that should be a line of inquiry for us on this committee, and candidly, while it helped one candidate this time, they are not favoring one party over another and consequently should be concerned for all of us. second, russia continually sought to diminish and undermine our trust in the american media, like blurring our faith in what is true and what is not. russian propaganda outlets like rt and sputnik successfully produced and peddled disinformation to american audiences in pursuit of moscow's preferred outcome. this russian propaganda on steroids was designed to poison
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the national conversation in america. the russians employed thousands of paid internet trolls and botnets to push out disinformation and fake news at a high volume, focusing this material on to your twitter and facebook feeds and flooding our social media with misinformation. this fake news and disinformation was then hyped by the american media echochamber and our own social media networks to reach and potentially influence millions of americans. this is not innuendo or false allegations. this is not fake news. this is actually what happened to us. russia continues these sorts of actions as we speak. some of our close allies in europe are experiencing exactly the same kind of interference in
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their political process. germany has said that its parliament has been hacked. french presidential candidates right now have been the subject of russian propaganda and disinformation. in the netherlands, their recent elections, the dutch hand-counted their ballots because they feared russian interference in their electoral process. perhaps most critically for us, there is nothing to stop them from doing this all over again in 2018, for those of you who are up, or in 2020, as americans again go back to the polls. in addition to what we already know, any full accounting must also find out what, if any, contacts, communications, or connections occurred between russia and those associated with the campaigns themselves. i will not prejudge the outcome of our investigation. we are seeking to determine if
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there is an actual fire, but there is clearly a lot of smoke. for instance, an individual associated with the trump campaign accurately predicted the release of hacked e-mails weeks before it happened. this same individual also admits to being in contact with guccifer 2, the russian intelligence persona responsible for these cyber operations. the platform of one of our two major political parties was mysteriously watered down in a way which promomoted the interes of president putin, and no one seems to be able to identify who directed that change in the platform. the campaign manager of one campaign who played such a critical role in electing the president was forced to step down over his alleged ties to russia and its associates. since the election, we've seen the president's national security adviser resign and his
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attorney general recuse himself over previously undisclosed contacts with the russian government. and of course, the other body on march 20th, the director of the fbi publicly acknowledged that the bureau was "investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russian efforts." i want to make clear, at least for me, this information is not about whether you have a "d" or an "r" next to your name. it is not about relitigating last fall's election. it is about clearly understanding and responding to this very real threat. it's also, i believe, about holding russia accountable for this unprecedented attack on our democracy. and it is about arming ourselves so we can identify and stop it when it happens again. and trust me, it will happen
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again if we don't take action. i would hope that the president is as anxious as we are to get to the bottom of what happened, but i have to say editorially that the president's recent contact with his wild and uncorroborated accusations about wiretapping and his inappropriate and unjustified attacks on america's hard-working intelligence professionals does give me grave concern. this committee has a heavyweight of responsibility to prove that we can continue to put our political labels aside to get us to the truth. i believe we can get there. i've seen firsthand, and i say this to our audience, how serious members on both sides of this dais have worked on this sensitive and critical issue. as the chairman and i have said repeatedly, this investigation will follow the facts where they lead us. any time i believe we're not
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going to be able to get those facts, and we're working together very cooperatively to get the facts we need from the intelligence community, we will get that done. mr. chairman, again, i thank you for your commitment to the serious work and your commitment to keeping this bipartisan cooperation, at least, if not all across the hill, alive in this committee. thank you very much. >> i thank the vice chairman. members should note that they will be recognized by seniority for five-minute questions. we'll go as expeditiously as we can. let me introduce our witnesses today, if i may, and then we will hear from those witnesses. dr. rory godson, emeritus professor of government, georgetown university. dr. godson has specialized in security studies and international relations at georgetown university for more than four decades. thank you for that. as a scholar, he helped pioneer intelligence studies in american higher education, editing the
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seven-volume series "intelligence requirements for the 1980s, 1990s," and co-founding the consortium for study of intelligence. he's directed, managed and published with other scholars and practitioners innovative studies on adapting american security paradigm, intelligence dominance consistent with the rule-of-law practices, and strategies for preventing and countering global organized crime. dr. godson has served as a consultant to the united states security council, president's foreign intelligence advisory board and the related agencies of the u.s. government. thank you for your service and thank you for being here. dr. rumer is a senior fellow and director of eurasian endowments for the carnegie foundation for peace. prior to carnegie, he served as the national intelligence officer for russia and eurasia at the u.s. national
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intelligence council from 2010 to 2014. earlierly, he held research appointments at the national defense university, the international institute for strategic studies and the rand corporation. he has served on the national security council's staff and at the state department, taught at georgetown university and george washington university and published widely. welcome, dr. rumer. clint watts. clint watts is a robert fox fellow for the foreign policy research institute and a senior fellow at the center for cyber and homeland security at george washington university. clint's a consultant and researcher, modeling and forecasting threat actor behavior and developing countermeasures for disrupting, defeating state and non-state actors. a consultant, clint designs and implenments training for intelligence and law
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organizations at the state, federal and local levels. clint served as a united states army infantry officer, an fbi agent on a joint terrorism task force, as the executive officer of the combating terrorism center at west point, and as a consultant to the fbi's counterterrorism division and national security branch. clint, welcome. thank you for your service. with that, i will recognize our witnesses from my left to right. and dr. godson, you are recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman and vice chairman and members of the committee for inviting me to this hearing. i'd like to begin with just a minute or two on the long history of soviet active measures and then talk a little bit about some of the major advantages the soviets and the russians have reaped from their history of using this as an
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instrument. finally, i'd like to come to what we have done in the past to reduce the effectiveness of soviet behavior and what we might want to consider for the future. i think if one looks at the history of the last 100 years, you're going to find that russians and soviet predecessors had believed that active measures is a major tool for their advancement. they actually believe, whatever we think about it, that this gives them the possibility of achieving influence well beyond their economic and social status and conditions in their country. i think when you look at what they say now, what they do now, and the way they act and practice and talk about their active measures, they take this subject very seriously.
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sometimes we in the united states have been aware of this, but for many, many decades, we did not take this subject seriously, and they were able to take enormous advantage. i think today that they basically believe they can use these techniques rather similarly to many of the ways they did this in the past. i do think that they are repeating many of the same practices that they did in the past. yes, there may be some new techniques that are being used now. in fact, there are. and some of my colleagues on the panel and this afternoon are more expert on those techniques, particularly the use of the internet and particularly cyberspace, but we can sort of more or less be rest assured that the soviets will be looking at other techniques and will be
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seeking to adapt and make their active measures much more productive for them in the future. yes, the activities in the united states that you're particularly interested in do seem to be exceptional. we don't have very many other examples of where they interfere with election machinery, electrical apparatuses. what we do have are many, many examples of where the soviets, working together, were able -- with their allies abroad, their agents of influence abroad -- to actually affect the elections in many, many countries in the 20th and early 21st century. the soviets and their russian successors took the view and take the view that they are able to hit above their weight. they can fight above their weight if they use active measures.
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they don't want to go to war. neither of us wants go to war, but they take the view that they can actually achieve a lot of what they want to do through their active measures. that is the combination of overt and covert techniques and resources, overt and covert combined together in one pattern, and that they have the authority and the responsibility as leaders of the country to be able to do that, and they put this into practice. in the '20s and '30s, they created an enormous apparatus in the world. russia was a poor, weak country, and yet, russia of the '20s and '30s set up whole organizations, overt and covert, throughout the world that were able to challenge all the major powers of europe and the united states. we may not have realized that these organizations were being set up, but they were considerable, and it took a lot
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of effort and skill on their part to do this. in the war of -- second world war, they used this apparatus to be able to influence the politics of europe after the war. yes, they also used it during the war to help them, and sometimes us, in fighting the nazis and the italian fascists, but in their sort of major -- in a major way, they were also preparing for being able to influence the outcome of the struggle for the balance of power in europe during world war ii. so, while they were an ally, they were also planning to undermine democratic and liberal parties, including in the united states at that time. in fact, they were able to take advantage of the fact that they were friendly and that we were
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working together. uncle joe was a friend of the united states at that time, they thought, and they were able to use that very suggestionfully. and so, as a result, they were nearly able to take over the balance of power in western europe. it was a closely run contest, and of course, we're all glad that they lost, but it was a very closely run conflict, and we did emerge successfully from it. in the 1980s, they were on another roll. they used their apparatus, which built up in the 1920s and '30s, '40s, '50s, and '60s, to be able to achieve a great deal in the late 1970s and '80s. they nearly were able to split europe, split nato in europe in the 1980s. they started that in the last years of the carter administration and continued into the reagan years and
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fortunately, we noticed this in time, and our rearmament of nato went ahead, and it wasn't because of the soviets wanted it but because we were able to outmaneuver them. the '90s were sort of chaotic there, and so it was their active measure apparatus wasn't very effective and it didn't have the kind of leadership that it had had before. and the kind of leadership it has gained since vladimir putin came to power. it's maybe a little bit too soon to do an assessment of their effectiveness. so far, as was pointed out earlier by the chairman and the vice chairman, we do think that they were effective in an important way to us, and we understand that the committee's going to be looking into this and studying this. but in any event, they have this
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apparatus. they have modernized it. they were spending billions of dollars a year before. they have maybe 10,000 to 15,000 people in this apparatus, at least, worldwide in addition to the trolls and other kinds of cyber capabilities they have. but the soviets are not -- >> dr. godson, i'm going to interrupt you just for a second just to make members aware that the second vote has started, and it's our attempt to work through this second vote, so i'd ask members as they feel comfortable to leave for the vote, come right back, if you will. as soon as we get through the panel, we'll start questions. and dr. godson, i'd just ask you to summarize as quickly as you can. >> mr. chairman -- [ inaudible ] around toe we can -- >> five-minute recognitions. >> well, they're not ten feet tall. they have used their
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capabilities effectively, but they don't always win out. the united states for the first time responded in a major way to them in the late 1940s through the 1960s. we did, in fact quarterize their active measures apparatus, and they were not able to successfully use this in western europe and other parts of the world. we did some things pretty well from the '40s to the '60s. unfortunately, in the '60s, there was a -- the coalition between liberals and conservatives, the consensus between the congress and the administration started to fall apart. and then with the criticisms that the intelligence community had to take in that time, our countermeasures started to fall apart, and we were sort of disarming ourselves, if i can say that. and so, from the '60s through
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the late 1970s, we did not have a very effective counter active measures capability, and the russians, of course, took advantage of that in numerous places in the world. in the '80s, though, that changed. late '70s-'80s, that changed, and we did start to do things well again. i'll just summarize the fact that we started to develop a strategic approach to counter measures. it wasn't a bit here and a bit there and so on. it was actually a strategic approach with warning and anticipation of active measures. we actually would actually study them so well that we were able to often anticipate what they were going to do with active measures, and so, therefore, we could then use other measures to limit them and avoid the effectiveness of these active measures. we also started to support liberal elements abroad that we
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thought would be helpful to us in preventing soviet active measures from furthering soviet objectives in those societies. so, we were fairly successful in the '80s in doing this, in both using overt and covert methods to do this. as in other sort of victories that we've had after world war i or after world war ii, after the cold war, we thought that this wasn't such an important thing to be doing anymore. and so, our activities waned. they didn't stop, but they waned. we had some units that remained in the government that were concerned with this, but on the whole, the government actually disarmed itself. and so, although there were some in the government and outside the government who warned about the soviet use of active measures, and i do know when looking over the website of your committee that some of the people in this room actually
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went to the government and asked the government to be more mindful of soviet active measures starting in 2016 -- and presumably, they should be mindful of it afterwards. unfortunately, the government did not take the warnings as seriously as it could have and made this known to the public in a useful fashion so we would not be so surprised when this took place in the -- or appears to have taken place in 2016. but the soviets and the russians could not have done this without having an active measures apparatus. it's visible. one can find it -- can't find everything about it, but we have historically, we know that we can find it, we can anticipate it, and we can take a number of measures. and so, i hope you will have time to consider maybe in the
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questioning some of the measures we could now take to do that. thank you. >> thank you, dr. godson. dr. rumer. >> chairman burr, vice chairman warner, distinguished members of the committee, i'm honored to be here today. russian active measures and interference in our presidential campaign is one of the most contentious issues in our national conversation. i believe that russian intelligence services in their proxies intervened in our election in 2016. i have not seen the classified evidence behind the national community assessment. some criticized it for not sharing the evidence of the russian intrusions. they missed the mark. it is the totality of russian efforts in plain sight to mislead -- >> all right, there you have it, the beginning statements from those testifying in this first day of what is going to be a
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week-long hearing, a lot of testimony in front of the senate intel committee. you heard opening statements from chairman richard burr of north carolina and democratic mark warner. both with the headlines, this is not political, we are working together. this is about getting to the bottom of how russia impacted this election. let's bring back our panel, kirsten powers, david drucker, nia-mali nia-malika henderson and bob baer. given that you were the director of the house intelligence, you have this experience. just listen to what both the republican and the democrat leading this committee had to say about what has become politicized over the past few days. listen. >> the vice chairman and i realize that if we politicize this process, our efforts will likely fail. >> chairman burr and i trust each other, and equally important, we trust our colleagues on this committee
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that we are going to move together and we're going to get to the bottom of this and do it right. >> what do you make of that? i mean, it's clearly a message in the midst, mike, of what's happening on the house side. >> i agree. they're standing up in the middle of the storm and saying, hey, listen, we're the grown-ups here. be calm. we've got this. we've got the horsepower, we've got the track record to be able to tackle a big investigation about a serious national issue. and look, i think they're starting off on the right foot we can look back on this as an educational series of meetings, maybe even historic, as we as a country try to wake up and look at what russia is doing, not only to our democracy, but they're working against the united states across the world, and while they may have favored hillary clinton over president trump, they still aren't all of
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a sudden looking to be friendly with the united states. they are working against us -- >> while who may have favored hillary clinton? >> while the russians may have favored hillary clinton over president trump, they do not now love us or otherwise want to see anything other than sort of sewing confusion and a lack of confidence in our institutions here in the united states. and so, to the degree that these hearings discuss this russian disinformation campaign, what they're doing to work against us, around the world, and especially undermine the democracies in western europe, i think it's a really good thing for us and all of us to pay attention to. >> what is your belief based on that you say that the russians in this election favored hillary clinton over donald trump? what evidence is that based on? >> well, that's based on what i guess was the january 6th document that the intelligence community put out, and certainly what the fbi director said last monday in front of the house intelligence committee, that they definitely favored one
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candidate over another. >> they did not go as far as to say hillary clinton. nia-malika, weigh in on that, because i read through the january 6th report and i'm not sure what you're referring to. >> yeah, i seem to recall the 17 intelligence agencies as well as comey in his testimony saying that putin hated clinton and that they didn't favor her and that they favored another candidate, who is donald trump. so i'm not sure if you're just misremembering or misstating. i just don't know what your evidence is here, because everything we've seen so far has suggested that this effort was to undermine hillary clinton and to ultimately favor donald trump. >> but poppy, also, the larger point remains here is that the russians aren't our friends. they're working against us in syria, in ukraine, in afghanistan now, and even in libya. they tried to interfere in our elections here. we're taking that very
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seriously, and that's what's gotten our attention. >> all right. >> i hope we're going to look back on these hearings as a historic look into what russia's up to. >> let me get the rest of the panel in here. kirsten, to you. a point of clarification, nia's reporting on this is correct. that january 6th report and comey's testimony did not say that russia was favoring clinton in all of this. just a point of fact there before we move on. kirsten, one statement that stuck out to me in vice chairman warner's comments in opening remarks is this. let's play it. >> i would theep the president is as anxious as we are to get to the bottom of what happened. but i have to say editorially that the president's recent conduct with his wild and uncorroborated accusations about wiretapping and his inappropriate and unjustified attacks on america's hard-working intelligence professionals does give me grave concern. >> kirsten to you.
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i thought it was interesting. in all of richard burr's remarks, he did not say the word president or trump once, and then you have warner go into it and clearly make some pretty pointed -- there were some pretty pointed moments at the administration. >> right. i mean, i wouldn't necessarily expect senator burr to go after the president, which is kind of what i was talking about before. i mean, this is somebody who was very close to president trump during the campaign and who was one of his advisers, national security advisers. so, you know, as much as he's saying he's going to be fair, i guess he's going to do the best that he can, but let's remember his relationship with president trump. so, look, president trump's behavior i think has raise a lot of questions, and i think that that has been sort of the cloud that's been hanging over these investigations, is that you don't really seem to have a president, a white house, some members of congress who are republicans on the hill, and frankly, a lot of republicans in washington who have a lot of curiosity or interest in really trying to find out what happened in terms of russia's
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interference in our election and instead are trying to focus on other issues, which may be important but i think are secondary in terms of the masking and unmasking, as bad as that may have been, it certainly cannot rise to the same level as interference in our election. >> david drucker, what was your takeaway from the opening remarks that we heard there from burr and warner? >> well, look, i think it was interesting that warner went a lot further in making suggestions than senator burr did, but i think, you know, stepping back from all of this, the important thing is what are these investigations going to discover? you know, on the house side, republicans are focused on improper leaks. are they going to be able to produce evidence of improper leaks? and on both sides, but especially in the senate where they're working more closely together, are we going to find out that there was collusion between russian officials or operatives and trump associates or not? we know that russia meddled in the election. we know going back to october 2015, going back to the 2015 before that, that vladimir putin favored donald trump because he saw him as a fellow nationalist. he was still angry at hillary
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clinton for, in his view, fomenting democratic demonstrations in russia some years earlier when she was secretary of state. so, we know all of that. but the bottom line here is what are we going to learn? we may learn, for sure, because we already know that russia meddled -- we may find out that there was no collusion. we've heard about improper leaks. we may find out that it was a really big deal or that it wasn't. so i'm curious to see what the conclusion is going to be, even though we get so caught up in the day-to-day infighting between democrats and republicans on the hill on this issue, not to mention the president weighing in here and there with things that are sometimes factual and sometimes flat out false. >> bob baer, final thought. >> i want to know why a trump aide was in touch with the person, russian intelligence facility for half the campaign. that is very odd to me. i have seen no good expansion for that, and that's the kind of smoking gun that i hope this committee goes after. it's already starting to sound partisan to me, but let's wait and see.
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>> all right. we'll wait and see. thank you all for sticking around. we appreciate it. kirsten power, nia-malika henderson, bob baer, mike allen. quick break. i'll be right back. at whole foods market, we believe in food that's naturally beautiful, fresh and nutritious. so there are no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, no artificial preservatives in any of the food we sell. we believe in real food. whole foods market.
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the thunder's russell westbrook played so well last night that opposing fans were chanting mvp at him. andy scholes has more in "bleacher report." >> russell westbrook's assault on the nba record books continuing last night in orlando, and not only did he put up crazy stats like he has all season, he hit this clutch three in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. and then in the extra period, check out this move, the spin, the bucket, plus the foul. and it was after that play where magic fans in orlando actually started chanting "mvp" at westbrook. [ crowd chanting "mvp" ] and it was an mvp performance. westbrook breaking the record for most points with a triple-double in a game. he had 57 points to go along with 13 rebounds and 11 assists as the thunder beat the magic, 114-106. final four teams arriving in phoenix yesterday ahead of saturday's games. you've got to check out the hats
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north carolina was rockin' when they got off the plane. these are custom-made fedoras and cowboy hats, all handmade by tar heel freshman forward shay rush. rush says he started making hats in high school after watching an instructional video online. he added, it takes him about a week to make seven hats. he spent a month making all of these for his teammates. ♪ life of the party all right, snoop is taking the party to the masters. that's right. snoop's going to be hosting a bash next wednesday in augusta, georgia. according to the event website, the augusta jam merges the musical world of country and hip-hop music, proudly driven to unite cultures and celebrate diversity through golf and music. you want to go? tickets start at 150 bucks. all right, finally, this had the internet going yesterday. this bronze bust is supposed to be soccer star cristiano
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ronaldo. it's been called both questionable and horrifying. the bust is at an airport in portugal that has been renamed cristiano ronaldo international airport. and as you can imagine, there were plenty of meemz going around the internet because of this. something photo-shopped him to make him look more like the bust and people are saying this is the worst rendition of an athlete since the tom brady courtroom sketch. and i want to pull them up. tell me, poppy, what is worse, the bust of rinaldo or the brady sketch? >> they're both awful and berman's not here to defend the brady one. i don't know. >> berman would definitely say the brady one was worse, the man crush with tom brady. >> by the way, i got my invite to the snoop dogg party. >> did you? i did not yet. do you have a plus one? >> yeah, chuck with me. my husband can stay at home. >> awesome! >> andy, thank you very much. thank you for being with us. we are keeping a close eye on
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-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. we begin with breaking news, president trump threatening war against members of his own party and democrats as well, despite his very recent comments saying he wants to work with them all. this is what we're talking about right now. the president firing off a tweet this morning, and here it is. "the freedom caucus will hurt the entire republican agenda if they don't get on the team and fast. we must fight them and dems in 2018." fight them and democrats? is that a primary threat? just minutes from now, house speaker paul ryan will probably be asked just that when he speaks with reporters. we're going to bring you that live when it begins. so, let's go live right now to cnn's phil mattingly for much

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