tv Intelligence Committee Chair Schedules Russia Probe Hearing for March 20 CSPAN March 7, 2017 10:05pm-10:35pm EST
46 states. plus the district of columbia, england, germany, singapore and taiwan. students competed for a chance to win $100,000 in hundred thousand dollars in cash prizes in first, second and third place categories. you can log onto our our website 30 minutes before our big announcements to you all 150 all 150 winning firstname.lastname@example.org. be sure to watch the announcement of sure to watch the announcement of our 2017 graham prizewinner wednesday march 18 on c-span. the house intelligence committee has scheduled the first hearing to look into russian interference in u.s. elections for march 20. speaking to reporters, committee chair said he wants those hearings to be public and current and former intelligence agency heads had been invited to testify. we will also hear from the intel committee vice chair, democrat adam shift.
>> good afternoon everyone. as a continued effort on our part from the house intelligence committee to keep not only the american public briefed but also the press as promised, i will continue to hold these as we have more information to address to get out to the american public. we are having our first public hearing monday, march 20 at 10:00 a.m. this is meant to be and initial hearing for people to come on their own accord. we have an initial list of people we have invited and we will invite possibly more. we hope everyone will accept our invitation to come and for the testify in what will be an open hearing. i want to conduct as many
hearings in the public, and that is rare for the intelligence committees to do, but because of the seriousness of the accusations involved on all sides of the issue, i want to make sure we hold as many of these hearings out in public so the mega people and all of you can attend and report on it. the initial list, i want to clarify, the the initial list, we have director comay of the fbi, director rogers of the national nsa, former director brennan from cia, former director clapper. former acting attorney general and mr. henry from crowd strike services. with that i would be glad to take any questions you have. >> you said you want to avoid a witch hunt. are you already downplaying the issue and the outcome of this
investigation. >> no, we are trying to get as many of the facts as possible. we announced we will have an open hearing and we are inviting people who obviously have some information as a reports to this investigation. >> why the invitation for general flynn. >> he is invited to attend, but he is not on our official invite list. if there are people who would like to attend, we would like to have them. we encourage them as long as they have something to do with this investigation. at this point, we have invited the people who we feel our directly in line with having information about this information on all sides of it. general flynn is a tangent to some of this because of his name being involved in a lot of the leaks. >> your democrat counterparts,
how exactly is it working out in terms of the relationship with the committee. >> this committee is very bipartisan in nature. it long has had a history of that and that will continue. he was invited to be here and i think he will address you later. the initial list, i want to make sure you understand, the initial list of people we are inviting is just an initial list. we will add to that as we see fit. this is names is names we agreed to on a bipartisan basis that have been invited. >> have you seen any evidence to support the president's claim that there was wiretap. >> i have not. i've not seen that evidence. as you know, i think a lot of that was maybe, the multiple tweets were perhaps a little bit
strung together, but i think the bigger question that needs to be answered is whether or not mr. trump or any of his associates were in fact targeted by any of the agencies or law enforcement. that's at the heart of many of the questions that you have asked on numerous occasions. we don't have any evidence of that but we also don't have any evidence of many people who have been named that are under some type of investigation. he is the president of the united states, not me so he can do what he likes. it's it's not up to me to give him advice there were multiple tweets. i think the point if i'm understanding, the point of them is that he's asking a question about whether or not he was being, was he or any of his associates targeted.
i think, it's a valid question if indeed it was a question that if you looked at general flynn, why was he being recorded? was there any other additional recordings of phone calls? >> so you're saying you think it was a question he was cut posing, not a statement. >> i haven't talked to president about it so i can only -- i do know they have asked us to look into this. we were going to look into it anyway because clearly when you take in its totality all of the leaks, whether or not pfizer was implemented correctly, you all know because you have all been asking these questions for many weeks now.
works, if someone is going to be put under investigation, it's not the way that it would go. now, is it possible president obama knew about general flynn, we don't know the answer to that question. is it possible president obama was directing his department of justice to go into the court to seek a warrant? i don't know. >> the president made a declarative statement and now your committee is using it to investigate this. is that a proper thing for the to do? he made a declarative statement. as you all know, the president is new to politics pretty's been been doing this a little over year. i think a lot of the things he said, you guys sometimes take literally.
sometimes he doesn't have 27 lawyers and staff looking at what he does which is, at times refreshing and can lead us to be sitting at a press conference like this answering questions that you guys are asking. at the end of the day, i think tweets are very transparent way for a politician of any rank to communicate with their constituents. i don't think we should attack the president for tweeting, my only request to the president, i don't want him to have to be completely lawyered up but i want him to be clear in what he is asking and the assertions he is making. these are all very serious questions. you all know that we have questions about these names that continue to appear in press reports because they do involve russia hacking russian involvement in our election process, a very serious question
that this investigation will try to get to the bottom. let me switch over here. >> so we've had initial inquiries into the icy. look, this is early on in the investigation, but these appear to be very serious. at this time, that's all the information i have on it, just just to say that we are extremely concerned and we are following it closely, and this potentially could be an additional leak that we will have to get to the bottom of, but let's let the appropriate agencies get to the bottom of this and i'm sure the proper time they will brief us and brief all of you. >> are they concerned about their phones and mobile devices being turned into. [inaudible] >> have long said that emails
and many of our electronic devices are not safe. they are primarily not safe from our adversaries like the russians and the chinese and others who are actively trying to get into government institutions and private businesses. so, look, at this time, this time, we don't know who is responsible for this, for what has happened in the latest wiki leaks around so let's leave it at that and let them come brief you have the proper time. i will be to brief and take your questions as soon as i have more information. >> you said we shouldn't take the president literally, but apparently his tweet was enough to justify using you would investigate his claim. doesn't that imply that there is something more to it? >> you would be under the assumption that we were not already interested in the leaks that were coming out and whether or not there were trump
associates that were put under investigation because those are the insertions that have been made in multiple news stories. we are already looking into that and we were already looking into that. >> he was talking about the wiretaps. yes, but i think in general, he is continually been accused that he has some connection to russian agents or russian affiliates, i believe that is what he was referring to, which we already are investigating anything to do with any political campaigns. don't just think we are not going to find anything on other political campaigns, whether it's on this country or other governments that are currently holding elections or have held elections. >> yes, sir. >> chairman, what's. [inaudible]
[inaudible] >> i think it's very problematic i have expressed this concern to the icy. we have sent them many follow-up questions as it relates to intelligence that has been collected, and we expect prompt answers and i think we also expect unprecedented answers. we have had great trust with our intelligence agencies. i continue to have that trust but we have to verify that all the tools in place, that we oversee are being used ethically, responsibly and by
the law. if anybody has abused those, we want to know about that. that's part of the reason why it's important for us to know whether or not any other agency tried to get a warrant on anyone related to the trump campaign or any campaign for that matter. >> they have accused the fbi of accusing the fbi. [inaudible] what are the points of contention? >> i think just as mr. trump comments, i think the most important thing to glean from the comments. i think what mr. shipp is referring to, which i do have some concern about is the gang of eight. we are supposed to be kept up to
speed on any pertinent counterintelligence information. if that did not occur, if trump was under some type of investigation, that clearly should have risen to the gang of eight level. what is the structure going to be, clearly we have questions about whether or not last year we were read into everything we should have been read into. i'm not trying to change the comments but i think we share concern over the timing. >> have you learned things that lead you to believe that, do you have reason to believe you weren't told things last year. >> we don't know. that is the question. it depends on the accuracy of
multiple press reports that are out there that we've discussed multiple times. >> are you saying he was under investigation but did not brief the gang of eight. >> the assertions have been that there were multiple investigations going on with trump or trump associates. as you know, we have no evidence. we haven't seen that. if that's the case, we would like to know. if it is is the case, why didn't we know. we should have known that if there was an actual investigation, especially if someone tried to get a warrant. >> the ranking member suggested, used the world subpoenaed. is that something you would consider on this particular topic. >> at this point, our hearing on march 20, we will have people come on their own free will. like i said, we have our initial invite list. we will probably invite others.
if there are people who are out there who have some relevance to this investigation and would like to come speak before the congress, we would be willing to look at that interest also. at this time we will not subpoena anyone for the march 20 hearing, just to be clear. if we have to, we will subpoena all information that is pertinent to this investigation if people don't want to appear or if the appropriate agencies do not provide the information we ask for. >> did the fbi have access to the dnc server? is this going to be settled sometime during the investigation. >> i would assume it would probably be looked at. you're talking about the dispute between the dnc leadership in the fbi. >> yes, whether or not they have access to their servers.
>> as i understand it, from the evidence i've seen so far, that's been addressed several times, they were were warned about this and so was the rnc. i'm not disclosing anything that hasn't been out there. i think that's fact. what happened after that, who talked to who and was at the appropriate people, if you asked the democratic leadership, i think have one opinion in the dnc has another. i don't how that sort itself out but it will be part of our investigation, possibly. >> this is our first hearing. we wanted to be public. we want all the hearings to be public so we will continue, hopefully that will be the case. we may be adding to that list. >> if you don't have evidence,
you don't have evidence. >> look, in terms of the body of evidence that went into the reports that director clapper produced in the middle of january before the inauguration, we have an agreement on that that is where we are close to an agreement. where that information is housed and who will have access to it. we are set there. we sent a series of letters to dni, fbi and other agencies to ask for additional evidence. in terms of this initial list and add to it over the course of the next week. we will keep you updated on it. >> if anyone on the list wants to have a private session with
us to provide a deposition of some kind and they think it needs to be in a classified nature, we would have that if that's what they preferred. >> investigators have been going to langley to look at the. [inaudible] has your committee been doing that? >> we've had some initial trips out there and we will have more trips out there. that is part of your group we are trying to put together. >> will you be able to have access to the information here or will it all be. [inaudible] i didn't feel like director comay stonewalled us.
he told us what he thought he could tell us at the time. this will be a chance for him to out everything he knows about the questions we have, to how the fbi and other agencies conducted themselves before the election, after the election and over the course of the past three weeks in this administration. >> does this include possible information from the dossier that was uncontrolled, what did the president. [inaudible] we will look at all information as you know, that has not been verified and i doubt that it will are there verifications. >> not going to talk about what's in our scope but that is something we will look at. >> do think it's important for the president to release tax returns to disclose any ties between him and russia. >> he has said he has no ties to russia.
i assume that is true he has said multiple times when he finishes the review of his tax return that he will release them and i have to take it at that. i think we have to be very careful that when we start subpoenaing tax returns when conservative groups were targeted and their tax returns were likely leaked out to different groups, i would be very learned of congress getting into anyone's tax returns whether that's the president of the united states or any american on the street. it's not a good business for the legislative branch of government to get into and that's why it's done so rarely. i was can ask if you had planned to go to langley which you have sense answered.
do you still have full faith in james comey? i have no reason not have faith in the director of the fbi. he probably runs one of our most important if not our most important law enforcement position that he holds in our government. we have to have faith in his position. he has a ten year term so he can go between presidency and span the length of multiple presidencies which i think is important. i have no reason to discount what he has told us so far. >> what with the constant consequences be if the gang of eight was not informed of a counterintelligence. >> then you will have, then the discussion will become what should congress be briefed on and when. clearly i would think this would rise to that occasion and perhaps ultimately this will
lead to legislation or process change and how we deal with issues regarding the gang of eight. anything else? >> what kind of questions you have done a lot. >> we will get to that when the time comes. >> any other questions. [inaudible] >> to clarify what the president said. [inaudible] we are elected and we serve at
our constituency and i think both the house and senate are important places to do this investigation. i also think those investigation should be done separately where we can share information we will but i also think the senate will be go about it their way and we will go about it our way and hopefully they will be bipartisan. as it relates to mr. clapper's comments, i'm glad he's on national television and i would expect he will take the opportunity to be on national television again at our hearing in a couple weeks. >> what you want to see. [inaudible] >> this barely came out this morning. i'm going to repeat myself again but we are very concerned about it. it's early on in the investigation and we just want to let the appropriate agencies alert the legislative branch of government so we can be on the same page once we really know exactly what happened. >> can you estimate the
frequency. [inaudible] >> this is the third press availability that i've done. i know mr. shift will do one later. in terms of open hearing, this hearing will be designed to collect evidence in public. we hope the testimony will lead to more questions and more witnesses. we are trying to get people who are at the scene of the crime and the top leaders of our country who are surrounding everything that has happened over the course of the last couple of months. we want to get those people in first and we will go from there. [inaudible]
i know some of you are infatuated with meetings with the russian ambassador. look, we do have diplomats in this country. every country around the world has a diplomatic office here. it is their job to meet with political parties, especially those who aren't the incoming president elect and we should be very careful about casting stones at diplomats in the united states, even if they are our adversaries or we don't get along with them because remember we have embassies that are serving in the same role in other countries. they have jobs to do even if it's uncomfortable. it's important for those in the legislative branch or the executive branch or those going into the executive branch to have good relationships with the diplomats here in washington.
>> you are demanding that they to close the nature of their relationship. >> i meet with diplomats all the time and i don't disclose what i talk about with diplomats. i think any speculation, i guess the heart of your question, i know there's a tendency for you to believe that there's some grand conspiracy that the russians helped elect donald trump. we have an investigation going and we won't prejudge anything. i hope that the media doesn't prejudge either. >> i haven't seen the transcript but i'm aware of what's in some or most of it.
>> general flynn served this country for three decades. he did a great job. from everything i can see his conversations with the russian ambassador, he was doing this country a favor. >> you said you were going to prejudge the investigation. >> i don't know about all of your eyes, but as it relates to discussions with diplomats in the united states or no matter what country, i just don't understand what the problem is talking with diplomats. that's what we do here. we want to have good relationships. >> you believe it's a conspiracy that the russians helped electrons. >> i don't believe that to be the case. we are going to do our investigation and we will figure out if there's any intelligence