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tv   Christopher Wray Pledges Strict Independence at FBI Helm  CSPAN  July 12, 2017 8:03pm-11:04pm EDT

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this needs to be the discussion. our promise to the american people was that we would repeal obama care. now it looks clear voting to keep obamacare. >> tonight and c-span2, a confirmation hearing for president trump fbi director nominee, christopher wray. any hearing of these over states and the implications for national security. later, a hearing on past congressional and executive branch criminal investigations. >> christopher wray, president trump's choice to leave the fbi received tough questions from both republicans and democrats on whether he will remain the bureaus independent. he denied being asked to give a loyalty oath to president trump and got to be loyal to the constitution and the rule of law. this portion of the hearing is three hours. [inaudible conversations]
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>> today, first of all i should say welcome to everybody. particularly our former colleague and nominee and all of the families and friends and other citizens here for a very important nominee hearing. you're welcome. the committee is considering, as you know, the nomination of christopher wray to be the interactive the fbi. congratulations to you and your family on your nomination. this is an important day for you, your family and most importantly, this is an important day for the country considering the importance of the fbi and law enforcement in america. i welcome you, mr. wray and
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your family to the committee. the ranking member and i will give opening statements. then a senator will introduce the nominee. mr. wray will then give his opening statement and introduce anybody that he wants to support him and people that are not here supporting him as well. and then after his opening statement we will turn to questions. as an accommodation to the minorities request, we will have 10 minute rounds to questions during the first round rather than the normal seven. the director of the federal bureau of investigation is charged with running a vast agency with tremendous power. this power, if used appropriately, could threaten the civil liberties of every american or if it is used inappropriately i should have said. however, when used
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appropriately, and subject to rigorous oversight by congress, it protects a nation from terrorists, spies and from hardened criminals.the attorney general is commonly referred to as the top law enforcement officer in our country. the fbi director serves the attorney general as the top cop on the street. it is a very demanding job requires keen understanding of the law. sound management skills, calm, calmness under significant pressures and a very levelheaded. from what i have seen so far with mr. wray and from his record he has an impressive legal career. graduating from yale university and law school and a judge of the fourth circuit. also spending many years as an
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assistant us attorney and was on the front lines in cases involving violent crime, drug trafficking, public corruption and fraud. during his time as a prosecutor he often worked closely with the fbi. while there in that position, he received the department's highest award for public service and leadership. in 2003, mr. wray was unanimously confirmed by the united states senate to leave the criminal division of the department of justice as assistant attorney general. in that role, he led and managed over 400 prosecutors and 900 total employees in nearly all areas of federal criminal law. thereto, he worked closely with federal law enforcement partners and key senior officials at the fbi. of course, it is finally important for the fbi director
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to be independent. in reviewing his record, i have seen mr. wray's commitment to this independence. he prosecuted little guys and big guys as we tend to separate people in our society. including a major league baseball player. gun traffickers and violators. he prosecuted folks on both sides of the political spectrum.including folks working on a republican campaign while at the department of justice he oversaw the task force that investigated enron.this investigation led to convictions to several enron executives. mr. wray has earned the strong bipartisan support of over 100 former us attorneys across the country. including former attorney general eric holder and other
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appointees of president clinton and president obama. i will enter at the end of my statement without objection, letters of support for mr. wray. the top priority of the fbi is to protect the national security of the united states. the director of the fbi needs to be effective, needs to be accountable when practicing protecting our nation from terrorism against foreign intelligence threats and against cyber attacks and high-technology crimes. the gravity of this responsibility is clear when we remember the scores of americans and others killed or wounded in many terrorist events on us soil following the tragic event, september 11, 2001.ices and other international terror groups have directed or inspired
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terrorist attacks in fort hood, boston, san bernardino, orlando, st. cloud, new york city, columbus and i suppose, other places that we tend to and shouldn't forget. we tend to forget what shouldn't forget. uniformly, these terrorist attacks on the united states soil show the fbi must have the tools it needs to protect against and investigate terrorism and other serious violent crimes in the homeland. and these tools must preserve civil liberties while being adapted to changing threat streams and advances in technology. chief, among these tools is the section july -- outside the united states with a compelled assistance of american companies.section 702
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receives support of obama and now that trump administration and is up for reauthorization at the end of the year. many federal courts, the federal intelligence surveillance court and the privacy and will liberties oversight board have founded, have found section 702 constitutional with the fourth amendment. the deepest questions about section 702 information in the impact on privacy and civil liberties. in addition, the fbi must also have the tools needs to navigate the going dark problem as more and more terrorists and criminals use encryption. i look forward to hearing how mr. wray plans to handle these national security issues and protect the american people and uphold the constitution of the united states in keeping with the fbi's mission.
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of course, everyone here knows that i care about whistleblowers. and whistleblower protections. in december president obama signed the fbi whistleblower protection bill that senator leahy and i worked together to pass. the law clarifies that fbi employees who make disclosures to supervisors are protected. unfortunately, there are still a lot of problems with the whistleblower protection process.unlike other law enforcement agencies, the justice department doesn't allow fbi agents to get an independent judicial review of retaliation claims.it concerns me that the department and the fbi hasn't worked with us on the legislation to fix that. fbi whistleblowers need the support of their leadership to ensure that there is a speedy and effective way to resolve their cases. i would like the assurance from mr. wray that whistleblowers
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will not face retaliation. some of his predecessors have done a poor job of protecting whistleblowers. on may 3 i said that a cloud of doubt hangs over the fbi's objectivity. the previous director james comey said the people of the fbi don't give a rip about politics. but mr. james comey installed as his deputy director, a man who wife ran for the virginia state senate and accepted almost $1 million from the virginia governor. that is a lot of money for one state senate seat. governor mcauliffe is a longtime friend and fundraiser for the clintons and the democratic party. deputy director met with him about his wife's political plans and his official fbi biography was used in setting up a meeting and the goal was for him to close the deal and get his wife to run for office.
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the office of special counsel is reviewing whether that coordination was a violation which prohibits partisan political coordination by fbi officials. the inspector general is reviewing whether he should have been recused from the clinton investigation based on his financial ties to the clinton political network. he was also named in a sex discrimination lawsuit by a female fbi agent who alleged retaliation. just last week it was reported that lieutenant general michael flynn wrote a letter in support of the female agent. that means lieutenant general flynn is an adverse witness to mr. mccabe and attending proceeding. mr. mccabe allegedly wanted this pursuit very aggressively. according to press reports, three fbi employees personally witnessed mccabe making
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disparaging remarks about michael flynn before and during the russian investigation. yet mr. mccabe never recused himself from the flynn investigation. his failure to do so calls into question whether he has handled the investigation fairly and objectively. i have asked the inspector general to add this to their ongoing review. the director of the fbi is entrusted with a tremendous amount of power. that power is subject to appropriate checks against the abuse of our civil liberties. the director is accountable to his leadership. and to the people elected representatives. that is why the fbi director has a 10 year term limit and there are no restrictions on the ability of any president to fire any director as president trump did to former director james comey. the term limit is a ceiling, not a floor. while independence from partisan influence is critical
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in this committee and it tends to closely examine circumstances of mr. james comey's firing history shows that the 10 year term limit is not there to protect the fbi director from politicians or politics. it is there to protect, to help prevent the fbi director from overreaching or abusing power. for more than 50 years, the fbi was run by j edgar hoover. arguably the most independent fbi director in history. the very people charged with straining his power were targets of his secret files. so were the americans whose civil liberties work trampled by that co-intel program and hoover's own illegal abuses. yet the fbi building still bears his name just as the bureau bears the weight of his ugly legacy. but in america, the people rule. not the police or military. vigorous oversight by elected officials is both the executive, but the executive
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and legislative branches essential to protect that liberty. i've been doing vigorous oversight work of the fbi for my entire career on this committee. as long as i'm chairman i will continue to ask important questions and expect honest answers on behalf of the american people. just yesterday, we had a hearing in a crime subcommittee that illustrated the long history of congress exercising its constitutional authority to do oversight including ongoing criminal and intelligence matters. sometimes we cannot talk public about all of the details of our work. although we strive to be as open as possible. some people argue that oversight of ongoing investigations is somehow interference. this ignores the important work of our, the importance of our work to ensure conspiracy and accountability and of ignores history. this committee has received
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detailed information about ongoing criminal matters and foreign intelligence surveillance activity in the past and will continue to seek that information. that is what oversight and accountabilities are all about. in the past, the fbi has resisted accountability to congress and has been unresponsive to our letters. i know for sure about my letters. mr. wray, you and i have spoken about this problem and i expect you to change this practice at the fbi. i would like an assurance from you that you will be responsive to my oversight work and that my questions and documents requests will be taken seriously and answered in a timely and complete manner and some of my questions with you in my 10 minutes will pursue this point. so once again i thank mr. wray for his willingness to return to public service and i look forward to a full and candid conversation with him today. now senator feinstein. >> thank you very much, mr.
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chairman.i would like to begin also by welcoming the nominee family to this hearing. i want them to enjoy the day. this is probably as good as it gets so enjoy it. [laughter] >> i would also like to recognize my former colleague and presents good friend sam nunn. it is good to welcome you back sam you are a beacon of integrity and scrutiny and good logic and strong positions while you served in the senate. it was a great treat for those of us that were able to work with you. to do so. welcome back. the position of fbi director is currently vacant. because of a situation and i want to speak about that. on may 9 of this year, president trump fired james comey. although we are still sorting out all of the circumstances and details surrounding the president's decision, it does
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not appear that mr. comey was fired because the bureau was a mess as originally stated. nor is there evidence that mr. comey was dismissed because of rank and file fbi agents had either lost confidence in him or because of his handling of the clinton administration. rather we find that rank and file engines of the fbi did and continued to overwhelmingly support james comey. in addition, deputy attorney general rosenstein told members of congress that when he wrote his memo, president trump had already decided to remove james comey as fbi director. based on press reports, and the president's own words, the reason mr. comey was dismissed was because he would not pledge his loyalty to the president and he would not lift the cloud of the russian investigation. president trump said in a
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televised interview for example, i was going to fire james comey regardless of recommendation. " when i decided to just do it, i said to myself, you know, this russia thing with trump and russian is a made up story. and as the fbi's investigation into russian election interference and possible coordination with the trauma -- trump campaign, the president became more and more concerned with james comey's unwillingness to cooperate. in the flynn matter as well as the russia matter. all of this raises important questions for the next fbi had and particularly for his independence. first and foremost, the fbi is and must remain an independent law enforcement organization. free from political influence.
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and this starts at the very top. the fbi director does not serve the president. he serves the constitution, the law and the american people. as such, the director of the fbi must be a leader who has the integrity and strength that will enable him to withstand any attempts at political interference. today, the judiciary committee will fully examine the qualifications, integrity and independence of the nominee before us. will mr. wray and the fbi pursue investigations with independence and bigger? regardless of who may be implicated. will he stand up for what is right and lawful? money tell the president know, if improperly directed to pursue certain or and certain investigations? these are not abstract
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questions.four hypotheticals. the committee must consider how mr. wray has handled such situations in the past. according to one press account for example, mr. wray expressed his readiness to resign alongside then deputy attorney general james comey and fbi director mueller in a standoff with the bush white house about the legality of the nsa's warrantless surveillance program. yet, john you has testified that just a year early mr. wray was part of the senior leadership in the justice department they may have reviews i'm sorry, reviewed in office of legal counsel memo justifying the use of enhanced interrogation techniques. this is significant. not only because of what is
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says about mr. wray's views, and independence at the time, but we know there are those who would bring back torture if they could. and so how he will handle this as the fbi director is important. in 2009, this committee heard important testimony stating that fbi interrogators have traditionally used the informed interrogation approach. -- many of us know, and fbi agent who was a key fbi interrogator for several major terrorism investigations testified to us directly about the contrast between the fbi's techniques and the enhanced interrogation techniques used by the cia during the bush administration. specifically, he testified that these enhanced techniques were operationally ineffective, slow
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and unreliable. and ultimately, harmful to counterterrorism efforts. in fact, we learned that back in 2002, then fbi director bob mueller ended the fbi's participation in the interrogation of zoo -- and other detainees because of the harsh torture methods being used.and because they were undermining the investigation. in fact, he pulled his people out. this is important. the issue of interrogation techniques is not just something of the past. in february of this past year, then candidate trump claims that torture works. and said he would quote - immediately bring back waterboarding" much worse. so i am particularly interested in hearing more about the nominees knowledge of the
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justice department's legal justification for the cia's use of torture during the bush administration. as well as his knowledge of detainee abuse by the military in iraq. i have said before that the cia's use of torture as part of his detention and interrogation program are a stain on our nations value in our nations history. the senate intelligence committees torture report was issued in december of 2014. when i was chairman of that committee. as outlined in specific, the horrific abuses of detainees. as well as the flimsy legal reasoning used to justify such practices. mr. wray was a principal associate deputy attorney general at the justice department when the office of legal counsel issued the so-called torture memos in 2002
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and 2003. one of the authors of these memos, john you, testified that olc would not have issued such opinions. without the approval of the office of the attorney general or the office of deputy attorney general. in fact, in his testimony, john you specifically reference mr. wray is one of the individuals who would have received drafts of olc memos. so this raises the question of what exactly was mr. wray's role in reviewing and approving these memos? and i would like mr. wray to clear this up this morning. i have had an opportunity to talk with him, i think this should go on the record and i think that he should respond directly to the full committee. i am also concerned by reports that mr. wray was alerted early on to the abuse of detainees at the prison in iraq.
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i would like to know more about what the nominee knew and when and what he did in response. this committee is charged with considering mr. wray's qualifications and experience with criminal and counterterrorism investigations. but we must also expand, examine his independence, his integrity and his willingness to stand up in the face of political pressure.because it will most certainly come. mr. chairman, thank you for holding this hearing and i look forward to hearing from the nominee. >> thank you. we now go to former colleague of ours, a senator from georgia, sam nunn for an introduction of our nominee. senator feinstein used a lot of additives about you that i would associate myself with. but also had the privilege of serving you for at least more
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than a decade and and a half and maybe two decades. i know well how you word determined senator to get things done and represent your people well. so welcome to the committee and you may proceed. >> thank you very much, chairman grassley and senator feinstein and my former colleagues senator hatch and senator leahy and other members of the judiciary committee. is a great honor to appear before this committee today for the purpose of introducing christopher wray. the president's nominee to be the director of the federal bureau of investigation. history does seem to rhyme. in 1977 i introduced judge griffin bell to this committee. strongly recommending him to be confirmed as attorney general. like today, it was a challenging time for the department of justice. as well as for the fbi. i described judge bell then as a man noted for his quick mind, his candor, integrity and his independence.
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years later in may 2003, judge bell contacted me. i was out of the senate at that stage. praising christopher wray as a rising star. he suggested that i recommend him to my former senate colleagues as a terrific choice to be confirmed to head the criminal division of the department of justice. since that time i followed his career in and out of government. can i have satisfied myself fully to my support for christopher in 2003 was well-placed. i can assure this committee that chris embodies the same trades that enabled griffin bell to rebuild public companies in the department of justice, quickness of mind, candor, integrity and independence. a couple of questions. what is the basis of my confidence in chris? senator feinstein, hope to address some of your questions and answering that question that i posed.
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from his service as assistant united states attorney in atlanta in 1997. where chris worked with the fbi in the trenches of federal criminal investigations and prosecutions. two 2001 when he served as then larry thompson's principal debbie. as has been a leader in helping the guy the department of justice including the fbi. after the september 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, chris worked tirelessly with the justice department leadership. newly appointed fbi director muller as well as other senior fbi officials to respond to the attacks and to help restructure the department to enable it to more effectively prevent future acts of terrorism. chris also helped oversee other department of justice priorities.including the project safe neighborhoods initiative. he was instrumental in forming the departments corporate fraud
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task force. in 2003, at age 36, as i mentioned chris was nominated by president bush to leave the justice department's criminal division. the senate unanimously confirmed chris for the position. chris demonstrated that the senate's confidence in him was justified by capably overseeing what are now two critically important divisions of the department. the criminal division and the national security division. in recent years, i have observed chris close up in his leadership role at king and spalding where he has the special matters team. incidentally, also started by judge bell. in private practice, chris came to be regarded very quickly as one of the most skillful investigative lawyers in the country. mr. chairman and senator feinstein and members of the committee, christopher wray possesses an unwavering commitment to the rule of law.
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he has a proven track record of following the facts in the law, independent of favor or influence. chris commands the respect and admiration of lawyers and judges and all who have observed his conduct and his record. chris understands that the fbi and the department of justice all loyalty to the constitution, our laws and our nation. and not to any particular officeholder. he has demonstrated his commitment to these fundamental principles be upheld at the department of justice. no one has been able to attest to that in the form of deputy attorney general larry thompson who worked directly with chris at the department. i would like to read one paragraph from a recent letter endorsing chris's nomination that larry thompson sent to chairman grassley and ranking member feinstein." larry thompson. i have had the chance during my career to work with men and women who have served at the
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department of justice and democratic and republican administrations alike. i witnessed them handling the most sensitive investigations and matters imaginable.i can tell firsthand, that i have not worked with or seen an individual with a keener sense of the department's mission and the need for the departments business to be conducted free from favor, influence -- why is this so important? have confirmed have complete confidence that chris will follow the facts and the law with fairness, intelligence and objectivity. wherever that path may lead. every member of this committee knows how important the job is fbi director is to our nation. particularly during challenging
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times. history tells us that among its many other important tasks, we rely on the department of justice and the fbi to serve as a powerful part of the executive branch. including the president and on occasion a check on itself. this is been made clear in the 1972 watergate investigation. the 1986 iran-contra investigation, the 1990s whitewater investigation in the early 2000 nsa domestic surveillance episode. chairman grassley, as you pointed out in all of these challenges, sustained, thorough congressional oversight is absolutely essential for our nation. but we ask of the men and women of the fbi is enormous. keeping our nation safe, holding our laws, investigating lawbreakers and yes, acting as a check on the most powerful and the most connected.
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the fbi deserves a permanent director so they can accomplish these tasks with our nations full confidence. there is too much at stake to allow this nomination to stand idle. christopher wray is a leader with integrity that the bureau needs at this critical moment. and i thank you, mr. chairman, senator feinstein and members of the committee for moving forward expeditiously on this nomination. my bottom line, i am confident that in meeting day-to-day pressures as well as in periods of enormous consequence, christopher wray will devote every ounce of his intellect, his skills and his sound judgment to protect and the american people and upholding our constitutional principles. mr. chairman, senator feinstein and members of the committee, i strongly urge the committee and the senate to confirm christopher wray as director of
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the federal bureau of investigation. and i thank you for letting me appear today with these words. thank you very much. >> and we thank you for your appearance and what you have said about our nominee and particularly to get it done quickly. we thank you much. >> yes, you may. >> mr. chairman, i remember very well senator nuns testimony in favor of griffin bell. i have served here with 379 individual us senators. sam nunn is one of the absolute best i've ever served with. we have been dear friends, we sat near each other on the senate floor. i learned a lot from him. every stance with him was great except the one time we were in a darkened room and the s.w.a.t. team came in firing live ammunition around us. that is a different story but it is an honor to have you here sam. i'm delighted to see you. please give my best to colleen.
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>> thank you, thank you senator very much. >> thank you. >> before you are seated, i think i will say be two or three seconds. i would like to give the elves now. do you affirm that the testimony you are about to give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? website do. >> thank you very much. i think that i more or less introduced you in my opening comments. so i think now, whatever time you take for the usual thing is for a statement. but also it is quite usual in this committee that any introductions you want to make, you can appropriately make those. that is your decision. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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mr. chairman, senator feinstein, members of the committee. thank you for the privilege of appearing before you today. i also want to thank senator nunn for the very kind introduction. there is no way i could contemplate undertaking an endeavor like this without the love and support of my family. with me here today is my wife helen, both of our kids caroline and trecked. -- my son trip. my parents, my knees, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law into their children. at commitment like this affects the whole family and have no words to adequately express my gratitude to all of them. i am honored for the president to be nominated to leave the fbi and i am humbled by the
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prospect of working alongside the outstanding men and women of the bureau. time and time again, often when the stakes are highest, they have proven their unshakable commitment to protecting americans, upholding our constitution and our laws and demonstrating the virtues of the fbi motto, fidelity, bravery and integrity. former attorney general and judge griffin bell who you heard senator nunn invoked several times and who had the great pleasure to work with quite a bit early in my career, often used to say that it's amazing what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit. and i think in my experience, the men and women of the fbi demonstrate the limitless potential of that saying day after day in the way they tackled the mission. while the fbi has justly earned
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its reputation of the finest law enforcement agency in the world, his special agents, analysts and support staff more often than not operate largely out of the public view. they toil at great risk to themselves and a great sacrifice by their families. but they happily did for individual recognition because they believe that the principles they serve are much larger than themselves. i feel very fortunate to have been able to witness that kind of selfless and inspiring commitment firsthand throughout my career in public service. as a line prosecutor i learned a great deal from working with brave fbi agents on everything from bank robberies the public corruption, from kidnapping to financial fraud. those agents are my friends to this day. and they taught me a lot about
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what it means to play it straight. and to follow the facts wherever they may lead. i continued my career in public service in the summer of 2001 by moving to washington to work at the justice department with my friend and mentor then, deputy attorney general larry thompson you also heard senator nunn reference. after 9/11, i witnessed again, firsthand, the fbi's extraordinary capabilities as the people there worked around-the-clock and moved heaven and earth to try to ensure that horrific attacks like those that occurred on september 11, never happen again. i know from up close and i sleep better because i know. but the horror of 9/11 has never faded from the fbi's collective memory. the bureau has never grown complacent and continues to work tirelessly every day to protect all americans. as head of the justice
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department's criminal division, i again saw countless examples of the fbi's unflagging pursuit of justice. free and independence of any favor or influence. from counterterrorism and counterespionage to the then rapidly escalating threat of cybercrime. from human trafficking to public corruption and financial fraud. i worked with and learn from the men and women of the fbi to put it all on the line to make our streets safer in our lives better. if i am given the honor of leading this agency, i will never allow the fbi's work to be driven by anything other than the fact, the law and the impartial pursuit of justice
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period. my loyalty is to the constitution and the rule of law. those have been my guideposts throughout my career and will continue to adhere to them no matter the test. there is no doubt as this committee knows, that our country faces grave threats. as lots of other people have noticed, america's law enforcement and intelligence agencies have essentially to pitch a perfect game every day. while those who would inflict harm on us just have to hit once to advance their aims. i consider the fbi director's most important duty to ensure that nothing distracts the selfless patriots at the fbi from the mission. in conclusion, i pledge to be the leader that the fbi deserves and to lead an independent bureau that will make every american proud. thank you, mr. chairman, senator feinstein. i look forward to answering the committee's questions.
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>> before my first 10 minutes starts, we're going to have 10 minute rounds just in case nobody came, late and did not hear what i said about that. there are two votes scheduled at 12:30 p.m. senator feinstein and i had a short conversation before the meeting and i asked if she thought we could get done by 12:30 p.m. she said we hope so. but obviously we're going to let people go as long on their questions as they want to. but i would ask people to think in terms of people chairing the committee so we don't lose a whole 45 minutes while we're having votes.so think that in mind. my first series of questions are going to seem may be very softball. and they probably are softball. but i think that they are very important to every member of this committee, particularly when they have an
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administration that says that democrats can't get answers to their questions.when they do their oversight work or even 30 republicans that are in chairman of committees that can get answers to their questions. and things like the role of whistleblowers that may not some of the stuff that is basic to your job, but it is basic to the constitutional principle we have the separation of powers and the constitutional role of congress. so the first one, we have heard a lot about the need for an fbi to show independence. you just heard what senator feinstein said about that. and also for the fbi to make decisions free of political pressure or influence. so i will just ask a very broad question and let you share your thoughts on this subject. what is your view on the independence of the fbi generally but more importantly as you as director head of that organization? >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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i believe to my core that there is only one right way to do this job. and that is with strict independence. by the book, playing it straight, faithful to the constitution, faithful to our laws and faithful to the best practices of the institution. without fear, without favoritism and certainly without regard to any partisan political influence. that is the commitment that i brought to my years to duty as a line prosecutor. that is the commitment i brought to my time as head of the criminal division. that is the commitment that i think the american people rightly expect of the fbi director. and that is the commitment i would make to this committee and to the country if confirmed. and i have way, way, way too much respect and affection frankly, for the men and women of the fbi to do anything less than that.
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and i would just say anybody who thinks that i would be pulling punches as the fbi director sure doesn't know me very well. >> thank you. in my opening statement, i emphasized the importance of oversight in helping to make government a more transparent and more accountable as a result and hopefully more effective. so do you have, do i have your assurance that if you are confirmed, he will assist me and members of this committee because of our jurisdiction but maybe i ought to speak for i hope 100 members of congress that share this view. assist us with our oversight activities, be responsive to our requests and help make the fbi more accountable to the american people. >> mr. chairman, i understand completely what you're getting at. i think the role of this
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committee is special with respect to the fbi and i would do everything i could to ensure that we are being responsive and prompt to dealing with all of the members of the senate but especially with this committee. and along the same lines, not just your involvement personally when you pledge information to congress between the fbi in this committee regarding with oversight request. >> mr. chairman, i would do everything in my power to try to ensure the fbi's being not just as responsive as possible but as prompt as possible. absolutely. >> now i don't know if i used this exact language in my private conversation with you in my office and it doesn't matter whether i did or not but i have a feeling that not just the fbi but most agencies teach
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or treat whistleblowers like they are a skunk at a picnic. but i think it is a little different in the fbi from the standpoint that there isn't the exact protection for whistleblowers at the fbi. it is different than most other agencies accept national security. when we met, i give you a list of fbi whistleblower cases. that list shows that it has taken 2 to 10 years to get cases resolved by the department of justice internal process. now you may not have any control over the internal process but the extent to which you do i guess that is how i am asking this question. the fbi whistleblowers also have no access to independent review and the fbi really disciplines anyone for retaliating against a whistleblower. tone is set at the top. that is why it's so important how you feel about this. how you protect whistleblowers
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in the fbi and hold retaliating is accountable? not just with your words but with your actions. i'm sorry to say that your predecessors did a poor job in this respect. even though they may have been very effective in running a law enforcement agency and seeing that everybody got the criminals they should get. >> well mr. chairman, your reputation for looking out for whistleblowers i think is, may be unparalleled in certainly no and the topic is very important to you. i would say first off, retaliation against whistleblowers is just wrong, period.i'm obvious enough familiar with yet, the bureau's internal processes but there needs to be a process that allows for appropriate concerns to be raised and whistleblowers in my experience having seen them in a lot of different kinds of organizations can play a very important role in ensuring accountability. not just oversight of congressional committees and
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courts but there is a form of accountability that comes from within and often times, whistleblowers can be a very important part of that. >> i appreciate your words. i think if i remember right that whistleblowers should not be retaliated against.i want to ensure you that at least two of your predecessors have told me exactly the same thing. so i think it is how you interpret your own words that whistleblowers shouldn't be via -- shouldn't be retaliated against.i do not say that you are misleading in any way but your good intentions may not be carried out.i think it is important that you know that. i am not going to ask you the last question but i want you to be aware of the fact that fbi whistleblowers are the only federal law enforcement officers who have no access to an independent judicial review. and members of this committee,
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along with may, this senator, or pursuing legislation along that line and i would hope that we can get some, as you think about it, get some support from you. so that your law enforcement people aren't treated differently from other in the federal government.r now i want to go to national security. i got three minutes left. there is no doubt that you are extremely qualified individual with a diverse array of work experience, particularly in investigating fraud. but the top priorities of the fbi are focused on national security. with the ultimate goal to protect and defend the united states against terrorism and foreign intelligence threats. any fbi director needs to capably and effectively leave the fbi national security mission so to that effect, please explain to us how you have the relevant background skills, knowledge and experience necessary to leave the fbi in combating national security threats.
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particularly in the area of counterintelligence and counterterrorism. >> mr. chairman, most of my four years in the leadership of the department both as principal associate deputy attorney general and as assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division, were focused on those issues. counterterrorism and to some extent also counterespionage. importantly, during the period of time before 2005 or 2006 even, both the counterterrorism section and the counterespionage section were part of the criminal division. and so, my oversight responsibilities in the criminal division itself and then to some extent as principal associate deputy attorney general focused on the criminal division and those sections where of course particularly high priority, counter terrorism and espionage.
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well over 50 percent of my time in the four years was focused on these very kinds of issues. >> thank you. now i want to go, this will probably be my last question for my 10 minutes. and this is in regard to electronic communications transactions records. recall that for short -- your predecessor at the fbi director repeatedly spoke about the need for law enforcement to have the tools it needs to research threats to national security and to have corporation from electronic communication service providers when doing so. in that regard, please explain to us whether as fbi director you advocate for any legislative fixes that congress can put in place to help the fbi get the electronic communication transactions records. especially for national security investigations. >> mr. chairman, there is obviously a tricky balance to be struck in that territory.
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but it is my experience that access to electronic information is paramount. lawfully pursued. i have not studied the different legislative ideas that are out there but i do know that we are going to have two, as a society, the fbi and the justice department, this committee and others, industry, our foreign partners, we are going to have to find solutions to these problems. because the role of technology is overtaking us all. so i am committed to try and work with everyone to try and find a solution. >> thank you, senator feinstein. >> thank you very much. just a couple of quick questions before i get to the substance of my questions. did you discuss james comey or his firing with anyone in the white house, the justice department or the fbi? if so, who, when and what was discussed? >> senator feinstein, i did not discuss those topics at all with anyone in the white house.
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my only discussion on the topic at all was deputy attorney general rosenstein making the observation to me that at the time that i first was contacted about this position by him, by deputy attorney general rosenstein.wasn't no special cancer mueller had been appointed to deal with the issue and that in effect made for a better landscape for me to consider taking on this position. >> okay and that was it? >> that was it. >> okay, let me now go to this thing that we discussed in my office. my understanding is you served as the deputy attorney general's most senior advisor. when the office of legal counsel issued the so-called torture memos in 2002 and 2003. john you, one of the authors of those memos testified in 2008 before a house judiciary committee on june 26. that you are one of the justice department officials who would
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have received a draft of the memos.avand that those memos would not have been issued without the approval of the deputy attorney general's office. in fact, you said he believed that you provided comments on the 2003 olc memo. which concluded that interrogation tactics don't qualify as torture. unless they are intended to cause severe pain associated with organ failure or death. what was your role in reviewing work approving the memo or any of the other memos issued by the office of legal counsel regarding the treatment? you should know that there were those of us at that time that were trying to get hold of these memos to look at them. we couldn't even go, we couldn't as a member of the judiciary committee or member of the intelligence committee, with couldn't even see the
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memos. so this looms big in my mind. so i would appreciate if you could answer the question. >> thank you senator feinstein. i recognize and respect how important an issue this is. presently said in my view is that torture is wrong. it is unacceptable, illegal and i think it is ineffective. second, let me say that i know - >> beginning. [laughter] >> second, both of my predecessors, director james comey and director mother had a policy which i think is the right policy and i would expect to continue that the fbi will play no part in the use of any techniques of that sort. third, i would say that when i was assistant attorney general for the criminal division, one of the things i think we did that i was most proud of was that we investigated and a more particular case i can remember, successfully prosecuted a cia contractor who had gone overboard and abused a detainee
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that he was interrogating. this was not in iraq but it was an afghan detainee.that is a case i was very proud of. >> and that was the case of a homicide. >> yes, it was a homicide. his abuse of that detainee led - >> the case was - insults. ? as i do not remember the exact location. my recollection is we prosecuted him in, i think, the middle district of north carolina is my recollection. he was convicted and sentenced. i think that was not only an important case in its own right but i think it sent an important message of the criminal division's intolerance for that kind of conduct. as to the rest of your question, we talked about this in our meeting. i can tell you that during my time as principal associate
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deputy attorney general, to my much less approved i understand he might have i. can only tell l this committee i have no recollection whatsoever. my portfolio might not be surprising because as the associate general was focused on the criminal division on the fbi on the u.s. attorneys offices. it was not the office of legal counsel was not a part of my not portfolio. but that wasn't squarely within my wheelhouse which was already pretty full to be honest. so we didn't provid did it provn the general meaning of the
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statute not as any particular technique and the reason is because i wanted to preserve for the criminal division the proper role for legal advice to be able to investigate and prosecute cases including people who go beyond the bounds of the law. >> can you speak of your connections at abu ghraib prison? i understand that you received a memo that stated they were t investigating the abuse of was detainees and that discussed tha suspected and convoluted i am referring this matter to you now conquer and with the release of the final autopsy report. when were you first informed
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about this abuse at the prison or elsewhere and what actions did you take? >> i don't have a clear recollection of when i firstea learned about the abuse at abu ghraib in particular. i knew we were getting referra referrals.os a lot of those investigation ins take a while and a lot of them may have come to fruition afterr i left the department in the beginning of may, 2005. >> you have no specific recollection. let me ask about the civil
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injunction authority related toa trigger some. as you know there is a growing recruitment efforts throughwi social media platforms and recruitment is repeatedly identified and nearly all of the 100 plus terminal indictments brought by federal authorities. as i understand it exists where the attorney general obtained orders against those that provide material support to a foreign terrorist organizations as well as to shut down websites from distributing software for spying on people. how do you feel about the use of this civil injunction and what commitment to explore and possibly used it would you be prepared to make?m not ov
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>> i'm not overly familiar with this tool in the arsenal the fbi has a. a. the material support, legal00s,t ammedies. two catch them with their finger on the switch of the bomb that is overly optimistic about the ability. the. it's important to try to prevent
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attacks. what you committed to informing this committee if you witness oo learn of any effort to. muell in whatever way is appropriate for me to do that i've worked closely with director mueller ie my past government service and i view him as the constant shooter someone i have enormous respect for and i would be pleased to do what i can to support him in his mission.ssion. >> i'm asking if you had any machinations to tamper with that but you would let the committee know. >> understood. >> thank you. >> i would consult with any time
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talking to the committee i would consult with appropriate officials to make sure i'm not jeopardizing the investigation but to tamper with the investigation would be unacceptable and inappropriate and would need to be dealt with very sternly and appropriately. >> welcome to the committee. i couldn't be more pleased to have given this position and i am very grateful that you would be willing to take because you have a nice life outside offe ot government.sting li i have a lot of sympathy with you and your family. so, let me again with the issue of encryption. i've long been a proponent of strong encryption technology. such is essential to protect consumers privacy and keeping
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the sector at the forefront of global innovation. we've had conversations with a number of leaders.wer i don't think they got this quite right. it's to line the path forward. will you commit to work with congress and industries in a collaborative manner on the issues that's workable for all sides. this is an issue that's been important and we've discussed it in the meeting as we discussed
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then i think this is one of the most difficult issues facing the country. there's a balance that has to be struck between the importance of encryption which i think we cani all respect when there's so many threats to the systems and the importance of getting a law thet enforcement and the tools they lawfully need to. sitting here as a nominee for the committee i don't know what the solution is but i do know that we have to find a solution and my ex.on who's to find solutions is that it's more productive for peoplel to work together to.
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that's why it's important toto keeping us all safe i joined with senator franken for the bipartisan child protection improvement act. what would you commit to continue working with congress to ensure that the organizations have access to the fbi background checks. i can commit that it's something i'm interested in trying to
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figure out a way to support the efforts and work with both of you and others. the child exploitation was in the criminal division when i saw it and brought some of the most important cases i'm keenly aware on a personal level of the threat the predators face and the most vulnerable populations of the country and i want to work with everybody to find better solutions. with the rapid dna legislation that passed earlier this year the current law restricts access to the combined index system to the dna records generator crime lab. they sent records in the technology however offers great promise speeding up the time for the analysis.
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they can know whether an individual was wanted for an outstanding crime or has the connection to evidence in the crime scene. it will help to exonerate the innocent and i would like to continue the fbi's long-standing tradition of working with congress to the way dna analysis is used in the criminal justice system. can you help us on that? >> i look forward to working with you and others on this important issue. i'm not up to speed on the latest advances in technology that even when i served in lawn enforcement before, it was already clear what a valuable
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tool it is both to ensure the right people are caught and prosecuted but also to make sure that the wrong people are not unfairly accused. it's to come up with a way to make the tool more readily available and more rapidly available. >> in 2015, the fbi secretary determined that 81 e-mail chains contained classified information ranging from confidential to top-secret special access program levels at the time they were sent. as someone who served 20 years in the senate intelligenceintelg committee, longer than any other member of the senate has ever served, i have deep respect for the intelligence committee and for the need to protect and properly handle classified information. i was troubled by the fact secretary clinton was so w careless about the way she handled the communications when
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she was the secretary of state. what is your perspective on how the fbi should handle the cases in the future when the individuals do not properly handle classified documents and information? >> this is an issue that is very important to me. in my prior government service, we caused the counter espionage section have jurisdiction over those kind of investigations and they reported up to me, we investigated a number of cases involving unauthorized and inappropriate disclosure of classified information. one of the eye-opening things for me coming into the leadership of the department from having been a lying prosecutor was just how much of the sources and methods come from our overseas partners. i think most americans rightly have no idea how important it is, and if we can't protect classified information it's not just ba have information that gs jeopardized which can lead to risk to the lives of the
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intelligence community personnel and all sorts of other compromising situations but even more importantly, it causes our allies to lose confidence in us and the willingness to sharey, information with us and if that dries up, we are in a world of hurt so those things need to be treated severely and investigated very aggressively.m >> i am concerned about the threats we are seeing in the united states. according to the fbi 2015to thef statistics, violent crimes increased in the country by nearly 4% over the year before, and murders increased by nearly 11%. can you explain to us what you would do as the fbi director to work with state and local partners to curb this disturbink trend of violent crimes? >> as the senator mentioned in his introduction dealing with the scourge of the violent crimes and in particular gun violence is a subject that i've spent a lot of time on in my
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prior law enforcement service. i think the fbi has a lot on its plate but it needs to look for the ways it can contribute to the state and local partners that are essential to thatffort. effort. i think the approach should be for the fbi to see what it can do and what it provides value. that might be things like organized gang activity, places where the fbi has particular expertise that it can support and supplement and augment and complement the efforts of the state and local law enforcement, but there needs to be the old saying about the whole beingng greater than the sum of the parts kind of approach, and that's the approach i would take. >> that's a good approach. i want to thank you for being willing to serve and take on this awesome responsibility and i want to thank your family for being willing to sacrifice themselves because we know that
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many times you're going to be away from the family and working pretty hard. thems you'k you for your willingness to serve. with that i tend intent to fully support you and i hope everybody in the senate will do likewise.w >> senator leahy. >> thank you. it's good to see you again., thank you for coming by yesterday. welcome back to the committee. the senator mentioned griffin bell, and i enjoyed our talkll,n about judge va though. i wish that yo he were here undr different circumstances because i am troubled by the abrupt firing of the director.
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the president and the white house misled the public about why he was fired and then the president made his motivationsid very clear in an interview with nbc news. he said he fired the director because of the russian thing. that was the investigation between the president's campaign and administration. now there are multiple investigations about russia and similar interference we see in other countries. just yesterday we learned a number of members of the trump campaign were eager to work andn talk with members of the organization even though they are an adversary of ours about
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the campaign. i talk about this not so much in history that we need to know exactly what happened because we have to make sure that it a ren't happen again. no country especially an enemy of russia should be able to interfere with our country. of h the fbi is one of the most powerful tools available through to the present and they may be expecting a loyalty to see. you told me yesterday there's been no question by anybody in the white house asking you for a pledge of loyalty is the correct fix >> my loyalty is to the constitution, the rule of law
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and the mission of the fbi. a no one asked me for any kind of loyalty at any point in the process and i sure didn't offer one. >> also, what you told meun yesterday he would end if asked. >> correct. >> i remember when then senator jeff sessions was questioning sally yates at the nomination hearing and he said the views were unlawful should the attorney general or the deputy attorney general say no. you served with sally and you? can't imagine probably not surprised her answer was she would say no.she stay as soon as she said no when she refused to defend president trump's discriminatory muslim then, she got fired. so i'm going to ask you the same question that jeff sessions
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asked sally yates and she kept her word and of course got fired for it if the president asks you to do something unlawful or unethical, what do you say? >> first i would try to talk them out of it and if that failed, i would re-sign. >> why did the president firet e director comey? >> you know, senator, i don't know. i'm not familiar with all the information the president may or may not have had, so i'm not in a position to speak to that. i do know there is a special counsel investigation underway with my former director leaving that and i think that issue falls within his investigation. >> the former director iser, led looking at whether the crimes
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took place. what i worry about when the president said, and i quote, face greater pressure because ot russia, and the pressure was taken off, "-end-double-quote by firing director comey. does that trouble you? >> i can tell you during my time at the department working with and then deputy attorney general comey 12 years ago and before that in all of my dealings witht jim comey, he was a traffic lawyer and dedicated public servant and wonderful colleague. i haven't been in touch with him for a number of years. to keep them from any interference or inputs.
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>> absolutely, senator. >> i never want to see us go back to that hearing either the fbi director did things that we now know are illegal, improper and are done for his ownga political motivation. i know senator grassley made a comment about that. the intelligence community, and this has been public including the fbi and the cia concluded with high confidence. the only thing that i've been able to reveal honor that is the intelligence assessments of the
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summary so i don't have access to all of the information but i will tell you from what i reviewed i have no reason to doubt the assessment of the community. >> whawould you read this sectin 60 were confirmed? >> you see the actions of russia in europe and other parts around the world you see them wanting to influence other people's elections. i don't want any country that is adversarial to the interest of the united states as russia. during the federalist society penned on our ritualism and criminal procedures in 2005 the extent to which foreigners were protected by the first amendment
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you brought the case of the u.s. where the supreme court held that it was not protected in the fourth amendment because it is not a member of the people.mendt do you think that would be a good way of handling theing undocumented aliens >> i haven't studied the jurisprudence on this topic for a long time. i was speaking the conference was about berger journalism and my remarks were about how those who criticize ritualism and a
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jurisprudence needs to come up with an explanation if not ouran ritualismoriginal but some comeh and i was trying to make the point that there is some logic to looking at our ritualism in the context, but i haven't looked at the remarks for a lon time., >> do you think they have any protection whatsoever >> do you agree waterboarding is torture and illegal? that's the same answer when i asked him that question.
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i asked the question and he promised me a follow up what are we doing going over the 3,000 t cases that are homeless because of the faulty analysis by the fbi. if those cases come up even as a missing transcript, will you commit to having an agent determine whether the documents are necessary to find out what happened.
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the cases stand or fall on that and we can't have innocent people convicted because of the science. i'm not familiar in thei't particular problems that occur but it's something i would want to get briefed on and see what might need to be taken. >> i will have a follow-up about question question >> i would ask for that commitment if you are confirmed to respond to the questions. >> i look forward to being responsive to the members of the committee in whatever way iser appropriate.
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>> i didn't mean to interrupt his answer. i'm sorry. >> your words today will matter. america is listening about what's going on in this hearing and you're going to be speaking pretty soon as the top cop in the land. are you familiar with an article from politico, january 11, 2017 titled the efforts to sabotagenu trump. he wasn't the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted by officials of the former soviet bloc country. officials tried to help hillary clinton and undermined by publicly questioning his fitness for office and also disseminated the documents implicating astiog corruption and suggested theyhe were investigating the matterr only to back away after and they helped analyze research damaging information on trump and his
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advisers. the operative that was consulting met with top officials in the embassy in washington and in the effort top expose paul manafort and russia according to people with direct knowledge of the situation. have you ever heard those allegations before? >> i have no idea if they are true but would you agree with mf that it's wrong to be involved in the elections? >> that is a good answer. >> will you look into this? are you familiar with the problems that we've had with donald trump junior the last fe days? >> i've heard that there is an issue. this is an e-mail sent june 3,ih
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2016, apparently someone connected to the ms. universe pageant and has ties to donald trump junior. he just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting. the prosecutor of russia met with his father this morning and they offered to provide the campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate her dealingshs with russia and would be very useful to your father. this is obviously there high-level sensitive information but as part of russia and government support it's helpedse along. what do you think is the best way to handle this information, and would you be able to speak about it directly? i can also send this information to your father about it all trust sensitive so i wanted to send it to you first.
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i'm on the road at the moment but perhaps just speak to the amendment first. it seems we have some time and this is what you say i will love it especially later in the summer can we do a call when i'm back should donald trump junior have taken that meeting? >> i'm hearing for the first time your description so i'm noo in a position to speak. >> if i got a call from somebody saying the russian government wants to help lindsey graham get elected they've got dirt on the opponent, should i take that meeting?g? >> i would think you would want to consult with some legal advisers before. >> should i call the fbi? >> i think it would be wise.
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>> here's what i want you to tell every publication. if you get a call from somebody suggesting that the government wants to help you by disparaging your opponent, tell us all to call the fbi. >> to the members of the committee, any threat or effortt to interfere for any nationstate or nonstate actor is the kind of thing the fbi would want to know.. >> that is a great answer. >> now, this is what donald trump junior said saturday before the e-mail came out. this is his statement. about what i just read to you. it was a short introductory meeting and i asked jerry to stop by. we primarily discussed a program about the adoption of russian children but was active and popular with american families years ago and is not a campaign
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issue at the moment and there was no follow-up.e i was asked to attend a meeting that wasn't told the name of the person i would be meeting withfa before hand. do you think that is a fair summary of the contact between donald trump junior and this rod goldstone? would you agree with me that this is very misleading? >> i don't have the full context to be able to speak to. i want you to be able to get back to the committee to find out if that is misleading. misleading. as russia our friend or enemy?et >> it is a nation we have to deal with very warily. >> you think in a situation of trying to compromise is a move on their part? >> yes. >> do you believe they did it
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when it came to the hacking and dnc and the e-mail's? do you believe the conclusions?o would that make you a good candidate to be an enemy of the united states? the effort to interfere is an adversarial act as you said before. >> did you see the press conference about the investigation in july of last year?ave done >> not live, but yes. i'm asking what you have done that? >> as my experience as a prosecutor in the division i understand there are policies that govern public comments about uncharged individuals and i think the policies are there for a reason.
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>> he talked about somebody that was never charged in this is that right? also he took over the prosecutor's job by saying there is no case here. >> again there is a generale's s investigation -- >> you wouldn't have done either one of those is what you are telling the committee or at least what i hope you are telling the committee. >> i can't imagine a situation where an fbi would be giving a press conference on an uncharged individual much less talking about it. >> you said he's a good guy, right? >> that's been my experience. >> and you will do anything to protect him from being interfered with when it comes to giving his job. >> absolutely. >> do you believe that in light of the e-mail and other allegations that this whole a thing about the trump campaign and russia is a witch hunt fax is that a fair description of what we are all doing?
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>> i can't speak to the basis of the comments. i can tell you my experience. >> i'm asking you is the future director do you consider this endeavor a witch hunt? >> i do not consider director mueller to be on a witch hunt. >> can the president fired director mueller, does he have the authority and the law? >> i don't know the law on that. >> can you get back to us andhi answer that? >> i would be happy to take a b look at it. >> realize you were stepping into the role of the director of the fbi and one of the mostt contentious times in history of american politics? >> there've been a lot of contentious times in american politics but i think this one certainly ranks up there. >> do you understand the challenge ahead of you because institutions in the eyes of the american people are suffering and the last thing we want to have as the fbi to fall out ofut favor of the american people?
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>> as i said in the american meeting i understand this is not a job for the faint of heart and i can assure the committee that i am not faint of heart. >> i think in the committee i told you i wanted to be an fbi agent and according to the junkt they never let me become one. [laughter] i never actually applied. it would have been a waste of my time. but i told you that i admired the men and women of the fbi does the unsung heroes against terrorism, child pornography, you name it. they are out there doing it. and you are their voice. this is a big honor, do you agree quite >> the reason i'm doing this is for those people. and the time when my name was first released to the media before i was asked to take on the position, i got calls from
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all these agents are used toes work with, prosecutors i used to work with, for and against from different administrations and the outpouring i got was both humbling and gratifying and i want to do this for those people and for the victim's past and hopefully to prevent in the future. >> you are the right guy at the right time, good luck.ight tim >> thank you very much to your family and friends who joined you here today. you said a few words do you have extensive experience working within the department of justice and you've characterized him as a terrific lawyer, servant and colleagues. i would like to ask we ar the as andunusual moment in american history where he was fired from his job and characterized by the president of the united statesl as a nut job and was fired because the russian investigation was underway and the president believed it was a
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cloud on his presidency. he told us a little bit about his direct dealings with the president of the united states and two things stood out which i think maybe fairly unique in the history of the united states. he said on the one hand having been caught alone in the oval office with the president of the united states spoke to the attorney general and i don't want that to happen again. that is an extraordinary statement by the head of the fbi. if you were asked to meet privately with no one else, the president of the united states as director, what would be your approach? >> my first step would be to call the deputy attorney and there is a policy that applies to context between the white house and the department and it goes in both directions. in particular he goes to any contact with respect to a particular case. there is obviously situations
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where the fbi director needs to be able to communicate onwiwi national security matters but in my experience it would be unusual for there to be any kind of a one-on-one meeting between the fbi director. >> unusual, but it happened. he decided he was uncomfortable being in the oval office alone o with the president. so, as unusual as it may be, what you need in the oval office with the president with no one else present? >> i think it would depend on the circumstances. it would be highly unlikely that i could imagine a situation where there would be some national security matter that might call for it. but again, my preference or my presumption would be there should be people from theould b department working for the office of the deputy attorney general so that it's not a one-on-one meeting. the relationship in any director
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and any president needs to be a professional one, not a social one and there certainly shouldn't be any discussion between the one-on-one discussions with the writer-director and any president about how to conduct particular investigations or cases. >> the second thing that isondu extraordinary in the creation of the fbi was the decision after meeting with the president and discussions with the president to create a contemporaneous written record. you know as an attorney where the department of justice weather that has a fiduciary value. tell me your reaction. do you feel at least thed. recommendations to create contemporary records of the conversations with the preside
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president.ro i would evaluate on a case-by-case basis. >> you can correct me your memory of the conversation and y written consanguineous report. different evidentiary area value in the courtroom is that not true? i don't want to put words in your mouth but what you are saying is under some circumstances, conversations with the president should be memorialized in the contemporaneous report. they would be appropriate to memorialize the conversation. i'm not going to let you off that easy. the responsibility as director we are dealing with an extraordinary situation where as man you respect was fired,re called a nut job and the
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president said to the russian visitors we are putting an end to this investigation. this is not an ordinary course of business for the investigation. this is the highest elected official in the united states of america to try to stop an investigation by putting him out of business. i think it's a little different than the routine requirements in the office. >> certainly i would distinguish if this is what you are drivingw in a sort of routine conversation and a very significant and important conversation and ones in the latter category and it would r behoove me to make sure there's an appropriate record of data. >> we talked a lot about russia in this hearing and in the threat to the united states you anad the unclassified version of their attempt to have a cyber attack on the united states election campaign. now we have a statement from the president of the united states t suggesting putin and i discussed
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forming an impenetrable cybersecurity said that election hacking and many other things will be guarded and safe. so now, we all started on the premise that russia was involved and try to change the election and we all understand that russia has been a bad actor around the world in many places and now we have the president saying we are going to get together on the issues ofem on h cybersecurity. so, if it is proposed to you by the administration to create this cybersecurity unit and share information with the russians about the united states capabilities and vulnerabilities when it comes to cybersecurity,, what is your reaction? >> i need to learn a lot more about the current state of our cybersecurity defenses and threats in talking to the intelligence community professionals to evaluate that n responsibly. but i wouldn't want to do anything that if i got that kind of advice and input suggested
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was putting us at greater riskhi as opposed to greater protecti protection.r >> i would think there would be red flags in every direction. i think there should be a cautionary feeling about any suggestion that we give to them information about our cyber capabilities and security. wouldn't that be the first a reaction? >> my reaction is any threat from any efforts to interfere in the system is one whether it's from a state actor like russia or nonstate actor that needs to be taken very seriously, and i would think that it would be wise for all of us to proceed with great caution in the wake of that information. >> i will leave that question.n. your conversation yesterdayd i about president george w. bush reaction after 9/11 when it came to the muslim american population of the united states. i would appreciate if you would reach out on your impression of the conduct after 9/11 when it
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came to this topic and your own personal feelings about the patriotism of muslim americans and the role they play at keeping america safe. >> it is something that we talked about and first, let me say i think the fbi director needs to be the director for ala americans. second, the conversation you are referring to, one of the things i remember being struck by by president bush in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 when the dust barely settled was that he took great pains to speak i can't remember if he spoke at a mosque or what, but i remember he made a special point of speaking out and saying that this was not a situation that we were at war with terror but with muslim americans and he made an outreach to the community at a time when it wouldn't have been by any measure politically expedient to do that and i
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remember thinking at the time that was a remarkably courageous and noble gesture on his part and i admire him for doing that especially at that time andmirei environment. >> it is my impression meeting with muslim americans in my state families and individuals. they are in the same state of mind as japanese-americans were during world war ii. the investigation has been some of the best leads we ever gotmyr
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were from members of that community and i remember havingm conversations with them in the state. it's also true that those americans just like all our people that we need to getet information from to help protect the homeland. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> congratulations to you and your family on the nomination. i appreciate your willingness to come back and do public service at a time when i think the nation's confidence in itsk public institutions has been shaken. i think it's very important to have somebody of your character and background experience servee
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as the next fbi director because i think public confidence in the fbi has been shaken over recent events. i ask you when we met in my office about the memo he wrote and i understand there's an inspector general investigation about the fact is that in response to senator graham suggested he would never see it appropriate to hold a press conference about a criminal investigation while declining to direct prosecution disclosed derogatory information about the target of investigation. >> what i can tell you is in my experience as a prosecutor and
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now as a lawyer in private practice with a special appreciation for why some ofnd those rules and policies of the effect that i can't think of a time when anybody from the department much less the fbi director gave a press conference providing derogatory information about an uncharged individual with an amount of knowledge of the department of history the fbi director reports to the deputy attorney general, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> and the fbi can't prosecute the cases. so, the fbi is the premier law enforcement agency in the world.
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if the deputy attorney general has a conflict of interest such that they don't trust the department of justice to conduct its business in partially what's an fbi director or anybody else supposed to do? what is the part of the organization and the department of justice that would provide recourse under the circumstanc circumstances. in other words special counsel of the office that would be best suited to take over those and dc investigations to decide whether the prosecution were indeed appropriate. >> if it was a special counselel in place, then that would be the natural place to bring those concerns to. the department has a chain of command as if there were conflicts you could work your way down and there's also the inspector general of the department of justice that under
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certain circumstances deem inappropriate outlet and i think you would have to evaluate each situation based on the facts and circumstances and look at thedee rules. >> when the attorney general had a meeting on the tarmac at the airport with president clinton knowing that mrs. clinton was the subject of an ongoing investigation that for him that was the capper as he put it and he decided not to refer the matter to the deputy attorney general but rather to take it upon himself to say no reasonable prosecutor would prosecute a case like that unde the circumstances.a case lat the reason i'm asking this, and i understand your hesitation about talking about a matter that's under investigation by the inspector general. his opinion over the last year he said the fbi's reputation and
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credibility have suffered substantial damage and it's affected the entire department of justice. you've read the memo i trust. and he concludes as you know, he said as a result the fbi isntire unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. i want to be respectful of theed line you are trying to draw what i need to know and i think the committee needs to know whether you understand the gravity of the mistakes made by the director and you pledge never to repeat them. >> as we discussed when we met the deputy attorney general's memo, which i did read the way he describes the department's policies and practices consistent with my understanding of those policies and practices in the way that i would intendac to approach the policies and
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practices. it's never been my practice to blur the lines between the fbi investigator and the department of justice prosecutor. it's never been my practice to speak publicly as a prosecutor or as a department official about uncharged individuals. i think those policies are important and in place for a reason and i would expect toto comply with them. >> my statements to the director on his appearance in front of the committee on several occasions as i believe you are a good man who's been dealt a difficult hand, and certainly w was that even good people make mistakes in my view is mr. rosenstein lays out a pretty compelling rationale of why the director refused to recognize those mistakes and why public confidence couldn't be restored at the department of justice oro the fbi until a director would acknowledge those and pledge not to repeat them, so that's the
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purpose of my questions and thank you for your answer. so, why is it important to have a separation between the fbi ani the department of justice when it comes to the prosecution, the decision to prosecute a case? >> it's been a system that's been in place since time immemorial as far as i can tell it's the same system that occurs if the difference between the police and the district attorney's office etc.. >> is it a check on the potential for the abuse of power? >> i think the theory is that prosecutors can evaluate via legal compliance and the constitutional protections, compliance and the rules of evidence, exercise prosecutorial discretion, which is very important and i think if you collapse the prosecutor and investigator into one role, it's just one step away from having
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the judge, jury and executioner in one body. >> i couldn't agree more. over the fourth of july i had a chance to read a great book which if you haven't a chance to sometime in your leisure time, which you won't have much of, i recommend hell helmed on his trail. i don't but if you read that about jade curtain for and martin luther king assassination and the manhunt for the fbi conducted following the terrible and tragic event. but it pretty much lays out the case j. edgar hoover while he was responsible for modernizing the fbi and making sure that it was equipped to do the job but it's continued to do to this day in an extraordinary fashion at the same time he had so much power people were worried about his unchecked potential abuse on power. so i would rate it is important to have that separation of powet and check on the fbi and as you
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point out, the independent prosecutorial discretion and judgment for the department of justice. and i think there was that wase that the director albeit a good man-made and justified his termination. on a minute or so that i have left, let me ask about project safe neighborhood. the reason i'm so interested in this, when i was the attorney general of texas, we tried to learn from the u.s. attorney on the project exile focusing on gun crime and to my mind, it waa one of the most innovative and successful ways to discouragecag people from using guns were carrying guns, particularly convicted felons were people under orders of the like using the power of the federal law so that they wouldn't be plea-bargained a way which they frequently are under the state system.
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but with your experience of thee project safe neighborhood, do you believe that is an enhanced role for the federal law enforcement authorities to go after violent and repeat gun offenders is warranted? >> i do think it is a very important part of the effort. i prosecuted as a line of prosecutor quite a number of gu trafficking cases and then of course as you mentioned project safe neighborhoods. the model of having coordination between the state and local to figure out which pieces can be done more effectively is a powerful deterrent effect on gun criminals throughout the country, so i think that was a very effective program and a model that we ought to be looking at going forward. it may be more limited within the atf would play in some ways a bigger role on the issues that the fbi does have an important role to play and would need toto be in a very sick and seats at the table.
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that is a conversation i'd like to continue once you are confirmed. >> i'm delighted that you are here and i wish you well.wi i would like to ask a question for the record that you provide the committee with a complete description of what you know about how it is that you came to be selected if you could layt yn that out we had a similar question and answer from judge speedjudgegorsuch. you mentioned that you will do your duty of loyalty only to the constitution and the rules of law. has anybody asked you otherwise? .. has anybody asked you otherwise? >> no, senator, no one has asked me for any loyalty oath.
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and i wouldn't offer one. my loyalty is to the constitution, the rule of law and the mission of the fbi. >> you kind of answered the question, when should the fbi director unilaterally take over the role of attorney general of the united states? and i read your answer to be never. but let's say you're presented in a situation in which you don't have confidence in the attorney general in a particular matter because of a conflict of interest, perception issues, whatever reason it is that you have lost confidence in the attorney general on that matter. what, then, if you're not going to unilaterally take over the role of attorney general and hold your own press conferences >>the attorn >> what is a the proper way to face that problem in the department of justice?.
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>> i think the deputy attorney general is the proper place to go under that scenario. >> cancer. i agree. i gather your answer to win a the fbi should disclose derogatory information on the uncharged subject is also never. but you went on to say that the protocol against disclosing derogatory information is there for a reason could the state the reason?. >> the reason senator is that if the department hasep negative information to share about somebody the proper way to manifest that is that the person who is accused as an opportunity to defend themselves. that would be resolved by a jury or a judge. there is a place for the
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accused to vindicate or fail to vindicate those chargeser against them. >> so it is a corollary that they do not disclose derogatory investigative information about the uncharged subjects even when the subject has been charged that you limit yourself to the conduct that is charged in the indictment or the charging document source subsequent filings. correct?. >> yes. >> within the four corners. >> even if you have a chat -- a charge it is not with the derogatory investigative information. >> it is manifested in the charging document of some sort. >> i'm the be going over
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ground but i want to make sure this is right this is the infamous view and givingve the approval to water boarding with that this circuit decision so that texas sheriff for water boarding criminal suspectsexas suspects, a pretty big thing to overlook in my opinion so water boarding those. filipinos out of the directly and of criminal prosecution of the legall counsel to figure that out to have that history and third, to overlook that military tribunal for that
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war crimes.ers so to me that was a horrifying will point of the legal scholarship of the department of justice.ame and with respect to the 2003 memo could you let me know what role in any of the torture of about? -- memo that is part of the process so if you have no recollection that i would recall ever reviewing muchcall less providing input or comments on this topic.
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>> but later when i was assistant attorney general the criminal decision did have a role and to merely commenting on the general interpretation and note --- mo and as you know, that was that prior interpretation that i have not seen prior to dapper gore did not think it wastions t appropriate for the criminal division to play any role to weigh in that particular interrogation techniques and then to be investigating and prosecuting cases. >> ended that circuit was
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convicted of federal crimes for doing exactly that. >>. >> and i have a couple minutes left. there is a famous confrontation between the department of justice and the bush white house overo the wireless wiretapping in 2004. acting attorney general, the director comey and director mueller had promised rules attoe -- roles as they indicated it was necessary to do resignations they would be a part of the group that would resign if they were not met the of the white house. so what took place and did that made clear?.
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>> yes i said he would resign. i was not read into the program at the times of my recollection is having a conversation with actingso my director comey in new shared with me not classifiedot contents of the program butpr the ongoing dispute about a particular program who felt the same way in their willingness to resign knowing those people working side by side that they were hardly shrinking violence -- pilots -- pilots there was no hesitation where i stood and i stood with them and i said let me know if you have to resign because i will reside with you. >> last question.ant you
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>> lasss has oversight responsibility over the fbi also into but out of criminal investigations for very good reason the yet in the oversight responsibility it is important to make sure they are not tanked for whatever reason so i interested in what you think the appropriate questions are four members of congress to ask about that investigation. so if agents are reselling? how many? is inappropriate to ask if any investigative work any subpoenas for documents? is inappropriatedept to consider whether the department process following a particular matter has that touching base has to happen if that took place? is it
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legitimate for congress to look at the process of a criminal investigation to assure itself a good job has been done as in the case of what has been in fact, been done. >> the committee have is an important oversight role that needs to be respected to make sure they're not jeopardize seeing information.
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>> there is a crisis of public trust and for most of the institutions if you are confirmed you'll have been important responsibility i will ask a series of questions about that why does the fbi director have a ted near-term. >> i think because there is a judgment made that the role of the fbi and the director needs to be one that is independent of partisan politics.on a 10 year term specificallye contemplates could be changes in the administration during the course of his tenure and i'd like other presidentialtheory i appointees brightly the fbi has a criminal law
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enforcement role that transcends political policy decisions that needs to be kept apart from that and to endure those changes of the administration. >>. >> so as the fbi director of misconduct nobody is above the rule of law and if he does not comply with the law should be treated like anybody else. >>. >> it is the investigative function not be politicized the we have three branches of government so ultimately the legislative and executive branches are the most relevant are accountable to the people so
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there is a boss but not direct politicalt accountability so how do you conceive of who your boss is as the fbi director?. >> it is true a the president is the head of the executive branch and the attorney general and head of the justice department and the fbi as part of both. i think the independents ofnt the fbi really is not a structural or organizational independence but the process . to me the fbi needs to follow the facts and though law to whoever it leads it is a process question. that would be my commitment as director with a different kind of independence. >> could you state again obvious from your time in the justice department in
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the 2006 you said you could imagine circumstances you would resign it is critically important that as you put up your right handood t that people know the oath matters if you take the oath you say alternately it is the constitution i useul survey of the legislature passes of the executive branch executes them but theiv bureau's rule is not to be politicized or political. the american people need to hear you clearly define theea circumstances under which you would resign could you help us understand when you restore public trust in the apparel how do understand a somebody tries to politicize the work with the decision your suppose to make as director of the bureau?. >> first i would say that former attorney general name has come up several times already today one of the first things he taught us about public service is especially like this that
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you cannot do a job like this without being prepared to quit or were be fired at a moment's notice if you're asked to do something or confronted with somethingon that is illegal or unconstitutional or morally repugnant. you have to be able to stand firm to your principles. many people have described to me as low-key or understated my kids wouldd describe me as boring but i don't want to look back that nobody should mistake that demeanor as a lack ofi don't resolve or willingness tock compromise because anybody who does make some very grave mistake. my commitment is to use the rule of law and the constitution to follow the facts wherever they may indeed in there is not a person on this planet whose
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lobbying or influence could convince me to just drop or abandon a properly accredited meritorious investigation. >> talked-about be investigation of prosecutorial decision making can we help the american people understand where the bureau's responsibility and in the criminal decision and they kicked in with decision making and how does that work on cases that are below the purview on a day-by-day basis and where the director is directly involved?. >> i think the agents as they line prosecutor orate a mid-level supervisor or upper management, the concept is the same the fbi is doing the investigating
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and fact-finding. the accumulation whether or not there is sufficient evidence of a crime to recommend bringing a prosecution against somebodyt so to do exercise that discretion is made by the prosecutors who are trained as lawyers with policies and procedures and in my experience it is with the best practical example there is a partnership working together even or the fbi hasas the lead. >>. >> even though greater responsibility at trial how
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best agents of the works were sought side by side with real counsel table so there is a shift of responsibility in the system but who is a team effort and that is the way it should be approached. >> obviously there and a limitless resources so you as the director will regulate have to repair per station decisions obverses cyberinvestigations lots and lots of really important missions for a when you make those decisions when would it be appropriate or inappropriate for main justice and beyond like the white house to be providing direction about the fbi priorities and budget investments?. >> i don't think the white house should play the role of prosecutorial decisions period.
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from the up problematic perspective which is reflected in things like thero budget more effort to be focused on particular types of cases when we focus more resources on counterterrorism. so there is the effect on the scarcity of resources and the ability to prioritize and that is ae process that occurs within put from law enforcement and the department at the end of the day there is a president's budget is submitted to congress for the process. >> i think i hear you offering a general distinction but not to put words in your mouth on a new bases there will be decisions made around budgeting about those programs but it is never prepared for the white house to provide the political
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officials specific direction about specific cases investigating. >> that is my view. >> i will stay for a couple more hours because it wants to drive deeply the one specific connection, do you believe the russians were involved to influence the 2016 election?. >> negative sac -- said before i have only seen the assessment but i have no reason to doubt the intelligence community's assessment i have not seen all the information but i have no reason to doubt that. >> for those of us to read that on a daily basis it is indisputable also that in 2018 and 2020 there will be back and the main tool that those that want to destroy the institution is to exploit human exacerbate the
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existing problems with american public distrust is one of the most valuable targets the russians have to divide us against ourselves and you are considered to read an agency to play the front line role to have that public trust. we are grateful you're willing to serve.or >> before they are involvedestis in 8920 alexian's there already involved in the september elections as chancellor merkle already knows that. sorry letter of support from the doj officials. and that is a whole new obama administration and
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with independence day and experience in support from the former boss with the attorney general and it is deep and admirable and unparalleled as a strong professional. >> thank you very much. our daughters are francis is good to see you and i have heard from non fbi sources said she was on the redeye
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and kept her eyes open to the entire hearing shows the devotion to her dad. i on a more serious matter and d that is a pretty good starthat's and they thank you for your a answers in red that irrefutable evidence that and i thought your opening statement that ec ther gravity of this moment to be nominated to put themselves out on the front line every day and we owe it to them but also to this countrylso that the senator has talked about in terms of this
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government in washington.erms so when you ran the criminal division of the justicen department did you ever received a request from the president or high-ranking officials?. >> no. >> you answered one of the colleagues of the president asked you to do that he would try to chart a matter of it and if not then you would resign. >> that is the potential. >> so as a prosecutor over eight years sometimes i would get comments from people don't do anything about that case or someone calling my office or to tell my deputy arab not tell that prosecutor unless baby did
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to do that.o the and so i appreciated your answer.place b seventy-one to respond to that?. >> yes. the process is so important because people need to have confidence in the outcome. if there is a decision to charge somebody people the confidence that will lead to that is fair and impartial and consistent if there is closing the investigation without charges people need to have confidence there was something there but was unfounded so the process is important to the tone used p to be set at the top so the thing that is distinctive as
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they will follow the facts and the law wherever it takes them. sometimes people don't likeaw that but that is what makes a beautiful thing to behold as a prosecutor.t >> your view of working with local law enforcement? we have a very good group in minnesota the fbi stepped in when we have the stabbing and up the shopping mall and worked very well with our local law enforcement. this do want to briefly comment in working with local law enforcement?.ur >> i think working with state and local law enforcement is hugely important especially because there's so much on the fbi's plate right now there needs to be partnerships between the fbi and other federal law-enforcement agencies that all kinds of support the fbi can provide whether
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partnering her investigations so when i talk to people with state and local law enforcement a consistently praised and are ratified by the supportt coming in over the last several days to think thatro is a terribly important relationship because the reality that we face are way too many for one agency much less the fbi. >> director comey saw that as well and i had respect to working for law-enforcement but from time to time theree have been proposals to split up the criminal and national security mission to remove counter terrorism and espionage from the jurisdiction to spin them off some even a been advocated the american version of the way the british handled this. with this was discussed in
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the early 2000's, but director mueller rejected it saying it was a step backward to you do agree with his assessment of the proposal?. >> remember being actively involved working with people at the fbi. i thought it was a terrible idea then it is hard to imagine circumstances have changed. >> where i have learned is the danger between criminal g law enforcement in the atff to split fame is up is not the right way to go about it with my limited understanding in 2017 at the time that has passed since i loved that other foreign agencies have started to move in the direction that we have.ed i have great respect for our colleagues in the u.k. but i don't think that is the
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right model for us. >> election in infrastructure? looking at this last election and going forward and to coordinatee of with the assistance commission in june follow-up on cyberattacks and to make this a priority movingw forward. >> a think the integrity of the elections has to be ank top priority. and any threat to whether a nation state court on state actor needs to be taken very seriously. >> with of broader fashion that criminal networks at the kremlin when we were at the end of last year was senator mccain between the ukraine and georgia there using shell companies as
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other entities as half of all homes in its states would do those show s companies dues that existing authority to require more transparency with luxury real-estate transactions? we're trying to figure out how you follow the money goi you're more likely to find a terrorist with his hands on the check rather than a bomb. >> and though that particular program but i strongly agree that following the of money it is law-enforcement 101 whether drug trafficking or terrorism or organized gangs but none of those happened without money following thefi money with the treasury department is the uncommonly
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effective strategy to use. >> in another few matters a staggering rise of hate crimes with threats against the muslim community and the jewish committee -- committee had your purchase? >> based on bigotry or prejudice cannot be tolerated in the fbi has the important role to be the investigator said there wasga a different kind of hate crime as they go around burning down churches one killed a volunteer firefighter and i mentionedd a that meeting with the mother of the dead firefighters began the seven year-old daughter is a memory i will take with me forever so i have appreciation personally
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>> i will also talk about human trafficking on the next round but they do have one other question with the terrorist online recruiting o we have a number of instances in that in minnesota and former u.s. attorney worked extensively with the fbi on this issue of met with the fbi in minnesota they showed me some of the internet f targeting that is designedey to focus on people in our state like the somali population and could you elaborate on the pratt what the fbi should be doing to counter this type of farm when recruiting efforts around the country?. >> i need to be briefed on the fbi efforts in that area especially the development couny of technology but my basic
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view is similar to senator feinstein that we have to get earlier in the continuum . that is recruitment and logistical planning and financing there is awful rage of things that terrorist organizations too early. plots don't happen overnight they take time to germinate we need to be in a position to find them and stop beverly -- early. >> i like to give you an update on the schedule to give the nominees some time for a breakthrough were senators alas questions that we will have a 10 minute break. i will be leaving for votes but i will be back after that the senator will gaffle live and after we recess gav
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around 12:45 p.m. so even though it takes a long time we will continue so i will step down from my a 12:00 news press conference with ayatollah -- i was. >> you'll be asking questions at 1230 so you will be the one that will recessed the committee. the you may just be finishing your questions about that time but the senator is already over there he will come back and hopefully yellowback or somebody else will takeover.
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>> senator, go ahead. >> you are doing a great jobob and i appreciate where the committee is going and we had an opportunity to spend 30 minutes together yesterday that they do want to draw down on one thing that i think is important to emphasize i have a law-enforcement to advisory committee and i meet with people on a frequent basis and one of the things i want to amplify was the importance of working with state and local law-enforcement agencies to get the best resources to support these investigations . one of the things i think is
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important is what is foundational to make those words are those sharing programs to provide those resources is that an effective program to remain in place?. >> i have heard good things.n but certainly the ability for federal law-enforcement but other partnering with t investigations or grantsf suppor there are lots of things the federal government can do to have the state local law enforcement to be multipliers. >> because the support for the program at 1.really did cause disruption. maybe a handful of cases a
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nationwide. we should look at that because there are misconceptions how that runs of that is true we need to work on the but sending that uncertainty could have the effect on local investments of local law enforcement and to work with the agency. can we talk about going dark ? in the importance you believe with the process?. >> yes. of course it has been years since i have dealt with fisa but i have done quite a bit in my past and a 702 was passed after i left. but everything i have heard from the intelligence community like i said earlier i have no reason toco
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doubt their assessment of the efforts to russia to interfere i also have no reason to doubt what i hear of the assessment of the importance of section seven '02 as a vital tool in our efforts to protect american upper gore look forward to learning more about that tool and how it could be strengthened and enhanced to be used appropriately butnd everything i have heard suggested is a tool is a high priority to be renewed. >> i think is very important as we discuss and debate safety measures because this is already in place spending time with a director of national intelligence said
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people will die if we gorm dark it is a profound statement from a high ranking official so we need to preserve those tools for the agency. >> so that only other question. >> i just want to go back you have said very direct would about russian battling an old thing there is anybody oth in the congress meddling in the elections with the emergence of the of cyberdomain to do that on a broader basis but assuming
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what is already a under investigation do you have any steps that director mueller was tasked with the you need to proceed?. >> i think there is more that i don't know than i do do.an outsider. so i look forward to making that a high priority but in addition to providing support with as a counter intelligence function so to protect us going forward is a different role than what special counsel old director die mueller was doing which was backward looking but thereng were synergy between thebackward
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two. >> so you should be very proud you were nominated for this position of the demeanor and the kinds of questions and the insight that is a true testament to your work experience as the next director of the fbi eyelet forward to supportingor your nomination and congratulations to your family. >>. >> thanks for reading with me yesterday mr. wray. actually i wanted to ask a roll going forward of the fbi from former director
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mueller special prosecutorer but you answer that question. ironclad by saying parts of what the fbi will be doing is so that this does not happen again because i think we have got to keep our eye on the ball because 2018 will be upon us soon and we don't want this to happen again. first banks to senator hatche for his work of a child improvement act and to for your commitment to to help us get that bill passed it helps organizations that do venturing for kids to get background checks for those
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working with senior sorry the elderly to effectively screened their workers and volunteers to make sure theyr are trustworthy so of thank you for your commitment this is something we have trieded to get done for a while inom these groups are doing unbelievably great work. and for the record bidding senator graham would have made a great fbi agent and that he is in the senate but i don't know about that shew knew very article that suggested someone in the ukraine wanted to pass information off to the clinton campaign. but i think i know the answer, did the ukraine hack
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the rnc database? did day pack into conway? did usconway clintons want to build ad hotel? there is a big difference and we know what russia did and that is a big deal. thank you for saying that part of your job is to make sure it does not happen again. >> of course we have oversight over the fbi. will you come before us periodically so we can do our oversight?. >> yes i expect i will see a fair amount of the committee if confirmed. >> likewise you think attorney general sessions should come before us periodically to exercise
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oversight?. >> and space for the attorney general and his appearances by richard p. values as committee having been a member and to appear periodically. >> i agree. let me ask you about when director comey was fired one of the justifications was that director comey have loss of confidence of the rank-and-file you have known him for a long time and have worked alongside him and do no good number of people y back from your time that the justice department. yourhat your experiencee talking to them?. >> i have not done a scientific sampling of those 36,000 men and women.h
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but all the people i have spoken with strike me as the same fbi i have always known and loved better mission focused who believe in what they're doing to follow thee facts were ever it takes them with their head down, the spirit up and charging ahead now of somebody feels differently that could be but i don't know. >> you don't think director comey is a net job?.th >> that has never been my experience. >> i am glad to hear that. >> if you are asked in a setting by the of presidentg
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to stop in investigation of somebody, aside from saying no bush did you report that to us?. >> i would read reports that to the deputy attorney general assuming he was already sitting there and we would have a discussion who we could lawfully share withit whom but we would have a discussion. >> thanks to the senator for bringing up hate crimes this is what former director comey explained about hate crimes that they are different from other crimes because of strikes the heart of one's identity. adder sense of self, belonging, and the end result is loss of trust andnd
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dignity and in the worst-case loss of life and in my view the loss of dignity is what makes hate crimes so pernicious with an act of violence is motivated by hate against a particular group properly identified and that as a hate crime to prosecute bad as such can go along way to restore the dignity but they're often under reported five victims in state and local law enforcement because the federal hate crimes law does require to notify the fbi so there is no incentive to do that the recently won investigation revealed 120 federal agencies are not up putting information about the hate crimes the f investigator prosecute into the database in fact, even
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the fbi is the recording all of them into its own database and to me that is a problem. we need accurate data about the scope of the challenge data in order to appropriately direct resources we cannot do that if we don't know how the incidence there are or where they take place for both the federal government is not keeping accurate data then how can we expect state and local police departments to step up?. >> i share your concern for the need of accurate data n per cry not familiar with exactly how the reporting system works or does not work right now but it is r something i will look forward to learning more about to figure out how it can be done better. >> would you commit to help
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address this problem and work to improve state and a number of hate crimes they are dealing with?. >> would commit to taking a hard look at the issue early and how we can work together ear >> and with that testimony here today this is a hard time and under very extraordinary circumstancesery and i think you for your ruling is to take on this job and looking around and feel you had a good hearing today and best of luck to you.
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>> that means a lot. >> you have a very impressive resonate and i imree with the senator thinknk you have done very well a today. to interview you for this job?. >> senator, i was contacted the original by ed deputy attorney general that was the first inkling i had that today was even a gleam in anybody is diaper cry met shirley thereafter withn deputy attorney general and attorney general sessions together, the two of them and then as has been publicly reported i think the day after memorial day i had a brief meeting at the white house the was attended
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by several people including the president and the department. and other similar meetings that i was announced as the intended nominee. >> indulge me a half to lay a foundation my colleagues have alluded to in this but our country began as a self-reliant the debt of first union of states. but the country has changed a lot and a couple hundred years. i don't mean this to be as a pejorative statement but factual, the power of the federal government of the united states government is breathtaking.
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and i don't think there is a single agency that there is more symbolic of that power they and the fbi. you could ruin people's lives hopefully when that happens they deserve it. but at some point, and who did what to loom in the last election is a distant memory and at some point the investigation of russia's interference will be over but what will remain is the fbi and its reputation. i don't think the fbi is a political body from rank-and-file. what to believe that and i don't believe that. b
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but i worry about the perception that some americans might have about the fbi. based on some of the testimony this committee and others have heard in the past before today.have here's what i'm looking for.r. i want to be a political i don't you to exhaust yourself to make political friends appear. what you to be socrates. i want you to be dirty harry with the bad guys. and tell me how you will do that in this environment. >> first senator i have that high in depreciation for the point you're making for the firepower of the fbi and the
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ability to ruin people's lives. what i did as head of the criminal division was tried to meet with every new hire trid hire, over 400 lawyers i would spend 10 or 15 minutes one on one in one of the points i would try a to make the decisions thatin prosecutor would make and fbi agents, a short of a wedding or a death, the public's interaction with law-enforcement is the most meaningful and impact will experience they ever have. so prosecutors and agents need to conduct themselves in a way that remembers that power and how much significance they have. not just the people they deal with whether they are
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targets, witnesses, jurors and it doesn't matter they will all remember their interaction in a a way that they may not remember as vividly so they need to keep that in mind. second, coming back to the point of the importance of the process. mad the process needs to have integrity and be independentteg. and three from favor in the influence and partisan politics because of people have confidence in the process then they could have confidence in the results. >> let me ask about the process and i appreciate your answer. i think history will demonstrate the white houseouses
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has been offering advice over decades to the fbi so where do you draw the line? if the white house calls, i am curious to know how that works internally..you, i if the white house calls to say we were reading about a story on medicaid fraud in a state in you should look into that. is that appropriate?. >> my response would be to save you have evidence of a crime the using the fbi needs to look back, give us the evidence we will take a look and make the assessment . just like with a witness supplying information
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consider the source san take into account those circumstances of there was another agenda.nder the but the white house might have information in your hypothetical of a crime toat be investigated would take that seriously just like i would from anybody. >> suppose the attorney general the live has recused himself, but enacting attorney general called the you to say stop referring to a a the russian investigation as a matter. what would you do?. >> i would need to understand why they got ana bad description and was inaccurate, i tend to be somebody that listens with an open mind for the explanation but if iit disagree with the
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characterization i have to play it by the book and call it what it is. >> but if the reason was matter plays better with the public?. >> and never tried to do persuade the person why the request was still considered to >> if they said do that anyway?. >> and i would consult with the appropriate ethics officials to make a judgment of men next course of action >> if they say, a strike that. t i don't want to speculate. we have an extraordinary crime problem in your lands an and rapidly becoming the of murder and armed robbery capital of the westernrn hemisphere. if you are confirmed and i
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believe that you will be, can i count on you with a limited and scarce resources that you have to give us some advice and help. caestling with a huge crimee problem? . .,
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recess for ten minutes. >> if i had a gavel i would bang it. and audible conversations [inaudible conversations]
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