tv William Browder Overturning Magnitsky Act is Putins Top Priority CSPAN July 28, 2017 4:53pm-6:41pm EDT
who's going to get hurt? why do we want to do that? were not doing that to the elderly on medicare. why would we want to do that. in fact, we ought to double down and really put more into our children. >> watch the entire program saturday at 7:00 p.m. eastern. also on the tv on c-span2, sunday at 7:00 p.m. eastern, david goodhart on the road to somewhere, the populist revolt in the future politics. >> can you see this in the contempt, after brexit, you had left wing professor saying why do we give these people about without some kind of iq tests. >> for more, go to booktv.org. >> former russian investor william router testified before the senate judiciary committee.
he talked about the law that requires people representing interest of form powers to disclose the relationship. he testified that the lawyer who met with donald trump junior was heading russian efforts to get sanctions repealed. the hearing is just under two hours. >> i reconvene our hearing, i gave my opening statement yesterday. i don't have anything to add to it, but i've got a few housekeeping things to take care of. i'm disappointed that the rule was invoked to shut down this hearing before we could hear all the testimony yesterday. he has traveled from overseas to be here to testify about the russians efforts to manipulate our government this is an important topic to discuss. if the other party is truly serious about getting to the
bottom of russian interference, they should hear him out. mr. browder, i thank you very much for changing your travel plans to be here this committee very much appreciate your willingness. going to choose the items you. they allege they uncovered the 2 billion-dollar corruption scheme from the venezuelan government and laundering money to one company created that he will call the information and cleaners, and individual were going to hit
on the corruption. the second item in the article all will in the third item is the new york times article will clean. [inaudible] will describe the activities of russian-american lobbyist and will also without objection those will be included in the record. i would like to introduce into record constituent who would like to submit this engine written testimony about his experience for the record without objection, he may do so within one week from today.
i also want to insert a letter from airline pilots association alleging that the u.s. travel association has not properly registered. it alleges the association engaged in political activities on behalf of airlines in the middle east, so without objection, i will do that and now i will let the ranking member make any statement she has and i will introduce and swear our witness. go ahead. >> thank you very much german. today our committee continues its examination of the foreign agents registration act. yesterday we heard from government experts, representatives from the justice department and the fbi, along with d.o.j. that discussion, i believe confirmed there is a significant problem with under enforcement of the law.
individuals engaged in political activities on behalf of foreign government and interest in the united states do not register in a way that works with the justice department. that's because right now there are no real consequences for failing to register. i think we should change that. as we also heard yesterday, the justice department relies heavily on finding out about potential violations and monitoring and other public information. at times they received complaints alleging that individuals or companies have failed to register their lobbying. today we will hear from one such individual. i do not know mr. browder, but my standing from july 2015, he filed a complaint alleging
that a number of individuals failed to register their lobbying efforts against the magnets the act. among those named in his campaign is a russian lawyer. as we all know she met with the trump campaign on june 9, 2016. she had understanding that she would offer incriminating information on hillary clinton. it is my understanding that he is very familiar with this lawyer and another russian figure who attended the g9 meeting because of their work to oppose those that. while she does not have
firsthand knowledge of what happened on june 9, his experience with these individuals and his broader understanding of how a russian government operates may advance the committee's understanding of what motivated at meeting, at least i hope it will. i look forward to hearing from a witness today and with that i feel that. >> thank you. i will first introduce mr. browder, an investment firm based in london. members of organized crime stalled corporate identity of somebody and use them fraudulently. they filed a criminal complaint with russian law enforcement. in response russian government assigned the case to the very russian officials involved in the crime.
>> >> with of vladimir putin campaign i'm the founder and ceo of permitted capital management my firm was once the largest foreign investment adviser of russia and in the capacity we discovered massive corruption and companies that we invested in and to fight that corruption we started to research how the oligarchs went about doing the stealing and then share their research with the international media. the naming and shaming campaign had some positive effect on the share price of the company's and made
russia a better place as you can exposing millions of dollars of malfeasance upset those who are benefiting from that and they had very close connections with the putin regime. november 2005 i was expelled from the country and declared a threat to national security and june june 2007 my moscow office was raided by 25 officers from the ministry and 25 others from my american law firm they sought to get those stamps seal's certificate for our investment holding companies and with those stamps and seals and the tickets they could look at corporate identity theft at the point i hired the smartest lawyer
that i knew in russia that was 35 years old to investigate who did what and how we could stop them. sergei went out and investigated and can back with the astounding conclusion that the purpose was to steal our assets which they did not succeed however they did succeed in stealing $230 million of taxes paid to the russian government from the russian government so the theft was not of my eight or my firm's money but the russian government's money $230 million the largest tax refund fraud in the history of russia. saturday and i were convinced this must be a rogue operation that putin was a nationalist and would not have allowed his own officials to steal from his own country we thought if we
brought that to the attention of the highest authorities then the good guys would get the bad guys so we wrote criminal complaints to every branch of the criminal justice system and i gave sworn testimony to their version of the fbi and waited for the good guys to get the bad guys. but into russia there are no good guys. on november 24, 2008 sergei magnitsky testified again so save officials seeking to his home and arrested him and put him in pre-trial detention for he was tortured to withdraw testimony to put a missile with 14 inmates and imposed sleep deprivation no heat and no windowpanes where he nearly froze to death and
though twilit with a sewage in the floor and move them in the middle of the night the purpose was to get him to withdraw his testimony and signed a false confession they did so of my instruction but he refused. because he refused after six months his health deteriorated with terrible pains in his stomach have lost 40 pounds and diagnosed with pancreatitis and gallstones in needed operation in august 1st. one week prior they abruptly moved him from representative medical facilities to maximum-security prison with no medical facilities his health completely broke down went into constant agonizing your piercing pain and they
refuse treatment. sergei magnitsky and his lawyers wrote desperate request for attention they were all ignored or denied in writing. after a couple of months of this horrible torture on november 16 he went into critical condition and on that night the authorities did not want responsibility so they put have in an ambulance with medical facilities but instead of putting him in the emergency room they put him in isolation changed to a bed of the navy him until he died. sergei magnitsky was 37 years old with a wife and two children. i got the news of his murder
the morning of the 17th and it has been my life's work to get justice for sergei magnitsky was impossible to get in russia they exonerate it in gear for motions to those that are the most composite that i came here to washington i told senator carded and senator mccain the same story in they came up with the magnitsky act to ban the the set of those who killed sergei magnitsky so that he ted past and was signed into law december 14th 2012. president putin was infuriated and in retaliation and the adoption of russian orphans by
american families. the reason why he took such a drastic step was because vladimir putin was one of the beneficiaries of the $230 million fraud we have since traced some of that money to an account of someone in the panama papers to be one of his comedies. but mayor putin was so infuriated he put it sergei magnitsky on trial three years after they killed him the first trial after his death the first industry and meet as a co-defendant and those that have been killed in connection with this there are seven people who have died from murder or suspicious circumstance years for example, boris is one of the allies fighting for justice in coming to
european parliament to lobby for the magnitsky act was murdered and his protege was poisoned with in one image of his life and was in in critical condition with organ failure and in a coma and barely survived in the sergei magnitsky lawyer was thrown off a balcony of the fourth floor before he was close to testify and i have had threats of my own life. death threats, not just violence the political violence coming in the form of a massive campaign that the russian government launched here in washington t6 -- natalia veselnitskaya
organize them to tell that false story that sergei magnitsky was not murdered to have the magnitsky act repealed she did lead to chris cooper and ron in a number of other people and the purpose was to withdraw the sergei magnitsky need from the magnitsky act. essentially it is a campaign to effectively cover up a murder is also --. >> you can still finish your
statement. >> i'm sorry i have gone over. >> we will not stop you but what year did natalia veselnitskaya come to the country?. >> 2014. >> continue. >> i am just about done. in addition to be morally reprehensible also nine of them registered as foreign agents under the foreign agents registration act and so i've put together a complete to the department of justice where we listed what they did and who did what in the fact there were not registered with the foreign agents registration act or fara. slave here today to tell the story because i believe the fact that they could run around of the putin agenda without any transparency
needs to stop in the future in the rules governing this should be strengthened. >> thanks for your testimony now we will have seven minute rounds of discussion we will cut that back at five minutes because of the two-hour rule. so mr. browder he said the russian lawyer meeting with the trump campaign officials had hired the simpson through the of law firm of baker for the last year campaign against you and sergei magnitsky said simpson contacted a number of major newspapers to spread false information and he told the media really did some research with pop -- propaganda and publicity work so it is important if
mr. simpson was pushing negative information so i asked several questions could you explain exactly how mr. simpson manipulated the media and undermined the the magnitsky act?. >> when simpson was a journalist as magnitsky act was debated in congress the story he was pitching was that sergei magnitsky was not murdered but died of natural causes. he was not a whistle blower but a criminal and therefore it should be repealed. that was the story he was pitching i know he was because the journalists came
to ask about it. but he was trying to get that story published and that is not litigation support and for me to see how it could be litigation support because had they been written the he was supposed to be reporting any juror who read that would have been disqualified for being told the jury so only could have been for the purpose to manipulate and try to change the testimony. >> with these group of agents were they working together in a court made a campaign? or separate isolated efforts? and what cases to have been leaving for those efforts were in
the interest of the russian government?. >> this entire effort was under the auspices under natalia veselnitskaya she was is organizing, high resource, paid for by her client in russia up for good they were paying the bills the patriarch of the family is a senior russian government official a former transport minister currently vice president of russian and railways and a senior member of coup regime. >> to bnd holdings?.
>> the work they were doing to repeal the magnitsky act could not have had eddied benefit because the holding company was a bird investigation for money-laundering statutes. even if they were reset -- successful to repeal the magnitsky act it would not have had any bearing on the case on the department of justice so it is hard to see that could have been supported the late litigation as opposed to changing the policy. >> there are media reports alleging the it sergei magnitsky money went to a russian investment bank called renaissance capital. what can you tell us about
that and what is the connection if any with the russian government?. >> a russian investment bank that the have time of the crime by a man named stephen jennings. and there is another russian citizen. and day trumpeted the fact and with those officers and their staff there is no such thing as a former fsb officer is a lifetime commitment so they have determined that $30 million went to the big accounts of a renaissance capital in the united kingdom.
>>. >> but with in connection of the russian government?. >> it was through the fsb employees at the senior level of a renaissance capital. >> this is also important to the committee and with the june 2010 speech in to acquire u.s. uranium assets. and then the state department was one of the approval authorities.
so my last question with 26 seconds. so did you meet with anyone with the justice department and who initiated that meeting? did they ever follow-up with you on the information you provided in your complete? or to let you know they acted on the complaint?. >> one was a conference call with the head of the division it did in persian -- & meeting and in both instances is initiated by my firm other than providing information i have no knowledge what happened afterwards.
>> indeed you are a very brave man and i respect and at and horror loyalty. why the magnitsky act still sticks in the craw of russia? and what do they have to do with that? that will not be reversed. there is no chance. so it seems that the putin government would understand that. what is the nature. >> a do believe there are two reasons vladimir putin is his single most important priority. first as a mentioned we have evidence that vladimir putin nominee the famous cellist
exposed to the pan of papers received some of the proceeds of this crime. this was a cellist worth $2 billion. >> a crime of what they took ?. >> he received some of the. so i believe medicare pertinent - - but a reputed is the richest man in the world but the purpose of his regime is to commit terrible crimes to get that many in he does not want to frozen so now he is at risk of the magnitsky act which is the first reason he is subset the second to get that he had to instruct a lot of people working for him, say 10,000, to do terrible things to rest or
kidnap or torture or kill or take property away and as a result he kelly get them to do such terrible things there will be no consequence and as a result of magnitsky act he could no longer guarantee impunity because now we have a consequence in the west would not sanders underestimate that because it nattily freezes the assets but the moment you get up to the list cure-alls improvisations list which is treasury sanctions no bank in the world was to be a violation of treasury sanctions even in korea or dubai they will close their accounts that day and become a financial praia. >> so when does a family
lawyer come into this?. >> the putin regime family owns a company that was identified by the department of justice to receive some of the money from the 230 million fraud. they had to defend themselves in the york and came with natalia veselnitskaya to coordinate their illegal activities and was the point person for the russian government in america to fight money laundering charges so i estimate they spend between 30 and $40 million of legal fees so that goes well
beyond our own personal interest. >> what interest the believe she had that meeting? and what school did she want to achieve?. >> that is to repeal the of magnitsky act that is the one thing we can conclude with certainty. >> you have any evidence or knowledge it was a quid pro quo that if there were a repeal of the magnitsky act he would do certain things?. >> however i do know how the russian government behaves. this is a big ask to ask the next president to repeal a piece of human rights
legislation they would not say please without having something to offer in return . i don't know what they were offering in return. but i do know the kgb, fsb to study the targets carefully with an offer that is appealing and sizable to be consistent with what they're asking for. >> has she ever work directly for the russian government?. >> p.s. she has. the fsb the successor organization to the kgb in the moscow region but i do have the exact date. >>.
>> calling me to go next next, thank you. you cannot repeal the law in the united states it is incredible that mr. putin with think that by talking to the son of a candidate running for president he could repeal the act because i assure you mr. browder there is no way that congress would agree to repeal the magnitsky act. i experienced a miter indication of president peyton's anger at congress would have is traveling with my a family going through
passport control. well my wife and daughter made it through i did not. i have no doubt this is personal and he is trying to lash out that those that have passed it and i am proud that we did but it is hard to distinguish between purely commercial enterprises in a the government around the world. light gas from. and these countries around the world where there are monarchies in places like china that is embedded with commercial enterprise. it is impossible to separate those the there is 100 billionaires' with one-third
of the country's wealth it is impossible you don't become wealthy in russia without directly tied to iran should the government of course, many of these have brushed -- branch out with sports clubs manufacturing companies institutions and technology companies and then they try to lobby us on behalf of the industry's so should we be concerned more than we have spent, not just with a rush of bundling in our elections but within interest adverse
guardi's that are a front for the nation's they should we be more concerned of their influence on foreign policy of the united states? >> absolutely. especially as it relates to any regime. so the way day allow certain people to get rich to get the share the wealth of those people. and relay of those to do the state's bidding. and did not want to show their phase it in russia it is a tyrant -- entirely informal for there is documentary evidence of people who have gotten richer under vladimir putin who have done lots of
foreign policy and order with that liberal thought so yes. >> we are an open and free society so do you think these commercial entities that are state owned enterprises people like vladimir putin so with that lobbyist disclosure act?. >> it is essential that they do that there is transparency so the issue is a free society in the free
press democracy first amendment that they take advantage of that. to have absolute transparency and then you can calibrate if they are credible if their interest should be taken into account if they are on the basis of an adversary. >> so we need to know who they're working for. >> is it possible to achieve in russia beyond pollutants reach?. >> no. trying to be totally independent or transparent and they threw me out of the country and killed a bunch of people and try to steal all of my many. >> that is the consequences
to be independent of vladimir putin. the agents, the of filleted registering under fara so how large is that community of enablers do you have an idea?. >> i would imagine a big majority of the lobbyists would be glad to take the money from russia. so i have seen a lot of that here in russia. >> and as a result of your story and to your results as the also be that you're
interested not aligned with united states government. >> corrective there is no consequence for not registering as a foreign agent or no enforcement or consequence. so that is the problem. >> think you for your courage, mr. browder. >> senator there is a famous whistleblower by the name of white person that was an fbi agent that exposed wrong going on and he was fired after he was a whistle-blower but he sued the fbi and that a million dollars now we have a $40,000 lab down at the station to do that work that the fbi lab is supposed to do. >> i offered to represent him.
>>. >> so a couple of? things not a local phenomenon i am very grateful to you you may have done more to fight corruption than any other individual. second 2.0 that senator grassley and i have legislation to require transformation with corporations to become the sanctuary of those better welcome the support of any other committee members of those commercial entities fronting for other folks. so while the president is highly unlikely to undo the magnitsky act i do believe there is a power to remove
people off of the last so the approach to the trumps had a potential goal within reach and we are looking at every riding that magnitsky act right now to close off the opportunity to make sure there is no executive back door to a listing those people that are listed from the list. can you give a description that the threat of sanctions to the oligarchy is a threat to putin?. >> excellent question. when putin was originally fighting with the oligarchs when he came to power
because they receiving power from him to regain the power of the presidency to drag him off of the airplane and put him on trial when you go on trial in moscow there is a 99.7 percent conviction rate the previous decade with no presumption of innocence bailout of the television cameras to film them. the cure the 17th richest in you saw the first sitting in a cage with is your reaction? so one by one after. was convicted on all of the other oligarchs went to but a mere prudence and what do we have to do? he said
50 percent. straightforward. not for a the president to the administration but putin himself said he became the richest man in the world of the movement -- of the moment. >> so they feet of massive -- massive amounts of money during his political bidding. so they can travel and save and invest. >> and they hold his money for hands of you want to get the of putin sanctioned all the oligarchs as well. >> go for it over with the issue statement talking about the discussion with the adoption and of children on july 10th talked-about adoptions and then talking
about adoption when the president interviewed he said the talk about russian adoption and the president's son-in-law said a statement of the band of the adoptions of children. to have a conversation with america about adoption is really about what?. >> the magnitsky act. it was passed retaliating the adoption of russian orphans. >> and that is tied to sanctions?. >> indeed. you are not talking about adoption. nobody was talking about
adoption they were taught about the repeal of sanctions. >> adoption is code to talk about lifting sanctions. >> correct. >> i cannot speak to their friend of mind to imagine they would not?. >> i could say that nobody was talking about adoption. >> you have had to sleuth to go through lot of this stuff fire investigators and then to describe that investigative work we have a phrase follow the money how was that's influencing elections?. >> bad is the key to these situations.
>> how useful are tax returns as a tool to follow the money as you described?. >> so anything or nt foreign policy will tell you what. >> but if an american has been engaged or to file tax returns than they would provide evidence of those connections?. >> presumably if they have full disclosure in the area of interest. >> debut said addressing these sanctions was the most important part of russia you
also mentioned that ring the bell so why did you mention. >> a lot of the money coming out of russia is the proceeds of crime and it goes to american bakes so we have an opportunity to investigate and sees that many of the proceeds of crime to have a national policy that should be used more than it is. >> we should act of that opportunity. >> indeed. >> this whole story reads like a novel.
has to be fiction but unfortunately it is true. so to break down what you are here you believe they should have registered under fara on behalf of the russians. >> correct. >> so the group that did the dossier of president trump hired a british spy, weld up getting to the fbi you believe they were working for the russians. >> in the spring and summer of 2016 receiving money indirectly. >> visa the people to undermine donald trump. >> i am saying it is undermining the magnitsky act.
>> but those gps projects hiring them to look into trompe. >> correct. >> he was trying to tell the world that trump compromised by the russians and i will not go into graphic detail that was the genesis. >> that is included in the dossier. the russians are behind fusion gps to go after trump. what is her name? natalia veselnitskaya. >> she working for the russians?. >> definitely. question. says she is meeting with don, jr. and the promise of
the meeting is the russian government behind trompe you need to meet with these people they can help your campaign and the trump says lyle lovett and they met with this lady. is that the general idea in june?. >> apparently that is what is reported. >> she works for the russians and she tries to communicate with her oligarch friends that the russians are on trump's side. so is it common for russia to play both sides?. >> yes. what you need to understand there is no ideology there justin the business of trying to create chaos everywhere. >> see you believe fusion gps is backed by the russians and that natalia
veselnitskaya is working for a the russians being introduced to don, jr. by a business partner save the russian government is behind you. that is interesting. so the dnc do you have any doubt the russian soul those documents?. >> i rely on the 17 intelligence agencies of the united states government. >> is that something they would do?. >> able to anything they could get away with their stuff they cannot. >> do you know paul? have you ever heard of him?. >> i have. >> key represented russia added ukraine and are you for mayor this profile? he was intricately involved in
the putin world. would d.c. campaign chairman as a great opportunity?. >> i cannot believe they wouldn't if he was intimately connected to the ukraine. >> does that meeting in june would explain what was the golan?. >> so that meeting in the trump tower what is the likelihood that meeting took place and they did not call we russian intelligence services?. >> i can tell you they would have been aware of that meeting and advance weeks spent studying how to achieve the results and to
get the trump world friendly from the magnitsky act to remove people from though less. >> i believe that is the purpose. >> i am certain they probably did not know adoptions related do magnitsky act. transmittal think they knew that but it is clear once you got into the meeting what they were talking about. >> i don't know their state of mind. >> but this russian lawyer not bringing up the magnitsky act? to read she did. not was her main reason. >> that was her biggest motivation?. >> she wants to repeal the magnitsky act if you follow her twitter feed she does not mention adoptions once but mentions the magnitsky act anytime.
>> what about the russian intelligence services? what is the likelihood you have in one meeting with no follow-up? or somebody that is sympathetic to the cause?. >> it all depends. i know the russians' intentions. >> we'd know that don, jr. said the think they would have done that?. >> i don't know. and all the hints of what day offered in the meeting. >> mr. browder you have
given us a the first hand insight you are directly responsible for the passage of the magnitsky act so rushes interference to connection to the trump campaign israeli a tangled web of portage is it to our democracy as they travel from poetical pressure?. >> i do believe they pac to the election and it is crucial to understand so that is crucial. >> is a surprise in like president trump to dave leverage over the person?. >> and you are a the former
kgb agent there only present one assailant and those with no empathy and train them they either do bribery horror blackmail and extortion they figure out what you can bribe somebody with and what they are scared of proposal that is the modus operandi. it is plausible they would look at all people who influence in america. >> that was one reason that natalia veselnitskaya was fired by raising concerns of the campaign operatives
because this is the modus operandi to collect information to gain leverage your control. and that means to collect compromising information about the target than the russians do that on a regular basis they have done that for me over seven years and not everybody to influence those they want to influence. >> are you a target ever since they kick you out? is this a daily concern?. >> the russian government has made a number of threats against my life with the death, kidnapping, a deaf
three times tried to put me on the interpol list to extradite me while traveling from the u.k. where i live sued me and made movies about me there is probably 250 people working in side of the russian security services on the mr. browder story to destroy me and whenever way they cayenne. >> we learned this in just the repeal of the magnitsky act that is highly unlikely that with the efforts to weaken the act and figure out ways to get them off the list so can we be sure that's ruple is not created? >> so if a person is added to the list.
there is any opening or receptivity. in to try to bribe or blackmail anybody stomachs you describe the scenario or the environment it doesn't matter who they work with but then they go after that person? after you contacted the department of justice have you received any updates regarding the complete or have a reason to believe that any individuals involved met with the campaign people?. >> i have received no updates since july. we know for sure that part of the campaign was running
around capitol hill that they could convince to go along with that is a member of the house of representatives from orange county that they have met with on them morning -- a lot of occasions or to spread that propaganda around. >> we had a hearing yesterday so have you given any thought of how this has dropped considerably? how we can be sure that fara is important?. >> there is of a loophole you can drive a truck through that says you don't have to register using fara
if you are a company or to act as a proxy of the state. >> thank you for being here mr. browder if it is difficult to root talk about the life than the tragic death of your friend and colleague this story does need to be told and it was told with the magnitsky act was passed by remember senator mccain taking the floor along with others but it has to be remembered because the only way we will change this to make sure this doesn't happen again is telling these stories a lot
has been devoted to natalia veselnitskaya so based on your own experience to pac have any information on the other person attending that meeting??. >> as day former soviet intelligence officer it is like hotel california you to check-in but never leave. to become an american citizen and many people who have had contact to be a shady character and transparent about what he does but he is gain the confidence of a lot of people of washington and effectively is a proxy for
interest of the russian government. >> you talk a lot about with these other seven bidders to -- senators that she was there to talk about adoption that is code for repeal of the magnitsky act but having been firsthand involved in these issues to be used as a poillon and wiedmaier putin was so angry over the passage of this act so you must know people who have been trying to adopt?. >> this is one of the most heinous parts of the whole story. as you know, as it adoption expert they never let people adopt healthy orphans just
the sick ones to take the children with down syndrome syndrome, hiv, the bifida to nurse them to health. but putin was looking for the most sadistic thing he can do in retaliation and picked this one that i would describe as a hostage situation those orphans left many time with those medical issues do not survive. >> the other tragic part many families are in the middle of adopting a second child or brother or sister of someone they already had those kids held those photos knowing the sibling was coming to join them. >> so with these children who had no future after that
that's where you end up with these huge overreactions like this, it's heartbreaking. >> so, in terms of all of this when you follow the money and that's why this is so -- it's hard for people to understand why the meeting would occur and why you have lawyers devoted people devoted to trying to overturn the fact but in fact this is about money. senator whitehouse asked some questions about this himself. are you concerned that the kremlin and their associates may be using shell companies -- he talked about things but i'm very focused on this idea of shell companies were to try to unravel this and see where the -- >> yeah, anytime you can use anonymous companies to hide beneficial ownership the russians flock to it and not just the russians but all sorts of autocrats. there is a movement going on the world to make beneficial
ownership fully transparent and as i understand one of the few remaining places in the world where you can still be anonymous is in the united states at certain states. so, it's a important piece of work to do to make sure that the us doesn't become a haven for dirty money from places like russia back my last question is a foreign agents registration for this hearing and yesterday i asked the justice department and fbi whether they believe a law should be updated including to respond to advances in technology like social media since the law was less updated and to provide prosecution with civil investigative demand authority requires of violators to turn over relevant documents. are there any ways you think the law could be updated to better respond to what we are dealing with, foreign agents and others
trying to influence our laws? >> that is very straightforward to me. if people who haven't registered as foreign agents are convicted, prosecuted and imprisoned then everyone will in the future register as foreign agents. >> very good. i think that's very straightforward. i also wanted to thank you that the senator went through with you how you personally have been attacked and being willing to come out and make this in your words your life's mission to avenge the death of your friend and to stop this from happening to other people and i had the honor of meeting flatware with senator mccain several times and what a brave man and i think he's been poisoned not once but twice and i know you yourself must be concerned of those rest. thank you for coming for this committee. >> you senator blumenthal. >> want to join my colleagues in thanking you for being here
today and admiring your courage and tenacity in the face of evil. i don't think there's another way to characterize vladimir putin and what he has done both to you and countless others around the world. i want to focus, first of all, following the money. when i was a federal prosecutor we had signs where we had wiretaps and overheard monsters using code words $4 like tomatoes and fish. in this case, adoption was referring to the thing of value which, for flatware boom, was lifting sanctions which meant money to him and for the other participants in the meeting it was referring to something of
value to them and the promise to them made in e-mails which was they would have damaging information, dirt on donald trump's opponent, hillary clinton. is that a fair summary? >> that's absolutely what has been described. although, i would caution you in believing anything that the russians promise in advance or describe because the russians are liars. i'm very confident about what they were asking for but i'm not so confident about what was being offered. something was being offered but i wouldn't believe the russians and i wouldn't believe the enticements that they would put in front of them to get the meeting. anything could have been offered. >> is there any doubt, in your mind, knowing, as well as any american, how vladimir putin
operates that natalia was there acting on behalf of vladimir in russia and the government? >> there is no doubt. >> is there any doubt in your mind that. [inaudible] was aiding her in knowledge about her acting directly on the half of flatware? >> there is no doubt. >> so, when my colleague, senator graham, asked you about the reporting back to intelligence agencies these two individuals were acting on behalf of bladder in initiating a potential agreement, legally of conspiracy, involving the russian government and donald trump junior and the other participants. is that correct? >> that was the intention of the russians.
>> in your view, wouldn't it have been appropriate and proper for the participants in that meeting, american, to report to american law enforcement authorities about that meeting? >> if i had been sitting in their shoes, that's what i would have done. i can't comment on how they chose to conduct their lives. >> it would've been appropriate and proper for someone respecting the national interest of the united states to report it to the fbi? >> that would have been my actions. >> in terms of following the money, the russians have a well rehearsed and used pipeline of building businesses and business ties in a first step of enlisting them so as to build a financial self-interest on their part?
is th. >> as i said before, they use robbery or blackmail to get people to cooperate with them. there's many examples of what you are talking about. gerhard schroeder became a -- former chancellor of germany became a big advocate of vladimir by getting a large regular payment from the gas company and is absolutely in their nature to do that for the people who are susceptible to bribery. >> if you were in robert muller's shoes, as the special counsel, would you be looking into potential financial ties between members of the truck giving, who are alleged to have conspired with the russians and undermining our democracy, and the russians those financial
ties would be relative wouldn't they? >> if i was investigating the story, i would follow the money as a first step in any investigation. >> you would be looking into financial connections, relationships between people involved in the trump campaign, including those three individuals at that meeting and russians, not only outright bribery but also potential investments with russian companies because they represented vladimir putin, correct? >> anytime we are involved -- and i have been involved in seven and half years of tracing the money from the crime that sergei was killed over and in all of the work we have done, we have always trace the money and we found someone we believe is suspicious, we then see where the financial flow go to them.
it's an obvious first step in any investigation to look at business ties in connection. >> and blood in terms of following the money, they used various representatives here in addition, did they not? >> they did. they used rundell them, o'connor strategies, all us-based washington dc based firms. >> what they likely have knowledge about the issues we have been discussing and would you recommend this committee here from the? back indeed. >> you mentioned, i think, yuri. [inaudible] was the prosecutor in the moscow area. in his e-mail to donald trump junior, rod goldstone claims that the information he has that could harm hillary clinton's campaign would come from the
crown prosecutor of russia. there is no such position as crown prosecutor -- is widely assumed that rod goldstein was offering to yuri. [inaudible] , russian prosecutor general in a close ally of vladimir putin. are you familiar with him? >> yes, he is one of the flatware's closest compounds. is one of the people most compromised by the affair and deeply involved with natalia and working hand in glove with her on this whole initiative that they had launched in america. not just in terms of donald trump junior but in terms of lobbying congress. >> following money, you have a financial interest as well as a political interest, would you not? >> he's a. [inaudible]
given that he and his family are very wealthy people, they would potentially be very exposed to being added to the list. >> finally, natalia was not just any russian from a crowd. she was vladimir's point person in trying to repeal the act and his crime for policy interest, correct? that's how i see it. >> thank you, mr. president. are you familiar with mikael freedman? >> i am, yes. >> what you know about it? back is one of the 22 original oligarchs became rich in russia from thinking, oil, telecom and other businesses. back in the year 2003, you say, when vladimir decided to make have a show trial with.
[inaudible] that it was a thinly veiled message to the oligarchs that he would play ball with me or you will sit in a cage. >> yes. >> in the same year, 2003, vladimir is reported to have flown to london to celebrate or note the merger of mikael freedman's oil company with british petroleum. are you familiar with that? >> very much so. >> mr. freedman is now involved in so many business dealings that i tried to do research on him and it's full of business. he's in different places and many of them, in russia, others outside of russia. what would you say about the suspicions that there was some communication between alpha bank and the trump campaign which was reported and has been debated,
back and forth, as to whether it was true. >> i only know about that from what i've read in the press and what i read in the past it doesn't -- it's not enough information to for me to make a judgment. >> based on what you know about this background that you just described to me, though, it would give you a measure of caution, would it not in dealing with the bank and mr. freedman from the perspective of our own national security, would it not? >> i would basically say that any russian oligarchs that i would single out out the bank and include major russian oligarchs should be done with extreme caution because their wealth is totally dependent on their relationship with vladim vladimir. >> i asked the question because we have a man who wants to be the head of the criminal division of the department of justice who appeared before the committee recently who had alpha
bank as a client after the election of donald trump and after he had served on the transition team, the landing team, i think they called it, when it came to the department of justice. it raised a lot of red flags from where i am sitting as to why he would make such a poor decision if he were seeking to be a part of our government. then it's completed by the fact that he said he would not disqualify or recuse himself from investigations into russian involvement and in the last campaign. the more i read about this mr. freeman, he apparently is one of the most -- wealthiest oligarchs in russia, billionaire and his fate, the elevate, which was elevated. it raises questions, in my mind, am i overreacting? what is your thought about this?
>> as i said before, any russian oligarchs should be dealt with extreme caution and it all depends on the ethics of this individual about whether -- i don't know his loyalties to his former clients and it would be wrong for me to make any judgment. >> understood. can you sort out that's what i'm trying to piece together a few things here and this dossier is what i'm trying to understand as relates to. [inaudible] could you that in perspective as to what their role and what that dossier was created and the people who created it with the hope to achieve? >> i only know about the steel dossier and this whole thing from what i've read in the press which i have -- just a bystander in that part of the story. what i am familiar with on a first-hand basis is fusion gps in glen simpson's role working on behalf of the russian government to overturn the
majewski act. there, the steps they took very much compromised their integri integrity. >> but, you are saying, you don't have connection between simpson and the creation or dissemination or the use of this dossier. >> i do not. >> let me back up with some of what senator blumenthal has said, this june meeting with mr. trump junior, paul manafort and others really raises extraordinary questions about what the russians were trying to achieve that meeting. do you have any other indication of meetings that took place, similar meetings involving the trump campaign or family? >> i know nothing about any other meetings the trump campaign or family. i do note that the russians were all over capitol hill and here in congress trying to get meetings with members of
progress to try to make the same type of pitch. unsuccessfully, in the end but they were here. >> i'm going to cut my questions, at this point. thank you for coming here. i deeply regret what has happened to mr. meg nitschke was trying his best to resolve the challenge that they are in your past and i joined with my colleagues in the creation of the sanctions. i had my own stories about russia and disturbed to tell based on my baltic heritage but i do believe the case is solid and i thank you for your courage and coming before us today. >> thank you. >> that as our first round. i have two questions for second round and i know senator whitehouse does. if the others have questions, i will call on you. i will read the last question
you answered. so you don't have to answer it again but i want you to know that i had a follow-up to that. the question you answered, did you meet anyone from the justice department when you filed your complaint in 2016 and if so, who initiated that meeting, you wore them contracted the justice department ever follow-up with you on the information you provided in your complaint and its apprentices or let you know whether they had acted on the complaint. my follow up is, did you have any indication that it was being actively investigated or taken seriously and why do you think nothing was done when you first filed your complaint about their propaganda campaign? >> i have no indication that anything was being done but i also don't have indication that it was not being done. having said that, i worked with law enforcement on other issues here in the united states in
connection with the majewski case and when we work live is something is being done there is this week we see a different type of interaction than when something is not being done. my assumption is that nothing is being done here but i can't say that definitively is i'm not in their shoes. >> now, last question. the human rights foundation submitted a written statement or committee alleging that fusion manipulated the media to smear whistleblowers with uncovering a massive corruption scheme involving the government of venezuela. in that statement they urge the committee to probe fusion activity in particular -- the process now, fusion's willingness to pay journalist in exchange for the publication of business smears,". do you know or have any reason to subject or suspect that
fusion may have engaged in pay for play tactics directly or indirectly offering money to journalists to run stories that benefit their client? >> i have no hard evidence to present in the area but i suspect a number of journalists and one in particular here in washington was operating so far outside the bounds of normal journalistic integrity and there must have been some incentive for them to be doing it coming from fusion gps. >> senator whitehouse. >> thank you, chair. this is been a great hearing and i appreciate it. fusion gps is a firm that does opposition research for clients on a case-by-case basis, sort of like a lawyer taking up a client and at the end of the job they separate, correct? >> i don't know -- i don't know
their overall practice i only know their practice situation that i'm involved in. >> in your case, they took on russian interest is a client and the task was to apply pressure and opposition research and so forth to try to undo or defeat the meg nitschke act mark. >> that is correct. >> with respect to fusion gps having sufficient the steel dossier, do you know who the client was for that particular task? >> i do not. >> so you have no evidence that the russians had any machine that document. >> no. >> point. you mentioned the russians either use bribery or blackmail and once they have a business person in a foreign country where they want to exert influence and mashed in a bribery scheme, are they purposely willing to use the threat of blackmail about their
own a bribery scheme against the individual? >> absolutely, of course. effectively the moment that you enter in their world you become there's. >> they have it both ways with the carrot of continued bribery in the stick of exposure and blackmail. >> and that is how every single one of their relationship works. that's how they grab people and keep them. once you get stuck in with them, you can never leave. >> so under investigating financial transactions in understanding financial relationships is critical to this? >> indeed, yes. >> let me ask you a 50000 question. let's pull up to the highest level of policy. dropped autocrats and international criminals make themselves rich in criminality
and corruption but at some point they need the legitimate world in order to protect an account for their stolen proceeds, how good of a job is the legitimate world doing about passing off the crêpe world rather than facilitating it and aiding and abetting it -- how well his united states of america in particular doing in that role? >> the answer is -- >> i am correct about the first thing, they need us yes, they need us desperately. as easy it was for them to steal the money in russia and other places it could be stolen from them. they like to steal the money, commit the crime, kill the people in russia and then come here in the legitimate world
where they would have full of law property rights and all the protection and keep the money in the legitimate world how good is the legitimate world is cleaning up mark. >> in particular, they are feeling in an absolute way and keeping them out. in fact, there is such a financial incentive in the legitimate world for enablers to take their money and help them, enable them to keep the money here and protect them that it's a completely lost game. >> i would note that the american bar association, of all things, has stated his opposition to our incorporation transparency bill which appear to be driven by that group of enablers were also members of the bar. >> lawyers are some of the worst enablers in these situations. they somehow say everyone needs a legal defense and that certification for working for some of the most heinous people on the planet. >> in the long run, in the test
of ideology, attended the world is presented with freedom and democracy and corruption in unitary power, what is the effect, do you think, of freedom world participation in aiding and abetting crap world? >> basically, will eventually become the crêpe world we don't stop. this is a war on ideology rule of law in criminality and to allow the criminal money and it will corrupt us and will end up like them. >> if you're an ordinary russian or ordinary member of an african autocracy or a regular person and you see these bonded temples of democracy like america actually aiding and abetting those who are robbing your country, how would that make people feel about what we have to offer? >> totally demoralized. >> thank you.
>> senator blumenthal. >> things, just a few more questions. i want to again thank you because this hearing has been one of the most important we held for the judiciary committee. i apologize for the absence of a number of our colleagues here today but i think they will be very interested in your story in your recommendations. i want to come back to yuri because i think he is a key figure for our purposes in this committee and for the investigation of potential conspiracy between the trump campaign and the russians. yuri was not just the prosecutor general in russia but a close ally and lieutenant of vladimir. >> correct. >> so when brad goldstein said to his colleagues that
information was coming, in effect from yuri taiga it was like saying that i have better on the line. >> that would be the impression that a russian expert would draw from that. >> and anyone familiar with russia but no and paul manafort was familiar with russia that information from yuri was dirt coming from but and the offer of it. >> that would be the impression. >> so, with natalia coming to the meeting as an agent of vladimir putin and the other of information coming almost directly from bottom airport there could be no doubt that the russian government and were, in effect, coming to this meeting, correct?
>> i can only speak for how i would speak for this informati information. >> but you have a lot of in your expert testimony is worth a lot to this committee and that would be your impression and there would be no doubt in your mind that not only bottom airport knew about it, after the meeting as senator graham has solicited from you but also before the meeting. >> yes. >> in coming to this meeting, was bottom airport expected to necessarily conclude a deal with and have the agreement to have the information being deposited on their desk. >> no, if is trying to lift sanctions he would look to see whether there was an appetite and whether he was offering was
accepted. >> he was looking for a sign that the trump campaign was open for business, correct? >> i would imagine that he was looking to see with whatever he was offering whether that offer was looked at favorably or not. >> he was looking for a positive sign that they were open to speak further? >> i would imagine that he was looking for that. >> in terms of the likely there would be additional contacts, other medications and additional meetings. >> if this had led to interests then we don't know -- i'm not aware of any further meetings other than that first meeting. >> you wouldn't be aware of it because you don't have access to any of the classified information in the intercepts and other information that might
be available. >> that's correct. >> the question about the effect of the sanctions -- maybe you could describe for americans who are wondering why do the sanctions matter to billionair billionaires, in other words, they have the money, they are on the list, they can't open bank accounts in the bank of america but why should that matter to these oligarchs who are worth billions they can still travel the world and do everything they want to do and they are still wealthy. >> it really does matter. it matters because they cannot only does not open bank accounts in america but they can't open bank accounts anywhere in the world. no bank wants to be in violation of us treasury sanctions. furthermore, no foreign company, no international company, want to be in violation of treasury
sanctions. so, they can no longer transact business with anyone effectively, they become a financial leper, a financial pariah with a come on to the majewski list and if you have a billion dollars a keep it anywhere and you can't buy anything from anyone you can do business with anyone you will be able to make more money and you will be up to investor money and you'll be afraid that your money might be frozen in some countries. >> you can't go to london or pairs or new york and stay at the expense of hotels and put it on a credit card or cash a checl things that oligarchs and millionaires. >> you can't do any of that stuff. they have to find ways around it. in fact, we discover that some of the people on the majewski list are effectively breaking sanctions by creating nominees who do all their stuff for them and we have in fact share that
information with the treasury division to say the sanctions are being abated by certain people on the list. >> is it your experience that we are aggressive in forcing these sections? spirit so far that those who are put on the list are running circles around them. >> so, the answer is no. >> that's correct. >> sections have not been efficiently enforced and i'd like to say that some my experience in as well as overseeing other sanctions in iran and russia that there is a need for far more aggressively enforcements. it's fine to have their names and listen if i do have a law in a book but if not enforced. >> that's correct. >> let me conclude with two more questions from a couple more questions. you mentioned that once the russians have you they don't
like to. >> yes. >> they can have you financial financially. >> yes. >> so that anybody doing deals in russia or taking payments or benefits from russia can be had, in a sense. >> they have to have you compromised in some way. in other words, if you're just doing arm's-length business with them and you're ready to give up your business they have no leverage over you but if -- the moment you enter into any type of illegitimate situation with the russians for their benefit that's the moment that the russians have you. >> so that, as you know, there have been allegations that we believe they are under investigation of the president's former national security advisor open to payments from the russians without properly declaring them or getting permission to receive them. that would have been the kind of
fact that the russians can hold over and they would? >> i don't know the consequences of that. if there were consequences there's real legal cuts buses for him of that and that's a scary type of example of compromising someone to get control of them. >> for example, if there were projects to build hotels or office buildings in russia that require permits in the permits were promised through channels that might be illicit or in ways that might be in proper that would be something that could be held over the head of an american businessman, correct? >> if there was clear evidence of the russians then it could be used as leverage. >> thank you. >> before i adjourn the meeting,
'90s. we had in the '90s was a certain stance where the clinton administration and the gingrich lighthouse specifically in the senate which was in the republican hands of the time came together to get welfare reform and spending to keep spending flat while the economy grew in revenues caught up to spending. that's how you get to surplus and that's why you think you're seeing so much focus in this administration on getting economic growth. you cannot cut your way to a balanced budget. you cannot tax rate to a balanced budget but you can keep the growth of spending and grow your way to a balanced budget. >> watch our interview with mitchell laney at eastern on c-span. >> doctor kirk newman on his book healing children: the surgeons story on pediatric medicine. >> the conversations i hear are cutting things like medicaid and the nih and doing all these
things when we are on the cusp of such traffic discoveries. when you think about half of it that are on medicaid, half of the beneficiaries are children. will get hurt? why do we want to do that. we are not doing that to the elderly on medicare so why would we do that. in fact, we ought to double down and put more into our children. >> watch the entire program saturday at 7:00 p.m. eastern. on sunday at 7:00 p.m. eastern david goodhart on his book the road to somewhere, the populist revolt on the future of politics. >> using this and the contempt after brexit where you had left-wing professor saying why do we give these people to vote at least without some kind of iq test. >> for more this weekend to go to booktv.org