tv Attorney General Sessions Before Senate Judiciary Committee Part Two CSPAN October 20, 2017 6:14pm-8:01pm EDT
[inaudible conversations] >> mr. attorney-general welcome back to the committee and i want to pursue a question lost before the break which i do not believe was answered has a special counsel contacted you of a interview testimony >> maybe we should be that with the special counsel. >> he has contacted you?. >> i am not aware of that. >> you are not aware the
special counsel has contacted your office?. >> how do you know, ? i amce curious. >> i am asking you the question has interoffice then contacted to have an interview with you? yes or no.. >> i don't think so. >> are you sure? [laughter] >> i am willing to respond in any way but i do not recall that i have been contacted i have not spoken to anybody. >> beta master office for an interview with you. >> i will be glad to let you know, within hours. >> i don't know. i don't recall i have never been announced to provided
interview. you seem to know. and want to come in here to be trapped if you know, something i don't know. media or sharing something with my office. i will check. >> it would make sense for the special counsel to ask for an interview. >>ma that is his decision. >> you have knowledge relevant to the investigation of t collusion and obstruction of justice?. >> it is up to the special counsel. >> the question is if your office has been contacted and you would know the answer to that. i have no knowledge of any meetingr or no date has been set with a meaningful conversation. i would verify before i give you a final answer what can i tell you?. >> before the day is out?.
>> i said with an hour's i would like to check. you seem to know. do youd have a source?. >> with all due respect you were answering the questions today. i will welcome any answer to my question as soon as possible following this hearing. so let me as the president of the united states has interviewedd to interview for the issue less attorney positions including yours?. >> yes. there has been quite a number. >> isn't that unusual for
the president of united states to interview to interview though wine prosecutor in office like the u.s. attorney?. i >> it is a big state and the important office i don't know. i don't know who he has interviewed in this situation what we do is over review we send data over. >> so anyone previously interviewing the candidate for the united states president? i i wasn't. you weren't before we were appointed. has that ever happened before?. >> i am a new candidate.
there are believed presidentou -- friends of the president's. >> you are correct the president's actually no candidates but no president has ever interviewed the chief federal prosecutor of any district. how many other candidates besides new york?. >> i am not aware. ias donald the interview york but if you say so. said he has the right to for sure. he has to make an appointment i would assume everybody understands that. >> certain grants have been terminated too the city of
new york because of the alleged violation a sanctuary city policy. >> we're at reviewing ended may be slowed but it could be a final decision it was on the list of one of the cities considered to be probably in violation of existing law 1373. a number of them. >> but to stop any grants? the with the department of justice is violating that order? come back to me with a response but if you could
let me know that. >> my staff handed me a note i have not announced for an interview at this point. when office has not been contacted maybe you should check your source. >> you said the pardon power is very broad but if is what we used for testimony in a lawful investigation that could be obstruction of justice. >> i don't know i have never research that. you may be more familiar than i am that i have understood my and a standing
is it can be issued before conviction do understand it that way?. >>. >> i will come back to this. >> justto to know for the record regarding that the attorney general sessions you said it had no merit but itou says will not accept a president, foreign state if it doesn't go directly to him but those kinds of entities it is said to the court to decide if that could be evaded. >>. >> you are correct a court would decide we have taken thee position.
>> the you provided an explanation as to why director comey was fired but that explanation was contradicted by the president in public when he said also because he would fire him anyway regardless of the of memo so you contradicting -- contradicting hisso explanation?. >> so the deputy attorney general and i were asked to give our opinion the president made the decision he talked about it publicly. >> u.s. to give an explanation why he was fired educe said the letter sent to the president he contradicted themselves the
best deals for itself. >> if i did let me correct myself. i intended to say that we were asked to give an opinion and i gave it. if the president makes the decision. >> i realize that but it was why he fired him. let's move on and. when you were here for the confirmation hearing with those consent decrees of the department of justice there were 20 congress enacted a statute that authorized specifically to targets a practice of unconstitutional behavior of law-enforlaw-enfor cement agencies. during that hearing you made it plain you're not the big fan of these decrees calling them '' and abuse of power.
the unilateral power to do so that court is already taken in jurisdiction even if they recommend that as appropriate. >> will that be made public after your review?. >> it has to be filed in court. >> i have a very simple question to enable the of public to understand with the basis of your review but it has to be terminated so you were just not responding to that question. i will get your religious liberty memorandum. and with those attorneys with those of other
religious liberty and to implement the principles and say they should be incorporated into a mitigation strategy and grant applications in pendingap cases and opinions for other agencies. did you issue but the doj issued with individual liberty issues? or the second amendment cases?. >>. >> but let me point to section eight so to oppose those regulatory burdens on some but not others and frankly mr. attorney general this provision leads me to question whether the
government can grant and exemption with those benefits so that practices safe healing or to raise the of question with that this is under who has said demonstrably false belief that it seems contained some to have coverage of those in the past -- investigations so these 20 religious principles to raise those concerns and now i will go on to another question lgbt rights before the second circuit case that title
seven of the civil rights act of 1964 isn't on the basis of sexual orientation and i believe that was used in a directive to include sexual-- identity with the recent decision from the seventh circuit court of appeals does that mean they're fired because they are gay?. >> my staff has reviewed dialogue on that since the 1964 civil rights act that title seven is a part it has been interpreted that way all this circuit courts of appeals have interpreted that wayay except the share was a reversal in believe of the seventh circuit.
so that position we have taken is consistent with the president obama i department of justice and it has been that b way for a long time. it is distinctly the minority position. >> i just need that clarified. >>. >> mr. attorney general is aste fugitives cannot legally purchase or possess guns. but they issued a memo redefining who qualifies as a fugitive from justice. and since then more than half a millionin names of fugitives with outstanding arrest warrants have been removed from the fbi nationaln criminal background
and to think about it if we might have some conversations but affair is that law enforcement community about the dark web being used to commit crime. >> we are very concerned about that. isn't the two biggest dark web sites this last one we took down recently 240,000 sites or individuals had but illegal substances including fentanyl and they use a bit corinne -- bitcoin.
>> i would like to review of that involves legislation. >>. >> picking up where we left off on executive privilege so we were talking about the process of 1982 order. >> with that executive privilege said to have conversations with his immediate staff and cabinet members. so when that principle is agreed to there is an offsetting principal congress has the power of oversight over the executive branch but as best as i can
tell those two conflicting come together is the 1982 reagan order. this is the prevailing order right now that the department of justice is operating. >> so i go back to that order executive privilege cannot be invoked without special specific authorization as we go through the orders as we discussed there is a provision that allows for a temporary, and i even a proper assertion that a request to the congress while the executive branch
can decide to assert executive privilege. i get that and makes perfect sense and whether there is a document request to determine what should be subject to executive privilegee if there is a question from the senator to make that temporary assertion because you cannot make that call from your chair at that moment i get all ofir that recovery here is my problem. i don't see any effort on behalf of the administration to ever get a specific presidential authorization for executive privilege. there were some very specific questions in the intelligence committee one my senatorte warner to your knowledge has any officials been involved in
conversations or any possibility of presidential pardons of any individuals with the russian investigation? and then asking ifnr the expressed his frustration to recuse yourself. in both of those cases you appropriately did not respond because of the period to have a chance to sort out those questions that the president wished to seek executive privilege. >> i think so severity assert executive privilege but that indefinite future consistent under which you are operating. >> the way that has been done historically is that
specific request have been made if the agreement is not reached on the accommodation in process to see if it cannot be fixed on litigation but most of these areth documents i am very aware of the supreme court to ever say that congress has a right to inquire on the conversations on capitol officials. >> it is the other way aroundnd according to president reagan that congress has the ability to acquire absolutely anything of that congressional request for information unless there is the assertion of executive privilege so only if there is the assertion that it is
no longer the case so when i am worried about this administration is the fact rewriting the executive order of executive privilege so obey and has no end to it. congress has stonewalled withoutal ever getting that assertion of executive privilege of which we are entitledbe to get information. >> as you indicated the ability to work your way through the complexities, i would say we're not at that point. before you have the assertion of executive privilege he must know precisely what it is he is asked to provide. >> he also has a reason why
he knows that is high value in exchange for the request one thing that i think you raised that i may have misunderstood it is true the attorney general to speak for the president to waive a request the reallybu the circumstances is an extension. >> we will have to pursue this. >> so in direct response to what you andno the senator was talkingg about i had the same problem with previous attorney general's and got
answers similar to what you were giving. so now i will read with attorney general told there was int the chair why he wouldn't give us about those false statements made to this committee with "fast & furious." informational was asking for had nothing to do with communications with the president but then did not direct him to do so but then at another time almost the exact same question that you have announced the general sessions when it mr. holder testified hens said the exact same thing that general sessions says today.
to act in a wave that is consistent with what other attorney general's have made determination what information and can be shared with congressional oversight committees republican as wellne as democratic attorney general acting in a manner with the history of the department in refusing to provide a draft that goes back and emails of the draft even though they have been subpoenaed by the house. and isn't traps of the letterfa and this is what the
attorney general holder said. but we will act in a way consistent with what other attorney generals, have made that determination as to what information can be shared with the congressional oversight committee. >> senator you're recognized for five minutes. >> there is general acceptance in with that clinton administration as a pretext president trump fire
due to the investigation and he said as much. now the press recently reported that letter sent by president trump to justify because of the russian restoration but when you signed off on the memorandum tying director comey termination to the other investigation were you aware ?. >> i also believe of the concerns of a possible communication with the same privilege. >> q monitor answer a few
were aware?. >> a thing that is the proper course of the attorney general at this time. >> i don't but my concern is you were part of the russian facade. i have known you for years and i am sorry would have been done that president trump says they are responsible and i have heard all the reports that connects the cuban government to the sonic attack. those that have caught on and to sarah brady fbi down.
it took uss weeks. do you know of any evidence to support the president's assertion the cuban government is responsible? that he said openly do you share the conclusion the government is responsible?. >>. >> i did serve a long time under your chairmanship so it did hurt me that you said i am part of a facade. i am not. but let me say this i cannot confirm or deny the existence of the investigation.
>> that's public. >> and has not been confirmed under authoritative government agency. >> are you aware the cuban government? was responsible?. >> i cannot comment. >> do you know, why it took so long for the fbi to except the invitation and investigate that is as extraordinary and it took us weeks to make up our mind. >> we would consider your concerns. >> and vague and there are briefings on the subject if they are responsible they
could tell me. >> yes we evaluate that. >> is citizenship a reliable indicator of a terrorist threat?. >> now. i don't know what you mean. >> as of basis of the latest travel billion -- ban that citizenship is not. feel free to answer but talking about daca your statement is of long this bill your to a force of law
to put a nation at risk of crime by terrorism. how many daca recipients are involved in terrorism?. >> negative negative previous hearing yousk asked one of my attorneys from the department of justice about that. i believe you weree incorrect >> if you can provide a single example of terrorist activity and he said he was not aware of any examples. >> most importantly and want correct my comments did not focus solely on the daca recipients it was on others in the country unlawfully. i believe that is a correct summary.
>> reading back to your civil division chief. >> we know 2,000 have already been taken off the daca recipients for serious crimes like capital murder. >> the cato institute says those of the same age and education in profiles not just a left-wing group of any means. >> that is with open borders. >> 2000 of 780,000 daca applicants were found to have disqualifying criminal records?. >> i'm saying after they were accepted into the daca
program, actually accepted they were removed as a result. >> data 780,000?. >> i think that is correct that is a very short period of time. i've not contending there is a disproportionate amount of crime among that group although we are seeing young gain members infiltrated seoul they are not in that group. >> bay are escaping the criminal background check and fingerprinting requirements and day have criminal records?. >> no. after they have done the background s checks i believe 2000 subsequently have been convicted of a serious offense and have been removed. >> we had 100,000 turned
down because of felony records. i don't think people are talking about ending the sale of guns. >> but that is not the basis . it was a legal matter from our perspective and i know senator that you care but ifhi we can seize the opportunity good things might happen. >> i hope they will. i hope to understand the guidance when it comes to lgbt queue rights in and religious freedom with those executive departments on religious liberty could date social securityy administration refused to except the process of survivor benefits paper work for the same sex bows?. >> -- spouse.
>> did not think that would arise but i would have to give you a written answer. >> i would like to have that. >> the federal contractor to refuse services including emergencies without risk of federal contracts. >> likewise are you citing title seven over our guidance? look. >> there are others also. this is a challenging issue. i believe you you do not want to discriminate but people are discriminating in the nameei of their own personal religious is a real challenge to reconcile. >> wherever possible a
person should be able to freely exercise their religion and not carry out activities that further t something they give is contrary to their faith that the same time if you participate in commercial exchanges there are limits on what you can do. so the balance needs to be properly struck those issues were discussed. >> we will send you a list that historically we have struggled with some aspect. when bad initiative they went through the extensive review to establish what practices and sentencing were best to protect the
public to reduce recidivism. now you issued a new memo said the foreign enacting the new policy did you conduct a review process?. >> we had our career attorneys work on evaluating what a good crime policy is with project safe neighborhoods and has been proven to be successful unless is what we would like to implement. under the previous policy for the first time in 30 years we have seen significant increases to the degree i'm very worried about the murder rate is up 20% in two years. >> would about gun crimes?. >> welr already have a substantial increase of gun
prosecution says a top priority of mine at the department of justice the second quarter of the year the third quarter with a 25% increase fourth quarter a increase of prosecutions i do think it does reduce violence. >>. >> senator flake? is the next?. >> i'm sorry i was hoping a republican would come back. [laughter] >> for the record you said that cannot be. i was just trying to be polite. >> [laughter] things for enduring here
today recently filing via meet his brief regarding the decision in the gomez case with the safety protocols for restraining detainee's in a courtroom with free trial arrangement hearings. obviously this is important for arizona with the very busy talking with immigration that this amicus brief that i have filed we have a lot of historical or houses that don't lend themselves well to a separation between detainee's in the the public sharing hallways and doorways without that longstanding restraint protocols that makes it impossible to bring a number of people through the system and a obols law enforcement
and arizona. have you looked at this how you believe this will impact the courtroom?. >> i will look at it. i am not familiar with that. thoset issues have been out there for a long time. my experience day after day some people just need to be shackled by have always thought. but they don't do that unless they feel is necessary. but that ninth circuit would reverse that longstanding policy. >> correct. obviously we have protocols with court decisions with regard to jury trials. then it puts the court officials and the public at in many circumstances with those law enforcement l
officials going out on the beat doing what they should do then havingoo to be in the courtroom at all times. is a problem with implementation like operation streamline. . . >> we hope the u.s. supreme court grants -- >> we will review it. >> with regard to section on human trafficking, earlier this year the subcommittee on investigation concluded a two-year investigation on backpage.com which revealed the company facilitated online sex trafficking.
in july the subcommittee referred the case to your office for criminal investigation. can you tell us to the extent you are able, what the status of the investigation is? >> i don't believe i can. i'm not able to. it's under review it whether not i can comment on it. and what the status may be. >> we will check back with you on the. >> i have letters of support for the sectra figures act to prevent companies like backpage.com from committee online sex trafficking crimes and these are letters from the national center for missing and exploited children and other antitrafficking advocates that i would like to submit for the record. >> without objection. >> thank you. it is human trafficking deputy
attorney general and rachel brann has made it one of her interest speeches on the recently. we can do more we will do more. >> thank you. one other item you mentioned regard to civil forfeiture that you put some protocols in place in terms of more speedy notification, those who assets were seized, what other protocols what are we doing to ensure we have a better system than what we've done in the past. i'm convinced this has been abused in every law-enforcement state. >> we intend to respond to problems out there that we identify the future. when the government has probable
cause when they seized drug trafficking money they have a certain time to respond. we cut the by a little more than half. we directed our assistant united states attorneys to monitor the state authorities the dea to make sure the systems are working well. we require before we adopt a case from the state that they be trained in proper procedures for the federal court system so they know what they're supposed to do. i think that will be a big help. i did announce and send out monday a directive to establish an asset forfeiture
accountability officer will be in the deputy's office and monitoring these cases, complaints that may occur so we can respond promptly. the system is really important. it's a top priority of every law-enforcement agency in america. but, it has to be run right. that is our goal. >> cutting the time in half for notification is cold comfort for some who have this on for months and years. i hope we do more than cut the time in half for some of these. >> that is just one of the things that would happen. we want to take nothing but good cases. were winning at the 90% level. most of the cases are pretty open and shut. i hear what you're saying. i know your concerns.
i'm not taking it lightly. we will monitor this program. >> senator flake had seven minutes because he's on his first round. >> thank you. i'll start where i ended with the election issues enter into elections cyber security. as you know there have been established agencies 21 states further was some attempt to hack into their election quote equipment. senator graham and i have a bill that were trying to get an amendment to provide more funding for states to beef up their infrastructure. that would include things like backup paper ballots. the bill is carried by the head of the freedom caucus in the house so their strong bipartisan support for this. are you aware of efforts between the department and other federal agencies to assist states in the upcoming election to protect our
elections from hacking? >> the fbi has capabilities as experienced in many of these matters and have some superior capabilities. i do think it's an important matter and i look forward to working with you on a. we do not need to subject our election process to some sort of electronic alteration of the book vote totals. that would be a stunning disaster and cannot happen. >> thank you in your topic, when i ask about voting rights you acknowledge a discriminant tory voting laws that led to the passage of the voting rights act same actions and rules and procedures were adopted in a number of states with the specific purpose of blacking african-americans from voting and it was just wrong. >> i just see his face in these same problems today.
as you know, the circuit court in the north carolina case said the north carolina laws were crafted with surgical precision to keep certain people from voting. do you believe voter id laws found to be intentionally discriminatory serve any legitimate policy objective? and why did the justice department change its position on the texas voting case? >> it cannot be that you voter id laws or other loss that deliberately seek to diminish one group's vote total. although, there can be objective criteria set that could have impact on disparate impact. with regard to texas, the way
that happened when i became attorney general, texas had been ensued over its voter id law was being challenged has been discriminatory. election was coming up before final adjudication was rendered, and the federal court approved an interim procedure for the next elections we could go forward. they then took with the federal court had approved and adopted it as a log texas. at that point we felt they should not continue the lawsuit against texas because haddad actually enacted a law that the federal court had approved. >> we can maybe go back and forth in writing and that, i have some different views but i wanted to finish up with two
issues. this was on freedom of the press that we talked about at the last hearing. he said he wanted to look at what was going on with the ongoing regulations and the department has taken some action. we commit to not putting reporters in jail for doing their jobs? >> i don't know if i can make a blanket commitment to that effect. i say we have not taken any aggressive action against the media at this point. but we have matters that involve the most serious national security issues that put our country at risk. we will utilize the authorities that we have legally and constitutionally if we have to. we always try to find an alternative way as you probably know, to directly confronting
media person. but that's not a total put blanket protection. >> which is really concerned because of the presidents recent communications about fcc licensing with some of the media content. and were working with the fcc on that. i will put on the record some very important questions i have in the antitrust area concerned about the provision with this september court filing and it was before the new trust had was in. i ask that you review that. overall i support that decision, but there is a surprising entry in that order i would like you to look at. the second is committing to follow the merger guidelines that have been in place in the criminal justice already covered by my colic, something i care a lot about.
i'll put a few more questions on the record. thank you. >> senator franken. >> thank you mr. chairman. i would like to touch on our next conversation and then move on. >> don't spend all your time just touching on it. >> and then go to the record on lgbt people and their rights. i just want to get this clear. at the end of your answer you said i felt the need to respond and i responded on the spot. this is an interim transcript this is how i recollect it. it was six hours in the hearing, at the end of the day and i said i'm not aware of those activities which is with the surrogates it with the
communication with russians. i wasn't, and am not i don't believe they occurred. are you saying you don't believe surrogates from the trump campaign had communications with russians, is that what you're saying? >> i did not and i'm not aware of anyone else that did. i don't believe it happened. >> i don't believe it happen. >> that's what i want to test. do you believe that michael flynn was a surrogate for the campaign? >> he could probably have been defined as that. >> do you believe that paul manafort was a surrogate for the campaign? >> for a short time he was chairman of the campaign chairman. >> do you believe that jared kushner was a surrogate for the campaign? >> i really don't know whether his role, plus i sort of see -- there's no clear definition i
see but a surrogate normally speaking on behalf of. >> do you believe donald trump junior was a surrogate. >> while he was his son and we spoke. >> like to talk about the departments record on protecting the rights of lgbt people. on monday you personally directed doj to send a federal prosecutor to assist in the hate crimes prosecution of a man charged with murdering a transgender teenager in iowa. i'll be the first to say that doj should be lauded for doing so. far too often crimes targeting lgbt people, specifically transgender woman of color gone reported in on investigated. but, your decision to prosecute this he crime incident doesn't tell the whole story. since your confirmation doj has wasted no time and undermined in attempts to safeguard lgbt
people from discrimination by revoking policies designed to protect them in declining to defend their right in court. for example they revoke guidelines to make school safe and welcoming for lgbt students. doj argued that federal civil rights laws don't protect wrestling, gay, or bisexual workers from job discrimination. doj asserted that transgender people do not deserve federal protection from discrimination at work. doj lawyers are defending the presidents ban on trans gender troops in court. and they had in order that could potentially allowed them to sidestep laws banning this commission at work, and school and in public accommodations, all in the name of religious liberty. there's an argument to be made that no single trump
administration official has done more to hurt lgbt people than you. your actions stand in stark contrast to the promises you made when you last appear before the committee. then he said quote, understand the demands for justice to fairness made by our lgbt community and promised to ensure the statutes protecting their civil rights and safety are fully enforced. instead under your leadership doj has demonstrated an unrelenting hostility to lgbt people. when doj argues that they're not worthy of protection from discrimination and harassment at work or school, or businesses shouldn't have to serve lgbt people if they don't want to, that emboldens those to seek to do them harm. how do you reconcile your decision to prosecute an anti- transgender hate crime which i
applaud which is meant to deter future incidents of violence with aggressively pursuing it an agenda that gives cover to discrimination and pain? >> senator, i would reject unrelenting hostility. we have no hostility to transgender or sexual orientation issues. in fact, we followed the law scrupulously like i promised to do. with regard to several job employment issues, that is strictly controlled by title vii of the civil rights act and title vii of the civil rights act has never been held, or at least by the department of justice and the entire eight years of the obama
administration, to include these protections. eleven courts of appeals and my understanding of ten of the 11 courts of appeals all agree it's not protected by the employment law under title vii. only one circuit has recently reversed that position. were taken the position of president obama, but holder and lynch position in the title vii issue. on title ix, the schools, it likewise is not covered in our opinion in the same way that title vii is not covered this employment issue. the department of justice or department of education center directive to states telling them
they had to accommodate transgender individuals and their choice of bathrooms. we felt the law did not answer that. he felt the states and localities can make their own. >> and that's at odds with the obama administration. >> yes, we did reverse that but we believe it's consistent with law. >> thank you mr. chairman thank you for having the second round. a very deeply troubled by the presidents attacks on the press, seemingly repeated and relentless, the suggestion that reporters can and should be prosecuted for stories that are adverse to him, not a violation of any national security interest, but simply unfavorable. most recently, his suggestion that broadcast licenses should
be challenged simply because he disagrees with the network's coverage of him, reminiscent of richard nixon's challenge of the washington post broadcast license for coverage she claimed was inaccurate. i've asked every member of the fcc to reject and repudiate these threats which have a chilling effect on coverage. i like to ask you to do the same. would it be illegal to deny a broadcast license or revoke it simply because of the presidents dislike of the content? >> if you give me just a moment. i failed to mention there's a violence against women law and iran white act that both
explicitly mention sexual identity and sexual orientation. we enforce those as you would want them to be in force. the other laws don't. senator blumenthal,. >> i would suggest that he would way above his time. >> you'll get another 30 seconds, but what i would like, i hope no republicans come back and we have 15 more minutes for democrats. i still have my second round to do and we are votes at 3:00 o'clock so i'd like to get out here by then. go ahead. >> it's a good counsel and talking to today. the president is open, direct, and expresses himself when he wants to express himself. it's a free country.
>> it's a free country mr. attorney general and i apologize for interrupting. this issue is so profoundly serious. for the fcc to deny license or revoke a license based on the contents of tv coverage would be absolutely illegal, don't you agree? >> i guess i would say the fcc would need to decide how to handle those with propriety and integrity and consistent with law. the president can make his own expressions. >> mr. attorney general, and i'm gonna follow up on another form, do you have under consideration and the analysis of a potential part of for any of the following
individuals? jerry krisher, donald trump junior, or paul manafort? >> i don't think it's appropriate for me to comment on the pardon process. >> why not? >> i think it's akin to an investigation that probably should not be discussed in this form. i will review it if i'm wrong. >> would you agree that the president, even though he has broad pardon power, does not have the power to pardon himself? >> i have not researched that. >> on the emollients clause, i have been joined by 199 of my colleagues off lawsuit against the president, blumenthal versus trump, because he is taking foreign payments and benefits without coming to congress for
consent. the department of justice is defending him in court, these personal benefits and payments to the trump organization to him i violation of the emollients clause. the department of justice is challenging that lawsuit on the basis of our standing, even though the law clearly requires he come to us for consent. wouldn't you agree that we have a legitimate case here of aggrieved men an entry when the president is in effect stopping us from doing our job. >> senator blooming footbal blu, we believe this is a proper defense of the president that having a business of broad and if interpreted broadly would mean. >> they would have to sell everything that have a broad.
if something buys something from them for they receive it from a form party, you have a right to challenge it, take it to court, but we think this law has never been enforced in that way. >> i am glad that you agree that we have a right to go to court. >> i did not intend to concede selected i cut you off? >> no, he was alert to something i said. >> it's good to have a here before the committee again. i know it's been a long day and i regret that many of us have conflicting appointments including at the white house to talk about tax reform and other issues. it's good to be back. i'm proud of the job they have done is attorney general. those of us who know you personally and have worked with
you, none of us are surprised, you're still the same person of character and someone committed to the rule of law. i just want you to know how much we appreciated and serving in public life is sometimes not fun and certainly you have caught your own springs and arrows in the process encourage you not to be discouraged, you have a tough job to do at the department of justice after eight years of mismanagement right think the american people have lost confidence in the department's ability to do things that are not political fashion. i know you're the man to help restore that reputation of the department. i know how much you care about it and how many years of your life that you have given to that.
so keep up the good work. >> i want to ask you about a couple of things, first of all this may sound a little obscure but i know you're familiar with the committee on foreign investment is unite have discussed on the telephone, china steals our intellectual property on a regular basis through cyber theft and cyber espionage, but they have found creative ways to invest in u.s. companies in ways that circumvent the traditional review of that investment in ways that give them access to the crown jewels of a company and its intellectual properties, in a way that blunts the u.s. technological advantage particularly when it comes to national security and how it undermines our industrial base back home. if it takes us ten years to do
the development the china can steal it through cyber they can get access to that technology without having to go through the same expense and delay obviously that is a threat to our national security. i might just ask you to comment on whether you support the effort to modernize and reform the process in order to deal with this threat to national security? >> i absolutely do. we've looked at that in the department of justice. i've talked with attorneys and agents who've investigated these cases and they are worried about our loss of technology. we need additional legislation just as he said. you combine interest in a company can gain access to the same type of technology.
the program is not able to be effective enough. your legislation is first rate. i think it is great potential to push back against the abuses and dangers we face. i'm excited about it and if anything i can do to say thank you for that work and to call on congress to move on it rapidly, you would be winning the confidence and support of people who invest in these matters everyday i know it's going on. they support what you're doing and how congress can follow through. >> want to briefly mention internet crimes against children program that were trying to reauthorize which is a national network of 61 coordinated tax forces of local and state law-enforcement.
we focus on trying to fight child pornography by the predators who take advantage of the dark side of the internet in order to harm children. senator blumenthal who has just left, he and i joined a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the task force called protect our children act. i appreciate the support and consultation we've had in getting as far as we've had. the strong signal it sends that congress, the administration in all of us standing together to fight this terrible scourge. the two minutes i have left, i want to revisit 706 and 702. many of us have been working on this because we've been told by people like you and the fbi
director and others in the intelligence community that this represents the crown jewels of our ability to detect terrorist ability and to prevent attacks and keep america safe. there's some who worry about this capability of the federal government. as you pointed out, it's focused exclusively in foreign targets. just like a wiretap that an officer may get access to, there may be more than the person whose phones that's tapped actually comes of the line. the fact that somebody else who is it the target comes on the telephone and you happen to hear their conversation doesn't mean that represents illegal or unconstitutional search.
there's multiple levels of supervision like the national security agency and protocols to protect the privacy of people who may be incidentally collected. there's audits and congressional oversight in both the house and senate have committees to take this measures seriously. senator feinstein and i represent the judiciary committee on the intelligence committee for that purpose. we think all of the committees who do work we take it very seriously. most people don't realize there's also federal court supervision. the foreign intelligence surveillance court that monitors the activities of the intelligence committee to make
sure privacy rights are protected in the constitution is enforced. would you mind summarizing your support for section 702 and if you disagree with any of the characterization i made please feel free to do so. >> thank you for your support. i appreciate how you found time to master the details of this. i thank you for doing it. >> can you give a short answer to him? >> there's no doubt you have a right to surreal the communications of a person who's a noncitizen who is a broad. the reason you do that is find out who they're talking to. after talking to a terrace.
you really want to know if they're talking to a terrorist in the united states. we don't have the money or time to surreal the world. so we have some basis to assume this person might be connected to terrorism before we do so. the purpose of it is to find out who they're talking to and what they might be plotting. it's not necessary to have a warrant. the courts have never required that. to do so would be a problem for officers. maybe there's some things we can do to create confidence but has he wrestled through with it we don't want to add things that are valuable and make it problematic for agents to be affected in using this procedure. >> would it be dangerous to the american people? >> no doubt. as the director of national
intelligence and the fbi have all testified. >> to take my five minutes now. during the june 13 hearing before the senate select committee on intelligence, you testify you discussed an issue of jane cohen leads firing with rosenstein before either of you were confirmed for your current position. mr. comey was fired on may 9. why did you talk to rosenstein about the firing of mr. comey, and what did you discuss with him, and when did you come to the conclusion that james comey needed to be terminated? >> my view after discussing with director comey. my possibly new attempted a
general we discussed as to professionals. he was united states attorney for 12 years. i was for 12 years. it was my best judgment as i think i expressed it that a fresh start at the fbi was probably appropriate. >> did you think that mr. comey needed to be removed? >> i didn't think he was essential at that time. but those my best judgment, and i think his. a few weeks before he was terminated he was testifying before congress. at that time he asserted he believed he was correct to take over the clinton investigation into announce its conclusion and it was being close. he further testified that he would do it again.
that was a fairly stunning event for both of us. the highlight the problem more significantly. >> in regard to opiates, we passed the comprehensive addiction and recovery act. we've quoted statistics about the extreme number of deaths. with tools like carrot, what is the department of justice doing to prevent overdose and combat drug trafficking and addiction? what further steps need to be taken by a doj or congress if you feel there needs to be additional steps taken? >> this is a top priority of ours and the department of justice. we never seen anything like 52000 deaths in 2015. it's unprecedented. last year is 64000 deaths. so is spent 12 new prosecutors
into the field, directed solely to the problem in the key areas where we have problems. the be focusing on pharmacies, doctors, and drug dealers of various kinds. if we can keep people from being a addicted, will have fewer people becoming addicted to heroin and dying. we had big success recently in prosecuting a number of positions and professionals for drug problems are distributing improperly prescription drugs. we've announced a new data analytics system. it's a computer-based system that you can identify what outlets doctors, hospitals or pharmacies who have a disproportionate number of prescription drugs going through those agencies.
you can use that to identify the problematic areas. will be calling on the physicians in america to be careful about the prescribing. people tell me they're being prescribed more pills than needed. the more you give someone, the more likely they are to be addicted. this is just the beginning. the president cares about it deeply. we'll give it a huge emphasis on the years to come because it deserves it. >> in january you formed a task force looking into reducing violent crime. your recommendations were to be delivered by july 27, none have been made public today. i assume they would be made public. have they been made to and when we make them public?
>> we have not made the public how we will review the situation. we've been discussing in close to a point to make a public. >> i one second left. the steps have you taken to create a comprehensive enforcement strategy for the foreign agents registration act and address how that fits into the national security efforts. >> for several months we discussed that in the office. we reached the final conclusion, i'll probably go to the deputy attorney general's office. i've talked to the lawyers who do these cases. there hasn't been many of those cases. it probably need to be more. there's legislation being proposed that we might be supportive of that might also be beneficial. >> thank you chairman. if i can follow up, violent
crime is a concern for many of us as he spoke about in your opening statement. fighting violent crime in our country is a top priority. i'm eager to hear the recommendations of your task force. my hometown of delaware say not just a search for record high level shootings and homicide. our local law enforcement is doing everything they can, i welcome the chance to work with you to deploy my federal resources. >> thank you, we can provide leadership. >> we have completed our review of the crime problem in america and how best to address it. the professionals have impressed me dramatically with an updated project safe neighborhoods
policy that focuses on the key areas where crime rate is high. this idea that you shouldn't see where the crimes are occurring and investigate those crimes, there's a mistake. new york and other jurisdictions have proven that if you do this systematically you can reduce, make community safer. so were going to do that on a localized basis encouraging our u.s. attorneys to take the lead. we have statistics that prove that those policies have worked in crime has dropped where they've been implemented. i'm confident. i don't how strong this rising crime is but i think we can make a difference and i'm determined to do so. >> thank you. were deployed a similar strategy that's making some progress.
but these the availability of guns and other factors makes it particularly tough in our community. in your confirmation hearing you stated a priority would be the aggressive enforcement of lost treasure access to every eligible voter. after six years they dropped its claim and pastor voter id law with intent to discriminate. weeks later they found the claim had merit. should the department of justice continue to pursue these claims when supported by the evidence? >> yes it should when supported by the evidence. let me say this, the supreme court has upheld voter id policies are properly conducted. texas passed a voter id law. the court found it defective been struck it down.
the election was coming up immediately. the court approved a new modified version of the voter id law. texas legislator past that prove modified version and we withdrew the opposition to it. we think it was the right and proper thing. the department of justice was still in the case. in a way we reversed it, but the department of justice won the battle and got the lawn proved. >> my other concern would be how many cases the administration has brought to enforce access to the ballot box. how many cases are you bringing to prosecute discrimination against lgbt community. respecting appreciate your answer about defending against a crimes. one of the core challenges escrowed in prosecute.
if you tell me was some update of what's been done to be an effective advocate in prosecuting cases i would appreciate it. >> we are open for business. anybody denying some of the right to vote is a violation of constitutional rights of federal law. we have voting rights section is willing to defend that. the other was lgbt rights. we are going to protect the lgbt citizens with vigor and determination. we are not going to look the other way. we will enforce the laws written. we will continue to do so. we have acted, i have a letter
from congress, i made sure that everyone was looked at to see if there is one unified person, group threatening those. and to see if there is a pattern in there and if anything more could be done to prosecute. i know in one case they found new evidence. maybe we'll go forward with the. >> thank you mr. chairman. the end is nearing. in april, the district judge in hawaii rolled in a case relating to the executive order travel ban. you made a remark to put it nicely that it was ignorant, and you said i really am amazed that a judge sitting on an island in the pacific can issue an order that stops the president from what appears to be
constitutional power. >> a beautiful island in the. >> when a public official like you makes a statement like that, they think they great ethnic and diversity my state makes us less american, do stand by your statement? >> i had no idea it would be interpreted that way. there 600 federal district judges in america. the president issues what i believe is a lawful order but i believe will be upheld at one of those judges happened to be on an island in the pacific to stop the entire process. i think judges need to be careful there not just setting
policy and infusing their part or in blocks the president's ability. >> i heard you. when you gave your explanation. clearly all district court judges can issue injunctions and rulings that impact the entire country. in the texas situation with the texas district judge presented the implementation of president obama's -- csa district judges did not have that authority. >> under the current law they do. it's been going on for number of years. it subject to criticism and judges need to be careful before they do that. >> regarding the u.s. attorneys, who's involved in the decisions to dismiss the u.s. attorneys without any warning and why was it done when it was done?
>> we had gone for a number of months, but half of the united states attorneys in the country had already resigned. it's traditional they are replaced by the next administration. i believe president clinton did the same, issued a single order of there's precedent for to complete the process of change oh two per. >> so it was totally president trump who made that decision, you are not involved in that decision? >> i believe the responsibility is the presidents. >> you are not involved in the? >> actually --
[inaudible] >> i can't believe i can't remember that. it's important issue. the president appoints united states attorneys. it was appropriate i thought at that time to make the change. >> so, you were involved. >> yes, i was. >> with the young people signed up for daca, they were relying on the information they provided would not be used to target them for deportation. now, there's at least three pending lawsuits i believe in new york and california on the basis of the lawsuit is there a due process concerns about the presidents action to end daca is a bait and switch. did you consider the bait and switch problem in issuing your
opinion on the legality of daca? >> i believe is known and considered. obviously it's a department of homeland security that decides how to administer and gather evidence in what cases to make priorities. >> you're the one who said that daca was unconstitutional and illegal, that was your opinion you issued so, did you consider any due process consideration when you issued the letter of opinion that it was unconstitutional. >> i don't believe there is any explicit discussion of that in any documents from the department of justice. it's a valid issue that needs to be discussed and considered your right to raise it. i don't think homeland security has any policy to do as you
suggest. >> there are large number of recipients who have renewed their status for two years and they have different expiration times for when their daca status sense. what happens to the recipients it daca ends in five months or if the three pending cases determined that it is in fact unconstitutional, what happens to the recipients whose daca status have not expired but the court says it's based on an unconstitutional law. >> before you answer that, you'll be done when you get to more questions from senator blumenthal. but to be the last one and then were going to go vote. >> so you're asking.
>> it if daca ends in four months in congress not acted in all these recipients or if a court because there's pending court cases they decide it's unconstitutional, what happens to these people? >> the answer to that is in your hands. congress has the ability to deal with this problem in a number of ways. the president has indicated he's willing to support reform and work to fix the problem and help these young people of congress so decides. i think we need to get on with it. not going to work which is simply an amnesty without any improvement in the loopholes and problems that we have an immigration. but if we work together something can be done on.
>> i was disoriented thinking i had to face senator blumenthal a third time, forgive me. >> thank you for answering our questions today mr. attorney general. i would ask you first off, just to say, i think many of my colleagues and i feel you have stretch this concept of his executive privilege maybe to the breaking point. and we need to talk about what it's a valid purpose of effectiveness. not going to pursue it in light of the time that is passing
here, but i want to ask you about a tweet from the president on july 25 quote attorney general jeff sessions has taken a very, all in claps very weak position on hillary clinton's crimes where our e-mails and dnc server and intel leakers end of quote. did that tweet have any on you about these issues? >> well it's in the recusal of what i promised the committee i would do. much of that is to simply not something i can personally be engaged in. i expect the department of justice to do the right thing, to investigate adders that need to be investigated. when cases are close of there's new evidence perhaps it would justify reopening a case or not.
so i can understand the presidents concern. but the people who will be handling these cases and if i'm handling the will do it according to the law is were given to understand it. >> without respect to the presidents tweets, on september 25 the media reported that at least six the president trumps closest advisers use private e-mails to discuss white house bids business including jared kushner, gary cohen and stephen miller to form members. if jared kushner or any of the other individuals center receive classified information using private e-mail accounts which you prosecute them? >> it would have to be evaluated at the time.
and things of that nature should make a prosecution and proper and i would just note that it's a little different in the executive branch, and the senate we used our campaign funds so we never got in trouble for what would turn out to be a political discussion of some kind. in the executive branch, i used almost exclusively, i get almost no e-mails in my personal phone, everything comes on your official phone, but you could receive e-mails, maybe even send them inadvertently on your personal phone and the procedure is set up so you should forward those to the official phone and e-mail system so be part of the
federal records act. it's provided that some problems might arise,. >> are you investigating any of those individuals for their use of private e-mails. >> i'm not able to confirm or deny. >> to know the department of justice believes those e-mail accounts included classified information? >> i'm unable to comment on the. >> have you had conversations with them for the white house to ensure those e-mails are preserved? >> have not been engaged in the. >> i assume appropriate steps would've been taken by appropriate attorneys in the department but i'm not involved. i can't even confirmed it's being discussed. or deny.
>> in light of the constraint of time i have other questions which are put on the record. >> if i could quote clarify a second here. i had heard of this trump tower meeting from news reports and no other way. i didn't know it at the time it was occurring. in my view is there is no communication by others is simply my opinion, i have no knowledge of it. >> i did not hear you when u.s. for a minute to respond, if you remember what you asked you want to respond to that at this point? >> no, think of five. >> okay. thank you for accommodating us for five hours.
[inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] [inaudible conversation] >> tonight on c-span2, cia director mike pompeo, national security advisor, hr mcmaster, on global security threats. janet yellen talks about the economy and monetary policy. in a discussion about freedom of speech from the heritage foundation. >> now, mike pompeo on threats