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tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  July 12, 2016 9:00am-11:01am EDT

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captioning performed by vitac >> you're a very accomplished prosecutor, i recall the man son trial, they proved the ideology, the motivating factors to the manson group in why they did the murders. that's what you did in your case, did you not? you identified and proved as part of your case the motive based on what they interpreted their faith to mean. >> yeah, and i respectfully find that mind boggling to have a conversation in which it's suggested that we need to turn a
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blind eye to ideology when you actually get into the four corners of a trial on most of the charges we bring, which are essentially conspiracy cases in almost every single instance. the very evidence that they say we shouldn't look at for purposes of the investigation, is the evidence that the prosecutor has to admit at the trial in order to prove willfulness and intent and in order to prove knowledge. so we're actually saying that in investigating people who might potentially commit a terrorist attack, we have to close our eyes to the ideology but if we're lucky enough to indict them at some point and get them to trial, then we can put into evidence all of the things we didn't look at when we're investigating. how crazy is that? >> just briefly, if you're -- this nation cannot admit everybody that would like to come here to i mmigrate to
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america and there are two muslims, isn't it -- some constitutional protection that the united states cannot inquire to see who might be the most successful immigrant? >> i don't think there's any constitutional i am pediment to it. that said, during the 1960s into i guess the early '80s, there was a lot of statutory work that was done supportive of the proposition that we neednt be worried about ideology, it's not a cause tif trigger of violent action and we oent like at violent action not ideology when we decide to bring people in or not. it was not constitutionally necessary to do that. i think a lot of it was caused by the fact that the supreme
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court in the 60s and 70s gave expanded first amendment protection to ideology, which was a terrible mistake but the soviet threat has been overwrougt. we're in a threat environment where it's not a hypothetical question whether there's a ideology that triggers mass murder attacks, we're seeing it. >> mr. chairman, we appreciate the hearing and we are seeing, i think a spasm of islam that experts have testified before armed services committee that is real. there's radical ideas that are leading to these kind of attacks and it's going to take a long time for us to see that wain and maybe it's incumbent on us all to be firm and defend our country but at the same time think deeply about the right way to handle it because religion is
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something we all in this kupt e respe respect, freedom of religion. >> mr. chairman, can i respond to something said earlier during this panel of questions? >> we're going to recognize senator durbin 'he may give you the opportunity to do that. >> thank you very much. listen to senator sessions questions and i think he really is moving us to where we ought to be. when you went after or your organization went after the ku klux klan you were aware that their symbol was a flaming cross? >> yes, sir. >> and they believed somehow they were espousing the teachings of christ? >> they were purifying the race, yes. >> these race pure fictions ended up in hateful and violent and murderous tactics against african-americans? >> that was the way they did business, yes. >> catholics and jews, they were a hate filled group that used a flaming cross in their purified
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christianity for justification. >> yes. >> westboro baptist church sends demonstrators to the funerals of our fallen soldiers -- i've seen them in illinois. they put up these hateful signs that say, the soldier died because of gay marriage, their home phobia is part of their christian belief. i think the point made over and over by three members of this panel is a mistake for us then called the ku klux klan radical christians or to call westboro baptists radical christians. they are extreme and violent and radical and unacceptable. but it reflects on all of us who count ourselves as christians if you use a term that is so broad in its application. no one is arguing mr. mccarthy, that someone who is -- possesses a dangerous ideology should ever be allowed to immigrate but
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donald trump isn't making that distinction my friends, he wants to exclude all muslim immigrants. that to me is where he has gone way beyond the needs of protecting america and into territory i hope this country will never ever embrace. it's interesting last week we had a debate on the floor of the senate on terrorism and it got down to the question as to whether or not we should be weary or careful when a suspected terrorist wants to buy an assault weapon, a firearm, and many of us said let's err on the side of safety. and unfortunately only eight republicans would join senator colins, another republican, when she suggested that maybe we keep the guns out of their hands until we find out whether they truly shouldn't be on the no fly list. we couldn't carry the day. the presumption when it came to the second amendment, give them the gun, ask questions later.
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now, we have this hearing. and instead of dealing with suspected terrorists we're dealing with a suspected religion according to some. that's where i think we've crossed the line. if there are those who abuse religious beliefs and threaten others and america, use all of our power to protect us. but the notion we would call for radical christians, radical islam in such and therefore have the right answer to keeping america safe, i think it just fundamentally wrong. i'll say this, i had plenty of disagreements with president george w. bush on a spectrum of issues. but i still marvel at the fact that after all we went through on 9/11 he would say to america, quote, all americans must recognize that the face of terror is not the true face of islam. islam is a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. it's a faith that has made
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brothers and sisters of every race, it's a faith based upon love, not hate. thank you, president george w. bush for reminding us at that terrible moment in history who the real enemies were. they weren't people of islamic faith. they were those who had violent extreme views and ready to kill to execute that, like the ku klux klan and hate mongers. that president at that moment in history got it right and we've got to get it right today. because we're being called on like many generations have in the past to respond to a legitimate fear of terrorism in a way consistent with our american values. and when we lapse into this notion that we're going to condemn the faith, i think we've gone way too far. i know you wanted to say something earlier but let me ask you, do you live in a muslim neighborhood? >> no, i do not.
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>> you know what a muslim neighborhood is? >> i was scratching my head a bit when i first heard that term used. the muslim community in the united states with few exceptions is actually quite spread out. and integrated into the broader america. >> that's my experience too. i mean, i can show you some irish catholic parishes in chicago and areas in the north shore where jewish populations live but muslim population is not that large, per se and they seem to be disbursed. when we talk about patrolling and enforcing muslim neighborhoods as one member of the panel has, i'm at a loss, what was he trying to say? what is a muslim neighborhood? >> no, i think you're absolutely right. and senator, if i could add to your statement of acknowledging president bush and what he did and the importance of bipartisanship, i think this issue of really pushing back against these frankly
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un-american and unconstitutional proposals to marginalize and target a group of americans based on faith is not consistent with the constitution. it's not consistent with our values. and i might add that it's not just yourself and some members on your side of the -- but i want to acknowledge senator flake and graham who have been courageous with their words as well in urging to tamp down this kind of divisive rhetoric. >> let me add i called senator flake at his home on a saturday evening when he visited a mosque in arizona and thanked him. >> i sent person thank you letters to senator flake and senator graham. >> it was such a thoughtful gesture. totally consistent with what president george w. bush reminded -- >> that was a mosque i attend. >> i thank senator flake for having the courage to do it. yield the floor. >> senator durbin, can i add one more thing i wanted to say earlier.
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i want to make it clear, that there have been hundreds of imams and religious scholars around the united states and world who have condemned terrorism and in fact there are a number of u.s./muslim religious scholars who have taken on the narrative of isis. a great peril to themselves, a number of them received specific death threats because of work they are doing. i cringe when i hear people saying that muslims are not speaking out against the contortion of their faith for violent ends. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator durbin. senator graham. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think this is an important hearing and i'm glad we're having it. i need to go to my own church, haven't been in a while. is there a fight for the heart and souls islam afoot between a few radicals and most muslims, is that a fair statement? either one of you.
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>> that's my book battle for the souls islam is about the fact that this is -- terrorism is simply a symptom and the underbelly of it and i cringe at the moral -- >> the answer is yes. >> yes, sir. >> so what about you, ma'am? >> i think there's -- there's definitely robust discussion within muslim communities in the us -- >> i think it's important for america to side with those that would live in peace with us and would build a better world in the faith, which is overwhelming super majority? >> yes, absolutely. >> it's not only peace but those that share our values of liberty and individual rights. here's what i've learned after 37 trips to iraq and afghanistan. most people over there not buying what isil is selling, the taliban or al qaeda, all things being equal. most moms and dads don't want to turn daughters over to these nut jobs. when i hear they are saul the same, you need to go over there more because they are not.
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bottom line is that most people will be cultural different but buy into the idea that radical islam is not for them. so we need partners in the faith. now, back here at home, how many of you think we're fighting a war and not a crime? how many think we're at war? state of undeclared war with radical islam? do you feel comfortable with that. >> i think we're doing both. there's obviously a war -- >> i agree, but they've declared war on us. >> yeah. >> there's a different r difference between fighting a war and crime. what do we do -- are there radical imams in the country that sympathize with isil and al qaeda inside the country, inside the united states? >> i've never heard of one inside the united states. >> i believe there are imams who may condemn violence, the tactic but sympathize with the division of the world into islam in
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arabic, the land of islam and land of war. there are those that believe war can be fought not necessarily by guns and ammunition but by civilization aal jihad where th can advance through a ee advantage lix of their -- >> the only reason i mention this. i don't want to profile the muslim, islamic -- muslim -- let me tell you my experience. young man went to high school in afghanistan, graduated from high school, i came to i think chicago. joined the army and went back to afghanistan as an interpreter, took me over to his former high school where they were having election polling, wearing uniform. his job was to guard me and the general that went with me, he embraced his principle and started crying and all of us started crying. that's my view of american muslims out there in the fight. but if you do have a radical mosque or a radical preacher or
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radical whatever, is it okay to monitor them and follow what they do? >> i think there's a difference between somebody who has radical thoughts and then actual violence. i think you can certainly appreciate senator graham, having radical thoughts is not illegal. some would actually say it's downright america e american. >> agree but not downright american to be sympathetic. i had to sign a form i wasn't a member of communist party in the air force. i'm sure if i said i was i would not have gotten into the air force. the enemy was the communist ideology. so all i'm suggesting is that this young man who happens to be an american muslim hates the ideology as much as i do, if not more. they would kill him before they kill me because he's in their eyes worse of a problem. what i'm trying to suggest the
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guy that did the killing in orlando went to the same mosque to the guy who is a suicide bomber in syria. what are the odds of that happening without something going on in that mosque and they not really know each other? >> i would like to address that. >> sure. >> as a subject matter expert and law enforcement officer who took a vow to protect the american people from threat of foreign and domestic, this icon of this organization which is a major global level operation operating in the united states says very plainly in its logo what its intention is. in english it says assembly of muslim -- >> you're not answering my question. >> i'm trying to say there is a current within the islamic community and united states to conform to sharia law. what we're actually talking about aren't tactics of radicalism or jihad.
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>> i got you. who's the fbi guy? >> i was a former fbi agent. >> what are the odds of these two guys going to the same mosque and not know each other? >> i have no idea what those odds are but that was something the fbi investigated. i'm sure that's something you can find out. >> all i'm suggesting is i don't want to -- i'm all in to partnering with the faith because you can't win the war without it and american muslims -- there's a hero in the war, it's an american muslim who will take up arms against islam. if i had to create a hero in the times in which we live, it's somebody who is aa american citizen and takes the fight over there. that's my perspective. when you have sinners of radical activity i don't want us to get so politically correct and that's the whole purpose of this hearing, we ignore the obvious. how in the hell could it be that the guy that killed 49 people in
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a club in orlando who went to the same mosque as the guy who became a suicide bomber in syria, that there's not something going on there. and how did the fbi miss it. >> it's entirely reasonable to figure that. and if we can't -- if we feel like we're so hamstrung we can't investigate -- >> that's the part of the investigation. have we gone too far the other way that you can't talk about the obvious? >> let me suggest this. in my case, we proved that the mosque was the hub of the conspiracy, that it was used for the storage of weapons and it was used for recruiting and con spir torial conversations and plotting. and they used it because they thought that was a safe place to do that. and if we -- if we signal and it's a fact, that we are closing not just law enforcement but intelligence gathering and investigative eyes in what's suppose to be a war where we actually have an authorization of military force and people in harm's way, then we're not
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fighting a war that we have any interest in winning. >> having said that, i believe that the overwhelming majority mosques in this country are not that way. but when you find a connection, how do we deal with it? ma'am, could you from a -- i want your perspective as much as anybody else. i'm trying to solve a problem and prevent an attack. >> senator the problem comes to how you define radical. when we say violent extremism is the problem, those who want to take up arms against america and you have people signing religious rulings they are nonviolent and condemn the terror. when you define radical of those homephobic and have conspiracy theories about american military and policies, all of these are the underbelly of ideas. >> our community needs a 12-step program. the reason he can be at the same mosque there's a complete denial between the connection of nonviolent islamism to stri lent
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they are going to be at the same mosque and not realize it because they are not going to connect like the alcoholic that needs that first step. they are in denial and we perpetrate that denial by ignoring verbology. >> i think if there's reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, law enforcement needs to go there and conduct a full investigation. >> that's a good bay to end this. that's all we're talking about, fighting a war, not a crime, good surveillance techniques within the constitutional values and i'm convinced that the purpose of this hearing senator cruz, that you've worried we've gone too far the other way. that's all i'm saying. thank you. >> thank you, senator graham. mr. mccarthy, in your testimony you talked about peaceful muslims here in america who worked with you and were integ ral to helping prosecute the blind sheik case. can you describe to this committee the difference between the muslim faith and islamism
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that embraces violent jihad? >> i think it's hard to define the muslim faith because there are too many divergent interpretations of it. it's easy to identify what we call islamism or i prefer to call sharia supremacyism, a political ideology with a religious veneer, not a religion as we understand it in the west. my impression listening to the back and forth today is that we are underestimating how serious a problem it is. i don't think it's a handful of radicals versus everyone else who is just embracing the west. i brought a long a well known classic sharia manual today that i'll supply with your -- with
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the committee's permission called reliance of the traveler, which is an ancient awe authoritative manual of sharia law. i open to the page that says jihad, to war against nonmuslims and explains where it's drawn from. we could go through several different aspects of it, whether it's penalties for inequality against women or inequality against mnonmuslims and so fort. the reason it's relevant, this is not crazy islamphobic andy mccarthy's view of what islamism is. this is a manual that in the front of it they thought it was important enough to include the endorsement of the aliczar research academy, the sharia
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faculty at the seat of sunni islamic learning since the tenth century and also endorsed by the international institute of islamic thought, which is a mus him brotherhood think tank operating in the united states, i believe since the early 1980s. there are other endorsements as well. but the point is that this is -- this political ideology, which is radical in the united states because it would -- it would supplant our constitution since its core tenants are anty thet cal to our constitution. to me that's radical, whether you want to blow up a bridge to get it done or not. if you want to sup plant the united states constitution with a toe tal tear yan legal code, that's pretty radical. there's an awful lot of people who buy on to this to one degree
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or another. some percentage of them will become jihadists. some larger percentage of them will create enclaves or safe spaces, i guess that's the popular common term, safe spaces for this ideology to take root and to grow. and the forceable commands in it and the bellicose interpretation in it is something that is preached and endorsed by very influential scholars in this belief system. so it's a shame that we -- that it has enough religious tenants to it, the oneness of allah and duty to pray and so on, that we allow it to cloak itself in the guise of religion, rather than what it is a toe tal tear yan
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ideology about the we make a big mistake when we underestimate the hold it has on a group as big as 1.6 billion people. >> if i understood you correctly, it was your testimony that we do a disservice to the american muslim community when we lump in peaceful muslims who share our values with islamists who as you've written about are waging a war for the souls islam. is that a fair understanding? >> yes, sir, it's too easy to -- and people ask where the voice of mod ral islam. there's been no urgency. it's time muslims wake up and there's an urge entscy to speak out not just against the tactic but against the root cause. our muslim reform movement is trying to do that. it's a bipartisan effort to try to layout what are the ideas that make us muslims that believe in the faith of islam that separate us from this
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global massive political movement islamism. large parties and at the core is this identification with the islamic state. the reason isis is recruiting to the level it is, muslims growing up in this country and in the west end up wanting to die for that identification in the islamic state. the only counter to that is not this whack a mole of countering extremism but teaching our kids it will be much more preferable for wanting to die for america. until we teach muslims that difference and programs that do that, we'll continue this whack a mole program. >> i thank you for your courage in defending truth at risk and at knowing risk of great personal vil fiction and even personal risk. that is a powerful and important demonstration of courage. >> thank you. >> when senator graham was asking his questions, i found one exchange with miss kara
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quite remarkable in that senator graham asked if there were any radical imams in the united states who had sympathies with ice is and al qaeda. her testimony was she never heard of any radical imams in the united states who had sympathies with al qaeda or isis. i found that truly an astonishing statement though i would note it was entirely consistent with the purge that mr. haney testified the obama administration has taken. because indeed one of the things that the purge did is -- and i quote, removed references to mosques specifically as a radicalism incube ator. she was testifying consistent with the purge. i wanted to ask some of the other witnesses on this panel, if you share miss kara's view of never heard of a radical imam in the united states who sympathizes -- that was senator
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graham exact question, with isis or al qaeda. i know you went undercover at care. did you encounter -- >> first of all -- >> please turn your microphone on. >> well, we can't forget and i'll go into current imams anwar aulaqi was a mom. and blind sheikh, one of the most knowledgeable scholars of islam. my time at care, he xntly talks about the implementation of sharia law, no different than the ideology of al qaeda or isis. anyone that reads their magazines and studies their ideology, they are constantly quoting islamic law from the muslim -- from the koran. they are constantly quoting that. no different than any of the imams like schaarage wa haj.
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we have a fundamentally flawed approach to the war. we have to look at sharia and it is as mr. mccarthy said, this is a much bigger problem than we're willing to accept. >> when mateen was talking to 911 at 2:35 a.m., that recall was recorded and we have the transcript. the operator asked, what is your name? my name is i pledge allegiance to al baghdadi of the islamic state. what is your name? >> i pledge aleej's to al b baghdadi -- the words owe meted were abu baker al bag dddy of the united states and the second half of that state, the islamic
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state. what does it say to you the department of justice is sanitizing and erasing the statement of who the orlando terrorist was pledging allegiance to. >> it means if we don't change course, we can expect more tragedy like happened in orlando. >> that would be consistent with the purge explicitly removing references to mosques specifically as a radicalization incubeator? >> yes, sir. >> mr. mccarthy, i want to talk about -- talked about the threat of islamism and i want to talk about some of the symbols -- some of the evidence we had in terror attack after terror attack because some of my democratic colleagues have suggested this is simply about the use of a word or two or even
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as my friend senator kunz says, about three letters, ism. i would suggest the only reasonable conclusion from this hearing is this deliberate and willful blindness is costing american lives over and over again. whether you look at little rock or ft. worth or chattanooga or san bernardino, over and over again we see warning signs and the obama administration has evidence of radical islamic terrorism and over and over again doesn't act to prevent it. hasan, the obama administration knew he had been in electronic communication with the radical islamic cleric aulaqi and the obama administration knew he had asked about the possibility of justifications for waging jihad against his fellow soldiers. and yet, the administration did
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nothing. and nadal hasan murdered 14 innocent souls. in your view is a soldier communicating with a radical islamic cleric aulaqi asking about and preparing power point presentations and laying out what he believed was a corps anic command to wage jihad. are those significant red flags that should have moved the administration to action? >> they are highly significant red flags and to dismiss them because it was consistent with his research as i understand was the main reason is reckless. >> and indeed what his fellow officers said part of the reason that they did not act against him was political correctness. let's look at another example. the zarn nef brothers, they had traveled to dagestan and chechnya provinces and interviewed by the fbi, the sold
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earn brother. russian authorities the second time notified the administration they believed them to be religious extremists. the elder brother returned to chechnya and met with chechen terror related groups. he posted on youtube a public call to jihad. and yet the administration had stopped watching him at that time did not see public call to jihad. and that ended up culminating in the two brothers setting off pressure cooker bombs at the boston marathon that murdered three people and injured approximately 180 others. are those once again significant red flags that ought to be met with a serious law enforcement and national security response to prevent acts of terrorism. >> i believe they are. i think they underscore the problem with treating ideology as if it were not a trigger to
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violence. >> and the final example i'll focus on is omar mateen. mateen was interviewed by the fbi not once, not twice, but three times. omar mateen told his co-workers that he was involved with both al qaeda and hezbollah. omar mateen had watched videos of the radical cleric anwar al awlaki, a connecting theme of a number of terrorists. omar mateen was interviewed one time because of his relationship with mohammed abu salha, who died in syria and there was evidence to indicate they may have attended the same mosque. are those again the sorts of red flags that ought to trigger serious law enforcement and national security scrutiny to prevent terrorist attacks?
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>> yes, they are. >> is it a reasonable nefrns in your experience having spent nearly two decades as a prosecutor, that the administration's scrubbing, refusal to acknowledge the existence of jihad or radical islam as this chart shows literally erasing from their training materials has some connection to this administration over and over again having serious evidence of radical islamic terrorism and not acting to prevent terrorist attacks on united states soil? >> i think so. and again, i think it's incredibly reckless to take the position that because ideology is constitutionally protected to have such that you can't prosecute someone for having it, that you therefore drop investigative efforts and drop intelligence efforts on the theory that ideology is simply
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something we don't need to worry about. >> thank you, mr. mccarthy. >> i'll defer to senator blumenthal for the second round. >> i didn't see you return. >> well, i noticed you were very absorbed in your questions. as you should be and thank you for having the hearing. i'm interested in light of the statements of allegiance that were made by the san bernardino and orlando killers and the credit taken by isis for at least the orlando massacre, what objective evidence there is that isis is inspiring or supporting terrorist extremists here? and i think there is evidence of
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it, if only the evidence that has been made public, i understand there's other evidence as well. it troubles me greatly. and i think the nation has to be more vigilant and vigorous in countering the evidence of isis to inspire and support extremist violence here. and extremist violence can take a lot of forms but killing 49 people with an assault weapon qualifies for me as violence and when it's done with a claim of allegiance to isis, then i think it raises some red flags. to let me ask you ms. mccarthy and others, what objective
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evidence you see of isis inspiring or supporting -- senator, i think that the -- that isis like al qaeda, like other terrorist organizations, is less important than the ideology which transcends them all and will outlast them all and is what is actually the cat liesing feature here. specifically with respect to isis, we know that the organization has made it quite clear that it would like to see jihadists in place in the united states and elsewhere in the west commit acts of terrorism that they can attribute to isis and then take advantage of. but i would suggest to you that it's -- it's the ideology more than the organization that is doing the inspiring. >> also, i would go a step further and just to point out
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how serious of a threat it is. we could kill every member of isis tomorrow and it wouldn't affect the global islamic movement and wouldn't affect the global jihad. it would slow it down until it caught up. we could kill every member of al qaeda tomorrow. if we don't address strategies and implement policies to address sharia and the spread of sharia doctrine, like dr. jasr said, we'll play whack a mole with jihadi groups. it won't end. >> i think we need to be careful, clearly where there's a conspiracy law enforcement should track down everybody who is involved in the conspiracy. but what we have to understand about terrorist methodology is the appeal for anywhere -- anyone anywhere to do something is an act of desperation. right? it's a reflection of their weak n. not their strength. so we have to be very careful
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when we talk about somebody who answers that appeal to not do what isis wants us to do, which is to make believe that they actually are that strong and that there actually is a connection and this person actually was isis, rather than some reaching out for whatever was going to get him in the newspaper and on tv. and if we reward this behavior, whether they are reaching out to isis like omar mateen was doing or reaching out to white supremacist groups like dill lynn roof is doing, you're giving them an opportunity to be famous and be a soldier of whatever the cause is. we need to be very moderate in how we talk about this thing. we're focusing on real conspiracies because then as we've seen co-conspirators can go out and commit other crimes. if we're talking about somebody just claiming allegiance with no actual connection, i think we should be very careful in actually attributing that to the group they claim.
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>> senator blumenthal? >> if i can address something that is very important is that isis taking credit is sort of like the rooster taking credit for the warning. they'll put the virus out there. these are not lone wolves, it's a global ideology that taps into vulnerable individuals for whatever reason it may be vulnerable. but the root cause is -- i think if you look why domestic policy against radical islam is also connected to our foreign policy, same thing, the vacuum in syria, you cannot get rid of isis in syria without ending the assad regime. they are two evils that feed off of one another. secular awe tok chrissy in the house of islam is a cancer that rooted in syria right now and spreading all over the planet as they seek recruits and will take and try to mobilize their recruits into -- they tap into this ferver of political islam
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and until we have a coherent domestic informed foreign policy with a unifying vision of where they are in the role american muslims should play in the battle happening within the house of islam, we'll continue to see thisry occur and recur. we could get rid of isis tomorrow and it will recome up because of dictators there like to see radical islam as a foil in order to suppress their populations throughout the middle east. >> i understand mr. haney, were you going to make a point? i saw you leaning forward. >> yes, thank you. during my time as a law enforcement officer, we conducted what we call idso, intelligence driven special operations. over the course of four or five years i interviewed about 25 to 35 young american sit zens who were going to a madrasa in south africa. and they were in a program
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called alean program, takes seven years to go through it and qualified to be imams. they memorized the koran here in the united states, not overseas. they never finished public school. they memorized the koran and when they became graduation high school age, they went to the madras in south africa because they teach in english. i saw it up and close and personal with a large cohort of american citizens, and saw them transform from young men into adults. not only in physical nature but in terms of their commitment to the ideology that they were studying in south africa. so i know it's real. that was my specialty. i interviewed hundreds and hundreds of individuals coming back into the united states both american citizens, lawful permanent residents and foreign visitors and virtually every
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single time it was exactly the same motivation, commitment to ideology that i saw in every single one of them. >> i understand the point that destroying isis and destroying the movement of isis and destroying the military force of isis, doesn't destroy the ideology, doesn't destroy the idea and that's why i ask not just about support but also inspire by which i meant ideology as well as potentially recruiting training and physically providing support. and i think there are analogies, throughout our history forces that want to do us home through forces that oppose freedom and
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democracy and the values of tolerance and free expression and religious freedom that make us the greatest, strongest country in the history of the world. so that's why i'm looking for evidence that isis as it's constituted now is providing inspiration and support because we want to stop not only isis but also whatever it's doing to inspire and support extremism and violent extremism in this country. acts of hate and acts of terror and orlando was both. i think the president was right about that fact. and the attorney general of the united states was right about that fact. and you know, i found mr. jasser's point about the responsibility of your effort
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being bipartisan, so compelling. you use that word and i think it's important we in the congress be bipartisan in this effort. and the more we are partisan, the weaker we will be. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator blumenthal. senator kuhns. >> i wanted to follow up a little bit on the idea that ideology is a trigger to violence and how aggressively we should be going after an ideology rather than actions based on ideology that mr. mccarthy suggested. and mr. mccarthy, i may have misunderstood but i thought you heard you say that the expansion of the first amendment in cases during the 1960s to protect radical ideas was a mistake. is that correct? >> i did say that, yes. >> let me just -- if i could mr. cohen -- >> do you want me to explain what i meant by it?
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>> very concisely, if you would. >> sure. they carved out an exception for the advocacy of ideology that calls for the violent overthrow of the united states as if there were a firm difference between advocating it and inciting it, which i think has been much more difficult to apply than perhaps they thought. >> mr. cohen, you've dedicated most of your life to the pursuit of finding or closing down those who engage in not just dangerous ideology but dangerous actions against other americans. and senator sessions had some interesting comments on the central role of the southern poverty law center and pushing back against the klan. and you made a point, i would suggest the lord's resistance army, just because they miscite the bible, we wouldn't refer to
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them as radical christians and we're making the same mistake here. help me understand in your view whether we should be engaging in widespread surveillance of the muslim community and whether we should be endulging the proposals of some candidates for president in uniform bars on muslim admission to the united states or patrols of so-called muslim neighborhoods in an effort to contain a dangerous ideology. where do you think that boundary lies between appropriate investigation of those who might have a proclivity to violence and demeaning an entire religion? >> i think we're on a very slippery slope and very, very dangerous one. if i can respond to one thing mr. mccarthy said and perhaps i'll put it into context, the abstract advocacy of violence in our country is a constitutionally protected -- is constitutionally protected speech. what's not protected is
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preparing a group for violence. the first is protected by the amendment the latter is a criminal conspiracy. i think that if we don't hold that distinction sacred, our country will be in trouble. i think that some of the -- some of the implicit suggestions that we should surveil entire communities are not only ineffective but wildly un-american. and i can't believe we would count that kind of activity in our country. i think it would drive -- more likely drive terrorism than it would root it out. >> that is exactly the challenge i think senator klobuchar was referencing, striking a balance
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between investigating prosecuting those very few individuals committed to acts of violence and breaking up conspiracies and engaging the much broader muslim community that is loyal and wants to fully enjoy the freedoms of the united states and without their partnership an effective intervention of the small number of folks who want to turn an ideology into an action is really going to be at some risk. miss khera, there was an exchange about removing from training manuals information that was bigoted and wildly misleading. if you renew the point, you asserted in your testimony that stigmatizing and marginalizing an entire community based on their faith both kills our first amendment and also puts us at risk because it frays the very relationship between law enforcement and millions of americans. would you just elaborate on that for a moment?
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>> sure. you know, specifically on your last point, i think the concern is that if you create mistrust between law enforcement in our communities, people are going to be reluctant to interact with law enforcement and potentially report crimes. so that means people who are engaging in potential crimes are not going to be caught and brought to justice. i think there is a real public safety concern there. and specifically just to kind of tease out what that concern is that these materials are basically setting up a situation where it was calling for either innocuous activity or religiously first amendment protected activity to now be seen as an indicator of violence. for example, growing a beard, attending a mosque or prayer group, or specific items and behaviors that were listed in an fbi intelligence product as being a so-called indicator of violence.
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>> in some perspectives it could be seen as a gradual movement to radicalization. removing that from the training manual makes it more likely that law enforcement agents who need to understand islam will not make the mistake of assuming that all muslims are radicalized and are inclining toward a violent ideology. >> that is correct. >> that's your basic assertion. >> correct. >> mr. german, if i might close with you. the assertion has been made indirectly and directly that the obama administration has literally put american lives at risk because of political correctness or even worse that career law enforcement agents because of a fear of somehow being politically incorrect stepped back from doing their job to keep americans safe. in the instance of omar mateen, he was surveilled several times by fbi agents, both directly and indirectly, undercover agents and folks who were sent in to try and see what he might commit to, what he might do. there is two different possible
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theories of the case here. one is that the obama administration is disloyal, treasonous and putting americans' safety at risk. and so willfully said we're not going to take any actions against this dangerous radical. i find that disrespectful to what i know of those in state and local and federal law enforcement i've worked with for many years who frankly when they see a clear threat to public safety don't care about public correctness, they care about doing their job. an alternative theory would be that despite repeated attempts to build a credible case against this individual, he didn't bite, he didn't take action, he didn't actually begin a conspiracy, he didn't take offers of opportunities in a way that allowed agents to build a real case against him and proceed. as senator klobuchar indicated, in one of the largest muslim american communities in america, they have taken case after case after case to trial and actually successfully prosecuted those
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who took steps to participate in conspiracies. first, does it seem credible to you that career law enforcement agents looked the other way out of a concern for political correctness? or does it seem more credible to you that a deeply disturbed individual who was pleading -- who was at different times saying he supported or was involved with groups that are literally fighting each other on the battlefield was not taking enough credible steps to develop a working case and then, second, new york city police commissioner bill bratton recently said that wide scale surveillance programs like an nypd program that targeted the muslim community failed to produce a single piece of actionable intelligence and frankly didn't work. i would be interested in your comment on how we could strengthen the hand of federal and local law enforcement to keep us safe. >> on your first question, i do believe the men and women of the fbi are doing everything in
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possible under the law to try to protect us from threats and in the cases where red flags are raised, investigations actually were pursued. my concern is they're not looking for the right thing. they're not looking for indicators of violence, they're looking for indicators of radicalization, depending on whatever model that is. and in some of these cases what we see is those clear models are not accurate. and i also agree on the issue with chief bratton where the broad surveillance of entire communities dilutes the ability to actually focus on real threats and i think that's why during the period those programs were in place, cases were missed because they were looking too broadly rather than focusing on real threats and both those cases they traveled overseas to terrorist training camps, that's something that maybe we should put more resources in rather than surveilling innocent muslims. >> thank you. well, i just want to thank the
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whole panel for your testimony. the members of this committee who engaged today. i do think we have important questions aut how to keep americans safe, how to strengthen the hand of federal, state and local law enforcement, but in a way that respects our most fundamental values and doesn't come up against the boundaries of cherished first amendment freedoms. i frankly think whether you call it radical islam, radical islamism, islamic extremism, spending three hours arguing about semantics in my view hasn't moved us any closer towards developing a new and more effective way to combat terror and to defeat isis. and i look forward to the upcoming hearing where we will have secretary jeh johnson here and we can ask more pointed questions about the department of homeland security and the strategy. we will all follow going forward. let me close by saying i am deeply troubled by proposals in our current election season. proposals made by mr. trump to
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ban all muslims from coming to the united states. proposals made to keep a list of all muslims in the united states, to actively and aggressively surveil mosques, to patrol muslim neighborhoods, i think, are profoundly unhelpful as we try to respect america's constitutional traditions and keep our country safe. and i frankly worry that proposals such as these and the broad following they seem to have gotten harken back to some of the worst chapters in american history, in particular i'll just remind us that after the attack on pearl harbor, this great nation turned its back on japanese americans, forcing the relocation and incarceration and camps of over 100,000 people based solely on their japanese ancestry, not based on any actions taken or any expression of intent to harm americans or to be disloyal to the united states. and the majority of those in turn were american citizens. as i prepare for today's hearing, i could not forget a
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meeting i had with the daughter of fred karmatzu, whose name was given to a signal supreme court case. i met his daughter at a ceremony at the white house. when his conviction for violating the internment order was finally overturned, he said and i quote, i would like to see the government admit they were wrong and do something about it so this will never happen again to any american citizen of any race, creed or color. it is my hope that in this debate and in this election season we will set aside proposals that seem more in keeping with the errors made in the past, where we went after entire groups of american citizens regardless of their substantive actions and that we would instead live up to our core constitutional commitments and creed and find the right balance between respecting constitutional liberties, welcoming all americans of whatever background and finding a bipartisan path forward that
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will generally keep americans safe. thank you. >> thank you, senator. i want to thank each of the witnesses for coming and participating in what i believe was a very important hearing. i'm going to briefly make three closing observations. the first several of my colleagues on the democratic side of the aisle made invocations of the ku klux klan and drew the analogy of blaming the klan on christians to addressing directly and candidly the threat of jihadism and radical islamic terrorism. i would hope all of us on both sides of the aisle could agree that the ku klux klan is bigoted and evil and has no place in civilized society and i would note the suggestion that that could somehow be extended to the christian faith. dr. martin luther king and many of the civil rights pioneers
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were christian ministers, reverend king, and indeed one of the most powerful pans to justice ever written, a letter from the birmingham jail, begins, my dear fellow clergyman. no faith, whether christian or jewish or muslim or any other, has the right to murder others because they do not share that faith. and we should speak candidly and vigorously against anyone advocating for the murder of innocence because of religious hatred and intolerance. a second observation that is disappointing after hearing a testimony that included mr. haney's testimony that some 876 documents were edited or deleted as a result of a purge, it saddens me that not a single one of my colleagues from the democratic side of the aisle asked even a single skeptical
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question about that purge, the purge that resulted in deleting the word jihad, dropping it from 126 in the 9/11 report to zero in report after report after report that apparently the orwellian censorship of law enforcement materials and intelligence materials is not a concern to my colleagues. i would note the senate has a long history of holding the executive accountable regardless of party and at a time when we're facing a global war on terror, i hope that my colleagues on the democratic side of the aisle will express real concern about a censorship and editing of law enforcement materials and the final observation, several times it has been suggested in a nod towards presidential politics and i understand the lure of senators to inject themselves in presidential politics a few months before a general election
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may be irresistible, and i wouldn't know anything about that. but yet not a single one of my democratic colleagues asked questions or expressed concerns as to why over and over and over again the administration has failed to respond to red flags, failed to respond to real significant evidence of radical islamic terrorism before these terror attacks was carried out. and has failed to connect the dots. law enforcement can't be perfect. we shouldn't hold them to that standard. but it is the obligation of the senate to hold them in account when over and over and over again from little rock to ft. worth to ft. hood to orlando, red flags are there the signs are there, and yet the administration doesn't connect the dots and act to prevent those acts of terrorism. it saddens me that not a single question from the democratic
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side of the aisle focus ed on why didn't we do more to protect, prevent these acts of terrorism before they happened. this isn't a question of semantics, this is a question of whether the administration is willing to acknowledge what the threat is and willing to act to prevent acts of murder and terrorism before they occur. with that, i want to once again thank each of the witnesses for being here. we will keep this hearing record open for an additional five business days which means the record will be closed at the end of business on thursday, july 7th, 2016. and with that, this hearing is adjourned. we will transition to live coverage now on capitol hill of the house judiciary committee as members are preparing to hear from attorney general loretta lynch today. she's expected to talk about the recent fbi investigation into
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hillary clinton's e-mails, also possibly respond to questions about a recent plane ride with former president bill clinton among other items. live coverage here on c-span3. we expect to hear from the attorney general in just a moment.
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good morning. the judiciary committee will come to order and without objection the chair is authorized to declare recesses. the committee at any time. we welcome everyone to this morning's hearing, an oversight of the department of justice and i will begin by recognizing myself for an opening statement. welcome, general lynch, to your
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second appearance before the house judiciary committee, the flags over the capital are flying at half-mast in recognition of the five dallas police officers murdered in cold blood last week. this was not an arrest gone wrong. the person who carried out this appalling act of terror and hate stopped and murdered five police officers and injured seven others and two civilians ostensibly in retaliation for recent police shootings including the tragic and fatal shootings in minnesota and louisiana last week. we mourn all those tragedies. the divisiveness between our police and communities must end. and i ask that we observe a moment of silence for all those who have lost their lives in these tragedies. thank you. we must not give into hate and
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let emotion replace reason. we must bridge the divide that separates us and embrace one another as americans. we must have faith that the institutions that have sustained our republic for the last 240 years will deliver fair, impartial justice to victims of crime and punish the guilty. i look forward to your thoughts on this important matter. the american people also expect government officials to abide by the law, just like everyone else. and to be reprimanded when they break the law. that is not the case for former secretary of state hillary clinton. last week fbi director james comey announced that he would not recommend criminal charges against secretary clinton for her use of a private e-mail server while at the state department and the mishandling of classified information. the timing of and circumstances surrounding this announcement are particularly troubling. on monday, june 27, attorney
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general lynch, you met privately with former president bill clinton aboard your plane on the tarmac of the phoenix airport, despite the fact that his wife was a target of an ongoing criminal investigation. this encounter is even more troubling if the fbi is also investigating improper donations to the clinton foundation, which was founded by former president clinton, a member of the foundation's board of directors. five days later, the fbi held its first and only interview with secretary clinton after a year long investigation. three days later, and on the first day back from a holiday weekend, director comey publicly announced that he was not recommending charges against secretary clinton. a mere 24 hours later, attorney general lynch, you issued a press release announcing that no charges would be brought against secretary clinton. while director comey may have
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refused to criminally indict hillary clinton, his public pronouncement and subsequent congressional testimony is nonetheless a public indictment of her conduct and character. though director comey declined to recommend charges, he laid out sufficient facts to warrant a referral to the justice department, that forces one to confront the question of whether someone who was not in secretary clinton's position would have fared as well with the fbi as she did. secretary clinton stated repeatedly that no classified information was contained within her private e-mail system. this is not true. the fbi found 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains containing classified information at the time they were sent or received. secretary clinton stated repeatedly that no information in her e-mails was marked classified. this is not true. the fbi found that some of these e-mails were marked classified. secretary clinton said all
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relevant e-mails were returned to the state department. this is not true. the fbi found thousands of work related e-mails that were not returned. but all of this evidence according to director comey amounted only to, quote, extreme carelessness by secretary clinton and her staff. and although the director admitted that there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, he went so far as to publicly declare that, quote, no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. this defies logic and the law. contrary to director comey's assertions, the law does not require evidence that a person intended to harm the united states in order to be criminally liable for the mishandling of classified information. to be sure, congress has set forth a variety of statutes on this subject with different intent requirements and penalties. where a rank and file federal
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employee to do what secretary clinton did, they would face severe punishment including termination, revocation of security clearances, or criminal prosecution. even director comey acknowledged this fact at a recent congressional hearing. but secretary clinton is not facing prosecution for her actions. this has now become an issue for congress in that it appears secretary clinton testified falsely when appearing under oath before the select committee on benghazi. yesterday i and oversight and government reform chairman chaffetz asked the united states attorney for the district of columbia to investigate the testimony before congress. secretary clinton's extreme carelessness possibly jeopardized the safety and security of our citizens and nation. her extreme carelessness suggest she's cannot be trusted with the nation's most sensitive secrets if she is nevertheless elected president.
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frankly, the fbi's conclusion leaves many more questions than answers. and we hope, madam attorney general, to get answers to those questions today. thank you and it is now my pleasure to recognize the ranking member of the committee, the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers, for his opening statement. >> thank you, chairman. and welcome madam attorney general for being with us today. the news of the past few days have been full of questions about violence, civil rights, and the safety of our police officers. i want you to know that we take seriously the burden of each of these questions on your office. it will not have escaped your attention that we're in the middle of an election season. you may also know that there are just three working days left until we break for the summer
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and really not much more time after that until the congress ends. elections are about choices. a short working schedule is about setting priorities. as you are no doubt aware, we're one of this committee's top legislative priorities is criminal justice reform. we have already found consensus on a range of such issues including sentencing, prison, and asset forfeiture reform. the chairman of this committee and i also stand on the precipice of an agreement on policing reform legislation. given the events of the past week, the need for this measure has never been more urgent. questions about the use of lethal force by police are not new.
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but the nation is newly engaged in the issue after ferguson, staten island, cleveland, north charleston and baltimore. over the past week, we saw the same sad themes play out in baton rouge and minnesota as well as the horrific killing of five police officers in dallas. i believe it is more critical than ever that we reach a final agreement on police accountability and standards. at the time when african-americans are 30% more likely than whites to be pulled over after -- over while driving, more than three times more likely to have their car searched, and more than twice as likely to be shot by police, it is imperative we restore public
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faith in our criminal justice system. we must finish this work for both the communities that feel so much anguish this week and for the officers who patrol our streets every day. it is my sincere hope we consider this matter before we adjourn. unfortunately there are many other areas where we have not been able to advance bipartisan initiatives. i'd like to tell you that we are prepared to have a substantive discussion about the manner in which we will restore section 5 of the voting rights act. the preclearance mechanism was used for decades by your department to restore a sense of fairness and jurisdictions that have known prejudice for
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generations. since it was struck down, we have seen at least 17 states enact measures designed to restrict access to the ballot box. bipartisan legislation has been introduced that would have restored this vital tool long before voting began this year. but mr. sensenbrenner of wisconsin's legislation sits untouched. i would also like to tell you that we are prepared to address the scourge of gun violence in this country. the events last week in baton rouge and minnesota and dallas and the anger and sadness felt in communities across the nation are what one commentator aptly called the horrific predictable
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result of a widely armed citizenry. this epidemic claims nearly 33,000 individuals every year. it affects our churches, our schools, our homes. it places our police officers into the direct line of fire. it makes our citizens afraid. but we have not held a single hearing on this topic. not when 26 children and teachers were murdered at sandy hook. not when our colleague was shot in phoenix. and not when the body count reached 49 in orlando. last month every democratic member of this committee wrote to our chairman goodlatte with a list of specific policy proposals to address this
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violence and to date i'm sorry to say we have received no response. i would also like to tell you, madam attorney general, that we have an answer for the millions of undocumented immigrants who came here in search of a better life, but who are forced to live in the shadows. some of us have put a great deal of effort into antagonizing and vilifying that community. but this committee has offered very few solutions acknowledging that these families are here to stay. but elections are about choices, madam attorney general. there are only three working days, some count it less, left this month and then we adjourn for seven weeks. how will my colleagues on the other side of the aisle choose to fill that time.
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today, apparently, secretary hillary clinton's e-mail takes precedence over gun violence and civil rights. let us be clear, the criminal investigation is closed. there was no intentional wrongdoing. director comey, whose reputation for independence and integrity is unquestioned, has explained his reasoning in great detail. if any of my colleagues are not yet convinced, it is because they do not want to be convinced and in their zeal to call secretary clinton a liar or maybe even a criminal, despite the facts and despite the law, i fear we will have missed an opportunity to engage with you
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on more worthy subjects. we may also spend time today talking about the alleged wrongdoings of commissioner koskinen of the internal revenue service. some of my colleagues want to use one of the remaining working days before the break to move his impeachment directly to the house floor. i hope they do not. in many ways, this gesture is totally meaningless. there is bipartisan consensus that the commissioner's critics have not proved their case and there is virtually no chance of a conviction in the senate. but i believe that the rush to impeachment, though ineffectual, would set a dangerous precedent for the congress and the american people. once we cross this line, we
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write a new rule. whatever the merits of the charges the house may impeach an official without due process. without the right to counsel, without the right to present evidence to this committee. and without the right question, the evidence presented against him. elections are about choices. and here is the choice we face as the clock runs down on the 114th congress. we can spend a few days that remain on conspiracy theories, and political sniping, but does little for our constituents but drive them further apart from their neighbors, or we can attempt to solve even one of the long list of problems facing this country today. we should choose to do work. the work we were sent here to do or the public is right to choose
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somebody else to do it. and so i look forward to our conversation today, madam attorney general lynch. i thank the chairman and i yield back. thank you. >> thank you, mr. conyers. without objection, all the members opening statements will be made part of the record. we welcome our distinguished witness today and general lynch, if you with please rise, i'll begin by swearing you in. do you swear that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? >> i do. >> thank you. let the record reflect the witness has responded in the affirmative. attorney general loretta lynch was sworn in as the 83rd attorney general of the united states on april 27, 2015. miss lynch began her career in public service by joining the united states attorney's office for the eastern district of new
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york. after nine years, miss lynch was appointed by president bill clinton to lead that office as united states attorney, a post she held until 2001. miss lynch then worked in private practice until 2010, when president obama asked her to resume leadership of the united states attorney's office in brooklyn. miss lynch is a graduate of harvard college and harvard law school. general lynch, welcome. your entire testimony will be made part of the record and we ask that you summarize your testimony in five minutes. thank you, and you may begin. >> thank you, sir. good morning, chairman goodlatte, ranking member conyers and distinguished members of this committee. i'm grateful for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss how we can continue working together to ensure the security of our nation and the strength of our communities and the safety of our people. now, as we gather here this morning, i know that we are all
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thinking of the two bailiffs who were killed and the sheriff's deputy who was wounded in a shooting in a court who house in michigan yesterday. the department of justice stands ready to provide whatever help we can to state and local authorities as they investigate this heinous crime and our sincerest condolences with the friends, the colleagues, and the loved ones of the devoted public servants that we lost. now, of course, this incident follows on the heels of a series of devastating events that rocked our nation last week. the tragic deaths of alton sterling in louisiana and philando castile and the deplorable murder of five police officers, lorne ahrens, michael krol, michael smith, brent thompson and patrick zamarripa who were protecting a peaceful protest, along with several of their comrades who were wounded. the department of justice including the fbi, atf, the u.s.
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marshals service and our u.s. attorneys office in the northern district of texas is working closely with our state and local counterparts and we will offer any assistance that we can as the investigation in dallas unfolds. and among other resources we will send assistance to the victims and to their families. our hearts are literally broken for the families and loved ones of those we lost in these tragic events and our gratitude goes out to the brave men and women who wear the badge who carry our safety on their shoulders and who risk their lives every day to keep us safe. now, as we grapple with the aftermath of these events, the department of justice will continue to do everything in our power to build the bonds of trust and cooperation between law enforcement and the communities that we serve. that work has never been more difficult, nor more important. we will continue to offer our state and local partners funding, training, technical
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assistance, for critical programs as well as for assets like body worn cameras, de-escalation training. in the last month, we announced that we would begin providing implicit bias training to federal law enforcement agents and prosecutors. we will continue to promote the recommendations of the president's task force on 21st century policing, through training and technical assistance. our civil rights division plays a critical role in ensuring constitutional policing and accountability and in rebuilding trust where trust has eroded. and through our office of justice programs and office of community oriented policing services. we will continue to give local departments the tools they need and the training they require to come home safely. from funds for bulletproof vests to training in officer health, safety and wellness. now, at the same time that we are working to support police
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and citizens in their efforts to build stronger and more united communities, we remain committed to keeping those communities safe and secure. just one month ago today, 49 innocent lives were taken in an attack on the pulse nightclub in orlando. and an appalling act of terror and of hate that underscored the urgency of confronting threats to our nation wherever they emerge and whatever form they take. there is no responsibility that this department takes more seriously. we're moving aggressively against those who seek to receive training from or are inspired by foreign violent extremist groups and we have arrested more than 90 individuals since 2013 for conduct related to foreign fighter activity and home grown violent extremism. and we are working closely with our counterparts abroad to pursue terrorists and investigate attacks around the world. as the recent incidents in turkey, bangladesh, iraq and
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saudi arabia have reminded us, terror knows no borders. in the face of violent extremism, we must stand with our global partners in unity, in readiness, and in resolve. now, i want to close with a comment about the investigation of secretary clinton's use of a personal e-mail server during her time as secretary of state. as you are aware, last week i met with director comey and career prosecutors and agents who conducted that investigation. i received and accepted their unanimous recommendation that the thorough year long investigation be closed and that no charges be brought against any individuals within the scope of the investigation. and while i understand that this investigation has generated significant public interest as attorney general it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on the underlying facts of the investigation or the legal basis for the team's recommendation. but i can tell you that i am extremely proud of the tremendous work of the dedicated
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prosecutors and agents on this matter. thank you for this opportunity to make this opening statement. >> thank you, general lynch. we'll now proceed under the five minute rule with questions for the witnesses and i'll begin by recognizing myself. before being confirmed as attorney general in may of last year, you were first nominated by president obama to serve as united states attorney for the eastern district of new york and you were originally appointed to the u.s. attorney post in 1999 by former president bill clinton. the existence of secretary clinton's private e-mail server was first brought to light in march of last year, one month before your confirmation as attorney general. a few months after your confirmation, the inspectors general of state and national intelligence requested the department of justice investigate whether classified information was stored on her private e-mail servers. the fbi then opened an investigation to the matter. given that she was a political
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appointee of your current boss and more importantly the wife of your previous boss, why did you not see fit to recuse yourself from the investigation? wouldn't recusal or appointment of a special prosecutor have removed any appearance of impropriety given your service during bill clinton's presidency? >> thank you for the question, mr. chairman. as i said on several occasions before, when the referral came into the department of justice, it was received and referred to experienced, dedicated career agents and prosecutors who handle matters of this type every day with independence, with efficiency, with thoroughness. and the matter was handled like any other matter. it was reviewed through the chain, by those independent career agents and prosecutors. and in considering the matter, there was no connection, there was no need for recusal or an independent prosecutor. as i indicated before, i'm incredibly proud of the dedicated work they did over the past year. >> let me follow up on that
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then. two weeks ago, roughly a year into the fbi's investigation and a mere week before director comey's announcement, you met privately with your former boss, former president bill clinton, on your plane at the phoenix airport. why was this meeting particularly in light of your previous appointment by president clinton not grounds for recusing yourself? >> with respect to my conversation that i had with former president clinton, in phoenix, it was a conversation that was held on the airplane, on the tarmac, the former president indicated he wanted to say hello and i agreed to say hello. and we had a social conversation. nothing of any relationship to the e-mail investigation was discussed, nor were any specific cases or matters before the department of justice discussed. >> we'll have follow-up questions to that later, but let me turn your attention to director comey's conclusions on a variety of points. secretary clinton stated she
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never sent or received information marked as classified on her server. director comey stated that was not true. do you agree with director comey? >> director comey has chosen to provide great detail into the basis for his recommendations that were ultimately provided to me. he's chosen to provide detailed statements and i would refer you to those statements. i as attorney general am not able to provide any further comment on the facts or the substance of the investigation. >> well, general lynch, i think you would agree that the ultimate responsibility for a prosecutorial decision does not rest with the federal bureau of investigation, but with the department of justice, which you head. have you not taken a close look at the work done by director comey, especially given the extreme national interest in this issue to make a determination yourself whether you and those working for you agree or disagree with director comey? >> as i indicated, i received the recommendation of the team and that team was composed of
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prosecutors and agents, was a unanimous recommendation as to how to resolve the investigation and the information they received -- >> do you agree with the conclusion? >> i accepted the recommendation. i saw no reason not to accept it. and, again, i reiterate my pride and faith in their work. >> secretary clinton stated she did not e-mail any classified material and director comey stated there was classified material e-mailed. do you agree with his conclusion about that? >> i would have to refer you to his statements for the basis for his recommendation. >> director comey stated there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information. do you agree with director comey's statement? >> again, i would refer you to director comey for any further explanation as to the basis for his recommendations. the recommendation that i received from the team including director comey was the investigation be resolved without charges. >> but director comey made a recommendation but made a recommendation to the department
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of justice which you head, and you would have to come to the final conclusion on whether or not to act. i would presume that before you acted you would look at his conclusions and determine whether you agreed with them or not. >> as i indicated, i received a briefing from the team, which included not just the prosecutors but the agents and director comey, their unanimous recommendation was that the matter be resolved in the way in which we announced and i accepted that recommendation. >> let me ask you one final question that does not regard the specific facts with regard to secretary clinton, but director comey said there was not clear evidence that secretary clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information. my question for you is is intent to violate the law a requirement under 18 u.s. c section 793-f? >> well, congressman, i think the statutes that were considered here speak for themselves. to answer further would require
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a discussion of the facts and the analysis of this matter, which as i indicated i'm not in a position to provide at this time. again, i refer you to director comey's discussion for that, as i indicated the team reviewed this matter, and it was a unanimous team decision. >> and you made a decision following their recommendation to you that you are not going to prosecute and the matter was closed, correct? >> i made the decision some time ago i would accept the recommendation of the team and was awaiting that recommendation. when i received it, there was no basis not to accept it and, again, i reiterate my pride and faith in them. >> thank you, i appreciate your faith in them. the concern here is regard to your sworn oath to uphold the united states constitution and the laws there under including 18 u.s. c. and to conclude that no prosecution would take place without examining and drawing conclusions regarding the
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questions i just asked does not seem to be a responsible way to uphold your constitutionally sworn oath. at this time, i would recognize the ranking member of the committee, the gentleman from michigan, mr. conyers, for his questions. >> thank you. thank you for being here again. and attorney general. and thank you very much for your frank and candid discussion with us that is now taking place. i am looking for answers and views of some events that i'm going to string together and ask you to discuss as far as you can in an appropriate manner.
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baton rouge, louisiana , police shot and killed, alton sterling. video shows he was shot while being pinned to the ground by two officers. outside of minneapolis, police shot and killed philando castile at what should have been a routine traffic stop. he was armed, but reports suggest that he repeatedly told police that he had a valid permit for the weapon. and in dallas, a gunman killed five police officers and wounded seven others in what appeared to be a well planned attack. this terrible act in the middle of an otherwise peaceful protest in a city that has become a model for community engaged policing and so i think you're qualified to advise us here as
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both the chief law enforcement officer in the united states and the first african-american woman to hold that post. how can we make sense of these events during these trying times, ma'am? >> thank you, congressman, for the opportunity to speak on these issues. i believe you have truly outlined the issue of the day facing our nation. and it is my hope that as we all look at these tragic incidents that we will take the opportunity to draw closer to each other, to have the difficult conversations about race and policing in this country involving all sides. involving all issues and all points of view. i have spent the last year as attorney general touring this great country, meeting specifically on the issue of police and community relations. and i have sought out jurisdictions that have had extremely troubled
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relationships, but have in fact made the conscious decision to pull themselves back from that brink and develop a positive relationship, between the community and law enforcement. it can be done. i have seen it done. you have cited dallas as one example of a police department that through its community policing efforts crafted a strong bond with its community. so that when there is tension, there is an outlet, there is a way for discussion. i believe congressman that the key to many of the problems that we face is communication. communication and truly listening to one another. listening to individuals who feel for whatever reason separated and at a distance from the goals of this great country. individuals who feel that they do not have an opportunity to fully participate in this great democracy. as well as listening to our brave members of law enforcement who talk to me every day with great poignancy about why they joined this wonderful
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proinfection, theprofessio profession, their desire to protect, to serve, to put young people on the right path, to build a better country and build strong communities because they live in those communities. all of that must be recognized as well as the pain 6 of law enforcement who feel under attack as well by recognizing our common humanity, our common loss and our common goals we can in fact work on this difficult problem. >> thank you for your response. i would like to ask you in a friendly way how we can as a committee, what is it that we can do to address the problem. and we seek your friendly advice in that direction because we want to work together with all of the branches of government and the house judiciary committee is in a very unusually
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important position to play an important role in this. >> yes, thank you, congressman. the department of justice is actively engaged in working with both communities and law enforcement to further these discussions. and, of course, efforts in our grant-making arena are important there. and we welcome and appreciate the support of this committee and others in making sure the department's grant-making operations are fully funded. we also provide a great deal of support for law enforcement through training and technical assistance, for example, the bulletproof vest program, and our funding for body worn cameras for so many police departments. again, we thank this committee and so many members of congress who provided bipartisan support for those efforts and we would hope those efforts in funding in particular would continue. those are just a few of the examples of ways in which we hope to continue to receive support. i would also note that the issue of criminal justice reform is a
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larger canvas upon which this conversation is being writ. and certainly we support the efforts by so many on this committee and others throughout congress to push that important legislation forward. we have provided assistance in terms of many of the details that have been raised in the context of that legislation. i know this committee in particular has spent so much time and effort on that. and we appreciate that. and all of the issues that have been raised. and that is an important way towards dealing with making our criminal justice system more effective, more efficient, and more fair. that in and of itself will go a long way towards restoring faith and trust in the overall criminal justice system, which is also a problem often raised to my attention during my travels. so the department looks forward to continuing to support those important efforts. >> i'm so pleased that you would be with us today. and i hope that we can continue this communication because it is
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very important for all of the citizens in our nation. and i thank the chair. >> thank you, mr. conyers. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. sensenbrenner, for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and thank you, general lynch, for being with us today. you are in charge of the department of justice. the buck stops with you. and i am concerned that you keep on saying that you have deferred the authority that by law is yours to director comey. let me give an example. mr. comey has said that secretary clinton was extremely careless in her handling of highly classified and very sensitive information. now, the criminal statute uses the word gross negligence. and i can't, for the life of me, figure out what the difference between gross negligence and extremely careless is unless one really wants to parse some
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words. secondly, the misdemeanor statute does not require intent. it is a strict liability statute and relates to the removal and retention of classified information. so it doesn't matter whether secretary clinton had the intent to do that or not, the fact is that the fbi said that she did it. now, i think that what the director comey has said is that secretary clinton's actions essentially meet the definition for prosecution under the statute. why did you defer to director comey when the responsibility is yours? >> thank you, mr. -- thank you, congressman, for the question. let me be clear that my decision was to accept the recommendation of the team of agents and investigators who worked on this. and these are the career attorneys and as well as the dedicated investigators and including the fbi director who
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worked on this matter for over a year. they reviewed the facts. they followed the facts. they looked at the law. they applied the facts to that law. and came up with a unanimous recommendation, a joint recommendation in effect that was provided to me. >> i have a limited amount of time. the fact is is that whether it is extremely careless, or gross negligence, and a strict liability statute, i think that the language of the statute is clear. now, i noted that the justice department over the last several years has prosecuted several servicemen for doing the exact same thing that secretary clinton did, and in one case, actually reached a judgment of a court that prohibited that servicemen from ever having a security classification again. now, you'll have a problem,
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madam attorney general, that people think that there is a different standard between the servicemen and secretary clinton and the fact that the language is almost synonymous, if not synonymous, saying no prosecution of secretary clinton and prosecution and conviction of the servicemen. you have a burden, i think, to convince to the american public that you don't have a double standard. you're not meeting the burden, how do you plan to change the argument that you make to the american public so that they can be convinced that the thing was correct and that you made the right decision rather than simply deferring to people in the fbi and prosecutors. >> congressman, every case stands on its own separate facts and application of those facts to the law so you have to refer to the specific facts of the other matters that you're referring to. with respect to the investigation into the former secretary's handling of
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classified information, private e-mail system, again, i tell you, i can tell you and the entire committee and the american people that all of the relevant facts were considered, reviewed by the entire team which, again, is composed of career independent investigators as well as lawyers and their recommendation of full and thorough analysis that was the matter be resolved in the way it was recommended to me. as i've candidated, i am determined to accept the recommendation and did accept that recommendation. >> one final question, one of the service people who was prosecuted basically sent an e-mail out that his fellow marines were in danger. he ended up getting prosecuted for warning his fellow marines that their lives may be in danger. now here in the case of mrs.
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clinton, the private e-mail i rangement was simply to avoid public scrutiny. so in terms of the intent of major jason bressler and secretary clinton. he was doing it to save his colleagues. the other secretary clinton was to avoid transparency. in terms of the bottom line, that's the hoop that you have to jump through in order to retain and regain your credibility with the american public. i hope that you'll be able to do that. i yield back. >> chair, thanks, jegentleman. recognizes the gentleman from new york, mr. nadler, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, miss lynch for appearing here today and your services, attorney general. i'm sure many of my republican colleagues will spend their time
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discussing the e-mails and focus instead on more important issues facing this country. we're sickened by the killings of alton sterling in baton rouge and fill lane droe castillo. he was the 123rd african-american to be killed by law enforcement this year. it's no excuse for last week's vicious murders of five police officers in dallas. the knowledge that mr. sterling and mr. castile's death come on a long list of senseless killing of young black, men, women, and children. black lives matter is not a hashtag it's an imperative. i appreciate the work that you are doing in your department is doing in this regard. i hope you'll keep us informed on that. i want to go to a different matter remitted, unfortunately, exactly one month ago today the lone gunman killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 others in
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lgbt nightclub in orlando. mass shootings are now an all too common occurrence in this country. in 2016 there were 229 mass shootings defined as shootings in which at least four people are shot. as you know, every day on average nearly 300 americans are shot in murders or suicides, suicide attempts, or police actions. 48 are children and teens. this is a distinctly american problem. more than 33,000 americans lose their lives to gun violence each year. in the united kingdom, in 2011, 146 deaths to gun violence. denmark, 71, portugal 142, japan just 30. the united states 33,000. you cannot tell me, no one can tell me, that the american people are a thousand times more mentally ill than people in these other countries. the recent study of the american journal of medicine found that
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compared to 22 high income countries, the murder rate in the united states is 25 times higher. we have held exact -- this is an epidemic of gun violence. how has the majority of congress responded about lowest learner's e-mails. we have held zero earnings on gun violence. we have done nothing to require universal background checks. we continue to allow military-style assault weapons in our streets. we have not even prevented those on the no fly list from purchasing guns. i was proud to join john lewis and the entire caucus in protesting the abby indication of the issue. now, miss lynch, what does the assassination of five dallas police officers last week tell us about the nra's favorited a damage, the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with the gun. the police officers, after all are, a armed.
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>> what do you think of the statement that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. is that true? does it work? >> i think the issue, as usual, doesn't really lend itself well to after riches and short statements. and it's my hope that the work of many on this committee and indeed throughout congress in having the discussion that -- has begun on the issue will continue so we can, in fact, continue to work on the serious issues of access to firearms in our society. earlier this year, i did make several recommendations to the white house, which were accepted for important ways for dealing with this issue ranging from clarifying guidance on those who are engaged in the business and
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therefore must provide background checks for purchasers ranging from clarifying resumes on acquisitions of certain types of firearms and by those in certain business capacities such as trust. but also, as part of that a very important part of that was a quest for additional funding for atf for more resources to with the information and the issues arising out of gun violence as well as funding for hhs to deal with the issues of mental health that place so many americans in jeopardy. >> the loophole in federal law allows the transfer of firearm to anybody after three business days within even if a background check is not complete. last year the fbi concluded the suspect in the shooting in charleston was able to purchase a gun through this loophole. should that policy change? should we hold a transfer of firearms until the background check has been completed? >> congressman, in order to change that rule, it would require congressional action. the three-day waiting period is
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part of congressional action. that's already been voted on by congress. certainly it is a fact that with the rise in purchases and the increased use on the background system there is ever more use of that system. we're working to improve the system to make it as efficient as possible. we've expanded the number of personnel working on those background checks. we're working, also, to improve the automated portion of the nix system so the dealers who go through the system will be able to get information more quickly and be able to respond either by proceeding or denying a sale, or in other ways as appropriate. so we're working within the system as it is currently structured. in order to change that, it would require congressional action. >> thank you. my time is expiring. i want to briefly mention one more issue. we've been following the department's review of the consent decree. there are reports that the department is not recommending any changes to the consent
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degrees but moving forward with an interpretation of the decrees requiring the options to license 100% basis instead of the current -- in conflict with the formal opinion of the u.s. register of copy rights. i heard from numerous song writers greatly concerned about the destruction it will cause to the industry. several parties involved raised a host of other issues related to the consent decree. can you qualify for the status and the process moving forward. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the witness will be permitted to bre briefly answer the question. >> the anti-trust division is engaged in a review which dates to 1941. it has been utilized in public comment system. after going through an initial round and receiving public comments and other round of public comments was also opened. those comments are still being reviewed. stakeholders are being consulted with, and it's my understanding that the anti-trust division
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will be wrapping up this matter shortly. and we'll be making public its finding and make sure they're made available to congress. i believe they would be in any event provided to you, but we'll make sure they are provided to you. >> thank you very much. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam attorney general, i think the thing that i find so disheartening, so unfortunate about fbi direct eor comey's decision not to recommend criminal charges against former secretary of state hillary clinton last week was it for a lot of americans it looked like we're seeing a double standard here. unequally treatment under the law. under the facts of the case as laid out by director comey, virtually anybody else, i think, most americans think including myself there would have been charges brought for a crime against virtually anybody else in this country. but the politically connected
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hillary clinton, well, we won't charge her. look what comey laid out. that's been laid out to some degree, but it warrants doing it again. he found that despite the fact that hillary claimed she never sent or received classified information over a private e-mail. she actually sent 110 of them. over a hundred of them and eight of those were determined to have been top secret at the time they were sent. now i assume that based upon the way you answered some of my colleague's questions prior to this you're not going to acknowledge what i think virtually every other american believes. even her supporters. that's at least acknowledge as director comey did is that she lied. would you respond? >> with respect to the director's statements, as i indicated. he's provided unprecedented


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