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James Comey
  FBI Director Says Hes Investigating Any Links Between Trump Campaign and...  CSPAN  March 20, 2017 10:03am-3:24pm EDT

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the committee will come to order. i would like to welcome our witnesses, director of the fbi, jim comey, and director of the national security agency, mike rogers. thank you, both, for being here today. before we begin, i would like to remind our members and witnesses this is an open hearing. i recognize the challenge of discussing sensitive national security issues in public, however as part of this committee's investigation into russian active measures during the 2016 election, it is critical to ensure that the public has access to credible, unclassified fts and t clear the air regarding unsubstantiated media reports. to our guests in the audience, welcome. we appreciate you being here. i also expect that the proper decorum will be observed at all times today and disruptions during today's proceedings will not be tolerated. i now will recognize myself for five minutes for the purpose of an opening statement.
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the putin regime has a long history of aggressive actions against other countries including the outright invasion of two of its neighbors in recent years as well as its brutal military action in syria to defend the assad regime. but its hostile acts take many forms aside from direct military assaults. for example, the kremlin has a disinformation campaign through the rt propaganda network, which traskdz traffics in anti-american conspiracy theories. russia also has a long history of meddling in other countries election systems and launching cyberattacks on a wide range of countries and industries. the baltics and other russian neighbors have long decried these attacks. but their warnings went unheeded in far too many nations' capitals including our own. the fact that russia hacked u.s.
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databases comes as no shock to this committee. we have been closely monitoring russia's aggression for years, a year ago i publicly stated that our inability to predict putin's regime plans and intentions has been the biggest intelligence failure we have seen since 9/11, and that remains my view today. however, while the indications of russian measures targeting the u.s. presidential election are deeply troubling, one benefit is already clear, it is focused wide attention on the pressing threats posed by the russian autocrat. in recent year, committee members issued repeated and forceful pleas for stronger action against russian belith rans, but the obama administration was committed to the notion against all evidence that we could reset relations with putin. and it routinely ignored our warnings. i hope today's hearing will shed light on three important focus points of the committee's investigation on russia active measures. first, what actions did russia
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undertake against the united states during the 2016 election campaign? and did anyone from political campaign -- a political campaign conspire in the activities? number two, were the communications of officials or associates of any campaign subject to any kind of improper surveillance? the intelligence community has extremely strict procedures for handling information pertaining to any u.s. citizens who are subject even to incidental surveillance and this committee wants to ensure all surveillance activities have followed all relevant laws, rules and regulations. let me be clear, i've been saying this for several weeks, we know there was not a physical wiretap of trump tower. however, it is still possible that other surveillance activities were used against president trump and his associates. number three, who has leaked classified information? numerous current and former officials have leaked reportedly classified information in connection to these questions.
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we aim to determine who has leaked or facilitated leaks of classified information so that these individuals can be brought to justice. i hope that this committee's bipartisan investigation will result in a definitive report on the russian actions taken during the election campaign. to that end, we encourage anyone who has information about these topics to come forward and speak to the house intelligence committee. i again thank the witnesses for helping shed light on these issues and i will recognize ranking member schiff, he's asked for 15 minutes for his opening statement, so i will go ahead and give him 15 minutes for his opening statement. mr. schiff. >> mr. chairman, i thank you and i also want to thank director comey and admiral rogers for appearing before us today as we hold the first hearing. last summer at the height of a bitterly contested and hugely consequential presidential campaign, a foreign adversarial power intervened in an effort to
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weaken our democracy and to influence the outcome for one candidate and against the other. that foreign adversary was, of course, russia. and it acted through its intelligence agencies and upon the direct instructions of its autocratic ruler vladimir putin in order to help donald j. trump become the 45th president of the united states. the russian active measures campaign may have begun as early as 2015 when russian intelligence services launched a series of spear fishing attacks designed to penetrate the computers of a broad array of washington-based democratic and republican party organizations, think tanks and other entities. this continued lease through the winter of 2016. while first the hacking may have been intended solely for the collection of foreign intelligence, in mid-2016, the rugs weaponized the stolen data and used platforms established by the intel services such as dc leaks and existing third party channels like wikileaks to dump the documents.
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the stolen documents were almost uniformly damaging to the candidate putin despised, hillary clinton. and by forcing her campaign to constantly respond to the daily drip of disclosures, releases greatly benefited donald trump's campaign. none of these facts is seriously it in question. and they're reflected in the consensus conclusion of our intelligence agencies. we'll never know whether the russian intervention was determinative in such a close election. indeed, it is unknowable and in a campaign in which so many small changes could have dictated a different result. more importantly, and for the purposes of our investigaon it simply does not matter. what does matter is this, the russians successfully meddled in our democracy and our intelligence agencies have concluded they will do so again. ours is not the first democracy to be attacked by the russians in this way. russian intelligence has been interfering in the internal and political affairs of european
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and other allies for decades. what is striking is the degree to which the russians were willing to undertake an audacious and risky action against the most powerful nation on earth. that ought to be a warning to us that if we thought the russians would not dare to so blatantly interfere in our affairs, we were wrong. and if we do not do our very best to understand how the russians accomplished this unprecedented attack on our democracy, then what we need to do to protect ourselves in the future we will only have ourselves to blame. we know a lot about the russian operation about the way they amplified the damage, their hacking and dumping of stolen documents was causing through the use of slick propaganda like rt, the kremlin's media arm. but there is a lot we don't know. most important we do not yet know whether the russians have the help of u.s. citizens including people associated with the trump campaign. many of the trump's campaign personnel including the president himself have ties to russia and russian interests.
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this is, of course, no crime. on the other hand, if the trump campaign or anyone associated with it aided or abetted the russians, it would not only be a serious crime, it would also represent one of most shocking betrayals of democracy in history. in europe, where the russians have a much longer history of political interference, they use a variety of techniques to undermine democracy. they employed the hack and dumping of documents and propaganda as they clearly did here. but they also used bribery, blackmail, compromising material and financial entanglement in order to secure cooperation from individual citizens of targeted countries. the issue of u.s. person involvement is only one of the important matters that the chairman and i have agreed to investigate and which is memorialized in the detailed and bipartisan scope of investigation that we have signed. we'll also examine whether the intelligence community's assessment of the russian operation is supported by the
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raw intelligence, whether the u.s. government responded properly or missed the opportunity to stop this russian attack much earlier and whether the leak of information about michael flynn or others is indicative of a systemic problem. we have also reviewed whether there is any evidence to support president trump's claim that he was wiretapped by president obama in trump tower and found no evidence whatsoever to support that slanderous accusation. and we hope that director comey can now put that matter permanently to rest. today most of my democratic colleagues will be exploring with the witnesses the potential involvement of u.s. persons in the russian attack on our democracy. it is not that we feel the other issues are less important, they are very important, but rather because this issue is least understood by the public. we realize, of course, that the witnesses may not be able to answer many of the questions in open session. they may or may not be willing to disclose even whether there
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is an investigation. but we hope to present to you directors and the public why we believe this is a matter of such gravity that it demands a thorough investigation, not only by us, as we intend to do, but by the fbi as well. let me give you a short preview of what i expect you'll be asked by our members. whether the russian active measures campaign began is nothing more than an attempt to gather intelligence or was always intended to be more than that, we do not know. and it is one of the questions we hope to answer. but we do know this, the months of july and august 2016 appear to have been pivotal. itas at this time the russians began using the information they had stolen to help donald trump and harm hillary clinton. and so the question is, why? what was happening in july, august of last year? and were u.s. persons involved? here are some of the matters drawn from public sources alone
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since that is all we can discuss in this setting that concern us and we believe should concern all americans. in early july, carter paige, someone candidate trump identified as a security adviser travels on the trump campaign. while in moscow, he give a speech critical of the united states and other western countries for what he believes is a hypocritical focus on democratization and efforts to fight corruption. according to christopher steel, a british -- former british intelligence officer, who reportedly held in high regard by u.s. intelligence, russian sources tell him that paige has also had a secret meeting with igor sechin. he is reported to be a former kgb agent and close friend of putin's. according to steel's russian sources, paige is offered brokerage fees by sechin on a deal involving a 19% share of the company according to reuters
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the sale of a 19.5% share of the company later takes place with unknown purchasers and unknown brokerage fees. also according to steel's russian sources, the campaign is offered documents damaging to hillary clinton, which the russians would publish through an outlet that gives them deniability like wikileaks. the hacked documents would be an exchange for a trump administration policy that de-emphasizes russia's invasion of ukraine, and instead focuses on criticizing nato countries for not paying their fair share. policies which, even as recently as the president's meeting last week with angela merkel, have now preciosciently come to pass. paul manafort, the trump campaign manager and someone who is long on the payroll a pro-russian ukrainian interests attends the republican party convention. carter paige, back from moscow, also attends the convention.
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according to steel, it was manafort who chose paige to serve as a go between for the trump campaign and russian interests. ambassador kislyak would later be expelled also attends the republican party convention and meets with carter paige and additional trump advisers. it was jd gourden wrdon who app the trip to moscow. sessions would later deny meeting with russian officials during his senate confirmation hearing. just prior to the convention, the republican party platform is changed, removing a section that supports the provision of lethal defensive weapons to ukraine, an action contrary to russian interests. manafort categorically denies involve by the trump campaign in altering the platform.
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but the republican party delegate who offered the language and support of providing defensive weapons to ukraine states that it was removed at the insistence of the trump campaign. later j.d. gordon admits opposing the inclusion of the provision at the time it was being debated and prior to its being removed. later in july, and after the convention, the first stolen e-mails detrimental to hillary clinton appear on wikileaks. a hacker who goes by the moniker gucifer 2 claims responsibility. it is concluded with high certainty it was the work of apt 28 and apt 29 who are known to be russian intelligence services. the u.s. intelligence community also later confirms the documents were stolen by russian intelligence and gucifer two
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acted as a front. in late july, candidate trump praises wikileaks, says he loves them and openly appeals to the russians to hack his opponent's e-mails telling them that they will be richly rewarded by the press. on august 8th, roger stone, a long time trump political adviser and self-proclaimed dirty trickster boasts in a speech he has communicated with assange, and that more documents would be coming including an october surprise. in the middle of august, he also communicates with the russian cutout gucifer two and offers a piece. then later, in august, stone does something truly remarkable. when he predicts that john podesta's personal e-mails will soon be published. trust me, he says, it will soon be podesta's time in the barrel, #cokedhiary. in the weeks that llow, stone shows a remarkable prescient.
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payload coming, he predicts, and two days later, it does. wikileaks releases the first patch of podesta e-mails. the release of john podesta 's e-mails would continue on a daily basis up until the election. on election day, in november, donald trump wins. donald trump appoints one of his high profile surrogates michael flynn to be his national security adviser. michael flynn has been paid by the kremlin's propaganda outfit rt in the past, as well as another russian entity. in z michael flynn lies about a secret conversation and the vice president unknowingly then assures the country that no such conversation ever happened. the president is informed that
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flynn has lied and pence has misled the country. the president does nothing. two weeks later the press reveals that flynn has lied and the president is is forced to fire mr. flynn. the president then praises the man who lied, mr. flynn, and castigates the press for exposing the lie. now, is it possible that the removal of the ukraine provision from the gop platform was a coincidence? is it a coincidence that jeff sessions failed to tell the senate about his meetings with the russian ambassador, not only at the convention, but a more private meeting in his office and at a time when the u.s. election was under attack by the russians? is it a coincidence that michael flynn would lie about a conversation he had with the same russian ambassador kislyak about the most pressing issue facing both countries at the time they spoke? u.s. in position of sanctions or russian hacking of our election designed to help donald trump? is it a coincidence that the russian gas company sold a 19% share after former british
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intelligence officer steel was told by russian sources that carter paige was offered fees on a deal of just that size? is it a coincidence that steel's russian sources also affirmed that russia had stolen documents hurtful to secretary clinton that it would utilize in exchange for pro russian policies that would later come to pass? is it a coincidence that roger stone predicted that john podesta would be a victim of a russian hack and have his private e-mails published and did so even before mr. podesta himself was fully aware that his private e-mails would be exposed? is it possible that all of these events and reports are completely unrelated and nothing more than an entirely unhappy coincidence? yes. it is possible. but it is also possible, maybe more than possible, that they are not coincidental, not disconnected, and not unrelated and that the russians used the
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same techniques to corrupt u.s. persons that they employed in europe and elsewhere. we simply don't know. not yet. and we owe it to the country to find out. director comey, what you see on the dais in front of you in the form of this small number of members and staff is all we have to commit to this investigation. this is it. we are not supported by hundreds or thousands of agents and investigators with offices around the world. it is just us. and our senate counterparts. in addition to this investigation, we still have our day job which involves overseeing some of the largest and most important agencies in the country, agencies which, by the way, are are tratrained by to keep secrets. i point this out for two reasons, first, because we cannot do this work alone. and nor should we. we believe these issues are so important that the fbi must devote its resources to
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investigating each of them thoughly, to do any less would be negligent and the protection of our country. we also need your full cooperation with our investigation so that we may have the benefit of what you know, and so that we may coordinate our efforts in the discharge of both our responsibilities. and second, i raise this because i believe that we would benefit from the work of an independent commission, that can devote the staff and resources to this investigation that we do not have, and that can be completely removed from any political considerations. it should not be a substitute for the work that we and the intelligence committee should and must do, but as an important complement to our efforts just as was the case after 9/11. the stakes are nothing less than the future of our democracy and liberal democracy. because we're engaged in a new war of ideas, not communism versus capitalism, but authoritarianism and democracy and representative government. and in this struggle, our adversary sees our political
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process as a legitimate field of battle. only by understanding what the russians did can we inoculate ourselves from russian interference we know is coming, only then can we protect our european allies who are enduring similar russian interference in their own elections. and finally, i want to say a word about our own committee investigation. you will undoubtedly observe in the questions and comments that our members make during today's hearing that the members of both parties share a common concern over the russian attack on our democracy, but bring a different perspective on the significance of certain issues or the quantum of evidence we have seen in the earliest stages of this investigation. this is to be expected. the question most people have is whether we can really conduct this investigation in the kind of thorough and nonpartisan manner that the seriousness of the issues merit or whether the enormous political consequences of our work will make that
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impossible. the truth is, i don't know the answer. but i do know this, if this committee can do its work properly, if we can pursue the facts wherever they lead, unafraid to compel witnesses to testify, to hear what they have to say, to learn what we will and after exhaustive work reach a common conclusion, it would be a tremendous public service and one that is very much in the national interest. so let us try. i thank you, mr. chairman, and i yield back. >> thank you, the gentleman yields back. with that, admiral rogers, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, sir. chairman nunes, ranking member schiff and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today on behalf of the men and women of the national security agency. i'm honored to appear besides my teammate director comey to discuss russia's activities and intentions regarding the 2016 u.s. election and want to assure the committee that my team is doing its best to fulfill the various requests of this
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committee to support your ongoing investigations into this subject. over the past weeks, nsa has been working closely with the committee to provide you the information that you require for your investigation and i can assure you we will continue to do so. when we last met in january, we discussed the classified version of the january intelligence community's assessment on assessing russian activities and intentions in the recent u.s. elections. today, more than two months after we issued the assessment, we stand by it as issued. there is no change in our confidence level on the assessment. of course, the specifics of this assessment needs to remain classified to protect sensitive sources and methods so today i will limit my discussion to information in the public domain, that of the publicly released intelligence community assessment. i hope you will understand that there are some issues i cannot discuss in an open session. nor will i be able to provide specifics in some areas.
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as the committee fully knows, the intelligence community has a long-standin policy of not discussing sillae targeting information in particular cases. as to do so, it would open the door to compel further disclosures and litigation or the release of classified information. all which of would be harmful to our national security. like the committee, we are also greatly concerned about leaks of classified information as they can reveal the sources and methods we employ to provide intelligence to american policymakers and war fighters and generate advantage for our nation while protecting citizens and interests and their privacy. i also want to assure the committee that we take very seriously that obligation to protect u.s. persons' privacy. so this applies to all stages of intelligence but i would like to emphasize one area in particular, the dissemination of u.s. person information. we at nsa have strict procedures in place to make sure that our
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reporting and the contents of our reporting are disseminated only to those that have strict need to know for valid purposes. which primarily means in support of the development of foreign policy and to protect national security. i do want to specifically mention that among the collection of authorities we have to target foreign actors in foreign spaces, fisa section 702 and executive order 12333 have been instrumental in our ability to produce the intelligence made available to the committee and others in gathering the facts of foreign activity in this election cycle. it would be difficult to overstate the breadth and scale of malicious cyberactivity occurring today. our adversaries including nation states have not rested in trying to penetrate government systems, steal our private industries intellectual property and make even greater strides towards the development and achievement of cyberattack capabilities. we have a hard working and
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dedicated team at nsa that works every day to generate insights on this activity and to thwart its effectiveness. but cyberdefense is a team sport, and one of nsa's strongest partners in this fo is director comey's team at the fbi. i'm glad to be able to describe here today how we are working together to help protect the nation and our allies to include providing a better understanding of russian intentions and capabilities. and in light of the assessment and findings, i welcome your investigation into overall russian activities targeting the previous u.s. elections. nsa continues to employ rigorous analytic standards, applying them in every aspect of our intelligence reporting, our analysts have consistently proven to be reliable and thorough in their technical and analytic efforts and providing our policymakers and war fighters with signet ammunition to make informed decisions to protect our nation's freedom and ensure the safety of its citizens. they are continuing to monitor for additional re flexiflection
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systems and friends and allies around the world to share that information with our ic colleagues and foreign counterparts and produce unbiased, unprejudiced and timely reporting of signet facts in their entirety. i look forward to your questions. thank you, sir. >> thank you, admiral rogers. director comey, you're recognized for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, ranking member schiff, members of the committee, thank you for including me in today's hearing. i'm honored to be here representing the people of the fbi. i hope we have shown you through our actions and our words how much we at the fbi value your oversight of our work and how much we respect your responsibility to investigate those things that are important to the american people. thank you for showing that both are being taken very seriously. as you know, our practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations. especially those investigations that involve classified matters.
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but, in usual circumstances, where it is in the public interest, it may be appropriate to do so as justice department policies recognize. this is one of those circumstances. i have been authorized by the department of justice to confirm that the fbi as part of our counterigencntelli mission is investatg t russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russia's efforts. as with any counterintelligence investigation, this will also include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed. because it is an open and ongoing investigation, and it is classified, i cannot say more
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about what we're doing and whose conduct we're examining. at the request of congressional leaders, we have taken the extraordinary step in coordination with the department of justice of briefing this congress' leaders including the leaders of this committee in a classified setting in detail about the investigation. but i can't go into those details here. i know that is extremely frustrating to some folks, but it is the way it has to be for reasons that i hope you and the american people can understand, the fbi is very careful in how we handle information about our cases, and about the people we are investigating. we are also very careful about the way we handle information that may be of interest to our foreign adversaries. both of those interests are at issue in a counterintelligence investigation. please don't draw any conclusions from the fact that i may not be able to comment on
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certain topics. i know speculating is part of human nature, but it really isn't fair to draw conclusions simply because i say that i can't comment. some folks may want to make comparisons to past instances where the department of justice and the fbi have spoken about the details of some investigations. but please keep in mind that those involve the details of completed investigations. our ability to share details with the congress and the american people is limited when those investigations are still open, which i hope makes sense. we need to protect people's privacy, we need to make sure we don't give other people clues as to where we're going, we need to make sure we don't give information to our foreign adversaries about what we know or don't know, we just cannot do our work well or fairly if we start talking about it while we're doing it. so we will try very, very hard to avoid that as we always do.
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this work is very complex, and there is no way for me to give you a timetable as to when it will be done. we approach this work in an open minded, independent way, and our expert investigators will conclude that work as quickly as they can but they will always do it well no matter how long that takes. i can promise you we will follow the facts wherever they lead. and i want to underscore something my friend mike rogers said. leaks of classified information are serious, serious federal crimes for a reason, they should be investigated and where possible prosecuted in a way that reflects that seriousness so that people understand it simply can not be tolerated. and i look forward to taking your questions. >> thank you, dirtor comey. admiral rogers, first i want to go to you. on january 6th, 2017, intelligence community assessment assessing russian
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activities and intentions in recent u.s. elections stated that the types of systems russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying. so my question as of today, admiral rogers, do you have any evidence that russia's cyberactors changed vote tallies in the state of michigan? >> no, i do not, but i would highlight we're in foreign intelligence organization, not a domestic intelligence organization, so it would be fair to say we're probably not the best organization to provide a more complete answer. >> how about the state of pennsylvania? >> no, sir. >> the state of wisconsin? >> no, sir. >> state of florida? >> no, sir. >> state of north carolina? >> no, sir. >> state of ohio? >> no, sir. >> so you have no intelligence that suggests or evidence that suggests any votes were changed? >> i have nothing generated by the national security agency, sir. >> director comey, do you have any evidence at the fbi that any votes were changed in the states that i mentioned to admiral
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rogers? >> no. >> thank you. admiral rogers, i know that there is a leak of information regarding director clapper and former secretary of defense carter were looking at relieving you of your duty. are you aware of those storys? >> i'm aware of media reporting to that. >> and those stories were leaked as soon as you had visited with president elect trump, is that correct? >> yes, sir, i was asked if i would be prepared to interview with the trump administration for a position, which i did. >> did the leak of that information at all -- at all impact your ability and your assessment that you did for the intelligence community's assessment on january 6th? >> no, sir. if i spent time in this job worrying about unsourced media reporting, i would never get any work done.
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>> thank you, admiral. director comey, i remain extremely concerned about the widespread illegal leaks that you just referenced in your testimony. just for the record, though, i want to get this on the record, does the unauthorized disclosure of classified information to the press violate 18 usc, the espionage act that criminalizes improperly act ce lly accessingg of information? >> yes. >> would an unauthorized disclosure of fisa derived information to the press violate a section of the espionage act that criminalizes the disclosure of information concerning the communication and intelligence activities of the united states? >> yes, in addition to being a breach of our trust with the fisa court that oversees our use of those authorities. >> thank you, director. at this time, i'm going to yield to mr. rooney who chairs our nsa cybercommittee for questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to direct my questions
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first and foremost to admiral rogers to convey my thanks to the many men and women for their dedication at the nsa, for keeping our country safe, as well as i want to talk about the recent media stories that may have led to confusion in the public about what the nsa is and is not legally collecting in the safeguards of the nsa has put into place to protect personal data. i would like to clarify as the chairman of the subcommittee on the nsa recently got to meet your deputy admiral last week out at the nsa and we visited and spoke to some of these things and what we can talk about here today publicly if you could go into, if you can't, you can't, but i think this is important for the people in the room and listening outside understand. is it true that the nsa would need a court order based on probable cause to conduct
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electronic surveillance on a u.s. person inside the united states? >> yes, sir. >> and just to be clear, the section of the fisa that is expiring later this year, that 702, which we'll be talking about a little bit, cannot be used to target u.s. persons or persons in the united states. is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> section 702 focuses on nine u.s. persons outside the united states primarily, correct? >> yes, sir. >> do you believe that the section 702 is important and valuable for u.s. national security? >> yes, sir. >> so it is safe to say that without having this tool, it would be a threat to our national security? >> would significantly impact my ability to generate the insights i believe this nation needs. >> in the media, there is a lot of reporting about something called incidental collection. can you talk about what incidental collection is? >> yes, sir. incidental collection is when we're targeting a valid foreign
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target, for example, in the course of that targeting we either get a reference to a u.s. person or suddenly a u.s. person appears as part of the we call incidental collecting. >> what do you do when something like that happens if there is a u.s. person part of an incidental collection, what kind of safeguards are put in place to make sure -- >> it depends specifically on the legal authority that we're using to execute the collection in the first place, but in broad terms realizing again it varies a little bit by the specific authority that we're using to conduct the collection. step back and we ask ourselves first, are we dealing with u.s. person here? is there something we didn't expect to encounter that we now encountered? we'll ask ourselves what leads us to believe it is a u.s. person, if we come to the conclusion it is a u.s. person, we ask ourselves are we listening to criminal activity, are we seeing something of imminent threat or danger, for example, or are we just
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receiving something that has nothing to do with any of our valid collection authority. we'll take a series of actions, in some case we'll purge the collect, make no reporting on it, not retain the data, it is incidental collection, no intelligence value, and it wasn't the purpose of what we were doing. in some cases then if we believe that there is intelligence value, for example, whether it is a reference to a u.s. person, as an example, in a scenario, in our reporting then we will mask the identity of the individual. we'll use a phrase like u.s. person one or u.s. person two. and i would remind everyone that for our purposes u.s. person is defined very broadly. that is not just a u.s. citizen, that is a u.s. corporation, that is a ship or aircraft that is registered in the united states, that is an internet protocol address, for example, so it is not just a particular individual if that makes sense, the term for us is much broader. it is designed to ensure our
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protections of u.s. persons. >> the procedures and protections you talked about are required and approved by the fisa court, is that correct? >> yes, sir. and the attorney general. >> and you mentioned in your opening statement that for that kind of information to be disseminated outside of your agency and the nsa, that that dissemination would be strictly on a need to know basis, is that correct? >> we use two criteria, is there a need to know in the course of the person or group that is asking for the identification, is there a valid need to know in the course of the execution, official duties. >> so who would that be? >> it could be another element in the intelligence community, another element in the nsa, a military customer, who is reading some of our reporting, it could be a policymaker. i apologize, there was one other pont i wanted to make but i lost the thread in my mind. i apologize. >> let's get back to masking
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briefly. you spoke about masking and trying to keep a u.s. persons identity concealed. and when it is disseminated, you -- we often talk about in the intelligence community about the exceptions to how -- if somebody masks, how you unmask them, what would the exceptions to that masking be before it is disseminated. >> we use two criteria, need to know on the person requesting us and execution of the second duties and is the identification necessary to truly understand the context and the intelligence value that the report is designed to generate. those are the two criteria we use. >> is that identity of a u.s. person communicating with the foreign target, is that ordinarily disseminated in a masked or unmasked form? >> no, it is normally
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disseminated if we -- if we make the decision there is intelligence value and we'll report on it, it is normally disseminated in a masked form. i would -- again, as i said, we use a reference, u.s. person one, u.s. person two, i would highlight if you look at the total breadth of our reporting, reporting involving u.s. persons at all is an incredibly small subset in my experience of our total reporting. >> who normally in the nsa would make the decision to unmask? >> there are 20 individuals including myself who i have delegated this autrity to approve unmasked requests. >> and does the level of approval change depending on the reason for unmasking? if it was something or somebody, say, really important, would that mask -- >> not necessarily designated in writing that way, but certainly by custom and tradition at times requests will be push up to -- on the senior most of the 20 individuals, requests will be pushed to my level saying, hey, we want to make sure that you're
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comfortable with us. >> so 20 people, you know, what procedures or safeguards are put in place to make sure that those 20 people are not unmasking you know wrongly? >> they retrieve specific training, specific controls put in place in terms of our ability to disseminate information out of the databases, associated with u.s. persons. >> okay. let's run through the exceptions quickly through a following hypothetical. if a target under surveillance is talking to a u.s. person, how would the nsa determine whether disseminating u.s. person information is necessary to understanding the foreign intelligence or assess its importance? >> so, first of all, we'll try to understand the nature of the conversation, is this truly something that involves intelligence or a national security implication for the united states or is this just very normal reasonable conversations in which case we have no desire to have any awareness of it, it is not applicable to our mission and i
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say in that case normally we'll purge the data. we'll ask ourselves is there criminal activity involved? is there threat potential? potential threat or harm to u.s. individuals being discussed in the conversation? for example. >> if there was criminal activity involved, what would you do then? >> if when we disseminate -- if we decide -- if there is criminal activity, we'll disseminate the information. if other activities are on the reporting stream in some cases i will also generate a signed letter under my signature in specific cases to the department of justice, highlighting what we think we have as potential criminal activity but because we're not a law enforcement or justice organization, we're not in a place to make that determination. >> okay. based on that, again, hypothetically, if the nsa obtained the communication of general flynn while he was communicating with the surveillance target, legally, would you please explain how general flynn's identity could be unmasked based on the
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exceptions that we discussed? >> sir, i'm not going to discuss even hypotheticals about individuals. i'm sorry. >> if i could make reference to a washington post article that i have here from february 9th which states, let me say what it is and i'll ask if you've read it or if you've seen it. which states national security under michael flynn privately discussed u.s. sanctions against russia with the country's ambassador to the united states during the month before president trump took office, contrary to public assertions by trump officials current and former u.s. officials said the article goes on to say that nine current or former officials who were in senior positions multiple agencies at the time of the calls spoke under the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. did you read this article? >> i apologize, sir, it is not
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an article that references nine particular individuals, doesn't necessarily ring a bell. i've certainly seen plenty of media reporting to that, but i'm not going to comment on specifics. >> just basically under the breadth of that article, when we hear that nine former current or current officials had spoken to the press under the condition of anonymity and we heard director comey and the chairman speak of this as a potential crime, serious crime, under the espionage act, assuming if this article is accurate, who would have the- w would be in a pooon t request the unmasking of general flynn's identity? would that be you? >> i would have the authority to do that. >> who else would? >> the 19 other individuals. >> would that include director comey? >> i'm talking about -- >> in the nsa alone. >> within the national security
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agency, we're talking about nsa reporting. >> but would people like director comey also be able to request that? >> yes. >> attorney general and director clapper or those type of people also on on the list? >> again, i'm not going to -- in general, yes. >> generally speak iing. >> yes, again, i won't talk about the specifics of a individual or hypothetical individuals. >> here is what i am trying to get to. if what we are talking about is a serious crime as has been alleged, in your opinion would leaking of a u.s. person who has been unmasked and disseminated by intelligence community officials, would that leaking to the press hurt or help our ability to conduct national security matters? >> hurt. >> if it hurts, so this leak which through the 702 tool which
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we all agree is vital or you and i at least agree to that, and do you think that the leak actually threatens the national security, if s if it is a crime, and if it is unveiling a masked person and this tool is so important that it could po ttentially jeopardi the tool when we have to try to reau th reauthorize it in a few months and if it is used against us to reauthorize this tool, and we can't get it done, because whoever did this leak or the nine people who did this leak create such a stir whether it be, you know, in our ledgislatie process or a whatever, and that they don't feel confident that a u.s. person under the 702 program cane masked successfully, and not leak eded the press, doesn't that hurt that leak hurt our national security? >> yes, sir. >> can you think of any reason why somebody would want to leak
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the identity of a masked person? >> no, sir. i mean, i have raised this directly with my own workforce over the course of the last few month t months to remind everyone part of the ethics of the profession and not just the legal requirement but the ethics of our profession as intelligence professionals that we do not engage in this activity and reminded the men and women of the national security agency that if i am aware of any such conduct, there is no place for you on this team, and it is unak se unaccept able to the citizens of the nation as well as the agency. >> and as we are moving forward, i think that obviously, what you are speaking of is the sacred trust that the intelligence community has with the american people, and the people who are representing them here on the dias. and if we are -- i think that it is vital for those who break that sacred trust, if they are not held accountable whether it is by the nsa internally or the fbi through conviction or
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investigation/prosecution/ conviction through the attorney general's office through that crime, it is very difficult for us to keep the sacred trust to know that what we are doing is valid and it has no nefarious motivations, and to us to be able to keep america safe without violating the constitutional protections that we all enjoy. mr. chairman, i'm not sure how much more time i have left -- >> mr. congressman, if i could make a comment, because i remember something that i wanted to say that in general, fisa collection in the united states has nothing to do with the 702 and make sure that we are not confusi confusing. 702 is collection overseas against nonu.s. persons. >> right. and what we are talking about here is incidentally if a u.s.
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person is talking to a foreign person that we are listening to whether or not that person is unmasked. >> i wanted to make sure that we understand the context that is a all. >> and whether or not somebody in the intelligence community that we put the trust in is going to be leaking that information no the press for whatever reason. i'm not even going to get into the gratuitous, you know, what that reason may be. but it is really going to hurt you all and us on the intelligence committee when we try to retain this tool, and try to convince our colleagues that this is important for the national security when somebody in the intelligence community says to hell with it, becausely release this person's name, because we will get something out of it, and we are all going to be hurt by it if we cant not reauthorize that tool? do you agree with that? >> yes, sir. >> do i have time to talk about the letter that the committee sent. the committee sent to you on march 15th, a letter, yeah, to
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admiral rogers and director c comey. have you had a chance to look at the letter? >> yes, i have given you a reply on the 17th. >> real quickly, because i don't want to take up any more time, can you give us a sense of how many unmasked person's identities were disseminated by the nsa from june 16th to june 17th? >> no, sir. we are in the process of compiling the information and until that work is done, i cannot comment. >> can you tell us if any of the disseminations involved broadly u.s. people relating to the president candidates donald j. trump or hillary clinton? >> i won't answer until i have the information. >> and the unmasked persons related to the trump or the clinton campaign, would that have bee a reason such unmasking? >> i apologize,ecause i don't
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understand the question. >> let me move on. along those lines if the nsa want wanted to disseminate unmasked u.s. person's identification, who would have approved such disseminations? >> again, it would have been one of the 20 and i provided that in the initial response and to the committee i outlined the procedures and the specific 20. >> thank you. i look forward to working with you on the subcommittee working forward. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. goudy is recognized. >> we will start this round and finish it next round. fisa and other anti-terrorism programs have been described as vital and critical to the national security, and many of us on both sides of the aisle believe that fisa and similar counterterrorism programs prevent attacks and save american lives, but fisa and
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other surveillance programs are intentionally designed to preserve the privacy of u.s. it is zens. they are intentionally designed to ensure the information is collected and used only for leg legitimate national security and criminal investigative purposes. there are statutory safeguards, and there are warrants based on the probable cause. there is a fisa court that is involved. there are audits on the back end, and we think that so highly of this material, it is a felony punishable by up to ten years in federal prison to unlawful ly disseminate it. all of this was tone -- was done to make sure that the information gathered are remains protected as it are relates to the u.s. citizens.
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the way i view it, director comey, the american people have an agreement with the government. we will give you the tools to keep us safe even if it infri e infringes upon our privacy some, we will give you the tools, and government in return promises to safeguard the privacy of u.s. citizens. and when that deal is broken, it jeopardizes american trust in the surveillance program. so let me ask you. do you agree fisa is critical to our national security? >> i do. >> do you agree programs like fisa were intentionally designed to safeguard the identity of u.s. persons? >> yes. there are other important elements of it, but that is the primary goal, i believe. >> it was not an afterthought or accident, because these are intentional safeguards that we put in place to protect the u.s. citizens, is that correct? >> correct. >> do you agree that much of what has been learned from the
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program programs is classified or otherwise legally protected? >> all fisa applications, reviewed by the court, collection by us pursuant to the fisa authority is classified. >> the dissemination of which is a felony punishable by which of 10 years up to prison. >> unauthorized. >> yes, unauthorized dissemination of classified or otherwise legally protected material is punishable as a felony and a imprisonment up to ten years and fine up to $10,000. >> yes. >> and this year, the washington post reported that according to a u.s. official, and a named u.s. citizen and i will not use the name, but u a named u.s. citizen phoned the ambassador from russia several times on december 29th. in february of this year, the washington post" reported nine,
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nine current and former officials who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the te of the call spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence mat ers and that officials began pouring over intelligence reports, intercepted communication, and diplomatic cables. in february of this year, "the new york times" reported a u.s. citizen whose namely not use, discusses sanctions with the russian ambassador in a phone call according to officials who have seen a transcript of the wiretapped conversation. again, in february of this year, the new york times reported on a phone call involving a u.s. citizen.
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including significant discussions of the phone records, intercepted calls, and intercepted communications and reported the nsa cap ur chured ca -- captured calls and then asked the fbi to collect as much information as possible. my time is up, so i will say this for this round, i thought that it was against the law to disseminate classified informati information. is it? >> oh, yes. sure. it is a serious crime. i won't comment on those particular articles, because i don't want to in any circumstance compound a criminal act by confirming that it was classified information, but in general, yes, it is a serious crime, and it should be for the reason s th reasons that you said. >> we will take it back up neblgst round, mr. chairman. >> the gentleman yields back and i yield 15 minutes to mr. schiff. >> director comey, i want to attempt to put to rest several
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claims made by the president about the predecessor, and namely that president obama wiretapped his phones so that we cabe pcise, ian to refer you to exactly what the president said, and ask you if there is any truth to it. first, the president claimed, quote, terrible. just found out that obama had my wires tapped in trump tower just before the victory. nothing found. this is mccarthyism, unquote. director comey, was the president's statement that obama had the trump tower tapped a true statement? >> with respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him from the prior administration, i have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside of the fbi. the department of justice has said that the answer is the same for department of justice and all of the components. at the department has no information that supports those tweets.
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>> the president accused mr. obama, and presumably the fbi of engaging in mccarthyism, and as you understand the term mccarthyism, do you think that president obama or the fbi was engaged in such conduct? >> i am not going to try to characterize the tweets themselves, but i will tell you that we have no information that supports them. >> were you engaged in mccart mccarthyism, director comey? >> i try not to engage in any isms of any kind, including mccarthy. >> and is it legal for a citizen to be wiretapping a person who is running for election. a new low, end quote. can you answer the president's question, it would it have been legal for president obama to have ordered a wiretap of donald trump? >> i won't characterize or respond to the tweets themselves, but in general, as admiral rogers and i were saying there is a statutory framework
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in the united states under which courts grant permission for electronic surveillance either in a criminal case or the national security case based on the showing of probable cause carefully overseeing. it is a rigorous, rigorous process involving all three branchfes of government and one that we have lived with since the late 1970s. that is how it works. no individual in the united states can direct electronic surveillance of anyone, and it has to go through the application process, and ask a judge. the judge can then make a order. >> so president obama could not unilaterally order a wiretap of anyone? >> no president could. >> mr. trump alsos asserted in the tweet that the application was turned down by a court. was there any request made by the fbi or the justice department to wiretap donald trump turned down by a court? >> that is one of the subjects
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that i can not comment on one way or another, and please don't interpret that, but i cannot respond to anything that relates to the fisa process in an open setting. >> and the third, the president said, that i bet that a good lawyer could make a case out of president obama tapping my phones just prior to the election. director comey, you are a good lawyer, a kindergarten you make a case that president obama wiretapped president trump's tower or phone? >> i don't have any evidence of that to support the tweets. >> and then you are ethical. and then how low has president obama gone to tap my phones in the sacred process, and this is nixon watergate. bad or sick guy. director comey, mr. trump has
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co compared president obama to tapping phones as another watergate. what is the gravim of the ooffense of president nixon and waterdategate and maybe some people are too young to understand what watergate was about and what is the nature of that offense? >> well, it was a kid, but i have studied it in school. the graviment of it was the abuse of power, break-ins, unlawful wiretaps, obstruction of justice, and sort of the cycle of criminal conduct. >> break-in of the democratic headquarters by republican operatives? >> that is how it began. >> and a cover-up by the president? >> yes, as i said. >> and here, i think that you said that there is no evidence of an illegal wiretap by president obama, is that true? >> i said that the fbi and the department of justice have no
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information to support those tweets. >> but there is evidence, is there not, of a break-in of the democratic headquarters by a foreign power using cyber means. >> yes, there was as the intelligence community report, the unclass report said in january, the russian intelligence services hacked into a number of enterprises in the united states including the democratic national committee. >> and an effort by the russians to cover-up the break-in of the democratic party headquarters by using cut-out us like wikileaks to publish the stolen material? >> certain ly to cover-up that they were the ones releasing it. >> director rogers, in an effort to say that there is no oefd to support the evidence that the president had wiretapped him, president spokesman sean spicer said that through the british
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gchq wiretapped president trump on behalf of president obama. would you authorize that? >> no, and nor would i, because it is against the constructs of the five i's agreements. >> and that is close partners, and britain is one of them? >> yes, sir. >> any evidence that anybody else in the obama administration made such a request? >> no, sir, my view is the same as director comey, and i have seen nothing on the nsa side that we engaged in such active the ti or anyone asked us to. >> and if you were to ask a british to spy on the u.s. citizen, that is against the law? >> yes, sir. >> and our relationship with britain is one of the closest of any foreign services, isn't that true? >> yes, sir. >> and the british allies, and they have called the president's suggestion that they wiretapped
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him for obama nonsense and utterly ridiculous, and would you agree some. >> yes, sir. >> does it do damage to the relationship with one of the closest intelligence partners for the president to make a baseless claim that the british participated in a claim against him? >> it frustrate ascii ally of ours. >> and it would not endear t h intelligence services to continue the work with us, would it? >> i believe that the relationship is strong enough that this is something that we can teal with. >> but it is not helpful. >> yes, sir. >> director rogers, the president recently met with german chancellor angela merkel, and he suggested that they both had something in common that they had both been wiretapped by president obama, and mr. comey said that the claims by the president of him being wiretapped by obama were
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unsupported by any evidence, but the claim that he made about wiretapping in reference to merkel came up in the snowden disclosures. i won't ask you if the chancellor was the subject of any eaves droppings, but did the snowden disclosures do any damage to the relationships with the german ally and if the chancellor, herself, expressed concern at the time. >> yes, sir. >> and in light of this, is it helpful to us with the chans r chancellor or the german intelligence to bring this up again in a public forum? >> it certainly complicates things, but again, i would like to think that our are relationship is such that we can continue to move forward. >> so the relationships with the british and the germans you hope are strong enough to withstand any damage by these comments? >> by anything in general, because we have foundational interests and we need to keep working together. >> all right. at this time, director comey, let me ask you a few question s
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that you may or may not be able to the answer. do you know who roger stone is? >> generally, yes. >> are you aware that he was a partner of paul manafort? >> mr. schiff, i am weary to commenting on any person, and i aware of public coun, but do iant to talk more than that. >> are you aware that he has publicly acknowledged having directly communicated with someone that the intelligence committee has said is a persona of russian intelligence. >> and i have read an account of that, but i don't want to hurt anybody's feel ings ings in the, but i am not aware if it is accurate or not. >> and if mr. stone acknowledged that mr. podesta's time in the barrel was coming in august of 2016, would that have been prior
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to the public release of stolen e-mails of mr. podesta's? >> that is correct chronology. >> do you know how mr. stone would have known that mr. podesta's e-mails were going to be released? >> that is not something that i can comment on. >> and are you aware that mr. podesta has said that he is not aware that his stolen e-mails would be published? >> it is not something that i can comment on. >> at that point, mr. chairman, i want to yield to mr. himes. >> thank you, ranking member, and gentlemen for being with us here today. when i get my own timely have follow-up questions, but let me start with to a point that the chairman brought out specif specifically which is that there is no evidence that votes were technically changed in any of the jurisdiction that he named, admiral roger, thank you for
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confirming that, but am i correct that when i say russian hacking, what we are referring to is that the intelligence community believes that the russians penetrated the networks of the dnc, of john podesta and other individuals, stole information and then dissemin e disseminated the information? is that a fair assessment of the conclusions of the intelligence community? >> yes, sir. >> and did the intelligee community ever do an analysis as to whether or not the dissemination of that adverse information in a closely fought election had any effect on the electorate? >> no, the u.s. intelligence agency does not do any assessments of the -- >> it is not your job. >> no, sir. >> and for those who go through the campaigns, that is something that we have a little bit more understanding of. and let me just ask this question then. was there any equivalent dissemination of adverse
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information stole n from the rn or the individuals associated with the trump campaign? >> no. >> thank you. director comey, and in the remaining minutes here, i appreciate your frankness on the topic of an ongoing investigation, and appreciate your inability to go too much f further than you went. but i do want to ask you a question to try to clear up some confusion. this committee of course is engaged in the investigation of links as you said, between the trump campaign and the russians should there be any possible collusion, and we have had a number of statements early in the investigation that there was no evidence of collusion. this is very early in our investigation, and is it fair to say that you are still relatively early in your
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investigation? >> it is hard to say, because i don't know how much longer it is going to take, and we have been doing this all of the investigation began in late july, and for the counter intelligence investigation, that is a short period of time. >> and you used the word coordination, which to me suggesting that you are in fact investigating whether there is coordination between the u.s. persons and the russians, and is it fair for me to assume that we should not dismiss the possibility offer coordination or collusion between the russian efforts and u.s. perns as an investigatory body. >> all i can the tell you is what we are investigating is whether there was any coordination of the people soeshlgted with the trump c-- associated with the trump campaign and the russians. >> all right. i will yield the remaining time to the ranking member. >> we yield the remaining time to representttive sewell. >> thank you. so with respect to the
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coordination, director comey and i want to continue this line of questioning, can you say within any specificity what kinds of coordination or contacts that you are looking at generally when confronted with something like this? >> i can't. >> can you discuss whether or not there was any knowledge by any trump relate d person and te russians? >> i can't. >> so, with are respect to any investigation, ongoing investigation, and whether the specificity of the person, the u.s. person or otherwise, you ku not comment on any of that? >> i cannot. >> can you characterize what the nature of the investigation generally, when you are doing an investigation of this sort, can you talk talk a little bit about thejen -- generally.
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>> not a lot. we coordinate with the brothers and sister s s in the intellige communities around the world to see what is useful and we use all of the tools and techniques in the investigations. i am not sure that is useful to you, but that is all i can say. >> how long does a counter intelligence activity like this take? >> there is no usually, and it is impossible to say. >> thank you. i yield back my time. >> thank you, ms. sewell. back to you, mr. goudy. >> and you and i were discussing the felonious activity of releasing information, and there a formal part of the law for offici officials who release anonymity. >> to release classified
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information? >> yes. >> no. >> is there a room in the law as to whether you want to break a story? >> well, that is a different question if you have area to go beyond -- well, i am not as great of a lawyer as mr. schiff said. >> and is that in the de department? >> the departments struggled with it. >> and the 4th circuit have struggled with it, but you are not aware of an exception in the current dissemination statute tha that carves out an exception for the rert porters? >> no, not in the statute, but a report has not beensecuted in my lifetime. >> well, a lot of statute s s i this case that which no one has been convicted or that, and that is not ending the discussion of that act namely the logan act. how would reporters know that a
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u.s. official made a telephone call to an agent of a foreign p power. >> legally? >> yes. >> if it were declassified and then discussed in a judicial proceeding or the congressional hear hearing. >> assume none of those facts were in play. >> someone told them that shouldn't have told them. >> and how would a reporter know about the existence of intercepted phone calls? >> same way, through an appropriate proceeding of the declassification, and otherwise it is illegitimate way. >> and how would a reporter know whether a transcript existed of an sbintercepted communication? >> same answer. the only legitimate way would be through the appropriate proceeding, and the only the other way is someone told them that shouldn't have. >> what does the term mask mean in terms of fisa and other programs? >> as the director rogers
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explained, it is the practice approved by the fisa court of removing the names of u.s. persons to protect their privacy and identity unless it hits certain exceptions. masking means, as mike rogers said, i will see an intelligence report that says u.s. person number one, u.s. person number two and u.s. person number three, and no further identification on the document. >> admiral rogers said 20 people in the nsa involved in the unmasking process, and how many people in the fbi are involved in that unmasking process? >> i am not sure as i sit here today. we come into contact with the u.s. persons more than the nsa, because we only conduct our operations in the united states to collect the electronic surveillance. i can find out the exact but i don't know it as i sit here. >> well, director comey as you know that this is vital and a similar program is coming up this fall with a strong headwind
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and it would be nice to know the universe of the people who would have the power to unmask a citizen's name, because it might provide something of a road map to know who actually unmasked a u.s. citizen's name. >> the number is relevant, and what i hope that the american people realize is that the number is important, but the culture behind it is in fact more important, the training, the rigor, and the discipline, and we are obsessive about phi ta is a and the fbi which i hope for reasons that make sense to the committee, but everything that fisa has to be labeled to warn people, this is fisa, and we treat it in a special way. we can get you the number, but the culture of the fbi and the nsa of how we treat the personal information is obsessive and i believe that in a good way. >> director comey, i am not a h arguing with you and i believe that the culture is important, but if there are 100 people who have the ability to unmask, and
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the knowledge of a previous masked name, then that is 100 different potential sources of investigation, and the smaller the number is, the
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it is hard to prove and
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secondarily, you don't have to prove it, but i guess that people want to know, and i particular theory. >> is there something that the nsa would have something that the fbi does not have -- >> well, i would hope not. >> i would hope that you would have access as head of the world's premier law enforcement agency, and i would hope that you had it all. so if you had it all, and the motive could not have been to help you all, because you had it. and admiral rogers, the motive could not have been to help you, because you already had it.
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so main the universe of positiv motives for the felonious dissemination of classified material, we could rule out wanting to help the intelligence communities and the law enforcement communities. those are two motives that are gone now. at leaves some more nefarious motives. is the investigation into the leak of classified information has it begun yet? >> i can't say, because i don't want to confirm that it was classifiedi don't want to quarr you, director comey, and you said it this morning citing the d.o.j. policy given the gravity of the fact pattern and would you not+++a indispensable and vital to the national se
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should be taken serious eli, but what i don't want to do is to compound what the bad people have done and confirm something that is in the newspaper. sometimes the newspaper get it right, but there is a whole lot of wrong information about the classified information that is n in the newspaper, and we don't call to correct them either. it is a big challenge, but we don't go near it, because we don't want to help or compound the offense committed. >> i understand that, director combmy a comey, and i am trying very hard not to get you to discuss the facts, but some of these words have transcript, and that is a unique use in the matters that we are discussing ax and that a unique use of that word. wiretap has a specific meaning.
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the name of a u.s. citizen that was supposed to statutorily be protected is no longer protected. so assume that 90% of it is inaccurate, and this other 10% is really, really important and to the extent that you can rely on the dates of thewashinon post" or the "new york times" we are talking about february of this year wn t reporting took place, and so we are, we are a month and a half or two months intoing something that you and i agree is incredibly important and happen s s to be felony. so i am simply asking you to ensure the american people that you have assured them that you take it seriously, and can you assure them that it is going to be investigated. >> i cannot, but i hope that the people listening know that we take this very seriously, and
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there is a line that i have to draw and that is the right way to be. >> i am not going to argue with you, director comey, but we will be discussing a lot of important things today, and whether russia decided to influence our democratic process is inkrcrediy important, and sought to use the influence, incredibly important, the motive behind it, incredibly important, the u.s. response, incredibly important, and some of it may rise to the level of a crime, and some of it may not. but one of the things that we agree on is the release of protected information is definitely a crime. i understand the procedures that you up against and i would humbly ask you to seek authority from whomever you need to seek authority from, because i will finish the same way i started.
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this is an agreement between the american people and its government. we are going to, we, the american people, we give certain powers to government to keep us saf safe, and when those powers are misuse and the motive is not criminal investigations or national security, i will bet you that my fellow citizens are rethinking their side of the equation. because, that u.s. citizen could be them next time. it could be you. and it could be me. it could be anyone. until we start seriously investatg and prosecuting what congress thought was serious enough to attach a ten-year felony to. with that, i yield back. mr. chairman. >> can i add a response to what you said. i agree with you, mr. gowdy. two things that people at home should know. the unauthorized disclosure of fisa is extraordinarily unusual
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event and we will take it seriously, because the trust of the people and the federal judges who oversee our work is vital and second ly, the discussion has nothing to do with the 702 and folks mix them together. 702 is about targeting nonu. ii persons over seas. and pursuant to the fisa statutes, you can collect information within the united states, but it is different from 702 and the conversation that we are having is vital and important, and i don't want to leave the people confused. >> director comey, you are 100% correct, and i want you to know that it does not mean anything to the american people, and that what we are reauthorizing for this fall, they don't care other than it is the government with the explicit promise that it will be protected. you are right, they are different, but in the eyes of the people watching, it is the
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u.s. government officials leaking the name of the u.s. citizen, and if it happens here, it could happen there. and trust me, we both want to see it reauthorized and it is in jeopardy if we don't get this resolved. >> gentleman, your time has expired. i yield 15:00 to mr. schiff. >> i want to follow up with a few questions about roger stone before i started earlier and will pass it to the colleagues. director comey r y-- direcr comey, are you aware that mr. stone played a part in the trump campaign? >> i will not talk about any specifics today. >> i want to make you aware of the facts whether you can comment on them or not. and have you read the press reports with where mr. stone proudly boasts of engaging in political dirty tricks? >> same answer, sir. >> i mentioned that mr. stone was in direct communication with a russian person which the
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intelligence talked about lucifer two. and mr. stone on august 17th, are you aware that there was a communication that said, i am aware that you are great, and please tell me if you can help anyhow, because it would be a pleasure to me, and are you aware of the relation of gusifer? >> i will give you the same answer. >> and are you aware that mr. stone was in communications with julian assange? >> same answer. >> and are you aware that he was in touch with media and mr.s a saung? >> same answer. >> this you can answer, do you know if the are russian intelligence services dealt directly with wikileaks or they used a mediator?
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>> they used a cutout and they did not deal directly with wikileaks and in contracts to the d.c. leaks in gusifer 2.0. >> in earlier october, are you aware that mr. stone quoted that i am hoping that my hero julian assange is going to edge gate the american people? >> i am back to the original answer. >> and are you aware that it was days later that wikileaks relees released the podesta e-mail? >> same answer. >> i want to yield now to mr. hines. >> i know that we are going through the 90-minute mark here in the hearing and let me step back to review the topics, because there is a lot on the table. and i think that my friends on the republican side will get no argument from this side on the importance of investigating, prosecuting leaks. leaks are a threat to the national security whether they are perpetrated by edward snowden, perpetrated by people outside of the white house or perhaps as we have seen in the
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last 60 days, maybe from people inside of the white house, but mr. comey, if i can use your phrase intense public interest. there is intense public interest in the fact that our new president will attack anyone and everyone. he will attack the cast of "hamilton" chuck shumshumer, australia, anyone, and associating you with mccarthyism and nazism, and there is one person in one country which is immune, which is inoculated from any presidential attack no matter the behavior, and no matter if there is a violation of the inf nuclear tree fi, and no matter if vladimir putin kills opponents, the president defends, obfuscates and does not atta attack. and the people around, john
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page, and man na fortafort, and others have a relationship with them. and then apart from the weird links, without exception, the individuals that i quote vd dissemabled or misled or maybe lied about the nature of the connections until the political pressure has gotten to the point where they have been fired or recused in the case of the attorney general. so i want look briefly at one of the individuals and director comey, i understand the constraints, but let me ask you a couple of questions regaress. paul manafort who is roger stone's business partner and trump's former campaign manager, i want to ask you a few questions about him, and first, director comey, can you tell us what the foreign agent's registration act is? >> sure. not in the expert way, but it is a statute that requires people
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acting as agents of a non-u.s. government to register with the united states. >> right. so the national security division of the department of justice writes that this is the manual that the purpose is to ensure that the people of the united states and the government are informed of the identity and the person attempting to influence public opinion, policy and laws, unquote. would you agree that guarding against foreign espionage or foreign influence measures falls under this heading? >> yes. >> in general, is willful violation or failure to register pursuant to the law in some circumstances a crime? >> i believe it is, but i am not an expert on the fera, but i believe it is. >> and it could lead to counter intelligence concerns, right? >> yes. >> and now, paul manafort has reported in the "new york times" and other outlets and his deputy rick gates ran a campaign in
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washington to lobby government officials and to the push positive press coverage of the pro ukrainian officials. and then paul manafort started to work for them in 2007 according to the "washington post." and the lobbying was only found by secret ledgers in kiev indicating $13 million in undisclosed cash payments of ukrainian coffers to paul manafort for lobbying between 2007 and 2012 for mr. nuke yankovich. did heever register under fera. >> that is something that i cannot comment on. >> whether he registered or not is not something that you can comment on? >> no. paul manafort however, he was donald trump's campaign manager in july of 2016.
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>> mr. arns i don't want to get down the road of answering questions about somebody. >> well, the facts would show that he never did register, but as the ranking member pointed out, perhaps it should come as no surprise that the republican platform wu which was drafted at the republican convention in july of 2016 underwent a pretty significant change with respect to the american response to russia's illegal invasion of ukraine and the aggression of that country, and appears from our standpoint that we had, we had perhaps somebody who should have registered under the fera pull i pulling the strings there. and there is more and i don't know how much you can comment on this. but i wanted to explore for a second the nature of the russian government, because the question becomes, was there contact with russian officials? and i want to read you a quote
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from a brief quote of putin's book, and this is a direct quote, instead of seeing russian politics as incolate government system pulled down by bureaucratic incompetence or the poor western advice, i kconcludd that putin and the circle sought to have an authoritarian regime ruled by a close-knit kaball who used it for decoration. >> it is fair to say that the line that exists between the government officers and government officials is blurred in russia? maybe there is oligarchs or others who have close connection s to the kaball who might be agents or doing the krim lin's bidding? >> it is fair to say. one of the counter intelligence missions is to try to understand
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who are those people, and are they acting on behalf of the russian government and the russian citizens. >> is it true that there is a category of russian oligarchs that are likely part of the russian kaball? >> in a general sense. >> and if you go way back, they might be connected to the kgb as asserted by a professor? >> longevity can be a connection. >> and the kgb was under the soviet union and ukraine was part of the soviet union? >> correct. >> i will observe that the steel and iron magnate is the rich es man in ukraine and a strong putin ally, and he is the one who reportedly recommended paul manafort to mr. yukanovich.
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and there is a headline yesterday of paul manafort wanted in connection to ukraine's corruption. and i bring that because he is brought up to alex sander lavronovich who is from the previous russian regime, and i read a segment here who was involved in jailing the former prime minister team shen coetem was released at jail at the same time that yankovich was ousted and many saw the sentencing as politically otivated by the pro russian government. in response to the deteeshation of the international climate, prosecutors say that manafort
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drafted a public strategy to hire a american law firm to help, and the story goes on the talk about the transfer of over $1 million potentially illegally from the ukrainian scoffers. and the reason i bring it up with you, is because the story also says, and appears to have been confirmed by the department of justice that the current ukraine regime is hardly a friend of the russians and very much targeted be i the russians has made seven requests to the the united states government that the united states government for assistance under the mla treaty in securing the assistance of paul manafort as part of the anti-corruption case. in fact, the story says that you were presented personally with a letter asking for the assistanc assistance, and so my question is, dr. comey, is that true? have you been asked to provide assistance to the ukrainian government in regard to paul
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manafort and are you going to respond? >> that is not something that i can comment with, but we have strong relationship in cooperation of the criminal and the national security areas with the ukrainian partners, but i cannot talk about the particular matter. >> the story says that the doj confirmed that there have been requests for assistance on this matter. you can't go as far as confirming that there have been these requests made? >> if they have done that, i would need them to do it again. i can't comment on it. >> okay. well, i appreciate that, and with that, i will yield back the remainder of the time to the ranking member. >> i yield to terry sewell. >> thank you, mr. ranking member. my questions this morning really revolve around the resignation of the former national security adviser michael flynn. director comey, much has been made about russia's historical interference with the political elections and the world meant to
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cause discord and disunity, and especially in the western alliances. does the fbi generallys assume that the russian ambassadors to the united states like ambassador kislyack are inadvertently acquiring intelligence on american leaders? >> ms. sewell, that is not something i can answer in an open setting. >> am i right that in the russian playbook, that it is in the russian playbook to use the diplomats and the business people and russianle intelligence officers whether declared or not to collect intelligence on influential americans for the purpose of affecting u.s. policy? >> i can answer as a general matter. nation states that are adversaries of the united states use traditional intelligence office officers, and sometimes use intelligence officers operating under a diplomatic cover, and use people called co-op ttees a
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all manner of human beings can be used in a manner of collection operation, and i won't talk about the particular. >> would somebody like ambassador kislyack play that type of role for russia? >> i can't say here. >> the declassified january intelligence community assessment report that your agency helped to draft, the report that is entitled "assessing russian activities and intentions in the recent u.s. elections u "specific states that quote since the cold war russian intelligence efforts rela related to the u.s. intelligences collected could help to understand the new le leader's plans and priorities, kwend quote. so knowing what we know about the russian efforts and the role of the russian ambassador, and director comey, would you be concerned if any of your agents had a private meeting with the rsian ambassador? >> if a fbi a agent had a
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private meeting with a russian vernment employee of any kind, it would be concerning and by private one that is not disclosed or part of the responsibility. >> yes. >> and would you expect that meeting to be reported? >> yes. >> and admiral rogers ark similar question, would you be concerned if one of your intelligence officers had a private meeting with the russian ambassador, and would you expect that intelligence officer to report that? >> yes, any interactions is a requirement for all employees including myselfer for example. >> i ask this because on at least four occasions mr. flynn, a three-star general and former intelligence officer and someone with influence over the u.s. policy, and someone with knowledge of state secrets and the incoming national security adviser communicated with and met with the russian ambassador and failed to disclose it. so i ask you, directors, if you would not stand for your own staff to do this, why should we,
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the american people, accept michael flynn doing it? >> ms. sewell, mike rogers can take it next, but i cannot disclose what the requirements are for other people in the government, but i hope that i answered accurately with respect to one fbi agents. >> i would answer the like wise for the nsa. >> the gentleman's time has expired. >> i yield myself 15:00. you said that there going to be an investigation of president trump and anybody around the campaign or the association with the russian government, and if this committee or anyone else for that matter, someone from the public comes to you with information about the hillary clinton campaign, or their associates, or someone from are the clinton foundation, will you add that to the investigation? they have ties to russianle intelligence services, russian
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agents, would that be something of interest to you? >> people bring us information all of the time what they believe is improper or unlawfule will evaluate it not just in this context. folks send us stuff all the time. they should keep doing that. >> do you think it's possible that the russians would not be trying to infiltrate hillary clinton's campaign, get information on hillary clinton, and try to get to people that are around that campaign or the clinton foundation? >> i'm not prepared to comment about the particular campaigns, but the russians in general are always trying to understand who the future leaders might be and what levers of influence there might be on them. just hope that if information does surface about the other campaigns, not even just hillary clinton's but any other campaign -- [ audio problems ] -- around them? >> of course we would. >> i yield to mr. conaway.
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>> thanks gentlemen, thanks for being here. admiral rogers, you mentioned analytic standards earlier in the conversation. are those standards the same for all intelligence analysts across the agencies. >> there is a broad set of intelligence promulgated standards for all. us, and then those for instance with the particular authority you are using in the first place. >> jim, your agency would have the same similar type of standards? >> correct that's one of the good things that happened since 9/11, especially since 2004 is the adoption of a common set of trade craft provisions. >> on a cpa, and we have generally accepted accounting standards, are those same standards generally promulgated and generally disseminated so all of your analysts with some sort of a test that they know those standards. >> i think the specifics of the ic promull gated procedures are
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classified. >>hen it comes to trying to determine intent of foreign leaders can you walk us how the nso or the fbi does that? >> we assess the range of information that we have collected in an attempt to generate understanding as to not only what has occurred but part of the intelligence proefg is also trying to understand why, what was the intent. we'll use the range of information we have available to us while we're primarily a single source organization it's one reason why organizations like cia, the intelligence agency which take multiple components to put a picture together. we are one component. >> director comey anything different from that. >> it is about putting a puzzles together. sometimes from forensics alone
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you get a good idea what it was they were trying to accomplish. other times it creates human application of common sense. >> it's -- >> in some cases it is a much clear case than others. >> that depends on the source you have? >> i'm not going to get into specifics. >> in general, if you had had someone whoiz next door neighbor -- never, both your agencies agree with the assessment that the russians's goal was to undermine the public faith in the u.s. democratic process. is that still your assessments? >> yes. >> yes. >> same assessment said that the russians goal was to -- wanted to denigrate secretary clinton and harm her electability and
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potential president and putin wanted to discredit secretary clinton because he publicly blamed her since 2011 for inciting mass protests against his regime in 2011-2012. do you both agree with that assessment? >> yes. >> yes. >> finally admiral rogers that assessment went on to say that president putin and the russian government aspired to help candidate trump plu president-elect trump's election chances when possible by discrediting secretary clinton. you had a lower confidence level. is that still the case? >> yes, sir. >> can you tell the group why? >> i won't get into the specifics in unclassified form. for me it boiled down to the level and nature the sourcing on that one particular judgment was slightly different to me than the others. >> all right. >> to be clear, mr. conaway, we all agreed with the judgment. >> i agreed with judgment. >> but you really agreed, and he almost really agreed. >> not terms our folks use, but
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i guess. >> not a term of art. i got you. director comey in terms of laying out those three assessments and whether or not the ic was consistent in its view of those three assessments across the entire campaign, we walked through kind of the fbi's walk down that path. did -- as of early december of '16, did the fbi assess that the active measures were to undermine -- by the russians were to undermine the faith in the u.s. democratic process? did you come to that conclusion by early december? >> thank that's right. december of last year. >> '16. >> i think we were at that point, yes. >> and then active measures against secretary clinton, to denigrate her, her campaign and also undermine her presidency? >> correct. >> all right. and then the conclusion that active measures were taken
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specifically to help president trump's campaign, you had that -- by early december you already had that conclusion? >> correct. that they wanted to hurt our democracy, hurt her, help him. i think all three we were confident in at least as early as decemb. >> okay. the paragraph that is giving me a little concern there in terms of just the timing of when all of that occurred -- because i'm not sure if we went back and got that same january assessment six months earlier it would have looked the same because you say when we further assess putin and russian government developed a clear preference for president-elect trump. any idea when that clear preference in the analysis -- when did that get into the lexicon of when you were talking back and forth among yourselves on a classified basis? >> i don't know for sure but i think that was a fairly easy judgment for the community.
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putin hated secretary clinton so much that the flip side of that coin was he had a clear preference for the purn person running against the person he hated so much. >> that might work on saturday afternoon when my wife's red raid remembers playing the texas long horns -- she really likes the red raiders, but all the rest of the time -- the logic is because he really didn't like candidate clinton, that he automatically liked trump. is that assessment is based on what? >> it's based on more that that, but part of it -- we are not getting into the details but pat of it is the logic. wherever the red raiders are playing you want them to win and their opposition to lose. >> but this says both of them, you wanted hip to lose and wanted him to win. is that right? >> it's inseparable. a two person event. >> i'm guessing when you decided
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he wanted him to win? >> logically when he wanted her to lose. >> i got that but the question is when in this clear -- let me finish out. you go through that sentence about the clear preference for donald trump. we don't know exactly when you decided that was the case. then it says when it appeared to moscow that secretary clinton was likely to win the election the russian influence campaign then focused on undermining her expected presidency. so -- and then the next sentence says the russian government aspired to help president-elect trump election chances. so when did they not think she was going to win? >> the assessment of the intelligence community was as the summer went on and the polls appeared to show that secretary clinton was going to win the russians sort of gave up and simply focused on trying to undermine her. it's your red raiders you know they are not going to win so you
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hope key people on other team get hurt so they are not as such a tough opponent down the road. >> do you believe that the fbi was consistent through early december and on that that was the case, that they assessed they really wanted trump to win and it were working to have him win and her lose? >> yes, our analyst had a view that i don't believe changed from late fall through to the report on january 6th that it had those three elements. >> all right. so then on december the 9th, well in advance of the january 6 deal, the "washington post" put out an article, their lead sentence was -- the cia are not here today, conclude in a secret assessment that russian enter veed in the '16 election to help donald trump win the presidency rather than just undermine the public's trust in the democratic
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system. then it goes on to say an official briefed by the intelligence presentation to u.s. senators said that's the consensus view. how much -- this is written by a guy named adam entas and elaine something or other, did they help draft the january 6s assess men. >> i'm sorry? >> did those writers from the "washington post" he you write the january 6 assessment. >> no, they did not. >> i wonder how they got almost the exact language on december 9:. >> it hadn't been written yet. this is the peril of commenting on newspaper articles that purpose to report classified information. i can't say much about them. they are often wrong. >> you mentioned that when anybody uses the i can't talk because i'm bound by a position of an omity that is code for breaking the law generally, right. when somebody says i am talking
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to a reporter, declassifying secret information, the reporter can't tell who because as mr. goddy was saying i'm speaking on condition of an on imity, they are breaking the law is behind it. >> sometimes. >> your statement that the fbi was consistent in its assessment that they wanted to denigrate the electoral process, hurt hillary and her potential candidacy and current across all of that they intended to help trump. that's your testimony this morning? >> correct. >> yield back. >> mr. king. >> thank you, mr. chairman. if you could yield me a few minutes into the next wrontd. i'll start with this. thank you to admiral rogers and director comey. thank you for your service.
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director comey, we are in a predicament. i understand your situation where you can't comment on the investigation yet we can have various scenarios laid out which could go on for months and months and months without anyone being able to disproven them until the end of the investigation. i would just like to give examples. we could have sd that in 2012 present obama was overheard o a microphone telling med red is everybody, if i'm elected tell putin we can work out better deals. and then in 2013, we saw that basically president obama invited the russians into syria when they had been removed from the middle east 40 years before. and also, as far as aid to ukraine, as far as i recall the obama administration always refused to give lethal aid to ukraine and could be argued that the republican platform in 2016 was actually stronger than the
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democratic platform on that. with that, if there was an investigation going on in the obama administration we could lay out all those scenarios and say that might prove something. but until the investigation was completed that type of almost possibly slanderous comments can be made. i would just, again -- i'm not asking you to hurry the investigation along. you have to do what you have to do. but i guess i could ask you this in the remaining moments i have in this round, i know that -- i guess it was two weeks ago that director clapper said that as far as he knows all the evidence he's seen, there is no evidence of any collusion at all between the trump campaign and the russians. now, obviously, a details exhaustive report was put out talking about russian influence in the campaign, all of the intelligence apparatus had input into that. do either you or admiral rogers have reason to disagree with
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director clapper that there was no collusion between mr. putin and the trump campaign. >> i can't comment. >> i'm not going to comment. >> you are not going to disagree, you are just not going to comment. when you can't comment on something offense there is inference out there because a person's name is brought up, because he may have worked for somebody at aertain time that there is a guilt implied in that. i'm not being critical of either of you. i'm just saying this is a situation which i think can be damaging to the country and does advance the russian interest of trying to destabilize democracy and cause the lack of confidence in our system. with that i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. recognize mr. schiff for 15 minutes. >> thank you chairman. i have a couple of questions before i pass to representative sewel. it wasn't simply that the russians had a negative preference against secretary clinton. they also had a positive preference for donald trump. is that correct? >> correct. >> and i want to ask you to say
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whether this as accurate characterization of mr. trump, i won't put you in that spot. would it be logical for the kremlin to support a president who said nato -- it would be logical for the kremlin to want someone who had a dim view of nato. >> all kidding aside, i don't think that's something i should be answering. that's beyond -- beyond my responsibilities. >> well, what is the russian view of nato? do they like nato? do they want to see nato strong? >> again, i'm sure you have already spoken to people who are greater experts than i but yeah they don't like nato. they think nato encircles them and threatens them. >> would they have a preference for a candidate who made
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comments to the openness of ukraine. >> i don't want to -- >> let me ask you this director, would they like to see the sanctions on you crane go away yes. >> mr. putin would like people who like him. >> would they have a preference for a candidate who encouraged brexit and other dertures from europe? would they like to see mobrexit? >> yes. >> and have the russians in europe demonstrated a preference for business people as political leaders with the hope that they can entangle them in financial interests or that they may allow their financial interests to take precedence over the interests of the countries in europe they represent? >> in our joint report, we recount that the russians that president putin has expressed a preference for business leaders in -- leading other governments
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and mentioned schroeder and -- i'm going to forget one. brel scony because he believes they are people that are more open to negotiation, easier to deal with. >> at this point let me yield to represent spentive sewel. >> i'd like to continue my questioning the line of questioning on hikal flynn. i'm sure you can understand my concern that mr. flynn not only failed to disclose the contacts with the russian ambassador but he said he did not remember whether he discussed sanctions against russia with that ambassador. i find that really hard to believe. wouldn't you think that at the height of our concern about russian hacking that mr. flynn would have remembered meeting with the russian ambassador and would have told him to stop meddling in our affairs? but that didn't happen, did it? >> that's not something i can answer. >> not only did mr. flynn not remember talking to the russian ambassador and not only did he not remember what they talked
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about, he also appeared to have lied to the vice president elect, mike pence, all about it. now, mr. comey, do you think that mr. flynn's failure to disclose the communication and contact he had with the russian ambassador and their topic of conversation along with a blatant lie to vice president pence meet the standard for an investigation by the fbi? >> i have to give you the same answer. i'm not going to comment. >> now, i know,irector comey, that you probably can't comment on this as well, but i think it's really important that we review a short time line and that's based on press reportings. because we need to get this for the public record, i think. so on december 25th, 2016, mr. flynn reportedly exchanged text messages with the russian ambassador. on december 28th, 2016, mr. flynn reportedly spoke on the phone with the russian ambassador. by then it was pretty clear that
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the obama administration was going to take actions against russia. on december 29th, 2016, mr. flynn reportedly spoke on the phone with the russian ambassador again. that day, the obama administration expelled 35 russian operatives from the united states ska announced new sanctions. we also know from press reportings that sometime in december mr. flynn met in person with the russian ambassador at trump tower and that mr. trump's son-in-law, jared kushner, was also there. the purpose of the meeting was to, quote, establish line of communication, end quote, with the kremlin. i should add that the white house and mr. flynn didn't disclose this december face to face meeting until this month. on january 20th -- january 12th, sorry, 2017, press reported that mr. flynn contacted the russian ambassador again. and on january 15th, 2015, vice president elect mike pence
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stated on several sunday morning shows regarding mr. flynn's conversation with the ambassador, quote, what i can confirm having spoken to him about it is that those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the united states took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions, end quote. on january 26th, the acting attorney general, sally yates, reportedly told president trump's white house counsel, who immediately told president trump, that mr. flynn was vulnerable to russian blackmail because of discrepancies between vice president elect pence's public statement and mr. flynn's actual discussions. on february 10th, president trump denied knowledge of this, telling reporters on air force one, quote, i don't know about that, end quote, in response to
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questions about mr. flynn's conduct. the white house also publicly denied that mr. flynn and the russian ambassador discussed south africas. and of course on february 13th, 2017, mr. flynn resigned as national security adviser. director comey, all of these accounts are open source press reportings. given russian's long standing desire to cultivate relations with flunks u.s. persons, isn't the american public right to be concerned about mr. flynn's conduct, his failure to disclose that contact with the russian ambassador, his attempts to cover it up, and what looks like the white house's attempts to sweep this under the rug? don't we as american people deserve the right to know? and shouldn't our fbi investigate such claims? >> i can't comment. i understand people's curiosity about our work and intense interest in it. as mr. king said, oftentimes speculation about it.
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but we can't do it well or fairly to the people we investigate if we talk about it. so i can't comment. >> i'd like to turn to another topic about mr. flynn, his failure to disclose until pressured last week by my colleagues on the house oversight and government relations committee, government reforms committee, payments he received from russia for his 2015 trip to tenth anniversary gala of rt the russian-owned propaganda media outlet. according to the january 2017 declassified ic assessment report, rt's criticism of the united states was, quote, the last facet of its broader and long standing anti-u.s. messaging liking aimed at undermining u.s. trust in the democratic procedures, end quote. this january assessment points out that this was a strategy that russia employed going back
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to before the 2012 elections, could go to the ic assess men. so admiral rogers, am i right that the rt is essentially owned by the russian government? and how long has the intelligence community been looking at rt as an arm of the russian government? >> we are certainly aware and have been for some period of time of the direct connections between russian government and rt individuals. we are aware of monetary flow and other things. >> and how long have you known about that? a few months a few years, how long has the united states. >> some number of years. i apologizan match, i don't know off the top of my head. >> aren't i right to assume then that the former director of dia, the defense intelligence agency, mr. flynn, would have been aware that rt's role as an anti-u.s., russian propaganda outlet, when he agreed to speak at their anniversary gala in 2015? isn't it reasonable to assume
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that he would know. >> i'm not in a position to comment on knowledge of something else from another person, ma'am. >> director comey, would it be unusual for a foreign government official to get paid by a foreign adversary to attend such an ooch? and would it be unusual and raise some questions at the fbi if that person failed to disclose the payments received for that trip? >> i don't know in general. and as to 2 specific i'm just not going to comment. >> yes, sir, i understand that yo can mment. but i'd like to rea an exchange between mr. flynn and a yahoo news correspondent from july, 2016, regarding his trip to russia during the rt event. the correspondent asked, were you paid for that event? then there was a back and forth for a bit. and then mr. flynn said, quote, yeah, i didn't take any money from russia if that's what you are asking me. end quote. director comey, isn't it true
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that the house oversight committee last week received information and released publicly that mr. flynn accepted nearly $35,000 in speaking fees and traveling fees from rt, this government -- run-government owned media outlet? >> i believe i've seen news accounts to that effect. >> moreover, isn't it also true that according to the emodel yumts clause of the united states constitution a person holding any office of profit or trust cannot accept gifts or payments from a foreign country? and doesn't the dod, the department of defense, tribute retired military officers from taking any consulting fees, gifts, traveling expenses, honorary yums or salary from foreign government including commercial enterprises owned by or controlled by a foreign government like rt? >> that's not something i can comment on. >> can you speak to whether or not the emodel you meant clause
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would apply to someone like mr. flynn, a retired three star general? >> i can't. >> isn't it -- i just finds it to be really hard to believe that given the emoluments clause does apply to retired officers like mr. flynn, i can't believe that mr. flynn, a retired military officer would take money from the russian government in violation of the united states constitution. and i believe that such violation is worthy of a criminal investigation by the fbi. what level of proof do we need in order for us to have a criminal investigation by the fbi of mr. flynn? >> i can't comment on that. >> shouldn't the american people be concerned? what -- i think that it's really hard for us to fathom that he wouldn't know that he should have disclosed that he received $35,000 as a part of a speaking
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engagement to rt, the russian u.s. anti-propaganda outlet. >> i can't comment on that ma'am. >> my final line of questioning is in regards to mr. flynn working as an agent of foreign power. am i correct that the foreign agents registration act requires that individuals who lobby on behalf of a foreign government must register with the united states government. >> i believe that's correct. i know i keep saying i'm not an expert. the reason i'mg sayin that is i don't know exactly how they define things like lobbying in the statute. but as a general matter if you are going to represent a foreign government here in the united states touching our government, you should be registered. >> isn't it true that just last november, 2016, mr. flynn was working as a foreign agent doing work that principally benefitted the government of turkey and yet he didn't report it until just
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last week? >> i can't comment on that. >> isn't it true that mr. flynn was reportedly paid over half a million dollars for this work? >> same answer. >> and isn't it true that the trump white house, on at least two agencies, was asked by mr. flynn's lawyers whether he should report that work, the work that he was doing on behalf of the turkish government? and yet the administration didn't give him any advice to the contrary? do you know anything about that? >> i have to give you the same answer. >> director comey, i know you cannot discuss whether any investigations are ongoing with u.s. persons. i respect that. i think it's important, though, that the american people understand the scope and breadth of what in public open source press reportings of mr. flynn's actions that led to his resignation. and while we can't talk about whether there are an investigation, i believe that we here at hpsci at the house permanent select committee on
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intelligence must put those facts into the public domain. they are one that mr. flynn lied about his communication with the russian ambassador. secondly that mr. flynn lied about taking money from the russian government. and thirdly, that mr. flynn, at a minimum did not disclose work as an agent of a importaforeign and that the white house did not help with this comment. gentlemen i know you cannot comment but i believe it is my ty to comment to the american people that his engagement of lying and failure to disclose real really important information and context with the russian ambassador do rise to the level of disclosure and to me, criminal intent. so i say that to say that the american people deserve to know the full extent of mr. flynn's involvement with the russians and the extent to which it
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influenced the 2016 election. i believe our democracy requires it. thank you. i yield back to my ranking member. >> time is expired. i recognize myself for 15 minutes. mr. comey and mr. rogers, you both said that the russians had -- they favored donald trump in this election and you made that change from the beginning of december. it was not that they were trying to help donald trump but that changed by early january? mr. conaway talked about that. do russians -- >> i don't agree with that. i want to make sure i didn't misspeak. we didn't chang your view from december to early january, the fbi, nor did anybody else on the ic team. >> from my perspective we didn't have a fully view -- >> the assessment changed from going to trying to hurt hillary clinton to knowing they were
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actually trying to help donald trump get elected. that was early december, as far as i know, and then by january, you had all changed your mind on that. >> that's not my recollection, mr. chair. >> that's not my recollection either, sir. >> okay. so is it -- do russians historically refer republicans to win over democrats? -- prefer republicans to win over democrats? >> i don't know the answer to that. >> i don't know the answer to that. >> did the russians prefer mitt romney over barack obama in 2012? >> i don't know that we ever drew a formal analytic conclusion. >> did the russians prefer john mccain in 2008 over barack obama? >> i never saw a u.s. intelligence committee analytic position on that issue. >> don't you think it's ridiculous for anyone to say that the russians prefer republicans over democrats. >> i didn't think that's what
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you heard us say i apologize sir. >> i hope you didn't hear us say that sir, we don't know in those particular races. >> i'm asking a general question, wouldn't it be preposterous to say that somehow the russians prefer republicans over democrats? >> there is -- i'm not going to discuss it in a classified segment of the reporting version that we did, there is some analysis that discusses this, because, re, this did come up in our assessment on the russian piece. i'm not going to discuss this in unclassified form. >> mr. king? >> thank you mr. chairman. i would say that, again without going into the classified sections that indicating historically russians have supported republicans, and i know that language is there, to me puts somewhat of a cloud over the entire report.
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it seems the indicate the direction it was going in. let me say this for the record. i know what your answer is going to be, but i have to get this statement for the record. on march 14th, the acting director under president obama and put it on the record i have had differences with mike morrill in the past but he was asked about the trump campaign conspiring with the russians. his answer was smoke but there was no fire at all. there no little camp fire, there is no little candle. there is no spark. do you agree with mr. morrill? >> i cab comment, mr. king. >> admiral rogers. >> i'm not going to comment on an ongoing investigation. understand that that was my way of getting it on the record. i understand. you talk about the significance of leaks and how important it is we stop them. to me, i've been here a while i've never seen such a sustained period of leaks going back to december when not the intelligence committee but the "washington post" was told a conclusion of the report.
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that's number one. what it was going to be. situations in the "new york times" where they talk about meetings, they talk about transcripts, they talk about conversation. there was one in particular we spoke about trump campaign individuals meeting with russian intelligence agents. and again, director comey i don't know if you can comment on this, but the white house chief of staff said on that day or the next day that mr. mccabe from your office went to him at the white house and told him that that story was bs. is there any way you can comment on whether or not mr. mccabe told that to mr. priebus? >> i can't, mr. king, but i can agree with your general premise. leaks have always been a problem. i read over the weekend, suts of george washington and abraham lincoln complaining about them.
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but i agree in the last six weeks and months issa lot of leaks in the media, and a lot of it is dead wrong. it's make it difficult because we don't comment on this. but it has struck me as unusually active. fully understand the media's fascination with palace intrigue, with which faction of the white house is trying to outdo the other. to me that's all legitimate. that goes with the game. but if you are talking about league, clack fis investigation, if you are talking about leaking investigations, i mean you said today there is an fbi investigation going on. if the "new york times" can be believed i would think it would have to be somebody from the fbi who is telling them about these purported meetings which mr. mccabe said was bs with russian intelligence agents.
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somebody familiar with that organization spoke to the "new york times." i will say that. to me, it was a small universe, i believe it was on january 6 when yourself, admiral rogers, director brennan and general clapper went to trump tower to meet with president trump. the media reports are at the end of that meeting director comey you presented president-elect trump with a copy of the now infamous or famous dossier. i don't know how many people were in the room but within hours that was leaked to the media and that gave the media the excuse or the rationale to publish almost the entire dossier. do you -- does that violate any law? i mean you were at a classified briefing with the president-elect of the united states. and it had to be a small universe of people who knew that you handed him that dossier. and it was leaked out within hours. are you making any effort to find out who leaked it? and do you believe that that
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constituted a criminal violation? >> i can't say, mr. king, except i can answer in general. >> yeah. >> any unauthorized disclosure of classified conversations or documents is potentially a violation of the law and a serious, serious problem. i've spent most of my career trying to figure out unauthorized disclosures, where they came from. it's very, very hard. oftentimes it doesn't come from the people who actually know the secrets. it comes from one hop out, people who heard about it or were told about it. and that's the reason that so much information that purports to be classified information are wrong in the media, because the people who heard about it didn't hear about it right but it is an enormous problem whenever you find information that is actually classified in the media. we don't talk about it because we don't want to confirm it but i do think it should be investigated aggressively and if possible prosecuted so people take it as a lesson, this is not okay. this behavior can be deterred,
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by locking people up. >> admiral rogers was in the room, in your opinion the room, director clapper -- were there any other people in the room. this is an unmasking of names, 20 people in the nsa and 100 people in the fbi. this is four people in a room with the president-elect of the united states. i don't know who else was in that room, and it was leaked out it seemed within minutes or hours of you handing him that dossier 1k36789 it was so confidential that you actually hand it to him separately. believe me i'm not saying it's you. it was a small universe of people that would have known about that. and it is a disclosure of classified information. if you want to start with investigating leaks that would be one place where you could start to narrow it down. >> again, mr. king i cannot comment bass i don't know to confirm a classified conversation a president or
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president-elect. at first both because there may be more people involved in the thing than you realize. not this particular but in general, and more people have been told about it or staff have been briefed about it or heard about it. and those echos are what most often ends up being shared with reporters. >> can you tell us who else was with you in the room that day. >> no i'm motd going to confirm there was such a conversation because then i might zentdally confirm something that was in the newspaper. >> can you tell us who was in the room. >> i'm not confirming there was a conversation. in a classified seth i might be able to share more with you. but i am aet no going to -- >> not the conversation, or even if you gave it to him. can you tell us who was in the room during the briefing that you gave. >> you are saying later ended up in the newspaper. >> yes. >> i'm not going do that. i'm not going to help people who did something that is unauthorized. >> we all know that four of you
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went to trump tower for the briefing. that's not classified, is it? >> how do we all know that, though? yeah. >> you know, you can see the predicament we are in here. >> i get it. i get it. but we are duty bound to protect classified information both in the first -- when we get it, and then to make sure we don't accidentally jeopardize classified information about what we say about something that appears in the paid gentleman. >> i would advise director clapper and brennan we will be asking them the same questions next week. perhaps they can give us some answers. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. chairman yonder is recognized. >> direct mr. chairman, admiral rogers and director comey thank you for your service and thank you for being here. understanding what both of you have been saying about the investigation, the classified nature of the topics we are
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talking about, can you give us any indication of when we, the committee, may, in a classified setting, know something from you? would we have ongoing updates. >> sir, i don't know how long the work will take. i can't commit to updates. as you know, i have briefed the committee as a whole on some aspects of our work. and i have briefed in great detail the chair and the ranking. i don't know -- i can't predict or commit to updates. but as your work goes on we are in constant touch with you and we'll do the best we can, but i can't commit to that as i sit here. >> so as the house intelligence committee and the senate intelligence committee are conducting our bipartisan investigations and looking wherever it may lead with individuals or circumstances, if you through the fbi
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investigation come across a circumstance with an individual or a situation, would we be made aware of that under normal course of business? >> not necessarily. but it's possible. >> okay. so can you either director comey or admiral rogers, tell us what we are doing or what we should be doing to protect against russian interference in future elections or any meddling with our government. or for that marrietter any stat sponsor, iranians, north koreans, chinese w any meddling they may be doing? >> so first i think a public discussion and acknowledgment of the activity is good positive first step because it shines a flashlight on this, if you will, it i will illuminates a
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significant issue that i think we all have to deal with. there's a variety of ongoing efforts both within the government as well as in the private sector in terms of how do we harden our defenses. i think we also need to have a discussion about what does critical infrastructure mean in the 20th century. i don't think we would have thought of election infrom structure. aviation, electricity, finance, i don't think we've traditionally thought about it in the informational kind of dynamic. i think that's a challenge for us coming ahead. and then continued partnership between the elements within the government as well as in the private sector. that's the key to the future to me. >> so just for the record, i also had a whole list of specific questions about individuals and or circumstances that don't want to be repetitive and have you say i can't comment on them. but i would anticipate when we move to classified session that
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this committee will be able to explore some of those situations in a little more depth. i have a couple of other questions about the -- about the russian intervention but i don't have enough time to get into it right now mr. chairman. if you could give me a couple minutes when we get to the next round. >> go ahead and ask them. >> okay. very briefly, the -- if you can describe the elements of -- russia's active measures in the campaign in the 2016 -- we've only got 35 seconds but that's the first thing i want to get into, about exactly what they were doing, if you can tell us anything about that. >> we saw cyber used. we saw the use of external media. we saw the use of disinformation. we saw the use of leaking of information much of which was not altered. we saw several, full, common
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traits that we have both seen over time as well as i would argue that the difference this time was that the cyber dimension and the fact that the release of so much information that they had extracted via cyber as a primary tool to try to drive an outcome. >> in this setting can you talk to us at all about what tools they used? >> i'm not going to go into the specifics of how they executed the hacks, i apologize, no, sir. >> we'll try to get into that in classified. i'll hold off for now. >> gentleman yields back. mr. schiff is recognized for 15 minutes. >> thank you, i had a couple of follow up questions. director comey, can you tell me what an sf 86 is? >> sf 86. >> yes. >> it is the standard backgrounds clearance form that all of us who are hired by the federal government and want to have access to classified information fill out. >> would someone who is an incoming national security
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adviser have to fill out an sf 86. y ? >> yes, i think. >> would that sp 86 require an application an to disclose any payments received from a foreign power? >> i think so. i mean, the form is the form. i think. and foreign travel as well. >> i'd make a request through you to the justice department or whatever ic component would have custody of mr. flynn's sf 86 -- i make a request that that be provided to the committee. and i yield now to mr. carson. >> thank you ranking member. i would like to focus my line of questioning on russia's views toward ukraine n. march, 2014, russia illegally annexed the ukrainian territory of crimea, beginning a conflict which has effective lee yet to be resolved. admiral rogers, can you please
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briefly describe as you understand it sir, how russia took crimea. >> i would argue through the insertion of military force. they occupied it and physically removed it from ukrainian control. >> sir we've heard terms like little green men and hybrid warfare. can you please explain how these relate to russia in ukraine? >> on the ukraine side, what we saw was over time rather than the kinds ofio vert kind of activity we saw to such degree on the crimea side, what we saw was a much bigger effort on the influence and the attempts to distance russian actions from any potential blow back to the russian state, if you will, hence the use of the little green men, surrogates in unmarked military uniforms. the flow of information, the provision of resources to
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support the forcible separation of the ukraine. >> admiral, has russia returned crimea back to ukraine, sir? >> no. >> do they have intentions to? >> they publicly indicated that they will not. >> admiral, why does russia even care about ukraine? >> i'm sure they view this as a primary national interest for them. it's on the immediate periphery of the russian state. >> am i right that they see it as part of their broader objective to influence and impact russia's -- ukraine's desire for self determination. >> yes i think that's part of it. >> sir, has russia tried to claim stolen territory in ukraine, the u.s. and the rest of the world, saw then annexation for what it was, crime. shortly after russia invaded, united nations essentially declared it a crime in a non-binding resolution.
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in our own government recognizing the seriousness of the event instituted new sanctions against russia; is that right sir? >> yes, sir. >> this was a time where much of the world was united. russia invaded another country and illegally annexed its territory. as we all stood shoulder to shoulder with ukraine. one person who didn't see it that way, however, was president donald trump. on july 309 in an interview with abc news mr. trump said of putin, and i quote, he's not going into ukraine, okay, just so you understand, he's not going into ukraine, all right. ends quote. admiral, hadn't putin already gone into ukraine two years before and hadn't left. >> we are talking about the crimea and influence on the ukraine generally, yes, sir. >> and he still hasn't left, correct sir? >> now we are starting to get into technical questions, about are the russians physically in
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the ukraine. it's clear to me that he outright invaded with armed military force and annexed it. >> are they effectively still in ukraine. >> they are supportly supporting the ongone effort in the ukraine to split that country. >> we'll get back to mr. trump in a minute. first tell me sir what would it mean to russia and to putin to have sanctioned lifted? >> clearly, easing of economic impact. greater flexibility, more resource. >> according to nato analysis, the russian economy shrunk by as much as 3.5% in 2015 and had no growth in 2016. in big part because of western sanctions, especially those against the oil and gas industry. we are talking about a loss of over $135 billion just in the first year of sanctions. that's a huge sum of money. and sanction aren't meant to push their economy over a cliff,
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but to put long term pressure on putin to change his behavior. putin himself said in 2016 that sanctions are severely harming russia. so we know they have had success in putting pressure on the kremlin. admiral, what would it mean geopolitical geopolitically, would it help legitimate russia's illegal land grab? >> sir, i'm not in the position to talk bradley about the geopolitical implications. i mean we have stated previously from an intelligence perspective we have tried to outline to policy makers the specifics of the russian invasion of crimea, the specifics of the continued russian support to separatists in the ukraine, that russians continue to attempt to pressure and to keep the ukraine weak. >> would it help cleave the united states from her allies? >> if we remove the sanctions? >> there is a lot at stake here
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for russia. this is big money, big strategic implications. if they can legitimate their annexation of crimea, what's next? are we looking at a new iron curtain descending across eastern europe? you know, most in our country recognize what is at stake and how the united states as the leader of the free world is the only check on russian expansion. so back to mr. trump and his cohort. at the republican convention in july, paul man fort, carter page, and trump himself changed the republican party platform to no longer arm ukraine. so the same month that trump denied putin's roelt in ukraine his team weakened the party platform on ukraine. and as we have and will continue to hear, this was the same month that several individuals in the trump orbit held secret meetings
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with russian officials some of which may have been on the topic of sanction against russia for their intervention in ukraine. this is no coincidence in my opinion n. fact the dossier written by former mi 6 agent christopher steel alleges that trump agreed to sideline russian intervention in ukraine as a campaign issue, which is effectively a priority for vladimir putin. there is a lot in the dossier that is yet to be proven, but increasingly, as we'll hear throughout the day, allegations are checking out. and this one seems to be as accurate as they come. in fact, there is also one pattern i want to point out before yielding back. manafort. fired. page. fired. flynn. fired. why? they were hired because of their russian connections. they were fired. however, because their connections became public they were effectively culpable.
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but they were also the fall guys. so i think after we hear mr. quigley's line of questioning we might guess who could be next. >> mr. chairman, mr. ranking member, i yield back. >> i yield the balance to representative spehr. >> thank you ranking member. thank you, gentlemen, for your service to our country. you know, i think it's really important as we sit here that we explain this to the american people in a way that they can understand it. why are we talking about all of this? so my first question to each of you is, is russia our adversary? mr. combe? >> yes. >> mr. rogers? >> yes. >> do they intend to do us harm? >> they intend to enshurk i believe, that they gain advantage at our expense. >> director comey? >> yes.
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i want to be -- harm can have many meanings. they are an adversary so they want to resist us, oppose us, underminus in lots of different ways. >> so one of the terms that we hear often is hybrid warfare. and i'd like to just give a short definition of what it is. it blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare, and cyber warfare. the aggressor intends to avoid attribution or retribution. so would you say that russia engaged in hybrid warfare in its effort to undermine our democratic process and engage in our electoral process? director comey? >> i don't think so i would use the term warfare. i would think you want to ask experts in the definition of war. they engaged in a multifaceted campaign of active measures tond mine our democracy and hurt one
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of the candidates and hope to help one of the other candidates. >> wild' agree with the director. >> all right. thank you both. i actually think that their engagement was an act of war. an act of hybrid warfare. and i think that's why the american people should be concerned about it. now, in terms of trying to understand this, i think of a spiderweb with a tarantula in the middle. and the tarantula, in my view, is vladimir putin, who is entrapping many people to do his bidding and to engage with him. i would and include those like roger stone and carter page, and michael caputo, and wilber ross, and paul manafort, and rex tillerson. i'll like to focus first on rex
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tilsz in t tillerson in the three minutes i have here. he was the ceo of exxonmobil. in 2008 he said that the likelihood of u.s.-russia businesses was in fact a poor investment. that russia was a poor investment climate. that was in 2008. in 2011, he closed a $500 billion deal with rosneft oil. the ceo of that company is igor sevenen, who is a confidant of president putin, second most powerful man in russia and probably a former kgb agent. the deal gives exxon access to the black satisfy and the kara sea, and siberia for oil development. the company gets minority interest in exxon in texas and the gulf.
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rex tillerson calls sevenin a good friend. in 2012, mr. tillerson and he go on a road show here in the united states to talk about this great deal that they had just consummated. also in 2012 there is a video of president putin and mr. tillerson toeszi itoasting cham the deal. in and in 2013, mr. tillerson receives the russian order of friendship. and he sits right next to president putin at the event. so my question to you director comey is is it a value to president putin knowing what you know of him and that his interest in doing harm to us -- is it of benefit to mr. putin to have rex tillerson as the secretary of state? >> i can't answer that question.
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>> admiral rogers? >> i'm not in a position to answer that question. >> all right. so in 2014, igor sip offin is sanctioned and he laments he will no longer be able to come to the united states to motorcycle ride with mr. tillerson. could you give me an understanding of what are some of the reasons that we imposed sanctions? director comey? >> on sechin? >> in general? >> from my jen knowledge it's to punish criminal act sifts, war krils, violate united nations or united states law in some other way. it's to communicate and enforce foreign policy interests and values of the united states of america. that's my general sense. but an expert might describe it much better. >> admiral rogers.
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>> i would echo the director's comments. it's also a tool that we use to attempt to drive and shape the choices and actions of others. >> so in the case of igor who the united states, in part to draw attention to the fact that russia had invaded crimea, it is an effort to try and send a very strong message to russia, is that not true? >> i think that's right. >> yes, ma'am. >> all right. with that, mr. chairman, i'll yield back. for now. >> gentlewoman yields back. i yield to the gentle lady from florida, miss ros-lehtinen. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. it is never acceptable, we can all agree, for any foreign power to interfere with our electoral process, and this committee has long been focused on russia's reprehensible conduct, and we
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will remain focused on the threat emanating from moscow. and i agree with you, director comey, when you say this investigation that is ongoing, we will follow the facts wherever they lead, on a bipartisan level, and there will be no sacred cows. there are many important issues at stake as you gentlemen have heard, there is bipartisan agreement on the danger of illegal leaks and our ability to reauthorize important programs upon which our intelligence community relies. but i want to assure the american people that there is also bipartisan agreement on getting to the bottom of russian meddling in our election, which must remain the focus of this investigation and yours. so admiral rogers, i agree in what you said, that a public acknowledgement of this foreign meddling to be a problem is important as we move forward.
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and following on congressman lobiondo's questions and based on this team, i would like to ask you gentlemen if you could describe what, if anything, russia did in this election that to your knowledge they did or they didn't do in previous elections, how it was -- were their actions different in this election than in previous ones. >> i would say the biggest difference from my perspective was both the use of cyber, the hacking as a vehicle to physically gain access to information to extract that information and then to make it widely publicly available without any alteration or change. >> the only thing i would add is they were unusually loud in their intervention. it is almost as if they didn't care that we knew what they were doing, or that they wanted us to see what they were doing. it was very noisy, their
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intrusions in different institutions. >> and what specifically based on this loudness did the fbi or the nsa do to prevent or counter this russian active measure that we read about in the intelligence community assessment, as loud as they were, what did we do to counter that? >> well, among other things, we alerted people who had been victims of intrusions to permit them to tighten their systems to see if they couldn't kick the russian actors out, also as a government supplied information to all the states so they could equip themselves to make sure there was no successful effort to affect the vote and there was none as we said earlier. and then the government as a whole in october called it out and i believe it was director clapper and secretary jeh johnson issued a statement saying this is what the russians
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are doing, sort of an inoculati inoculation. >> the loudness to which you refer, perhaps they were doing these kinds of actions previously in other elections, but they were not doing it as loudly. why do you think they did not mind being loud and being found out? >> i don't know the answer for sure. i think part their number one mission is to undermine the credibility of our entire democracy enterprise of this nation. so it might be that they wanted us to help them by telling people what they were doing, their loudness in a way would be counting on us to amplify it by telling the american people what we saw, and freaking people out about how the russians might be undermining our elections successfully. so that might have been part of their plan, i don't know for sure. >> i agree with director comey. i mean, a big difference to me
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in the past was while there was cyberactivity, we never saw in previous presidential elections information being published in such a massive scale that had been illegally removed both from private individuals as well as organizations associated with the democratic process, both inside government and outside the government. >> and this massive amount and this loudness, now that it has become public knowledge, now that we have perhaps satisfied their thirst that it has become such a huge deal, do you expect their interference to be amplified in future u.s. elections, do you see any evidence of that in european elections or do you think this public acknowledgement would tamper down the volatility? >> i'll let mike rogers -- maybe i'll say as a initial matter, they'll be back.
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they'll be back in 2020, may be back in 2018, and one of the lessons they may draw from this is that they were successful because they introduced chaos and division and discord and sewed doubt about the nature of this amazing country of ours and this democratic process. it is possible they're misreading that as it worked, and so we'll come back and hit them again in 2020. i don't know. but we have to assume they're coming back. >> i fully expect that they continue this level of activity, because our sense is they have come to the conclusion that it generated a positive outcome for them in the sense that calling into question democratic process, for example, is one element of the strategy. we're working closely. we, our fbi team is working closely with our european teammates to provide the insights we have seen to try to assist them as they themselves, france, germany, for example, about to undergo significant national leadership elections over the course of the next two
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months. >> and in terms of the european elections, what have you seen or any information that you can share with us about the russian interference? >> so you've seen some of the same things that we saw in the u.s. in terms of disinformation, fake news, attempts to release information to embarrass individuals, you're seeing that play out to some extent in european elections right now. >> i look forward to continuing with you. thank you so much, mr. chairman. >> mr. turner is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. comey, admiral rogers, thank you for being here today and for your what appears to be attempts at being forth coming with the committee. i also want to thank the chairman and the ranking member schiff. this is a bipartisan effort. i think as you looked to what this committee has undertaken, everyone wants answers and everyone wants answers to all of the questions being asked
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because this does go to such an important issue concerning our elections. admiral rogers, i'll begin with a question to you concerning the foreign intelligence surveillance act. admiral, as you know, the foreign intelligence surveillance act provides the circumstances or authority under which the intelligence community may collect or intercept the communication of a foreign person located outside of the united states or as mr. comey indicated a person who is covered under a fisa court order. with mr. rooney and mr. gowdy, you discussed the minimization procedures under the foreign intelligence surveillance act and those minimization procedures are supposed to protect the privacy rights of u.s. citizens. specifically it is geared toward the communications of those who may be inadvertently or incidentally collected as a result of the intelligence community's lawful collection of communications of others. mr. rogers, is the intelligence
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community required to cease collection or the interception of communications if the result of the collection or interception includes the communications of an incoming u.s. administration official, president-elect, or the president-elect's transition team? >> it depends under what authority, as i said early on, there is a series of questions we go through, criminal associated activity, does the conversation deal about threats to u.s. persons, breaking of the law, so there is no simple yes or no. there is a series of -- >> is there any provision of minimization that requires you it cease collection? that is my question. are you under any circumstances required to cease collection if the collection results in the either inadvertent or incidental collection of an incoming u.s. administration official, the president-elect, or the president-elect's transition team? >> purely on the basis of exposure, i want to make sure i
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understand the question. >> are you required to cease? if you are undertaking lawful collection under the foreign intelligence surveillance act of a person or individual, either because they're a foreign person located outside the united states or the person that you're collecting against is the subject of a fisa court order, if incidental to that collection or inadvertently the collection results in the collection of communications of an incoming u.s. administration official, the president-elect or the president-elect's transition team, are you required under the minimization procedures to cease collection? >> not automatically. >> thank you. so the answer is no, correct? well, the reason why this is important is because intuitively we would all know that incoming administration would have conversations with those that the intelligence community may be collecting against, either by making phone calls to them, or receiving phone calls to them. so it is important for us to understand that the minimization procedures that are intended to collect the privacy rights of
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americans do not inherently include a prohibition of the intelligence community incidentally or inadvertently collecting the communications of an incoming administration. >> yes, sir. >> mr. comey? are you aware whether or not the director of national intelligence, director clapper, ever briefed the president of the united states, then president obama, concerning the possible inadvertent or incidental collection or interception by the u.s. intelligence community of any communication of members of the incoming trump administration? >> that's not something i can comment on. >> and then why not? >> couple of reasons, it might involve classified information, might involve communications with the president of the united states. on both of those grounds, i can't talk about it here. >> mr. comey, have you previously discussed your conversations with president obama with this committee?
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>> i don't remember. i may have with the chair ranking, i don't know with the full committee. >> we'll have to refresh your memory on those conversations then. mr. comey, did president obama ever acknowledge to you of having been briefed concerning possibly inadvertent or incidental collection or interception by the intelligence community of any communications of members of the incoming trump administration? >> i can give you the same answer, mr. turner. >> mr. comey, the first question related to whether or not mr. clapper had briefed the president of the united states and will certainly be following up with him, he's going to be appearing before us next week, and we'll certainly be directing the question it him also. mr. comey, are you aware of any evidence that general flynn prior to the inauguration ever communicated to the russian government or russian government official that the trump administration in the future
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would release, rescind or reverse u.s. sanctions against russia or ever made any offer of a quid pro quo for releasing, rescinding or reversing sanctions? >> not something i can comment on, mr. turner. >> and why is that? >> i'm trying very hard not to talk about anything that relates it a u.s. person or that might rule in or rule out things we might be investigating. i'm trying to be vague to protect the integrity of the investigation. please don't interpret my no comment as meaning this or meaning that, i just can't comment. >> mr. comey, there are statutes, guidelines and procedures concerning what does it take for the fbi to open up a counterintelligence investigation into a u.s. citizen. it is not just subject to discretion. you can't just say, well, let's go look at somebody, you have to have a basis, now informed us that you opened the counterintelligence investigation into the trump campaign, members of the trump
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campaign, and concerning russia in july of 2006. now, we're trying to get a picture of what does it take to tip over for an investigation. now, previously people have said that there have been individuals who attended a meeting with russian officials, individuals who -- a member paid to attend a conference, a picture taken, travel to a foreign place, there are many people both in all of our administrations and sometimes certainly members who left congress who would qualify for that. what is the tipping point? it just can't be that. don't you need some action or some information besides just attending a meeting, having been paid to attend a conference that a picture was taken, or that you traveled to a country before you're open to investigation for counterintelligence by the fbi? >> the standard is, i think a couple of different at play, credible allegation of wrongdoing or reasonable basis to believe that an american may
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be acting as an agent of a foreign power. >> the reason why we're struggling with this is we obviously have the statements of mr. clapper that there is is no evidence of collusion with russia, just left the intelligence community. and as you are aware, we now sit, because as you said, admiral rogers, the russians wanted to put a cloud over our system, and mr. comey, by your announcement today, there is now a cloud that undermines our system. there is a cloud that -- where we're sitting with mr. clapper who is obviously in a very important position to know who stated to us there is no evidence of conclusion and you will not give us evidence or give us any substantive evaluation of it, we now sit with this cloud and it is important, mr. chairman, i have a few additional questions if i might. >> we'll get back to you, mr. turner. mr. schiff is recognized for 15 minutes. >> i recognize representative jackie speier. >> thank you, mr. schiff. again, let's go back to this
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tarantula web. so mr. tillerson, in 2014, started to lobby the united states government asking them to shift or lift the sanctions. now, in his -- his confirmation hearing, he says he's -- as he said, i have never lobbied against sanctions personally to my knowledge, exxonmobil never directly lobbied against sanctions. and yet there is lobbying reporting that shows that exxonmobil actually paid over $300,000 to lobbyists in 2014 and that mr. tillerson visited the white house five times in 2014 and treasury with secretary lew seven times. is there something disconcerting
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about a u.s. ceo attempting to undermine the sanctions imposed by our government against another country for acts that we find to be disadvantageous to the world order? director comey? >> that's not a question i can answer for a variety of reasons. i'm not qualified to answer and i shouldn't be answering questions like that. >> okay. how about this then, is it disconcerting to you as the director of the fbi that a u.s. ceo would say publicly that he is very close friends with president putin and has had a 17-year relationship with him? >> that's not a question i can anser. >> would it raise any red flags? >> that's not a question i can
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answer. >> admiral rogers? >> lots of american corporations do business in russia. i have no knowledge of the specifics we're talking about. i'm in no way qualified or eligible enough to comment on this. >> all right, let's move on to someone else in that web. his name is michael caputo. he's a pr professional, conservative radio talk show host, in 1994 he moved to russia and there he was working for the agency for international development. he was fired from that job because he refused to follow a state department position, he then opened a pr firm in moscow, and married a russian woman. he subsequently divorced her and in 1999 his business failed. roger stone, a mentor to him, urged him to move to florida and open his pr firm in miami, which is exactly what mr. caputo did.
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and then in 2000, he worked with gas prom media to improve putin's image in the united states. now, do we know who gas prom media is? do you know anything about gas prom, director? >> i don't. >> well, it is a -- it is an oil company. in 2007 he began consulting the ukrainian parliamentary campaign, there he met his second wife, so i guess my question is, what possible reason is there for the trump campaign to hire putin's image consultant? any thoughts on that, director comey? >> no thoughts. >> admiral rogers? >> likewise, ma'am. >> all right. do either of you know what michael caputo is doing for the trump effort today? >> i have no idea.
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>> i'm not going to talk about u.s. persons. >> all right, let's move on now to carter page. carter page was the founder of global energy, an investment fund, he has only one partner, and that partner is sergey yatsenko, the former executive of russian state owned gas prom oil company. before that, from 2004 to 2007 he worked for merrill lynch in moscow. in march of 2016, then candidate trump referred to carter page as his foreign policy adviser to the washington post. the next day page asserts he's an adviser on russia and energy. but then subsequently candidate trump says he doesn't know him. on september 26th, he takes a
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leave of absence from the campaign. and then page publicly supports a relationship with russia, criticizes u.s. sanctions, and nato's approach to russia, saying and then subsequently says he's divesting his stake in gas prom in august. in 2014, he writes an article criticizing the u.s. sanctions praising session in an article in global policy and then rebuke the west for focusing on so-called annexation of crimea. he gives a graduation speech at the new economic school, denies meeting with the prime minister, christopher steel and his dossier says he met with, again, igor sechin, offering a 19% interest in rosneft. it become the biggest transfer of public property to private
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ownership. now, carter page is a national security adviser to donald trump. do you believe that -- why do we -- i guess, again, here is another company that has had sanctions opposed upon it. could you, again, clarify why we impose sanctions on companies? >> admiral rogers did it better than i. i'll let him -- >> i apologize, i don't remember the specifics of my answer, but i'll stand by my answer. >> which was excellent. >> all right. i think at that point i will yield back, mr. chair. >> i now yield too, mr. quigley. >> thank you, mr. ranking
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member. gentlemen, thank you for service, thank you for being here. we have talked a little bit about the russian playbook, right, extortion, bribery, false news, disinformation, all sounds very familiar, correct? as we talk without thinking about anybody in the united states, just generally the russian playbook and how it is worked in, particularly eastern europe and central europe, a lot of it involves trying to influence individuals in that country, correct? >> yes. >> so what we have talked about a little bit today seems to be sort of a black and white notion of whether there was collusion. but does a russian active measure attempting to succeed at collusion, does the person involved have to actually know? does it have to involve knowing collusion for there to be damage?
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>> i can answer generally in the world of intelligence, oftentimes there are people who are called co-optees, who are acting -- don't realize they're dealing with agents of a foreign power and are doing things for someone they think is a friend or a business associate, not realizing it is for the foreign government. so it can happen. it is actually quite a frequent technique. >> is it beyond that sometimes to include things where the actor doesn't necessarily know what they're doing is helping that other government? >> exactly. >> and what are instances -- just examples of what that might include in a generic sense in europe? >> oftentimes a researcher here in the united states may think they're dealing with a peer researcher in a foreign government and not knowing that that researcher is either knowingly or unwittingly passing information to a foreign e adversary of the united states. >> and can you explain and
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elaborate how this sort of problems with defining what collusion is, the differences that might be involved with explicit or implicit collusion? >> collusion is not a term -- a legal term, it is one i haven't used here today, we're investigating to see if there was any coordination between people associated with the campaign. >> explicit or implicit coordination. >> i guess implicit -- i would think of it as knowing or unknowing. you can do things to help a foreign nation state as i said, without realizing that you're dealing with, you think you're helping a buddy, who is a researcher at a university in china, and which you're actually doing is passing information that ends up with the chinese government. that's unwitting and i don't know if it is the same as you're implicit, explicit would be i'm sending this stuff to this researcher in china, i'm doing it to because i want to help the chinese government and i know he's hooked up with the chinese government. >> admiral rogers, other examples of what you witnessed in your career?
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>> sometimes u.s. individuals will be approached by other individuals, connected with foreign connections who will misrepresent what the -- not just the researcher, they'll assume an identity, if you will, i want you to think i'm actually a -- working for a business, exploring a commercial interest, those kinds of things, create a relationship and then it turns out really is no commercial interest here, they're acting as a direct extension of a foreign government. >> and romance can be a feature. somebody dating someone, create a close relationship, and the u.s. government person thinks they're in love with this person and vice versa and the other person is an agent of a foreign power. >> describe this as naive acquiescen acquiescence. >> i'm not sure what that means. >> you're going along with it without really acknowledging or understanding in your mind, you're being naive about the issue. >> sure, that could -- >> you can see that at times.
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>> okay. going on to things that you probably can't comment upon. we're all very familiar with mr. session's testimony before the united states senate in which he specifically said he had -- he wasn't one who had this contact with the russians. and then there was the amended, i guess, testimony in which he acknowledged i believe two such testimonies. the first was in july during the convention and then later in september afterwards. all the while that the issues that we are talking about today, the hacking, the dumping of materials were taking place and certainly someone in the position of mr. -- senator sessions would have been aware of this, perhaps would have remembered these conversations, might have mentioned ask the russian ambassador to knock it
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off. but apparently none of those things happen or he didn't remember that they happened. unfortunately what we're reading now is that there was a third meeting, as early as april, of last year, in washington, d.c., a meeting which candidate trump was president and the russian ambassador was president. at some point in time, this goes well beyond an innocent -- under the best of circumstances, oh, i forgot sort of thing or that doesn't count. when you correct your testimony in front of the united states senate, you're still under oath, you're swearing to the american people that what you're saying is true. the third time is well beyond that, and is quite simply perjury. so as we look at this, as we go forward, gentlemen, i ask that you take that into consideration. this is far more than what we have talked about just in the
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general sense, the russians hack or not, and the scope of this to a concerted effort and plan to lie to the american public about what took place and what the motivations were beyond these -- this process. again, i thank you for your service and i yield back to the ranking member. >> i yield to mr. swalwell of california. >> thank you, director comey and admiral rogers. director comey, you served time in a courtroom, as a prosecutor. and i am wondering if you remember the instruction read to juries every day that if you decide that a witness deliberately lied about something significant in this case, you should consider not believing anything that witness says. >> that's familiar to me. >> and your testimony at the beginning of this hearing was that president trump's claims that former president obama had wiretapped him is false. >> i said we have no information that supports them. >> with respect to donald trump,
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do you remember the other instruction relating to truthfulness of a witness or defendant, if a defendant makes a false or misleading statement relating to the charged crime, knowing the statement was false or intending to mislead, that conduct may also show he or she were aware of their guilt. >> familiar to me. from my distant past. >> i want to talk about the kremlin playbook. and there are a number of ways that a foreign adversary can seek to influence a person, do you agree with that? >> yes. >> financial. >> yes, that can be one. >> romance, you said is another. >> yes. >> compromise? >> correct. >> setting up a compromise? >> sure, to execute on a compromise, yes. >> how about inadvertently capturing a compromise? meaning they have vast surveillance and you stumble into that surveillance and are compromised. >> and they take that information and try to use it to
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coerce you? that's part of the playbook. >> i'll yield back, and continue once time is back with us. >> thank you. we'll go back to mr. turner. >> thank you. i want to go back to the issue of admiral rogers indicated the goal of the russians is to put a cloud on our system, to undermine our system. and i would think certainly today mr. comey with your announcement of an investigation, that the russians would be very happy with that as an outcome because the cloud of their actions and activities continues and will continue to undermine it until you're finished with whatever your investigation is currently in the scope of. i want to go back to the issue of how does one open an investigation, because, again, i'm a little confused by some of the things that we hear as to the basis of an investigation. now, mr. comey, if an individual attends a meeting with a foreign leader, is that enough to open a
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counterintelligence investigation? >> not more than somebody met with somebody, no. >> without more than, if they had their picture taken with a foreign leader, is that enough? >> it would depend where they were, who took the picture. >> assume they're in, the foreign country, and in that foreign leader's government offices or facilities, if they're having a picture taken with them, is that enough to open a counterintelligence investigation? >> it would depend. >> on what? i'm saying if there is just a picture, because i can tell you certainly there are the los lo people who had lots of pictures. >> it depends, did the person sneak over to the foreign country and meet them clandestinely.
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does the picture reveal something else about the relationship? it is hard to -- >> let's say it is not clandestine. let's say it is open. the person has attended an event that has gone over to meet with the foreign person, foreign government official, at their foreign government official facility or their official residence and has a picture taken and has no intention of covertly being present with the foreign person, is that picture enough to open a counterintelligence investigation? >> tricky to answer hypotheticals, but my reaction is that doesn't strike me as enough. i know your next question is going to be deeper into -- >> i'm not getting deep in hypos. these are straightforward. what if you're paid to attend a conference in a foreign country, and you're paid to attend that conference not directly by the foreign government, but nonetheless payment does occur for you to attend the conference.
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we know bill clinton attended many such conferences and spoke and received payment. is receiving payment by attending to speak at a conference, not covert, it is open, they're tending to speak at a conference, they received payment for the purposes of speaking. is that enough to open a counterintelligence investigation? >> i can't say as i sit here. it would depend upon a lot of different things. >> if you had no other information or evidence other than the fact that they attended, is that enough for you, for the fbi to open a counterintelligence investigation of a private u.s. citizen? >> can't answer the hypothetical, it would depend upon a number of other things. >> there would be no other things. i said only, if the only information that you had was they had attended an event in which they were paid, a conference and it was not covert, is that only sufficient information to open an investigation against a private u.s. citizen. >> who paid them, did they disclose it, what did they discuss when it was there, who
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else was sitting with them, there are lots of other circumstances that make that even that simple seeming hypo difficult to answer. >> let's say that they traveled to a foreign country and they openly traveled, wasn't covert, is traveling there enough? >> just traveling around the world, no. >> okay. well, i'm very concerned about the issue of how an investigation is open, and how we end up at this situation once again where mr. clapper, the director of national intelligence, just said when he left there was no evidence of conclusion and yet as admiral rogers said, we're sitting now where the russians' goal is being achieved of causing a cloud, or undermining an electoral process. i hope that you take an expeditious look at what you
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have undertaken because it affects the heart of our democracy. mr. comey, i have a question again, concerning classified information. now, i know that if i attend a classify briefing and i receive classified information and go and tell someone that classified information, leak it, release it, i've committed a crime. but what if someone goes to a classified briefing, walks out of that briefing and openly lies about the content of that briefing? it is unclear what happens then. it is important because as you know, this committee and certainly both of you gentlemen have handled a lot of classified information and recently more recently the purported classified information is put out in the press, the washington post, the new york times, reports information, and you know and i know and we all know having handled classified information that some of that information is not true.
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are the sources of that classified information, if they come out and lie about the content of classified information, have they committed a crime? >> it is a really interesting question. i don't think so. if all they have done is lied it a reporter, that's not against the law. if they have done it -- i don't want to break anybody's heart with that, that is in tnot agai the law. i can imagine a circumstance where it is part of some broader conspiracy or something, but that false statement to a reporter is not a crime. >> and i just want to underscore that for a second. i agree with you, i think it is no crime. and so every reporter out there that has someone standing in front of them and saying, i'm taking this great risk of sharing with you u.s. secrets besides them purporting to be a traitor, are committing no crime if they lie to them, so all of these news articles that contain this information that we know is not the case, are being done so
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at damage to the united states, but without the risk of a crime. and my next aspects of your question to mr. comey is this, what is the obligation of the intelligence community to correct such falsehoods, some of this information that we read in the washington post and the new york times is extremely false, and extremely incendiary, and extremely condemning of individuals and certainly our whole system. what is your obligation, mr. comey, to be that source to say i can't really -- it is classified information, but i can tell you it is not that. >> it is a great question, mr. turner. this is a whole lot out there that is false, and i suppose some of it could be people lying to reporters. i think that probably happens. but more often than not, it is people who act like they know when they really don't know. they're not the people who actually know the excretes, they're one or two hops out and they're passing on things they think they know. there is -- we had not only no obligation to correct that, we
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can't. if we start calling reporters, and saying, hey, this thing you said about this new aircraft we developed, that's inaccurate, actually. two engines. we can't do that. we give information to our adversaries that way, it is frustrating but we can't start down that road. if a reporter misreports a content of a bill being debated in congress, we can call and say, hey, you ought to read it more closely. i read a whole lot of stuff in the last two months that is just wrong, but i can't say which is wrong and i can't say to those reporters. >> mr. comey, if you could help us on this issue, i would greatly appreciate it. what happens is you come into a classified briefing with us, and you tell us perhaps what something that is absolutely false, really shouldn't be classified because you're telling us it is not true. but yet we can't go tell it is not true because you told us in
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a classified setting. there is a way we can at least have some exchanges to what is not true, so the american people don't listen to false stories in the washington post and the new york times that we all know are not true, that would be helpful. >> i would love to invent that machine, but we can't. because where do you stop that -- on that slope? >> false is false. >> then when i don't call the new york times and say you got that one wrong, bingo they got that one right, it is just an enormously complicated endeavor for us. we have to stay clear of it entirely. >> thank you. one last question. so we all read in the press that vice president pence publicly denied that general flynn discussed sanctions with russia. i'm assuming you saw those news reports. did the fbi take any action in response to the vice president's statements? >> i can't comment on that, mr. turner. >> mr. comey, the new york times reported on february 14th, 2017, that general flynn was interviewed by fbi personnel, is that correct? >> i can't comment on that, mr.
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turner. >> mr. comey, i do not have any additional questions. but i thank you, both, for your participation and again i thank the chairman and the ranking member for the bipartisan aspect of this investigation. >> the gentleman yields back, dr. wenstrup is recognized. >> thank you for being here. i appreciate your endurance in this effort today. one question. how long has russia and the soviet union been interfering or attempting to interfere with our election process? >> in the report we talked about, we have seen this kind of behavior to some degree attempting to influence outcomes for decades. >> going back to the soviet union. >> right. not to the same level necessarily, but the basic trend has been there. >> so i'm curious also about what triggers a counterintelligence investigation of a government official. and in some ways i'm asking for myself. example, last week i spoke in an
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event on foreign policy with atlanta council. unbeknownst to me the iraqi ambassador of the united states is there he comes up to me afterwards, introduces himself, and says he would like to meet with me at some time. okay. this isn't a theoretical. this is real. this is why i'm asking this. will be in trouble or under investigation if i meet with him? >> this is the slope i try to avoid going down, mr. turner, dr. wenstrup. i don't think i should be answering hypotheticals. >> it is not a hypothetical. i'm asking you in advance because i want to know if i can meet with him and be under investigation or not. i don't think that's an unrealistic question. this is real. this is right now. >> i get that. the fbi does not give advisory opinions. if you're asking about your particular case, i just can't do that. >> so you'll tell me afterwards? >> no, i'll never tell you. >> well you might. somebody might. somebody might tell the press.
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right. that's where i'm going next. i want to know what can i discuss? what am i allowed to discuss, what triggers the investigation, really what we're trying to get to, in general, you know, maybe not with the iraqi ambassador, but what about with the russian ambassador, or what are my obligations? do i need to advise someone that i'm meeting with them? do i have to discuss the agenda before i meet with them. just so we're clear. this is really what it is coming down to, a lot about what we're talking about. so i don't think it is unnecessary or ridiculous for me to ask that. and so in intelligence reporting, if the identity of a u.s. official is disseminated, to those on -- on an as needed basis, does that lead to a counterintelligence investigation of that individual? in general, if a u.s. official is in this report and it is disseminated, does that lead to
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an investigation of the individual? >> not in general, not as a rule, no. >> okay. >> it would depend upon lots of other circumstances. >> next, to the article from february 14th in the new york times which i believe we're all familiar, and you may not be able to answer any of these, but the article cites four current and former american officials. do you know the identity of those four officials? >> not going to comment on an article. >> well, it is not necessarily on the article, but okay, do you know for a fact that the four current and former american officials provided information for this story? >> i have to give you the same answer. >> okay. with or without an investigation going on, has anyone told you that they know who leaked the information? or who leaked any information on russian involvement in the u.s. elections or russian involvement with the trump election team? >> not going to comment on that. >> is it possible that the new york times misrepresented its
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sourcing for this february 14th article? possible? >> i can't comment on that. >> is it possible that the new york times was misled by individuals claiming to be current or former american officials? >> give you the same answer, before wenstrup. >> can i ask you why you can't comment on that? >> yeah, i think a number of reasons. i'm not confirming that the information in that article is accurate or inaccurate. i'm not going to get in the business that we talked about earlier -- >> let me ask you this. >> there is other reasons. i'm also not going to confirm whether we're investigating things and so if i start talking about what i know about a particular article, i run the risk of stepping on both of those land mines. >> one more question before the time is up, we'll come back to me, but i'm curious, is it possible nothing to do with this article, is it possible that a
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so-called source to a media outlet may actually be a russian advocate. nothing to do with this story, per se, just is it possible that a russian surrogate could actually be the source that a newspaper is rely on? >> in general, sure, somebody could always be pretending to be something they're not. >> i yield back at this time. >> mr. schiff is recognized for 15 minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. a couple of questions and i'll pass it to mr. quigley for answering something into the record. >> can i ask you an estimated time. i'm not made of steel, i may have to take a quick break. >> would you like to do that now? >> if you can. i didn't know how much longer you planned to go. >> i think we want to keep going until members have asked all their questions. >> okay. just a quick rest stop? >> yes, we'll break for about ten minutes? >> that's plenty.
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. just watching some members of the house intelligence committee this is the first public hearing into russia's influence in the 2016 presidential election that they have been holding. live coverage here on c-span3 and just taking a break at the request of fbi director james comey. also hearing from admiral mike rogers, they have been testifying for several hours
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this morning. and during the hearing, president trump has been tweeting his reactions during the testimony including this from the hearing, the nsa and fbi tell congress that russia did not influence the electoral process. the chair of the committee devin nunes calling a short break for the witnesses. and we will bring you back here live soon as they resume. but we're going to take a look back at some of the earlier testimony and statements from earlier in the hearing. >> the putin regime has a long history of aggressive actions against other countries including the outright invasion of two of its neighbors in recent years as well as its brutal military action in syria to defend the assad regime. but its hostile acts take many forms aside from direct military assaults. for example, the kremlin is waging an international
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disinformation campaign through the rt propaganda network, which traffics anti-american conspiracy theories that rival the extravagant untruths of soviet era bravado. the baltics and other russian neighbors have long decried these attacks. but their warnings went unheeded in far too many nations' capitals including our own. the fact that russia hacked u.s. russian related databases comes as no shock to this committee. we have been closely monitoring russian's aggression for years, a year ago i publicly statemented that our inability to predict putin's regime plans and intentions has been the biggest intelligence failure we have seen since 9/11 and that remains my view today. however, while the indications of russian measures targeting the u.s. presidential election are troubling, one benefit is
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already clear, it focused wide attention on the pressing threats posed by the russian croat. there have been please for stronger action against russian belligerence but the obama administration was committed to the notion against all evidence that we could reset relations with putin and it routinely ignored our warnings. i hope today's hearing will shed light on three important focus points of the committee's investigation on russia active measures. first, what actions did russia undertake against the out during the 2016 election campaign. and did anyone from political campaign -- political campaign conspire in these activities. number two, were the communications of officials or associates of any campaign subject to any kind of improper surveillance? the intelligence community has extremely strict procedures for
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handling information pertaining to any u.s. citizens who are subject even to incidental surveillance and this committee wants to ensure all surveillance activities have followed all relevant rules, laws and regulations. let me be clear, i've been saying this for several weeks, we know there was not a physical wiretap of trump tower. however, it is still possible that other surveillance activities were used against presidents trump and his associates. number three, who has leaked classified information? numerous current and former officials have leaked purportedly classified information. we aim to determine who leaked or facilitated leaks of classified information so these individuals can be brought to justice. i hope this committee's bipartisan investigation will result in a definitive report on the russian actions taken during the election campaign. to that end, we encourage anyone who has information about these topics to come forward and speak to the house intelligence
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committee. i again thank the witnesses for helping shed light on these issues. and i will recognize ranking member schiff, he's asked for 15 minutes for his opening statements, so i will go ahead and give him 15 minutes for his opening statement. mr. schiff. >> mr. chairman, i thank you and i also want to thank director comey and admiral rogers for appearing before us today as the committee holds the first open hearing into the interference campaign waged against our 2016 presidential election. last summer at the height of a bitterly contested and hugely consequential presidential campaign, a foreign adversarial power intervenes in an effort to weaken our democracy and influence the outcome for one candidate and against the other. that foreign adversary was, of course, russia. and it acted through its intelligence agencies and upon the direct instructions of its autocratic ruler vladimir putin in order to help donald j. trump become the president of the united states. russian active measures campaign
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may have begun as early as 2015 when russian intelligence services launched the series of spear fishing attacks designed to -- >> just watching some of the house intelligence committee hearing from earlier and while the committee is in a break here, take you to the white house briefing just started. we're going to take that live now and we'll return to the intelligence hearing on russian involvement in u.s. elections as soon as things resume. >> -- discussions on women and health care wi. he will be hosting even more meetings and listening sessions in the coming weeks as he works with congress to bring common sense reform to our health care system. the president has shown he's willing to hear from all stake holders in the health care field and he will continue to listen as the process on the american health care act moves along and we pursue the additional legislative and administrative actions necessary. this afternoon the president had lunch with the vice president and as we speak he's meeting with secretary of state
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tillerson. the secretary just returned from an important trip to asia, he made it clear that america's committed to our allies, japan, and the republic of korea and we expect china to increase the role in persuading north korea to move away from nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development and towards steps to create a better future for the north korean people. this trip set the stage for future leader level engagement between the u.s. and china, during this meeting he will debrief the president on his trip. later this afternoon, the president will welcome the prime minister of iraq, the iraqi people have been a brave and steadfast partner in our shared fight against isis, al qaeda and radicalism. the president will speak with the prime minister about how that partnership will help defeat isis and move into a new era in which iraq is a force for stability and peace in a prosperous middle east. after his bilateral meeting with the prime minister, the president will depart the white house for louisville, kentucky, for a make america great again rally before returning to the
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white house later this evening. a few notes at the end before i take some questions. yesterday treasury secretary mnuchin returned from a successful trip to europe where he stopped in the uk for a bilateral with to europe. and later met with 18 of his counterparts during the g20ed a ministerial in badden badden. this trip gave the secretary an opportunity to outline the administration's priorities on a number of issues. financial regulation, international tax and elicit finance. during the meetings, the secretary and his counterparts presented a platform to promote growth and financial stability. in terms of the schedule for the rest of the week, tomorrow the president will sign s 442, the national aeronautics and space -- >> been asked a number of questions today about is it enough to open an investigation because someone travels or is it enough because their photograph taken or attend a conference? i would imagine you get so many
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leads, so many people writing to you with information that they're convinced shows a crime that if you investigated everything that people send you you would be squandering your investigationive resources in a way you can't afford to do. my understanding and correct me if i'm wrong, in order for you to open an investigation, you need to see credible information or evidence that someone has either committed a federal crime or become an agent of a foreign power. is that an accurate understanding? >> that's a fair statement. as you said, mr. schiff, we have to choose -- which we get a lot of referrals, which ones align with the threats that the fbi is trying to prioritize because we have limited resources. >> exactly. even when those criteria are met, that enough may not be -- that in and of itself may no be enough because you have so many other cases you need to investigate and you have to prioritize. >> correct. >> i also want to ask you, you mentioned that it wouldn't be
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appropriate for you to be telling reporters that stories they're writing are accurate or inaccurate when they may involve an investigation. that's not appropriate thing for you to do. >> correct, especially if the story involves classified information. >> you would be disclosing classified information potentially in what you're confirming or by rebutting a story that was inaccurate you may be suggesting other stories that contain classified information are thoen en accura? >> correct. >> it's inappropriate for you to be batting down inaccurate stories, would you also agree if it's inappropriate for you to be batting down inappropriate stories, would you also agree it's inappropriate for the white house to be asking the fbi to be rebutting stories they don't like? >> that's one i don't want to answer, mr. schiff. i don't want to talk about
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communications between the executive branch. that's not something the fbi can or should do. >> if you were appearing before the senate for confirmation and they asked you as director of the fbi if you were asked by the white house to refute or acknowledge press stories that they liked or didn't like, what would you tell the senate in your confirmation hearing? would that be appropriate for your office? >> i would figure out what was the right things for the fbi to do and then do that thing. >> that right thing would be not to be in the business of confirming or denying stories about classified information? >> correct. that's what the right thing is for the fbi. >> let me recognize mr. quigley for the purposes of entering something into the record. >> thank you. i'm reminded of what black said only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. i respectfully ask to enter a march 8th article entitled jeff sessions likely met russian ambassador a third time. >> i now yield to mr. swallow.
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>> thank you, ranking member and thank you, again, to our director and admiral rogers. director, would you agree that the fbi when it's considering a counterintelligence investigation views contacts between u.s. persons and say russia differently than it would view contacts between u.s. persons and the uk or france or germans? >> yes, very much so. >> that's because they're a foreign adversary. >> correct. >> and so to land on russia's radar is somebody that they may want to recruit, would you agree that being a business person, a prominent business person is something that would be attractive to them? >> could be. might depend on what industry you were in. >> could also be a politician be something that would be attractive to them? >> sure. >> and how about somebody who does business with russians, would that be attractive to them? >> could be. would depend on other things as well, though. >> and we were starting to discuss this, efforts to recruit
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include investing in a u.s. person, is that correct? >> efforts by russia to invest typically in their trade craft? >> yes. >> that can be one of the ways in which they cultivate a relationship, sure. >> if you're a u.s. person with a business, could it include investing in your business or being a partner in some of your endeavors? >> lots of different ways someone could try to establish a relationship. >> and going back to compromise, could we assume that any prominent u.s. person traveling to russia would probably be covered by russian surveillance? >> depend on how you define prominent, but they have an extensive surveillance operation of foreign visitors, so no matter who you are, you ought to assume it. whether that's true in reality it's harder for me to know that for sure. >> russia is attempting to recruit and persuade individuals that we've discussed before, just as foreign adversaries are because they want to get
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something out of them? >> correct. >> in many cases it could be if that position is in a position of power that they could be in a position to influence policy in the united states? >> influence policy, supply them with information that's useful to them, and maybe other purposes. >> now, with respect to your counterintelligence investigations, would it be important for you if you were concerned that a u.s. person had financial entanglements with a foreign adversary to see that person's tax returns? >> that's a hypothetical i really want to avoid answering, but the answer is it would depend really a whole lot of circumstances. >> that would be one of the pieces of evidence that you would consider looking at? >> maybe. maybe. you might be able to get the picture you need from other financial records that are more readily available. >> and you're aware, director, president trump has refused breaking with the tradition of the past 40 years to show the
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american people his tax returns? >> not something i want to comment on. i'm aware of it from the media. >> now, russia also in their efforts to recruit individuals and develop individuals preying on or following someone's financial distress is also an avenue they may pursue, is that right? >> potentially, if it offers an avenue for leverage on someone. >> right. and director, would you consider six bankruptcies that an individual may have as a point of leverage? >> i can't say. i don't know. >> and director, you're aware that president trump had six prior bankruptcies? >> it's not something i'm going to comment on. >> director, when your agents are conduct a counterintelligence investigation with respect to a foreign adversary and their efforts to recruit or cooperate with a u.s. person, would you look at the u.s. person's travel
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to that country? >> as part of evaluating whether there's an elicit relationship? >> yes. >> sure. >> are you familiar that president trump travelled at least three times to russia. >> that's not something i'm going to comment on. >> you aware that his son donald trump jr. traveled at least six times to russia. >> same answer. >> donald trump has said a number of times that he has had nothing to do with russia. and i want to ask you, director, if you're familiar with deutsche bank and its $300 million loan to donald trump and his organization? >> not something i'm going to comment on. >> director, are you aware that deutsche bank has been investigated and fined over $400 million by new york state to stop the corrupt transfer of 10 billion dollars out of rush sna. >> generally from press accounts. >> so an individual's association with the bank that has had dealings with russian
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money laundering, that would be something that would be a red flag for a counterintelligence investigation i would asnum. >> that's a hypo i don't want to answer. >> director, would a u.s. business person who is associated with the foreign adversary having tenants in their office building that do business with that foreign adversary, would that be a red flag that a counterintelligence agent would look at? >> i can't answer that. >> are you aware that in trump tower were two tenants who ran a high stakes illegal gambling ring that was run out of trump tower? >> same answer. >> and are you aware that the prosecutor in that case was u.s. attorney preet para ra. >> same answer. >> are you aware that u.s. attorney was recently fired? >> yes. >> by the president of the united states? >> well, i don't know who fired him. i know from press accounts that he was asked to leave.
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>> director, are you aware of felix sader a former soviet official and adviser to the trump organization? >> i'm not going to comment on that. >> director, outside of mr. sader's relationship with the trump organization, are you aware that the fbi knew of mr. saber because of a $40 million stock fraud case that was prosecuted by the federal government. >> same answer. >> director, would a u.s. person having multiple trademarks in addition to the other relationships that i just described be a red flag for a counterintelligence investigation if those trademarks were in russia? >> multiple trademark -- >> registering trademarks in a foreign adversary's country? >> i don't know what to make of that. >> okay. were you aware that donald trump had six trademarks in russia? >> not going to comment on that. >> were you aware that donald trump tried to market his trump vodka brand in russia? >> same answer. >> were you aware that donald
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trump ran miss universe 2013 out of moscow? >> same answer. >> are you aware that donald trump jr. said on a number of occasions that russian money is pouring into the trump organization and that there's a disproportionate cross section of the company's revenue coming from russian money? >> same answer. >> so hypothetically speaking, would a foreign adversary and its oligarchs having a disproportionate cross section of company's revenue coming from that country, would that be a red flag for a counterintelligence agent? >> i'm trying to be helpful but i'm not going to answer a hypo. >> i understand. thank you, director. director, are you familiar with a 2004 home purchase by president trump in palm beach county for about $40 million? >> not going to comment on that. >> are you familiar with a 2008 sale of that same property for 129% increase at about $98 million? >> same answer. >> are you aware that the buyer
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in 2008 was a russian businessman? >> same answer. >> and under the earlier hypothetical, would a foreign adversary's oligarch purchasing a home in the united states for 129% more than the home was purchased four years before, would that be a tool that a foreign adversary would use to try to recruit, develop or bring somebody on to their side? >> same answer as before. >> you said that it's likely or somebody should assume they're being surveilled when they were in russia. would you assume that donald trump was being surveilled in 2013 when he was in moscow? >> i'm not going to answer. i was trying to confine my answer to prominent people should assume, not students and all those people who might go there for a brief hol darks i don't think i would ask them to assume that. >> right. would it be safe to say that if donald trump was doing something he shouldn't be doing while he was in russia, the russians probably saw it? >> same answer as before. >> would bit safe to assume if a
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prominent person was doing something they shouldn't have been doing while they were in russia, the russians probably saw it? >> i would stick to what i said before prominent people should assume. >> mr. director, was donald trump under investigation during the campaign? >> same answer as before, i'm not going to answer that. >> is he under investigation now? >> not going to answer that. please don't overinterpret what i said as the chair and ranking know, we have briefed them in great detail on the subjects of the investigation of what we're doing, but i'm not going to answer about anybody in this forrum. >> director, from our perspective on the committee, the dots continue to connect president trump, his team, people in his orbit to russia. and the questions that we have it's quite simple, are these merely 100 different coincidences or is this a convergence you're seeing deep personal, financial, political ties meeting russia's
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interference in our campaign. i'm wondering with your extensive counterintelligence expertise and donald trump was candidate, do you consider this -- these number of connections between well-connected russians and donald trump the trump organization, the trump family, and the trump campaign to be a coincidence or convergence? >> i'm not going to answer. >> from your perspective, director, have you ever seen in the history of american politics or at least since you've been alive, any political candidate have this many connections, personal, political and financial to a foreign adversary? >> same answer. >> mr. director, admiral rogers, this past election our country was attacked. we were attacked by russia. it was electronic. it was nearly invisible. thanks to the hard work of the men and women who serve in our intelligence community, we know that the attack came from russia. it was ordered by vladimir putin. he sought to help donald trump and to take down hillary
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clinton. the most disturbing finding for me and my fellow committee members is that russia intends to do this again. and i see this as an opportunity for everyone on this committee, republicans and democrats to not look in the rear view window but to look fard and do everything we can to make sure our country never again allows a foreign adversary to attack us. because i think, director, you and admiral rogers would agree, it's not only russia is sharpening the nooifs to go back at us or go at our allies, it's also other countries who have similar capabilities. the best thing we can do now is unit around this investigation, have also a parallel independent commission to make sure we get to the bottom of what happened, why we were so vulnerable and assure the american people we will never let this happen again. i yield back. >> dr. winstrop? >> thank you, mr. chairman. if i can, gentlemen, go back to what we were talking about a little bit before with interference from the russians, possibly in through our media.
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have russians or soviet's historically attempted to spread disinformation through the u.s. media? you mentioned they've been over decades trying to interfere. they use media as a resource? >> we see them use media writ large to disseminate false information. >> and is that been pretty much regardless of who is in the white house? >> it doesn't seem to tie to a particular political party, that tactic if you will. >> thank you. mr. comey, have you ever formed -- this is going back to the article from february 14th "the new york times," have you ever formed an articulated an opinion about the article from february 14th "the new york times"? >> have i ever formed an -- >> formed an opinion or articulated an opinion on that article? >> i don't want to say. >> thank you. >> when i look at your jobs and thank you for being there and doing your jobs, and i mean that
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sincerely, your job, you observe and you investigate and you assess and you try to predict and you sometimes have to act. would that be correct? >> sure. >> what you do. my question is, as far as predictions and actions, hillary clinton won the 2016 election for the united states presidency. would certainly most had predicted. i would con jekt that even the russians predicted that she would win. what were the russians planning for november 9th and beyond that had she won? you mentioned before -- the reason i ask that, you mentioned before they said they'll be back. my question is, have they left? i would contend they haven't left. this isn't something they're turning on and off. this is a constant. so any idea of what may have happened november 9th and beyond that had she won? >> hard to -- >> the pattern has been to interrupt us regardless of who is in the white house.
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>> sure. yeah. they want to mess with us in a continuing and general way. it's hard to answer that counterfactual. i would assume they would continued their efforts to undermine president-elect clinton as they had begun doing during the summer, especially with the european allies to create a divide there and probably lots of other thing. what i meant by they'll be back, they're not going away, but i meant that in the sense of their next opportunity to mess with our election is two years from now and then four years from now. that's what i meant by back. >> thank you. i think your job is difficult because there's a lot of conjecture about any relationship with russians in general and questions from me and others about can i meet with the russian ambassador, does that get me investigated, business ties here and there. you know, i mean, currently we share space station with the russians. we buy engines from the russians for our rockets. and in the '90s, we had joint
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military exercises with the russians. it gets a little bit tough for you guys to decide what and when do we investigate. and i appreciate you taking the time with us today. i yield back. >> mr. stewart? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and to the witnesses, thank you both. you know, i'm impressed. i was a b1 pilot when i took off, one of the first thoughts i had is how long will it be until i go to the bathroom. you went almost four hours. our plan was to keep you here until you were in such pain you would answer all of our questions. i have a list of questions here, but i want to divert a little bit and follow up on some of the things that have been said here today. mr. kony, you confirmed there's an investigation into the trump campaign officials. the fact that there's an open investigation does not indicate guilt, though, does it? >> certainly not. >> and in fact, many times an investigation may find there is no wrong doing. >> that's one of the reasons we
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don't talk about it so we don't smear people who don't end up charged with anything. >> i appreciate that. and i would say that is especially likely to have -- when i say especially likely, i'm talking about to have the finding of no wrong doing when there is a political motive. if there's one thing that we've seen here today, i think, from some of the line of questioning has clearly been a political motive in some of the questions that have been asked to you. mr. clapper, the former dni, this is someone who should know. i want to read what he said a few weeks ago. mr. clapper then went on to to say to his knowledge there was no evidence of collusion between members of trump campaign and the russians. we did not conclude any evidence in our report. and when i say our report, that is the nsa, fbi and cia, with my office. the director of national intelligence had anything -- any reflection of collusion between the member of trump campaign and the russians, there was no evidence of that in our report. was mr. clapper wrong when he said that? >> i think he's right about
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characterizing the report, which you all have read. >> well, i want you to know i agree with mr. clapper. and at this point, everyone on this dias should agree with mr. clapper because we in the committee have seen no evidence, zero, that would indicate that there was collusion or criminal wrong doing between any members of the previous administration or campaign and russian officials. and then i'm going to comment very quickly on the leaks. you said very clearly that it is a crime both of you have said that. you indicated it endangers nshl security, which i i certainly agree with. it makes it hard for us to authorize important tools we need to protect our national security and many times it's inaccurate. and i would ask you then, if someone in the intelligence community has some concerns f they feel like there's been an overreach or the government is doing something they shouldn't be doing, any government official, is there a process they can go to where they could make that known and express their concerns?
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>> yes. all of us in the intelligence community have robust whistle blower provisions we educate our folks on. part of the whistle blower track is they can bring information to the appropriate committee of congress. >> that's exactly right. both of your agencies capable of handing -- handling accusations such as that that may be brought to your attention? >> yes. >> yes. >> and knowing that, i find it hard to justify any classified information that is leaked. and i hope you find those guys and i hope you crack them on the head because as a former air force guy, former military guy, who is committed to defending our national security, i think those guys are arrogant and i think they're cowards. they won't stand up and make their case. they won't use the legal process. they hide behind some new york times reporter and without showing who they are or actually showing the information they have and they make these accusations and leak this information and i say i hope you find out who they are and you hold them accountable and we
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should. for one thing, to disincentivize it from happening again because it happens far too often. i know you both agree with me on that. i would like to shift quickly, if i could, to the integrity of the report which the previous dni when he determined along with your acquiescence, i might add, both of you, that russia developed a clear preference for mr. trump. this is a huge deal. i mean, think about this story. the american people have been told and some believe that our president was elected maybe because of the influence of a foreign government. i love you guys, you know that. i defend you and we respect what you do. i do need to make this point, the intelligence community is not perfect, is it? >> not perfect? >> yes. >> certainly not. >> certainly not. >> i can speak for me. he might be perfect. >> mr. rogers, i'll allow you to answer the same question. >> i am not. same as the director. >> and as has been indicated here, and look, again, that's
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not a criticism. it's just the human endeavor. we sometimes make mistakes, as do agencies sometimes make mistakes and all of us can think of examples of that, including meaningful mistakes, mistakes that had clear implication for our policy. as has been indicated here as well, there's a difference in level of confidence, mr. comey, you have a higher degree of confidence in this report than you do, don't you, mr. rogers? >> to be specific, different level of confidence on one specific assessment or judgment. >> understand. >> but a concurrence overall in that judgment. >> but that one judgment, that one is a very important part of this report. if i could make just this last point, this is an important point i think, that is the difficulty of determining motive. i mean, we can go back. we can look at fact. we can look at what happened. we can often determine who did it, who they did it with, when they did it, but to determine motive, you've got to crawl inside someone's head. that's much, much more
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difficult. in fact, quoting from the preamble in this report, talking about leader's intentions, it says this objective is difficult to achieve when seeking to understand complex issues in which foreign actors go to extraordinary lengths to hide and onfy skate their activities. we're trying to determine motive, which is very difficult. do you agree that determining motive is one of the most difficult challenges when it comes to an intelligence analysis. >> i do, mr. stewart. i should emphasis admiral rogers said earlier, we made no judgment whether the russians were successful in having an impact on te election. i want to be clear. that's not in the report because we didn't opine on it. that's not within our -- >> i understand that. but we're looking at russian activities. and we're making a conclusion of why they did that. in this case, they preferred one candidate over the other. i was in moscow last august. i came home and i did some media interviews and talked to some folks. i said, they're going to mess with our elections.
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that wasn't based on any intelligence analysts or specific information, it was just based on history. we knew that they would. and i was always asked, who do they want to win? i said then i don't think they care. i don't think they -- a, could believe they could determine who would win. they just want to break down the foundation. they just want to break the trust in our institutions. they want to take away that faith we have in our electoral process. by the way, the intelligence community agreed with us. d -- with me on that analysis. for a long, long time, up until december. then suddenly they didn't. that was when the president asked for this report and he asked for it to be concluded very quickly and then the analysis changed entirely. and it went from no, no, no, they don't really care to, no, no, they want mr. trump to win. and i think there's another plausible explanation which is what i want to talk about with the few minutes i have remaining. let me begin by asking you, do you think that the russians expected secretary clinton to
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win the election? >> yes, as of august, certainly. august, september. >> okay. mr. rogers? >> yes. >> okay. mr. comey, you indicated as of august/september, do you believe they ever came to a conclusion that you know what, mr. trump is going to win? >> no. the assessment of the intelligence community was that early on they thought he might have a shot. and so they wanted to mess with our election, hurt our country in general. that's always the baseline. they hated her, secretary clinton. wanted to harm her and thought might have a chance to help mr. trump. and then later concluded that mr. trump -- it was hopeless and they would focus then on just trying to undermine secretary clinton, especially with the european allies. >> got that. >> agree. >> so up until summer and through the fall they believe that secretary clinton would win, is that true? >> i think the assessment was late in the summer they concluded based on the polling i think a lot of people were reading that mr. trump didn't
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have a chance and they shifted to just focussing on just trying to undermine her. >> i tell you, if you were to tell me, and i know you didn't, i'm just saying if anyone were to tell me they clon colluded mr. trump would win i would say they were nuts. every media organization, every political organization, every government organization i'm familiar with last fall thought that secretary clinton would be the next president of the united states. >> i think the russians agreed. >> abchutely is they did agree. then this is the point, this is such a fine line but it's such an important point. that is how can you know for certain that the russians were motivated by hurting the person they thought, in fact, fully expected was going to be the next president of the united states and comparing that with a motive that's kind of a hail mary pass, you know what, maybe this guy's got a shot, let's try to help him get elected? because those motives would be -- that's again coming back to my original point. determining motives is very difficult. you have to either have very
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direct information or you have to be able to get inside someone's head and really figure out what is that's driving them. knowing the russians expected secretary clinton to win, would you see that some of those things they've done would be consistent with undermining her presidency, not necessarily because they thought mr. trump was going to win and they wanted to help him? >> again, i think it's two closely related sides of the same coin. to put it in a homely metaphor, i hate the new england patriots. and no matter who they play, i would like them to lose. and so i'm at the same time rooting against the patriots and hoping their opponent beats them because there's only two teams on the field. but what the intelligence community concluded was early on the hatred for mrs. clinton was all the way along. >> yep. >> when mr. trump became the nominee, there was some sense that it would be great if he could win, be great if we could help him, but we need to hurt her no matter what. then it shifted to he has no chance, let's focus on undermining her. that was the judgment of the
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intelligence community. >> i would also if i could highlight i acknowledge the challenge at times about trying to understand intent, but the level -- we're not going to go into specifics in open unclassified forrum, but the level of sourcing, the multiple sources we had, which we're able to independently corroborate the judgment. there's a reason why we were high confidence in everything except just one issue. >> yeah. >> to include the intent. >> i understand. i spent some time out at the cia last week. i was with the staff as best we could through the 2000 some odd pages. by the way, not many people did. and some people are casting aspersions in not making the effort to go out there and actually look at it. but i'm telling you that having done that, i think a reasonable person could say what i've said here today that there is another element to this. that there is another, as you said mr. comey, another side of the coin. and this is a very, very difficult in my opinion thing to
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say with high levels of confidence which is why once again the intelligence community isn't perfect sometimes. and we do make mistakes. and mr. chairman, i yield back and like to come back for just a few minutes if we can after. >> gentlemen yields back. >> thank you. just a couple quick followup questions by myself and mr. hiems and mr. castro. director, you were asked about director clapper's comments and i think your response indicated that they were correct as far as the unclassified intelligence assessment goes. >> that's what i understood the question to be about the report itself. >> i want to make it clear to people, though, the intelligence assessment doesn't discuss the issue of u.s. person coordination with the russians and i assume that's because at the time of the report in january of this year that was under an investigation that you have now disclosed. is that right? >> correct. the counterintelligence investigation is the fbi's business. the ic report is what the
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intelligence community had what russia had done. there's nothing in the report about coordination or anything like that. it's a separate responsibility of the fbi to try to understand that, investigate it and assess it. >> so we shouldn't read mr. clapper's comments as suggesting that he takes a different view of whether you had sufficiently credible information and evidence to initiate a fbi counterintelligence investigation? >> i don't know exactly what he meant. all i can say is what the fact is which we just laid out. there's the report and then there's our investigation. >> and the report doesn't cover the investigation? >> correct. >> mr. himes? >> thank you, mr. schiff. gentlemen n my original questions to you i asked you whether the intelligence community had undertaken any sort of study to determine whether russian interference had had any influence on the electoral process and i think you told me the answer was no. >> correct. >> correct, we said the u.s. intelligence community does not do analysis or reporting on the
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u.s. political process or u.s. public opinion. that is not our policy. >> okay. thanks to the modern technology that's in front of me right here, i've got a tweet from the president an hour ago saying the nsa and fbi tell congress that russia did not influence the electoral process. that's not quite accurate that tweet? >> i haven't been following anybody on twitter while i've been sitting here. >> i can read it to you. the nsa and fbi tell congress that russia did not influence electoral process, this tweet has gone out to millions of americans, 16.1 to be exact. is the tweet, as i read it to you, the nsa and fbi tell congress that russia did not influence the electoral process, is that accurate? >> well, it's hard for me to react. let me tell you what we understand the state of what we've said is. we've offered no opinion, have no view, have no information on potential impact because it's never something we looked at. >> okay.
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>> so it's not too far of a logical leap to conclude that the assertion that you have told the congress that there was no influence on the electoral process is not quite right? >> right. it certainly wasn't our intention to say that today. we don't have any information on that subject. that's not something that was looked at. >> right. >> admiral rogers, before i yield back to the ranking member, there's another tweet that says nsa director rogers tells congress unmasking individuals endangers national security. my understanding was as a member of the committee that there is a lengthy and very specific process for the unmasking but that it does not inherently in and of itself endanger national security? >> i assume the comment is designed to address the leaking of such information, but again, i have not read what you're saying to me, so i'm not in a position to comment on it, sir. >> thank you. i'll yield back to the ranking member. >> mr. castro? >> thank you. and thank you, gentlemen, for your service to the nation and for your testimony today. i want to take a moment to turn
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to the christopher steel which was first mentioned in the media before r just before the election and published in full by media outlets in january. my focus today explore how many claims been this steel dossier are looking more and more likely as though they are accurate. first, let me ask you, can you describe who christopher steel is? >> no, not going to comment on that. >> are you investigating the claims made in the dossier? >> not going to comment on that, mr. castro. >> okay, the rep station of the author mr. steel, career built on following russia is important. this is not someone who doesn't know how to run a source and not someone without context. the allegations it raises about president trump's campaign aide's connections to russians overlaid with known, established facts and timelines from the 2016 campaign are very revealing. so, let's begin. in general, as my colleagues have discussed before, sit true
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that a large number of oligarchs and wealthy businessmen in russia have profited from their continuing close relationships or cooperation with the kremlin? >> would you say that one more time, sir? i want to make sure i understand. >> oligarchs and wealthy folks in russia profited from their connection to the kremlin? >> yes. >> and there are no free lunches in russia? if you get wealthy under putin, it's because you support putin and are expected to support him. is that fair to say? >> i would assume there's a perception of advantage, but i would assume also there is by the specifics of the particular individual and relationship we're talking about. >> sure. >> okay. but putin never just trusts, he verifies, right? as a former kgb man, he wants to keep tabs on his wealthiest citizens especially those who would ever pose a challenge to him. is that right? >> i assume he maintains knowledge of the situation
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around him whom particularly centers of influence within russia. >> thank you. is it likely that the kremlin would accept or actively trade favor or other valuable or sensitive information, intelligence from foreign figures about russian oligarchs or wealthy businessmen living abroad? >> is it possible, yes. but again it depends on the particulars of the situation. i don't know that i would make a flat statement on that. >> but it is certainly a possibility. >> it's a possibility. >> okay. >> well, the dossier definitely seems right on these points. a quid pro quo relationship seems to exist between the trump campaign and putin's russia. july 19, 2016 asserts that russians were receiving intel from trump's team on russian oligarchs and their families in the united states. entry from june 20th, 2016, states, quote, trump and his inner circle accepted regular flow of intelligence from the kremlin. including on his democratic and other political rivals, unquote. which is something for something. a july 30th entry like wise
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states that quote a source close to trump campaign confirms regular exchange be the kremlin has existed for at least eight years, including intelligence fed back to russia on oligarchs activities in the united states. is it generally true that moscow actively seeks and supports whether through the oligarchs overt russian officials or undeclared intelligence officers sympathetic or cooperative foreign figures abroad, whether through business dealings or political backing or combination of the two? >> generally this is a tactic -- generally it's a tactic we have seen over time, but again i would caution us -- we're talking about very specific cases theoretically here and i'm not prepared to get into any of the specifics. >> and i know that my colleagues have touched upon this but i think it's important in the context of christopher steel's dossier to bring it up again. so my question is, is it likely
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or plausible that the russians might seek out americans for moscow's purposes? >> it is one of the focuses of our counterintelligence mission to try to understand the ways in which they try to do that. that's at the core of their intelligence gathering, co-op, recruit americans to give them information. >> so, the dossier states in an entry dated august 10, 2016, that a quote kremlin official involved in u.s. relations unquote suggests that moscow might offer assistance to, quote, sympathetic u.s. actors. does this sound like a plausible tactic out of the russian play book? >> not going to comment on that, mr. castro. >> okay. now let's get even more specific. among the u.s. actors, this kremlin official mentions are carter paige and michael flynn. whom my colleagues discussed at length and the dossier describes as examples of successes by the kremlin official. we know carter paige went to moscow on july 7th to give a
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speech to the new economic school. we're in possession of the slide deck from his speech there and we know carter paige obtained approval from the trump campaign manager cory lewandowski siting national security campaign official jd gordon. now, let me ask you another question with respect to somebody else -- is it correct that egor sengs, the president of ross neft is a former member of russian intelligence and long-time aide and confident to vladimir putin. >> not going to answer that mr. castro. >> in an october 18, 2016, entry the dossier states that during paige's visit to mos he met with egor offering paige and trump's associate the brokerage up to 19% stake in ross neft, with paige confirming that, quote, if trump were elected u.s. president, sanctions on russia would be lifted. although fortunately the white house hasn't been so naive as to yun latly lift sanctions on rush
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sharks it was widely report on january 27th of this year ross neft sold a stake in what roiter's calls, quote, one of the biggest privatizations since the 1990s. furthermore, reuters's reported that public record shows ownership structure of the stake ultimately includes a cay men island's company whose beneficial owners cannot be traced. what a coincidence. is this the subject of your investigation? one of the subjects in your investigation. >> same answer. >> okay. >> meaning i'm not going to comment. >> i understand. so let's move to wikileaks for a moment who played such a prominent role in the 2016 election. as has been established before in reestablished at this hearing, wikileaks was at a minimum unwith itting pawn and maximum an active coconspirator of the kremlin's in publishing stolen dnc and senior democratic official e-mail.
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do you agree this was done in order to offer moscow some measure of separation as to mask its hand in having hacked and stolen the data in the first place but so it could still have it publicly posted to inflict damage on a clinton campaign? >> yeah. i think that's fair. >> yes. >> okay. >> an entry from july 19, 2016, in the dossier states that a trump associate knew that the kremlin was using wikileaks in order to maintain, quote, plausible denial ability of its involvement. three days after this entry, wikileaks carries out the kremlin's wishes and publishes upwards of 20,000 stolen dnc e-mails and 8,000 associated e-mail attachments and the rest, as they say, is history. another entry, dated august 17th, has carter paige and a russian associate discussing wikileaks, publishing e-mails in order to swing sander's
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supporters away from clinton and to trump. again, from a september 14th entry of the dossier, quote, kremlin has further compromising material on clinton in form of e-mails and considers disseminating after parliamentary elections in late september. and on october 7th, wikileaks publishing john podesta's hacked e-mails. so the coincidences keep piling up. let's turn in the few minutes that i have remaining again to paul manafort, as a followup to mr. himes questioning. suffice it to say, paul manafort was a major part of the trump campaign. it's also established the fact that paul manafort was a long-time official adviser to pro russian ukrainian political leadership. is paul manafort a subject in your investigation? >> i'm not going to comment on
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that. >> all right. director, can you describe to the american people the russian concept of come promott? >> it's a technique that they use to gather information on people that may be embarrassing or humiliating and using it to coerce cooperation. >> in your career, have you known instances where that has been successfully leveraged? >> yes, i believe our counterintelligence division has encountered it a number of times. >> does that include private places including places such as hotels wired for audio and video? >> i don't think i remember enough about the particulars to say, but in theory, sure. >> thank you. i yield back. i yield back to ranking member schiff. >> i recognize mr. heck. >> admiral rogers, before i get into my main body of my remarks, i want to go back to your
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earlier comment about that there is no evidence to indicate that there was a successful russian hacking of voter results or ta bulations. what i did not hear you say is whether or not there had been any attempts to hack into election systems of any kind. >> yeah. i can answer that because the fbi's responsibility is in the united states. we saw no indication of that. we saw efforts to penetrate voter registration data bases, state boards of elections at that level. we saw no efforts aimed at the vote itself. >> but you did see efforts to penetrate registration rolls? >> correct. >> did you see efforts to penetrate any other portions of election systems other than registrations in this country it's a highly decentralized system. as a consequence, as you will recall, then secretary of homeland security jay johnson indicated that election systems should become a part of our
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critical infrastructure for cyber security purposes. >> their efforts were aimed at voter registration systems in various states and it takes different forms in various states sometimes as a private vendor, sometimes it's state. that's where it was focussed and not on the vote itself, vote machines, vote tabulation, vote transmission, that we've seen. >> thank you. i yield back to the ranking member. >> time expired. let me go quickly to mr. turner. >> thank you. there's been a lot of statements made up here that as opposed to questions. we don't certainly feel the need to clarify all of them, but there is one aspect that does need to be clarified because it's also involved both of your testimonies. there's been discussion up here concerning the statements by james clapper and rather than do the conjecture, as it has been made, i'm going to just read it. chuck todd said -- let me ask you this -- does intelligence exist that can definitively
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answer the following question -- whether there were imprommer contacts between the trump campaign and russian officials? james clapper said -- we do not include any evidence in our report. i say, our that's nsa, fbi and cia with my office and the director of national intelligence that had anything that had any reflection of collusion between members of the trump campaign and the russians. there was no evidence of that included in our report. chuck todd followed up -- i understand that. but does it exist? james clapper answered -- not to my knowledge. so the text is not merely related to the report. i yield back. >> mr. crawford's recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for being here today. i'll start with director comey. despite your expressed disdain for the new england patriots, i think that tom brady would probably like to express his
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gratitude for the fbi's assistance in recovering his stolen super bowl jersey, so i'll do that on his behalf now. >> thank you. by the way, if i'm hon west myself, the reason i don't like the patriots they represent sustained excellence as a giants fan that drives me crazy. >> director comey, are you familiar with an article, july 18, 2016, from "the washington post" entitled trump campaign guts gop anti-russia stance on ukraine? >> i'm not familiar with that article, i don't remember it. >> ask you now add this to the record. just for your etification, director, there's an allegation contained in that article that national security platform committee trump staffers wrote an amendment to to an amendment that stripped out platforms call for providing, quote, lethal defensive weapons and replace it with softer language calling for, quote, appropriate assistance. are you familiar with a march 18th, 2017, story in the
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washington examiner entitled how pundits got key parts of the trump/russia story all wrong? are you familiar with that? >> i don't think i can. ask content to add that to the record. also for your edification, i'll go to some of the meat of that story. are you aware of an allegation that trump staffers gutted the ukraine platform? >> am i aware of the article on that? >> anything of that nature of the article or any activity to that end? >> i don't want to talk about anything -- i'm willing to comment on whether i've seen different things in the media. i don't want to talk about anything beyond that. >> okay. so safe to say, you're not aware of the final platform that retained all of the language from the original platform plus a portion of the amendment offered by the platform committee member. >> i don't want to comment. >> okay. then i'll go through. i know that you're limited on what you can comment on. i'll go through some of the -- as i said, the meat of this.
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reading from the platform, it soez, quote, we will meet the return of russian belligerence with the same resolve that led to clans of the soviet union. we will not accept any territorial change imposed by force and will use all appropriate measures to bring to justice practitioners of aggression and assassination end quote. does that sound like a pro russian or a pro putin statement in your assess snmt. >> that's not for me to comment on. >> okay. further, in platform, quote, we support maintaining and if warranted increases sanctions together with our allies against russia. we also support providing appropriate assistance to the armed forces of ukraine and greater coordination with nato defense planning. and again, that sounds like fairly clear language in the relationship to russia, would you agree? >> same answer, mr. crawford. >> thank you. >> the final language i'll get
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to here? just a second. there was an amendment, but the final language regarding that plank of the platform with regard to national security relating to russia, we support maintaining and if warranted increasing sanctions together with our allies against russia and unless and until ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity are restored. and providing assistance to the armed forces of ukraine with greater nato defense planning. again to me that sounds fairly clear and straight forward that is not conducive to a putin administration, would you agree? >> give you the same answer, mr. crawford. >> thank you, sir. it's also important to note that that platform was adopted in coordination with and in concert with the trump administration as they met at the convention and they went through the platform process. the trump campaign agreed to the
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platform condemning kremlin belligerence, calling for increased sanctions against russia as i indicated in the text of that platform. full restoration of ukrainian territory for refusing to accept any territorial change in eastern europe imposed by force, ukraine and elsewhere. pledging to aid ukraine's armed forces. so i bring that up just to highlight and note the fact that none of that appears to be pro-putin or pro russian language. >> mr. crawford, will you yield back to me? mr. comey, i know you're not going to comment on this i hope you'll take this back to your investigators because there seems to be the line out there that somehow the republican party watered down its platform and that's not true. that didn't happen. and in fact, what happened is that the platform was actually increased, increased its certainty and against what the russians were up to and it actually amended the platform to
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make it stronger than what it initially was. i know there's a lot of circumstance stan shall evidence out there. but the reality is and remains the case, republican party had a very strong platform. it was against the russians. and it was increased in its strength not decreased like has been reported. so i know you won't comment, but i hope that at least you will provide this to your investigative team so that we can at least get this off the table. will you take this back? >> sure. >> sorry, mr. crawford. we'll go back. >> not at all. >> thank you, mr. comey, i appreciate that. admiral rogers, would you like to make a comment about the new england patriots before i move forward? >> i'm a chicago bears guy, born and bred. >> admiral, our employees -- you mentioned this before but i just want to go through this list.
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employees of the intelligence community agencies required to disclose visits with foreign nationals? >> yes broadly although i'll be the first to admit not all foreign national interactions are the same. interaction with the british are in a very different place than other countries, for example. >> okay. appreciate that clarification. to your knowledge, are elected officials required to disclose contact with foreign nationals? >> i don't know what the specifics are across the federal government because clearly in many jobs that's interaction with counterforeign parts is part of your job. >> our federal campaign employees required? >> i don't know. i apologize. >> are private citizens required to in any way to disclose or to report contact with foreign nationals? >> i don't know. >> is it customary for transition teams for a presidential campaign for
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transition team members to meet with foreign nationals? to your knowledge. is that customary? >> it's an area i just don't have any knowledge. >> is that unusual? >> i don't have any knowledge on that. >> never been part of a transition team. i don't know. >> are transition team members required by law to disclose contacts with foreign nationals? >> i apologize. i don't know the law there. >> thank you. i yield back to the chairman. >> thank you mr. crawford. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you director comey and admiral rogers for your testimony today. my first set of questions are directed at director comey. broadly, when the fbi has any open counterintelligence investigation, what are the typical protocols or procedures for notifying the dni, the white house and senior congressional leadership? >> there is a practice of a
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quarterly briefing on sensitive cases to the chair and ranking of the house and senate intelligence committees. the reason i hesitate is thanks to feedback we've gotten, we're trying to make it better. that involves a briefing of the the department of justice, i believe the dni, and the some portion of the national security council at the white house. to brief them before congress is briefed. >> so it's quarterly for all three then senior congressional leadership, the white house and the dn snirks. >> i think that's right. that's by practice not by rule or by written policy, which is why thanks to the chair and ranking giving us feedback, we're trying to tweak it in certain ways. >> so, since in your opening statement you confirmed that there is a counterintelligence investigation currently open and you also referenced that it started in july, when did you notify the dni, the white house or senior congressional leadership? >> that's a good question.
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congressional leadership sometime recently they were briefed on the nature of the investigation and some detail, as i said. obviously the department of justice has been a ware of it all along. i don't know what the dni's knowledge of it was because we didn't have a dni until mr. coates took office and i briefed him his first morning in office. >> so just to drill down on this, if the open investigation began in july and the briefing of congressional leadership only occurred recently, why was there no notification prior to the recent -- the past month? >> i think our decision was it was a matter of such sensitivity we wouldn't include it in the quarterly briefings. >> when you state our decision, is that your decision? is that usually your decision what gets briefed in those quarterly updates? >> now, it's usually the decision of the head of our counterintelligence division. >> and just again to get the detailed on the record, why was the decision made not to brief
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senior congressional leadership until recently when the investigation had been open since jum, very serious investigation, why was that decision made to wait months? >> i think because of the sensitivity of the matter. >> stepping back more broadly, in the case of russia, we know that cyber hacking is just one tactic that's typically part of a broader influence or information warfare campaign. and we know the russian government is ready and willing to employ hacking as but one of the many tools in their tool kit to obtain information for use against the united states. is there any evidence that russia tried to hack other entities associated with the 2016 presidential campaign in addition to the dnc or clinton campaign operatives? >> yes, many others. >> can you specify those others? did that include the rnc? did that include any of the other campaigns of candidates in
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the primaries either democrats or republicans? >> i think what we can say unclassified setting is what we have in the report that there were efforts to penetrate organizations associated with the republican party and that i think that's what we said in the report, and that there were not releases of material taken, hacked from any republican associated organizations. >> but the hacking, the use of cyber tools as part of their broader whether you call it hybrid warfare, information warfare campaigns, it was done to both parties? >> correct. >> thank you. taking a further step back of what's been in the news recently and i'm referring to the yahoo hack, the yahoo data breech, last week the department of justice announced that it was charging hackers with ties to the fsb in the 2014 yahoo data breech. was this hack done to your knowledge for intelligence purposes? >> i can't say in this forrum. >> press reporting indicates
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that yahoo dissidents and government officials do you know what the fsb did with the information they obtained? >> same answer. >> okay. i understand that. how did the administration determine who to sanction as part of the election hacking? how familiar with that decision process and how is that determination made? >> i don't know. i'm not familiar with the decision process. the fbi is a factual imput. but i don't recall. i don't have any personal knowledge of who to sanction and the decisions were made. >> looking forward, what -- this is for both of you, what is the ns ashs and fbi doing to keep americans safe, to keep campaign entities, to keep any entity associated with a major campaign safe from aggressive russia cyber measures that were utilize in this past election? >> so we continue to maximize the insights we're generating about activity.
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for example, this started with nsa initially gaining access in the summer of '15 we became aware of that activity. shared it with our fbi teammates. that continues as we try to make sure the insights we generate are shared with our law enforcement teammates who reer act with the private sector. we're trying to work broadly across the u.s. government to increase cyber security. as you heard discussed on going discussions about what's the role of the voting infrastructure in the united states. do we need to bring that within the infrastructure framework. >> director comey? >> i think that's right. just making sure that we are sharing information when we get it that someone is being hit but more importantly that we're showing people what we've learned from this cycle so they can tighten up. >> thank you. it seems to me in my first line of questioning the more serious a counterintelligence
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investigation is, that would seem to trigger the need to update not just the white house, the dni but also senior congressional leadership and you stated it was due to the severity. i think moving forward, it seems that the most severe and serious investigations should be notified to senior congressional leadership. with that, thanks for the lenience, chairman. i yield back. >> that's good feed back. the challenge for us is sometimes we want to keep it tight within the executive branch. if we're going to breech congressional leaders the practice has been then we brief inside the executive branch and so we have to figure out how to navigate that in a good way. >> we may have to update the law on that. gentlewoman yields back. mr. schiff is recognized for 15 minutes then we'll come back to our side for 15 and that should be it. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just a couple questions before i hand it back to mr. heck. do the russians favor the united states provision of lethal defensive weapons to ukraine?
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admiral? >> no. >> they would strongly oppose such an idea, would they not? >> they have been opposed to it to date. >> and i can tell you the idea providing lethal defensive weapons to ukraine has by partisan support, senator mccain, myself, many members of this committee. there was an effort at the convention to strengthen the platform by including a provision that would provide lethal defensive weapons to ukraine. that was defeated. the campaign manager for the trump campaign at the time paul manafort denied the campaign was involved in defeating that amendment. but the delegate who offered the amendment later disclosed to the press that, in fact, it was dropped at the insistence of the trump campaign. jd gordon, a national security adviser for the trump campaign, was forced later to admit that, in fact, he had weighed in against the amendment that would
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have provided that the u.s. should give lethal defensive weapons to ukraine. so i would join my chairman in asking you to look into this, particularly since we know that ambassador kisly ek attended the convention. if there was any communication between the russians and the trump campaign that had the effect, any coordination that resulted in the defeat of an amendment that was against russian interest, the committee would certainly like to know and we welcome that inquiry. mr. heck? >> thank you, ranking member. there are a lot of emotions kicking around in this room today i perceive anger and outrage and subdued somberness. one i feel overwhelmingly is sadness. we've heard nothing but terribly disturbing evidence of what has happened to our country at the hands of arguably our greatest adversary. and what's worse the evidence we've heard so far all seems,
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all seems, to lead to the conclusion that they had help from the inside, that this was in part an inside job from u.s. persons, willing american accomplices or terribly naive ones or probably both who helped the russians attack our country and our democracy. we're both still at the early stages of our investigation. we're not indicting anyone. we're merely laying out some of the evidence and the facts, dirty though they be, sleazy, though they be. no matter what, we can safely conclude at this point that never in the modern era has a president and his administration had so many foreign entanglements, entanglements that continue to push american foreign policy away from its core roots, beliefs, interest and alliances, towards unprecedented positions that only putin himself could approve
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of. how else can we explain the modification to the republican party platform in such a decidedly pro-russian way. republicans who were always so strong against gio political foes like russia, i know my colleagues on this committee take the russia threat very seriously. why wouldn't the people who inhabit the white house? how else can we explain an administration that beats up our oldest allies like australia and britain and strongest and most sack row sangt alliance like nato but never, ever say a bad word about putin. in fact, they say a lot of good words about putin. an administration that we have heard decisively makes up baseless wiretapping charges against a former united states president. equates our intelligence agencies to nazi germany and argues moral equivalence to a repressive author tear tan
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states with on hornet human rights state like russia in our free and open democracy and yet this administration never ever utters any criticism of russia. let's be clear, though, this is not about party. it's not about relitigating te election. it's not as if anything we do here will put a president from a different political party in the oval office. so i hope that it's clear that it's about something much more important. and no, it's not about political motivation, to my friend who said and suggested that earlier. this is about patriotism, about something way more important than party. this is about country. and the very heart of what this country is built on, which is open, free, fair, trusted elections. we don't take our investigation lightly and i know you don't. indeed you go through a process to even decide to do that, whether to expend the resources,
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to begin with credible allegations and reason to believe that there is something that warrants it. and i no doubt believe that you have talked to lawyers in and out of the prosecution divisions about whether or not this warrants an investigation. i know you don't take this lightly. but what we have seen is damming evidence today of what russia did. we've also seen damming evidence of how they did it. russia has a history of using active measures, many of which we have heard about today. let's recap them. we're getting near the end. hacking and dumping information to damage or embarrass their enemies. we heard about this of course with respect to wikileaks and ambiguous fer 2.0. using third parties and cutouts business people, oligarchs and private individuals to cultivate relationships. we've discussed ambassador sur guy kis lee yak, egor and of
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course vladimir putin himself. we've also heard about russia's use of companies the bank of cypress, confusing web of offshore shell companies. it would seem to hide or to launder money. we've also heard how russia released disinformation to spread rumors and confuse the public and sew distrust to even know the truth. whether directly owned by russia or not, to release such disinformation in order to claim plausible deniability of russia's hands. here again we see wikileaks and gusafer 2.0 but also see prop began ta outlets like rt and of course the use of u.s. persons of influence. whether through akivity collusion or coordination or
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naive acquiescence, we don't yet know the full extent to further russia's attempts to undermine our elections and ultimately weaken our democracy. on that last point, we've heard about quite a few individuals in the trump orbit, who fell somewhere on that spectrum from mere naiveté, disturbing enough if this is a feature of those supposed to be running our country and foreign policy to unwhiting russian dupes. this rogues galleries includes those already fired, roger stone adviser to donald trump, paul manafort adviser to donald trump, michael flynn, national security adviser to donald trump. carter paige, adviser to donald trump. but the cloud of deep suspicion in russian entanglements extends to those still in power. rex tillerson, secretary of
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state to donald trump. michael ka pew toe, adviser to donald trump. jeff sessions, attorney general for donald trump. and members of the trump family itself. this matters. it's serious. our battleships weren't sunk and our towers didn't collapse a la 2011. make no mistake, 2016 is a year we should mark on our calendars and it's still going on. the attack didn't end on election day. and it will continue as you have suggested unless we all of us in this room stop it. admiral rogers, you've proudly worn that uniform your entire career. i'm proud of your service and grateful for it, but i would ask you, sir, not even with respect to this specific investigation, to use your own words as someone who no doubt has been in
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theater, lost brothers and sisters in combat, to explain to me but more importantly to the american people don't assume they know the answer. tell them in your words why we should care about russia's active measures campaign aimed as destabilizing our democracy and that of our allies. in your words, sir, why should they care? >> i don't think it's best interests of our nation for any external entity to attempt to manipulate outcomes to shape choices. that should be the inherent role of a democracy. the investigation we're going through i think is a positive in the sense it will help illuminate to all of us regardless of party what are the implications here and what does it mean for us? i think our conclusion and that of the intelligence community broadly here is this absent some change, this behavior is not likely to stop.
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absent some change in the dynamic, this is not likely to be the last time we'll be having these discussions about that kind of activity. i don't think that's in anybody's best interest for us as a nation. >> director comey, parallel question. again, in general terms, not with respect to the specific investigation you have revealed here today, not asking you to go into specifics on any individuals, but please, explain briefly to me and more importantly to the american public why we should care about russia's use of u.s. persons of americans helping russia destabilize our democracy. >> well, like admiral rogers, i truly believe we are shining city on a hill, to quote a great american. and one of the things we radiate to the world is the importance
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of our wonderful, often messy but free and fair democratic system and the elections that undergurd it. when there's something from a foreign state to disrupt that it's very serious, threatens what is america. and if any americans are part of thaef that effort, it's a very serious matter. you expect the fbi to understand is that so? if so, who did it? to preserve our ability to answer those questions, we're not talking about our work. i'm not here voluntarily. right? i would rather not be talking about this at all, but we thought it was important to share at least that much with the committee and the american people and now we're going to close our mouths to do our work to answer the questions because the answers matter wnts they do indeed. i thank you both for those answers. and i thank you both for your service to our country. i would like to think that we can turn this from a sad event
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into a positive one. this country has stood up and fought on behalf of its own health and welfare and that of its citizens and met any number of challenges throughout our nation's history. the worse thing we could do is underestimate the nature of this challenge before us today. with that, ranking member, i would appreciate it if i could yield to my friend from texas, mr. castro briefly. >> mr. castro? >> thank you. one more question with respect to leaks. i know that's been a big topic of the line of questioning and of course is of concern to all of us regardless of political party. but i want to ask you, director, is it possible that some of those leaks could come from not the intelligence community but from members of the white house staff, for example. >> sure. it could come from lots of different places. and it's also one of the things
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that's challenging as i said about a leak investigation. you think it's going to be a small circle, but it turns out a lot of people knew about it or heard echos of it and had stories to tell to journalists about it. so in my experience trying to figure these things out for decades, it's often coming from places you didn't anticipate. >> the reason i ask the question is because the president has berated the fbi and the intelligence community on the issue of leaks and others have berated the intelligence community and the press because of these leaks. but i think it's worth considering that it's quite possible that there are folks who have a kind of political hunch housen biproxy syndrome where they leak information because they want to be the savior once it blowings up. there's all sorts of individuals who serve on political staffs. and i think that we ought to consider the possibility that perhaps it is somebody at the white house. thank you. i yield back. >> mr. chairman, we yield back. >> gentlemen yields back. mr. heard?
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>> thank you, chairman. and gentlemen, thank y'all for being here. i learned the value of sitting in one place and listening. today has added to that understanding. i'm going to try to ask questions that y'all can answer in this format and are within your areas of expertise. director rogers, my first question to you, the exploit that was used by the russians to penetrate the dnc, was it sophisticated? was it a zero day exploit? zero day being some type of those for watching, an exploit that has never been used? >> i am not going to talk about russian tactics, techniques or procedures how they executed their hacks. >> if members of the dnc had not -- let me rephrase this. can we talk about spear fishing?
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>> sure in general terms, yes, sir. >> spear fishing is when somebody sends an e-mail and they -- somebody clicks on something in that e-mail? >> the user thinks they're receiving an interest, they open it up and often click if you will on a link an attachment. >> was that type of tactic used in the -- >> again, in an unclassified form. >> copy that. i apologize. director comey, when was the first time the fbi notified the dnc of the hack? roughly. >> i think august of 2015. >> and was that prior to any of the information being leaked, being sent on -- put on wikileaks? >> yes.
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the first rugt directed releases were middle of june of the next year by d.c. leaks and this 2.0 persona and that was followed by wikileaks. about a year earlier. >> there was a year between the fbi's first notification of some potential problems with the dnc network and then that information getting on wikileaks? >> yes. >> have you been able to -- when did the dnc provide access for -- to the fbi for your technical folks to review what happened? >> we never got direct access to the machines themselves. the dnc in the spring of 2016 hired a firm that ultimately shared with us their forensics from their review of the system. >> director rogers, did the nsa ever get access to the dnc
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hardware? >> the nsa didn't ask for access. that's not in our job jar. >> good copy. so director, fbi director notified the dnc early, before any information was put on wikileaks, and when you have still been -- never been given access to any of the technical or the physical machines that were hacked by the russians? >> that's correct. although we got the forensics from the the pros that they hired, which again -- best practice to get access to the machines themselves. but my folks tell me was an appropriate substitute. >> at what point did the company the dnc use share that forensic information to you? >> i don't remember for sure. i think june. i could be wrong about that. >> the company went public in june of '16 with their
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conclusions. i would assume -- >> i think it was about the time -- i think it was a little before the announcement, but i'll say approximately june. >> so, that was -- how long after the first notification that the fbi did of the dnc? >> ten months. >> ten months. so, the fbi notified the dnc of the hack and it was not until ten months later that you had any details about what was actually going on forensically on their network? >> that's correct. assuming i have the dates about right, but it was some months later. >> knowing what we know now, would the fbi have done anything different in trying to notify the dnc of what happened? >> oh sure. >> what measures would you have done differently? >> we would have sent up a much
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larger flair. we would just kept banging and banging on the door. knowing what i know now, we made extensive efforts to notify. i might have walked over there myself knowing what i know now. but i think the efforts we made that our agents made were reasonable at the time. >> good copy. and do you have a ballpark of the number of private sector entities that you have to notify of these types of briefs? >> hundreds and thousands. in this particular case, we had to notify hundreds -- i think maybe more than a thousands entities that the russians were hitting at the same time. >> admiral rogers, you have anything to add to that? >> no. as we pass the information, the fbi what started all this was a masive effort on the part of our russian counterparts. >> i've said this many times, the outcome of grizzly what the intelligence community refers to as the russian hacking has been
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the wedge, whether real or perceived, wean the executive branch, the intelligence community and the public. this is an asymmetrical tool that the russians are using in order to destabilize liberal democratic institutions. and i think it is important that we do everything we can to review this, which i fully believe federal law enforcement is doing as y'all have talked to her. i would like to end before yielding back to the chairman that my colleague from california the ranking member said in his opening statement, the question most people have is whether we can really conduct this investigation in the kind of thorough and nonpartisan manner that the seriousness of the issues merit or whether the enormous political consequences of our work will make that impossible. and he adds the truth is, i don't know the answer. i do. we must. the american people demand this. the future of our democratic
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institutions demand it and i'm glad we have two people like y'all involved in this. mr. chairman, i yield back my time to you. >> gentlemen yields back. mr. goud di has a followup. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i want to thank you and all ranking member schiff for having this hearing. you remember talking about russia far before it became -- long before it became fashionable to talk about russia. you referred to russia as possibly our greatest national security threat post 9/11. and as you know, chairman, i come from a state with a fellow named graham who is also no fan of russia. so, director comey, admiral rogers, people in your line of work are incredibly respected, both your current line of work and the work that you came from. and people in my line of work are not. and there's a reason. the justice system is respected and the political process is
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not. so, this is -- while this hearing is important, what's really important is what you do after this hearing. and i want you to go find every single witness who may have information about interference, influence, motive, our response, collusion, coordination, whatever your jurisdiction is, wherever the facts may take you, though the heavens may fall, go do your jobs because nature abhoers a vacuum. and right now you can't answer most of the questions, either by policy, by law or because the investigation has not been complete. therefore, a vacuum exists, which people in my line of work are more than happy to fill. so, i need you to fill. i need you to do it with all deliberate speed. director comey, i think it's also important for my fellow citizens to take note of why the system that you come from, the one that i come from is
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respected and this system that i'm in now is not. what is here say? >> information you don't know of your own person knowledge. >> i was trying to be a little less lawyerly. >> well, we'll go with your answer. and it is almost never admissible in court. how about anonymous sources? would you call an anom mouse source to testify in one of your proceedings? >> no. >> you couldn't even use here say unless there was some widely accepted exception. what i heard this morning in some cases is quadruple hearsay. it would never -- a newspaper article would never ever be admitted as evidence in a courtroom. so the system we respect would laugh you out of court if you came in armed with a newspaper
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article. but in the political process, that's enough. let me ask you this, cross-examination. why are you -- why you able to cross-examine witnesses in trial? why do we have a right to confront witnesses? >> it's embedded in our constitution and the reason it makes great sense is it's the crucible out of which you get truth. >> it is the single best way to elicit the truth, to test and to probe and to challenge and to test someone's personal exposure to the facts. cross-examination is the best tool that we have. how do you cross exam hearsay or an anonymous source. i hope you go find every single witness that you need to talk to and examine every single document. people are counting on you two and your line of work to find
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the facts. and people are welcome to draw whatever conclusions they want from the facts. but when i hear the word evidence, as i heard lots and lots this morning, let me ask you this director comey, are you familiar with any trials where one witness may have said the light was red and one witness may have said the light is green? has that ever happened. >> yes, that's why you have a trial. >> does it ever happen where one bank teller said the assailant was 5'10" and one said the assailant was 6'2"? >> sure. >> that's evidence. you have evidence he's 5'11" and 6'2" he just can't be both. the light can't be red and green. so the word evidence while fancy and legal, the reality is, you find facts and then the finder of the fact can draw conclusions and infranor instances from tho facts. i wish you luck as you begin this process. it is all important. the fact that someone may have
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had a line of questions about leaks does not mean that they're not interested in all aspects of russia. and vice versa, the fact that they may not have asked questions about leaks doesn't mean they're not interested in them. you have jurisdiction overall of it. so god bless you as you go on this journey for the facts and people can draw whatever conclusions they want. i hope that you will feel the vacuum that is created when y'all are not able to answer questions. with that i'll yield back to the chairman. >> gentlemen yields back. mr. comey, this is my final list of questions. i just want to make sure we get this on the record. do you have any evidence that any current trump white house or administration official coordinated with the russian intelligence services? >> not a question i can answer. >> i figured you were going to say that but i just wanted to make sure we got it on the record. how about counselor to the president kemly ann conway? >> it's the same answer.
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don't overinterpret the fact that i say i can't comment. i'm not going to comment on anybody. >> i think i understand that but here is the challenge is that you've -- you've announced that you have this big investigation but now you've got people that are involved in our government that are the secretary of state, for example. these are important players. the longer this hangs out here the bigger the cloud is and i know that you're not going to tell me whether or not you have any evidence, but i can tell you that we don't have any evidence. and we're conducting our own investigation here and if you have some -- if you have evidence especially as it relates to people in the white house working in the white house or the administration, i mean, that would be something that we really should know about and we should know about quickly. can't give it to the entire committee, i hope you give it myself and mr. schiff. there is a big gray cloud that you have put over people who have very important work to do to lead this country. the faster you can get to the
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bottom of this, it's going to be better for all americans. >> i understand. thank you. >> all right. with that, i want to thank the members today and especially our witnesses. it was a long day, but i think a good discussion.
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as this wraps up,he