tv FBI Director Says Hes Investigating Any Links Between Trump Campaign and... CSPAN March 21, 2017 9:01pm-12:42am EDT
fbi director james comey said yesterday that neither he nor his agency has any information to support the claims made by president trump in his tweets accusing president obama of wiretapping. he added that presidents cannot unilaterally order a wiretap which must go through a court process and be ordered by a judge. that hearing is next on c-span 3. then a senate panel looks at the human toll of the syrian civil war. >> c-span's washington journal live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up wednesday morning, indiana republican congressman and what's next for the republicans healthcare bill in the 2018 budget proposal getting the view of democratic congressman tim ryan.
live at 7:00 eastern wednesday morning. join the discussion. fbi director james comey and nsa director michael rogers testified at a hearing on russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. director comey addressed accusations made via tweets by president trump that president obama wiretapped his new york city trump tower. this house select intelligence committee hearing is chaired by congressman devin nunes of
california. the committee will come to order. i would like to welcome our witnesses, director of the fbi, jim comey, and the director of the national security agency, admiral rogers. thank you for being here today. i would like to remind that this is an open meeting. i understand the discussion of sensitive securities in public. however it is critical to ensure that the public has access to
credible, unclassified facts and to 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 and the disruptions will not be tolerated. i now will recognize myself for five minutes for the purpose of an opening statement. 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 brutal military action in syria to defend the assad regime. but its hostile acts take many forms aside from direct military forms. the kremlin is waging an international anti-american conspiracy theories that rival the soviet era bravado.
it has a history of launching cyber attacks on a wide range of countries and industries. the balancetics and other russian neighbors have long decried these attacks, but their warnings went unheeded in far too many nation's capitals including our own. the fact that russia hacked u.s. related 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 plan is the biggest intelligence failure since 9/11 and that remains my view today. the russian targets of the election is troubling one is clear it focused wide attention on the pressing threats by the
russian auto krat. the obama administration was committed to the notion against all evidence that we could reset relations with putin. and it routinely ignored our warns. i hope today's hearing will shed light on three important focus points on the committee's investigation on russia's active measures. first, what actions did russia undertake against the united states during the 2016 election campaign and did anyone from 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 ways of handling information of u.s. citizens and this committee wants to ensure all surveillance
activities followed all 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's still possible that other surveillance activities were used against president trump's and his associates. number three, who has leaked classified information? numerous current and former officials leaked purportedly classified information in connection to these questions. we aim to determine who leaked or facilitated leaks of classified information so these individuals can be brought to justice. i hope the definitive report on the actions taken by the russians during the election campaign. we encourage to anyone who has information to speak to the house intelligence committee. i thank the witnesses to help shed light on these issues and i will recognize ranking member
shep. he asked for 15 minutes. mr. schiff. >> i thank you. and i want to thank director comey and admiral rogers as the committee holds the first interference meeting against the 2016 presidential election. last summer at a highly contested and hugely controversial campaign. a foreign power tried to influence one candidate against the other. that foreign adversary was, of course, russia and acted through its intelligence agencies and upon the direct intelligence officer vladimir putin in order to help donald j. trump become the 44th president of the united states. it may have begun as early as 2015 when russian intelligence services launched spearfishing attacks to penetrate the
computers of democratic party organizations, think tanks and other organizations. this continued until at least the winter of 2016. while the hacking may have been intended for the collection of foreign intelligence, in mid-2016 it militarized it. using dc leaks and existing parties like wikileaks to dump the documents. the stolen documents were almost uniformly damaging to the candidate putin despiced, hillary clinton. the releases benefited donald trump's campaign. none of these facts is seriously in question and they reflected in the consensus conclusion of our intelligence agencies. we will never know if the russian intervention was determinative in such a close election. it is unknowable in which so
many changes could have dictated a different result. it simply does not matter. what does matter is this. the russians successfully melded in our democracy and our intelligence officials concluded they will do so again. ours is not the first democracy to be attacked by the russians this way. russian intelligence has been similarly interfering with the political affairs of our european allies for decades. what is striking is the degree that they were able to take such a risky action against the most powerful nation on earth. that ought to be a warning that if we thought they would not interfere in our affairs, we were wrong. and if we do not do our best to under how they did this, we will have ourselves to blame. we know a lot about the russian
operation about the way they amplified the damage, and the hacking and dumping of information was damaging, rt, the kremlin's media arm. there is a lot we don't know. we do not know yet whether the russians had the help of u.s. citizens including people associated with the trump campaign. many of the trump campaign personnel, including the president himself, have ties to russia and russian interests. 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 represent one of the most shocking betrayals of democracy in history. in europe, where the russians have a much longer history of political interference, they've used a variety of techniques to undermine demis. they employ the hacking and dumping of documents as they did
here. they've used bribery, blackmail, compromising material and financial entanglement to secure cooperation from individual citizens of tarringed countries. the issue of u.s. involvement is one of the actions we agreed to investigate and we will also kp whether the intelligence committee's assessment of the russian government is supported by the raw intelligence, whether the u.s. government responded properly or failed to stop this attack 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 support to president trump's claim whether he was wiretapped by president obama in the trump tower and we found no evidence. and we hope director comey can put that matter to rest.
most of my colleagues will be exploring with the persons of the russian attack on our democracy. it is not that we feel the other issues are less important. they're 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 whether there is an investigation. but we hope to present to you, directors and the public, why we believe this is a matter of gravity that it demands a thorough investigation by us and 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 as nothing more than an attempt to gather intelligence or was always intend to be more than that, we do not know and it's one of the questions we hope to
answer. but we do know this, the months of july and august of 2016 appear to have been pivotal. it was at this time the russians began to use the information they had stolen to help donald trump and harm hillary clinton. 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 since that is all we can discuss in this setting that concern us and we believe should concern all americans. in early july, carter page, someone trump identified as a national security adviser travels to moscow. while in moscow he gives a speech critical of the united states and other western countries for what he believes is a hypocritical focus on efforts to fight corruption. according to christopher steele,
a former british intelligence officer, who is reportedly held in high regard by u.s. intelligence, russian sources tell him that page has also had a meeting with sechin, a ceo and close friend of putin's. page was offered brokerage fees by sechin on a deal involving 19% shares of the company. the sale of the 19.5 share of the company takes place without known brokerage fees. the campaign is offered documents damaging to hillary clinton which the russians would publish through an outlet that gives them deny built like wikileaks. the hacked documents would be in trade for a trump administration policy that deemphasizes russian invasion of ukraine and
penalizes european countries for not paying their fair share, that now have come to pass. in the middle of july, paul manafort, long on the payroll of pro-russian interests attends the republican convention. carter page, back from moscow, also attends the convention. according to steele it was manafort who chose page to be a go between between the trump campaign and the russians. kislyak, where personnel would later be expelled as spies, attends the convention and meets with carter page and additional advisers. it was j.d. gordon who approved the travel to moscow. kislyak meets with national
security chair, and now attorney general, jeff sessions. 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 prevention of lethal defensive weapons to ukraine, an action that would be contrary to russian interests. manafort categorically denies involvement by the trump campaign in altering the platform, but the republican party delegate providing the information, said it was removed at the instance of the trump campaign. j.d. gordon admits opposing it at the time it was debated and prior to its being removed. later in july and after the convention, the first stolen e-mails detrimental to hillary clinton appears on wikileaks. gusfer 2 takes credit and giving
the documents to wikileaks. the leading cyber security conclude with high certainty that it was the work of apt 28 and apt 29 who are known to be russian intelligence services. the u.s. intelligence committee later confirms that the documents were, in fact, stolen by russian intelligence and gusfer 2 acted as a fronts. in july candidate trump praises wikileaks and openly pressures them to hack hillary clinton and they will be rewarded by the press. august 8, roger stone, boasts in a speech that he has communicated with asang and that more documents will be coming including an october surprise. in the middle of august he
communicate was gusfer 2. 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 be soon podesta's time in the barely. #crooked hillary. stone shows impressions. i have total confidence that wikileaks and my hero julian assange will educate the american people. #lock her up. payload comings. and two days later it does. wikileaks displays the first patch of e-mails. 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. he has been paid by the
kremlin's propaganda outfit rt in the past as well as another entity. he has a secret conversation with ambassador kislyak about sanctions. michael flynn lies about the secret conversation. the vice-president assures the american people unknowingly that no conversation has had. the president does nothing. two weeks later the press reveals that flynn has lied and the president is forced to fire him. he cast tigates the press for telling the lie. now, is it possible that the removal of the ukraine provision from the platform was a confidence? is it a confidence that jeff sessions failed to tell the senate about the meetings with the russian senator not only at
the convention but a private meeting at his office at a time when the u.s. election was under attack. and the meeting between flynn and kislyak and sessions. over russian hacking of our election designed to help donald trump. is it a coincidence that the russian company rossn eft that carter page was offered fees on a deal of just that size. is it a confidence that they affirmed that russia stole documents of hillary clinton that would later come to pass. is it a confidence that roger stone predicted that john podesta would be a victim of a russian hack and have his private e-mails published 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 a 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 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. and in addition to this investigation, we still have our day jobs which involves overseeing some of the largest and most important agencies in the country, agencies which, by the way, are trained to keep secrets. i point this out for two reasons and i'm wrapping up, chairman. 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 investigating each of them thoroughly to do any less would be negligent in the protection of our country. we also need your full cooperation with our investigation so we may have the benefit of what you know so that we may coordinate our efforts in the discharge of both our responsibilities. and second, i raise this because i believe we would benefit from the work of an independent commission that can devote the staff and sources to this investigation that we do not have and can be completely removed from any political considerations. this should not be a substitute
for the work that we and the intelligence committee should and must do but as an important complement to the effort 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, authoritarianism and democracy versus the government. we see it as a legitimate process of battle. only by understanding what the russians did can we inoculate from further russian interference that we know is coming. only then can we protect our european allies who as we speak with enduring russian interference. we want to say a word about our commit einvestigation. you will observe in the comments and questions that our members make that the members of both parties share a common concern
over the russian attack over the democracy, but bring a different perspective over the significance of certain issues. this is to be expected. the question most people have is whether we can conduct this investigation in a kind of thorough and nonpartisan manner that the issues merit or whether the political consequences of our work will make that 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 very much in the national interest. so let us try. i thank you, mr. chairman and i yield back.
>> admiral rogers, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, sir. members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today on behalf of the men and women security agency. i'm honored to appear besides my teammate comey to discuss the russian efforts into the u.s. election and i want to ensure that my team is doing the best to fulfill the requests of this committee. 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 interfengs in the u.s. elections. today, more than two months after the assessment, we stand
by the issue. there is no change on the confidence level on our assessment. of course, the specifics of this assessment need to remain classified to protect sensitive sources and methods. today i will limit the discussion to information in the public domain that of the publicly released intelligence community assessment. i hope you will under that there are some issues i cannot discuss in an open session. nor will i be able to provide specifics in some areas. as the committee fully knows, the intelligence kbhcommittee ha longstanding policy of not discussing specifics. it would enable to compel further disclosureses or litigation or release of confidential information. like the committee, we are greatly concerned about the leaks of confidential information, they provide intelligence to american policy makers and war fighters and
generate advantage for our nation while protecting our citizens and interests. i want to assure the committee we take very seriously that obligation to protect u.s. persons' privacy. this applies to foreign intelligence but i'd 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 reporting and the con tenlts of our reporting are disseminated only to those that have a strict need to know. in the development of foreign policy and to protect national policy. i do want to specifically mention that among the collection of authorities that we have to target foreign actors and foreign spaces, fisa section 702 and executive order 120003 have been instrumental to produce intelligence to the committee and others regarding
foreign activity in this election cycle. it would be difficult to overstate the breadth and scale of malicious cyber activity occurring today. our adversaries, including nation states, have not rested to steal our intellectual property. we have a hard working and dedicated team at nsa that works every day to generate insights on this activity and to thwart its effectiveness. cyber defense is a team sport and one of nsa's strong partners in this effort is the fbi. i'm glad to be here that we are working today to help protect the nation and our allies. and in light of the ic assessment and findings, i welcome your investigation into overall russian activities
targeting the u.s. elections. nsa employs analytic starts, applying them in every aspect of our intelligence reporting. our analysts have consistentlily proven to be reliable and thorough in providing our policy makers and fighters with information to protect our nation's freedom and ensure the safety of its citizens. they are diligently continuing to monitor for additional reflections of russian monitoring. to share our former counterparts and produce unbiased, unprejudiced and timely reports of facts in our entirety. i look forward to your question. thank you, sir. >> director comey, recognized for five minutes. >> 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 words how much we at the fbi valu the oversight and the investigation of the things important to the american people. through 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. but in unusual circumstances where it's 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 counterintelligence mission, is investigating the 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 include an assessment of whether any crimes were committed. because it is an open, ongoing investigation, and is classified, i cannot say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are examing. at the request of leaders we have taken the step in coordination with the department of justice of briefing this congress's leaders, including the leaders of this committee, in a classified setting in detail about the investigation. but i can't go into those details hereme. i know that is extremely frustrating to some folks, but that is the way it has to be for the way that i hope you and the
american people can understand. the fbi is very careful if 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 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 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 involved details have completelied investigations, our ability to share details with congress and the american people are limited when those
investigations are still open, which i hope makes sense. we need to protect people's privacy and not give other people clues to where we're going. we need to make sure we don't give information to our foreign adversaries what we know and don't know. we can't do our work well and fairly if we start talking about it. so we will try very, very hard to avoid that, as we always do. 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 the 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. i want to underscore my friend roger said, leaks of classified information are serious, serious 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 cannot be tolerated and i look forward to taking your questions. >> thank you, director comey. admiral rogers i want to first go to you. on january 6th, 2017, the intelligence community assessment assessing russian 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 cyber actors changed tallies in the state of michigan? >> no, i would not. but i would highlight we're a foreign intelligence organization not a domestic intelligence o so fair so say we're not the best defense
organization to pry a more complete answer. >> state the pennsylvania. >> no, sir. >> 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 or evidence so suggest any voters were changed. >> i have no information. >> do you have any evidence that votes were changed in the states that i mentioned to admiral 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 relieves you of your duties. are you aware of those stories? >> i'm aware of those media reports with that.
>> those started as soon as you visited with president trump? >> yes, sir. i was asked to prepare for a interview with the president, which i did. >> did that leak of information impact your ability and your assessment that you did for the intelligence community's assessment? >> no, sir. if i worried about unsourced media reporting i wouldn't get anything done. >> i remain concerned about the widespread of leaks that you referenced in your many it. i want to get this on the record. does this unauthorized record of unclassified to the media violate a section of the espionage act that criminalizes accessing, handling defense information? >> yes. >> would an unauthorized information of fisa violate a
section of the espionage act that criminalizes disclosure of information concerning the information and intelligence activities of the united states? >> yes. in addition to being a breach of the trust of the fisa court that oversees the use of those authorities. >> i'm going to yield to the chair of cyber community for questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i want to convey my thanks to the many men and women for their dedication at the nsa for keeping our country safe and 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 or is not legally collecting in the safeguards of the nsa has put into place to protect personal data. so i'd like to clarify as the chairman of the submit eon the
nsa got recently got to meet your deputy admiral and we spoke about some things. what we can talk about here publicly, if we can go into it, 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 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's 702, which we'll be talking about a little bit, cannot be used to target u.s. persons or persons in the united states,ing, is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> section 702 focuses on non-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's safe to say without having this dotool, it would be threat to the national security. >> it would significantly affect the ability to general right the insights that i believe this nation needs. >> there is something called incidental collection. can you talk what that is. >> yes, sir. it's when we are targetsing a valid foreign target for example and in that the course of targeting we get a reference to u.s. person or suddenly a u.s. person appears as part of that conversation. that's what we call incidental collecting. >> when do you do when something like that happens if there is a u.s. person part of an incidental collection, what kind of safeguards -- >> it depends specifically on the legal authority to execute the collection. in broad terms, it varies, we
step back and we ask ourselves, first, are we dealing with a u.s. person here? is there something that we didn't expect to encounter that we now encounseler it. what leads us to believe it's a u.s. person. then we ask ourselves are we listening to criminal activity, imminent threat or danger, for example, or are we just receiving something that has nothing to do with any of our valid collection of authority. we will take a series of actions. in some cases, we will purge it, it's incidental data that has no intelligence value. in some places, then if we believe if there is intelligence value, for example, whether it's a reference to a u.s. person as an example, a scenario, in our reporting then we will mask the identity of the individual. we'll use a phrase of u.s.
person 1 or u.s. person 2. and i will remind everyone for our purposes, u.s. person is defined very broadly. that is not just a u.s. citizen. that is a u.s. corpsoration, a shipper registered in the united states, protocol registered in the us u. it's not a particular person. it's broader because it's designed to ensure protections of u.s. person. >> those protections that you talked about are required and approved by the fisa court, is that correct. >> yes, sir. and the attorney general. >> you mentioned in your opening statement that for that kind of information to be disseminated outside of your agency in 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 and the course of the person or group asking for the identification is a valid need to know in the
course of their execution of official duties. >> who would that be? >> could be another element in the intelligence community, another element in the nsa, could be a military customer, for example, who is reading some of our reporting. it could be a policy maker. i apologize. there was one other point that i wanted to make but i've lost the thread. >> i apologize. let's get back to masking briefly. you spoke about masking and -- and trying to keep a u.s. person's identity concealed. and when it is disseminated, you -- we often talk about in the intelligence community about the exceptions to how many -- if somebody is masks how you unmask them. what would be the exceptions to that masking be before it's
disseminated. >> use two criteria, the need to know and the person requesting us and the he cexecution. and is it truly valid to us. those are the two criteria we use. >> is that identity of a u.s. person communicating with a foreign target, is that ordinarily disseminated in a masked or unmasked form? >> no. it's normally disseminated -- if we make the decision there is intelligence value and we're going to report on it, it is normally disseminated in a masked form. i would -- as i said, we use a reference, u.s. person 1, u.s. person 2. >> right. >> if you look at the total reporting, reporting u.s. persons at all is a small subset of our experience of our total reporting. >> who normally in the nsa would make the decision unmask.
>> 20 persons including myself i have delegated to approve unmask requests. >> does the level of approval change on depending on the reason for unmasking if it was something or somebody really important would that matter? >> it's not necessarily designated in writing but certainly by custom and pract e tradition, request would be pushed to my level, we want to make sure you're comfortable with that. >> 20 people -- what procedures or safeguards are put into place that those 20 people are not unmasking, you know, wrongly? >> so they retrieve specific training, controls in place for our ability to disseminate information from the database in association with a u.s. person. >> let's run through the exceptions quickly through a following hypothetical. if the nsa collects a communication where a target under surveillance is talking to
a u.s. person, how would the nsa determine whether disseminating the u.s. person is necessary to understand the foreign intelligence or assess the importance? >> try to understand the nature of the conversation, truly something that involves national security for the investigation, or is this normal, reasonable fr conversation, in that case we'll normally purge the dayta. we'll ask ourselves, is there a credible threat, or a threat to the u.s. person being discussed. >> if there was criminal activity involved, what would you do then? >> if we decide we need -- if there is criminal activity, we'll disseminate the investigation or the fbi is in the reporting stream, i will generate a signed letter under my signature in specific cases
to the department of justice highlighting what we think we have is criminal activity. we're not law enforcement, we're justice o, so we're not a place to make that determination. >> hypothetically, if the nsa obtained the information of general flynn while he was communicating with a surveillance target, legally, would you explain how general flynn's identity could be unmasked based on the exceptions that we discussed. >> 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, do you -- let me say what it is and i'll ask you 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, con contrary to public assertions by trump officials current and former u.s. official said,". the article says nine current or former officials who are in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the call spoke under the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. did you read this article? >> i apologize, sir, it's not an article that references nine particular individuals doesn't necessarily ring a bell. i've seen plenty of media reporting, i'm not going to comment on specifics. >> just specifically under the breadth of that article, when we hear that fine former current or current officials have spoken to the press under the condition of anonymity and we heard director comey and the chairman speak of this as a potential crime, a serious crime, under the
espionage act, assuming if this article is accurate, who would be in a position to request the unmasking of general >> 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 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 this list? >> again, i'm not going to -- in general, yes, they would be.
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 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 it is a crime, and if it is unveiling a masked person and this tool is so important that it could potentially jeopardize the tool when we have to try to 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 legislative process or a whatever, and that
they don't feel confident that a u.s. person under the 702 program can be masked successfully, and not leaked to 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 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 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 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 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 confusing. 702 is collection overseas against nonu.s. persons. >> right. and what we are talking about here is incidentally if a u.s. 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 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 admiral rogers and director 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 been a reason for such unmasking? >> i apologize, because i don't understand the question. >> let me move on. along those lines if the nsa wanted to disseminate unmasked u.s. person's information 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 other surveillance programs are intentionally designed to preserve the privacy of u.s. citizens. they are intentionally designed to ensure the information is collected and used only for 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 unlawfully disseminate it. all of this was done to make sure that the information gathered are remains protected as it are relates to the u.s. citizens. 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 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 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
>> 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, nine current and former officials who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time 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. including significant discussions of the phone records, intercepted calls, and intercepted communications and reported the nsa 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 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 reasons that you said. >> we will take it back up next 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 claims made by the president about the predecessor, and namely that president obama wiretapped his phones so that we can be precise, i want 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. >> 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 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 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 also 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 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. can you make out 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 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 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?
>> certainly 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 gchq wiretapped president trump on behalf of president obama. did you request that your counter parts should wiretap mr.trism on behalf of mr. obama? >> 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 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 frustrates a key ally of ours. >> and it would not endear the british 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 deal 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 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 dropping, 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 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 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 am aware of public accounts, but do i want 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 feelings in the media, 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 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 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 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 disseminated the information? is that a fair assessment of the conclusions of the intelligence community? >> yes, sir. >> and did the intelligence 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 information stolen from the rnc 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 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 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. persons as an investigatory body.
>> all i can the tell you is what we are investigating is whether there was any coordination of the people 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 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 related person and the 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 the process generally? >> not a lot. we coordinate with the brothers and sisters in the intelligence 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 >> to release classified information? >> yes. >> no. >> is there a room in the law as reporters who 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 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 that carves out an exception for
reporters? >> no, not in the statute, but a reporter has not been prosecuted in my lifetime. >> well, a lot of statutes in 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 u.s. citizen made a telephone call to an agent of a foreign power? >> legally? >> yes. >> if it were declassified and then discussed in a judicial proceeding or the congressional 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 intercepted 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 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 number, 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 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 arguing with you and i believe that the culture is important, but if there are 100 people who have the ability to unmask, and the knowledge of a previous masked name, then that is 100 different potential sources of investigation, and the smaller the number is, the easier the investigation is. so the number is relevant. i can see that the culture is important. what other u.s. government agencies have the authority to unmask a u.s. citizen's name? >> i think all agencies that collect information pursuant to
fisa have standard procedures approved that govern how they treat u.s. person information. i know the nsa and cia does. i don't know beyond that. >> how about main justice? >> main justice i think does have standard minimization procedures. >> that is four. does the white house have the authority to unmask a u.s. citizen's name? >> i think other elements that are consumers of our products can ask the collectors to unmask. the unmasking resides with those who collected the information. if they collected something and send it to me in a report and it is important for the fbi to know who it is our request will go back to them. the white house can make similar requests but they don't on their own collect so they can't on their own unmask. >> i guess you say it is vital
and critical and we know it is a threat to reauthorization of 702 and is a felony punishable up to ten years. how do you begin your investigation assuming that a u.s. citizen's name appeared in the washington post and "new york times" unlawfully. where would you begin that investigation? >> i won't talk about any particular investigation. >> it would start by figuring out who are the suspects? who touched the information? start with that universe and use tools to see if you can eliminate people or include people as more serious suspects. >> do you know whether director clapper knew the name of the u.s. citizen that appeared in the "new york times"? >> i can't say. i don't want to confirm that there was classified information.
>> would he have access to unmatched name? >> in some circumstances sure. >> would director brennan have access to unmasked u.s. citizens name? >> in some circumstances, yes. >> would national security adviser susan rice have access? >> i think in general any would i think as a matter of their orderinary course of business. >> would ben roads have access to unmasked u.s. citizen's name? >> i don't know the answer to that. >> would former attorney general loretta lynch have access to unmasked name? >> in general, yes. >> that would also include sally yates? >> same answer. >> did you brief president obama on -- did you brief president obama on any calls involving
michael flynn? >> i'm not going to get into either that matter or any conversations i had with the president. i can't answer that. >> director comey there has been some speculation this morning on motive. it is hard to prove and secondarily, you don't have to prove it, but i guess that people want to know, and i guess that the jury always wants to know why. i think that you and i can agree that there are a couple of reasons that you would not have to lawfully and feloniously have to disseminate classified material and it was not done to help an ongoing criminal investigation, because you had that information. >> again i cannot answer in this 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. so in the universe of positive 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. that 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 classified information. >> i don't want to quarrel with 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 agree that surveillance programs that are critical, indispensable and vital to the national security and some of which are up for reauthorization this fall that have saved american lives and prevented terrorist attacks also rises to the level of important? >> because those programs are vital and the leaks of information collected pursuant to court order are terrible, and in the opening statement, they 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 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 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. 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 the "washington post" or the "new york times" we are talking about february of this year when the 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 happens to be a 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 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 incredibly 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. 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 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
investigating 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 event and we will take it seriously, because the trust of the people and the federal judges who oversee our work is vital and secondly, the discussion has nothing to do with the 702 and folks mix them together. 702 is about targeting non-u.s. 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 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 -- director 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 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 of intermediateiary of mr. assange. >> same answer. >> this you can answer, do you know if the are russian intelligence services dealt directly with wikileaks or they used a mediator? >> 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 aunge aunge will educate the american people soon? >> i am back to the original answer. >> and are you aware that it was days later that wikileaks 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 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 shumer, 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 attack. and the people around, john page, and manafort, and so many 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 regardless. 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 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 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 he ever 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. >> 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 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 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 concluded that putin and the circle sought to have an authoritarian regime ruled by a close-knit kabal 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 kabal who might be agents or doing the kremlin's bidding? >> it is fair to say. one of the counter intelligence missions is to try to understand 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 kabal? >> 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 richest man in ukraine and a strong putin ally, and he is the one who reportedly recommended paul manafort to mr. yukanovich. 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 alexander lavronovich who is from the previous russian regime, and i read a segment here who was involved in jailing the former
prime minister temashenko who was released at jail at the same time that yankovich was ousted and many saw the sentencing as politically motivated by the pro russian government. in response to the deteeshation of the international climate, prosecutors say that manafort 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 coffers. 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 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 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 cause discord and disunity, and especially in the western alliances. does the fbi generally assume that the russian ambassadors to the united states like ambassador kislyack are inadvertently acquiring intelligence olinfluential americans. >> 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 officers, and sometimes use intelligence officers operating under a diplomatic cover, and use people called co-optees and 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 related to the u.s.
intelligences collected could help to understand the new leader's plans and priorities, 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 russian ambassador? >> if a fbi a agent had a private meeting with a russian government employee of any kind, it would be concerning and by private one that is not disclosed or part of the operational activity. >> 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, 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 t the public comes with information to you about the hillary clinton campaign or their associates or someone from the clinton foundation, will you add that to your investigation? they have ties to russian intelligence services, russian agents. would that be something of interest to you? >> people bring us information about what any think is improper unlawful activity of any kind we 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. >> i just hope that if information does surface about the other campaigns, not even just hillary clinton's but any other campaigns, that you would take that serious also, if the russians were trying to infiltrate those campaigns around them. >> of course we would. >> i yield to mr. conaway. >> 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. of us. and there's -- for instance with the particular authority you were 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 promulgated standards are classified, but i could take that for the record, sir. >> when the ic determine a hacking -- when it comes to trying to determine intent of foreign leaders, can you walk us through how the nsa does that 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 profession 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 of the reasons why organizations like cia, the intelligence agency which take multiple sources to put together a complete picture. we're just one component of a broader effort. >> director comey anything different from that. >> it is about putting a puzzles together. sometimes from forensics alone you get a good idea what it was they were trying to accomplish. other times it creates human application of common sense. >> it's rarely a precise science of determining intent of any foreign leader? >> that's right. all of intelligence work requires judgment. that's at the center of it. >> in some cases, it's a much clearer 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 who is next door
neighbor -- never mind. your january 6th assessment, both your agencies agree with the assessment that the russian's goal was to undermine 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 potential presidency, and putin wanted to discredit secretary clinton, because he publicly blamed her since 2011 for insighting mass protests against his regime in 2011 through 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, 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'm not going to get into specifics in an unclassified forum. for me, it boiled down to the level and nature of 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 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? >> i think 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 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 december. >> 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. putin hated secretary clinton so much that the flip side of that coin was he had a clear preference for the person running against the person he hated so much. >> that might work on saturday afternoon when my wife's red raiders are playing the texas longhorns. she really like the red raiders. all the rest of the time -- the logic is, that because he really didn't like candidate clinton, that he automatically liked trump. 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 he wanted him to win? >> logically when he wanted her to lose. >> no, i'm not talking about putin. i got that. but the question is, when in 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 hope key people on other team get hurt so they are not as such a tough opponent down the road. so there was at some point -- >> 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 intervened in the '16 election to help donald trump win the presidency rather than just undermining the confidence in the electoral system. rather than just undermine it. they don't mention mrs. clinton at all. the u.s. senior briefed on the intelligence presentation, 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" help you write the january 6 assessment. >> no, they did not. >> i wonder how they got almost the exact language on december 9th?
>> 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 anonymity that is code for breaking the law generally, right. when somebody says i am talking 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. i think there are other motives behind people requesting anonymi anonymity. but that can be one of them. >> 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 coincidentally -- 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 round. i'll start with this. thank you to admiral rogers and director comey. thank you for your service. 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 disprove them until the investigation is completed. i would just like to give examples. we could have said that in 2012 president obama was overheard on a microphone telling med red is everybody, if i'm elected tell putin we can work out better arrangements. we know that he was ridiculed, romney in the 2012 election,
when romney said he thought russia was still a threat. 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 democratic platform on that. so again, if there was an investigation going on with the obama administration, we can lay out all these scenarios saying, that proves something or that doesn't 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 director clapper that there was no collusion between mr. putin and the trump campaign. >> mr. king, it's not something i can comment on. >> likewise, i'm not going to comment on an ongoing investigation. >> 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 a certain 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, mr. 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 whether this is an 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 didn't approve of nato. >> you're not going to put me in that spot?
>> 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 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 ukraine go away? >> yes about >> mr. putin would like people who like him. >> would they have a preference for a candidate who encouraged brexit and other departures from europe? would they like to see more brexits? >> 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 and mentioned schroeder and -- i'm going to forget one. berlesconi, because he believes they're people that are more open to negotiation, easier to deal with. >> at this point let me yield to representative sewel. >> i'd like to continue my questioning the line of questioning of mr. 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 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, director 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 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 and 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 kirschner 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 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 questions about mr. flynn's conduct. the white house also publicly denied that mr. flynn and the russian ambassador discussed sanctions. 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 influential 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. 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, likely aimed at undermining u.s. trust in the democratic procedures. this january assessment points out that this was a strategy that russia employed going back 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 apologize ma'am, i just 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 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 event? 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 the specific, i'm just not going to comment. >> yes, sir, i understand that you can't comment. but i'd like to read 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 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 emoluments 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 prohibit retired military officers from taking any consulting fees, gifts, traveling expenses, honorariums 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 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 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'm saying 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 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 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 foreign power and that the white house did not help with this comment. gentlemen i know you cannot comment but i believe it is my duty to comment to the american people that his engagement of
lying and failure to disclose 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 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 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? >> 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 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. 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's not little camp fire, there's no little candle. there's 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. 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, subjects of george washington and abraham lincoln complaining about them. 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. >> i 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, classified 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. 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 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 accurate classified
information is wrong in the media. because the people that 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, by locking people up. those who have engaged in criminal activity. >> admiral rogers was in the room, in your opinion the room, director clapper -- were there any other people in the room. there isn't a report that was circulated among 20 people. 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 and 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 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 not going to confirm there was such a conversation because then i might accidentally 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 setting, i might
be able to share more with you. but i'm not going to share conversations or meetings with president obama or president-elect trump or when president trump was president. >> 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 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 media. >> 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 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 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 matter any state 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 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 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 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 adviser have to fill out an sf 86? >> 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 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 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. and 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 30th 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 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 ongoing 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, 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 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 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 manafort, carter
paige and trump himself changed the republican party platform to no longer arm ukraine. so the same month that trump denied putin's role 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 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. 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. comey? >> yes. >> mr. rogers? >> yes. >> do they intend to do us harm? >> they intend to ensure, i believe, that they gain advantage at our expense. >> director comey? >> yes. 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 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 of the candidates and hope to help one of the other candidates. >> i'd 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'd like to focus first on rex 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. rex teller son calls sechin 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 toasting champagne at the deal. 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. >> 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 no longer will 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? >> again, you'd have to ask an
expert, but from my general knowledge, it's to punish activities that are criminal in nature, that involve war crimes, that involve violations of u.n. resolutions 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. >> 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 sechin who was sanctioned by the united states in part to draw attention to the fact that russia invaded crimea it was part of an effort to send a strong message to russia is that true? >> i think that's right. >> yes, ma'am. >> with that, mr. chairman i would yield back for now.
>> the gentleman yields back. i yield myself 15 minutes and i yield to the gentle lady from florida. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. it's never acceptable we can all agree for any foreign power to interfere with our electoral process this. committee has long been focused on russia's reprehensible conduct. and we will remain focused on the threat emanating from moscow. 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's also bipartisan agreement on getting to the bottom of russian meddling in our election, which must remain the focus of this investigation and yours. i agree with what you said, a public acknowledgement of this foreign meddling to be a problem is important as we move forward. and following on congressman labiando's questions and based on this theme, i'd like to ask you gentlemen, if you could describe what if anything russia did in this election that to your knowledge they did or didn't do in previous elections. how it was -- were there actions different in this election than in previous ones? >> i'd 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'd add is, they were unusually loud in their intervention. it's almost as if they didn't care we knew what they were doing or that they wanted us to see what they were doing. it was very noisy. their intrusions in different organizations. >> what specifically 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, we also, as a government supplied information to all the states so they could equip themselves to make sure there was no successful effort to effect the vote, and there was none as we said earlier. the government as a whole in october called it out, and i believe it was director clapper and secretary johnson issued a statement saying, this is what the russians are doing. it's sort of an 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 that 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. and 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 may be undermining our elections successfully. that may have been part of their plan, i don't know for sure. >> i agree with director comey. a big difference to me in the past was, while there was cyber activity, we never saw in previous elections, information being published on such a massive scale that had been illegally removed both from private individuals as well as organizations associated with the democratic process. both inside the government and outside the government. and this massive amount and this loudness, now that it's 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 that this public acknowledgement would tamper down the volatility? >> well, i'll let mike rodgers -- as an initial manner, they'll be back. they'll be back in 2020. they may be back in 2018. one of the lessons they may draw from this, they were successful, they introduced chaos and division and discord and sowed doubt about the amazing country of ours and our democratic process, it's possible they're misreading that as it worked. we'll come back and hit them again in 2020. we have to assume they're coming back. >> i fully expect them to continue this level of activity, i -- our sense is, they have come to the conclusion that 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 are working closely with our european teammates to provide the insights we have seen to try to assist them as they themselves, france and germany are about to undergo significant national leadership investigations over the next few months. >> in terms of the european elections, what have you seen or any information that you could share with us, about the russian interference? >> you see some of the same things 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 eelections right now. >> we 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 forthcoming with the committee. i also want to thank the chairman and the ranking member schiff, this is a bipartisan effort. i think as you've looked to what this committee is undertaking, everyone wants answers, and everyone wants answers to all of the questions that are being asked, because this does go to an important issue, concerning our elections. i'm going to begin with a question to you, mr. rogers, considering the to foreign intelligence surveillance act. the foreign intelligence surveillance act provides the authority under which the intelligence community may collect or intercept the communication of a foreign person located outside the united states, or as mr. comey has indicated, a person who is covered under a fisa court order, with mr. rooney and mr. gowdy, you discuss the
minimumization procedures under the foreign intelligence surveillance act, and those procedures are supposed to protect the privacy rights of u.s. sit zens. specifically, it's geared toward the communications of those who may be inadvertently or incidentally collected as a result of the intelligence communities lawful collection of communications of others. mr. rogers, is the intelligence community required to cease collection or the interexception 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's a series of questions we go through, there criminal associated activity, does the conversation deal with threats to u.s. persons, breaking of the
law. so there's no simple yes or no. so there's no simple yes or no. there's a series of processes. captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 captioning performed by vitac doing lawful collection under the foreign intelligence surveillance act because they are located outside of the united states, is that the subject of a pfizer court order or the collection results in the collections of an incoming administration official, the minimization procedure?
-- >> not automatically not automatically. so, it is important for us to understand that the minimization procedures do not inherently include a prohibition of the intelligence community, incidentally or inadvertently. >> yes. aware ifmey, are you the director ever briefed the united states president and president obama on the inadvertent or incidental collection or interception by the intelligence community?
>> is not something i can comment on. >> why not? classifiednvolve information or to medications with the president. on both grounds, i cannot talk about it here. i may have talked about it with the chair. i don't know if it was the full committee. >> we will have to refresh your memory. president obama ever say he had 10 briefed on incidental collection or interception by the intelligence community? >> i have to give you the same answer. once the first question is related to whether mr. clapper briefed the president.
nextll follow up with them week and direct the questions to him. aware of any evidence that general flynn, prior to the inauguration, ever communicate to the russian government or a government official that the trump administration would release, rescind, or reverse sanctions against russia or ever made in offer of good protocol quo. quid pro i'm trying not to talk about -- bei'm trying notto studiously vague. i just cannot comment.
as tore are procedures what it takes for the fbi to open up an investigation into a citizen. you cannot just say you are going to look at somebody. you have to have a basis. you have opened an investigation into members of the trump campaign, concerning russia. now, we are trying to get a picture of what it takes to tip over for an investigation. there were individuals who attended meetings with russian officials and a member who attended a conference, a picture, travel. in all ofmany people the administrations and member of the congress who would qualify for that. what is the tipping point?
it cannot just be that. don't you just need some action? what does it take to be open for counterintelligence? >> there are a will of different standards. a credible allegation of wrongdoing or a reasonable basis to believe that someone may be acting on behalf of a foreign power. >> mr. clapper said there is no evidence of collusion. you know, we now sit and the russian said the plan was to put a cloud over the system and there is a cloud that undermines the system. we have mr. clapper saying there is no evidence and you will not
give us any substantive evaluation. we now have this cloud. i have additional questions. >> we will get back to you. yield to jackie shapiro. >> let's go back to the tarantula web. in 2014, started to lobby the united states aboutment and asked shifting or lifting the sanctions. he never lobbied against sanctions. exxon mobil and of her lobbied against sanctions.
ask mobile paid over $3000 to lobbyists -- $300,000 to lobbyists. mr. tilson visited the white house five times in 2014 and treasury with secretary lou, seven times. is there something disconcerting u.s. ceo attempting to undermine the sanctions imposed by our government against another country for asked that we find to be disadvantageous to the world order? >> that is not a question i can answer. i am not qualified to answer. >> how about this? you asisconcerting to ae director of the fbi that
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 is not a question i can answer. >> would it raise any red flags? >> does not a question i can answer. -- a lot of of american corporations can do business with russia. i am in no way knowledgeable enough to comment. >> let's move on to someone else , his name is michael caputo. he is a pr professional, conservative radio talk show host, 1994, he moved to russia. there he was working for the agency for international development. he was fired because he refused to follow a state department
edition. he opened a pr firm in moscow and married a russian woman. he subsequently divorced her in . 1999 business sale roger stone, a mentor to him, urged him to move to florida and opened his tr firm in miami which is exactly what mr. caputo did. -- to0, he worked with improve putin's image in the united states. do we know who they are? director? >> i don't. >> it is an oil company. in 2007, he began consulting the ukrainian parliamentary campaign . he met his second wife. what possible
reason is there for the truck campaign to hire putin's image consultant? any thoughts? >> no thoughts. >> likewise >> do either of you know what michael caputo is doing for the trump effort today? >> no idea. on to carter page. carter page was the founder of global energies and investment funds. he only has one partner and that executive offormer a russian state-owned oil company. before that from 2004 two 2007, he worked for merrill lynch in moscow. in march of 2016, trump referred to carter page as his
foreign-policy advisor to the washington post. asserts that page he is an advisor on russia and energy. subsequently, canada trump says he does not know him. september 26, he takes a leave andbsence of the campaign aen he publicly supports relationship with russia, criticizes u.s. sanctions and nato's approach to russia, saysg -- and subsequently -- in 2014, he writes an article criticizing u.s. sanctions, praising an article in global policy and then rebukes the west for focusing on so-called, annexation of crimea.
in july of 2016, he gives a graduation speech at the new economic school, denies meeting with the prime minister. it says he met with -- offering a 19% interest. it becomes the biggest transfer of public property to private ownership. page is a national security advisor to donald trump. do you believe that -- why do we -- here is another company that has had sanctions imposed upon it. could you again clarify why we impose sanctions on companies? >> admiral rogers did it better
than i. >> i don't remember the specifics but i stand by my answer. >> all right. at that point, i will yield back. quigley.yield to mr. >> gentlemen, thank you for your service. we have talked a little bit playbook,russian extortion, bribery, false news, disinformation. we all sounds familiar, correct? without thinking about anybody in the united states. the russian playbook and how it has worked in eastern europe and central europe, a lot of it involved trying to influence individuals in that country, correct? >> yes. >> what we have talked about today seems to be a black and
white notion of whether there was collusion. as a russian active measure tempting to succeed in collusion , does the person involved have to know. to bet have to know involved in order to know there is collusion. >> intelligence, oftentimes there are people called co-op not aware they're dealing with agents of foreign power. they are doing things for someone they think there is a friend. it can happen. is a frequent technique. >> beyond that, to include things that the actor doesn't know what they are doing is helping that other government? >> exactly. >> what are instances, examples of what that might include in a generic sense?
>> oftentimes, a researcher here in the united states may think they are 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 adversary of the united states. >> can you explain and elaborate how problems finding with what collusion is, the differences that might be involved with collusion? >> collusion is not a legal term. .t is not one i have used today i said we are investigating to see if there is any coordination. implicit -- i would think of it as knowing or unknowing. you can do things to help a foreign nation state without realizing you're done with -- you think you're helping a buddy.
what you're doing is passing information that ends up with the chinese government. would be, you know i am sending the stuff and i am doing it because i want to help the chinese government and i know he is hooked up with the chinese government. >> admiral rogers, other examples of what you have witnessed? >> sometimes a u.s. individuals will be approached by other individuals connected with foreign connections who will misrepresent. they will assume an identity. i want you to think i am ,ctually working for a business exploring a commercial interest, create a relationship. then it turns out there is no commercial interest. they're acting in the direct interest of a foreign government . >> someone dating someone, creating a relationship and the u.s. government person takes they are in love with this person and then vice versa.
the person is the agent of a foreign power. ask naive acquiescence. -- >> naive acquiescence. >> i am not sure i know what that means. >> you are going along without acknowledging -- being naive. that youo things probably cannot comment on which is of equal concern. we are very familiar with mr. testimony wherein he said he did not have contact with the russians. he amended testimony in which he acknowledged to such testimony. the first was in july during the convention and later in september afterwards. all the while, the issues that
we are talking about today, the hacking and dumping of materials were taking place in someone in the position of mr. senator sessions would have been aware of this, perhaps if we miss -- if we remember these conversations, ask the russian ambassador to knock it off. apparently none of those things happened or at least he did not remember those things happened. what we are reading now is there was a third meeting as early as april of last year and washington, dc, a meeting in which canada trump was president and the russian ambassador was present. at some point in time, this goes -- undernd an instant the best of circumstances, oh, i forgot, so the thing. when you correct your testimony in front of the united states
senate, you are still under both . you swear to the making people at you say is true. the third time as well beyond that. quite simply perjury. as we look at this as a go forward, i ask that you take that into consideration. this is for more than what we have talked about in the general sense, the russian hack or not? , a concertedthis effort in plan to lie to the american public about what to place and the motivations beyond this. i thank you for your service. i yield back to the ranking member. >> thank you. director comey, usurped the time as a prosecutor. i am going and if you remember the instruction is read to juries every day, that if you decide that a witness deliberately lied on something
significant, you should consider not believing anything that witness says. >> yes, that is familiar. >> testimony is that president trump's claim that former president obama had wiretapped him is false? >> i said we have no information that supports him. >> with respect to donald trump, do you remember the other instruction relating to truthfulness of a witness or defendant if a witness makes a false statement late into the charts crying, nor the statement was false or intending to mislead, that conduct may show he or she were aware of their guilt. >> familiar to me. >> on to talk about the criminal playbook.
-- compromise. >> setting up a compromise? >> yes. how about inadvertently capturing a compromise? meaning they have surveillance and you stumble into that surveillance and are compromised. they take that information and try to course you? >> i yield back. >> 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 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 of -- there are lots of people who have had lots of pictures. >> it depends, did the person sneak over to the foreign country and meet them clandestinely? 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. 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 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. >> ok. 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. klapper, -- 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 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 guyo 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. 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. host: "washington journal." -- 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 thenot against 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 at damage to the united states, but without the risk of a crime. and my next aspects of your question to mr. -- 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 secrets. there are 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 can't. if we start calling reporters, and saying, hey, this thing you said about this new aircraft we developed, that's inaccurate, actually. it has 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. when it is unclassified information, 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. we cannot do that with classified information. it is very frustrating. 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 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. -- 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. 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 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. ok. 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 with 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. 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 an investigation of the individual? >> not in general, not as a rule, no. >> ok. >> it would depend upon lots of other circumstances. >> next, to the article from february 14 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 ok, 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. >> ok. 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 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, dr. 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 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? -- is relying 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. >> ok. just a quick rest stop? >> yes, we'll break for about ten minutes? >> that's plenty. [indiscernible] a