Skip to main content

tv   Former FBI Director Comey Not for Me to Say if President Obstructed...  CSPAN  June 8, 2017 6:01pm-7:02pm EDT

6:01 pm
before the senate intelligence committee. join the conversations. be sure to watch c-span washington journal live at seven eastern friday morning. >> now testimony from former fbi director james comey. this portion of the event begins with opening statements. mr. comey's opening statement. >> i call this hearing to order.
6:02 pm
6:03 pm
director comey, and i appreciate your willingness to appear before the committee today. and i thank you for your dedicated service and leadership to the federal bureau of investigation. your appearance todaye speaks the trust we have built over the years and a i'm looking forwardo an open and candid discussion today. i would likee to remind my ll colleagues, that we will reconvene in close session at 1 p.m.ha today.
6:04 pm
and reservet any questions tha might get into classified questions. we have s worked out a timeline for his commitment to be on the hill. so t we will do everything we c to meet thate agreement. the senate select committee on intelligence exist to certify fornd the other 85 members of the -- operating lawfully and has the necessary authority and toolsts to accomplish its missi and keep america safe. part of our mission beyond the oversight, we continue to provide to the intelligence committee and its activities is tosi investigate russian interferencehe in the 2016 election, the committee's work continues. this hearing represents part of thatg effort. allegations have been serving in the press for a couple of weeks and today is your opportunity to
6:05 pm
set the record straight. your statement of the record providesns helpful details surrounding interactions with the president. clearly lays out your understanding of those discussions. actions you took following each conversation and yourr state of mind. i very muchh appreciate your cann candor and i think it is helpful as we determine the ultimate truth behind possible russian interference in the election. your statement provides texture and context to your interactions with thera president from your vantage point and outlines a strained relationship.p. the american people need to hear your side of the story just as they needth to hear the president's description of events. these. interactions also highlight the importance of the committee's ongoing investigation. our experience staff is
6:06 pm
interviewing all relevant parties. we will establish the facts separate from rapid speculation andth lay them out for the american people to make their own judgment. only then will we as a nation be able to move forward and put this episode to rest. theree are several outstanding issues noted addressed in your statement that i hope you will clear up for the american people today. did theid president's request f loyalty, your impression that the one-on-one dinner of january 27th, and i quote, at least, in part an effort to create some sort of patronage relationship or what you could do to lift the cloud of the investigation in any way alter the way -- and possible links to the campaign.
6:07 pm
in your opinion, did potential russian efrpts to establish the links with the individuals in the trump orbit rise to the level we could define as collusion or was it a counterintelligenceco concern? there has been a significant public speculation about your decision making related to the clinton e-mailwh investigation. why p did you decide to publicl announce fbi's recommendation that thepa department of justic not pursue criminal charges? you have a described it as a choice between a a bad decision and a worse decision. the american people need to understand the facts behind your action.. this committee is uniquely suited to -- we also have a unified bipartisan approach to what is a highly charged issue.n russian activities during 2016 election may have been aimed at one party's candidate but as my
6:08 pm
colleague senator rubio says frequently, in 2018, and 200020, it could be aimed at anyone at home or abroad. my colleague, senator warner and i have worked to stay in locked step in this investigation. we have had our differences on approach at times but i constantly stress we need to be a team and i think senator warneres agrees with me. we must keep these questions above politics and partisanship. it is too important to be. tainted by anyone trying to score political points. ict turn to the vice chairman f any comments he may have. >> let me thank all of the members of the committeeee for e seriousness in which they have taken on this task. mr. comey, thank you for agreeing to come testify as part ofe' this committee's investigation into russia.
6:09 pm
i realize this hearing has been obviously the focus of a lot of washington in the last few days. but t the truth is many america who may be tuning in today probably haven't focused on everyd twist and turn of the investigation. son. i would like to briefly describe, at least, from t this senator'snt standpoint, what we already know andha what we are still investigating. to be clear, this investigation is notut about re-litigating th election. it is notec about who won or lo. and it sure as heck is not about democrats versus republicans. we are here because a foreign adversary attacked us right here at home. plain and simple. not by guns or missiles but by foreignre operatives seeking to hijack our most important democratices process, our
6:10 pm
presidential election. russian spies engaged in a serieses of online cyber raids d a broad campaign of disinformation. all aimed at sewing chaos in our process, our leadership and ultimatelyly in ourselves. and that is not just this senator's opinion, it is the unanimous determination of the entire committee. so we must find out the full story what the russians did and what other colleagues have mentioned whyul they were so successful. and more importantly determine the necessary steps to take to protect our democracy and ensure they don't do it again. simply put, we cannot let anything orr anyone prevent us
6:11 pm
from g getting to the bottom of this. now mr. comey, let me say at the outset, we haven't always agreed on everyon issue. in fact i have questioned some of the action you have taken. but i have never had any reason toes question your integrity, yr expertise, or your intelligence. you have been a straight shooter with this committee and have been willing to speak truth to power even at the risk of your own career whichch makes the wa in which you weree fired by the presidentre ultimately shocking. recalls we began this entire process with the president and his staff first denying that the russianse were ever involved an thenen falsely claiming that no one from his team was ever in touch with any russians. we know that's just not the truth. numerous trump associates had
6:12 pm
undisclosed c contacts with russians before and t after the electionon including the president's attorney general, hisad former national security adviser and his current senior adviser mr.n kushner. that doesn't even begin to count the host of additional campaign associates and advisers who have also been caught up in this massive web. we saw mr. trump's campaign manager o mr. manafort forced t step down overy ties to russian entities. general flynn. and we saw the candidate himself express an odd and unexplained affection for the russian dictator while calling for the hacking of his opponent. there is a lot to investigate. enough in fact then director comey p publicly acknowledged ta he was leading an investigation into those links in mr. trump's
6:13 pm
campaign and the russian as the director of the fbi, mr.y comey was ultimately responsible for conducting that investigation. whichow might explain now why y are sitting now as a private citizen. what wew didn't know was at the same time this investigation was proceeding, the president himself appears to have been engaged inn an effort to influence or, at least, co-op the director of the fbi. the testimony that mr. comey ha submitted for today's hearing is disturbing. for example on january 27th, the president appears to have threatened his job while telling him i need loyalty. at a later meeting on february 14, the president asked the attorney general to leave the oval office so he can privately ask mr. comey to see
6:14 pm
way clearor to letting flynn go. that was a statement that mr. necomey interpreted as a request to -- false statements. think aboutit it, the presidentf the united states asking the fbi director to drop an ongoing investigation. after thatca the president call himd on two separate occasions and asked him again to quote lift the cloud on the russian investigation. now director comeyr denied each of these improper requests. the loyalty pledge, the admonition to drop the flynn investigation, the request to lift the cloud on the russian investigation. of course after his refusals, director comey was fired. the initial explanation for the firing didn't pass any smell
6:15 pm
test. somehow director comey was fired becausecl he didn't treat hilla clintonst appropriately. of course that explanation lasted about a day because the president himself made clear that he wasct thinking about russian when he decided to fire director comey. shockingly, reportse suggests that the president admitted as much in an oval office meeting the russians the day after director comey was fired. disparaging our country's top law enforcement official as a quote-unquote nutjob, the president -- onn his feelings o russian. this is not happening in isolation. at the same time the president engaging in these efforts with director comey, and also, at least,el allegedly asking
6:16 pm
senioror leaders of this intelligence to downplay the investigation -- yesterday we had director coats and nsa a to flatly deny the reports. they expressed their opinion but did not take the opportunity to deny the reports. they did not take advantage of that opportunity. in mybe believe, that is not ho the president of the united states should behave. regardless of the outcome of our investigation into the russia links, director comey's firing and his testimony raise separate and troubling questions that we must get to the bottom of this. again, i have seen first hands how seriously ever member of this committee is taking his work. i am proud of the committee's efforts so far. let me be clear. this is not a witch hunt. this is not fake news. it is an effort to protect our
6:17 pm
countryte from a new threat tha quitem honestly will not go aw any time soon. so mr. comey, your testimony here today will help us move towards thato goal. forward to that testimony. thank you. >> thank you. director as discussed when you agreed to appear before the committee, it would be under oath. you to please stand, raise your r right hand and do u solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? please be seated. director comey, you are now under oath. and i would just note to members you will be recognized by seniority for up to -- with that director comey, you are recognized. youlo have the floor for as lon as you might need.
6:18 pm
>> thank you,be mr. chairman, members of the committee thank you for inviting me here to testimony today.nt i a submitted my statement for e record. i thought i would offer brief introductory remarks and then welcome yourr questions. when i was appointed fbi director in 2013, i understood that i served at the pleasure of thee president. even though i wasug appointed ta ten-year term which congress created in order to under score the importance of the fbi being outside of politics and independent, i understood that i could be fired by a president for any reason or no reason at all. and on may the 9th when i learned that i have been fired, fordi that reason i immediately came home as a private citizen. then the shifting explanations confused meng and increasingly concernedha me. they confused me because the president and i had multiple
6:19 pm
conversations about my job both before and after i took office and he had repeatedly told me i was doing a good job and hoped that i would d stay and i repeatedly told him i intended to stay and serve out the remaining term. he o told me he spoke to a lot people aboutea me including our attorney general and learned that i was doing a good job and extremely well-liked by the fbi workforce. so confused me when i saw on television the president saying that hee actually fired me because of thebe russia investigation. ar from the media that he was telling privately other parties that my firing had relieved great pressure on the russianco investigation. i was also confused by the initial investigationt that wa offered t publicly that i was fired because of the decisions i made during the election year. that didn't make sense to me for
6:20 pm
a bunch of reasons including the timeny and the water under the bridge. although the law required no reason at all to fire an fbi director, thein administration thense chose to defame me and me importantly the fbi byy saying thatat the organization was in disarray. that it wasat poorly led. that the workforce had lost confidence in itsnf leader. those were lies plain and simple. andd i am so sorry that the fbi workforce had to t hear them an so sorry that the american people were told them. ii worked everyday at the fbi t helplp make that great organization better. and i say help because i did nothing alone at the fbi. theree are no indispensable people at thehe fbi. theni organization's great strength iss that its values an abilities run deep and wide. the fbil will be fine without m. the fbi's mission will be
6:21 pm
relentlilesssi pursued by its people and that mission is to protect the american people. thisga organization and its mission will go long beyond me and long beyond any particular administration. i haveni a message before i clo for my - former colleagues of t fbi. but first i want the american people to know this truth. the fbi is honest. the fbi is strong. and the fbi is and always will be independent. now to my former colleagues if iea may. i am so sorry that i didn't get the chance to say good-bye to you properly. it was these hon eror of my lif serve beside you and to be a part of the fbi family and miss it for the rest of my life. thank young for standing watch. and thank you for doing so much good foroo this country. do that good for as long as ever
6:22 pm
you t can. and i lookti forward to your questions. >> thank you for that testimony, both oral and the written testimony that you provided to theo committee yesterday and me public to the american people. chair would recognize himself first for 12 vice chair for 12 minutes based upon the agreement we have. director, did the special counselic office review and/or edit your written testimony? >> no. you have any doubt that russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 elections? >> yonone. >> do you have any doubt that the russian government was behind the intrusions and the dnc and the d triple c systems and the leaks? >> no doubt. >>t do you have any doubt that the russian government was behind the i cyber intrusion in the state voter trials? >> no.
6:23 pm
>> do you have doubt that the russian government were fully aware of these n activities? >>do no doubt. >> are youha confident that no vote castpr in the 2016 residential election were altered. >> i am confident. i had seen no indication of that whatsoever. >> director cocomey, did the president at any time ask you to stop the fbi investigation in the russianga involvement in th 2016 election? >> not. to my understanding no >> did anyid individual working for this administration including the justice departmenn ask you to stop the russian investigation?>> >>re no. >> director, when the president requested that you and i quote let flynn go, general flynn had unreported contact with the russians,h which is an offense.
6:24 pm
and if pressd accounts are righ, theree might have been discrepancies between facts and his fbi testimony. in your estimation was general flynn at that time in serious legalt jeopardy and in addition to that doo you think the pre president was trying to obstruct justice. >> legal jeopardy there was an open h fbi criminal investigati with hish statements with the russian contacts and the contacts himself so that was my time.sment at the i don't think it was for meo t say whether the conversation i had with the president was an effort to obstruct. i tooknc it as a disturbing thi, veryou concerning but that is t thing that i am sure the special counsel will work towards whether there was an offense
6:25 pm
there. >> the the fbi could find evide of criminality that is not tied to the 2016 elections possible collusions or coordination with russians? >> sure. >> so there could be something that just fits a criminal aspect to this that doesn't have anything to do with the 2016 election cycle? >> correct. in any complex investigation, when you start turning over ex rocks, sometimes you find things that are unrelated to the primary investigation that are criminalre in nature. >> director comey, you have been criticized for y your decisions for findingou your -- to the americaner people. have you learned anything since that timeou that would have changed whatt you said or how yu chose to inform the american people? > honestly, no. i mean it caused a whole lot of personal pain for me. but as i look back, given what i knew at the time and even what i
6:26 pm
learned since, i think it was thee best way to try to protect the justice institution including the fbi. >> in the public domain, is this question of the steel dossier. a document that has been around now b for over a year. i am not sure when the fbi first took possession of it but the media had it before you had it and we had it. at the time fromou your departu from the fbi, was the fbi able to confirm any criminal allegations contained in the steel document? >> i don't think that is a question i can i answer in an on setting it goes into the details of the investigation. >> director, the term we hear most often is collusion. when people are describing possiblele links between americs
6:27 pm
and russian government entities related to the interference in our election, would you say that it is normal for foreign governments to reach out to members of an incoming administration? >> yes. >> at what point does the normal contact cross the line into an attempt to recruit agents or influence or spies? >> difficultue to say in the abstract. it depends upon the context whether there isct an efficiento keep ithe covert. what the nature of the request made of the foreign government are. it is a judgment call based on facts. >> at what point would that recruitment become a counter intenti intelligence threat to our country? >> difficult to answern in the abstract. when the foreign power is using coercion or some sort of oppression, that is a serious
6:28 pm
concern of the fbi and at the heart of the fbi's counterintelligence mission. >> so if you have a 36 page document of specific claims that are out there, the fbi would to for counterintelligence reasons try to verify anything that might be claimed in there one, and probably first and foremost is the concerns elligence thatat we have about blackmail? would that be an accurate statement? >> yes. if y the fbi receives a credibl allegation that there is some effort to coerce, employ covertly on the -- investigation is opened. > and when you read the dossier, what was your reaction given that it was 100% directe at the president elect. >> not a question i can answer in open setting. >> when did you become aware of the cyber intrusion?>>
6:29 pm
>> the first cyber -- all kinds of cyber intrusions going on. the first russia connected cyber intrusions>> in the late surmmef the 200015. time, more than the dnc and d triple c. >> what would be the estimate of how many entities out there the russians specifically targeted in that time frame? >> it's hundreds. could be more than thousands. but it, at least, hundreds. >>ou when did you become aware thatth data had been ex-full traited? >> i am not sure exactly. either late '15 or early '16. >> did you, the director of the fbi have conversations with the
6:30 pm
last administration about the risk that this posed? >> yes. and share with us w if you will what actions they took. >> well the fbi had already under takenrt an effort to noti all thehe victims and that is wt wesi considered the entities th were attacked as part of this massive spear fishing campaign. and we notified them in an effort to disrupt what might be ongoing. and a series of interactions with serious entities. and throughout '16, the administration was trying to respond to how it could respond. >> unlike other cases that you might iginvestigate, did you ev have h access to the actual hardware that was hacked or did you have to rely on a third party to provide you the data. >> in h the case of the dnc andn the d triple c-w we did not have
6:31 pm
access towe the devices themselves. a information from a private party. but we did not get direct access. >> but no content? >>en correct. >> isn't content an important part. >> it is. what wass, briefed to me by my folks, they had gotten the information from the private party that theyd needed to understand the intrusion by the spring of 2016. back, if i can very briefly to the decision to publicly go out with your results ons the e-mail. was your decision influenced by the attorney general's tarmac meeting with the former president bill clinton? >> yes, in an ultimately
6:32 pm
conclusive way. h i had to do something separately to protect the credibility of thebi investigation which meant both the fbi and the justice department. >> were there other things that contributed to that that you can describe in an open session? >>re there were other things th contributed to that. onee significant item i can't. i know thei committee has been briefed on. theren have been public account which are nonsense. probably the only other consideration i guess i could talkra about in open setting at one point the attorney general directed me not to call it an investigation but instead i to callch it a matter which confus me and w concerned me but that s one of the bricks in the load that led me to conclude i had to step away from the department if we weree to close this case credibly. >> my last question, you are not only a seasoned prosecutor, you led the fbi for years.
6:33 pm
you understand the investigative process. you haveoc worked with this committee closely and we are grateful t to you because we mutually built trust in what your organization t does and wh we do. is there doubt in your c mind tt this committee can carry out its oversight role in the 2016 russian involvement -- with this counsel. >> no. bob mueller o is one of this country's great prost and i am sure you will -- >> again, thank you for your service.ic comments to your fbi i know were heart felt. know that even though there are someme in the administration wh
6:34 pm
have triedar to smear your reputation, you had acting director mccabe in public testimony a fewct weeks back an public testimony yesterday reaffirm that the vast majority fbi community had great trust in your leadership and obviously trust in your integrity. i want toin go through a numberf thee meetings that you referencd in your testimony and start with the january 6th meeting in trump tower where you went up with a series of officials to brief the president elect on the russian investigation. you remained afford to brief him onso quote some personally sensitive aspects of the information you y relayed. now youou said after that briefing, you felt compelled to document that conversation that you actually started documenting it as soon as you got into the car. youxt had extensive experience
6:35 pm
the department of justice and the fbi and worked on the president of both parties. what was it about that meeting that led you to determine that youu needed to put down a writtn record. >> a combination of things. subjectce matter and person i w interacting with. i was alone with the president of the united states, president elect. subjectouch matter, matters tha touch on thers -- and then the nature of the person. i was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting so i thought it was that combination ofon things i never experienced before. but it led me to believe i have got to write it down and write it downta in a detailed way. >> i think that is an important statement that you made. and mydi understanding is that
6:36 pm
again, unlike your dealings with presidents of either parties in your past experience, in every subsequent meeting orio conversation with this president, you created a written record. did you feel you needed to create a written record of these memos because they might have to bebe relied on. >> i think i did it after each of our nine conversations. if i didn't, i did it for nearly all of them. i knew there might come a day where i would need a record of what had c happened. not just to defend myself, but to defend the r fbi and our integrity as an institution and the independence of our investigative o function. that's whatri made this so difficult. it was a combination of circumstances subject matter and a particular person. >>ar so in all of your experien, this is the only president that you felt like in every meeting you needed to document because at someng point using your word
6:37 pm
he might put out a nontruthful representation of that meeting. >> that's right. andy as i said in my written testimony as fbi director i interacted with president obama, spokeoc only twice in three yea and didn't document. when i was deputy attorney general i had one meeting with president bush. i didn't write a memo documenting that conversation either. didn't feel with president bush the need to document it in that way again because of the combination of those factors wasn't present with either president bush or president obama. >> i think that is significant. the chairman and i have requested those memos. it is our hope that the fbi will get this committee access to those memos so again, we can readad that contemporaneous rendition so that we have got your side of the story. now i know members have said,
6:38 pm
and press have said that if you were, a great deal has made, indicate whether if the president was subject of any investigation and my understanding is that priormy f youryo meeting on january 6th y discussed with your leadership team, that theha fbi was not investigating him personally. nowy my understanding is that your leadership team agreed to that but was that a unanimous decision? >> wasn't th unanimous. one t of the members of the leadership team had a view that although it was technically true, we did not have a counterintelligence file case open onn then president elect trump. his concern wasas because we ar looking at the supotential, aga that is the subject of investigation coordination of thee campaign and russia.
6:39 pm
this mpperson's view was inevitably hisis behavior, his conduct will fall within the scope of that work and so he was reluctant tome make the stateme that i made. i disagreed. i thought it was fair to say what was literally true. therein is not a counterintelligencee investigation of mr. trump and i decided in the moment to say it. >> at that moment in time did you revisit that in the subsequent sessions?se >> with the fbi leadership? >> with the team. >> sure. and the leader's view didn't change. his view that it was probably althoughgh literally true, his concern was that it could be misleading because of the nature of the investigation would touch theca campaign and the person t head of the campaign would be the candidate. that was his view throughout. >> let me move to the
6:40 pm
january 27th dinner where you saidng the president began aski me whether i wanted to stay on as director. you go on to say the dinner itself was seemingly an effort to quote have you ask him for your job. and create some sort of patronage te relationship. the presidentf seems from my reading of the memo to be holding your job orr possibilit of continuing your job over your head in a direct way. what was your impression and what did you n mean by this notn of a patronage relationship. >> my impression, my common told me that h what was going on is that he had concluded or someone told him that you have already askedd comey to stay and you didn't get anything for it. and the dinner was an effort to build aip relationship.
6:41 pm
in fact he asked specifically of loyalty in the context of asking me to stay. i said, what was odd about that was we already talked twice about it at that point. and heop said i very much hope u say. ine, fact'v the third one, when see the picture of me walking across the blue room. what the president whispered in mymy ear was i really look forwd to working with you. >> and that was a few days before. >> the sunday after the inauguration. thee next friday i have dinner and the president wants to begin to talk about my job. i am thinking three times you have asked me to stay or talking about me staying. my common sense told me what is going on here is he is looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay on the job. >> i was apl governor, and i ha people workre for me but this constant request again quoting
6:42 pm
you s saying that you explainin your independence, he kept comingy, back with i need loyal. i expect loyalty. have you ever had any of those requests before frome anyone i the government. no. and at that point i am the director of the r fbi. the reason that congress created a ten-year term is'r so the director is not feeling that they are serving with political loyaltyas to any person. it should be aboutee the facts d the law. thatut is why i was, that is whi became the fbi director to be in that position. that is why i was so uneasy. >> let me move on. february 14, it is a bit strange. you were in a ad meeting. andra your direct superior, the attorney general wasen in the meeting as well.
6:43 pm
and the president asked everybody to leaveve including e attorney general to leave before he brought up the matter of general flynn. what was your impression of that type of action? had you ever seen anything like that before? >> no. my impression was something big is about to happen. i need to remember every single word that is spoken. and i could be wrong. i am 56-years old. i have seen a few things. my sense is that the attorney general knew heav shouldn't hav been leaving. i think mr. kushner picked up on thee same thing. >> i i found it interesting tha in the memo you wrote after this february 14th, you made clear that you wrote that memo in a way it wase unclassified. if you made the decision to
6:44 pm
write aus memo that was unclassified, p was that becaus you feltha at some point the fas ofof that meeting would have to come clean and be clear and shared with the american people? >> i remember thinking this is a disturbing development. really important to ouroc work. i need to document it and preserve it in a way. this committees gets this, but sometimes when things are classified, itt tangles it up. youst have to be careful in how you handle. so my thinking that if i write it in a way that i don't include anything that would trig a classification did sh to hold on to it in a way that makesss it accessible to us. > it is our hope particularl since youou are a knowledgeable guy and you wrote this in a way that it is unclassified, this committee gets access to this
6:45 pm
docume document. let me ask you in closing,g,at many ongoing investigations at any time does the fbi have going on? >> tens of thousands. >> has a the president ever ask about any other ongoing investigation? >> no. did he ever ask about you trying to a interfere on any other investigation? >> no. >> again,'t e this speaks volum. it doesn't get to the questions around the phone calls, about lifting the cloud. i know other membersreci will go that. iicn. appreciate your testimony >> thank you. i am sitting here going through my t contexts and i had one conversation with the president which wasur classified where he askedel about an ongoing intelligence investigation.
6:46 pm
>> but he didn't ask you -- > correct. >> thank you, sir. >> thank you mr. chairman. thank you director comey. there have been press reports that the president in addition to asking you to drop the flynn investigation has asked other senior intelligence officials to take steps which would tend to undermine the investigation of russia. reports that he asked coats and admiral rogers -- and also reports about admiral rogers and director pompeo to intervene, are you aware of any of these, or do you have information with respect to any of these allegations? >> i don't. i amre aware of the public
6:47 pm
reporting. but it, had no contact, no conversation with any of those leaders about that subject. >> t thank you. you have testified that you interpret the discussion witht the president about flynn as a direction to stop the investigation, is thatio correc? >> yes. >> you testified that the president asked you to lift the cloud by essentially making publics statements exonerating him and perhaps others. you refused, correct? >> i didn't do it. i didn't refuse the president. i told him we could see what we could do and the second time we called i told him in substance, thatur is something your lawyer will have to takewi up with the justice department. >> and part of the underlying logic as we discussed many times this morning is the duty to correct, that is one, a theoretical issue but also practical issue.
6:48 pm
your feeling at the direction of the investigationga could in fa include the president? >> well, in theory, i mean as i explained, the concern, of one of my senior leader colleagues -- the person at th end of the campaign is the accoun candidate. the candidate's knowledge of w understanding would becomear a part of your inquiry. so i understood that argument. and my view was what i said to the president was accurate and fair. i resisted the idea of publicly saying it. becausee of the duty to correct and the slippery slope problem. >> again, also you testified that the president asked you to be loyal to him and you responded you will be honestly
6:49 pm
loyal which is i think your way of sayinge i will be honest and the head of the fbi and independent. is that fair? >> correct. i tried honest first. andd also, i mean you see it in my testimony, i explain to him why it is in his interest for the fbipr to be a part in a way because its w credibility is important to as president and te country. and soy. id tried to hold the and it got very awkward and i then said you will always have honestly from me. and. >> theo culmination of all of these events, you are fired without any explanation or anything else. >> there was an explanation. i just don't buy it. >> well, yes. so you are fired. so do you believe that you were fired because you refused to take the president's direction. is that the ultimate reason? >> i don't know forw sure.
6:50 pm
i knowak i was fired. i take the president's words. i know i was fired because of something i i was -- somehow irritating him and he decided to fire me because of that. i can't go farther than that. >> y the russian investigation you pointed out and as all of my colleagueses reflect is one of e mostst serious hostile acts against this country in this history. event.a discrete it willl likely occur. it iss probably being prepared nowow for 18 and 20 and beyond. and yet, the president of the united statess fires you becaus in your own words -- russian foreign minister first after classifying you, as crazy and a
6:51 pm
nutjob. yourur conclusion would be that president, i would think is down-playing the seriousness of this threat. in, fact took specific steps t stop a thorough investigation of the russian influence and also from what you said or what was saidoe this morning doesn't -- thatsi fair? >> i don't know that i can agrel to that level of detail. there is no doubt that it is a fair judgment, it is my judgment that i was fired because of the russian investigationed and fir in some way to change or the was to change the way the russia investigation was being conducted. that is. a big deal and not jus because it involves me.
6:52 pm
-- subject of political consideration andn. on top of that, you have the russia investigation itself is vital becausee of the threat. if any americans were part of helping the russians do that to us, that is a very big deal and i am comfort that t if that is e case, director multer will find that evidence. >> finally, the president tweeted thatam james comey bett hope b that in no -- to the pre, was that rather unsubtle attempt to anyone else crosses his path of not doing it? i am not going to interpret the president's tweets. toent' me, its major impact -- e tapes and if there are tapes, it is not just my word
6:53 pm
againstf his.
6:54 pm
>>. >> the clinton investigation was a completed investigation that thepp fbi -- against the laws ts investigation was underway still going when i wasn fired. soow it is no where near in the same place. >> but it is still ongoing? >>ng correct. so far as i know. >> this investigation is going on andti you reached separate conclusions. > that one was done. or any of her associates is completed? >> yes as that's what i was announcing, what we had done and what we had
6:55 pm
found. >> well, at least in the a mind-set of this member, there's a whole lot of questions remaining about what went on, particularly considering the fact that, as you mention, it'st a, quote, big deal as to what went on during the campaign. w so, i'm glad you concluded that part of the investigation. but i -- i think that the american people have a whole lot of questions out there, y particularly since you just t emphasized the role that russia and obviously, she was a candidate for president at the time. so, she was clearly involved in this whole situation where fake news, as you've just described it, a big deal took place.e. and you're going to have to help me out here. in other words, we're -- the investigation that anything former secretary clinton had to
6:56 pm
do and we don't have to worry about it anymore? >> with respect to -- i'm a little confused, senator. with respect to secretary ry clinton, we investigated her use of a personal e-mail server. >> i understand. >> that's the investigation of july 5th that i >> so, at the same time, you de made the announcement there would be no charges brought against then secretary clinton for any activities involved in the russia involvement and our v engagement in our election. i don't quite understand how you can be done with that, but not done with the whole investigation of their attempt to affect the outcome of our rr election. >> no, i'm sorry, when i was fired on may 9th watts still an open investigation to understand the russians and whether any americans worked with them. >> but you reached the conclusion there was no need to bring charges against secretary clinton. so, you reached the conclusion
6:57 pm
in the case of mr. comey -- president -- in the case of president trump, you had an ongoing investigation. h so you've got one candidate who you're donee with and another candidate who you have a long way to go. is that correct?hat >> i don't know how far the fbib has to go, but, yes, the clinton e-mail investigation was completed. the investigation of russia's efforts in connection with the election. and whether there was any coordination and with whom the n russia campaign is ongoing whent i left. >> you just made it clear you said, quote, this is a quote, tr big deal, unquote. i think it's hard to reconcile, in one case you reach a complete conclusion and the other side you have not. in fact, obviously there's a lot more there as we know, as you called it a, quote, big deal.
6:58 pm
she's one of the but in her case, you say there will be no charges, in case of president trump, the io investigation continues. what has been brought out in this hearing is more and more emphasis on the russian o engagement and involvement in this campaign. how serious do you think this us was? >> very serious. i want to say something to be made clear, we have not announced and there was no pred case to announce whether the russians may have coordinated withai secretary clinton's campaign.y >> well, they may not have been involved with her campaign. they were involved with the e d entire presidential campaign, obviously.y. >> of course. yes, sir. t that is the investigation that m began last summer and so far as i'm aware continues.
6:59 pm
>> so both president trump and former candidate clinton are d both involved in the he investigation, yet one of them, you said, there's going to be no charges. and the other one, the bech investigation continues. well, i think there's a double standard there to tell you the truth. then when the president said to you, you talked about the april 11th phone call, he said, quote, because i've been very loyal to you.erya very loyal. we had that thing, you know. did that arouse your curiosity as to what quote that thing was? >> yes. > >> why didn't you ask him? >> it didn't seem to me to be important for the conversation we were having to understand to it. i took it to be some -- an effort to communicate to me this -- that there is a at relationship between us where i've been good to you, you should be good to me. >> yeah, but i think it would intensity arouse my curiosity if the president of the united states said we had that thing, you know.. i'd like to know what the hell
7:00 pm
that thing is, particularly if i'm the director of the fbi. >> yeah, i get that, senator. honestly, i'll tell you what, this is speculation but what i concluded at the time in his memory, he was searching back tr our encounter at the dinner and was preparing himself to say i offered loyalty to you, you promise loyalty to me.ay all of a sudden, i think his memory showed him that didn't happen. that's just a guess, but a lot ofof conversations with humans over ther years. >> ie would have had some curiosity if it hadom been abou me, to be honest with you. i are you aware of anything that . would lead you to believe that the president, or members of the administration or members of the campaign, could potentially be used to coerce or blackmail theb administration? >> that's a subject for investigations. st something i can comment on sitting here. >> but you reached that conclusion as far as secretary a of clinton was concerned, but you're not reaching a
7:01 pm
conclusion as far as this t administration is concerned. are you aware of anything that would lead you to believe that information exists that could fo coerce members of the administration or blackmail the administration? >> that's not a question i ask answer, senator. >> the senator's time has expired. next on on core broadcast of c-span radio's washington today which focused entirely on former fbi director james twcomey's testimony beforeur the senate intelligence committee. this is an hour. >> i think the circumstances, the subject matter and the person i was interacting with, circumstances -- first, i was alone with the president of the united states --he with the president-elect, soon to be president. the subject matter i was talkig about,at


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on