tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN July 8, 2016 4:40am-6:41am EDT
because i want to say something to those individuals who are chuckling and laughing and making attacks on director comey for doing his job. you have no idea who you're talking about. your accusations are completely off base, utterly offensive to us as american people. i know this because i've had the honor of working for director comey during my own service at the department of justice. from 2002 to 2004 i served as senior counsel to the deputy attorney general. i worked with both director -- the deputy attorney general, larry thompson, and deputy attorney general jim comey when he became deputy as a staff attorney. and i know from my own experiences that director comey is a man of impeccable integrity. there are very few times when you as an attorney or as an individual can work with
individuals or a gentleman who is completely that. someone who is above the fray. anyone who suggests or implies that he made his recommendations on anything but the facts simply does not know james comey. we've used the term no reasonable prosecutor. well, i know that james comey doesn't act as what a reasonable prosecutor would do because he is the unyielding prosecutor. he is the prosecutor who does what is politically not expedient for himself, his staff, but for the law. and i'm not the only person in this hearing, in this committee, who's worked with director comey or for him. representative gowdy himself also commended director comey and he said this, "i used to work with him. i think comey is doing exactly what you want. he's doing a serious investigation behind closed
doors away from the media's attention and i'm going to trust him until i see a reason not to." representative gowdy referred to director comey as honorable and apolitical. he said, request t"this is exac you want in law enforcement." well, that's exactly what you want in law enforcement until the decision is not the decision that you want. director comey, chairman chaffetz, as it was said by one of my colleagues, went on television and accused you of making a "political calculation." he said your recommendation was nothing but a "political determination in the end." i'm going to ask you, how do you respond to that? were your actions in any way, shape or form governed by political consideration? >> no, not in any way. >> and did anyone with secretary clinton's campaign or the administration influence your
recommendation for political reasons? >> no. they didn't influence it in any way. >> i'm going to take you at your word, because i know, and those who will go through the record of your long tenure as a career prosecutor, and they look at examples, will see that you have taken decisions that have not been that, which your supervisors, which the president, which others have wanted you to take. as a fellow prosecutor who believed that the facts must come above politics, i'm thankful that we have you. and director comey, i want to thank you for your service to our country. and you have our support. we would like to see as much documents, and i'm grateful that you want to keep the transparency so that the american public can understand the difference between what they hear in the media and the
elements of a crime necessary for criminal prosecution. thank you. >> thank the gentle woman. now recognize the gentleman from texas for five minutes. >> thank you very much, director comey. i want to talk about cyber security. inspector general detailed instances of multiple attacks on secretary clinton's computer as well as her replying to suspicious e-mail from the personal account of under secretary of state. director, you said that hostile actors successful gained access to the commercial e-mail accounts of people secretary clinton regularly communicated with. in the case of the romanian hacker, according to accessing sidney blumenthal's account, that's been public for some time. during your investigation were there other people in the state department or that regularly communicated with secretary clinton you can confirm were successful hacked? >> yes. >> and were these folks that regularly communicated with the secretary?
>> yes. >> were you able to conclude definitively that the attempted hacks referenced in the ig report were not successful? >> we are were not able to conclude that they were successful. i think that's the best way to say it. >> while you said given the nature of clinton's server you would be unlikely to see evidence one way or the other whether or not it had been successful hacked, how many unsuccessful attempts did you uncover? >> there were unsuccessful attempts. i don't know the number off top of my head. >> were they from foreign governments? where did they come from? >> i want to be careful what i say in an open setting. so i -- we can give you that information but i don't want to give any foreign governments knowledge of what i know. >> but would you say they probably weren't american high school students fooling around. >> correct. it was not limited to criminal activity. >> during your investigation did you or anyone in the fbi interview the hacker gucifer?
>> yes. >> he claimed he gained access to sid blumenthal's e-mail account and traced them back to clinton's private server. can you confirm that gucifer never gained access to her server? >> he did not. he admitted that was a lie. >> all right, at least that's good to hear. section 793 of title 18 of the united states code makes it a crime to allow classified information to be stolen through gross negligence. were you to discover that hostile actors had actually gotten in to secretary clinton's e-mail? would that have changed your recommendation with respect to prosecuting her? >> unlikely. although we didn't consider that question because we didn't have those facts. >> i want to go back to the question of intent real quick for just a second. i'm a recovering attorney. pits's been decades since i actually practiced law. but you kept referring to "she had to know it was illegal" to
have the requisite criminal intent. i was always taught in law school -- i don't know where this changed -- that ignorance of the law was no excuse. if i'm driving along at 45 miles an hour and didn't see the 35-mile-an-hour speed limit, i was still intentionally speeding even though i didn't know it. now i might not have had the requisite criminal intent if maybe my accelerator jammed or something like that, but even though i didn't know the law was 35, i was driving 45. i'm going to get a ticket and i'm probably going to be prosecuted for that. so how can you say ignorance of the law is an excuse in mrs. clinton's case? >> well, the comparison so petty offenses i don't think is useful. but the question of ignorance of the law is no excuse. but here's the distinction. you have to have general criminal intent. you don't need to know what particular statute you are violating but you must be aware
of the general -- >> congress who enacted that statute said gross negligence. what are we going to have to enact to get you guys to prosecute something based on negligence or gross negligence? are we going to have to have -- oh, by the way, we really do mean you don't have to have intent there? >> that's a conversation for you all to have with the department of justice but it would have to be something more than the statute enacted in 1917 because for 99 years they've been very worried about its constitutionality. >> all right. well i think that's something this committee and congress as a whole of the judiciary committee that mr. chaffetz and said. i was on television this morningnd a i want to relay a question that i received from a caller into that television commercial. it's just real simple. why should any person follow the law if our leaders don't? we can argue about intent or not. but you laid out the facts that she basically broke the law but you couldn't prove intent. maybe i'm putting words in your
mouth but i do want to know why any person should follow the law if our leader don't have to. maybe that's rhetorical but i'll give you an opportunity to comment on that. >> that's a question i'm no more qualified to answer than any american citizen. as an important question in terms of my work, in my world, my folks would not be -- one of my employees would not be prosecuted for this. they would face consequences for this. so the notion that it's either prosecute or you walk around smiling all day long is just not true for those people who work for the government. the broader question is one for a democracy to answer. it is not for me. >> i guess the ultimate decision as to whether or not mrs. clinton works in government or not is not in -- is in everybody's hands. >> i thank the gentleman. will now recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, director comey, for appearing, especially on such short notice. i want to share with you
actually something a friend of mine was expressing when watching your press conference 48 hours ago. this is someone who's not in any way political. in fact, probably typical of most american citizens today in being depressed about the remarkable level of cynicism we have in our government, that specifically those of us who are in government make decisions first and foremost because of the party hat we wear and not necessarily based on the facts and the evidence. and he texted me after watching your 15-minute presentation, oh, it's nice to see a real pro. you can tell that he would make the decision based on the facts and the evidence and not what party he wears. i think that's so important if we're ever going to get to a place in this country where we restore some of the faith that we had in government. if you look at the poll numbers from 1940s and 1950s and you
look at faith in government among the american public and you look at those numbers today, the numbers today are anemic. they're nowhere near the levels they were decades ago. so for that i want to say thank you. i think many citizens have the same impression. when i first met you a couple years ago at a weekend session in colonial, williamsburg, you might remember that we had the discussion about my biggest concern, frankly, facing the security of the american people, and that is the possibility of a lone wolf terrorist. someone becoming self-radicalized and acting based on that. we had an exchange that i'll keep private but i think i can characterize that you share my concern. i'm just thinking for the last two and a half hours that we've been here, we've had the fbi director answering questions on this matter when frankly, i would have much rather your time spent dealing with the potential of lone wolf terrorists and
other coordinated attacks that we face. but since this is the oversight and government reform committee, trying to find something that we can now take and possibly use in a systemic way, not just the celebrity of secretary clinton and the fact because it involves her -- let's face it, that's the reason why we're here. but i want to try to take something out of this very expensive and long investigation and try to use it in a productive way toward reforming government that possibly we can get something good out of it. so toward that end, i'm really concerned about this issue of up classification. because it seems as if -- i was not aware of this until the investigation -- there is quite a strong discrepancy between not just former secretary clinton but even former secretary powell. what he thinks should be classified. and then what is classified after the fact. i think if i'm right, there was
some 2,000 e-mails that were up classified? i was wondering if you could speak to that. >> it actually was not a concept i was real familiar with before this. it's the notion that something might not have been classified at the time but that in hindsight as a government agency considers releasing it, they raise the classification level to protect it because it is a candid assessment of a foreign leader or something like that. i think it is largely a state department thing because diplomats will often be conversing in an unclassified way that when they look at releasing it in response to a foia request, they think it ought to be protected in some fashion. but honestly, i kind of pushed those to the side. the important thing here was, what was classified at the time. that's what matters. >> that, for a law enforcement official, matters. but i'm just wondering if you could share with us any of your impressions about a system that exists where there is such grey area and discrepancy in what is classified and what's not, and if you or your agents had any
suggestions for us, either in government reform or i happen to be on the foreign affairs committee, that is oversight of state department, do you believe that this is a matter we should take up where there is such discrepancy in what's classified and what's not classified. i think for example ambassador ross put something in a book that was not classified and then was up classified after the book came out. but what good does that do for us as a country in trying to protect the united states. >> i am not familiar with this up classification but i suspect it will be fertile ground for examining whether there are ways to do it. >> i yield back my time. >> recognize the gentleman from georgia. >> director comey, your statement on tuesday clearly showed that secretary clinton not only was extremely careless in handling classified information, but that also any
reasonable person should have known better, and that also in doing so she put our national security at risk with her reckless behavior. so seems to me that the american people are only left based on your assessment with just a few options. either secretary clinton herself is not a reasonable person, or she is someone who purposefully, willfully exhibited disregard for the law or she is someone who sees herself as above the law. to muddy the water even further after listening to you lay out the facts of the investigation, much of what you said directly contradicted her in previous statements that she had made. i think it's all this compiled putting the -- connecting the
dots that so many american people are irate that after all of this there was no a recommendation for secretary clinton to be prosecuted. now i do greatly appreciate the fact that you came out with much more information on this than you would have in other cases. i think that was the right thing to do. undeniably this is not a typical case. this is something of great public interest. obviously the subject of the investigation, former secretary of state, former senator, and all those things that we have talked about, former first lady and so forth. and in addition to this, her husband who happens to be a former president of the united states is meeting privately with the attorney general right before all of this interview takes place. obviously this is very suspicious. just the optics of it all.
at the same time that you're coming out or more or less the same time that you are announcing the decision, secretary clinton is flying around in air force one with the president doing a campaign event. i mean there is nothing about this case that's ordinary. there's nothing about the subject that's ordinary. so let me ask you this. director, did secretary clinton in fact comply with the department's policies or the federal records act? >> i don't think so. i know you have the state inspector general who is more of expert on all the department's policies, but at least in some respects, no. >> so keeping servers at home and all these types of things obviously is not in compliance with the department's policies. >> yes. i've read the inspector general's report on that. that's part of the reason i can answer that part with some confidence. >> yet she said publicly that she fully complied.
so there again is another issue. if you had the same set of facts but a different subject, a different individual involved, say just an average, ordinary state department employee or an anonymous contractor, what would have been the outcome? >> highly confident there would be no criminal prosecution. they might get fired, lose their clearance, might be suspended for 30 days. maybe just a reprimand. i doubt it. i think it would be higher on the discipline spectrum but some sort of discipline. >> so is it your pin there should likewise be some discipline in this case? >> that's not for me to say. i can talk about what would happen if it was a government employee under my responsibility. >> well then what you're laying out is that there is is a double standard for someone else, a different subject, an anonymous contractor or someone at the state department. there would absolutely be discipline but because of who
the subject is, you're not willing to say there should be discipline. so there's again -- this whole issue -- this is what the american people are so upset about. let me say -- when you stated that no reasonable prosecutor would pursue this case, is that because the subject of this investigation was unique? >> no. there's no double standard there. there's no double standard either in the sense that if it was john doe, former government employee, you'd be in the same boat. we wouldn't have any reach on the guy. he wouldn't be prosecuted. >> but he would have some discipline. >> not if he had left government service. >> had they lied about having servers, had they lied about sending and receiving classified e-mails, had they lied about not deleting those e-mails to the public, had they lied about not having any marked classified. the statements are clearly documented. you're saying an average person would experience discipline by your own words, but secretary clinton does not deserve to be
disciplined. >> the gentleman's time has expired but the director may answer. >> an average employee still in government service would be subject to a disciplinary process. now if they left you'd be in the same boat. >> gentleman from georgia yields back. chair recognizes the gentleman from vermont, mr. welch. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you, director comey. the prosecutor has really awesome power. the power to prosecute is the power to destroy. and it has to be used with restraint. you obviously flow that. you're being asked to -- you had to exercise that responsibility in the context of the very contested presidential campaign, enormous political pressure. you had to do it once before. and i go back to that evening of march 10, 2004, when the question was whether a surveillance program authorized
after 9/11 by president bush was going to continue despite the fact that the justice department had come to an independent legal conclusion that it actually violated our constitutional rights. that's a tough call, because america was insecure. the president was asserting his authority as commander in chief to take an action that was intended to protect the american people, but you and others in the justice department felt that whatever that justification was, the constitution came first and you were going to defend it. as i understand it, you were on your way home and had to divert your drivers to go back to the hospital to be at the bedside of a very sick, at that time attorney general. and you had to stand in the way of the white house chief of staff and the white house counsel. i'm not sure that was a popular
decision or one that you could have confidently thought would be a career booster. but i want to thank you for that. fast forward, we've got this situation of a highly contested political campaign. and there is substantive concern that's legitimate by democrats and republicans for independent political reasons. but you had to make a call that was based upon your view of the law, not your view of how two affect the outcome of who would be the next commander in chief. others have asked this for you, but i think i'm close to the end. i want to give you a chance to just answer i think the bottom line questions here. had you, after your thorough investigation, found evidence that suggested that criminal conduct occurred, is there
anything, anything or anyone that could have held you back from deciding to prosecute? >> no. i mean i don't have the power to decide prosecution but i would have worked very hard to make sure that a righteous case was prosecuted. >> and you would have made that recommendation to the attorney general. >> yes. >> was there any interference, implicit or explicit, from the president of the united states or anyone acting on his behalf to influence the outcome of your investigation in the recommendation that you made? >> no. >> was there anyone in the hillary clinton campaign or hillary clinton herself who did anything directly or indirectly to attempt to influence the conclusion that you made to recommend no prosecution? >> no. >> at this moment after having been through several hours of questioning, is there anything in the questions you've heard
that would cause you to change the decision that you made? >> no no. i don't love this, but it is really important to do. and i understand the questions and concerns. i just want the american people to know we really did this the right way. you can disagree with us, but you cannot fairly say we did it in any kind of political way. we don't carry water for anybody. we're trying to do what the right thing is. >> is i very much appreciate that and i very much appreciate that it takes strong people of independent judgment to make certain that we continue to be a nation of laws. mr. chairman, just one final thing and i'll yield to mr. cummings. we've got a political debate where a lot of these issues that are going to be -- that have been raised are going to be fought on the campaign. we've got secretary clinton who's going to have to defend what she did. she's acknowledged it was a mistake. we've got that great
constitution scholar, of mr. trump, who's going to be making his case about why this was wrong. but that's politics. that's not really having anything to do with the independence of prosecutorial discretion. thank you, director comey. i yield whatever additional time i have to mr. cummings. >> i think the gentleman is going to yield back. i have spoken with mr. cummings. now recognize the gentleman from kentucky, mr. massey, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, director comey, for showing up and your willingness to be transparency and answer a lot of unanswered questions. a few hours before this hearing started i went on to social media and asked people to submit questions. i've got over 500 questions. i don't think i'll get to ask them all in these five minutes, but i'm sure you'll be willing to answer them. one of the common themes that i came in here to ask that i realize it is not the right question now is what's the difference between extremely careless and gross negligence. but in the process of this hearing, what i'm hearing you say is, that's not what we --
that's not what your reluctance is based on. it is not based on a reluctance to prosecute. your reluctance to recommend a prosecution -- or an indictment is not based on parsing those words. it's based on your concern for this statute with this -- this statute. is that correct? from your opening statement? >> it's broader than that actually. the actually. the statute -- and it fits within a framework of fairness and my understanding of what the department of justice has prosecuted over the last 50 years. >> when you say a reasonable prosecutor wouldn't take this case, it's not because you don't think that she lied in public or that maybe she was negligent, it's because you have concern with the prosecutorial history of this statute? >> and not just that statute, but also 1924 which is the misdemeanor. i also don't see cases that were prosecuted on facts like these. >> but -- but you did find one prosecution.
has it been overturned by the supreme court? >> no. there was one time it was charged in an espionage case and the guy pleaded guilty to a different offense. >> so your concern is with the negligence threshold that you think it requires knowing the crime. but in all 50 states, isn't there a negligent homicide statute and aren't people prosecuted for that all the time and doesn't the supreme court and all the courts below that uphold those prosecutions just on the basis of negligent? >> i don't know whether all 50 states. i think the statutes are relatively common. >> don't all 50 states have something like that and aren't those sustained in the upper courts, those convictions? >> i don't know whether all 50 states have something like that. i think it's very common, and i think those are sustained. >> don't we have a history -- you implied that the american
judicial system doesn't have a history of convicting somebody for negligence, but don't we in other domains of justice? >> we do. i know the federal system best. there are very few in the federal system. most in the environmental and food and drug administration area. >> thank you. now, i want to ask another question that's come up here. you've basically related to us that this information is top secret or classified information got into these e-mail chains because of conversations people were having, they were relating what they heard before in other settings, is that correct? >> no. that maybe in some cases, but it was people having an e-mail conversation about a classified subject. >> so they're having an e-mail conversation. how in this e-mail conversation did this bore marking show up? if they're not sophisticated enough, as you said before, even hillary clinton wasn't sophisticated enough to recognize a bore marking, if
they weren't that sophisticated, how did they recreate that bore marking in their e-mails having these discussions? >> a lot of what ended up on secretary clinton's server was stuff that had been forwarded up a chain gets to her from her staff, lot of that forwarding and then she comments sometimes on it. someone down the chain in typing a paragraph that summarized something put a portion marking on that paragraph. >> doesn't it take a lot of intent to take a classified document from a setting that's authorized and secure to one that's not? wouldn't it require intent, for somebody to recreate that classification marking in an unsecure setting? >> i don't know. it's possible, but also i could -- >> accidentally type open parentheses, close parentheses
and close the paragraph? >> someone down the chain. >> okay. so my question is someone down the chain being investigated? because they had the intent, clearly, if they had -- which hillary clinton, you insinuate may have lacked. if they had the sophistication to know what this bore marking was, they had to have the intent to recreate it or copy paste from a secure system to an unsecure system. wouldn't that be correct? >> potentially. there's not an open -- >> shouldn't there be? an investigation if there's intent, which is what you -- and i think you may be reasonable in requiring that threshold. don't we treat everybody the same where they're at the top of the chain or the bottom of the chain? >> sure, you want to if the conduct is the same. we did not criminally investigate whoever started that chain and put the c in those paragraphs. >> okay. i would suggest maybe you might
want to do that and i will yield back to the chairman. >> now recognize the gentlewoman from michigan, ms. lawrence for five minutes. >> how many years have you been the director? >> three years. i know the exact date county think at this point. >> so how many cases have you investigated approximately that you had to render a decision? >> the bureau investigates tens of thousands of cases. the director only gets involved in a very small number of them. >> so about how many? >> i think i've been deeply involved in probably ten to 20. >> have you ever been called before congress on any of those other decisions? >> no, this is the first time. >> thank you. there are some republicans who support you, not surprisingly. they're the ones who actually know you. and i have a letter here and i would like to enter into the record from richard painter, mr.
chair. he was president bush chief ethics lawyer. and may it be entered into the record? >> it's being sent without objection. so ordered. >> he refers to mr. coming as a man of, and i quote, a man of the utmost integrity who calls the shots as he saw them without regard to political affiliation or friendship. he states and i quote, throughout the fbi investigation of secretary clinton's e-mail server, i had been convinced that the director would supervise the investigation with being impartial and strict adherence to the law as well as prosecutorial precedent. he also adds, although i'm aware of verify prosecutions for carelessness and handling
classified information as a pose to intentional disclosure, i knew that the director would recommend prosecution in any and all circumstances where it was warranted. i cannot think of someone better suited to handle such a politically sensitive investigation. finally, and i quote, i urge all members of the united states congress to stop from inferring in specific decisions particularly those involving political allies or opponents. during my tenure in the white house, there were very unfortunate allegation that powerful senators sought politically motivating firing of united states attorney. whether or not such allegations were true, it is imperative --
and i'm still quoting -- that members of the senate or the house never again conduct themselves in a manner with such interference could be suspected. and i want to be on the record, i wholeheartedly agree with mr. painer. director, you have demonstrated yourself, you sat here and asked the questions, and i would never oppose to finding the answers to any situation that is directly related to federal agencies which we on this committee are responsible for. but i want to be clear that congress has no business, no business interfering with these types of decisions that are coming in this -- in your responsibility. these type of attacks are not only inappropriate, but they're dangerous. they're dangerous because they could have a chilling effect on
the future investigations. and i ask that question, how long have you been this position, how many times have you made decisions, and it were not pulled in 24 hours before this committee. how many times. and then we say it's not political. and you have said repeatedly regardless of who it was, you conducted the investigation as required under your responsibility. and here you have republicans who are saying you are an honorable man. until this day, i have not heard any complaints of your judgment. so i sit here today as a member of congress on the record that the slippery slope that we're seeing today in this hearing, i want every member to be cautious of what we're saying, that in america when we have investigations that we will allow our own elected congress
and senate to make this a political agenda to attack, but only if it's in their agenda. this goes for democrats and republicans. we are not here to do that. thank you and i yield back my time. >> we'll now recognize the gentleman from iowa, mr. blum. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you mr. comey for being here today. i'm not a lawyer. that's the good news. i'm a career businessman. i spent most of my career operating in the high high-tech industry. today, i heard words such as common sense, reasonable person, carelessness, judgment, or lack thereof. i like these words. i understand these words. i'd like to focus on that. last tuesday you said, and i quote, none of these e-mails
should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff like those found at agencies of the united states government or even with a commercial e-mail service such as gmail. my small iowa business doesn't even use gmail for our e-mail because it's not secure enough. i know some security experts in the industry. i check with them. the going rate to hack into somebody's gmail account, $129. for corporate e-mails, they can be hacked for $500 or less. if you want to hack into an ip address, it's around 100. this is the going rate. director comey, are you implying in that statement that the private e-mail servers of secretary clinton's were perhaps less secure than a gmail account
that is used for free by a million people around this planet? >> yes. and i'm not looking to pick on gmail. the weakness is individual users. but, yes, gmail has full-time security staff and thinks about patching and logging and protecting their systems in a way that was not the case here. >> what kind of judgment -- we talked a lot about judgment today -- does this potentially expose to hackers classified information on e-mail service that's less secure than gmail, your words, what type of judgment does that suggest to you? >> it suggests the kind of carelessness i talked about. >> secretary clinton was asked by fox news whether she had wiped her entire server. her response, you mean with a cloth? march of 2015, during a press
conference, secretary clinton assured us her private e-mail server was secure saying the server was on private property guarded by the secret service. now, this would have laughable if it wasn't so serious. i know, you know, my constituents in eastern iowa know you don't need to be a cat burglar to hack into an e-mail server and you don't need a cloth to wipe a server clean. one would think that a former united states senator, one would think that a former secretary of state would know this as well. would you agree with that statement? >> you would think, although as i said before, one of the things i learned in this case the secretary may not have been as sophisticated as people assumed. she didn't have a computer in her office at the state department for example. i would assume the same thing. i'm not sure it's a fair assumption in this case. >> in your opinion, did secretary clinton know that a server could in fact be wiped clean electronically and not
with a cloth? >> well, i assume -- i don't know -- >> would you assume she knows that? >> i would assume it was a facetious comment about a cloth. >> would you also assume director that secretary clinton nigh that a server could be wiped clean electronically, that it could be hacked electronically, not physically? would you assume -- reasonable to assume she knows that? >> to some level of understanding. >> then once again, for someone who knew these things or we assume to some level she knew these things, what kind of judgment does a decision to expose classified material on personal servers suggest to you? what type of judgment? >> it's not my place to assess judgment. i talk in terms of state of mind, negligence in particular. i think there was carelessness here. >> was her server hacked?
>> i don't know. i can't -- can't prove that it was hacked. >> that answer says to me it could have been hacked. >> sure. >> and if it was hacked, potentially damaging material, damaging to american secrets, damaging to american lives, could have been hacked, could have been exposed, correct? lives could have been put at risk if that server was indeed hacked. >> i'm not prepared to say yes as to that last piece. that would require me going into a way i can't here the nature of the classified information. information that's classified because it could damage the united states of america. >> so it could i have happened, the fbi just isn't aware? >> yes. >> thank you very much. i yield back the time i do not have. >> now recognize the gentlelady from new jersey, ms. watson coleman for five minutes. >> thank you.
and thank you, director. i've got a number of questions so i'm going to zip through these. this is a question i'm going to ask you and you may not even have the answer to it because you may not have known this. this is about the classification marking issue that you've been asked about earlier. according to the state department which addressed the issue yesterday, a spokesman said that the call sheets appear to bear classified markings but this was actually a mistake. to quote, there's a standard process for developing kale sheets for the secretary of states. they are often marked, but it's not untypical at all for them to be marked at the confidential level. often times, once it is cleared, the secretary intends to make a call, the department will then consider the call sheet sbu sensitive by unclassified or unclassified ail together and marked appropriately. the classifications of a call sheet therefore is not
necessarily fixed in time and staffers in the secretary's office involved in preparing and finalizing these call sheets, they understand that. it appears that markings in the documents raised in the media reports were no longer necessary or appropriate at the time they were sent as an actual e-mail. those markings were human error. they didn't need to be there. did you know this? >> no. >> thank you mr. director. can you tell me based upon your information has there been and is there any evidence that our national security has been breached or at risk as a result of these e-mails and their being on this server? >> there's no direct evidence of an intrusion. >> thank you very much. i have to tell you that while i think that this should conclude this discussion, i know we're going to hear this issue ad nauseam. but i am concerned about another
issue that i think really is resonating with the people in this country. that issue has to do with experiences that we had just the last two days. mr. director, i want to bring this up for your consideration because i want to ask you what can the fbi do, fbi do in this issue. this morning, we woke up to another graphic and deeply disturbing video that actually brought me to tears when my staff played it for me where in a minnesota woman's boyfriend has been shot as her young child sat in the backseat after apparently telling the officer he was licensed to carry a weapon, he had it on him, and was going to reach for his identification. just the other day, there was a -- an incident in baton rouge involving a mr. alton sterling, an african-american man who was shot while pinned to the ground
by police officers in baton rouge. and interaction taped by two bystanders with cell phones capture this. so i think that we've got an issue here, an issue of real national security. and i want to ask you, mr. director, do we have an opportunity to direct our time and resources in your department to those issues? is it -- is it not important that we save their names to remind people of the loss of a tamir rice, to an eric garland, to an alton sterling, to a john crawford iii, michael brown, walter scott, and even a sandra bland, deaths in the hands of police custody or by police. are these not happening at an alarming rate and is this not a
legitimate space for the fbi to be working in? >> yes, is the emphatic answer. those are incredibly important matters. the fbi spends a lot of time on them because they're very, very important. we have an investigation open on the baton rouge case. i was briefed this morning on the minnesota case and i would expect we'll be involved in that as well. it's an important part of our work. >> do you feel that you have the sufficient resources to address these cases and what seems to be a disturbing pattern in our country today? >> i'm a bad bureaucrat, but i have -- i believe i have sufficient resources. and we are applying them against those situations. because i believe the individual cases matter enormously, but also the people's confidence in law enforcement is one of the bedrocks of this great country of ours. i have the resources and
we're -- >> in addition, we believe that our law enforcement is by and large of high integrity and have the desire to keep us protected and safe. but when we find out that there are these occasions, and when there's an indication that there's a pattern that is taking place in this country, we have a responsibility to ensure that everyone in this country is safe. and simply because you're a black man or a black woman does not make you a target. thank you. i yield back my time. >> thank the gentlewoman. we'll now recognize the gentleman from north carolina, mr. walker. >> thank you director comey for being here. few things in this town that people agree on. one is your reputation. swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. i am a little disappointed in some of the things i've heard from my colleagues about some of the attacks on your character
and integrity. i haven't heard those. and i hope that we have not -- you've not experienced that. i also struggle with a chang of heart that we're hearing today. i have a list of elected officials who have questioned your investigation, even attacked it. former president clinton said this is a game. congresswoman wasserman schultz said -- my question to you today, do you feel like this has been a republican witch hunt? this hearing? >> no. i said from the beginning, i understand people's questions and interest. i'm a huge fan of transparency. i think that's what makes our democracy great. >> to me, this hearing is about understanding and disseminating the facts and how you saw them and how the american public sees them. and specifically in the areas of where this was wrongdoing
admitted under your investigation where there was obviously breaking the law, but also some coverups. did congress ask you to pir sue this investigation? >> no. it was a referral from the inspector general of the intelligence community. >> so it wasn't republicans either was it? >> no. >> how did you go about collecting the evidence? >> we use the tools we normally use in a criminal investigation. >> did or do you receive a congressional referral for all the information you collected? >> not to my knowledge. >> one of the things i'm struck ling with or would like to know specifically is, under oath ms. clinton made these three excelle comments. number one, she's turned overall her work related e-mails, number two telling the committee that her attorneys went through every single e-mail. and finally, problem the one that continues to stick the most, there was and i quote, nothing marked classified on my
e-mails, end quote. now, earlier when the chairman questioned you about this, you said something about needing a congressional referral, recommendation. my question is something of this magnitude, why -- can you help me iunderstand why didn't it rie to your investigation or someone bringing that to your knowledge, saying this is a problem, here she is lying under oath specifically about our investigation? >> we out of respect for the legislative branch being a separate branch, we do not commence investigations that focus on activities before congress without congress asking us to get involved. that's a long-standing practice of the department of justice and the fbi. we don't watch on tv and say we ought to investigate that, joe smith said this in front of the committee. it requires the committee to say, we think we have an issue here, would you all take a look at it. >> if you have antonin scalsecrn
under oath speaking about your very investigation, and you've talked about your wonderful staff, why wouldn't that rise to the level of suspicion that here she is saying this under oath. lying under oath is a crime is it not? >> yes. >> that's considered perjury right? >> it's potentially years in prison. >> i don't understand would you help me understand why somebody wouldn't have tipped you off that she's talking about the specific case under oath that you're investigating? >> there's a difference between is being aware of testimony and us opening a criminal investigation for potential perjury. it's not this case in particular, but all cases. we don't do that without committee saying we think there was an issue in testimony given in this separate branch of the government. >> you also mentioned earlier and it's been quoted several times, that no reasonable prosecutor would move forward with some of the facts. is there any room at all that somebody would differ on the
opinion? i know that general michael mccasey said with an illegal server disqualifies her from holding any federal office. so there are people of highest steam may differ. can you make any room. you said no reasonable person. would you understand why people may say that she has stepped across a line or broke enough law here that you would come to a different conclusion? >> sure, i respect different opinions. none of those guys in my position i believe knowing what i know would think about it differently. but i also respect that they have a different view from the outside. >> thank you, mr. chairman. yield back. >> now recognize the gentleman from california. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director, i just want to thank you as others have, and i know you don't need this. but i think the american people clearly need to hear it. you've done a wonderful job today.
there are moments in my political life and as an american i despair for the future of this country, not often. those moments comes an individual like yourself, providence or good fortune or framework of the u.s. constitution, i really believe you served this country and all americans well irrespective of their party filluation. two lines of questions. one is i -- another colleague brought this up. but you mentioned just previous testimony about the bedrocknd the importance of public confidence and public safety institutions, yours and all. so i just want to give you an opportunity, i think you have responded to this multiple times, but give you a little more tonight because i think it's important for the american public to know that the system isn't rigged, that there are people such as yourself and the 15 individuals who worked on this case and others that do their job and believe in the constitution of the united states. and if you have any further comments about comments that would say that the system's
writi rigged and americans should give up on the system. >> i was raised by great parents who taught me you can't care what other people think about you. in my business, i have to and deeply do, that people have confidence that the system's not fixed, against black people, for rich people, for powerful people. it's very, very important that the american people understand that there really are people that you pay for with your tax dollars who don't give a rip about democrats or republicans or this or that, who care about finding out what is true. and i am lucky to lead an organization that is that way to its core. i get a ten-year term to ensure that i stay outside of politics, by in a way it's easy. i lead an organization that is resolutely apolitical. we are tough aggressive people. if we can make a case, we'll make a case. we do not care what the person's stripes are or what their bank account looks like.
i worry very much when people doibt that. it's the reason i did the press conference two days ago. i care about the whole system deeply. and so i decided i'm going to do something no director's ever done before. i'm not going to tell the attorney general or anybody else what i'm going to say or even i'm going to say it. i walked out and offered extraordinary transparency which i'm sure confused and bugged a lot of people. it's essential that people see as much as they can so they can make their judgment. they may conclude i'm an idiot. but what i hope they will not conclude is that i'm a dishonest person. i'm here trying to do the right thing in the right way. that's what i want them to know. i don't care that peopledy agree or disagree. but at its core, you need to know there are good people trying to do the right thing all day long. you pay for them and we'll never forget that. >> i appreciate that.
within context of these are human institutions, pretty clear to me as nonlawyer that you had a bright line in terms of your decision about pursuing prosecution. but you did spend an extended period of time talking about what i think i take from you being fairly objective analysis of what was careless in terms of hand ling of it, either ascribed to the former secretary of state or to the department. you said, while not the focus of our investigation, we also developed evidence that a security killture of the state department in general and with respect to the use of unclassified e-mail systems in particular was generally lacking in the kind of care classified information found elsewhere in the government. >> yes, sir. >> so struggling with this, in the context of this hearing, in this committee as to how do we go from here, and be clearer about how the state department, we'll talk about this with the ig, and some of the comments
former secretary powell has made including the absurdity of the retroactive classification and now we have 1,000 of these e-mails out in the public and being spread even further. there are other people involved. how does this committee go forward to make sure the state department can still function in the way it does with human beings and have conversations that are both transparent, but also national security. what are the things we need to do to make shire that this doesn't happen again? sgli think the reason the chairman has the ig from the state department here is to have that conversation. the ig knows deeply the culture of the department and is far better equipped than i to make it better. i think that's the place to start. >> thank you, mr. director. >> now recognize the gentleman from tennessee for five minutes. >> director hank you for appearing so quickly on short
notice. of the way you laid out the case on tuesday, there is a perception that you felt one way and then came to another conclusion. i put a post up back in my district and let them know you were coming. in less than 24 hours, i had 750 questions sent to ask you. so again, thank you for being here. a common theme just to summarize a lot of those concerns were that in this case clinton was above the law, that there was a double standard and a lot of that was based on the way you presented your findings. now, your team, you said you did not personally interview her on saturday, but your team did for about three and a half hours correct? >> yes. >> do you know did they ask hillary clinton about her comment that she had never sent or received classified information over private e-mail? >> i think so, but i can't -- i can't remember specifically. >> okay. >> it's a very long 302. i'd have to check.
>> and we'll get access to that. do you know if they asked her when she said there was nothing marked classified on my e-mails sent or received? >> same answer. i'm not sure. >> the same answer then when she said i did not e-mail any classified e-mail to anyone on my e-mail. >> i don't know whether they asked her that question. the entire interview was focused on what did you know, what did you see, what is this document, that kind of thing. >> do you know if she asked her whether she stands by the fact she said she just used one device and that was for her convenience? >> i don't know. i know in talking to her, she used many devices during her four years. i don't know whether they asked her specifically about that statement. that's easy to check, though. >> my point is, you're trying to get inside the head of hillary clinton in this investigation and know whether there was intent. we all know what she told the people. that's been well documented. she said she did not do those things, that she did not send or
receive classified e-mails, that she used one server and one device for her convenience. and since then, even if your statement, you recognize that those were not correct. is that fair? >> i really don't want to get in the business of parse and judge her public statements. and so i think i've tried to avoid doing that sitting here. >> why do you feel that's important? >> because what matters to me is what did she say to the fbi. that's obviously first and foremost for us. >> right. >> our -- >> honest people don't need to lie, is that right? >> honest people don't need to lie? i hope not. >> well, in this case, for some reason, she felt the need to misrepresent what she had done with this server all throughout the investigation. you guys after a year, brought her in an saturday and in three and a half hours came out with a conclusion that she shouldn't be prosecuted because there was no intent is that right? >> no. >> i don't want to put words in your mouth. is it fair to say that your interpretation of hillary
clinton's handling of top secret information classified documents was extremely careless? >> yes. >> is it fair to say that you went onto define extremely careless, that hillary clinton's handling of top secret information was sloppy or represents sloppiness? >> yeah. that's another way -- >> and then just a few minutes ago, you also stated that you now believe that hillary clinton is not nearly as sophisticated as people thought, is that correct? >> yeah, i think that's fair, actually. not as people thought, but as people would assume about somebody with that background. >> so -- >> i'm sorry. i should be clear about this. technically sophisticated. i'm not opining on other -- >> in the last minute, director, i want to talk about precedent. because i think my colleague tray goidy made a great point. there is no precedent in terms of punishment for this type of behavior. are you particular with brian initial mira's case.
>> yes. >> what is the difference between his case and hillary clinton's case in terms of extremely carelessness and gross negligence because we're dealing with statute 793 section f where it does not require intent is that correct? >> i'm sorry, 793 f is the gross negligence standard. >> right. is that why brian was punished? >> no. he was produced under the misdemeanor statute, 1924 on facts that are very -- if you want me to go through them, i'll go through them, but -- >> i think there's been a review of this case, and they're very similar. that's why people feel -- >> what they're reading in the media is not a complete accounting of the facts in that case. >> would you agree then with representative gowdy that there still is it really no precedence for punishing someone like hillary clinton and she would be potentially elected president and do this again without fear of being punished? >> i don't think i'm qualified
to answer that question. >> my time's expired. >> now recognize the gentlewoman from new mexico. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i've had the benefit of when you're last to -- or nearly last, to really have both the benefit and then to question the kinds of statements and the dialogue back and forth. where i'm settled at this point in time is in a couple of places, but particularly, i don't think there's any member in this committee or quite frankly any member in congress who doesn't both want and expect that the fbi and the department of justice to be -- to operate in a fair, unbiassed, highly independent manner. otherwise, you can't appropriately uphold or enforce federal law.
and while we've all -- this has been stated in a couple of different ways, i'm -- i want to get direct answers. mr. comey, is there any evidence given that that's the standard that we all want, desire, and expect, to suggest that hillary clinton was not charged by the department of justice due to inappropriate political influence or due to her current or previous public positions? >> zero and if there is
such evidence, i'd love folks to show it to me. >> and in that regard, was there a double standard? >> no. in fact, i think my entire goal was to avoid a double standard, to avoid what sometimes prosecutors call celebrity hunting and doing something for a famous person that you would never do for an ordinary joe or jane. >> thank you. and i really appreciate that you're here today and explaining the process in great detail,
frankly. and i've -- this committee works at getting specific detail about a variety of reviews, investigations, policies, concepts throughout federal government. and i think i can say that this committee often finds that we don't get very much clarity or specific responses to the majority of questions that we ask. so i really appreciate that. and that in explaining that what led the fbi to conclude that hillary clinton
should not be charged. saying that, however, i'm still concerned that the use of this hearing and some of the public statements made by the elected officials accusing the department of justice of using a double standard without any evidence at ail to support that statement, leaning on accusation of such, jeopardizes the very thing we want the most which is
an apolitical and independent department of justice. we have every right to ask these tough questions and to be clear that the process that you use for everyone, including elected officials, works and that there's a responsibility not to substitute your own political preferences for the outcome of an independent and apolitical department of justice investigations. on any level, whether it involves hillary clinton or anybody else. do you agree with that general statement? >> yes. >> for me, that's a really important ethical line that i believe should never be crossed. i worry that some of what we did today could be, frankly, interpreted as violating that very standard. and for that, i certainly want the american people and my constituents watching to understand that very important line and to be sure that our
responsibility is better served making sure that we do have in fact an independent body whose aim it is to bring about truth and justice and uphold the federal law. sir, based on everything you've said today, i don't see any reason to disagree with your statements, your assessments, or the explanation of that process. with the little time i do have left, i do want to say that given that some of the classified material that we've both debated and talked about today can be classified later or up classified, or that other agencies have different determinations of what constitutes classified and not, i do think that's a process that warrants refining. and if something can come out of this hearing about making sure that we do something better in the future for everyone, not just appointed or elected officials, that that ought to be something that we do. i'm often confused by some of
the things that are clearly told to us in a classified briefing that appear to be different or already out in the public in some way, and i'm not sure who's making those decisions. i honor my responsibility to the highest degree. but i think that's a process that could use some significant refining and that's my only suggestion, sir. thank you for being here today. >> we'll now recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. carter, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director comey, thank you for being here today. i'm over here. i'm going to be real quick and try to be succinct. i want to clarify some things that you said. look, i don't want to go over everything that everybody's been through today. we've had some great questions here that have ask you about you said this, she said that, representative gowdy made a great case of this is what she said under oath and publicly,
yet you -- you dispute that and say, no, this is the case. by look, just got a couple questions okay? first of all, did i understand you correctly that your decision -- that this decision was made within three and a half hours of an interview and that was all? >> no, we investigated for a year. >> but you interviewed her for three and a half hours last week and then came to the conclusion? >> correct. we interviewed her on saturday for three and a half hours. the last step in a year-long investigation. >> okay. now, as i understand it, hillary clinton has testified that her -- the servers that she used were always safe and secure, yet you refute that and say, no, that is not the case at all. were they ever secure? were the servers that she was using, were they ever secure? >> security's not binary, it's just degrees of security. less secure than one at a state
department or a private commercial provider like a gmail. >> let me ask you this. she's got staff and she's got people around her. did they know she was doing this? did they know she was using these other devices? did anybody ever bring it to her attention and say, you're not supposed to be doing that? >> i think a lot of people around the secretary understood she was using a personal e-mail -- >> then why didn't they say something? don't they have a responsibility as well? >> that's an important question that goes to the culture of the state department that's worth asking. >> i mean, look we saul surround ourself with good people and depend on them to help us. should they be held responsible for that, for not bringing that to someone's attention? is it my responsibility to report them? >> yes. >> well -- >> especially when it comes to security matters, you have an obligation to report a security
violation you may witness whether it's involving you or one of your coworkers. >> what about brian pagliano. did he ever know? do you know if he knew that she was not following proper protocol here? >> he helped set it up. >> he helped set it up. so obviously he knew. >> obviously -- >> is anything going to be done to him? any prosecution or discipline? any -- >> i don't know about discipline. not going to be prosecution of him. >> hmm. >> will the gentleman yield? >> i yield. >> my understanding director is that you offered him immiunitim >> i'm not sure what i can talk about in open -- >> he's not going to be prosecuted -- >> i want to be careful. i'm doing this 24 hours after the investigation closed. i want to be thoughtful, as we're big about the law, that i'm following the law about what i disclose about that.
i don't want to answer that off the cuff. >> director comey, i am not a lawyer. i'm not an investigator. i'm a pharmacist. but i'm a citizen. and citizens are upset. i watched with great interest earlier this week when you laid out your case. and i'm telling you, you laid it out, bam, bam, bam, here's what she did wrong and then all of the sudden you iced the word however. and it was like you could hear a gasp throughout the country of people saying, aw, here we go again. do you regret presenting it in a way like that? >> no. i'm highly -- i think i didn't use the word however. i try to never use that in speaking. i did lay it out i thought in a way that made sense and that i hoped was maximum transparency for -- >> that's the point -- i'm sorry. but that's the point, it didn't make sense. the way you were laying it out,
it would have laid sense and the way the questions have been asked here and we made all these points of where she was obviously told lies underneath -- under oath that it would have been okay, we finally got one here. >> i think it made sense, i just hope folks go back with a cup of tea and open their minds and read my statement again carefully. again, if you disagree, that's okay. >> but it -- but when we -- look, i've only been here 18 months and i'm going to tell you, this inside the beltway mentality, people -- no wonder people don't trust us. >> i -- i have -- i have no kind of inside the beltway mentality. >> but this is an example of what i'm talking about here. just as a nonlawyer, as a noninvestigator, it would appear to me you have got a hell of at indicates. >> and i'm telling you we don't.
and i hope people take the time to understand why. >> mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank the gentleman. i will now recognize the gentleman from arizona. let's go ahead and go to gentleman from south carolina first. >> thank the gentleman. director comey, earlier today heard a long list of statements that mrs. clinton has made previously, both to the public and to congress, that were not factually accurate. when she met with you folks on saturday last week, i take it she didn't say the same things at that interview? >> i'm not quipped sitting here without the 302 -- >> but it's your testimony -- >> i have no basis -- we do not have a basis for concluding that she lied to the fbi. >> did anybody ask her on saturday why she told y'all one thing and told us another? >> i don't know as i sit -- >> would that have been of interest to you in helping to
establish intent? >> it could have been sure. >> did anybody ask her why she set up the e-mail system as she did in the first mace? >> yes. >> and the answer was convenience? >> yeah. it was already there, a system her husband had. >> were you aware that earlier this week, her assistant said it was to keep e-mails from being accessible and that it was concealment purpose. she was asked in the deposition why it was set up and it was set to keep her personal males from being accessible. >> generally, yes. >> here's the summary from today. over the course of the entire system, she intentionally set up a system according to your testimony, your findings, she was careless regarding its technical security. i think you said even a basic free account had better security than she had. and she did that according to her own staffer's sworn dwep
deposition for the purpose of preventing access to those e-mails. as a result of this, she exposed top secret information to potential hack by foreign actors. you've seen the e-mails. we have not. i think you said it could be of the sort that could put national security at risk. there was testimony earlier that might even put our agents overseas at risk. >> i don't think i greed with that, but it's still important. >> all right. she kept all of that secret until after she left the state department. she lied about it, or at least made untrue statements about it after it finally came to light. she thereafter ordered the destruction of evidence, destroyed so thoroughly that you folks could not do an adequate recovery, yet she receives no criminal penalty. i guess this is my question to you. are we to assume that if the next president of the united states does the exact same thing on the day he or she is sworn
into office, sets up a private e-mail service for the purpose of concealing information from the public or from anybody that vilt of that potentially exposes national security level information to our enemies, lies about it and then destroys the evidence during an investigation that there will be no criminal charges if you're the fbi director, against that person? >> that's not a question the fbi director should answer. >> i'm asking if she does the exact same thing as president as she's done today your result would be the exact same as it was 48 hours ago. >> if the facts were exactly the same and the law was exactly the same, the result would be the same. >> i guess under the theory that if the law is to be quail equal applied to everybody, that if a who is staffer does the exact same thing for the exact same purpose and exposes the exact
same risks that there will be no criminal action against that person. there could be administrative penalties. there are none against the president, correct? >> i don't think so. >> i don't think you can take away the president's top security clearance and i'm pretty shire you can't fire the president because we've tried. not only would a staffer not have any criminal charges brought against him. i suppose a summer intern could do the exact same thing under the theory we're going to apply the law equally. my question to you is this, and it's not a legal question. i guess it's a common sense ordinary question that folks are asking me. from a national security standpoint, somebody who used to lecture on that, does that bother you? >> the mishandling of classified information bothers me no matter what circumstance it occurs in.
>> does it bother you that the press debt you're setting today may well lead to a circumstance that our classified information continues to be exposed to potential enemies. >> the precedent that i'm setting today is my absolute best effort to treat people fairly without with regard to who they are. if that continues to be the record of the fbi and justice department, that's what it should be. the rest of your implications in your question are not for the fbi to answer. we should aspire to be apolitical, facts in the law, treat joe the same as sally as secretary so and so. >> by the way, i tend to -- >> gentleman. >> if you had come to a different decision, do you think it would have a different precedential value? >> if we decided to recommend criminal charges here? >> yes, sir. >> i don't know.
that's a good question. i guess i'm a layer, i could argue everything both ways. i could argue both ways. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> now recognize the gentleman from arizona for five minutes. >> thank you mr. comey for being here. my colleague eluded to brian pagliano, the i.t. advisor. were you made aware of the deal of immunity with him? >> i am aware. >> now that tern general lynch stated there will be no charges, there's many that suspect that in his -- that he failed to answer questions in his congressional deposition, that he had something to hide. why did your investigators at the d.o.j. decide it was necessary to offer mr. pagliano immunity? >> i need to be more thoughtful about what i say about an immunity deal in public. may be totally fine. i just don't want to screw up. in general, i can answer because i've done it in times as a
prosecutor. you make a grant of immunity in order to get information that you don't think you could get otherwise. >> but you know that there may be something there in hindsight, right? you're looking ahead because the pertinent information this person possesses. >> you believe they have relevant information to the investigation. >> did the investigators draft an interview report known as a 302 with mr. pagliano? >> yes. >> will you commit to voluntary disclosing the 302s for the review of pagliano and other witnesses -- >> i'll commit to giving you everything i can possibly give you under the law and to doing it as quickly as possible. for example, the 302 of secretary clinton, it's classified at the tssci level. we got to sort through all that. >> i know you've done this because you've done this for other cases. so we would kpapt that. hillary clinton testified before congress and told the american
people multiple times that she never e-mailed any classified information to anyone on any private e-mail servers. 52 e-mail chains contained classified information. clinton told the american people that the laws and regulations allowed me to use my e-mail for work. your investigation revealed that that also wasn't trur. your investigation revealed that this wasn't also true. clinton claimed there was no security breaches. your investigation revealed eight e-mail chains on clinton's private servers containing top secret information and it was possible hostile actors gained access to sensitive information. further, multiple people she e-mailed with regularity were hacked by hostile actors and her private servers were less secure on a gmail account. it's a federal crime to mishandle classified information in a grossly nengligent way.
multiple people have been prosecuted for less and there's a growing trend of abuses in senior level employees. the only difference between her and others is her total resistance to acknowledge her irresponsible behavior that jeopardized our national security and the american people. i think you should have recommended clinton be produced under section 793. if not who, if not now when. your recommendation deprived the american people of the opportunity for justice in this matter. there shouldn't be a double standard for the clintons. with that, i'm going to yield the rest of my time. mr. gowdy. >> director comey, i want to go back to the issue of up tent for just a second. we can disagree on whether or not it's an element of the defense. let's assume that you're right, i'm wrong and that it is an element of the offense.
secretary clinton said she was quote well aware of classification requirements. those are her words. if she were quote well aware of classification requirements, how did that impact our amps of her intent. i've heard you this morning describe her as being less sophisticated. she disagrees with that. >> i was talking about technical sophistication. i would hope everybody works in the government is aware of classification requirements. the question then is if you mishandle classified information, when you did that thing, did you know you were doing something that was unlawful. that's the intent question. >> you and i are going to have to get together and discuss some other time and discuss all the people we prosecuted that are unaware that they were breaking the law. there are lots of really dumb defendants out there who don't know what they're doing is against the law. >> you may have prosecuted a lot of those folks. >> i was a gutter prosecutor and
you were a white collar prosecutor. trust me, there are lots of people who don't know you can't kill other people. let me ask you this, on the issue of intent, you say it was convenience. okay. you're a really smart lawyer. if it were convenience, she wouldn't have waited two years to rirn the documents and she wouldn't have deleted them four years after they were created. so you can't really believe that her intent was convenience when she never turned them over until congress started asking for them, could you? >> my focus was what was the thinking around the classified information. it's relevant why the system was set up and the thinking there. but i don't understand her to be saying -- i think i've said it already. that's my focus. >> so i know i'm out of time. but it just strikes me you are reading a specific intent element into a gross negligence statute. not even general intent.
>> gentleman's time -- >> a specific intent element. >> gentleman's time is expired. >> that -- >> soy sorry. i enjoy talking with him. why is it the department of justice since 1917 has not used that gross negligence statute by charge it once in an espionage case. whether of fairness. so you have to decide do i treat this person against that record and if i do is that a fair thing to do even if you are not worried about the constitutionality of it. no reasonable prosecutor would do that. that would be treating this person differently than john doe. >> director, i want to follow up on that. why did you do what you did? my interpretation of what the fbi is supposed to be doing is come to a determination of the facts and then turn it over to a prosecutor. you were a prosecutor but you are not a prosecutor now.
it is unprecedented that an fbi director gave the type of press conference that he did and took a position that an unreasonab prosecutor would only take this case forward. why would do you that? >> everything i did would have been done privately. we have great conversation in the fbi. we argue back and forth. what i decided to do was offer transparency to the american people about the whys of that, what i was going to do because i thought it was very, very important for their confidence in the system of justice. and within that their confidence in the fbi. i was very concerned if i didn't show that transparency that in that lack of transparency people would say what is going on here? something seems squirrely here. so i said i would do something unprecedented because i think it is unprecedented situation. the next director who is investigating a candidate for
president may find them bound by my precedent. they will have to deal with what i did. i decided it was worth doing. >> i have just one question. i'm sitting here listening to this and i really, this is something that bothered me in the lerner case and in this case. i'm wondering your opinion. ms. lawrence talked about this, the chilling effect of your having to come here and justify your decisions. i know that you have been really nice and you explained why you did what you did and i'm glad you are doing it, but, you know, do you at all -- taking off -- i'm talking about here you have people making decisions and then being pulled here in the congress to then say to be
questioned about the decisions. at what point, or do you even think about it becoming a chilling effect? because most people when their decision is made they don't get this kind of opportunity, there are no statements. they either get indicted or they are not. i know you see this as a special case. i'm wondering whether you agree that we may be just going down a slippery slope. >> my honest answer is i don't think so. when i talked to the chairman, i agreed to come because i think the american people care deeply about this. all kinds of folks watching this at home. i want them to know. i want to have this conversation. i welcome the opportunity. it's a pain. i have had to go to the bathroom for about an hour. >> we're half way done.
>> it is really important to do because this is an unprecedented situation. transparency is the absolute best thing for me and for democracy. realize my folks told me i screwed up one fact. the petraeus case we didn't find the note books in the attic, we found it in his desk. i really don't think it has a chilling effect. if there is another presidential candidate being investigated by the fbi, maybe they will be bound by this. lord willing it will not happen again certainly my 2,619 days left on this job. it won't happen on my term but if it does i won't be chilled. >> if we need a humanitarian break give me a cue. >> i feel like we are almost done. >> we would like to recognize the gentleman from alabama, mr. palmer for five minutes. >> director comey your statement
indicated may or may not have been hacked by foreign power. are you aware that teenage hackers hack personal accounts of john brennan, james clapper and fbi deputy director mark jew giuliani. >> these are protected e-mail accounts that contained no classified information. mrs. clinton used her personal e-mail on a server in her basement without even this basic protection and transmitted classified information through that account. if teenagers in england were able to hack personal e-mail accounts of director of cia, deputy director of fbi does it concern you that sophisticated
hackers never attempted? does it seem reasonable that they never attempted or were never successful in hacking mrs. clinton's personal e-mail accounts or one of her devices? >> it concerns me a great deal. that is why we spent so much time trying to see if we could see finger prints of that. >> you said in your statement regarding your recommendation not to prosecute this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. to the contrary that is not what we are deciding here. you stand by that? >> yes. >> i thought you would. you also said you could not prove intent. i want to touch on a couple things here. a reasonable person would not have compromised classified information by keeping that information on inadequately secured. such a person would be viewed as
unreasonable and unsuitable for any position in our government that included any responsibility for handling and protecting classified information. would you agree? >> i would agree it would be negligent. i can't prejudge a suitability determination but it would be stared at hard. >> let me tell you why i bring this up. i sat up here next to mr. herb. i don't know if you can sense the passion and intensity of his questions because he knows people whose lives are on the line right now. in regard to his questions a u.s. intelligence agent had mission compromised or killed or injured or captured because of carelessness for someone responsible for protecting classified information would intent matter at that point? >> in deciding whether to prosecute the person, of course. that's the answer.
of course, it would, the legal standards would be the same. >> what we are dealing with in this hearing is not the lack of due diligence in handling routine government data or information, but the lack of due diligence by secretary clinton and carelessness that could have compromised american national security and the missions and personal safety of our intelligence agents. that troubles me greatly. and i think the issue here -- i do respect you. i have spoken in your defense many times at this point to my detriment. i do believe that your answers are honest and factual. based on your answers regarding plus clinton's use of e-mail and based on what we know, it seems
to me that she has stunningly incompetent in understanding of basic technology of e-mail and stunningly incompetent in handling classified information. i mean, you should never associate the secretary of state and classified information with the word careless. it doesn't matter. i mean, we have to exercise the utmost due diligence. all of us in this committee do. you do in prosecuting cases. i see that in what you are trying to do. i just think we need to leave here with this understanding that there is more to this story than we know. if a foreign hacker got into this i can assure you that they know what was in those e-mails that were deleted. they read them all. they know what is in the e-mails that we never received.
mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i thank the gentleman. we go to the gentleman from wisconsin for five minutes. >> thank you. thanks for coming over. as i understand it your testimony today is that you have not brought criminal charges against hillary clinton in part because you feel you can't prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and in part because she didn't understand the laws with regard to e-mails and servers and that sort of thing. question for you. would she erase these e-mails -- you however did say that if somebody did this under you there would be consequences. if somebody did what plus clinton did or you think one lieutenant under cia or some
other agency that deals with top secret documents, what would you do to those? >> i would make sure that they were adjudicated through a security disciplinary proceeding to figure out what are all circumstances and what punishment discipline is appropriate that could range from being terminated to being reprimanded and a whole spectrum between suspension, a bunch of different options. >> let's say you find out that they have had this separate server out there and they are keeping secret documents, flipping them around, do you think they should be fired? not criminally charged but fired? >> i don't think it is appropriate to say. i think it should go through. we have a very robust process. there ought to be a very intense suitability review of the person. maybe something we are missing but it would have to go through our system. >> next question for the listening audience here.
first when i hear about erasing e-mails i think it is like on my phone where i might erase an auto insurance solicitation. these were not just mrs. clinton pressing delete. there was a much greater effort made to make sure that these e-mails would never be recovered. do you want to comment on what was done to erase the e-mails? >> i think what you are referring to is after her lawyers, her lawyers say although i'm not able to verify this, there were 60,000 or so left at the end of 2014 that went through them in a way i described in my statement and then they produced the ones that were work related and erased from their system the ones that were not work related that was done using technical tools basically to remove them from the servers to wipe them away. >> in other words, the effort was not just mrs. clinton. they went above and beyond that
so that your top technical experts could not get back at these e-mails. >> not fully. we were able to -- >> you recovered a few. >> we can go through and see some traces but not fully recover them. >> now, the information that i have and you can correct me if i'm wrong implies that these were done in december 2014 after benghazi scandal groek. did you ever come across why she allowed the e-mails to sit out there even for years after she stopped being secretary of state but all of a sudden as the other scandals began to bubble up she or her lawyers felt she had to erase them? >> i think the way the process worked is she had e-mails that were just on her system. she had deleted some over time as an orderinary user would. and then the state department contacted her and others and said we have a gap in our
records. we need you to look and see if you have e-mails. she tasked her lawyers to engage in the review process and make that cut and then was asked by her lawyers at the end do you want us to keep the personal e-mails. she said i have no use for them anymore. it is then that they issued the direction that the technical people delete them. >> do you think mrs. clinton knew the technical people were erasing e-mails so top technical experts could recover them? >> based on my sense now for technical sophistication i don't think so. >> you don't think the lawyers told her that is what they were doing, erasing e-mails that these people wanted to look at? >> i'm sure we have asked this. >> what type of lawyer wouldn't tell their client they were doing that. >> i think our investigation is they did not. they asked her do you want to keep them and they said no and said wipe them away. >> as i understand it the goal was just to erase personal e-mails but you have recovered
e-mails that wouldn't be considered personal e-mails at all. >> correct. >> based upon the e-mails that you recovered presumably, her lawyers or somebody was going well beyond personal e-mails. is it possible we will never be able to recover e-mails that dealt with the clinton foundation or belt with the benghazi scandal? is it possible because of what her lawyers did that they were erasing things that were incriminating, maybe involving items that you were not particularly investigating but have now been destroyed forever? >> we did not find evidence to indicate that they conceal things of any sort. it is possible that there are work related e-mails that were deleted. >> when you go to this length to make sure you can never recover the e-mails erased wouldn't you think the intent is to make sure
nobody looks at them again? >> we will give the director time to respond. >> i guess it is circular. you delete because you want to delete. what i mean is we didn't find evidence of evil intent and intent to obstruct justice. >> now recognize mr. russell of oklahoma for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director comey, thank you for your long service and long suffering. i think we are towards the end of the line here. i want to say for the record with regard to national security i sleep easier at night knowing that you at the helm of the fbi and thank you for your dedicated service and your integrity. you have stated in your statement and also multiple times here that there should be consequences for the mishandling
of state secrets. if i hold a top secret sci in the bureau and i did hold one in the united states army in a career of service. i handle classified information here, if i held that in the fbi and you discover that i mishandled state secrets in a private server in my statement would i be trusted to further handle top secret information? >> maybe not. you would go immediately through a security process to review whether you should continue working for us and if you do what clearances you should retain. >> if i violated the handling of state secrets in the fbi would you consider me the best suitable candidate for promotion and higher responsibility? >> it would be a serious concern and we would stare at it very hard in a suitability review. >> although you have recommended to the department of justice that no criminal charges be
brought to bear, are you recommending to the department of justice that there be no consequences for mishandling of state secrets? >> no. my recommendation was solely with respect to criminal charges. >> what would you recommend? >> i don't think it is for me to recommend. >> but you do, you have been very open and stated why you felt that these were unique sets of circumstances that called for greater transparency. you do make recommendations routinely as you have stated here today. we are talking top secret information that has been mishandled. you would take a dim view to that if i were an agent. what consequence -- this is what the american people feel exasperated about. there seems to be no consequence. so in a case like this if it is
not going to be criminal charges recommended, what are the american people to do to hold their officials accountable if maybe they shouldn't be trusted for further promotion and higher responsibility? >> what i meant earlier is that is not a question the american people should put to fbi director. i can answer about things within my remit. it is not one for me to answer in my role. >> i hope it is one the american people answer in the future because we do have a choice about those that would mishandle information. and while we are all human beings and we all make mistakes, in a case like this, for decades of my service in the army infantry in handling top secret information and as a member of congress we know those responsibilities. is it your view and others that have interviewed mrs. clinton that she would not have known what those responsibilities
were? >> no. i think in a way you would expect she understood the importance of protecting classified information. >> i would agree with that and there has been a breach and i think that the american people demand a consequence, that they demand an accountability. i think it is important to uphold the form of our republican government that we have a consequence. and with that thank you for your appearance here today. i would like to yield the remainder of my time. >> if you yield back through mutual agreement we have agreed that i do have about a dozen or so quick follow up questions. you have been most generous with your time. we will do so with equal time. how did the department of justice or how did the fbi view the incident in which hillary clinton instructed jake sullivan to take markings off of a document that was to be sent to
her? >> we looked at that pretty closely. there was some problem with their secure fax machine. and an e-mail she says take the headers off and send it as nonpaper. as we dug into that we come to learn that a nonpaper means a document we can send to other agencies. we found the classified fax was sent. that is our best understanding. >> this was a classified fax? >> correct. jake sullivan says they say they had issues sending secure fax. hillary clinton sends if they can't, turn into nonpaper with no identifying heading and send
it nonsecure. so you're telling me it is a classified piece of information. she is taking off the header and she is instructing them to send it in a nonsecure format. is that not intent? >> it caught my attention when i first saw it. what she explained to us in her interview is what she meant by that is make it into a nonclassified document. that is what a nonpaper is in their world and send it to us because i don't need the classified stuff. >> why take off the heading if it is turned into nonclassified document, why take off the heading? >> i assume because it would be nonclassified anymore so you wouldn't have a classified header on it is what she said. >> she wanted to be technically correct? >> i think she said is i was telling him send me an unclassified document. take header off, turn it into nonpaper which is a term i have never heard before. i am told in diplomatic circles
that means something we can pass. >> you are very generous in your accepting of that. let me ask you, did any uncleared individuals receive any classified information over hillary clinton's server? >> did uncleared people receive classified information? i don't think any of the correspondents on the classified e-mails were uncleared people. these were all people with clearances working, doing state department business on the unclass system. >> did mr. pagliano have security clearance? >> as i sit here today i can't remember. he was not a participant on the classified e-mail exchanges. >> he is running the server. >> i misunderstood your question. there is no doubt that uncleared
people had access to the server because there were other whose maintained the server who were private sector folks. >> so there are hundreds of classified documents on these servers. how many people without a security clearance had access to that server? >> i don't know the exact number as i sit here. it's probably more than two, less than ten. >> i appreciate your willingness to follow up. did hillary clinton's attorneys have security clearances needed? >> they did not. >> does that concern you? >> yeah, sure. >> is there any consequence to an attorney rifling through hillary clinton's e-mails without a security clearance? >> criminal consequences but a great deal of concern about an uncleared person not subject to requirements we talked about in
read in documents having access. that is why it is important for us to recover everything we can back from attorneys. >> what is the consequence? hillary clinton gave direction to her attorneys without a security clearance to go through documents that were classified. >> i think that is what happened in fact, whether that was the direction is a question i can't answer sitting here. >> so you parsoned that one. >> what is the consequence. we can't fire them. is there no criminal prosecution of those attorney snz. >> if they acted with criminal intent. >> you are telling us it doesn't matter because i may be innocent enough. i like the secretary and trying to help hillary clinton. i'm not trying to give it to the chinese or russians. i'm trying to help her.
so there is no intent. it doesn't matter if these people have security clearances? >> of course it matters. >> there is no consequence, director. >> i don't know what consequence you would have in mind. >> prosecute them. >> an attorney for receiving from his client information that ends up being classified. >> i asked you at the very beginning is there a reasonable expectation that hillary clinton would send and receive if not daily classified information that's reasonable to think that the secretary of state would get classified information at every moment. she is not the head of fish and wildlife. so the idea that she would turn over her e-mails, her system, her server to what it sounds like up to ten people without security clearances and there is no consequence. so why not do it again?
>> that's a question i don't think you should put to me. i'm talking about my criminal investigation. >> there is no intent there? does she not understand that these people don't have security clearances? >> surely she understands at least some don't have security clearances. >> she understands they don't have security clearances and reasonable to think she will be getting classified information. is that not intent to provide noncleared person access to classified information. >> you are mixing me up to assume that someone maintaining your server is reading e-mails. there is a separate thing which is when she is engaging counsel to comply with state department requests. are lawyers exposed to information that is classified. >> did they see any classified information? did hillary clinton's attorneys
without security clearances see classified information? >> i sit here, i don't know the answer to that. >> it has to be yes. you came across 110 and they said they went through all of them. >> they didn't read them all. >> their excuse is we saw the e-mails but we didn't read them? >> i think i said this on my statement on tuesday. they sorted the e-mails by using headers and search terms to try to find work-related e-mails. >> i know you read them all. do you think it is reasonable or unreasonable to think that her attorneys under her direction did or did not read those e-mails? let me go back to this. were there or were there not classified e-mails that hillary clinton's attorneys read? >> i don't know whether they read them at the time. >> did hillary clinton give
noncleared people access to classified information? >> yes. yes. >> what do you think her intent was? >> i think then was to get good legal representation and make the production to the state department. it can be a tall order. i don't see evidence to make a case that she was acting with criminal intent with engagement with lawyers. >> i guess i read criminal intent as the idea that you allow somebody without a security clearance access to classified information. everybody knows that, director. everybody knows that. i have gone way past my time. let me recognize mr. cummings for an equal amount of time. >> director, thank you for your patience. i want to clear up some things. i want to make sure i understand
exactly what you testified to on the issue of whether secretary clinton sent or received e-mails that were marked as classified. on tuesday you stated only a very small number of the e-mails containing classified information or markings, i emphasize or markings, indicating presence of classified information. republicans have pounced on this statement as evidence that secretary clinton lied. but today we learned some significant new facts. i hope the press listens to this. first, you clarify that you were talking about only three e-mails out of 30,000. your office reviewed. is that right? >> three, yes. >> 3 out of 30,000, is that right? >> yes. at least 30,000.
>> at least 30,000. second, you confirm that these three e-mails were not properly marked as classified at the time based on federal guidelines and manuals. they did not have a classification headers. they did not list the original classifier, the agency, office of origin, reason for classification or date for de-classification. these e-mails included only a single quote, c and then end of quotation mark for confidential one paragraph lower down in the text, is that right? >> correct. >> third, you testified that based on these facts it would have been a, quote, reasonable inference for secretary clinton
to, quote, immediately conclude that the e-mails were not classified. so that was also critical new information. but there is one more critical fact that these e-mails were not -- to the press these e-mails were not classified. the state department explained to us yesterday they reported that these e-mails are not classified and that including this little c on these e-mails was result of human error. the bottom line is that those little cs should not have been on those documents because they were not, in fact, classified. when representative watson asked you a few minutes ago about this you testified that you had not been informed. i understand that. i'm not beating up on you, i promise you.
but you tell us why because republicans are pouncing saying secretary lied and so i want to make sure we are clear on this. can you tell us why did you consult with the state department about these three e-mails out of the more than 30,000 or did this just not come up? what happened there? >> i'm not remembering for sure while i'm here. i'm highly confident we consulted with them and got their view on it. i don't know about what happened yesterday. maybe their view has changed or they found things out that we didn't know. i'm highly confident we consulted with them about it. >> this is different than what we understood yesterday. today we learned the e-mails were not classified. they should not have been included in the stray markings. they were not properly marked at classified and director of fbi believes it was reasonable for
secretary clinton to assume the documents were not classified. chairman, you raise ad question about whether secretary clinton's attorneys had security clearances. it is my understanding that they did. we can double check that. that is my understanding. we will double check that. going on, let me move to the next topic. you explained on tuesday that you were providing, quote an update on use of personal e-mail system during her time as secretary of state. you explained that you received a referral from inspector general of intelligence community on july 6, 2016. is that right? >> yes. >> today tens of thousands of secretary clinton's e-mails are probably available on state department's website. our staff had been reviewing e-mails that were retroactively determined to include classified information. based on this