Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 13, 2016 5:12am-6:04am EDT

5:12 am
misdemeanors. what are those high crimes and misdemeanors? >> he received a subpoena to protect and take into custody all evidence involved with lois lerner, who targeted certain for their political beliefs. within three weeks of receiving that subpoena, he destroyed or 24,000 to be destroyed , evens and 422 tapes after promising congress he would protect them. after they were destroyed, he lied to congress and said they
5:13 am
protected, then he came back and said they were gone, but there were some that the inspector general found later and he did not tell us about that. we had to find that on our own. koskinen liedhn and it was clear that he ittroyed evidence or allowed to happen on his watch. as a result, we feel he is not fit for duty and he should lose his job. he should be removed from office. >> the house has two days to move forward on your request. what do you expect this time around? >> we adjourned before the two legislative days expired. in this case, that will not
5:14 am
happen. we will be here for at least two legislative days so leadership will be forced to bring this up for some type of flow. there are several possibilities on how that can be done. the bottom line is that once this is moved forward, there will have to be a vote on it. >> have use earn any signal from leadership on how they might move forward? >> i have not. only that the speaker made the comment that he would leave it to the will of congress. i think that is exactly what we should do. but how this will be a direct vote on impeachment or if it will be a vote to table it or to move it to committee, any vote other than moving forward with impeachment would be viewed by the public as no on impeachment and removal from office.
5:15 am
the reason for that is this resolution, in a similar form, has been in print for well over nine months. jason chaffetz put that in as chairman of the committee. and i put one in, in july. and the leadership and the judiciary committee have failed to move forward on impeachment hearings. it is clear that nothing is going to happen unless someone like me, in this case me, -- unless i move forward with a privileged resolution to require a vote and then let every member answer to his or her constituents why we should allow high-level officials the privilege of getting by with doing things that are unlawful, potential he criminal, and not being held accountable for their behavior. i get asked all the time by my constituents -- why is it that there is to standards? there is a standard for everyday americans, the average taxpayers and one for high-level
5:16 am
officials. the head of the irs for example. apparently, he does not have to respond to subpoenas or respond to the same sorts of things that we as taxpayers do. that applies to others like of course eric holder. >> you talk about the standard of moving through the judiciary committee. we understand his attorneys have filed a memo accusing some republicans of not going through the judiciary committee. you talked about the judiciary committee a moment ago. why not let that process play out? >> we have let that process play out in the judiciary committee and leadership have failed to begin that process. they have had ample time, months. there is no new information here. they have had everything they needed for many months. it is clear that they will not act and the american people believe that congress should act.
5:17 am
many notable people, george will, just came out with an op-ed. jonathan turley, a famous liberal constitutional attorney said we should move forward and there are other notables that are saying that congress is going to become irrelevant if we do not do our jobs which in this case is to hold high-level officials in the executive branch accountable for their behavior. >> there is a house republican meeting this week. what is your argument in favor when you get a chance to make your sales pitch? i am not going to try to encourage anyone to vote him out of office. the evidence is evidence. we should have the opportunity
5:18 am
to vote. every member of congress, you will have to face your constituents. to elect a high toel official, you will have answer to your constituents. >> the irs chief tries to stave off impeachment with planned members of the republican side. do you plan to meet before any house floor vote? >> i have not met with him. relevancee what the is. john cost can in -- koskinen has had plenty of
5:19 am
opportunity to give testimony under oath and he has not done that. >> does it matter this could be the first government level impeach? >> it does bother me. time in theall a past where we have had such blatant activity that ignores the will of the american people and the congress itself, which has the power to check on other branches of government. we would not have to do this if the executive branch would take care of its own problems. in this case, lois lerner was targeting people for their ideological beliefs. in commissioner was brought to clean the mess up. that, she wasng
5:20 am
retired with a fat pension and never had to answer to a judge or jury. now, he is wanting to get by without having to answer for his activities. there are many other officials. hillary clinton and the e-mail scandal. the american people are upset with all the high-level officials who seem to get by without a slap on the wrist. newink we have reached a day when the executive branch, we don't hear from the fbi, the attorney general's office, they are not willing to act on those who break laws and defy the american people. >> thank you for joining us. >> thank you. oversighte house
5:21 am
theittee hearing into investigation of hillary clinton's e-mail server. who reviewed the e-mails testify before the committee. this is part of a series the committee is holding on the investigation. >> come to order. an important hearing today. appreciate you all being here. i've got to tell you, i wish i didn't have to compel you to be here. we asked you as legislative liaisons.
5:22 am
we can declare a recess at any time. we have a couple of goals for the hearing in our investigation and our need to do our constitutional duty. one, the fbi needs to produce its full investigative file to the united states congress. i mean the full file. not just the parts the fbi deemed relevant. right now, we have only the 302s hand picked by the fbi. we decide what's relevant. not the department of justice. not the fbi. we're entitled to the full file. two, all unclassified portions of the file should be released to the public as quickly as possible. it has been more than 20 days since i'm sure the very first foia request was put out there, and by law, that should be out there. i want to commend the fbi for already releasing its investigative summary report and secretary clinton's 302 interview summary to the public. we do appreciate that and it is
5:23 am
duly noted. there are still a number of 302s to release. we were surprised to learn, the so-called investigative filed provided to the united states congress, at least to the security officer, were only a portion of them. not all of them. three, all members of congress should be able to review the entire file. right now, unless you're part of the intel committee, oversight committee, the judiciary committee and the appropriations committee, if you're a member, you have to be on those committees in order to view what is currently in it. it is unclear how the fbi cannot allow us to see what we're allowed to see by law, yet here they have done so. even the unclassified information, that's what is miss tifying to me. we believe we should be able to see the whole file. it is disappointing we're here today. we have a number of questions about the redactions,
5:24 am
classifications. i thought a number of those things would best be answered in a briefing. you know, elijah cummings, the ranking number has made a point on several occasions rather than going into a hearing, let's go to a briefing. we had legitimate questions. we did have this planned for last week. we had more than 12 members of the congress show up to have that briefing. and none of you showed up. that's in excusable. you're the the congressional affairs officers. it is your job to talk to congress. for some of you, i had to threaten to send a subpoena, just to get you to appear today. we did some math. we got seven of you sitting here. between your compensation and your benefits package, you make more than $1 million from taxpayers.
5:25 am
taxpayers are paying you seven more than $1 million, and you won't come to talk to congress. what do you do all day if you don't talk to congress? that's your job. so we're going to do that today. and the irony here is we're trying to protect the classified information. i didn't create this mess. hillary clinton created this mess. there are years of federal records. some of it so classified, none of us in this room should probably see them. most of it is unclassified. we have a duty and obligation to protect that information. i believe that's probably the same goal that you have. but we're going to have to have a reality check here. she is the one that took the records from the state department, gave access to people who don't have security clearances. the case is closed. there is no consequences. nobody being held accountable. we had an fbi director tell us he never looked at her testimony under oath. and somehow, we have a classified system, and we have a
5:26 am
nonclassified system, and somehow, information was going from the classified system into a nonclassified system. so it is ironic you don't want to appear before this committee out of concern for protecting classified information, when hillary clinton walked around with a blackberry full of classified information and gave access to sensitive federal records to folks without security clearances at all. i want to understand from each of you what it is you think that congress should not see. see, i believe passionately in the role of congress. i believe oversight government reform committee. we were founded in 1814. every expenditure, everything we do in this congress, or everything we do in this nation is supposed to be overseen by us. we can investigate anything at any time. that's what is different about the united states of america. we're different, because we are self-critical. we do go look under the hood. we do hold people accountable.
5:27 am
that's when abraham lincoln was on this committee and peppered the president because he didn't believe the mexican-american war started as the president said it was. we can't do that when each of the agencies that you all represent decide that, well, we're just going to show you the relevant information. we're not even going to answer your questions. you can't see those documents. that's the way a banana republic acts. not the way the united states of america acts. we expect better and we expect you to be responsive. i don't expect to have to issue a subpoena to see unclassified information. well, we can't be certain what is under each of the redactions within the documents. as far as we can tell, they're covering information commonly given to congress, such as names
5:28 am
of key fact witnesses, titles and positions of employees at the state department and gmail accounts. there is nothing classified about that information. well, i understand there is an argument to withhold information under the privacy act or the freedom of information act, neither of those apply to congress. or any other committees. as i understand it, the fbi is not withholding any information based on the privacy act. instead, they just don't want to give us the information. so there is really no legal basis for these redactions. the fbi also chose to redact any information the report classified above secret. this also makes no sense. as a member of congress, we routinely receive with the highest level of classification, with the exception of sources, methods, the s.a.p. material.
5:29 am
so any redactions have to be based on classification, have to be removed. we have to be able to see that information. we also have questions on what the fbi file contains. oddly enough, the copies of the file provided by the fbi are different. we are very grateful they provided the first set on a tuesday, i believe it was august 16th. the next day, we got a second set. the problem, is the second set had 27 more e-mails than the other one, which we were grateful for. only to have the fbi try to come back and recover them. not because it was s.a.p. material, but because it was embarrassing. that's why. it was embarrassing. we should have had it in the first round. we should have had it in the beginning. this is not the first time, congressional committees are routinely provided them by the department of justice.
5:30 am
i ask to enter into the record the 2007 crs report. this was done when things were going on with the dismiss sal of the u.s. attorneys. i'm going to read, it is a little long, but this is as good a summary as why congress should be able to see this as anything. i've got to read a few sentences here. from the crs. a review of the historical experience and legal rulings pertinent to congressional access to information regarding the law enforcement activities of the department of justice indicates in the last 85 years, congress has consistently sought and obtained prosecutorial memorandum and the testimony of line attorneys, fbi field agents and other subordinate agency employees regarding the conduct of open and closed cases in the course of ee numbable from the department of justice activities. they've encompassed virtually every component of the department of justice from the attorney general down to the
5:31 am
subordinate level personnel. it appears that the fact that an agency such as the justice department has determined for its own internal purposes that a particular item should not be disclosed, or not information sought should come from one of the committees or subcommittees -- dosz not prevent either of the house of congress or its committees or subcommittees from obtaining or publishing information it considers essential for the proper performance of its constitutional functions. there appears to be no court precedent that impresses the threshold burden on committees to demonstrate for example, quote, a substantial reason to believe wrongdoing occurred, end quote, before a jurisdictional committee may seek disclosure with respect to the conduct of specific open and closed criminal and civil cases. indeed, the case law is quite the contrary, and inquiry committee only need to show the information sought is within the broad speck rum of thetrum, aid of legislative function and pertinent to the area of
5:32 am
concern, and it goes on for page after page after page of precedent here. basically, there is no legal reason why you should withhold any of this information from the united states congress. this goes back from the teapot dome bribery scandal to valerie plame, chairman waxman when he requested the 302s, vice-president, carl rowe and other senior advisors. i have two other things that i would like to enter into the record. i ask to enter the csr report as well as the december 3rd letter. without objection, so ordered. i would also ask to enter attorney general gonzalez into the record. without objection, so ordered. finally, i want to come mend the fbi for making its summary report and 302 of secretary clinton public.
5:33 am
i do appreciate that. it is a good start. it is a good start. but it's time we be candid and honest with the american people. you allow congress to do its job. i didn't pick this timeline. hillary clinton picked this timeline. i don't care about the election, what time it is. we're going to keep going at this full speed ahead. it is far, far too important. with that, i will now recognize the ranking member, mr. cummings for five minutes. >> thank you very much to be witnesses, i hope that as you
5:34 am
listen to the chairman, if you think that the cases that he has cited, previous cases involving, for example, the u.s. attorneys are distinguishable from what is happening here today, i would just like to know. he makes a very good point, i guess in some of those cases at least, the justice department was accused of doing something wrong, but i would like to know exactly where you all stand on that, because i think it makes a very good point. well, here we are again. another day in the oversight committee. another emergency hearing about hillary clinton. today is the second hearing about secretary clinton we have held in three business days. tomorrow, we will have a third. for the record, mr. chairman, i want to thank you and i want the american public to know that you have agreed to schedule a hearing on epipen which affects so many of our constituents, because that too is an emergency situation for the constituents of every member who sits here in this chamber right now. >> as far as i can tell, the only emergency is that the election is less than two months away. the real reason for today's
5:35 am
hearing is that the fbi director james comey refused to be summoned before this committee yet again. he refused. director comey has bent over backwards, departed from long-standing law enforcement precedent and provided our committee with an unmatched level of transparency about his internal decision-making regarding this investigation. first, he announced the results of his investigation publicly. normally, the fbi does not discuss its internal decision-making, but director comey did so in this case. second, he agreed to testify in an emergency hearing before our committee 48 hours after his announcement. the fbi director.
5:36 am
he sat right there in that -- the witness chair and testified about the evidence they obtained, the law they applied, and the decision-making process they employed. he described how, quote, an all star team, unquote, of career fbi investigators came to the unanimous conclusion and how it wasn't even close. but republicans did not cliek the answers director comey gave. so demanded copies of the fbi internal investigative files. again, in sharp break from past precedent, the fbi director
5:37 am
agreed to share documents from the investigation in an effort to put this question to rest. but again, that was not enough for the republicans. so they demanded the public release of these documents. yet again, director comey broke from precedent, released the fbi's internal investigative memo, and the notes from the interview with secretary clinton. let me say the obvious here. no matter what director comey does, it will never be enough for the republicans. they are demanding that he bring criminal charges against secretary clinton despite the fact that the evidence was not
5:38 am
there, and that is something nobody with integrity would ever do. we sat here and we listened to director comey say that there were two things that matter most to him in his life. he said his family and his reputation. last week, the republicans wanted director comey to come up here one more time. but this time, he said enough is enough. he spoke with chairman chavitz personally and he told him enough is enough. in response to chairman to rush to call today's emergency hearing, he dashed out letters as late as thursday night, threatening even more subpoenas. the problem is that he invited the wrong people. the witnesses here today are the legislative affairs staffers from the fbi and other agencies.
5:39 am
they did not make the decisions the chairman is upset about. those decisions were made by none other than director comey. the chairman has a problem with director comey, he should take it up with him. not beat up on legislative affair staffers, because the fbi director wants no part of any partisan charade. the fbi legislative affair staffer has been in his job for just a few weeks, mr. hearing, and is currently serving in an acting capacity. he has been very responsive with our committee. and makes no sense to hammer him just because he is following the directives of his boss, director comey. the whole hearing is a bait and switch. i have the invitation letters right here. and the chairman says that this hearing will be held in a
5:40 am
classified session. i ask unanimous consent to put them in the record, your letters about this hearing. >> no objection, so ordered. >> thank you. so that is what these witnesses prepared for. i don't know whether they spent their weekend preparing for a classified hearing or not. but i assume they did. they did not prepare to answer questions in an open session. so what are we doing here. at the last minute, the chairman decided to hold this hearing in open session, to try to generate more headlines, rather than obtain the classified information he claims to seek. it is fundamentally unfair. and irresponsible to force these witnesses to answer questions about this issue in open session. as we've all heard, the classification level of these documents obtained repeatedly in dozens of highly trained diplomats did not think many of them were classified. these witnesses should not be forced to make surprise or on the spot determinations about
5:41 am
what they can and cannot say in an open session. after all, we've had debates for the last several months about what is classified and what isn't classified. so not only is this unfair, but it risks the inadvertent disclosure of classified information. we should hold this hearing in a closed session, like the chairman said he would in his letter, rather than gather the information, and then review the written transcript to determine what can be released publicly and what cannot. that is how a responsible approach would look. that's not what is happening here. i guess this is what happens when you try to schedule a public attack against hillary clinton for every day of the week. you get frantic and you swap substantive discussions or set
5:42 am
up hearings with chief press heads. democrats on this committee have serious questions. and by the way, republicans have serious question. not just the democrats, about our broken classification system. even the chairman agreed with me last week that the system is broken and we need to work together to do something about it. we all have, i think, have concerns about why so many of these documents were retroactively classified long after they were sent. but the only way to have that productive substantive discussion is to go into closed session, as the chairman's letter said. the only reason for the hearing today is open is because the republicans know it won't be on camera. i yield back. thank you. >> i thank the gentlemen and with indulgence, the rank member knows, it is a requirement in-house rules to go into a
5:43 am
nonclassified setting to an open session prior to going into a classified setting. we have set up in the house visitor center the classified room that will be closed to the public and the press. we are prepared to go into that setting, but we're required by house rules to first come into this open session first. it does require a vote of the committee. >> will the chairman yield? >> sure. >> i guess it would have been helpful if you laid that out from the beginning, because as i said to you up here on the floor of the house, one of my concerns was that i don't want -- i mean, if beer ae going to -- we need to know what the ground rules are. when i look at, if we're going to be discussing documents that were classified, trying to -- i don't know how far we can even get in an open session without crossing that line. i'm not trying to -- >> sure. >> lay any trips.
5:44 am
i want to make sure we don't create another situation where people are accusing us of violating the law. >> as the gentleman knows, there is a lot of classified information in hillary clinton's e-mails that should never, ever see the light of day. that's why there is so much concern. that's why we're prepared to go into a classified setting. that's why we believe we have the right witnesses here. and also to clarify the record, i never had a conversation with director comey where i asked him to come again, and he refused. that just never happened. i asked him some specific questions, in a personal phone call i had with him. if we had all the 302s, i was surprised that we hadn't. i asked him a couple of other questions, he didn't know the answer, and that we should work with his staff. the staff that the fbi has provided to us to work with is the legislative will he asliaison. that's why we're here. when we asked them to come to a briefing in the skif, in closed doors, it is an embarrassment to this congress that they wouldn't show up and answer those questions.
5:45 am
>> so how will we proceeded to, mr. chairman? >> so we will allow them to give opening statements, we will ask questions on the unclassified, if we want to get into the heart of what is under a certain thing, and we want to get in its classified, then we'll have to do that in the classified portion. we are a going do the unclassified first, then excuse and go to the house visitor center and ask things in a secure facility. >> thank you. >> all right. it is highly recommended, it is part of our committee rules, that you are to submit testimony 24 hours prior. you are the legislative liaisons. you know this. you are supposed to know this. none of you have provided testimony, but i'm happy to recognize each of you, and along the way. but let me do this.
5:46 am
we'll hold the record open for five legislative days for any member who would like to submit a written statement. we'll recognize the panel of witnesses, if any of you have opening statements, we're happy to hear those. we'll ask the unclassified questions, and then go into the classified setting. fair enough? ok. we're please today welcome the honorable peter kstzik at the united states department of justice. honorable julia freitfeld, united states department of state. mr. jason herring, acting assistant director for congressional fares at the federal bureau of investigation. miss deirdre walsh, legislative affairs at the office of director of national intelligence. neil higgins, congressional fairs at the central intelligence agency. mr. james samuel, jr., chief of congressional affairs, and help me with your last name, mr.
5:47 am
trumble soul, security agency central security service. we thank you for being here, pursuant to committee rules. all witnesses are to be sworn before they testify. if you'll please raise and raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? thank you. let the record reflect that the witnesses all answered in the affirmative. in order to allow time for discussion, we would appreciate if you would limit your comments to five minutes. i'm not sure who has an opening statement and who doesn't. we haven't been submitted anything. mr. kadzik, do you have any opening comments? >> no, i do not, mr. chairman. i would note for the record that i was not compelled to be here today. i came here voluntarily.
5:48 am
>> let the record reflect that none of them ultimately accepted service in terms of accepting the subpoena. i'm just saying in general, it did require us to get to the point where i signed subpoenas, and presented those subpoenas, but all of the witnesses here today ultimately came here voluntarily. appreciate you highlighting that. >> i'm not sure who those subpoenas were produced to, but they weren't -- >> mr. kadzik one of those people. >> i don't have a formal opening statement, but i did want to clarify, sir, that i did not refuse to come up. we asked clarifications on what exactly you were looking for, because it seemed uncertain to us what you asked the state department about these documents that were produced by the fbi. so we -- i'm happy to be here and try to answer the questions as best i can. >> mr. herring. >> mr. herring. >> i do have a few opening remarks to make. >> you're recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman, mr. cummings. >> you can move themicrophone. >> thank you, mr. chairman, mr.
5:49 am
cummings, members of the committee. for the opportunity to discuss our production of documents in this highly unusual case with intense public interest. i am special agent jason hearing for the office of congressional affairs. in early july, director comey appeared before this committee and answered questions for almost five hours to explain the fbi's investigation and conclusions regarding the e-mail matter. at that hearing, and every opportunity since then, director comey has promised that the fbi would be as transparent and forthcoming in this investigation as we could responsibly be. to that end, on august 16th, the fbi provided to our congressional oversight committees a number of documents to the investigation. it included an investigation summary undercovered during the course of the investigation, the
5:50 am
relevant fbi interview reports, sometimes known as 302s, and the e-mails that were determined to contain classified information. we produced these documents to satisfy the committee's immediate oversight interest and the conduct in the investigation, this was an unprecedented production, and wasn't made with one made with extraordinary speed. we did this, because it is important to understand how the fbi reached our conclusion, in light of intense public interest in this case. i am not here to discuss the merits of the investigation, but rather, to discuss and answer process related questions with the production of our investigative case materials to this committee and our other oversight committee. with my conversations with staff late last week, i believe i have an understanding of some of the questions, and i would like to add droesaddress those up front. am in order do that, i need to be in a closed setting. i'll talk about that later. >> mr. chairman, i have brief opening statement in the interest of brevity. mr. chairman, ranking member cummings, my name is deirdre
5:51 am
walsh, legislative affairs james clapper. i'm here in response to answer questions about the recent document production by the fbi to congress related to former secretary of state clinton's email. while understand the intelligence community inspector general, may interacted with the agency with regard to these documents, by statute, the icig remains them separate from my office. accordingly, i cannot speak on behalf of the i.c.i.g. with regard to the documents produced by the fbi and the subject of this hearing, odi and i was not involved with this production. i will however do my best to answer the questions you may have. additionally, i'm joined my ply colleagues from the cia, and the
5:52 am
national security agency in response to the commit too he's request. given the classification of the underlying material, we look forward to discussing sensitive matters in the closed portion of the hearing. thank you for the opportunity. >> thank you. it is my understanding, mr. higgins, mr. samuel and mr. soul that ms. walsh's statements reflect -- ok. recognize myself for set of questions. mr. herring, what information do you believe that congress does not have the right to see? >> so we believe it is important for oversight committees to understand how the fbi reached our conclusion.
5:53 am
>> no, no, no, no, no. wait. i'm asking you a philosophical question. what does congress not have the right to see? >> so i don't know that i can answer that in a way that -- there is more to it than a simple answer. i think each case is sort of specific to its own set of facts. i think we tried to be, i think director comey tried to be as transparent as he could with this committee and other committees as he can be. so i think when he spoke and answered questions. >> what as i as a member of congress, what is it that you believe we don't have the right to see?see, this is the way our government works. we get to do oversight. that's why since 1814, this committee has been doing that. there is executive -- let me help you. there is executive privilege. has the president invoked executive privilege. >> no. >> no. >> that's right. the answer is no. is there any other situation?
5:54 am
>> look, when it comes to classified information and the classified information in the executive order, not all the information that we have in our files defers to us. >> but you are the ones that put redactions on personal identifiable information, correct? >> we did on the personal identifiable information, that's correct. >> where in the constitution does it say i can't see that? >> does it addressit doesn't specifically address it in the constitution. >> can you cite anything? >> i cannot cite any legal case. >> did -- are you aware that congress is he exempt from the privacy act? >> i am. >> does the fbi treat congressional document requests as foia requests? >> no. >> will the fbi provide congress all of the 302s? >> all of the 302s, you have one set you've been provided already. the rest are coming through the foia process.
5:55 am
>> wait. foia process. you mean i have to fill out a foia request. >> you can. not necessary. >> when -- here's the problem. you hand picked the 302s to give to us, my understanding of discussion with staff. i appreciate your ack bellcessibility. -- accessibility. this a tough hearing, and but the reality is, you should give us all the 302s. >> let me say this. i think that the director made principle decisions about what to say to congress when he was here and what to provide to congress. >> wait. where do i find that? we let everybody in government decide based on their own individual principles, that'stht what -- see, it is trust but verify is how it works. you don't get to decide what i get to see. i get to see it all.
5:56 am
i was elected by some 800,000 people to come to congress and seek classified information. i was elected by my colleagues here to be the chairman of this committee. that's the way our constitution works. will the fbi provide to congress the full file with no redactions of personal identifiable information. >> i cannot make that commitment sitting here today. >> i'm going to issue a subpoena and do it right now. let's go. i've signed this subpoena. we want all the 302s. and we would like the full file. (202) 748-8000 you can accept service on behalf of the fbi. >> certainly. >> you are hereby served. we have a duty and a responsibility. you can cite no precedent. nothing in the constitution. no legal precedent. you know this is important to us. you now have your subpoena. we would all like to see this
5:57 am
information. i've gone past my time. coming up ongoing past my time. i recognize the ranking member. >> you've been in the job four weeks? >> yes, sir. >> and you used to work for one of our distinguished colleagues, mr. goodlight, a republican. >> yes, sir. >> yes, sir. >> so air familiar with congress, then? >> yes, sir. >> i'm going to sayve moist of my questions for the classified section, but i do want to talk about the redaction issue. when it was issued to congress, the cover letter stated, the fbi has redacted personally identify identifiable information as appropriate. chairman chavitz, publicly announced he wanted the fbi to lift these redactions. he stated, and i quote, we are going to call on the fbi next week, this week, to give a version where there is nonclassified, the unclassified material and the classified material redacted so that could be out there in the public end the quote. the problem is, oh there is no legitimate basis for the demand. director comey has already
5:58 am
provided us with an unprecedented level of transparency into the fbi's investigation internal decision-making. now, i want to stop there for a moment, and you said yourself, i think at least twice, that there has been unprecedented discovery here. i mean, what did you mean by that? i don't want to take the words out of your mouth. >> i think in this particular case, you know, we don't typically make our case files available. they're sort of internal work product. there is a lot of sensitive information in there, and even the unclassified stuff is sensitive to a great deal. i think that we made a principle decision with redacting the pii only for those individuals who are not already in the public
5:59 am
domain. why did you do that. well, from my perspective as an agent, any investigation, including a high profile investigation like this one, or any other investigation really, it is critical for us as fbi agents to obtain cooperation from members of the public. as we go out and talk to members of the public in any case, we need them to be willing to participate in the judicial process. a lot of times people is their initial reaction is i don't want to get involved. as an agents, you talk to somebody, you try to protect them as best you can, sometimes you have to call them as a witness, sometimes you don't at trial. but witnesses who speak with us need to have confidence that they can talk to the fbi without risk of undue exposure. in this case, we are concerned about lifting the pii for individuals who are not already in the public domain that may have a chilling effect on the willingness of other members of the public in the future to cooperate with us, particularly in an investigation like this. so i think that director comey's -- what we as an agency tried do
6:00 am
was to satisfy the needs of the oversight committee by letting you all see exactly what we did in our investigation, the steps we took and how we came to that conclusion. i think he did it in the form of taking questions for more than four hours. but also, making our files available, and that's not something we typically do. we did make a principle decision as far as how are we going to effect this, how are we going to give that visibility to the oversight committees. we made a thoughtful response in redacting only limited piei for people not in the public. this is jason talking -- >> how long have you been an agent? >> 17 years. and so for my perspective as an agent, we have to protect the integrity of the investigations, and i don't want there to be a chilling effect, or i wouldn't want there be a chilling effect for people cooperating going
6:01 am
forward. in >> one of the things that i asked director comey about was this whole process, when you've got to congress getting more and more information from the fbi and whether it would have a chilling effect. do we place ourselves in a position where if the congress does not like a decision made by the agency, then -- and then they dig, i mean, how much -- you know, how often do -- will that be happening? in other words, so that chilling effect, and then, you know, and then, you know, i wonder, well, will other people, if a decision, somebody in congregation doesn'tcongress doesn't like the decision, do we set more precedent so that people can come in behind and director comey said he had an all-star group of agents and they had a unanimous decision. and i just, you know, but you were talking about the chilling effect. so you -- do you think that -- first of all, who makes the decision with regard to the redactions since that what is what we're here about. i'm curious. who makes those decisions.
6:02 am
>> i think that was made at the highest levels. >> does that mean director comey. >> absolutely. >> all right. him >> i mean, i mean, i do think it is reasonable to think it would be a chilling effect. everybody out there is watching this. we started lifting personal identifiable information, it could have impact going forward. i do think, though, that you know, we're not trying to play hide the ball with congress. we want congress to be able to do its job, this particular oversight committee do its job and to understand really what we
6:03 am
did in the investigation, how we came to the conclusion we did that by releasing the summary and the 302s. >> thank you. >> some of the 302s, and when you don't show up at a meeting that we ask behind closed doors, you lose that opportunity. we're going to recognize the gentleman from south carolina, mr. goudy. >> did the fbi interview the center that contained all sender of all of the e-mails that contained all classified information? >> you know, i don't know the answer to that question, only because i am a legislative affairs guy. >> you would agree it would be important, you want to interview the person that sent the classified information. >> certainly. >> because the recipient thought the c was just a third letter in the alphabet. you might be curious whether or not the sender also was clueless in the way he or she viewed classified information, would you not? >> that would be a logical investigative step. >> can you find out whether you interviewed the sender. >> certainly. >> do you know if the sender of


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on