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tv   Washington Journal Katie Bo Williams Previews Hearing on Russian Election...  CSPAN  March 20, 2017 8:03am-8:32am EDT

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president, would put before the , and then you found out them with three or four of that were cropping up as possible nominees, then you zero in on those three or four. i can sure see why president trump picked this nominee as opposed to some of the other three or four that were prominently mentioned. >> "washington journal" continues. williams of the hill is writing about today's intelligence hearing looking at russia and the election. good morning. ,he headline for the web story suspense building, especially over the fbi director testifying today. guest: i think we could see a few fireworks today are the number one question people will be looking at today is, how is
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the director going torespond to questions about president trump's allegation -- going to respond to questions about president trump's allegations of wiretapping. on friday, documentation was provided to the house intelligence committee answering those questions. thiss been said that answers the question, and we are satisfied with the response, and now the chairn and the democrat vice chair have said thiss not going to substantiate the president's claim that he was wiretapped. so how director james comey handles that in public will be looked at today. host: how much will he be allowed to say? bigt: that is another unknown today. because a lot of this investigation and the subject matter that it deals with lives in a classified area, both director comey and the national security agency head, admiral
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michael roger, who is also testifying today, they will be limited on what they can say in a public setting. i think you might see little frustration about this, to be honest. i have heard a couple democrats say they are a little concerned by how useful the hearing will public setting because they will be limited at what they can say. host: yet, they're having the hearing even knowing all that. guest: yeah, i think this could quickly go two different directions weird republicans and democrats are pretty much united in their concern over wiretapping allegations and wanting to get to the bottom of whenpresident trump meant he said that. i think after that, you will see some pretty stark division. republicans are very interested in ferreting out the source of media leaks, like the one that exposed michael flynn. host: the president made a major case for him via a tweet this morning. guest: exactly.
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on the other side, you have democrats who are much more concerned with exposing publicly any ties between the trump campaign and moscow. part of that will be pushing director comey to publicly say, yes, the fbi is investigating this or, no, we are not. i think the chances of him doing that our next to zero, but they will be pushing him for that. host: and a sense, you are looking for some type of smoking gun. hate to use the word, but there it is. guest: exactly it whether or not they get it, i think they're probably realistic about that. they will be making a case to the american people that there is substantial enough evidence here to justify this investigation. host: if you want to ask questions, you can do so. fors& 202-748-8000 democrats. 202-748-8001 for republicans.
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independents, it is 202-748-8002 . you can comment on our twitter page, @cspanwj. will the director meet with members of the intelligence committee in private to discuss this information? guest: certainly. i think you'll see a lot of behind the scenes, behind closed doors, classified information between him and the committee appeared the director has briefed the leaders of the khamenei already, and i expect that will be a central part of this investigation. out, as far as today plays is a just a one-day appearance or severalays? what do you expect? guest: they already have a second public hearing in this matter scheduled. i believe they have the former national intelligence to richter, james clapper, testifying, and former cia director john brennan. i think that is a week and today. this is going to be a long
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process. this investigation is not something you will see wrap up in a month or two months. if there is an fbi investigation going on, which the fbi has not is going tohat also take a long time. so the sort of quick turnaround where lawmakers want an answer immediately i think is fairly unrealistic. characterizeld you the relationship between the chairman and the vice chairman on this issue? we have seen them standing next to each other, maybe even awkwardly, kind of discussing these matters. how would you describe their relationship and how that might filter out to the rest of the committee? guest: you have two californians who have worked throughout their leadership on a pretty bipartisan manner. a have had a pretty good relationship, but this is a in a lot ofthon ways spirit you can see the strain this is having on the relationship. they had kind of dueling press
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conferences in february where one of them gave a press conference and said we have not seen evidence of collusion between the trump campaign in moscow, and then the other hastily scheduled one in the afternoon to directly contradict the chair, saying you cannot we judge the findings of this investigation. so i think you are seeing that strain. in public, they are making a real point on agreeing upon the scope of the investigation, appearing together at press availabilities. the both signed on to request information from agencies. but they are wrangling a member body that has two diametrically opposed viewpoints on this. are: again, the numbers 202-748-8000 for democrats. 202-748-8001 for republicans. for independents, 202-748-8002.
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alexa is in virginia, independent line. caller: hello. i am a female american, and i believe, definitely, that it is time to start looking seriously at impeaching donald trump. i have read a lot about this reada, and i actually did the book, "the kremlin-the playbook." andou just go to google type in something like "impeach donald trump," you can see that the search flows have been altered. they talk about impeaching obama. the media has met libby related -- manipulated it. thank you for taking my call. bye. certainly, there is a lot of concern about the connections , the alleged connections, and between president trump -- donald trump's campaign and
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moscow during the election. you have seen lawmakers who have access to classified information that are looking into this, b there is no smoking gun yet. over the weekend, was said there is no evidence of any connection or any collusion in between the trump campaign and moscow. but others have said, well, i do not want to prejudge what we're going to find, but there is circumstantial evidence, if not direct evidence. theointed to evidence of speech, basically, sort of a reference to the michael flynn thing, the fact he misled the president about his calls with the russian ambassador and jeff sessions, who had to recuse himself from any ongoing investigation because of his ties during the confirmation process. he did not disclose that he had once met the russian ambassador.
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this is not an issue that is going away anytime soon. this is what lawmakers, certainly on the democratic side, are focused on. host: any information in the classified papers that would deliver anything about who released that information on michael flynn? is there anything to suggest we may learn something about that? out.: i think we will find that is one of the and answered questions today. how much of officials will be able to talk about that. republicans have been focused on ferreting out the sources of leaks, like how did the names of people that were potentially surveilled inadvertently make their way into media reports? on to thatave signed investigation, as well. they have sent a letter to intelligence agencies, they being both republicans and democrats on the committee, sent a letter to intelligence agencies last week that is looking into exactly that. certainly much more of a republican certain -- concern
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that a democratic one. line, thise democrat is anderson, indiana. john, hello. beenr: yes, i have just listening to all this about donald trump and russia and all that. i mean, he was fast to get hillary clinton about the benghazi and all that. his sons made a lot of money from russia and all that. i believe actually that donald trump should be impeached. than all that. do you know what i mean? personally, i think he is got a lot more ties with russia then what people think. host: go ahead. guest: it is the million-dollar question, the ties with russia. that is ultimately going to be the guts of the investigation. was there any kind of collusion and between campaign officials
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and moscow? as lawmakers have said, we have seen her haps circumstantial evidence, at most, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions for lawmakers. host: west virginia, republican line. all smoke and mirrors. they have said there was nothing to it many times. they keep dragging this on. clapper, we trust james like a rattlesnake. does keeping it up to keep it up. guest: well, certainly, mr. trump, or president trump, and his associates would characterize this as a witch hunt. they have repeatedly disavowed any collusion or connection and between the campaign and russia. and the russian government has
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said the same thing, said this is a bunch of phooey. are there issues with his committee? guest: mr. nunez was on his executive committee and transition team. about three weeks ago, the white house reached out to mr. nunez to ask him to basically disavow a press report that had to do with trump's connections to moscow. mr. nunes agreed to that request. according to his account, he spoke to one reporter, repeating something he had already said publicly at the white house. for democrats, that was an interference in the integrity of the probe. they saw that as a sign that mr. behavings not objectively, basically running interference for the president. according to republicans, this
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was something he did publicly, speaking to one reporter. is katie boest williams of the hill. she was previously a freelance for publications such as the atlantic. you can watch this hearing at 10:00 today on c-span. you can find out more on our website, watch it on c-span, and view it on north carolina, independent line. go ahead. caller: this is political theater. this is a waste of time here. the republicans control both -- both branches of the house, the senate and the executive. this is a waste of time here. no what i mean? i mean, come on, man, come on. guest: he actually is not making
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a bad point here. the release will probably be limited because of what they can say in an open setting. as i mentioned, some lawmakers have said, well, i am not sure how substantive or useful this may be part of being because we will be limited in what we can talk about. it may be a bit of a food fight today where you will see lawmakers on either side of the aisle using this opportunity to make their case to the american people. host: if nothing happens, what other avenues could be played in the intelligence committee or other ways? guest: the biggest question now is what agreement will leadership come to about the process to get certain businesses in, get a hold of certain documents they consider to be relevant to the investigation. democrats think they could use a -- whether force
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it is great upon remains to be seen. same thing with witnesses. democrats are certainly going to want to get michael flynn in to testify, and with the republicans are going to agree to that, we do not know yet. so that is the next big step in this investigation, what the can fce in testimony or documents demanded. sht: democrats line, irley. to know, would like what can we do to president obama if he did tap trump? i think it is a waste of time. he is trying to divert people about what happened in russia. why do they keep on talking about it? talk about something like building up america, infrastructure, something that
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is going to help the american people. host: go ahead. there are still a whatf questions about donald trump that when he said former president obama wiretapped him. the president himself cannot unilaterally issue a wiretap on a u.s. citizen. that is just not something within his executive power. at this point, most experts will tell you that under existing surveillance law, the chance that there was an actual wiretap a far-fetched is theory. but there is a scenario under which communications that came out of trump tower might have been caught up in a u.s. surveillance dragnet if -- if theye agencies had a legitimate wiretap on,
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say, the russian ambassador and he was speaking to an american person and then that american persons communications within caught up in that dragnet. intelligence agencies can legally use that information. so if somebody and trump tower was spkingo somebody that was under legitimate , there is a perfectly plausible scenario in which u.s. intelligence committee has that information, but that is a very different proposition from president obama ordering candidate donald trump to be wiretapped. host: we have seen that narrative come up. has there been a change from president trump are the white house as this keeps going? guest: there's story has shifted a little bit over time. recently, the president said i think you will see something come out in the next two weeks of basically justifies what he
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said. we do not know what that is it perhaps that is an explanation of what we call incidental surveillance, incidental collection, rather. host: tulsa, oklahoma, republican line. this is vincent. believe trumpot won the election with hacking. i voted for trump. guest: that is one of the big questions people are concerned with. how much of an influence did the russian interference campaign actually have at the ballot box? were they ultimately successful in installing the candidate into the white house? if you ask republicans, they would say that democrats obviously have a political incentive to suggest that that is more likely. but i think that is something that you are going to see explored during these hearings. do not want to i use the were distracted, but the
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wiretapping allegations have kind of taken over this first hearing. but this is supposed to be an investigation into russian interference in the election. you will see lawmakers pushing officials on actually what happened step by step it with the ssians were trying to a gobblers, what they did, and what they were able to accomplish. host: you have a hearing with wiretapping and claims to collusion. guest: that is a great way to sum it up. be a lot of different competing narratives and one hearing. it will be hard to know what the headline will be. host: what does mike rogers provide? guest: good question. he has gotten overshadowed the case comey -- because comey is at the center of the wiretapping allegations, collusion within the fbi, and the original dnc hack. my suspicion is that we are
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going to see a lot of and rodgers sitting back with his arms crossed while director comey is hammered with questions. host: he may be ok with that. caller: a call from starks will, mississippi, independent line. caller: good morning. a member of the nsa was with them for 30 years and said that absolutely obama wiretapped and surveilled trump. october 30 1, 2016, in the new york times, the fbi said trump had nothing to do with russia. said yesterday there was no evidence of collusion. this person is clearly biased towards the democrats. trying toats now are
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throw a cold war on thiinto theory of hacking and wiretapping, the russians of the dnc. they are the ones that were corrupt. now, andstill there they have a shadow regime they are trying to undermine trump with. thank you very much. guest: that is one of the things republicans want to look into, this concern that there are still obama-era officials or officials loyal to president obama that are within the administration and that of basically trying to undermine the president by leaking sensitive information to the press. i think there are quite a few republicans who view what happened with former national security adviser michael flynn as a political hit job. and i think that is something you will see explored quite publicly today during this hearing. host: a viewer on twitter has a statement -- i expect more to come up from the senate intelligence hearings.
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will we see a similar hearing on the senate side? guest: they scheduled a public hearing, but it is a rather academic hearing. they do not have current or former administration officials testifying. so it remains to be seen what will come out of the probe. they have been much more focused into what actually happened leading into the election than they have on the alleged ties in between the trump campaign in moscow. that said, that is part of the officials go but their investigation. it remains to be seen. and up until this point, the house committee has just been a little bit more public with what they are doing. you have seen nunes holding his regular press availabilities to talk about where they are in the investigation. the senate has been a little bit more private and behind closed doors. host: another tweet says the only way to find the truth is for a special prosecutor. guest: there is a pretty heavy
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push for that from the democratic side. confident that they are going to get the kind of with a that they want trump justice department leading the charge. whether or not they are going to get the political capital to get that done, right now i would say the answer is no, but we do not know what else will come out. this is william from north carolina, democrat line. caller: good morning. why are reacting like we don't know what is going on? -- we cut to do [indiscernible] taxes, and you's
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can tell if he has had any dealing at all with russia. [indiscernible] look at his texas. -- look at his taxes. that is all you got to do. am i right or wrong? guest: democrats are hoping to use this probe to force donald trump's taxes. some have said this will not be investigation unless we can pull his taxes. not not know whether or republican control will permit that. obviously, they have to come to some kind of agreement with democrats to subpoena that information. but that is one avenue that they could come out. host: washington, d.c., democrat. go ahead. caller: i would like to talk
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about the wiretapping situation. trump is just making stuff up as a diversion tactic. against the was wall when it came to the tax situation. nowherelast week out of taxes.d about the 2005 15 yearst ask for 12, ago and we want to know about the most recent taxes. so they threw something out there and made up a new story. that is what i believe. made up a new story so everybody would look the other way so he could buy time. guest: that is certainly a
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speculation you have heard amongst democrats, that the president deliberate came up with this upset situated allegation -- unsubstantiated mess with the investigation into possible campaign ties to moscow. whether or not there is any truth to that, i think you would have to be inside president trump's head. host: sammy, republican line, north carolina. , you want to talk about collusion, let me talk about collusion. how about the corporations that colluded with hillary during the presidential campaign to beat trump? that is something that is to be investigated. this lady here, she is nothing but a mouthpiece for the liberals. host: thanks, sammy. guest: well, we try very hard not to be a mouthpiece for
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anyone. that is certainly something you still here, a lot of bitterness amongst republicans about whether or not you had fair reporting during the election. host: tell us about the mechanics today, what to expect. guest: the hearing starts at 10:00. you can see it on the committee's website and, i assume, here on c-span also. host: yes. guest: for those of us going, it is expected to be a pretty packed room. they open the doors at 9:00, and i will be rushing straight over in a couple minutes to make my way and. host: will it be initial opening statements, and then what is expected? guest: that is certainly up to committee leadership. i am not sure what they have done, but you will see an by both theement chair and the vice chair, as
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well as the two officials that are testifying. then questions. host: you can read about it later on today from katie bo williams of the hill, a staff writer for you can read her writing leading up to this hearing and what to expect from it. thank you for your time. the other big event of the day is the first of several confirmation hearings featuring neil gorsuch, the judge from colorado and we have two guests on to talk about that, give their insights on the hearing and what we hope to learn from it. elizabeth wydra from the constitutional accountability and carrie severino from the judicial crisis network will be our guests. that is coming up. first, we want to give you insight on how today will go for neil gorsuch, particularly how he prepared for this hearing. joining us on the phone is seung min kim from politico, assistant


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