tv Representative Adam Schiff Calls Donald Trump Jr. Emails Deeply Disturbing CSPAN July 12, 2017 1:59am-2:16am EDT
c-span3 and you can follow it live on c-span.org and with the c-span radio app. coming up wednesday, a hearing on visa overstays. the need for accountability and national security. we will be live the senate judiciary subcommittee starting at 2:30 p.m. eastern on c-span3. the house intelligence committee ranking member adam schiff called a meeting between donald trump junior and other officials with the russian lawyer, a disturbing development that should be looked into carefully. his comments came during a news conference with those on the house investigation into russia and the 2016 elections. this is about 15 minutes.
mr. schiff: good afternoon, i wanted to make comments about the emails at a been released today. in the summer of last year, the russians were in possession of information they believed would be damaging to secretary clinton and helpful to the trump campaign. some of this information they stole from the computers at the dnc and elsewhere. in june, we now know that through intermediaries to the russian government thought the trump campaign to see if they were interested in damaging information about hillary clinton. in late july, then-candidate trump urged the russians to hack hillary clinton's emails and said they would be richly rewarded. during the course of our investigation, one of the questions we are sort to answer is, was there private activity by the campaign in parallel with the very public request that now
president trump, then-candidate trump made for the russians to hack and release hillary clinton information? we now know the response that the president's son gave to the russians is that he would love it if they gave damaging information about hillary clinton, rather than report this overture to provide damaging information to intervene in the presidential election to help his father, neither the president's nor the campaign reported this information to the fbi. when it became obvious the emails were being dumped, when it was obvious this was being done by the russian government, when our own intelligence committee issued a statement in october of firming -- in october affirming this was being done by
the russians, did the trump campaign than disclose they had received an overture to receive damaging information. the answer is, no they did not. this is significant, deeply disturbing new public information about direct contacts between the russian government and its intermediaries in the very center of the trump family, campaign, organization. obviously, we need to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. and what was said in that meeting. any information that went into organizing that meeting, as well as, if that meeting was just the beginning, or if that was a testing of the waters by the russians to see whether the campaign would be receptive to their engagement and involvement in the presidential election. this is a very key development in terms of what the public is aware of. our work continues. we are interviewing new
witnesses each week. sometimes, more than one each week. we will be doing that until we get to the bottom of not only these additional facts, but all the others we are exploring. with of that come i would be happy to respond to your questions. >> you mentioned they seemed to directed by the russian government. have you seen evidence this russian lawyer was elected by -- was directed by the kremlin to meet with of the trump campaign? secondly, have you seen any evidence that other meetings that may have occurred between trump and the russians beyond? mr. schiff: i cannot go beyond the four corners of the public domain. the emails themselves, which have now been verified by the trump campaign itself, by the president's son himself make very clear that government officials within the russian government had information they thought was damaging to secretary clinton that they wanted to share with the campaign.
they made arrangements to provide a channel to do that. this russian advocate was that channel. one thing we need to investigate is, did this just begin a conversation? did she report that information, the receptively to getting that information back to moscow? did he reported back to the family that had approached him? they would not only love to get it, but late in the summer. it was late in the summer the stolen emails began to be published. these are the kinds of questions that need to be answered. here i think you have a quite direct evidence the russian government had damaging information, communicated that to the campaign, and all the campaign denials of whether we know it was going on or the russians had involvement,
obviously now have to be viewed in a completely different context. >> has the committee been in touch with trump junior or his lawyer yet, and you plan to request documents from him? mr. schiff: we certainly want him to come before the committee. i do not want to discuss what we are saying with witnesses. we certainly want him to come in and everyone connected to this meeting to come in. we will want any documents they may have. plainly, as we saw, the constantly evolving stories from the president's son, we cannot rely on any public representations that are made by the family. we have seen a demonstrable pattern of obfuscation and dissembling about these meetings, originating with the denials, we never have these meetings. then forced acknowledgment, and shifting explanation about what
the meetings were about. the claim was, these were about adoptions. then it was, we brought the campaign managers. it was significant to me they invited the manager of the campaign. if this is not a campaign meeting as they originally said, what was paul manafort doing there? we are going to want to hear from everyone connected to this. we are also going to want to see whether the president's assistant received information from the russians, as well. that was another channel alluded to in those emails. >> do you think this russian lawyer was a dangle put out by the russians to see if the trump campaign would engage? mr. schiff: it certainly appears that way. it is very much consistent with
the russian practices, their operating procedures, where they will use civilians. they will use oligarchs and others, they look for relationships. here, the emails made quite clear that the russian government had possession of damaging information. they thought the way to get that to the trump campaign to test whether donald trump wanted this information was to go through people he had done business with. this is a modality russians use elsewhere. who had they done business with? they had done business with a gentleman known as the russian donald trump, who had worked on the miss universe pageant, who had business discussions with the president over having a trump tower and russia. so they go to this oligarch, this son of the now president.
they find out there is a deep interest in this. then, they dispatch this advocate for the kremlin. why would they choose her? they might choose her because it she gives them some deniability, as opposed to someone in more direct connection to the government. this is something we need to determine. it would be consistent with russian trade craft to do exactly this. >> one of your colleagues was beginning to use the word [indiscernible] do you see violations of criminal law here? mr. schiff: it is not just a breach of the norms, but civic
responsibility to the country if you get approached by a foreign government offering to interfere in a presidential election, you go to the fbi, that is what a decent citizen would do. i do not want to see us continue to lower the bar and say it is only a question of whether this is legal. it was unethical, in violation of the oath of citizenship, to willingly solicit, receive, encourage foreign intervention in our election. this is a very serious business, whether president trump violated it or not. there are a number of laws implicated here. we see again a shifting defense from the trump administration. first, that there is no collusion, then ok, there is collusion, it is not against the law. the reality is, conspiracy is against the law. collusion is one way of conspiracy. if they were trying to violate election laws, get contribution of opposition research against their opponent, if there was any kind of quid pro quo.
this russian advocate may have taken back that the trump administration would be amenable to repealing a sanction legislation that goes after russians violating people's human rights. was that a quid pro quo or simply further encouragement of russians to intervene? certainly never getting all the right signals. they were getting signals from the president quite openly and overly. ever getting signals from the president's son in a covert fashion. it was highly sensitive, what is the best way to get you this information? it does have an go of those allegations of the mr. kushner wanting to set up a secret back
channel. again, what do i think is notable here is the pattern. these are not a series of events, denials, obfuscations, regarding china or canada or britain or france. they all come back to russia. of course, the profound question is, why? time for one last question. >> could you please give us an update on the sanctions bill, and give us an idea as to whether these events today will affect the path of that bill at all? mr. schiff: we stand ready on a bipartisan basis to pass the senate bill overwhelmingly. certainly, these events have added urgency to doing exactly that. i think it is very important to understand in the context of that sanctions legislation, what is so disturbing and concerning about these new public revelations and why congress has
to get to the bottom of them. the most serious risks to the country is that the russians possess compromising information that can influence this president's conduct of american policy. the russians know about this meeting. they were behind organizing the meeting. if there are other meetings the russians know about, any other interactions with the trump campaign the russians are aware of, that is something they can hold over the head of the president of the united states. the american people need to know we are acting on their behalf and not because he has a fear the russians could disclose things that would harm him or his family. there is an obligation for the congress to get to the bottom of this. make sure the president's policy -- whether it is syria, ukraine, or nato or anything else, is only influenced by what is in the best interest of the country, and not because the russians are in possession of
any material they fear would become public. thank you. journaln's washington live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up wednesday morning, todd harrison of the center for strategic and international studies will look at the debate in congress over creation of a fifth -- a space core. book your liner provoking -- bill -- republican kreher escrow -- bill pascrell was discussed democratic strategy in 2018. be sure to watch washington journal live at 7:00 eastern wednesday morning. join the discussion. >> on wednesday, a confirmation hearing for christopher wray,
trump's nominee to be the next fbi director. he will replace james comey who was fired earlier. he is expected to be asked about russian interference in the 2016 election and his previous experience at the justice department. live coverage starting at 9:30 am eastern on c-span3. you can follow it live on c-span.org and with the c-span radio app. >> c-span where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> next, a discussion about the russian led military exercise around the baltic sea slated to begin a round september. we heard from leaders from
estonia, norway and the u.s. on the mechanics and implications of the exercises. look for the nato alliance and russia's military ambitions. this is an hour and 40 minutes. >> good morning. welcome to the atlantic council. i know it is already getting muggy out there so we are happy to share our ac with you in here. of initiativesor here at the atlantic council.