tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN October 19, 2017 6:00am-7:01am EDT
i may have misunderstood. it is true the attorney general by talking to the white house counsel, who is presumed to speak for the president, can waive or not waive a request, but really, the white house counsel is considered under those circumstances to be an extension of the president. so i think -- senator whitehouse: ok, fair enough. my time is up. we will have to pursue this. chair grassley: i would like to pursue it a little bit from history. i'm not sure what i want to stay here, directly response to what you and senator whitehouse were talking about. but i have had the same problem with previous attorney generals, and i got answers similar to what you are giving senator , sessions. i would say i will read when attorney general holder was in that chair, i asked him questions about why he would not
give us information about the department's false statements that were made to this committee gun lobbying in "fast and furious," and the information had nothing to do with communications with the president and not advocate any constitutional privilege. still he would not answer. , and then chairman leahy did not direct him to do so. then, at another time, when same questionct you have been asked sometimes, senator -- general sessions, when holder testified on fast and furious he said the exact same thing that attorney general sessions is saying today. quoting holder, "we will act in a way that is consistent with what other attorney general's have made determinations as to what information can be shared with congressional oversight committees.
and these are republican as well as democratic attorneys general. and i will act in a manner that is consistent with the history and the tradition of the department." then i said, you are refusing to provide drafts of that february 4 letter? that goes way back to 2010 or 2011, and emails about the drafts even though they have been subpoenaed by the house without a valid constitutional privilege, that, of course, risks contempt of congress. why would you risk contempt of congress to prevent us from finding out who reviewed the drafts of that letter and whether they knew they contained false statements? this is what the attorney general holder said. "well, i will certainly try to work with you and providing all the relevant information that we can. we will, however act in a way
, that is consistent with what other attorneys general have made determinations as to what information can be shared with congressional oversight committees. and these are republican as well as democratic attorneys general. and i will act in a manner consistent with the history and tradition of the department." senator leahy is next for her -- a second round. five minutes. senator leahy: thank you. i think it is generally accepted the people here, the press knows this. 9d rosenstein's may memorandum tying director coming's pardon to his handling of the clinton administration served as a pretext. president trump fired director coming due to the russia investigation. president trump has said as much. now, the press recently reported letter pennedent
, by president trump to justify firing director coming because of the russia investigation. one report says you are involved in discussions in the oval office surrounding the initial letter, not the clinton won, but the russian one. one but thelinton russian one. when you signed off on the may 9 memorandum, you did, the president did, when you signed up on the may 9 memorandum time coming's determination to the clinton investigation, were you aware of the initial letter? a.g. sessions: senator leahy, i also believe it consumes a possible communication for the president of the united states, and the same privilege would apply. senator leahy: so you are not going to answer if you are aware of the russia one? a.g. sessions: i think that is the proper course for the attorney general at this time. senator leahy: you think that.
i don't. my concern is you are part of the russian façade and went along with it. and i'm sorry. i have known you for years, and i am sorry you would do that. now let me ask you another area. , president trump says he believes the cuban government is responsible for sonic attacks against our diplomats. i have heard all the reports. we can't find anything that connects the cuban government to a sonic attack. i doubt they have the capability for such a thing. cubans, after this had gone on for a while, we told him about it. bring the fbi down. bring the fbi. they said please feel free. it took us weeks to get around to doing that. do you know of any evidence to support the president's
assertion that the cuban government is responsible? now, we are not talking about privilege here, because he said this openly. do you share the president's conclusion that the cuban government is responsible? a.g. sessions: i almost called the mr. chairman again. senator grassley might get upset with me. i did serve a long time under your chairmanship, so it did hurt me to say you think i am part of a façade. i am not part of a façade. but on this question of cuba, it is a matter that may be -- let me just say this. i can't confirm or deny the existence of an investigation it has not been confirmed by an authoritative government agency i don't believe. >> are you aware that the cuban government -- do you
have any evidence that the cuban government is responsible? a.g. sessions: i'm just not able to comment. >> do you know why it took so long for the f.b.i. to accept an invitation to go down and investigate? come on in. bring all of your equipment. bring anything you want. it took us weeks to make up our mind to do it. any reason for that? a.g. sessions: i would say to you i will consider your oncerns. >> i have yet to see any evidence that the cuban government is responsible. if there is, have someone meet with me. they can tell me. would you do that? a.g. sessions: we will valuate that, yes.
>> now, the citizenship a reliable indicator of worst r terrorist threats? a.g. sessions: i don't know exactly what you mean by that. >> the basis of the president's travel ban. both former director colmeand john kelly said it is not a reliable indicator. i'll ask you this question. you're free to answer it the way you want. we talked about dhaka. you argued it was obama's failure to enforce laws. it put us at danger of crime risk or terrorism. how many daca recipients have been involved in terrorism? a.g. sessions: i think in the
previous hearing you asked one my attorneys from the department of justice about that. i believe you were incorrect in the quote to him. >> i asked if he could provide a single example of a daca recipient involved in terrorista activity. he said he was not aware of any examples. a.g. sessions: most importantly, i want to correct that my comments did not focus solely on daca recipients. it was others that entered the country unlawfully. i believe that is correct. >> i read back -- the division chief said he did not know of a single dam of daca recipients being involved in terrorist activity.
a.g. sessions: we know 2,000 have been taken off as daca recipients for serious crime,. >> dreamers are less likely to be incarcerated than native born americans of the same age. a.g. sessions: i don't believe in open borders. >> thank you, mr. chairman. 2,000 out of 780,000 daca applicants were found to have disqualifying criminal records. is that what you're saying? a.g. sessions: i'm saying after they were accepted into the daca program. actually accepted, 2,000 vob removed as a result of -- >> 2,000 out of 780,000 a.g. sessions: i think that is correct number over a short
period of time. i'm not saying there was any disproportionate amount of crime out of that group although we are seeing young gang members being infiltrated. that is after the deadline for daca so they would not be in that group. >> they are escaping the background check, fingerprinting requirements for daca? a.g. sessions: after they have done a background check, been approved for daca, i believe 2,000 have been convicted of some serious crime. >> out of 780,000. we had people turned down by guns because they have felony records. a.g. sessions: that is not the basis as you know for our daca difficulties.
it was a legal matter from our perspective. i do think senator, i know you care about it. if we could seize this opportunity, some good things might happen. >> i hope they will. i want to make sure i understand the guidance that you released from your department when it comes to lgbq rights and religious freedom. turned guidance you released to all of the federal agencies. let me ask you this question. could a social security administration employee refuse to accept or process schoolhousal or survivor benefits for surviving same sex spouse? a.g. sessions: that's something i never thought would arise. i would have to give give you a written -- >> i would like to. federal contractor refuse to
provide services to lgbq people? a.g. sessions: i would say to siting title 7 for this or the guidance? >> the guidance. a.g. sessions: i'm not sure that is covered but it. >> there are others too. this is a challenging issue. when you have said i believe you, that you do not want to discriminate and people are discriminating in the name of their own personal religious liberty. it is a real challenge for us. to reconcile those. would you like to speak to that? a.g. sessions: yes, i would say that wherever possible, a person should be allowed to freely exercise their religion and not to carry out activities that further something they think is contrary to their faith.
but at the same time, if you participate in commercial exchanges, you have limits on what you can do under those laws. accommodation-type laws. so the balance needs to be properly struck. i think we have. we tried -- those issues were discussed. we wrestled with this policy. >> we'll send you a list and ask you for your response to those questions. historically we have struggled with some aspect of that. on the criminal sentencing, when the initiate i ever was announced by the previous administration, they went through an extensive review of criminal justice to see what practices were best to reduce crime and address recidivism. i would like to ask you before rescinding on crime and enacting the new policy, did you conduct a review process?
a.g. sessions: we had our career attorneys work intensely on evaluating a lot of good crime policy. the essential project safe neighborhood system has been proven to be successful. that is what we would like to implement. i would say, under this previous policy, we for the first time in 30 years, we have seen significant increases in violent crime in america to the degree that i'm very worried about it. the murder rate particularly is up 20% in two years. >> are you concerned about the increased incident of gun violence and gun crimes? a.g. sessions: yes. we already have a substantial increase in gun prosecutions. it would be a top priority of mine as department of justice. i think the second quarter of the year, third quarter of the year, we had a 25% increase. i think third or fourth quarter of this year, we have
a 14% increase in gun prosecutions. i encourgs that. i think it does reduce violence. > thank you. > senator? >> i'm sorry. i was hoping that no republican would come back. [laughter] >> i would like to note for the record that you said that and not me. i'm just trying to be polite. >> i guess i know where i stand. i appreciate it. thank you for. the ninth circuit decision in the sanchez-gomez case that ended the safety protocols for
detaining. it is obviously very important for arizona. we have a very busy docket as it pertains to immigration. it has the support of the national sheriffs association, western states sheriffs association and the arizona sheriffs association. we have a lot of historic courthouses in arizona that don't lend themselves well to separation between detainees and the public. often having to share hall ways and door ways without the long standing restraint protocols that existed. it makes it impossible to bring a number of people through system. and it will really hobble the flaufert arizona. have you looked at this and how do you believe this decision the ninth circuit will impact the courtroom? a.g. sessions: i will be glad to look at it. i'm not familiar with it. the issue has been out there
for a long time. judges ence is that decide that fairly day after day. some people deserve to be shackled but they don't do it unless it is necessary. the ninth circuit, the case would reverse that long standing policy. >> that is correct. obviously we have protocols and court decisions with regard to jury trials and the appearance of somebody who is restrained. but this is just arraignments. went before a judge. really puts court officials, security officials, the public at risk in men circumstances or it ties up our sheriffs and other law enforcement officials from actually going out on the beat and doing what they should do. to actually having to be in the courtroom at all times. it is really a problem with regard to implementation of
something like operation streamline which we spoke about many times. it really inhibits the ability to move the number of people through the system quickly enough because where we used to be able to have 30 or 40 individuals there, arraigned at the same time, now they can only do six or seven. so it simply makes it impossible to move through the docket. appreciate the d.o.j.'s position on this. i hope the supreme court grants are there. a.g. sessions: we will review it. >> with regard to human trafficking. earlier this year, the subcommittee on investigations concluded a two-year investigation. it revealed the company knowingly facilitated online sex trafficking. in july the subcommittee referred to case to your office for criminal investigation. can you tell us to the extent that you're able, what the status of that investigation is?
a.g. sessions: i don't believe i can. i'm not able to now. a review as to whether or not i can comment on it. what the status may be. >> we'll check back with you on that. i have letters of support to stop enabling sex traffickers act. several of my colleagues would prevent companies like backpage.com from committing online sex trafficking crimes. these are letters from the national center of missing and exploited children that i would like to submit for the record. >> without objection, your letters will be submitted. a.g. sessions: human trafficking is a priority of ours. my deputy attorney general feels strong aboutette. rachael brand has made that one of her interests and made
a couple of speeches on that recently. we can do more and we will do more. >> ok. thank you. one other item. you mentioned in your opening remarks, with regard to civil forfeitture. that you put some protocols in lace in terms of those whose assets were seized. what other protocols? what are we doing to ensure we have a better system than we have in the past? i'm convinced that has been abused at every level. a.g. sessions: we will respond to any problems that are out there that we identify in the future. when the government has probable cause and is able to seize the money usually, drug trafficking money usually, the -- they have a certain period of time to respond. we cut that by at least half if not i believe a little more than half.
we have -- we have directed our assisting united states attorneys to monitor the state authorities and the d.e.a. to make sure the systems are working well. we have required that before we adopt a case from the state that they be trained in proper procedures for a federal court system and not just any police officer so they know what they are supposed to do. i think that will be a big help. i believe there is some other they think so. then i don't know if you were here, but i did announce a accepted out monday a directive to establish an accountability officer who'll be in the deputy's office monitoring all of these cases, complaints that may occur so we can respond properly. we want this -- this system is important. it is a top priority.
every law enforcement agency in america but it has to be run right. that is going to be our goal. >> cutting the time in half, for notification. is cold comfort for some who have this stretch on for months and years. i hope that we do more than cut the time in half for some of these. >> that's just one of the things that would happen. we won't take nothing but good cases. we're winning at the 90% level. st of these cases are open shut. i know your concerns. i'm not taking this lightly. we will monitor this problem. >> thank you. attorney general. i'll start with where i ended with the election issues.
turned to russian cybersecurity. as you know, there have now been established by our agency 21 state where is there was some attempt to tack into their election equipment. as senator graham and i have a bill, we tried to get an amendment to the mdaa to provide some more funding to states to beef up their infrastructure. back up ballots. the bill is carried by mark meadows, the head of the freedom caucus. there is strong bipartisan support for this. are you aware of any efforts between the department and other federal agencies to assist states in this upcoming election to protect our elections from hacking? a.g. sessions: the f.b.i. is as -- has capabilities and has experience in many of these matters and has some really superior capabilities. so i do think it is an
important matter. i look forward to working with you on it. and we do not need to this any way subject our election process to some sort electronic alteration on the vote totals. that would be a stunning disaster and cannot happen. >> thank you. new topic. when i asked you about voting rights at your hearing in january. are you acknowledging discriminatory voting laws that led to the passage of the votings rights act. rules and procedures adopted in a number of states with the specific purpose of blocking african-americans from vote and it was just wrong. they are facing some of the same problems today. the circuit court in the north carolina voter i.d. case said the north carolina laws were crafted with "surgical precision" to keep certain people from voting.
so my question is do you believe that voter i.d. laws that are found to be intentionally discriminatory rve any kind of legitimate policy objective and my second question is why the justice department changed its sition on the texas voting i.d. case. a.g. sessions: you cannot have laws that deliberately seek to diminish one group's vote total although there can be objective criteria set that could have some impact on -- impact. with regard to texas, the way that happened and it came -- when i became attorney general, texas had been sued over its voter i.d. law. it was being challenged as being discriminatory.
an election was coming up before the final abjude indication was rendered and the federal court approved so it could go forward. the texas legislation then took what the federal court had approved and adopted it as a law of texas. we felt that at that point the department of justice should not continue the lawsuit against texas. because had it actually enacted a through a the federal court had approved. >> ok. i'm we can maybe go back and forth in writing on that. i have some different views. i wanted to finish up with two issues key to me. this is on freedom of the press. we talked about it at your last hearing. you said you wanted to look at what was going on with the ongoing regulations. the department is now taking some action.
i will ask the question, will you commit to not putting reporters in jail for doing their jobs? a.g. sessions: i don't know if i can make a blanket commitment to that effect but we have not taken any directive action against the media at this point. but we have matters that involve the morse serious national security issues that put our country at risk. we will utilize the authorities that we have legally and constitutionly if we have to. always try to find an alternative way. you probably know, senator, to directly confronting a media person but that is not a total blanket protection. >> understand. we're just really concerned because to have president's recent communications about f.c.c. licensing with some of the media content and we're
working with the f.c.c. on that and didn't get a positive answer from the chairman on that. i will put on the record some of the questions i have in the ntitrust -- a provision with the september court filing. it was before the new anti-trust head was in. i just ask that you review that. over all i support that decision but there was a surprising entry in that order that i would like you to look at and then the second is just committing to follow the merger guidelines that have been in place and then criminal justice already covered by my colleagues, something i care a lot about. again, i'll just put a few more questions on the record. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. attorney general. i would like to just touch on our last conversation and then move on.
i would like my five seconds back. then go to the d.o.j.'s record on lgbt people. their rights. i just want to get this clear. at thened of your answer, at the end there, you said i felt the need to respond and i responded on the spot. this is an interim transcript. i may have it wrong. this is how i recollect it as well. it has been six hours in the hearing. it is at the end of the day and i'm not aware of those activities. communications with the russians. i don't believe they occurred. is that that you don't believe that surrogates from the trump campaign had communications
with the russians? a.g. sessions: i'm not aware of anyone anyone else that did. i don't believe that it happened. >> that's what i wanted to ask you. do you believe that michael flynn was a surrogate for the campaign? >> he could probably be designed as that. >> do you believe that paul n fort was a surrogate for a.g. sessions: for a short time. >> do you believe that jared kushner was a surrogate for the campaign? a.g. sessions: i really don't know whether his role -- there are no clear definition. i assume a surrogate is normally someone who is speaking on behalf -- >> do you believe that donald trump jr. was a surrogate? a.g. sessions: he was his son and he spoke. >> ok. just wanted to know then. i would like to talk about the department's record.
on protecting the rights of lgbt people. a man charged with murdering a transgender teenager in iowa. i will be the first to say that d.o.j. should be lauded for doing so. far too often crimes targeting lgbq people, particularly transgender women of color go nderreported and uninvestigate prosecuting this hate crime, d.o.j. has wasted time undermining attempts to safeguard them by revoking policies declining to % them and declining to defend their rights in court. they revoked guidelines to make schools safe and
welcoming places for d.o.j. students. they argued federal civil rights laws don't protect lesbian, gay or bisexual workers. they asserted transgender people don't deserve federal protection from discrimination at work. they are defending the president's ban on transgender troops in court. drecking the government to accommodate people with anti-lgbq views and it could allow them to sidestep laws banning it in schools and work all in the name of religious liberty. general sessions, there is an argument to be made no single trump fertile has done more to hurt lgbq people than you. your actions stand in stark contrast to the promises you last made when you last appeared before this
committee. you said you understand the demand for justice made by the community and promise to ensure that the statutes protecting their civil rights and safety are fully enforced but steady under your leadership, d. jombings has demonstrated an -- d.o.j. has demonstrated an unrelenting hostility to lgbq people. they are not worthy of protection from discongratulations or from being harassed at work or school. businesses shouldn't have to serve them if they don't want to. that emboldens people who want to do them harm. with aggressively pursuing an agenda that gives cover to discrimination and hits a? a.g. sessions: senator franken, i would ject the
phrase unrelenting hostility. we do not -- this department of justice has no hostility to transgender or sexual orientation issues. in fact, we follow the law as i promised to do. with regard to several of the job employment issues you raised, that is directly controlled by title seven of the civil rights act and title seven of the civil rights act has never been held or at least by the department of justice under the entire eight years of the obama administration to include these protections. and the 11 courts of appeals, my understanding 10 of the 11 courts of appeals all agree that it is not protected by
titleployment law under seven. only one circuit has recently reversed that position. so the position we're taking is the president obama, eric holder, lynch position. in the title seven issue. on title nine, the education, the schools question, it likewise is not covered in our opinion in the same way that seven is not covered, does not cover this employment issue. the department of justice or the department the department of justice or the department of education, sent a directed to states telling them they had to accommodate transgendered individuals in their choice of bathrooms. we felt the law did not answer that. we felt the states and
localities could make -- senator franken: that is at odds with the obama administration. we reverse to that, we believe it is in alignment with law. >> thank you for having a second round. i am deeply troubled by the president's attacks on the press, seemingly repeated and relentless, the suggestion that reporters should be prosecuted for stories that are adverse to him, not a violation of localities any any national security interest, but simply unfavorable. then his suggestion that broadcast licenses should be challenged simply because he disagrees with the network's coverage of him, reminiscent of richard nixon's encouragement of a challenge to the washington post broadcast license for
coverage he claimed was inaccurate. i have asked every member of the fcc to reject and repudiate these threats, which have a chilling effect on coverage. i would like to ask you now to do the same. isn't it -- wouldn't it be illegal to deny a broadcast license or revoke a broadcast license simply because the president's dislike of its content? a. g. sessions: if you let me respond to senator franken just one moment, i felt to mention there is a violence against women law and the ron white act. that both explicitly mentions sexual identity and orientation. we enforce those as you would want them enforced.
the other laws don't. senator blumenthal, i would suggest -- >> he went above his time. >> you get another 30 seconds. i hope no republicans come back. we've got 15 more minutes for democrats. i still have my second round. we have votes at 3:00. i want to get out of here by 3:00. blumenthal.ator a.g. sessions: this is a good counsel i am talking to today. the president is open, direct and expresses himself when he wants to express himself. it is a free country. there are limits. senator blumenthal: it is a free country. i apologize for interrupting you -- but this issue is so profoundly serious. for the fcc to deny license or
revoke a license based on content of tv coverage would be absolutely illegal, don't you agree? a.g. sessions: the fcc would need to decide how to handle those matters with propriety and integrity and consistent with law. the president can make his own expressions. senator blumenthal: mr. attorney general, i am going to follow-up on this line of questioning in another forum. do you have under consideration any analysis of a potential pardon for any of the following individuals -- jared kushner, donald trump jr., or paul manafort? a.g. sessions: i am confident -- i don't think it is appropriate
for me to comment on the pardon process. a.g. sessionssenator blumenthal? a.g. sessions: it is an investigation that probably should not be discussed in this forum. i will review it if i am wrong. senator blumenthal: would you agree the president, even though he has broad pardon power, does have the power -- does not have the power to pardon himself? to pardon himself. a.g. sessions: i have not researched that. senator blumenthal: on the emoluments clause, i have joined 199 colleagues in a lawsuit against the president. blumenthal versus trump. he is taking foreign payments and benefits without coming to congress for consent. the department of justice is defending him in court. these personal benefits and payments to the trump organization and him are a
violation of the emoluments clause. the department of justice is challenging that lawsuit on the basis of our standing, even though the law clearly requires he come to us for a consent. wouldn't you agree that we have a legitimate case here of agreement and injury -- aggr ievement and injury when in effect the president is stopping us from doing our job? a.g. sessions: senator blumenthal, we believe lawyers in the department, this is a proper defense of the president, that having a business abroad, if interpreted broadly would mean -- they would have to sell everything they've got abroad. if somebody buys something from them, they receive something from a foreign party -- you have a right to challenge it, take it to court. we think this law has never been enforced in that way.
senator blumenthal: i'm glad you agree we have a right to go to court and that we have standing to do so. thank you mr. chairman. a.g. sessions: i did not intend to concede standing. >> did i cut you off? senator cornyn for seven minutes, first round. senator cornyn: it is good to have you here before the committee again. it has been a long day. i regret many of us have conflicting appointments, including at the white house, to talk about tax reform and other issues. i want to say i am proud of the job you have done as attorney general. those of us who know you personally and have worked with you, alongside of you, none of us are surprised you are the same person of character and committed to the rule of law. i just want you to know how much
we appreciate it. serving in public life sometimes is not fun. certainly you have caught your own slings and arrows in the process, but i just want to encourage you to not be discouraged. you've got a tough job to do the department of the department of justice after eight years of mismanagement where i think the american people lost confidence in the department's ability to do things in a nonpolitical fashion. i know you are the man to help restore the reputation of the department. i know how much you care about it and how many years you have given to that. keep up the good work. a.g. sessions: thank you. senator cornyn: i want to ask you about a couple things. this may sound a little bit obscure. i know you are familiar with the committee on foreign investment in the united states.
as you and i have discussed on the telephone, china steals our intellectual property on a regular basis through cyber theft and cyber espionage. also foundve creative ways to invest in u.s. companies, in ways that circumvent traditional review of the also found investment, in wt give them access to the crown jewels of a company. property, foral example, in a way that blunts the u.s. technological advantage when it comes to national security, and in a way that undermines our industrial base at home. if it takes us 10 years to do the research and development, but china can steal it through cyber or invest as a minority shareholder or in a joint venture and get access to that without having to go through the
same expense and delay, that is a threat to national security. i might just ask if you would comment on whether you support the effort to modernize and reform the process to deal withs a threat to national security. this threat to national security. a.g. sessions: i absolutely do. we have looked at that hard. i have talked with attorneys and agents who investigated these cases. they are really worried about our loss of technology. we certainly need additional legislation.to national just as you said, you can buy an interest in a company and gain access to the same technology.l. just as you said, you can buy an interest in a company and gain access to the same technology. the program is not able to be effective enough. your legislation is first rate. we think it has great potential to push back against the abuses
and dangers we face. i'm excited about it. anything i can do to say publicly, thank you for that work, and to call on congress to move on it rapidly, you would be winning the confidence and support of people who investigate these matters every day and know what is going on. they support what you are doing and hope congress can follow through. senator cornyn: i want to briefly mention the internet crimes against children task force program we are trying to reauthorize, a national network of 61 coordinated task forces of local and state law enforcement focused like a laser on trying to fight the scourge of child pornography and fight the predators who take advantage of the dark side of the internet to harm children.
senator blumenthal, who i just -- i guess has just left, he and i joined a bipartisan bill called the protect our children act. i appreciate the support and the consultation we have had with the justice department in getting this as far as we have. sends not signal it congress and the image -- sends congress and the administration is ready to fight this terrible scourge. in the two minutes i have left, i want to revisit section 702. of the foreign intelligence surveillance act. the administration is ready to fight this terrible scourge. in the two minutes i have left,n this because we have been told by people like you and the fbi director and others in the intelligence community that this represents the crown jewels of our ability to detect terrorist activity and prevent terrorist attacks, and keep america safe.
there are some who worry about this capability of the federal government, but as you pointed out this morning, it is focused exclusively on foreign targets. just like a wiretap that a police officer or law enforcement officer may have access to, there may be more than the person whose phone is tapped in a domestic criminal investigation that comes on the line. the fact somebody else that is not the target of the investigation comes on the telephone and you happen to hear their conversation doesn't mean that represents a illegal or unconstitutional search under the fourth amendment. as you know, there are multiple levels of supervision. both at the intelligence community, like the national security agency -- elaborate protocols to protect the privacy of u.s. persons who may be
incidentally collected as part of this process. there are audits. there is congressional oversight. both the house and the senate have intelligence committees that take this very seriously. senator feinstein and i both represent the judiciary committee on the intelligence committee for that purpose because we take that and all of the committees, the work done in this area very seriously. i think most people don't realize there's also federal court supervision, the foreign intelligence surveillance court because we take that and all of that monitors the activities of the intelligence community to make sure privacy rights of americans are protected and the constitution is enforced. the chairman is giving me a little latitude here, since this is my first round, but would you mind summarizing your support for section 702?
if you disagree with any of the characterization have made, please feel free to say so. a.g. sessions: thank you for your support. actually, i appreciate how you have been able to find time to master the details of this. it is a complex subject. i thank you for doing it. look-- >> you answered the same question fro me. can you give a short answer to him? a.g. sessions: there is no doubt you have a right to survey all communications of a person who is a noncitizen abroad. the reason you do that is to find out who they are talking to. if they are talking to a terrorist. you really want to know if they are talking to a terrorist in the united states. we don't have the money or the time and the effort just to srveiurveil the world.
obvious purpose of it is defined not who they are talking to and what they might be plotting is not necessary to have a warrant. the courts have never required that. to do so would be unimaginable problem for our officers. maybe there are things we can do to create confidence, but i hope as you wrestle through with that we don't add things that aren't valuable, but make it problematic for agents to be effective in using this constitutionally approved procedure. senator cornyn: would it be dangerous to erect obstacles to section 702? would it be dangerous to the american people? a.g. sessions: there is no doubt about it. as the head of the national security agency, head of the fbi have all testified. >> i'm going to take my five minutes now. during your june 13 hearing before the select committee on
intelligence, you testified you had discussed the issue of james comey's firing with deputy attorney general rosenstein before either of you were confirmed for your current position. mr. comey was fired may 9. why did you talk to deputy attorney general rosenstein about the firing of mr. comey, and what did you discuss with him? when did you come to the conclusion that james comey needed to be terminated? a.g. sessions: in my view, after discussing with director comey, excuse me, my possible new deputy attorney general rosenstein, we discussed it. he was the united states attorney 12 years, i was the united states attorney 12 years. we love the department. we know about it. it was my best judgment, as i expressed it, that a fresh start
at the fbi was appropriate. >> why did you think mr. comey needed to be removed? a.g. sessions: i don't think he was essential at that time, but that was my best judgment. and i think his. i believe a few weeks before he was actually terminated, he was testifying before congress, and that that time, asserted he believed he was correct to take over the clinton investigation and to announce its conclusion, that it was being closed, and testified he would do it again. that was a fairly stunning event for both of us. for both of us. it did highlight the problem more significantly than it had
are prescribing. i hear people tell me they are being prescribed more pills than they needed and the more they give someone the more likely there are to be addicted. this is just the beginning. the president cares about it deeply, and we will give it a huge emphasis in the years to come because it deserves it. >> your -- no recommendations have been made to date, and i assumed they would be made public and when will you make them public? a.g. sessions: i don't believe we have made a public. we will review the situation. we have been discussing it. i think we are close to a point -- there is more of the testimony
honor website, deese c-span.org where you can find up to date andramming information, over 200,000 hours of political programs in the c-span video library. >> when i first went in, it's a long story, but i was barely able to get back to the surface but then a bunch of them jumped in and there is a picture which i am sure you will show of them pulling me out of the lake . broken,see my arm is once they pulled me out they were not very happy to see me because i just finished bombing the place . back up pretty rough. shoulder, i hurt my knee again, but i don't blame
them. we are in a war. it, but at the same time, when you are in a war and your captured by the enemy, you cannot expect to have tea. john mccain talks about the impact of the war on his life in the country, sunday at six and 10 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. washingtonns: journal is next with your phone calls. a senate hearing on the relationship between lifestyle choices and health. president obama as he campaigns -- the democratic governor for governor. -- of the bipartisan
policy center on the fiscal health of social security and back -- medicare. we talk about security --nerabilities in floating voting machines. host: the senate returns for its third and final day of working on the budget, which republicans say is the launching pad in their efforts toward tax reform. a long night expected as dablet continues over amendments added by democrats, centering on tax breaks for the wealthy, also preventing tax hikes for the middle class. stay close to c-span2 and c-span.org, follow that process. speaking of republican efforts on tax reform, president trump spoke about what he hopes to see from it, particularly when it comes to tax cuts, which the white house insists will occur for the middle class. in our first hour, we're interested in hearing from you, if