tv FBI Director Wray Testifies Before House Judiciary Panel Part One CSPAN December 11, 2017 2:16am-5:59am EST
state attorneys general from suing internet providers. there are consumer protection law that the state level. >> watch the communicators monday not at 8:00 eastern on c-span two. -- monday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span two. >> fbi director christopher wray testifies. he talks about the investigation led by special counsel robert mueller into russian influence and comments made by president trump on twitter about the reputation of the fbi. this is three hours and 40 minutes.
>> the judiciary committee look on the order. the chair is authorized to declare recesses of the committee at any time. we welcome everyone to today's hearing. i will begin by recognizing myself for an opening statement. thank you, director wray, for appearing for your first time in front of this committee, and thank you for your service to our country and your new position. there is much to discuss today, and we look forward to your answers. the president recently tweeted that the fbi is in tatters. while some will take umbrage with president trump's assertion, it does appear to me that, at the very least, the fbi's reputation as an impartial, non-political agency has been called into question recently. we cannot afford for the fbi, which has traditionally been dubbed the premier law enforcement agency in the world,
to become tainted by politicization or the perception of a lack of even-handedness. questions regarding the fbi's impartiality first came to light under the obama administration surrounding the handling of the investigation into the clinton e-mail server scandal. you, director wray, have a unique opportunity to repair the damage of the reputation of the fbi, and we encourage you, in the strongest terms, to do so. director comey's decision to weigh in on the fate of the investigation into the mishandling of classified e-mails by former secretary of state hillary clinton was one that brought criticism to the bureau from all sides. the fbi's decision to recommend no charges against former -- the former secretary or anyone connected to her continues to raise serious concerns that our nation's system of justice applies differently to the rich,
powerful and well-connected than to everyone else. many on this committee have repeatedly called on attorney general sessions and deputy attorney general rosenstein to name a second special counsel to review the voluminous unresolved inconsistencies and perceived improprieties in regard to normal doj investigatory practice that arose during the clinton e-mail investigation. despite our request, the department has not appointed a second special counsel. while we still request the appointment of a second special counsel, we have now also opened our own joint investigation with the house oversight and government reform committee to review fbi and doj's handling of that investigation. the attorney general has recently committed to provide us relevant documents. i hope to hear directly from you that you will ensure your agency provides a fullsome response of the documents to enable unimpeded congressional
oversight. even more recently, reports on the bias of some of the career agents and lawyers on current special counsel mueller's team are also deeply troubling to a system of blind and equal justice. investigations must not be tainted by individuals imposing their own personal political opinions. we do not know the magnitude of this insider bias on mr. mueller's team, nor do we have a clear understanding of the full magnitude of bias reflected in the russia investigation and prior clinton e-mail investigation. one thing is clear, though -- it is absolutely unacceptable for fbi employees to permit their own political predilections to contaminate any investigation. even the appearance of impropriety will devastate the fbi's reputation. we hope to hear from you today about an action plan for making
sure this never happens again. that individuals are held accountable. and whether you plan to re-evaluate prior decisions in light of the prejudice shown by officials in integral roles on past and ongoing investigations. concerning substantive legislative measures, we find ourselves only weeks before a critical program for our national security expires. fisa section 702. this committee passed on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis a reauthorization of section 702 that maintains the integrity of the program while protecting cherished civil liberties. we ensure that the fbi is not hindered by having to obtain a warrant before performing a search for information that the agency has inside its databases. however, we also put in place protections to ensure that law enforcement cannot short-cut american civil liberties by reading americans' e-mails
without a warrant when looking for evidence of run-of-the-mill crimes. this committee's legislation struck a balance that will promote national security and civil liberties. so i hope to hear from you that you will work with us to make any perfecting changes to the legislation so that section 702 can be reauthorized on time. needless violence on the home front is also a concern for all americans who value and expect safety and security as they go about their day-to-day lives. we have seen horrific violence in the past year, including the worst mass shooting in u.s. history. violence has hit this very body. when our colleague and others were shot. we see many of our major cities stricken by daily murders and excessive violence. is this the new normal? i am unwilling to accept that. while we have disagreements over policy for addressing this violence, we can all agree that it is essentially -- it is
existentially important for us to understand and address the underlying causes. if we neglect this duty, we do it disservice for generations to come. director wray, in addition to punishing individuals who have already committed criminal acts, i hope the fbi is also committed to crime prevention initiatives. i am interested to know what steps federal law enforcement is taking to address the underlying causes of violence and whether congress can offer any additional resources to ensure that we can faithfully say that we have done what we can to battle gratuitous violence in all of its forms. i believe that this committee's criminal justice reform legislation will help address these problems, including helping to rehabilitate offenders so they can become productive members of society once released. notwithstanding the question of the impartiality and independence of the fbi, i am often astounded by the efforts that the men and women of the fbi contribute on a daily basis
toward keeping our country safe from foreign and domestic threats. there are many successes that never see the light of day for which the fbi cannot receive public credit due to the sensitivity of the fbi's methods and operations. we are truly grateful and hope that the line agents, analysts and support staff of the fbi know that their jobs are sincerely appreciated and greatly valued. again, director wray, thank you for appearing today, and i will now yield to the ranking member of the committee, the gentleman from new york, mr. nadler, for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome to the house judiciary committee, director wray. earlier this week in a message to your agents and employees, you gave us your vision of what the fbi is supposed to be. quote, we found ourselves under the microscope each and every day rightfully so.
we do hard work for a living. we are entrusted with protecting the american people and upholding the constitution and laws of the united states. because of the importance of our mission we are also entrusted with great power, and we should expect and welcome people asking tough questions about how we use that power. that goes with the job and always has. unquote, from your statement. i appreciate that sentiment. but it cannot be a coincidence that you sent this message to your agents just hours after president trump launched an online tantrum aimed largely at the bureau as an institution and at individual agents. early saturday morning the president tweeted, quote, so general flynn lies to the fbi and his life destroyed while crooked hillary lies many times and nothing happens to her? rigged system or just a double standard? question mark. unquote. he went on, after years of comey, with the phony and dishonest clinton investigation, running the fbi, its reputation is in tatters. worst in history.
these outbursts exemplify two key characteristics of this administration. a cheapening of our dialogue and base also and entirely political attacks against hillary clinton, political opponents, the department of justice and the i fear that this demeaning language has infected much of our work here on this committee. i suspect, mr. director, that many of my republican colleagues will take a similar approach in attempting to shift the conversation away from questions they have largely ignored, like obstruction of justice, election security, and the rise in hate crimes. indeed, i predict that these attacks on the fbi will grow louder and more brazen as the special counsel does his work and the walls close around the president and evidence of his obstruction and other misdeeds becomes more apparent. in this moment, director wray, your responsibility is not only to defend the bureau but to push back against the president when
he is clearly wrong, both on the facts and as a matter of principle. when he says, quote, the fbi person really reports directly to the president of the united states, unquote, it is your job to tell him that the director of the fbi has reported to the attorney general since the founding of the bureau and that presidents should not comment on pending cases. when he claims that you should focus on, quote, crooked hoirl, unquote instead of his closest associates or when my colleagues argue for a new special counsel to do the same it is your responsibility to remind that absence sufficient evidence of a crime there is no investigation to which a special counsel can be assigned. and when he tells you that you need to, quote, clean house, that your agents are, quote, phony and dishonest and that your, quote, reputation or the reputation of the bureau is in tatters, and, quote, the worst in history. you should do more than to send a private e-mail to your employees. your job then is to stand up to the president of the united states. as former acting attorney general sally yates has said, the only thing in tatters is the president's respect for the rule of law.
the dedicated men and women of the fbi deserve better. where former attorney general eric holder said, you will find integrity and honesty at fbi headquarters and not at 1600 pennsylvania avenue right now. thomas o'connor, president of the fbi's agents association said, the fbi continues to be the premier law enforcement agency in the world. fbi agents are dedicated to their mission, suggesting otherwise is simply false, unquote. i am curious if you think their defense of the bureau is wrong or misplaced and i hope you will address the matter in your testimony today. your job requires you to have the courage in these circumstances to stand up to the president. that responsibility is far more than a matter of politics. there are real consequences for allowing the president to continue his attacks on the fbi and to continue unchecked in this manner. for example, fbi statistics released last month show a marked increase in the rise of hate crimes in the united
states. your data indicates 6,121 hate crimes against 7615 victims last year alone. last week about 70 of our colleagues wrote to me and to chairman goodlatte asking us to convene immediate hearings to determine what can be done to stem the tide of this vieolence. i ask that the letter i have be made a part of the record. >> without objection it will be made a part of the record. >> thank you. i am certain that more than one factor is to blame for this rise in violence. i cannot help but look to a president who has tacitly and sometimes explicitly created an environment that is more hostile to the most vulnerable among us. as a candidate, he denigrated women, characterized immigrants as racists and openly mocked the disabled. as president he cracked a pocahontas joke at a ceremony,
honoring the contributions of native americans defending this country, circulated unverified anti-muslim videos produced by far-right fascist extremists in great britain and asked us to remember the, quote, very fine people, unquote among the racists and white nationalists at charlottesville. he even questioned the president obama's birthplace. we are looking for leaders who can supply some moral authority to lead this country. i hope you will be among them, director wray. i look forward to your testimony today. i thank the chairman. i yield back. >> chair thanks the gentleman. we welcome our distinguished witness. if you will please rise, i'll begin by swearing you in. >> do you swear that the testimony you are about to give shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god. thank you very much. let the record show the witness answered in the affirmative.
mr. christopher wray was sworn in as the eighth director of the fbi on august 2, 2017. a new york city native, mr. wray graduated from yale university and subsequently earned his law degree from yale law school. he began his department of justice career in 1997 as an assistant u.s. attorney for the northern district of georgia. where he prosecuted cases ranging from public corruption to gun trafficking and financial fraud. in 2001 he joined the office of the deputy attorney general where he served as associate deputy attorney general and then principal associate deputy attorney general. in 2003, mr. wray was nominated by president george w. bush to serve as assistant attorney general for the criminal division. at the conclusion of his tenure he was awarded the edmund j. , randolph award, the department of justice's highest award for leadership and public service. mr. wray went on to practice law before returning to the public sector as director of the fbi.
mr. wray, your written statement will be entered into the record in its entirety and we ask that you summarize your testimony in five minutes. welcome. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, ranking member nadler, members of the committee, thank you for having me here today. this is my first opportunity to appear before this committee. and i look forward to our discussion. let me start by saying that it is, for me, the honor of a lifetime to be here representing the men and women of the fbi. there is no finer institution than the fbi and no finer people than the men and women who work there and are its very beating heart. almost 37,000 men and women with a fierce commitment to protecting the american people and upholding the rule of law, in all 50 states and in about 80 countries around the world. men and women who face the darkest that life has to offer,
with unyielding integrity and honesty and dedication. and i am both humbled and inspired to be back in public service working alongside them. i would like to take a step back to consider the serious challenges that we are facing and to remember the millions of people that we're protecting. on the national security front, we confront individuals who want to harm the united states in whatever way they can. terrorists, hell bent on striking us with i.e.d.s, vehicles, guns and knives. for example, as we speak, the bureau has about 1,000 active isis investigations in all 50 states. we have nation-states actively seeking our technology, our military secrets, our research and development, to build their own economic prowess and to tear ours down.
cyber criminals who are using sophisticated means to infiltrate our systems and steal every piece of data that they can get their hands on. these threats are real. they are many, and they are a grave threat to all americans. but for the people we serve, these are not the threats that they encounter the most in their everyday lives. threats like violent crime and the national opioid epidemic impact everyday people trying to lead everyday lives. they don't want to have to worry about a terrorist driving a truck down a busy walkway. they don't want to worry about an active shooter opening fire on a crowded public gathering. and they certainly don't want to worry about whether their kids are safe from gangs and drug dealers and predators. we all need to be aware of the world around us and of the threats we face, but we in the fbi are trying to do everything
we can to make sure that the american people can go about living their lives while we focus on trying to keep them safe. i would like to highlight just a couple recent investigations that illustrate just a small, small part of our work. together with our law enforcement partners and our colleagues in the justice department. in october, through operation cross-country which the fbi conducted in 44 states and the district of columbia we arrested 120 sex traffickers and recovered 84 sexually exploited juveniles, including a 3-month-old girl and her 5-year-old sister recovered from a family friend who was trying to sell them for sex for $600. through our top ten most wanted fugitives program we've apprehended just in the last couple of years, ten of the most particularly dangerous offenders.
in august, late august, we were able to work with our mexicans counterparts to capture luis macedo who was charged with beating and setting on fire a 15-year-old boy in illinois who refused to show a gang sign. earlier this year the pressure being added to our top ten list led fugitive robert van weise to turn himself in to agents in texas for the 1983 murder of a woman with a 1-year-old daughter. for 33 years that little girl, all grown up, had hoped and prayed for his arrest. and he was finally captured on her birthday. cold comfort, i suspect, but we hope that his capture provides some measure of peace and justice to her. the work that we do is not easy, to put it mildly. but the fbi is mission focused and passionate about the work we do. we are determined to be the very
best at protecting the american people and upholding the rule of law, and i for one could not be more proud to be part of it. i want to thank you, this committee, for your support. we could not do what we do without the funding that you all help us secure, without the investigative tools and authorities that you granted us, including, as you noted, mr. chairman, section 702 of the foreign intelligence surveillance act, which is at risk and set to expire very soon. we need every tool and every authority we've got to keep people safe and to pursue justice. and as always, we're committed to using those authorities lawfully and appropriately for the good and protection of the american people. so thank you for having me here today. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, director wray. i will begin by recognizing myself for questions. mr. director, i am sure you are
aware of the recent media reports indicating that peter strzok, a special agent at the fbi, changed the words grossly negligent to extremely careless in former director comey's statement closing the clinton investigation. are you aware of that? >> i have heard some of the same information you have. >> great. do you know, by chance, what the criminal intent standard is under the espionage act? in particular 18 usc 793 f? >> i haven't studied the statute recently, but i believe it's gross negligence. >> that's right. it is gross negligence. would it be accurate to say that a senior fbi official changed the wording of the director's statement to ensure that secretary clinton was not liable under the espionage act? >> mr. chairman, as you may
know, the handling of the investigation into secretary clinton is currently the subject of an outside, independent investigation by the inspector general, and i think it would not be appropriate for me to speculate about what the inspector general will or will not find. >> that is probably appropriate, but it is still not at all inappropriate to ask you to draw a legal conclusion about a standard in the law that was changed in a statement that your predecessor put out as a justification for closing the investigation of the former secretary of state. >> as i said mr. chairman, i believe the standard is gross negligence. i leave it to others to conclude were extremely careless and gross negligence are the same thing. but i will say that the particulars of the investigation and the decisions that were made and whether or not it was handled appropriately is, as i think it should be, the subject of an outside, independent investigation by the inspector
general, and i look forward to his findings as i am sure the committee does as well. >> in july 2016 the state department revealed that former secretary of state secretary clinton exchanged on her unsecured private server nearly two dozen top secret e-mails with three state department officials. the classification "top secret" means in part the unauthorized disclosure of which reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to national security. can you explain to the american people how the fbi could not be investigating actions taken by individuals like those named in 2016, jacob sullivan, cheryl mills, william burns, that threatened grave damage to the national security? >> well, as i said, mr. chairman, the handling of the investigation and whether or not in particular whether or not decisions made in that investigation were the product of any improper considerations is precisely what the outside,
independent inspector general is investigating. and when we get his findings, i will look a see what appropriate action we can take at the fbi in response to that. >> can anyone on this committee set up a private server now and conduct classified business on it since not a single person has been prosecuted or held accountable for the clinton e-mail investigation? >> no. >> thank you. director wray, what are you doing to ensure that the top ranks of the federal bureau of investigation are cleared of individuals who are tainted by bias or those who have exhibited indiscretion by failing to demonstrate the integrity americans expect from their top law enforcement officials? >> well, the first thing i am doing is respecting the outside, independent investigations that are under way. my preference is to be one of
these people who is not an act first and ask questions later kind of guy but an ask questions first and then act kind of guy. so i think these matters are being looked at, as they should be, by somebody outside the fbi, and when those findings come to me, i will take appropriate action if necessary. in the meantime, i am emphasizing in every audience i can inside the bureau that our decisions need to be made based on nothing other than the facts and the law and our rules and our processes and our core values and not based on any political considerations by any side of the aisle. >> thank you. does the fbi obtain a warrant before accessing and reading americans' e-mail? >> it depends on the situation, but yes. >> so can you explain why you obtain a criminal search warrant before reading an e-mail of someone under investigation for a crime. >> i'm sorry.
can you repeat the question. >> can you explain why you obtain a criminal search warrant before reading an e-mail of someone under investigation for a crime. >> well, in the situations where a search warrant is required, and of course under the fourth amendment there are plenty of situations where a search warrant is not required. there are all sorts of aspects to the fourth amendment. in the situations where we seek a warrant it's because the fourth amendment requires it. >> section 702 as we both noted is up for renewal within a few weeks. it is a critical national security tool that must be reauthorized. you and i agree on that as well. but it is just that, a national security tool, not a criminal tool. is it reasonable when accessing content that shows evidence of a routine crime and is located in the fbi's 702 database, that agents should obtain some process as is required in criminal cases?
>> mr. chairman, i have appreciated our discussions on section 702. my own view is that section 702, as currently drafted, which is the view shared by the courts that have looked at the question, is fully constitutional and lawful, and i would say to you that our handling of querying of the information in the 702 database is querying information that is already lawfully and constitutionally in the fbi's possession and is most useful at the earliest stages when information is coming in in fragments and the bureau is trying to make assessments of what do we have, is this a real threat, where is this going. and i would implore the committee and the congress not to begin rebuilding the wall that existed before 9/11. >> thank you. my time has expired, but i will add that we share that concern as well. and that's why we have drawn a clear distinction between national security and solving
domestic crimes. and when it comes to the query, we allow that to move forward. but when you then find that there is something related to the investigation of a domestic crime, then you should go ahead and get a search warrant. we've protected the fbi's ability to access that database for the purpose of a query, but then, if you are going to take it further and actually read the contents of the e-mails if they're national security, go right ahead because you may be stopping a terrorist attack. but if you are solving a domestic crime, whatever it might be, then i think you need to respect the civil liberties of american citizens and get a warrant. i now recognize the gentleman from new york, mr. nadler, for his questions. >> thank you. let me say prior to my statement that i totally agree with the chairman in his observations on 702. under the distinctions we made in the bill between counter
intelligence and the investigation of domestic crimes where you should get a warrant where you normally need a warrant. director wray, i would ask you for your help in putting the events the last few days into context. to set the stage, over the summer, in an interview with the "new york times," president trump stated, quote, where nixon came along out of courtesy the fbi started reporting to the department of justice. the fbi person really reports directly to the president of the united states. close quote. director wray, you have one direct report to the executive branch. to whom do you directly report? >> i directly report to the deputy attorney general who then reports to the attorney general. >> thank you. has president trump ever asked you to side-step the chain of command and report directly to him? >> no. >> also, over the summer former director comey testified that during a private dinner president trump told him, quote, i need loyalty. i expect loyalty. has president trump ever asked you for loyalty? >> i have never been asked by the president to take any kind
of loyalty oath. my loyalty is to the constitution, to the laws of this country, and to the good men and people of america. >> thank you. last week former national security adviser michael flynn pleaded guilty to one felony count of lying to the fbi about conversations he had with a russian ambassador. i would like to put president trump's initial twitter reaction up on the screen. i won't read it. but i will simply say, he claims here to have known that general flynn committed a crime at the time general flynn was fired. there is some controversy as to whether the president actually wrote this tweet. the white house later claimed it came from the president's private attorney. i am not sure it matters who wrote it given that the tweets are, quote, official statements of the president of the united states. close quote. a few clarifying questions, mr. director. in your experience at the
department of justice, have you ever prosecuted a case involving a charge of obstruction of justice? >> yes. >> and sections 1503, 05, and 12 of title 18 make it a crime if or impedes ancts official proceeding. what does it mean to corruptly obstruct or impede an official proceeding? >> that would require me to get into a legal discussion. it's been a while since i have looked at the case law on the subject. i do know, as somebody who has been both a line prosecutor and a senior justice department official and a defense attorney that sometimes the language of that statute can be trickier than folks first appreciate. >> fair enough. fair enough. i am glad you respect the fact that i only have five minutes. does obstruction of justice require specific intent? does a prosecutor have to establish that the defendant had knowledge of the official proceeding and intended to obstruct it? >> sitting here right now,
congressman, i don't remember the specifics of what the intent requirement is. >> so you can't say if it matters that a suspect -- well, does it matter that a suspect has knowledge of a crime when he attempts to wave off criminal investigators? in other words, if -- if a suspect has knowledge of a crime and he attempts to wave off criminal investigators, does obstruction of justice? >> certainly the defendant's knowledge and state of mind and intent is a critical element of the offense. >> okay. later that day, the president tweeted this claim, this claim that we'll put up there. in effect, he accuses former director comey of giving false testimony. mr. comey testified that president trump urged him to be lenient with michael flynn producing a note in which he quoted the president saying, i hope you can let this go. in multiple appearances before congress attorney general sessions appears to have corroborated both the fact of the meeting and the gist of the conversation between the president and director comey. director wray, do you have any reason to doubt the testimony of
director comey or attorney general sessions on this point? >> congressman, the questions you are asking go directly to what special counsel mueller is investigating, and i don't think it would be appropriate for me to be weighing in on that in this setting. >> you don't think you can say whether you have reason to doubt the veracity of a statement because that might be under investigation? >> congressman, the question you are asking me -- and i appreciate the reasons for the question, but the questions you are asking me would be asking me to weigh in on witnesses in the course of an investigation that is ongoing and i do not think that is appropriate. your confirmation hearing, you testified the you consider any effort to tamper with dr. miller's investigation unacceptable. since your confirmation, has the president ever contacted you about the special counsel's investigation? >> no.
is, thenal question president's tirade ended with one tweet which said your reputation was in tatters. we have heard other veterans of the fbi push back against this attack on the reputation of the fbi. with the time i have left, would you respond to this tweet by the president? is the fbi's reputation in tatters? >> this is something that matters to me. there is no shortage of opinions out there. what i can tell you is that the fbi that i see is tens of thousands of agents and analysts and staffs working there tails off to keep americans safe from the next terrorist attack, child
the fbi that i see is tens of thousands of brave men and women who are working as hard as they can to keep people that they will never know safe from harm. the fbi that i see is reflected in folks like the new class of agents that i swore in at quantico two days ago, high integrity people. people like the hostage rescue teams and swat teams that we send out into all sorts of danger with no notice. decent people committed to the highest principles of integrity and respect. respectedat i see is and appreciated by our partners in federal, state, and local law enforcement, the intelligence community, our foreign counterparts in 200 countries.
that is the fbi that i see. do we make mistakes? you that we do, just like everybody who is human. when we make the stakes, there are independent processes that will drive deep into the facts surrounding the mistakes. when that fact-finding is complete, we will hold our folks accountable if that is appropriate. >> think you very much. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio. you have mentioned that the inspector general is investigating matters related for example to the clinton email server scandal. but isn't it a fact that the eye g -- that the ig does not have prosecutorial powers? >> the inspector general works
with prosecutors. this is a matter that is under review at the moment. is, theottom line inspector general is looking into the matter but has no prosecutorial matters -- powers come to -- powers, per se. >> correct. the president expressed the opinion that the fbi's reputation is in tatters. such a statement is shocking. but when you look at a few facts, it is understandable why the president might make such a statement. robert mueller is put in charge of an important investigation and who does he pick on his
team? you want people who are experienced, smart, and unbiased. because whatever you do, the result will be second-guessed. one side will be radical. so of all things, they have to appear to be unbiased. so he picked 16 attorneys, and more than half have given money to the obama or clinton campaigns. no one has given any to donald trump or his campaign. does that show fairness? i think the american people can decide for themselves. even more shocking, read we recently learned that one of those supposedly unbiased was sending out anti-trump messages. how could this guy get on your
unbiased team in the first place, when this is the same guy that had a key position investigating the hill or clinton -- hillary clinton server scam and apparently had a that the number mueller's team is just as biased. this anti-trump bias is shocking. i know all this took place before you took the helm, but the president of the united states has said an organization
fbi is in tatters. what will you do to restore confidence? it does to the heart of whether or not the -- is if it's hearing adhering to what we expect from the fbi. the best way i can validate the trust of the american people is that we bring the same level of professionalism and adherence to process in everything we do. as i said at the beginning, i think it is important that we do not jump first and ask questions later. when there are fair questions to be asked about whether or not
some of the decisions made in the 2016 investigation were handled appropriately, rather than have the fbi investigated --rather have an outside inspector general to report on the findings. action, i will take appropriate action. >> did you ever permit associates of those under investigation to sit in an interview with the accused? been bothwray: having a line prosecutor and justice department official and defense attorney, that is not my experience as the normal practice.
>> the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from california. >> thank you for your leadership of this agent the and the men and women who work so hard to protect our country. we all appreciate it even though we might have a few questions. my first question has to do with cyber security. there is a rapidly growing level of cyber attacks and i was really concerned to learn in
november of a report highlighting the fbi failure to notify multiple government officials that they were the target of a russian hacking campaign. at least according to this report, 500 people were targeted in the past year, including officials as high profile as the former head of the defense intelligence agency, the former head of the airforce intelligence --many of these people still had security clearance and work for the government. the fbi was aware of these efforts for at least a year. can you explain why these individuals had to learn from that they were the target of an aggression by russian hackers.
were any members of congress or congressional staff a target and what mechanisms or additional resources need to be put in place so that targeted officials know they are at risk when there's a foreign operation? >> congresswoman, i am not comfortable trying to discuss the specific victim engagement in a particular investigation. what i can tell you is that we h ave very well established criteria and policies and ofcedures of questions victim notification in cyber mat ters. the questions go to things like, number one, can we identify the victim? number two, is the information
we have at that point in the investigation actionable to the victim. since sharing the information actually protect somebody? we look at whether or not the sharing of the information would particularly compromise or jeopardize an investigating -- an existing investigation. when you have a large number of people, it is much easier for us to provide victim notification if we have official or government or corporate accounts where we can contact the security officer. when you talk about gmail addresses --t of
>> for example, i assume what you are describing is the current practice when the democratic national committee was hacked by the russians. they never contacted the chairman of the dnc. she found out much later. hopefully this types of procedures have been revised. >> i think the procedures themselves remain the same. the question of, if you think about what they are, they are questions the investigators have to ask. >> when we had the attorney general here recently, there was an ongoing effort to hack into the election system. we know that from various reports. general saidney
nothing was going on. he said it was really important but we haven't spent enough time on it. i'm getting the sense that is true across the government. we have systems that were hacked within half an hour at devcon -- state voting systems. what is the fbi doing to preserve the voting structure itself of the next election? >> the fbi is very focused on this subject. it is one of the things i've tried to insist on. we have a foreign influence task that brings together our cyber division in criminal division. and works with dhs along
with states. we are in contact with our foreign partners. as you know, efforts to interfere and elections are occurring in other countries. we are acutely focused on looking out for signs of interference in the 2018 or 2020 election cycle. >> i hope that there is an effort by the bureau to communicate with state election officers who have oftentimes be in the dark. >> a couple of questions. i'm going to ask you as a do you agree. do you agree that person should
not have their assets forfeited without due process and a provable link to criminal activity? director wray: congressman, it has been a while since i looked at the law on asset forfeiture. in the context of asset forfeiture, we should respect the constitution. ssa: it is fair to say that if someone has $10,000 in their van and had to sue to back, that would be wrong under due process. director wray: forfeiture raises questions about the process. i think the process and adherence to the constitution is essential.
issa: switching to the matter of peter struck. i had a lot of time working with you folks on the personal side. i want to make the record straight since you are she from a law enforcement a point and the ultimate head of hr for those tens of thousands of people working so hard. it is an fbi agent allowed to have a political opinion? director wray: yes. >> is that fbi agent allowed to communicate their political opinion to their wife or mistress? director wray: yes. >> so nothing in a text communicating a political firing--ould be, for would be cause for firing?
director wray: each question would have to be based on it on certain days. i can imagine situations where it would be and where it might not be. >> an individual is key to whether or not there should be a the investigation into choice not to prosecute hillary clinton. peterit is clear whatever struck did was enough to have -- will you make available to the committee, upon the chairman's obvious request, the ability to see any or all of those 10,000 texts sufficient to
understand why this individual was dismissed and how it might be relevant to the question of the objectivity of director comey's investigation. director wray: there are a couple of parts to your investigation. the individual question has not been dismissed. in questionidual has not been dismissed. he was reassigned. that is different than disciplinary action. access to then of text messages, will be happy to work with the committee on that. there is a very active come outside investigation by the inspector general and the laughing the committee would want to do is somehow compromise or interfere with that.
we have to have operational considerations and be responsible to congress. we have been in communication and the inspector general we have asked the department of justice for all of the 1.2 million documents provided to the inspector general minus those relating to the ongoing grand jury investigation. theave received back from assistant attorney general, mr. boys, a letter indicating they will make a fulsome response to that request.
i would like, and following up question, to's hear you tell us you will provide us with the honoring of that fulsome request. director wray: i do not mean to suggest that we would not be fully cooperative and responsive to the committee. we would work with the justice department in making sure we considered all the appropriate factors to make sure we do not do something with unintended consequences. we do not mean to frustrate the oversight. >> i want to ask the director, can this kind or does this kind of document requests that the
inspector general --the ongoing investigation, will it interfere with the investigation? what are the limitations? >> and a lot of that requires us to make siure we are touching base with the inspector general since it is his investigation and not ours. if it is not going to interfere with our investigation, that is one consideration that can be side/ the . our staff will work with justice department staff to make sure we are not compromising an ongoing investigation or revealing a grand jury.t boy committed to a day
of january 15. we want to make sure we have your cooperation. it is important that we have this information very quickly. the inspector general is completely cooperative with us in his investigation, but they are not documents. the question is directed to the fulltment and we need response. director wray: we intend to be fully cooperative with both this committee and the inspector general. >> i yield back. >> i will be brief. the gentleman asks for an additional minute. director come at this time you are not asserting that there is any privilege to those documents, is that correct? >> i have not reviewed the
however many million documents. >> at this point you know of no privilege? director wray: i have not asked the question, to be honest. >> i appreciate that. struck --e of peter you believe a- do review by someone is clearly wanted as to whether or not the decision not to prosecute was appropriate? director wray: what i would say is there is a outside, independent review by the -- the matterral
you are referring to was not based on any political situations. there could be in a range that we are others would have to take. vo reviewnot a de no by the inspector general but it is a question of if impropriety occurred. >> the time for the gentleman has expired. the director may answer. director wray: i think of the inspector general's investigation as de novo in one aspect because it is objective. but the inspector general is not second-guessing prosecutorial decisions. the inspector general is looking at the important question of whether or not improper
political considerations factored into the decision making. if he were to conclude that was happening, we were at a point where we could assess what can be done to unring that bell. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mrs. jackson lee. jackson-lee: i am holding the mission of the fbi. the job of the fbi is to provide leadership and to perform these responsibilities in a manner that is responsive to the needs of the public and faithful to the constitution of the united states. the u.s. here to that mission? -- do you adhere to that
mission? director wray: i do not think it is part of my responsibility to respond to opinion and by out there by politicians. jackson-lee: if uldector comey said there wo be no investigation by the secretary of state, with that be investigated? is that the protocol? you report to the deputy attorney general and he reports it to the attorney general, so the protocol -- did director mueller review by that protocol? is that the likely protocol? director wray: yes. jackson-lee: the former
secretary disclosed top-secret not emails and whether or specially be investigated. the current president disclosed top-secret information to russian ambassadors and foreign ministers in the oval office, is the fbi investigating? director wray: i would not confirm or deny the existence of any ongoing investigation. ckson-lee: a few years ago, this committee moved on and obstruction of justice hearing. cap the president commit obstruction of justice? director wray: legal questions regarding impeachment is not something i can answer. jackson-lee: can a sitting
president commit a crime and then it becomes a non-crime? director wray: same answer. jackson-lee: let me move on to the quote from the president of the united states. do you believe is that the fbi reputation is in tatters? what impact would that have on the fbi is that is a statement made nationally and also to the world. that the fbi is in tatters. director wray: the analyst and staff of the fbi are big boys and girls. we understand we will take criticism from all corners. i believe that we -- our
reputation with our counterparts in law enforcement, our counterparts in the intelligence community, our counterparts around the world, the victims that we serve and the judges we appear before. the scientists we interact with in the laboratory services. my experience has been that our education is quite good. jackson-lee: i want to assure to the american people petereter wiseman and struzk's removal will not sabotage the investigation into russian pollution. director wray: i'm not aware of any effort to sabotage special
counsel bob mueller's investigation. son-lee: let me indicates you that a report done in august 2017 said that during the same period of this report that they found right wing extremist were behind most of these incidents than those who might be considered islamist. there's a black extremist identity report. would you see that that report be clarified and would you take note of the fact that the conviction dealing with violence dealing with islamist and left wing and let's were right-wing -- and less for
right-wing. right-wing extremists are not being prosecuted. black identity extremists are subjected to a report and an fbi that is not diverse. i know we would like to work on making it diverse, but they are not being prosecuted the way the right wing has the lowest amount of prosecutions. the lowest federal prosecution, right-wing is the lowest. left-wing is prosecuted 100%. congresswoman, i have to look at the statistics he saw. i can tell you that in our domestic terrorism program that the last time i looked, we have about 50% more white supremacist
investigations than we do in the black identity extremists category. the other point i would make is in all of these contexts of the domestic terrorism arena, we only investigate if there are three things. credible evidence of a federal crime. credible information suggesting an attempt to use force or violence. those things in furtherance of a political or social goal. if we do not have that, we do not investigate. thank you, mr.e: chairman. rep. king: thank you for your service to our country. in the fbi interview and investigation of general flynn,
are there notes from those ?nterviews, do you know director wray: i do not know. but i would not want to comment on a investigation ongoing by the special counsel. >> would you expect there to be notes in any other case? director wray: it is our normal process to memorialize interviews. processts go from the of a spoken conversation to the 302 varies. since someonent down for that interview, would a audiotape or videotape the recorded?
-- be recorded? up because of the interview for hillary clinton. when we interviewed the members of the former administration who ,ere familiar with the matter we learn here that there were no notes available to us. there was no audio or video available and they were not made available to attorney general loretta lynch. it was interesting that one of the highest investigation in the history of this country, the people who did the investigation did not review the materials. they simply accepted the materials. would you conduct similar investigations? with that not set off an alarm bell?
director wray: what i would say is that i think investigations are best conducted by taking appropriate memorialization of an interview. investigation, your question goes to whether or not the handling of the investigation was skewed are tainted by improper political -- skewed or tainted by improper political considerations. >> the question was already asked about the principles in the room. i will pass that along and put some more information out here. in october of 2015, president obama reference to the lack of intent on the part of hillary clinton. but she would not jeopardize national security. 2016, he made a similar
statement that hillary clinton was an outstanding secretary of state. we notice the language has been moved from extreme carelessness -- from gross negligence to extreme carelessness. carelessness was also a language that president obama used in his discussion of the matter. the get outme that of jail card that hillary clinton received goes back to barack obama's use of intent or lack of intent as a requirement for that. surely you have examined the definition and difference between extreme carelessness and gross negligence benefits -- that is within the statute.
theyou going to tell us don't have an opinion? director wray: gross negligence is the language in the statute. i think many people would say that gross negligence and extreme carelessness are close to each other. whether or not the handling of these statement -- of the statement is exactly what the investor general that's inspector general is investigating. >> thank you. it does to a clarification to your earlier response. there is a report that there are with 27ations going on potential leakers within the fbi. orderedsking that was
before the election and into the transition period and inauguration of president trump, has any investigative committee in congress had access to the full list of those unmasking requests and how much is classified? director wray: i do not know about requests for specific committees. sking request is made by not only members of the intelligence community but by congressional members. sometimes legitimate concerns about unmasking are more of a problem that i take very seriously, which is leaks of information.
that we havehing focused on. we have issued a new media policy that clamps down on the rules of international with the clampsteraction -- that down on the rules of interaction with the press. recognizes the gentleman from tennessee. we in memphis have been blessed with outstanding fbi agents. situation, i had a where there was a county employee who was murdered.
andfbi worked on that case saw to it that justice was found. he got a life sentence. they recently arrested a man named lorenzo castillo. they got him for 15 pounds of meth, which is the drug you should be looking at. just like everyone is and tha andike opioids and meth, not so much cannabis. bates larry swindled people out of millions jail. got years in just after the president tweeted that the fbi is in tatters, --ector comey tweeted
director wray: that description of the fbi alliance with my own description. i'm not a twitter guide. i do not really engage in tweeting. >> what was the reputation of director comey within the agents of the fbi? director wray: my experience with director comey was -- when i worked with him, he was a smart lawyer, a dedicated public servant and someone i enjoyed working with. we have not stayed in touch of much of the last several years and now there is the ongoing investigation. but my experiences have always been positive. >> you know the reputation of
director mueller with the fbi? director wray: director mueller is very well respected within the fbi. when you were interviewed by --sident trump you?questions did he ask director wray: my recollection is the conversation was about my background and we talked about my desire to join the war on counterterror. as someone who had been in the justice department and at the fbi headquarters on 9/11 itself. i talked about the interaction with the victims of not 11 --911
my desire to keep people safe. >> he did not ask you about director comey or director mueller? director wray: no. the fbi concentrates on situations that are presently a threat to the united states. is that correct? director wray: yes. >> the issues concerning the current president would be more important to you than the issues -- director wray: i am reluctant to compare one matter to another in that way. we take any effort to interfere with our election very
seriously. >> thank you. benjamin franklin said that he g ave the american people a republic if you can keep it. you are the legacy of griffin have you reputation if you can keep it. you will be tested. recognize the gentleman from ohio, mr. jordan. was peter strzok the former head of intelligence at the fbi? director wray: yes. participated in the clinton interview and he is the same peter strzok who
letterd director comey's k from gross negligence to extreme carelessness. director wray: i know that he was heavily involved in the clinton email investigation. is this the same peter strzok he was a key player in the russian and nation that russian investigation? -- is this the same peter strzok thewas a key players in russian investigation? was that the same peter strzok who was removed from the investigation because the displayed a pro-clinton bias. director wray: yes. is suggested to
be on mueller's team and then he is removed for some pro-clinton text messages. it was reported 96% of the top lawyer's contributions went to clinton or obama. but the guy who ran the clinton who ran then, russian investigation, who interviewed michael flynn is put on mueller's team ending gets kicked off for a text message that is anti-trump. everyoneke off of mueller's team who was anti-trump, there would not be anyone. there has to be something more.
did peter strzok help reduce and percent the application to the fisa court to produce a warrant to spy on americans associated with the trump campaign? director wray: i am not afraid to talk anything about what happened with the fisa process. >> did peter strzok --was he involved in taking that to the court. theuple of things about dossier. the democratic national committee and the clinton campaign, which we know are now the same, paid a law firm, which paid fusion gps, which paid christopher steel, which then paid russia to put together a report full of all kinds of fake
news, national enquirer garbage. it has been reported that this dossier, all dressed up by the court and to the fisa as and intelligence document. o by led to a warrant t on an american. the easiest way to clear it up his to tell us what was in that application. director wray: our staff has had multiple interactions with intelligence committees and that is the appropriate place. >> peter strzok headed up counter intelligence at the fbi. peter strzok, the got you did all the clinton investigation interviews and
russian investigation, peter theok is the guy who took application to the fisa court. if you have the fbi working with the democrats's campaign, taking opposition research and dressing it up as a intelligence document so they can spy on the other campaign, if that happened, it is as wrong as it gets. you can clear it all up. , just releasep the applications. tell us if i am wrong. i think that is exactly what happened. people who did that need to be held accountable. we will noty: hesitate to hold people
accountable after there has been an appropriate investigation, independent and objective, by the inspector general into the prior matter. i'll look at all available remedies. as for the access to the dossier, that is something that is the subject of ongoing discussion between my staff and the various intelligence communities. >> is there anything prohibiting you from showing this committee what was presented to the fisa court. is there anything prohibiting you from showing of that -- us that? director wray: i do not believe that i can legally or appropriately share a fisa court submission to this committee. >> what you presented, when he took to the court? director wray: when i assign fisa applications, they are all
covered with a classified information cover. >> is it likely that peter st rzok -- >> the gentleman's time has expired. the have judiciary committee has primary jurisdiction over the foreign intelligence surveillance court. any request or documents coming to any part of the congress should include the house judiciary committee. if it is classified in any way, shape or form it can be provided to us in a classified setting. that is information we are much interested in. >> i don't think there is anything prohibiting the fbi from giving up with that used to put together what was taken to the fisa court. there's nothing prohibiting him doing that. >> i don't think there is
either. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia. mr. johnson. you have led a distinguished career as a u.s. district attorney for the state of georgia. as assistant attorney general heading of the criminal division of the entire justice department. partner as a litigation at the international and premier law firm of king and spalding, you headed up the special matters and government investigators practice group, which involved sophisticated government investigatory matters involving your clients and also you represented governor christie during the bridge gate presume,uccessfully, i
at this point. you have had a long career in criminal law and it matters performing government -- concerning government. i find it hard to believe that you have not pondered the idea of whether or not a president can be guilty of obstruction of justice. director wray: to be honest, it is not something i pondered. that is a question that involves complicated questions of separation of powers. there is quite a lot on my plate. i do not have time to do a lot of pondering. >> is it your belief that a sitting president can be guilty of obstructing justice? director wray: that is a legal question i've not tried to evaluate. days, thethe last few house intelligence committee has
requested documents from you for the so-called steel dossier. you have refused to comply. why have you failed to produce these documents? we are having extensive interaction with multiple committees about these issues. they involve complicated questions not just of classification. they also effect ongoing investigations, in particular the special counsel's investigation. in particular, in many instances, we are dealing with very very dicey questions of sources and methods, which is the life blood of foreign intelligence and our liaison relationships with our foreign partners. >> earlier this year, the fbi opened an investigation into the vulnerabilities of the state of georgia's election systems.
after that lawsuit was filed, georgia election officials wiped clean or deleted information on the servers. one month later, additional service -- two additional servers were wiped clean. so evidence that is critical to the issues raised in the lawsuit and to the fbi investigation perhaps, that information has been destroyed. can you confirm that the fbi obtained copies of the data on georgia's election servers prior to the data being destroyed by georgia election officials? director wray: congressman, i can't discuss what the fbi may or may not have obtained in the course of any particular investigation in this setting. >> can you confirm that there is
an ongoing investigation into this matter? director wray: again, i don't want to confirm or deny. it's important that i put both those words in there, the existence of a specific investigation. >> would you be willing upon your investigation's completion, if there is an investigation, would you be willing to provide this committee with an update on this issue? director wray: if there is information that we could appropriately share on the topic that you're asking about, i'd be happy to see if there's something we can do to be helpful and response toif theive to the committee. >> it was recently said in court that they are treating the president's disturbing and combative tweets as official statements of the president of the united states. considering the doj's position
and the president repeatedly demanding that the fbi investigate his political opponents, do you consider these tweets to be orders that the fbi must follow? >> that's a legal question. i'll be guided by the lawyers on that one. >> so have your lawyers given you an opinion as to whether or not the president's tweets are official statements? director wray: well, without discussing attorney-client communications, i'm still following the ordinary course of business in terms of what orders we follow. >> you've given me every objection for not answering the question that is in the books. i appreciate it. thank you so much. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. poe for 5 minutes. >> thank you, chairman. thank you mr. wray for being here. i was a former prosecutor.
i was a judge for 22 years. during that time in the criminal courts, i had always thought that the fbi had a stellar reputation. in the last few years here in congress, i don't have that belief any longer. and i think your predecessor did a lot to damage the reputation of the fbi. i don't think that the fbi's come back around with that stellar reputation. that's unfortunate. you gave us lots of statistics in the opening statement that you made about what the fbi is doing. i want to talk about fisa. secret courts issuing secret warrants supposedly to go after terrorists overseas. a recent washington post article made the comment or stated that when information is seized on bad guys, there is the so-called seizure or the seizure of information that belongs to
inadvertent as it's called by the legal community. and that database are americans and nonamericans in the washington post article says, quote, many of them in this database were americans. 90% of the account holders whose communications were collected under 702 were not the intended targets. about half of the surveillance files were on americans. you have this database that's supposed to get after the bad guys and you get that information but inadvertently you pick up all this information on americans who have nothing to do with terrorism. how many times has this database been searched to find out if are identifiers on americans? how many times has the fbi or the intelligence agency or government done that? director wray: i don't have numbers for you here today. i will tell you that the database that we're talking
about is not bulk collection on anyone, first. number two, it is a database of foreigners reasonably believed to be located overseas for foreign intelligence purposes. that's what's collected by the nsa. about thelking inadvertent seizure of information based on this idea .e are going after terrorists how many people have been queried, searched and that a database? -- in that big database. director wray: i do not have the statistics. a collects, the fbi only receives, much less queries against, about 4.3% of what the nsa collects. people inected are
communication with foreigners whoa re the -- who are the subject -- if there's a u.s. person picked up, that person would have been in e-mail contact with an isis recruiter. >> i understand that. i'm not talking about terrorism. i'm talking about the inadvertent where there's a communication with an american and that american's information is seized and then later searched by, whether it's the intelligence community or the fbi. the washington post said 90% of those seizures were on nonterrorists. do you agree or disagree with that statistic? >> i haven't reviewed the washington post article. >> this committee has asked for a long time to give us that information. because we are now coming up with fisa reauthorization. my opinion is that the fbi and the intelligence service is back walking that information because they know fisa comes up at the end of this year and congress would just reauthorize it without knowing how many americans are searched.
the right of privacy and the 4th amendment is guaranteed. i'm sure you believe this. but it is being abused and stolen by government in this situation on what's happening to americans. and the search of that database, whether it's the first query, which is a search, or a later specific search of that communication is being done in secret by our government. and congress, the judiciary committee is entitled to that information. and i will disagree with what you said about, well, it's classified, i can't tell you that. that's ridiculous. members of congress are entitled to every classified piece of information that is in your possession. that is our position. that is our right as members of congress. government can't have classified information and say we're not going to tell you because it's classified.
we're entitled to it in some type of setting. i totally disagree with you on that. i hope you can provide that information before we reauthorize fisa. otherwise, i'm going to vote against fisa. i yield back to the chairman. director wray: may i briefly respond? >> you may respond. >> first off, as to classified information we are engaged with the intelligence committees and we share classified information with the intelligence committees all the time. under certain circumstances we are also sharing information with the authorizing committees, like the two judiciary committees. as to the question of abuses, every court, every court to have looked at the way in which section 702 is handled, including the querying has concluded that it's being done consistent with the 4th amendment, as has the independent privacy and civil liberties oversight board. there has been no abuse found in the 702 program despite oversight by the inspector
general, multiple oversight within the executive branch. oversight by the federal fisa court. >> i disagree with the secret courts on their interpretation of the 4th amendment, as does many other members of congress. thank you, mr. chairman. >> his time is expired. i just want to reiterate, as with the other requests, this is a reasonable request by the gentleman from texas. it has been made in varying forms by this committee in a bipartisan way in the past and we have not yet received the answers to those questions. i would again point out that this committee has oversight responsibility of both the foreign intelligence court and the fbi and we have a very nice skiff where this all can be discussed in a classified setting, where documents can be examined in a classified setting and we think that you need to be forthcoming on this. so thank you, director.
>> the chair recognizes the ted deutch. >> thank you for being here today. as you know, what separates the united states from the oligarchies and despots around the world is the american commitment to the rule of law. that means that powerful people don't get to write their own rules. it means the president doesn't direct law enforcement to target political enemies or to go easy on political friends. it means that judges, police officers and the fbi agents are not intimidated by demands or tweets or whispers coming out of the white house. i want to commend your commitment to the independence of the fbi and to the rule of law. as to the president's tweet over the weekend that the reputation of the fbi is in tatters, the worst in history, which sadly , seems to be shared by many of my colleagues on this committee, i would like to take a moment to thank the women and men of the fbi for their hard work, the
work they do investigating threats of terrorism, corruption, organized crime, cyber crime, white collar crime. i'd like to thank you and them, for the work they do to combat violent crime and i'd like to thank you for the work they do to enforce civil rights laws. i also want to thank you agents that are working with the mueller investigation, an inquiry that has already delivered serious charges against the president's campaign manager and a guilty plea from the president's national security advisor. back in september, you reviewed the classified reports compiled by the u.s. intelligence agencies that concluded that russia interfered in the 2016 election, and tried to tilt it in donald trump's favor. you said at the time, i have no doubt the conclusion that is thes that the hard working people put together. do you still have that view?
>> i still believe, fundamentally, that the conclusions of the ica are accurate. >> and, the fbi continues to focus on the threats posed by russian interference in future elections? >> yes. as i was mentioning earlier, special counsel of course is looking backwards. we're looking forward. we're trying to make sure that any effort by any foreign power to interfere with our 01:41:57 ted deutch ted deutch elections is something we are trying to get in front of, investigate and prevent as best we can. >> when the special counsel looks backward on what happens, it's important the special counsel be able to do his job. there is bipartisan legislation that's been introduced that as i understand it, codified existing doj regulations that a special counsel may only be removed for misconduct, dereliction of duty, indirect cause.
-- or other good cause. is that how you understand doj regulations? >> i'm not intimately familiar with the wording of the regulations, but i have no doubt with your summary. >> which is why, mr. chairman, we ought to be doing exactly that. we have sat here for almost two hours, and have heard nary a word from my republican colleagues about russian interference in our election or about the efforts of the mueller investigation to get to the bottom of it. and based on the talking points that we've heard that sound so eerily familiar to those coming from the president of the united states, it is more an apparent than ever that this bipartisan legislation, to protect the special counsel to ensure that the special counsel can do his job and can pursue ultimately the truth wherever it takes him , has to be brought up in this committee. must be. tilled urge my colleagues who are at concerned about the
russian interference in our last election and the potential russian interferences in future elections are as concerned as director wrai and the fbi and so many of us are to let us protect the special counsel. director wray, you also said in september, and i quote, that you said that you saw no evidence of white house interference in the probe, the mueller probe when you said i can say very confidently that i have not detected any whiff of interference with that investigation. i want to make sure that ta continues to be your position. >> certainly, congressman. as i sit here today, i am not aware since i've been on the job, there's been no effort that i've seen going forward here any effort to enter freer with special council mueller's investigation. >> director wray, if the president of the united states fired special counsel mueller, would that constitute interference with special counsel mueller's investigation? >> i'm not going to engage in a discussion of hypotheticals. it would depend on the circumstances surrounding the
firing. >> if the president fired the special counsel without satisfying any of the requirements that currently are in doj regulations without doing it for cause but only because he was concerned about the special counsel getting too close to him or his closest advisers or his family, he think the answer to that is clear to anyone who is watching today and that's exactly why at this moment, mr. chairman, we have to protect the special counsel. there's legislation to do it. history is being written at this moment and what let's seeing is efforts to obscure the very rate that's taking place in this country which is the president's efforts to try to avoid the special counsel getting too close to him. we can do something about that to protect this investigation on behalf of the american people, and i hope we will, and i yield back. >> the time has expired. the chair recognizes the
gentleman from south carolina, mr. gowdy. i'm sorry, the gentleman from texas, mr. gohmert is recognized for 5 minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. director, we appreciate your being here. i was so thrilled when i first got to question director comey. i didn't realize what direction that would take. but you are taking an fbi department that was weakened by mueller's time. i'm not asking for a comment on that, but i know for his, from his 5-year upper out policy as a wall street journal pointed out, he got rid of thousands and thousands of years of experience.
i came to believe because he wanted younger people that were more yes men and so he got rid of people that could have advised him against some of the poor decisions he made whether it's squandering million of dollars on software that didn't work and people he got rid of new that, but all kinds of things. i came to understand as a young prosecutor who knew the law better than some of the older lawyers that there is something to be gained from experience. we lost thousands of years of experience and comey took over a weakened fbi because of what mueller did. mueller made a lot of mistakes he wouldn't have otherwise. so, that was rather sad. i want to, oh, i'll be glad to have my friend across the aisle know that i'm outraged by the government's collusion with russia. i was outraged. i didn't think president bush in our state department went far enough in condemning the invasion into georgia by putin and the russians but they did take some strong actions to make known their discomfort and their upset over that. and, of course, the response by
the obama administration was to send over a plastic reset button with the wrong russian word on it. but they made clear nonetheless that we're not bothered by your invasion of georgia. you can invade anybody you want. that was the message the russians took. and i am really outraged at the allowing of russia to buy our uranium even though the fbi and the justice department had already found out that they were trying to get our uranium illegally with bribes and violating the law and that has not been addressed. so yes, i am outraged. but as you're aware, deputy director mccabe was involved in highly charged political cases that have been controversial due to his political leanings. i want to ask you, if you are aware of any other senior fbi executives that are aligned with mccabe's political views. yes or no: are you aware of any other senior fbi executives? >> i'm not aware of any senior
fbi executives who are allowing improper political considerations to affect their work with me right now. >> ok. let me ask you this. i'm going to asking about specific executives some of whom promoted by mccabe within the last few years, so my question to you, director, is are you aware of any of the following people openly aligning themselves with the political bias expressed by mccabe or openly speaking against this administration. first: carl gatttis? yes or no. >> my experience with executive assistant director gatttis has been very positive, and he's been a complete professional if all my interaction with him. >> but have you, are you aware of him openly aligning himself with the political buy is yas that mccabe expressed?
>> i'm going to quarrel a little bit with the premise of your question about deputy director mccabe. >> all right. all right. >> but, as far as executive assistant director gatt is, as i said, he's been a complete professional. i mean to includes a political in his interaction with me. >> are you aware of him an sideline himself with political bias against the trump administration. >> no. >> mike mcgarrity. >> no. >> same question. i'll take mccabe out of it. are you aware of him openly aligning him selves was political bias against the trump administration? >> no. >> josh skul. >> no. >> larisa mensor? >> i actually don't know who that is. >> all right, thank you, fair enough. brian parman. >> no. >> thank you. i know you appointed ryan parman to the new york field office counter-terrorism division. it is important that we have fair-minded people. there's never been a requirement that anybody not be able to vote
or have political beliefs, just that they not let them affect their output. i would encourage, i've got a lot more to ask. thank you for your work. i want to be your best friend as long as you stay on the straight and narrow. >> thank you, director. >> thank you, sir. >> the chair recognizes the gentle woman from california, miss bass, for 5 minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chair. thank you, mr. director for being here with us today. i also want to thank you for the time that you spent a week or so ago with representatives of the congressional black caucus following up on the black identity extreme dwrists and i would like to ask you questions following up from that meeting. we raised a number of concerns,
one of which the idea that that document was distributed to law enforcement nationwide and also the concern that the message that that sends to many local law enforcement agencies and how you distinguish between what might be problematic behavior and also what is people just exercising their first anticipate rights. one of the questions that we asked you that i wanted to follow up on is if you've learned anymore about what criteria, evidence, methodology that was used to even come up with that category of black identity extremists. >> congresswoman, as i think i may have mentioned in our meeting, the analysis that occurred there involved a, which is our standard practice for one of these products and we issue them across all of our various program categories is to take both so-called open source information which is what the intelligence community would call it. >> right.
>> >> and, our own going investigations of which there are many and mesh them together with other information and try to make sure that the information that we're speaking on that those two things align. as to your concerns and we discussed them and i hope, i found the conversation constructive hearing your concerns and i hope you did, too. >> yes. >> we take respect for the first amendment very seriously. in this context as in every other domestic terrorism context, we want to be very clear with people and all the american people that we do not investigate rhetoric, ideology, opinion. >> right. >> no matter who might consider it extremist. what we do investigate is when rhetoric, ideology, opinion, takes that next step into the category of federal crime and in particular violence. >> yes, exactly. i did find our conversation constructive. there did seem to be several things i know you were going to follow up on. so you were clear about the 3 categories that were reasons for investigation. one of the things that i mentioned to you is the difference and we talked about this, the difference between an investigation and surveillance. you have the surveillance activity that may or may not lead to an investigation. what a number of activists are complaining about around the country is the increase of
surveillance being visited by fbi agents, having fbi agents come to their house, leaving their business cards, and so that you know, was a concern and what was that really based on. these are activists that are protesting because of community police relations, because of killings that might have happened, a variety of reasons. some of this is, it might be the, you know, protests that have taken place in bat more in several of the cities around the country. i want to know if there's any additional information that you have found from that. what is happening in your offices around the country, where activists are complaining of this? >> i have, after our meeting, i did farm out a whole number of follow-up questions to people. i will confess that i've been fairly busy lately, and not yet gotten the results of those. we will continue to look into those questions. >> we really need to do that. let me explain to you one of the
things all of us would like to take place in our communities is for our communities to cooperate with law enforcement. but at this point in time, to have fbi agents come by people's house after peaceful demonstrations, i know i can recommend that they speak to the fbi. i have to tell them that they can't speak to the fbi because if you do say something and you innocently say something that might not be true, then that person feels as though they might be entrapped because they could be, they could be charged with lying to an fbi agent. to find the information out as soon as possible i think is really important. i want our community to participate, but we can't participate if it's not really clear where the fbi is coming from. so many organizations have called for the withdrawal of the bie designation, in particular noble, which is the national organization of black law enforcement executives. in light of the public outcry including from law enforcement,
i want to know if part of the follow-up from our meeting is if you are considering retracting that category of black identity extremists and then sending out clarification to law enforcement around the country that that category really doesn't exist. >> i think what we're doing right now is what we would normally do with any intelligence assessment. we continue to evident the data as it rolls in, the intelligence assessment in question was a snapshot in time and as we get more information that comes in from all quarts considering all sorts of information, i expect that we will update that information in an appropriate way and depending on what the information shows, it could be anything from a reaffirmence to a retraction to a clarification. it depends on what the information shows. but the one thing we will not do is withdraw intelligence assessments based on public outcry.
i'm sure you can understand why that's not at approach that ultimately will stand. >> i want to continue to be in contact with you pore this because i think one of the points that we made to you and i really hope you take it seriously, is the harm that that document is causing. because what that says, it sends a chill to activists around the country and my big concern is that local law enforcement will misinterpret that and will clamp down on people exercising their first amendment right. >> time of the gentle woman has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from south carolina, chairman confident oversight and government reform committee, mr. gowdy for 5 minutes. >> thank you, chairman goodlatte. director wray, somewhere today a group of our fellow citizens will be asked if they can be fair, impartial, free of bias before they sit in judgment of others on a jury. even in the smallest of courtrooms where there are nothing but empty seats and no television cameras.
somewhere today, those selected to sit in judgment of their fellow citizens will be told that they must wait until the very last witness testifies, and the last piece of evidence has been introduced, before they can even begin top deliberate on an outcome. so if our fellow citizens should be impartial and free of bias and if our fellow citizens must wait until the last piece of evidence is introduced, the last witness is called before they can reach a verdict, a conclusion, an outcome, then i don't think it's asking too much that the department of justice and the fbi do the same thing. there is no member of congress who holds the department and bureau in higher esteem than i do. there are others who hold new highest steam but i would take second place no one. have i defended the department and the bureau when frankly it
was pretty damn lonely to do so. when my democrat friends were asking that jim comey be prosecuted for a hatch act violation about this time last year, they now want him canonized but last year this time they wanted him prosecuted for a hatch act violation. when your predecessor was sitting there where you are sitting and broil with apple, i was on the side of the bureau. when there are calls for special counsel even today i reject them because i trust the women and men of the department of justice and the bureau, the professionals that we hired. to do their job and the vast majority of line prosecutors and line agents are exactly what you described in your opening
statement. they are exactly what you described. but unfortunately, the last two years have not been good years for the bureau and they have not been good years for the department. we had an attorney general meet with a spouse of a target of an investigation on the tarmac. and asked that an investigation be called something other than an investigation but be called a matter. we've had an attorney general recuse himself from the largest most significant investigation currently in his office. we had the director of the fbi appropriate a major charging decision away from the department of justice because he was concerned that the public wouldn't have confidence if the department of justice handled that decision themselves. whee an fbi director write two politically volatile letters weeks before an election. we had an fbi director memorialize conversations he had with a president of the united states because he didn't trust the president's recall of those
conversations. and i think what frustrates some folks is when director comey wanted special counsel for president trump, he leaked one of those memos. when he didn't have confidence in loretta lynch, we didn't hear a word about it. there were no leaks that prompted special counsel when he didn't trust loretta lunch. there were leaks when he decided he didn't trust president trump. we've had an acting ag fired. we've had the director of the 5 fired. and we can't manage to find prosecutors who haven't donateded to presidential candidates out, of all the universal prosecutors that you used to work with and i used to work with and johnny used to work with, we can't find a dozen that haven't donateded to major political candidates.
now, we have special agent struk. it was not the bureau who found neace these texts, it was the inspector general. i share your confidence in his objectivity. it shouldn't have been the inspector general that had to bring this to our attention 12 months after it happened. that same agent is the one who reportedly interviewed secretary clinton in an interview that you and i have never seen conducted that way before to have potential witnesses and potential targets sit in on a witness interview, i appreciate your professionalism and your unwillingness to want to say how unprecedented that is. i'll just tell you, it's unprecedented. that same agent is alleged to have been the one that changed the language. you're right, they are synonyms. extremely careless is a synonym for grossly negligent which begs
the question why change t. you and i know why it was changed, because the statute says grossly negligent. if you're not going to charge someone, god knows you don't want to track the statute with the language that you use. that would be stupid. what's also stupid is to do that memo two months before you've interviewed the target. that memo was drafted before the last witness was interviewed. director, it was drafted before of target of the investigation was even interviewed. which makes people wonder, was the decision made before the interviews were finished? we believe that that same agent is also involved in the investigation knife president trump and his campaign. and, he may have interviewed michael flynn and we don't know what role if any he took in the preparation of documents for court filings. i'm going to say this, because i'm out of time, and i appreciate the chairman's patience with me.
you have a really important job. when all else fails in this country, we want to be able to look to the fbi. we want to be able to look to the department of justice. all the other institutions we trust including congress appear to be broken we want to be able to look to you. it's been a really bad two years. i'm counting on you to help answer our questions in congress, our fellow citizens' questions, but i am more than anything am counting on you to go back to work for that blindfolded woman holding an set of scales that doesn't gub a wit about politics. that's the fbi that i want. >> time of the gentleman has expired. >> just a 30-second response. >> first, let me say, congressman gowdy did, i'm well aware of your long-standing support for the bureau and the department and i want you to know we appreciate it. second, i want to assure you and every other member of this committee that there is no scenario under which i would
have taken president's nomination if i were not committed to the kind of independent, impartial objective and professional pursuit of the facts. i wouldn't be here if i weren't committeded to that. i can give this committee that commitment commitment. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from the louisiana, mr. richmond, for 5 minutes. >> director wray, let me thank you for being here but also thank you for the meet wiig had a couple weeks ago. let me ask you a question because as i think about our approach to opioid addiction and how we combat this awful crisis, i also have to think back to our response to the crack epidemic and how we responded to the crack epidemic which was mandatory minimum sentences
which led to mass incarceration. but one thing and specific example that when we found grandchildren in public housing that may have had crack coand i or cocaine, we filed eviction noticed with housing authorities to remove them from public housing. that is not what we're doing with opioid addiction and people that we find in possession of opioids. do you see and are you concerned about a double standard in our approach to opioid and our approach to our response to crack and should we address that in criminal justice reform so that we treat substance abuse addiction as the mental health crisis that it is and that the president declared with his opioid crisis? so the question is, should we go back and look at how we treated crack and reform our owed drug laws to better represent the mental health crisis? >> well, congressman, questions of sentencing reform, criminal
justice reform i think are better directed to the other side of the street at the justice department than to the fbi where we largely focus on trying to do the investigations on the intelligence assessments. i will tell new the context of the opioid epidemic which is upon us now that, it has become a sufficiently big scourge on all communities in the united states that it's clearly going to require a whole of government type response that involves not just criminal justice steps, aggressive investigation and prosecution, but all sorts of other outreach mental health treatment. it's, there might have been a time when we could have investigated and prosecuted our way out of the problem.
that's clearly going to be a major part of it. it's become too big now. we're going to have to do something that's much more holistic and multidisciplinary. >> life experiences mean a lot. i heard my colleagues on the other side talk about how great the fbi has been and how it's held in high esteam, except for the past 8 years under president obama and for my friend congressman gowdy, he said the last two years. it amazes me how we missed the whole history of the fbi and that has to be one of its darkest moments, when of it did illegal surveillance and initiated propaganda in the media to discredit civil rights active yists who were trying to make the country a better place. let me just go there for a second. i know that we just released a batch of documents from the comurnl committee on jfk's assassination. have we released and made public in your knowledge all of the
documents 02:08:29 christopher wray -- and actions of the fbi during those could and tell pro yearsle? >> congressman, yog actually know what information specifically has been provided on the era. i know that hearings were conducted. books have been written. lots and lots of discussion has been had about it. certainly, i will tell you that i think i and everybody in the bureau recognizes the coand tell coprobe problems. that means different things to different people as one of the darker moments in the fbi's history. it's something we're not proud of, but is also something we've learned from and during some of the same time period, there's a lot that the fbi did that we can all be proud of in terms of aggressive investigation of various civil rights abuses among other things. so we're human. we make mistakes. we have things that we've done
>> we've had things we've done badly and when we've done badly we try to learn from them. >> i would hope we expose as much as we can so we can learn from it. who was the director of the fbi that initiated coand tell pro and all of those programs that were the darker moments of the fbi's history? >> well, i believe director hoover was in place at the time. >> and who was your building named after? >> director hoover. >> and it's the darker some of the darkest times of the fbi history under hoover and the building's named after him. with that, i yield back. >> well, the director is permitted to respond. >> i would just say that director hoover, like most of us mortals, did some things that he is probably not proud of, wherever he is right now.
and some things we all should be very grateful to him for in terms of building the fbi into the organization it is today. like most people, he's complicated. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from idaho, mr. labrador. thank you,r: director wray, i really appreciated your opening statement to this committee. you and the great men and women of the fbi have an important and very difficult job. that is why during the time of the clinton investigation, i actually refused to question the integrity of your predecessor. in fact, i spent dozens of town hall meetings as a republican defending account integrity of your predecessor and disagreeing with some of my constituents about the things that they were saying. but now it's become pretty clear to me that my belief in the integrity of your predecessor was misplaced. could you please tell us what the letters fbi stand for? we know it stands for federal bureau of investigation but it also stands for something else.
>> we consider fbi to stand for the words fidelity, bravery, and integrity. mr. labrador: i have begun to have serious doubts about some in the fbi. about serious doubts about the integrity of some of the highest levels of the fbi because of actions taken by your agency over the past two years. and that is so disappointing because your agency does such important work as you expressed in your opening statement. and that is to make america safe and secure. and it depends upon most of the work that you do. it's a matter of public record that hillary clinton's aides cheryl miller and huma abedin lied to the investigators about the existence of hillary clinton's private e-mails. we know that an fbi agent investigated both clinton and trump. in fact, he was present at many
of these interviews. were cheryl mills, huma abedin or any other clinton associates ever charged by the fbi for lying to them? dir. wray: congressman, handling of the clinton e-mail investigation including all the other participants in that matter, is the subject of an outside independent investigation looking into that. mr. labrador: was anybody charged for lying to the fbi? dir. wray: no charges were filed against anybody in that investigation. mr. labrador: how many clinton advisers were grand immunity during the e-mail server investigation. >> i don't know the answer to that. >> but there were several clinton advisers who were granted immunity, isn't that correct? >> i believe that's true. but i doesn't know the answer to that sitting here right now. >> strzok was the official that signed the document that the officially opened the collusion inquiry into the russia trump collusion inquiry. how many trump administration advisers have been granted immunity during the russia special counsel investigation?
>> for questions about the special counsel investigation, i would refer to you the special counsel. i don't know the answer. >> if we want believe in the integrity of the fbi, explain to me why the double standard when you have agents and people who work for the clinton administration who were granted immunity or who lied to the fbi and they're not charged, what about, why is there a double standard today? congressman, we in the fbi are committed to not having a double standard. mr. labrador: but you have been committed over the last two years. so are you doing something to correct that? dir. wray: as i think i said to one of your colleagues, in every meeting that i go to since taking over director, as director, i try to emphasize the importance of following the rules, following the process, following the law, following the constitution, being faithful to our core values and not allowing
political biases to affect our decision making. i am aware there have been situations where there's a question, there's an inspector general investigation. mr. labrador: i have one more minute left. can you tell me definitively whether michael flynn violated the logan act? dir. wray: that's not a question i can answer. mr. labrador: i actually believe that the logan act is unconstitutional, by the way. but if we're going to not have a double standard, can you tell me whether the fbi is investigating former president barack obama for violating the logan act? he has been spending the last couple of weeks traveling the whole united states. i mean, the whole world, complaining about the foreign policy of the united states. is the fbi currently investigating the former president of the united states for violating the logan act? dir. wray: congressman, as you may know, we will not confirm or deny the existence of any ongoing investigation. mr. labrador: should we investigate minority leader
pelosi for meeting with assad in 2007? dir. wray: again, i'm not going to comment or speculate on whether or not there's an investigation. mr. labrador: should we investigate dennis rodman who went to meet with the north koreans? should we investigate him for that? dir. wray: same answer. mr. labrador: all right. i want you to help me bring back the integrity of the fbi to the united states. i love the fbi. i even considered as a young attorney to join the fbi. i grew up on the show. and i have great love for the work that the men and women at the fbi do. i hope that we can do something over the next two years that will counter act what happened over the last two years. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from rhode island is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. thank you, mr. rector, -- mr. director, for your service and
for the extraordinary service of the men and women at the fbi who are be to our country and who do important and dangerous work and risk hair lives often in that work. you hold in particular a very solemn responsibility to protect the integrity and the reputation of the fbi. and you are clearly proud as you should be to lead this agency. and i think we are seeing an administration which will continue to challenge the independence of the fbi and in many ways, our country is relying on your strength and your integrity to resist that. so i thank you. i want to begin with a couple of questions. one, there's been a lot of the question about obstruction of justice. you are aware, of course, obstruction of justice is a criminal statute in our federal law. dir. wray: yes. >> and there is no exemption in it for the president or any other person in the united states, that applies to every person in this country? dir. wray: i'm not aware of any statutory carve out. >> ok. i would like to turn to hate
crimes. there was a report from june of this year that identified at least 120 federal agencies that are not uploading information to the fbi's national hate crimes database. and i'm wondering whether or not the fbi has reached out to these agencies so far, if so how many, whether your plan is to reach out to all of them so that this information is being properly collected. i would be delighted to work with you on ways that congress can help support that work. dir. wray: thank you, congressman. we do believe strongly that more and complete data is really essential to having an informed dialogue on that topic just like in other areas of law enforcement. as you may know, providing that kind of information is generally voluntary on the part of the state or locality. we do have all manner of
outreach to various agencies to try to encourage them to provide information. mr. cicilline: this is actually 120 federal agencies. these aren't local. these are federal agencies. dir. wray: you're only asking about the federal agencies, right. mr. cicilline: it's not voluntary. they are required to do reporting. dir. wray: right, so we have interaction with all sorts of federal agencies to try to collect their information. mr. cicilline: my question really is, i hope you are putting together a plan now to reach out to those 120 agencies to be sure they are complying with this reporting requirement. and i'm happy to work with you in ways we can help support that. next i'd like to turn to the background check system. the pentagon's office of inspector general just released a report identifying serious deficiencies in the reporting system with officials in all four branches failing to submit final disposition reports in 31 of those cases. we've seen a recent incident where that allowed someone who should not have been able to buy a gun and killed a number of people. has the bureau begun to coordinate with the department of defense to fix this very serious problem? dir. wray: yes, congressman.
we've been in active engagement with the department of defense and already, a very significant amount of new records have come to the fbi and a number of transactions have already been denied as a result. mr. cicilline: thank you, mr. director. under federal law, director wray, fugitive from justice, those individuals who are fugitives from justice can not lawfully possess a firearm. after a 2016 inspector general's report, the obama administration agreed the fbi would use atf's interpretation of the term fugitive from justice and an individual with an outstanding warrant traveling across state lines. since taking office, attorney general sessions narrowed this definition to include only those who have fled across state lines to avoid being prosecuted for a crime. this resulted in the removal of almost 5000 entries from the database with only 758 fugitives remaining. do you agree with the narrowing of this definition and do you think congress should take steps to define fugitive from justice
to avoid this kind of action? dir. wray: a couple things. first off, i think the change occurred before the change in administration, and there was a letter written by the justice department under the prior administration to congress notifying them of the change and essentially inviting legislative attention. mr. cicilline: do you agree with that? dir. wray: then the second -- as i said, the fbi's position for years and years had been that the fugitive from justice interpretation didn't require crossing of state lines. i gather there's been a legal interpretation which i'll defer to the lawyers on. i will let you, that after the 500,000 point, that's -- there's been a little bit of confusion in the reporting on that. it removed from one part of the database but it's still in the states' warrants database. mr. cicilline: final question. last month, a las vegas shooter used a bump stock device to accelerate the rate of assault weapon discharge that killed 58
people and injured about 500. do you support the bipartisan effort in congress to ban bump stocks? dir. wray: i haven't reviewed the legislation. obviously we're deeply concerned about the bump stock issue. mr. cicilline: do you generally support a prohibition? dir. wray: the fbi doesn't normally take positions. we provide operational assessment and work with the justice department on that. mr. cicilline: thank you. madam chair, just want to say the rule of law is really the guardian of our democracy and the president and this administration are going to continue to test our commitment as a nation to this. you're going to play a critical role in defending that. and our country is depending on you and i trust that you will continue to uphold the integrity of the fbi and the rule of law in this country because the very foundations of our democracy depend on it. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from florida, mr. desantis is now recognized for five minutes.
mr. desantis: welcome, director. secretary clinton's e-mails were backed up on a cloud and now subject to an order by u.s. district judge moss in a cause brought my judicial watch. why did the fbi not search the data device in its possession for hillary's deleted e-mails? dir. wray: i believe decisions made in the course of the clinton e-mail investigation are all the subject of the inspector general's review. mr. desantis: why the fbi didn't disclose such device was in its possession? dir. wray: i don't know the answer to that. mr. desantis: was the attorney general's airplane cabin monitored when she met with bill clinton and june 2016 on the tarmac in phoenix? dir. wray: i don't know the answer to that. i think the tarmac meeting is part of or related to the inspector general's outside independent investigation. mr. desantis: you know how the
meeting came about? it's not like you bump into someone at a shopping mall. they met on a private plane. do you have insight into that? dir. wray: i've read some of the same newspaper coverage that you have, but as i said, that whole episode is wrapped up in the inspector general's ongoing investigation. mr. desantis: how did the russia investigation start? did peter strzok start it? dir. wray: i'm not aware of who started the investigation. mr. desantis: was it starred because the dossier was presented to somebody in the fbi? dir. wray: i don't have the answer to that question. mr. desantis: can you get the answer to that question for us? dir. wray: well, if there's information that we can provide without compromising the ongoing special counsel investigation, i'm happy to see what there is that we can doing to be responsive. mr. desantis: was strzok in coming up with the conclusion the fbi reached about russia when they issued a report after election? dir. wray: that's a question that goes right to the heart of the special counsel investigation. i don't think it would be point for me to speculate or comment
on that. mr. desantis: here's the problem that you have. i think you're walking into a contempt of congress. the idea that we can't conduct oversight over how the fbi is handling things that are very sensitive and then you're going to come to us and say we should reauthorize all these programs, i think you're wrong on that. i don't think you're trying. i don't know what advice you've got. we do have a right to conduct oversight on all of this. we all can deal with classified information all the time. so we have a question about how this dossier was generated for political purposes. it ended up in the fbi's possession, what did the fbi do with it? and your answer to us is you will not give us information on that today? dir. wray: my answer has a couple parts to it. there are certain of the various questions asked here today. there are some topics i think it is not appropriate to discuss in open forum. there's some topics that are classified. mr. desantis: whether you use it or not though is not classified. go ahead. dir. wray: there are some topics
where even though the information is classified, we can and do and will share it with the committees in an appropriate setting. and then there are some topics that go straight to, even it's not just a question of classification, the goes straight to the access to sensitive sources and methods , which is something that all of us as americans have to take very, very seriously. mr. desantis: the chairman confident intelligence committee has a right to that. you won't even produce it to the chairman of the intelligence committee. here's the problem. whether strzok was involved in this needs to be disclosed to congress. whether the dossier was used to generate surveillance with a fisa court on a trump associate needs to be disclosed to congress. i don't care about the sources. we know where the sources and methods. it was the democratic party paying fusion gps to get the dossier. we know that. the question is how did your organization use it? you weren't there during that time. but if they were getting this information from a political party and then using it for surveillance against an
opposition party candidate, that's a problem. do you agree that that would be a problem for the american people? i do agree that any inappropriate use of the fisa process for political purposes is something that we should all be very concerned about and take very seriously. mr. desantis: we need the answers to that. it's very, very important. let me ask you this. independence from politics i agree. but the fbi like all agencies need to be accountable to someone. would it have been inappropriate if president kennedy ordered director hoover to stop surveilling martin luther king junior in say 1962 if he believed that surveillance was illegitimate? dir. wray: no. mr. desantis: right. so you would be accountable. is it customary to draft an exoneration memo long before interviewing all relevant witnesses, including the target of that investigation? dir. wray: well, i do believe that in any investigation final decisions and conclusions should
wait until, as congressman gowdy said, until the last witness has been reached. on the other hand, i also know from having done investigations both for the government and in the private side that as investigations develop, you start forming views about what you're finding. all subject to revision and in some cases, withdrawal until you're done. mr. desantis: fair enough. is it acceptable practice for fbi agents to leak official work product to the media? dir. wray: no. mr. desantis: thank you. i yield back. >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california is now recognized for five minutes. swalwell:well -- welcome, director wray. congratulations on your appointment. and thank you and your agents for their service to our country. i think there are fair questions as you pointed out about prior investigations and if there's evidence of any misconduct, they should be held to account. but it is sickening to sit here and listen to the good names of people like bob mueller and
james comey just be smeared and that the work of your agents has become politicized, because i don't believe that is the case and what i've observed on the intelligence committee and what i've observed just as a former prosecutor who's had fbi agents on the stand. but i would like to look forward and our house intelligence committee investigation, it's early but it has yielded some key take-aways which is that our social media was weaponized by the russians, that senior presidential campaign aides were approached by russians, in a variety of ways to offer dirt on a political opponent, and that our government response from the very top to our intelligence officials was probably not sufficient in how congress was notified or how the public was notified. knowing that we have an election coming up in november 2018, what does the fbi plan to do whether it's russia or any of the other adversaries you identified who would love to interfere, meddle
or influence an election? dir. wray: congressman, any effort to interfere with our elections whether it's by russia or any other nation state or any nonstate actor is something that we at the fbi take extremely seriously. i know our counterparts throughout the government do, as well. we are, as i think i may have mentioned, like you, focused on looking forward. we have created a few months ago a foreign influence tack force to ensure that we're bringing the right kind of focus and discipline to the process. it combines, because we think this is a multidisciplinary problem, it combines both the counter intelligence division and the cyber division and the criminal division and some other parts of the fbi, as well. our focus is on trying to look for, sniff out, determine whether or not there are any efforts to interfere with the upcoming elections. we are in that effort coordinating closely with the
department of homeland security, which has a similar type of body on its end. mr. swalwell: would you be open to working with congress on a duty to report law, whether it's social media company who's observe interference on their platforms before the fbi does or whether its individuals who are contacted by foreign nationals offering ill gotten evidence against another campaign, that there would be a duty to report that to law enforcement? would that be helpful for the fbi? dir. wray: i'd be happy to have our staff coordinate with yours to review any legislative proposal and to give you an operational assessment on how that might or might not be helpful. ,r. swalwell: looking forward former director james comey described multiple efforts by president trump to influence the fbi's russia investigation. that's the only sworn testimony the record has. director comey memorialized president trump's conduct in a
series of memos. a couple questions for you. since being sworn in, have you met one-on-one with president trump? dir. wray: no. mr. swalwell: has he called you where just the two of you have talked? dir. wray: i've gotten maybe one congratulatory phone call, for example, the day of my installation ceremony. mr. swalwell: you haven't had to break a date with your wife? dir. wray: i haven't had sort of substantive engagement that way. mr. swalwell: knowing the prior efforts by the president to influence a past investigation, going forward, how will you memorialize a report to congress or the public, any improper effort by any president to influence an ongoing investigation? have you thought about procedures or methods that you would take? dir. wray: i would evaluate each situation on its own merits. i'm acutely aware of the importance of trying to keep careful track of conversations , especially important sensitive conversations. exactly what i would memoryize
and how and whether again, it would depend on the circumstances of the particular situation, but you can be confident that in all of those situations, i would, as i said to the committee earlier, be guided by my unwavering commitment to following my duty and my adherence to the constitution and the rule of law and there isn't a person on this planet that can get me to drop a properly predicated investigation or start an investigation that's not properly predicated. dir. wray: do you believe that president trump is above the law? -- mr. swalwell: do you believe that president trump is above the law? dir. wray: i don't believe anybody's above the law. mr. swalwell: thank you. i yield back. the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from colorado is recognized for five minutes. mr. buck: thank you. and thank you, director wray, for your testimony today. you've heard a lot about the appearance of impropriety or possible conflict of interest or
perception that there are some that are tainted in their views. there is a statute that was enacted years ago that deals with this in part and it's the hatch act. as the former assistant attorney general for the criminal division and now the fbi director, i am assuming that you are familiar with the hatch act. dir. wray: generally familiar, sure. mr. buck: and as a former federal prosecutor, i was also before you started in the department, the hatch act was amended. and it allowed assistant u.s. attorneys and others to participate more fully in the political process but it specifically prohibited, or it specifically did not allow that enhanced participation to apply to prosecutors in the criminal division and fbi agents. at least that's my memory.
is that -- are you familiar with that? dir. wray: i would say i'm generally aware as you say, that there were some changes, some loosening under the hatch act at some point. i can't remember exactly when that was relative to my time as a baby prosecutor. and so the particulars of exactly when it applies and when it doesn't and to whom, unfortunately i don't have that committed to memory here. i think -- dir. wray: -- mr. buck: i think it was 1993. one of the prohibitions was individuals contriving to a partisan political candidate. again, i'm asking you, are you familiar with that prohibition? is that a prohibition that applies to fbi agents today? dir. wray: i don't know that i
can recall it off the top of my head exactly what the restrictions are on political participation under the hatch act for fbi agents and criminal division prosecutors. unfortunately, i have to look at that and see if i can get back to come if you would like me to. mr. buck: you or a member of your staff would be great. prosecutor least one on the mueller team that was at the criminal division and donated to hillary for america according to a record that i am looking at right now. and there are a number of the prosecutors on the mueller team now that have prosecuted in the past. i'm not sure they were criminal division employees at the time they prosecuted. but my question really is, whether we need to amend the
hatch act and make it more clear in light of the perception by members of the public that there are individuals that are investigating president trump and they have an unfair agenda in their investigation. a spouse of an fbi, a senior fbi employee received a large amount of money from the democrat party to run for office in virginia. -- again, the appearance of and my understanding is the hatch act does not apply to spouses and hasn't applied to spouses and was never intended to apply to spouses, but it does raise the issue of whether we should have further restrictions to make sure that the public has faith and trust in the process that you and i hold dear. i'm just wondering if you would
be willing to comment on that. dir. wray: well, any specific legislative reform would be something i'd have to look at more closely. i think the fundamental underlying principle of your point is one that you and i share, which is that investigations need to be conducted in a way that political bias doesn't taint. how much of that is done through the hatch act, so much is done through all and procedures and staffing, how much of that is done through recruiting the right people, training and promoting the right people, i think it's all of the above. mr. buck: i think that's a great point. in order to staff a staff a case in a way that would assure the public that there wasn't a bias going into the case, you would need to know who had donated to who, who had participated in some political activity. should there be at least internally, maybe not as a
matter of public record, but internally within the fbi a process where if someone complies with the hatch act but is still involved in some activity that they disclose that , so that if there is a staffing decision to be made, that the staffing decision can be made with the assurance of supervisors that people are not tainted in some way or at least the perception is that they are not tainted. dir. wray: i'd have to think about the first amendment implications of that. i certainly take the point. you know, my guess though is that you could encounter similar concerns when you look at individuals' charitable contributions, too, contributions to particular organizations, 5013c organizations that have a particular social view, for example, so i think questions of bias and objectivity back and
forth and questions of appearance of bias and objectivity back and forth have to be n i also want to make sure whatever i am doing, i'm doing it in a way that is consistent with the fact that fbi employees , just like all americans, have a right to have views and both about politics and about social issues. >> the gentleman's time has expired. now recognize the gentleman from california. eu: thank you, madam chair. thank you director wray for being here. i want the american people to know when you served in the administration of president george w. bush, you received the edmund randolph award for leadership and public service. not only have you served the american people, have you served us well. thank you. earlier today, you stated that donald trump has not asked you to take a loyalty oath.
if donald trump were to ask you later today or sometime in the future to take a loyalty oath to him, would you do so? dir. wray: the only loyalty oath i take is the one that i took when i was sworn in to this job , which is a loyalty to the constitution and the laws of the united states. mr. lieu: thank you. that is the right answer. i asked that same exact question to attorney general sessions last month. he did not give that answer. i commend you for understanding that your loyalty is to the constitution, the laws and the american people, not whoever happens to be president at the time. so thank you for recognizing that. i'd like to ask you about intelligence community assessment. i have a document here called assessing russian activities and intentions in recent u.s. elections. madam chair, i'd like to enter it for the record -- or, mr. chair, i'd like to enter the document for the record. chairman goodlatte, i'd like to enter a document for the record. >> no objection. mr. lieu: i'm going to ask you
about three specific findings. this report was released earlier this year. it states, and this is the fbi , cia, nsa and others. we assess russian president putin influenced a campaign aimed at the u.s. presidential election. russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the u.s. democratic process, denigrate secretary clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency. we further assess vladimir putin and the russian government developed a clear preference for president elect trump. does the fbi stand by that assessment? dir. wray: as we sit here right now, i have not seen any information that would cause me to question the basic conclusions of the intelligence community assessment. mr. lieu: thank you. dir. wray: including that one. mr. lieu: i'm going to ask you about two more. we also assess putin, the russian government aspired to help president trump's election chances when possible by discredititying secretary clinton and publicly publicly contrasting her unfavorably to
him. the fbi has high confidence in this judgment. does that remain true today? dir. wray: again, sitting here right now, the information that i've seen up to this point would not cause me to question the basic conclusions of the intelligence community assessment. mr. lieu: thank you. and one more. russia intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements local. state, and electoral boards. does fbi stand by that assessment? dir. wray: same answer. mr. lieu: thank you. earlier this week, the president of the united states attacked the dedication and integrity of 37,000 fbi employees. i believe that's outrageous, it's also factually false. i would like to go through with you the extremely high caliber of the personnel in your department. as you know, there are a number of disqualifiers that keep the fbi from even considering to hire you. first off, you have to be a u.s. citizen to be an fbi employee, correct? dir. wray: yes. mr. lieu: if you are convicted
of a felony, if you violate the fbi's drug policy or fail fbi's urinalysis test, you cannot be hired as an fbi employee, is that correct? dir. wray: that is my understanding. mr. lieu: if you fail to pay court ordered child support, failed to file your taxes, even if you default on a student loan ensured by the u.s. government you can't be hired as an employee, correct? dir. wray: i believe that's right. mr. lieu: and all fbi employees passing credit and record checks also have to pass polygraph examination, correct? dir. wray: i believe polygraphs are applied to almost everybody in the fbi, yes. mr. lieu: thank you. to be fbi special agent, there's even more qualifications. you have to pass a phase one test assessing reasoning and judgment, meet in person with fbi officials, pass a phase two test including writing exercise with fbi special agents and pass a physical fitness test, correct? dir. wray: again, i believe that's correct. mr. lieu: then you have to pass a 21-week course at the fbi academy in quantico, correct?
dir. wray: i'm sorry, what was the length? mr. lieu: 21-week course. dir. wray: right. 21 weeks, exactly. that's the subject of some -- sometimes the instructors will tell the new agents it's only 20 weeks and the agents will quickly point out, no, no, it's 21 weeks, we know the difference. mr. lieu: thank you. i am active in the military, they've been known to say that too. that's why of all these enormous qualifications you have to go through, of 12,000 application the fbi had last year, you only hired approximately the top 6.3% to be special agents, correct? dir. wray: well, i don't have the numbers, but that sounds generally right. mr. lieu: two more questions. the fbi's reputation is not in tatters, right? >> the time offed the gentleman has expired. you may answer the question. dir. wray: as i said to the committee earlier, my experience with the fbi has been positive. i have enormous faith and confidence in the people who work there. i see example after example of
fidelity and bravery and integrity everywhere i go inside the organization. and i could not be more proud to be sitting here as one of their colleagues. mr. lieu: thank you. i yield back. >> chair recognize gentleman from texas. mr. radcliffe: thank you. good to see you again. let me start with where my california colleague left off in leaving fbi in tatters. fbiou pointed out, the i in stands for integrity. i never misunderstood trump's tweet to be anything other than questioning the integrity of senior leadership at the fbi, not the rank and file agents within the fbi. and much of that swirls around the senior leadership of former fbi director james comey. congressman dowdy well highlighted a series of anomalies involving director comey as well as former attorney
general lynch. director comey's gone. now we have new questions this week about integrity of other senior fbi officials. agent strop was until recently the fbi's number two counterintelligence official, correct? dir. wray: i think he was number two -- one of the number twos in the counterintelligence division. ratcliffe: and- then after some approximately 10,000 texts, some of which included anti-trump or pro-clinton sentiments, he was reassigned to the human resources division at the fbi, correct? dir. wray: correct. tcliffe: and so
we've learned about that reassignment headed up the clinton e-mail investigation for director comey, correct? dir. wray: i know he was actively involved in the investigation, who headed it up, but i think i'd have to defer on that. >> we know he was present from the fbi's own 302s, we know he was present for the interview of hillary clinton. dir. wray: i have heard that as well. >> well, i have seen the actual redacted 302, so i'll represent to you he was present and it was reflected he was present in the room. we also know that months before that interview of former secretary clinton that mr. strop was part of the team that wrote an exoneration memo and changed as you have been question about language in their changing gross negligence to extremely careless, a legally significant change, correct? dir. wray: well, congressman, as you probably recall from your own prior life, you can guess what i am about to say, there's a very active outside independent investigation by inspector general into the matters you're asking about. fe: i appreciate that, but i'm trying to highlight all the things where agent strop was involved. we know after president trump's
victory in november it's believed he may have signed off on various documents initiating the fbi's russia election probe. but we know at a minimum, he interviewed trump campaign or was involved in the interview of trump campaign adviser michael flynn, correct? dir. wray: again, i'm not going to discuss the facts of the ongoing investigation. ffe: and then we know that upon the appointment of special counsel to look into possible trump-russia collusion trump was detailed to mueller's investigative team, some refer to him as the lead investigator, correct? dir. wray: i don't know whether he was the lead investigator. >> well, as has been pointed out, every fbi employee has and is entitled to have political opinions. and now we know that there are some 10,000 texts which apparently very much highlight agent strop's political opinions , anti-trump and pro-clinton. i'm not making accusations here, i'm not making conclusions here. but you remember from law school that legal doctrine, the fruit of the poisonous tree, really a legal metaphor that says if the
source or tree is contaminated, biased or prejudiced, that everything that yields and arises from that, may also be contaminated, prejudiced or biased. so you can see where i have concerns about the appearance of impropriety here because what we've learned about fbi agent strop is that this is the one fbi agent that is literally at the epicenter of every -- virtually every major decision the fbi has been involved in action and inaction about candidate trump, president trump and candidate clinton. and if that one agent at the center or source is decidedly anti-trump and decidedly pro-clinton, that raises real questions about all of the conclusions the fbi has reached. on any and all of these matters. now, to his credit, it is being
reported that special counsel mueller is the one who demoted the agent upon learning about these texts. i want to give him credit for that if in fact those reports are true. are they true? dir. wray: congressman, i would not say that the individual in question was demoted. i would say he was removed from the investigation and that was something we did from the fbi and in coordination with the office of special counsel. ffe: i want to give credit where credit is due and if special counsel mueller is entitled to that, i will certainly, but i want to point out we found out months later not from inspect general mueller but inspector general horowitz. two weeks ago, attorney general sessions was in this room and i asked him a question because i'm part of an investigative team joint committee from judiciary and the oversight and government reform committee that are
looking into these irregularities in the 2016 election decisions that were made by the fbi and the department of justice. and i asked attorney general sessions, will you allow us to go where the facts and evidence lead us in that investigation in our oversight capacity? he assured me that he would. i'm asking you and giving you the opportunity to represent to us as this oversight body and to the american people that you will allow us to go where the facts and evidence lead us. >> time of the gentleman has expired. the director may answer the question. dir. wray: i would want the fbi to cooperate with the committee's oversight investigation in every way we appropriately and legally can. >> director, my time is expired. i just want to tell you as you know, we worked together at the department of justice, the fbi is an organization that i have revered for my entire life. help me help you restore the fbi's reputation with every
american. thank you. i yield back. >> chair recognizes gentleman from maryland for five minutes. mr. raskin: thank you very much. director wray, welcome. thank you for your commitment to the rule of law in face of these continuing efforts to defame your department and its employees. when the white house says that your office is in tatters, i think it's a case of what the psychiatrists call projection. but i want to ask you about the crisis of gun violence in america. you said you would not rule out in any way common sense gun reform legislation. unfortunately, we haven't been able to have hearings on any common sense gun reform legislation like criminal background check in the case of all gun sales, supported by more than 90% of people. but yesterday, the house passed something called be concealed carry reciprocity act, which theoretically if it passes the
senate, allows for millions more guns in interstate traffic because it would wipe out the laws of the states with respect to concealed carry. have you done any study or analysis to what it would do to state and local law enforcement if this legislation were to pass? dir. wray: i'm not aware of any such study, congressman. mr. raskin: do you have any thoughts on this legislation? dir. wray: i haven't reviewed this legislation. i'd be happy to take a look at it. but i think we would have to make an operational assessment depending on where the legislation goes. mr. raskin: do you support universal criminal background check, the kind supported by more than 90% of the american people? is that in the interest of public safety in the country? dir. wray: any legislative change to the current gun laws is something i would evaluate from a standpoint of all the operational impacts for the fbi. mr. raskin: mr. director, some of my colleagues have asked questions about the possible politically based targeting by the fbi, african-american political activists denominated as black identity extremists, other colleagues across the
aisle are asking questions about the possible politically based targeting by the fbi by republican presidents. there's a lot more on fbi history with j edgar hoover and the campaign to smear and disrupt martin luther king and civil rights movement, to justify congresswoman bass' fears being expressed by our colleagues that there's conspiracy to target republican presidents, but let me just ask you some basic questions that might help to clear up some of the confusion. does the fbi target people for criminal investigation or prosecution based on their political party? dir. wray: no. mr. raskin: would you accept any prosecutors doing that? dir. wray: would not accept any prosecution -- well, first off -- mr. raskin: investigators or prosecutors. dir. wray: what we do is investigate. that's important that we keep straight who the investigators are and who the prosecutors are. we open investigations, as i
said earlier, only when properly predicated, which in this context means credible evidence of a federal crime, credible evidence of a threat of force or violence and both of those things sort of being used to further aed to political or social goal. we do not investigate opinion, ideology, political persuasion, rhetoric, those are not things , we've got enough on our plate and we don't investigate those. mr. raskin: we know that president trump tried to get director comey to drop the flynn investigation and then fired director comey after he refused to go along with that. other than the heckling and hectoring you have experienced today by our colleagues, has anyone from the trump white house tried to interfere with any investigations you're involved in right now?
dir. wray: first off, i don't take any of the questions from any of your colleagues as heckling or hectoring. as i said to my team earlier in the week, congress has an important role. and i welcome the tough questions. i may not always be able to answer your questions, as you've seen here today. but you can count on me to do my best. that's what i will do as long as i sit in this chair. as for any effort to interfere with our investigations, to my knowledge, to my experience since i started this job nobody has tried to interfere improperly with any investigation that's under my supervision. mr. raskin: and in the face of political complaints that this group or that group doesn't like an investigation you're doing, what is the proper response of the fbi? dir. wray: i say to all of our folks as often as i can, because i think that is so important and
goes frankly right to some of the concerns that members on both sides have expressed that our job is to follow the facts independently and objectively wherever they may lead no matter to whom it may lead and no matter who doesn't like it. and one of the points i try to make over and over again to our audiences is that there's always going to be someone who doesn't like what we do. you think about the most basic investigations that we have, if it leads to an arrest, i guarantee you the guy we arrest , he doesn't like it. and those situations where we bring a situation and we can't arrest somebody, more often than not, the victim is frustrated and disappointed and they don't like it. and our safe space is to follow the rules, follow the guidelines, follow the constitution, follow the facts objectively and independently and let the critics go where they may because there will always be lots of critics of everything we do. mr. raskin: thank you. >> the time of the gentleman has expired.
the chair recognize the gentleman from florida. z: thank you, mr. chairman. you said to follow the rules, were the rules followed in the hillary clinton investigation? dir. wray: that's something that's being investigated right now by the outside inspector general. i'm very much looking forward to seeing what he finds on that. >> you and me both. do you think she got special treatment? dir. wray: well, again, i think when you ask about special treatment, i interpret that but i may not be correctly interpreting your question which i'm sure you'll tell me, but i determine to be whether or not the handling of the investigation was tainted in some way by improper political considerations and that's exactly what the inspector general's going to tell us. >> i sent you a letter asking you to tell us whether or not hillary clinton got special treatment and your office's answer was you provide in a classified setting. why don't the american people deserve to know whether or not hillary clinton got special treatment? dir. wray: well, i think the reference to classified information went to the other part of your letter, which has to do with the dossier issues. >> let's talk about that --
dir. wray: but on the first part, on the question of special treatment, what i would tell you, i think this is one of the questions in your letter. we do not at the f yard cap some double standard of special -- knowing mr. gaetz: it's an informal term. dir. wray: it's an informal term. mr. gaetz: you could see how informally designating something as special signifies a double standard, right? dir. wray: i can see how term special could be misunderstood. i will tell you that -- mr. gaetz: i have limited time. so on the dossier, did fbi pay for a dossier on the president? dir. wray: questions about the dossier are something better taken up in separate settings. mr. gaetz: don't the american people deserve to know whether taxpayer money was used to buy a dossier that was curated by a
political party to discredit the president of the united states before and after his election? dir. wray: as i said, i understand the basis for the question, but i would tell you questions on that subject are something that we're having lots and lots of interaction with, multiple congressional committees and their staffs on a classified setting. recruitz: did all molar people to his probe that had a bias against the president? dir. wray: i can't speak to how director mueller staffed or recruited for his team. mr. gaetz: it seems like a hell of a coincidence. we've got mr. strzok clearly biased that's why he was re re-signed. mr. wiesman praising people defying the president and then you have law firms that are overwhelmingly donating to the obama campaign and the clinton campaign that serve up the humans that are in that investigation. so you can't say with certainty that bias against the president wasn't a factor that brought people into the mueller probe, can you? dir. wray: as i said, i'm not going to weigh-in on director mueller's staffing of his own team. mr. gaetz: so we don't know whether mr. mueller recruited people as a
consequence of their bias. we don't know whether hillary clinton was treated as special. we don't know whether the fbi used taxpayer money to go buy a dossier to discredit the president. what we do know is you said you were an ask questions first and act kind of guy, which i believe and appreciate. so you would never, as an ask questions first kind of guy, draft an exoneration statement before interviewing key witnesses in investigation, would you? dir. wray: well, i certainly wouldn't finalize one. i will say as i said, i think i can't remember if it was to congressman gowdy or one of your other colleagues, in my experience in an investigation, you do start to form a view, but keyword -- mr. gaetz: drafting an exoneration statement before conducting witness interviews? dir. wray: we sometimes would draft reports before the investigation was over. mr. gaetz: exonerating someone? dir. wray: exonerating or incriminating, but in all cases , as congressman gowdy alluded to in his own comment, in my view you would not make any kind of final decision about
anything, exoneration or otherwise until you'd had all the evidence. mr. gaetz: so we've got an exoneration statement drafted before the interviews are done, you've got a meeting on the tarmac with the spouse of someone that is being investigated, you've got the former fbi director holding a press conference to make a determination about the outcome of an investigation, you've got james clapper when he's confronted with information from an intelligence inspector general saying he doesn't want anything to be a headache for the clinton campaign, we don't know if these taxpayer funds were used for opposition research. my question is what's it going to take? why do we have to wait for an inspector general? if i walk outside and it's raining, i don't need inspector general to tell me to get an umbrella. with these highly aberrational circumstances, which almost anyone would acknowledge apart from the standards of the fbi, why wait for an inspector general? why not do what we know to be right and institute reforms that bring transparency and oversight and redundancy so that in the future, you don't have some ecomaniac rogue fbi director that departs so that outcomes
can be predetermined before the investigation? dir. wray: as i said before and as congressman gowdy said in his question to me, i think it's appropriate that we wait in this instance until we have all the facts, until the last witness, as he said, has been interviewed. and then based on the facts that we have, take appropriate action. i completely understand the reasons you're asking the question. i sympathize with them. mr. gaetz: you see -- >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the director may answer the question. dir. wray: your concerns, which i completely sympathize with and understand, go to the question of whether or not proper process , investigative and otherwise , were followed. and i think the best way to get to the bottom of that is not to bypass proper investigative process now into those things. we should wait, let the fact finding finish, the inspector general is somebody who's seen the inspector general in action from the justice department side, as a line prosecutor, as a defense attorney, is not a rubber stamp.
this is somebody who puts people through their paces. and i look forward to hearing what it is he finds. this is not the fbi investigating itself. it's an outside watchdog and i look forward to seeing what that report is. and then at that time -- but at that time, that is when we should look at what appropriate step should be taken in the response. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from washington. pal: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, director, for being with us today. and thank you for your service to the country. i have a question about the fbi's 2016 crime in the united states report. it surprised many of us to see a drastic decrease in the amount of data available until the report. the report only contains 29 tables as opposed to the 80-plus tables, that's almost a 70% decrease in the tables of the previous years. when questioned, the bureau said
plan has been in effect since 2010 however only informed of the change recently. are you aware of the shift to dramatically decrease the amount of crime data available to the public? dir. wray: congresswoman, i recently learned of this issue. i guess i could say a couple things. the first is that the decision to remove those particular tables was based on information that cgis, which is part of our fbi had, that spoke to how often those tables were even being reviewed by anybody. second, the information in those particular tables was largely just alternative views of data that was still in the report. but third, and probably most importantly to your question, we recently made a decision internally to go ahead and republish the information with the tables. it's going to take a few weeks for that to happen however. mr. jayapal: that's great. we really appreciate that very much. i did want to submit this letter for the record from the crime and justice research alliance about why those tables are so important. but we very much appreciate you doing that.
let me move to some questions about hate crimes and various ethnic, religious and minority groups. california university study for the center of hate and extremism found bias crimes against various minorities and religious groups were up 20% since the election of donald trump. the majority of crimes against individuals in the islamic or lgbt communities. director, the president has repeatedly posted tweets insulting various ethnic , religious and minority groups. most recently, he retweeted three videos by a discredited united kingdom white separatist ultranationalist political group, videos which allegedly showed muslims committing crimes. in the tense environment and climate that we operate under and with the frequent vilification of minorities in the public sphere, do you believe that the president's rhetoric and actions such as
these tweets have an impact on the rising hate crimes that we are seeing? dir. wray: congresswoman, i try to stay out of commenting on the business of what's being said in social media. what i would say as to the statistics of hate crime and apparent rise in hate crimes, as i think was noted in one of the earlier exchanges, in trying to collect that information, especially from state and local law enforcement, it's voluntary. so we have challenges because it's sporadic as to which agencies will provide information and which ones won't and how accurate and what resources they have to collect the information, so it's hard for us to get an accurate take. we do the best we can with the information we have. mr. jayapal: director wray -- i will say my
experience in dealing with communities as we do our investigation is that it's very important that we have the trust of all communities we serve throughout the united states and all communities we serve and protect especially not just because it's the right thing to do but because it's the smart thing to do. we need to be able to encourage sources, which are the life blood of investigations, and we need people to come forward and speak up and tell us when they see something that is concerning so that if an investigation's appropriate we can conduct one. i think the folks in the bureau are acutely sensitive to that and continue that practice and approach. ms. jayapal: i appreciate that. i feel like you're taking my questions right out of my mouth because i do think that it's important for you as the director of the fbi to be concerned about anything that hurts the trust that we have with our communities across the country that are helping in the fbi's efforts. president trump has previously warned that immigration from muslim majority nations threatens the united states security. do you share that view? dir. wray: i am deeply concerned
about global jihadist terrorism , which is a very real problem. ms. jayapal: but do you believe majority muslim countries are a threat -- before you answer that, let me ask you if you know who said this quote, islam as practiced by the vast majority of people is a peaceful religion, ours is a country based upon tolerance and we welcome people of all faiths in america. do you know who said that, director wray? dir. wray: well, i'm not 100% certain about the quote but if memory serves, it may be president george w. bush shortly after 9/11. ms. jayapal: very good. that's right. and so i would just ask, director wray, again, do you share the view that immigration from muslim majority nations threatens the united states security? >> time of the gentlewoman has expired. the director may answer. dir. wray: thank you, mr. chairman. what i would say is that an awful lot of our terrorism investigations do also involve
immigration violations. so there is a close nexus between immigration violations and counterterrorism investigations. and an awful lot of the terrorist investigations we have involve global jihadist rhetoric , which is disproportionately concentrated in certain countries. >> the chair recognize the gentleman from louisiana. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. chairman. director wray, thank you for being here today. we have limited time, i'm going to get right into it. first, i have always found it interesting that director comey never sought to obtain the dnced d&c servers -- servers to review trails that can definitively prove or disprove the russian hacking allegation. have you sought those servers? and if not, why not? dir. wray: the handling of that investigation including access to servers or anything like that those are investigative decisions made in the course of
the clinton email investigation, which is now a subject of a rigorous outside independent investigation by the inspector general. i am waiting to see what he finds to decide what appropriate action might ensue from that. mr. johnson: do you know if the inspector general is seeking the servers? or do you have any information on it? dir. wray: i don't have any information on that. mr. johnson: the number two official on mr. mueller's team, former fbi general counsel andrew weissman, as you know, was just shown to have made bias comments against president trump and e-mails sent to the since-fired acting attorney general sally yates. as a matter of general policy, what happens when employees at the fbi are shown to make bias comments in the midst of an investigation on which they serve? dir. wray: well, it really is hard to generalize. it depends on the situation, depends on how severe the bias, depends on lots and lots of different circumstances. so it's hard for me to make one sweeping statement. certainly in some instances we would remove somebody from that investigation. mr. johnson: who makes that
decision? what's the criteria? is that ultimately your unilateral authority? dir. wray: it wouldn't have to rise to my level. it would depend on the investigation i suppose. mr. johnson: with regard to terrorism, the department of homeland security recently indicated the threat environment in the u.s. is perhaps the most serious since the 9/11 attacks in yourtacks, and opening statement today of course you noted that the fbi's currently investigating about 1,000 isis related threats in all 50 states. is the threat evolving now that isis is losing ground in iraq and syria? has the threat grown as that organization has become more decentralized? dir. wray: it's a very good question. i think what i would say is the threat different. the good news is the caliphate is crumbling and that's positive for all of us. the bad news is isis is encouraging some of its recruits and potential recruits to do -- to stay where they are and commit attacks right in the
homeland. so in addition to the 1,000 or thereabouts isis investigations, which i would define as sort of isis-directed investigations, we have a lot of what we would call home grown violent extremist investigations, which are individuals, more kind of lone wolf types who are motivated and inspired by isis to commit attacks, and that is i think the threat in our view is growing not just in the u.s. but in a lot of our allied countries as well. mr. johnson: wish we had time to unpack that further but let me ask you specifically regarding isis and current investigations. ken you confirm for us today that the las vegas killer stephen paddock didn't have any ties to international terrorism despite the fact isis is claiming responsibility? dir. wray: i've seen the same claims of responsibility that you have, congressman. i would tell you that so far in our investigation, we haven't seen any evidence to support those claims of responsibility. mr. johnson: thanks for that. in september i wrote a letter along with 17 other to request
investigation into planned parenthood gulf coast actions selling aborted fetal tissue for financial gain, if that activity is shown to have taken place, is that a crime? dir. wray: i don't know the legal answer, as i said before i consider myself a now reformed lawyer, but i will tell you that we're aware of the request and we have found it out to the appropriate field offices and parts of the bureau to take a look at the information provided. : mr. johnson: -- mr. johnson: last month we got information the fbi requested from the senate judiciary committee documents obtained from those abortion providers regarding that probe and on behalf of all of our delegations and those in the region, i want to thank you for that. we look forward to the outcome of it. appreciate you being here and your service to the country, sir. i yield back. dir. wray: thank you, sir. >> the chair recognize gentleman from new york. thank you, mr.
chairman. thank you for your dedication to the country. wikileaks has repeatedly published information designed to damage the united states, is that correct? dir. wray: i think that's correct. mr. jeffries: and there's reason to believe that wikileaks works closely with russian intelligence agents and spies, is that right? dir. wray: i've seen some of the same information, certainly we're concerned about wikileaks. mr. jeffries: donald trump jr. had multiple conversations with wikileaks between september 2016 and july 2017, is that correct? dir. wray: that one i don't know, but i think now you're getting into territory that i believe is right in the heart of what the special counsel has on his plate. mr. jeffries: for example, i 3, donald trump jr. asked wikileaks, what's behind this wednesday leak i keep reading about, are you familiar with that? dir. wray: i'm not going to comment on anything that might be part of the special counsel's investigation. mr. jeffries: ok. on october 12, wikileaks contacted donald trump jr. saying, great to see you and your dad talking about our publications. and by the way, we just released
podesta e-mails part four. let me ask you this question, donald trump, jr. never informed the fbi or other law enforcement agencies that a known russian collaborator had been in communication with him about matters related to the united states presidential election, is that right? dir. wray: again, congressman, i'm not going to comment on anything that might be part of the special counsel's ongoing investigation. mr. jeffries: ok, well the apparent existence between the trump campaign, russian spies and wikileaks seems to be something we should all be deeply troubled about. in 1974, the house judiciary committee adopted articles of impeachment against president nixon, correct? dir. wray: that sounds right. mr. jeffries: one of those articles of impeachment related to obstruction of justice, correct? dir. wray: that i don't remember specifically. it's been a while since i studied that episode. mr. jeffries: ok. 1998, more recently, the house of representatives adopted articles of impeachment against president bill clinton, true? dir. wray: yes. mr. jeffries: and one of those
articles of impeachment related to obstruction of justice, correct? dir. wray: i believe that's correct. mr. jeffries: so the president of the united states can commit obstruction of justice, isn't that correct? dir. wray: well, again tharks gets into a legal question that i'm not going to try to take on here. mr. jeffries: ok. sally yates served as acting attorney general in january prior to the confirmation of jeff sessions, true? dir. wray: yes. mr. jeffries: and while serving as acting attorney general she warned the white house that national security adviser michael flynn could be a russian asset, is that correct? dir. wray: again, now you're into something that i think is part of the special counsel's investigation. mr. jeffries: ok. and four days after informing the white house that the department of justice was aware of flynn relation to russia, donald trump fired sally yates, is that a fact? dir. wray: again, i don't want to -- mr. jeffries: she was fired on january 30 by donald trump, true? dir. wray: yes, she was fired by the president. i can't remember the exact date. i don't have any reason to
question your understanding of what the date is. mr. jeffries: ok. thank you. barara was- prett told he could keep his job, is that true? dir. wray: that i don't know. mr. jeffries: now, preet barhara's district in new york have jurisdiction of the trump towers, correct? dir. wray: yes. mr. jeffries: and at some point this year became clear that his office -- dir. wray: that i don't know. mr. jeffries: it has been publicly reported that the president's lawyer mark kasowitz warned donald trump, this guy is going to get you, is that true? dir. wray: i have no idea whether that's true. mr. jeffries: donald trump fired him on march 11, correct? dir. wray: i know that he was along with the other u.s. attorneys in place that were hold over, u.s. attorneys let
go, but that date may be right. i don't know. mr. jeffries: james comey was your predecessor as fbi director, is that right? dir. wray: well, he was my senate confirmed predecessor. acting director mccabe was in between. mr. jeffries: and he's a first rate widely regarded as a first rate talented law enforcement professional, true? dir. wray: as i said earlier during my interaction with him especially during the early 2000s, that was my experience. mr. jeffries: and in february donald trump asked james comey to drop the investigation into michael flynn, is that correct? dir. wray: i don't know whether that's correct. i believe that's something that's part of the special counsel's investigation. mr. jeffries: donald trump also asked james comey to bow down and take a loyalty pledge to the president, correct? dir. wray: i have no idea whether that's true. again, i don't want to comment on anything that's subject to the special counsel's investigation. mr. jeffries: on march 20, james comey testified before congress and publicly stated trump campaign was under criminal investigation, is that right? dir. wray: i don't know whether that's correct. mr. jeffries: fbi director james comey led that criminal investigation into the trump campaign, is that true? dir. wray: i'm not sure i can
comment on that. mr. jeffries: donald trump fired james comey on march 9, is that correct? dir. wray: i don't think it was march 9. sorry, may 9,i'm is that correct? dir. wray: may 9, i believe he was fired on >> time of the may 9. gentleman has expired. mr. jeffries: so donald trump fired sally yates without justification, fired preet bahrara without justification, fired james comey without justification, feels like obstruction of justice, sounds like obstruction of justice, looks like obstruction of justice. i think the american people can reasonably conclude it's obstruction of justice. >> one thing to conclude is the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the doma from arizona. mr. biggs: think you, mr. chairman. and thank you, director, for being here with us today. i want to just ask some questions to follow up on some things that you have previously testified to today. particularly, several people got
in on that exchange a little bit, one of the things you said , i'm going to paraphrase part of it and i'll quote part of it, you said if there are undue political considerations at play in the original clinton investigations, the fbi would have to determine, and then you said how to unring the bell. and i guess my question is multiple. what did you mean when you said unring the bell? let's just start there. dir. wray: it's hard for me to speculate about what i would do at that point. i think it would depend a lot on the particulars of what the inspector general found. i would not rule out anything appropriate that would be in response to the inspector general's findings. sometimes there might be recommendations that come with the inspector general's report, in my experience. that's something we would take into account. it could range from anything from changes to our policies,
our structures, it could be personnel decisions that come out of it, there could be follow-up that we need to engage in as a result of things that we learn from the inspector general's report. so it's hard for me to give kind n exhaustive list, but those are the few of the kinds of things i can imagine. mr biggs: well, the first two things you mentioned there were really kind of internal, you know, processes, personnel, maybe some needs to be corrected, maybe they need to be disciplined. beyond that, i'm wondering if there's additional options that might include even reopening the investigation taking a harder look, is that a potential option? dir. wray: well, i think what i would say to you there, congressman, i believe is true in any situation. if we find, for example, new information or new evidence that would cause us to reopen an investigation, assuming we don't
have a statute of limitations problem or something, that's something we would consider. likewise, if the information we receive from the inspector general suggested that that's something that would be appropriate, then that's something we would consider. mr. biggs: and you also indicated that, if his name mr. strzok? >> strzok. mr. strzok was reassigned, saying it seems it was an odd lateral move, are you saying that was a lateral move for him? dir. wray: reassigned away from the special counsel investigation to the human resources department. i understand that that may sound to some of you like a demotion, but i can assure you that in a 37,000-person organization with a $9 billion budget and offices all around the country and in 80
countries around the world, that i think our human resources department is extremely important. and a lot of what they do is cutting edge best practice stuff. so it's a very different kind of assignment certainly, but that's why i don't consider it disciplinary or a demotion. mr. biggs: ok. so with regard to the attorneys on the mueller team, did the fbi vet them at all? and if so, what was the vetting process? dir. wray: i'm not aware of what vetting may or may not have been done in the staffing of director mueller's team. of course all fbi agents when they join are subject to an excruciatingly detailed background investigation. and then over the course of their trajectory, especially because of their access to
classified information, there are sort of re-up investigations that occur over the life of an agent's career. but as far as specific vetting, not sure exactly what you mean by that. mr. biggs: let's get to the heart of it. i won't mince words. so what we have talked about today is appearance of conflict or bias. and everything from donating rather large sums of money to candidates, some of which have been perhaps even under investigation by the fbi at some point or another, communication widely critical of this administration or highly supportive of another administration or candidates that again may have been under investigation at some point, what is -- what's the process there? is there an official process that goes into determining whether someone is compromised or has a bias in their investigation?
or is this like in the department of justice when we had attorney general sessions here, he said we don't have a process, it's up to each attorney to decide whether they have a conflict of interest. which isn't the way it is in the private sector, just so you know. so i'm wondering, what would be your process in determining whether it was the bias is too great. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. director can answer. dir. wray: we don't do political scrubbing of agents. of course, a lot of the questions today have gone to prosecutors, we devote agents and staff to the special counsel investigation but not to the prosecutor side. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois. thank you.er: and director wray, thank you for your time and patience here in answering all of our questions and your service to our country. it is all very, very much appreciated. you started today, you gave us
testimony this morning, a summary, 15 pages describing programs and priorities of the fbi. you don't mention this at all , some of the work you talked about later, which is protecting our elections. i don't want to put exact words , but you talked about protecting the integrity of our elections and it is critical to the foundation of our democracy. in fact, election security is national security. however, two months ago, attorney general sessions testifying before the senate judiciary committee said that the department of justice had not yet taken any actions towards protecting our elections from foreign interference. it would be a gross understatement to say i was deeply concerned about his remarks when he came a few weeks later to this venue. i asked him what had been done and i was astounded at his answer to say he hadn't done anything. but i was grateful he said he would take action and work with us. i understand that the fbi is
making this a priority, that you have created a task force within the fbi. what was it that prompted the development of the task force? what void does that fill? what is its mission and who are its members? dir. wray: well, first off, i think, if i might, i think the fact that the attorney general didn't mention the efforts that we have underway is simply a reflection of the fact that there's lots and lots and lots of things that happen in a gigantic justice department and some of them, you know, may not have been briefed to him as promptly as we should have. the attorney general i know cares deeply about this issue , and in my view is a great man and great public servant. i will say in the context of foreign influence in our elections, that was prompted in part by our concerns growing out of all of the dust-up with the
ica, that we knew from that combined with what we saw from talking with some of our foreign partners that efforts to interfere not just with our elections but other countries' elections is a real thing. we know that was true not just in the last election but that's something the russians have tried to do in prior elections, even before the last election. mr. schneider: they've done it before, we expect they'll do it again. dir. wray: i think we all expect that. and so our foreign influence task force is a blend of people from the counterintelligence division, the cyber division, the criminal division and other parts of the department. a lot of it is work that we were already doing, but i think putting them together in a single task force provides a -- it's a time honored way to increase the focus, the discipline, the prioritization, the coordination, and allows us to pursue those concerns with greater vigor and focus.
mr. schneider: if i may talk about doing that within the bureau. you've mentioned coordinating with dhs, but this is a complex issue that cuts across many agencies. how is the tasks force working with the other departments, the other agencies to make sure that we are prepared to protect the integrity of our elections next year? dir. wray: we have -- the task force has a variety of contacts , not with just dhs, i mention them because they're so critical to the election infrastructure in the country. but i didn't mean to leave out , in particular other members of the intelligence community, there's regular contact there, and i want to make sure i don't overlook our contact with our foreign counterparts where we're comparing those there as well. the state election bodies, which are of course an important part of it as well, that happens really more indirectly through dhs and our coordination with dhs. and then of course, as congresswoman handel knows well from her prior life, there are
private companies part of infrastructure and we have some interaction with the private sector as part of this as well. mr. schneider: what gives you the confidence, we're 11 months away from our next national election, primaries are starting in a couple months ahead, what gives you the confident we'll be able to protect our elections next year? dir. wray: well, what i can tell you is i'm confident we're working very hard on the issue. we're going to continue working very hard on the issue. we're going to be continually looking at how we can get even better at working on the issue. but i long ago gave up the idea of making predictions about whether or not we are going to bat a thousand, but that's our goal. ask, as ider: let me asked the attorney general when he was here, are you willing to work with members of the committee, will you commit to briefing us whether in public or in classified briefings and can you give us a point of contact with who we should be communicating with in your department? dir. wray: i'd be happy to follow-up with your staff on that.
mr. schneider: thank you very much. i yield back. >> the chair recognize the gentleman from florida. thank you, mr. chairman. director wray, first, let me say thank you for coming and appearing before the committee today, quite a while, thank you very much. listen, your appearance here is critical to us doing our job and holding the federal bureau of investigations accountable for the people. and i know that's something that you as newly appointed director are very interested in. and i have to tell you as a member of congress, i'm very encouraged by the fact you are now sitting in that chair. so i want to start with the fact that, you know, as a former law enforcement officer myself i often thought about and still think about the perceived actual -- perceived or actual politicization of law enforcement agencies by the
acts of officers with an hour agencies. and i share my colleagues concerns regarding the private communications, fbi personnel who are tasked with conducting the clinton investigation, and certainly those types of biases and other forms of biases go against the ethics of the fbi and other law enforcement agencies if and when they begin to affect the fear and influence , the fear and enforcement of the law through political consideration. and i know earlier it was mentioned. so rather than repeat what my colleagues have all gone through, i want to ask the question, what is it -- how does the fbi fight against the partisan bias that can naturally exist in agents? we all know that. specifically, how does the bureau monitor your agents? and whether that be over social media or other private
messaging, does the fbi have a formal guidance or policy on how this is conducted? just answer that one first, please. dir. wray: well, i think an in-depth answer would require more of a follow-on briefing of some sort. but what i would say is we try to address the kinds of concerns that you're highlighting, which are important to me too, i think we share that. we do it through everything from making sure we recruit the right people, making sure we train them in the 21-week training that i described earlier, we make sure that we have policies that remind them about the importance of playing it straight, going by the book, et cetera -- mr. rutherford: are there policies then that specifically addressed contacts that they can put out publicly? understanding their first amendment rights, but also understanding the influence it can have on the reputation of
the agency. and i understand until it begins to affect an investigation, which i think in the case of special agent strzok, it certainly did. i mean, when we're looking at what was previously called the unprecedented actions of not only giving immunity but not recording potential criminal investigations, depositions, that is unprecedented, i think, that you would combine the two of those. to give immunity is not unusual. and so if i were to ask you, did anyone lie during the clinton emailed deposition, how would you answer that? dir. wray: i'm not sure what deposition you're referring to, but i would say that questions about the handling of the clinton email investigation and
in particular whether or not certain decisions made over the life of that investigation were in any way tainted or influenced , as you say, by improper considerations is something that has been referred to and very deeply under investigation by the outside independent inspector general. mr. rutherford: let me ask very quickly, my time's about to run out. so the inspector general has his investigation going, but does the fbi -- do you conduct your own internal investigation as well? i mean, surely it doesn't take an i.g. investigation to terminate an employee. that's certainly within your purview, correct, as the director? dir. wray: well, we have a process -- you know, these are career civil servants. we have a process. and as i said earlier, i prefer to ask questions first and then act later. and in this situation, we would not normally be conducting a parallel internal investigation while the inspector general is
doing his. and the reason for that is because, and this is something that's a best practice across investigations, we want to be sure that we're not doing something that would be viewed as interfering with his. mr. rutherford: i understand. my time has expired. >> the committee is advised we have votes on the floor. we have director wray, great appreciation for the three hours and 45 minutes so far. we have about half a dozen more members that will come back immediately after these votes. so we can get a bite to eat or whatever, i expect 35, 40 minutes and we'll be back again to complete the hearing. and the committee will stand in recess. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017]
>> this weekend, c-span's city tours takes you to saratoga springs located in upstate new york. with the help of our spectrum cable partners, we will explore the history and the literary life of this city. saturday at noon eastern on book tv. >> this is the place where you lease this grant -- ulysses grant and his memoirs. he was dying of throat cancer and his family was facing serious financial problems. at this point in his life, he
was a man trying to take care of his family. we get to tell a story here that most people don't know about. author, andrew mckenna shares his book, "sheer madness." growing up, i thought a person addicted to heroin lived under a bridge somewhere and was pushing a shopping cart. that is not the case. one of the most abused drugs on are street, and these traitors, elite professionals, are opioids. p.m., we take:00 a trip to the saratoga resources. and we will visit the saratoga national historic park. >> you know your -- the new york times magazine says the battles at saratoga where the most important battles fall in the
last 1000 years because they ended in general burgoyne's surrender. >> watch c-span's city tors of sarasota springs. at 2:00, on american history tv on c-span3. the c-span cities tour, working with our cable partners as we explore america. c-span, where history unfolds daily. 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. ♪ announcer: this week on "q&a,"