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tv   Cavuto Coast to Coast  FOX Business  March 20, 2017 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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intelligence presentation for u.s. senators said that's the consensus view. this is written by a guy named adam -- [inaudible] elaine something and greg miller. did they help draft the july -- the january 6th document? >> the reporters? i'm sorry? >> did those writers from "the washington post" help you write the january 6th -- neil: welcome, everybody, i'm neil cavuto, and you're watching continuing live fox business coverage of these hearings including james comey and the nsa director, mike rogers. they're talking about the role, if any, the russians might have played not only in the last election, but whether they influenced the results. director comey is among those saying he does not think they influenced the results per se, but they were almost invariably involved. he also went on and continues to go on to explain that he cannot support some of the allegations that president trump has made that his predecessor, barack obama, had hisç phones tapped. again, saying that it would appear to be unlikely. separately, we're following
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another development on the senate side of things right now where the senate judiciary committee is taking up the nomination of neil gorsuch to be the next supreme court justice of the united states to replace antonin scalia who died about 13 months ago. that is going to be a drawn-out affair here. keep in mind that each senator on that committee can go ahead and make introductory remarks, confirmation remarks lasting at least ten minute, often times longer than that, opening statements that will go at least that long, thereby ole delaying, if not outright canceling the process for the judge to make opening statements himself. this is washington where they like to talk, so we thought it a good idea to take you back to the comey hearing where they're doing a lot of that, something to do with the red team and all of that. they lost me at that. let's listen in. >> director comey, i think we're in a redickment, i understand your -- predicament, i
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understand you can't comment on the investigation also, as far as aid to ukraine, as far as i recall the obama administration always refused to give lethal aid to ukraine and it could be argued that the republican platform in 2016 was actually stronger than the democratic platform. it if there was investigation going on in the obama
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administration we could lay out all the scenarios that proves something or might prove something. until the investigation was completed that type of almost possibly slanderous comments could be made. i would just again, if, i'm not asking you to hurry the investigation along. you have to do what you have to do but i guess would ask you just in the remaining moments i have in this round i know that i guess it was two weeks ago that director clapper said that as far as he knows all the evidence he's seen there is no evidence of any collusion twine the trump many campaign and russians. obviously detailed, exhaustive report was put out talking about russian influence in the campaign, all the intelligence apparatus had input into that. either you or admiral rogers have reason to disagree with the conclusion of general clapper there is no evidence of collusion between the russians and trump campaign?
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>> mr. king, not something i can comment on. >> likewise, i will not comment on ongoing investigation. >> but again you're not going to disagree with general clapper, you will not just comment. the reason i point it out, the situation other way around, if you can't comment there is inference because a person's name brought up, because he may have worked for somebody a certain time there is guilt. that is the problem. i'm not in any way either critical of you, this is situation i think can be damaging to the country and does advance the russian interests trying to destablize democracy and cause lack of confidence in our system. with that, i yield back, mr. chairman. >> gentleman yields back. recognize mr. schiff for 15 minutes. >> i have a couple questions before i pass to representative sewell. it wasn't simply the russians had a negative preference against secretary clinton, they had a positive preference for donald trump, is that correct? >> correct.
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>> whether this is accurate characterization of mr. trump, i won't put you in that spot, would it be logical for kremlin to prefer a candidate that disparaged nato in the united states? >> you will not put me in a spot. i'm happy with that. >> not asking you whether this is accurate characterization of mr. trump's views, would be it logical for they should -- >> all kidding aside, i don't think that is something i should be answering. that is beyond my responsibilities. >> well, what is the, what is the russian view of nato? do they like nato? they want to see nato strong? >> again, i'm sure you have already spoken to people who are greater experts than i, yeah, they don't like nato. they think nato encircles them and threatens them. >> and would they have a preference for a candidate that expressed an openness to repealing sanctions over ukraine? >> i don't want to get in
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business commenting on that. >> let me ask you, director, would they like to seat sanctions on ukraine go away? >> yes. >> would they have preference for a candidate that expressed opened a mir race for putin? >> i hope you reformulate the question. mr. putin would like people that like him. >> would they have have a preference that encouraged "brexit" and other departures from europe? would they like to see more "brexit"? >> yes. >> and have the russians in europe demonstrate ad preference for business people as political leaders with the hope that they can entangle them in financial interests or they may allow their financial interests to take precedence over the interests of the countries in europe they represent? >> in our joint report we recount that the russians, that president putin expressed a preference for business leaders in leading other governments and mentions gerhard schroeder and,
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i forget one, berlusconi. he believes they are more open to negotiation, easier to deal with. >> at this point let me yield to representative sewell. >> i would like to continuing my questioning, the line of questioning on michael flynn. i'm sure you understand my concern that mr. flynn not only failed to disclose contacts with the russian ambassador but he said he didn't not remember whether he discusses sanctions with russia with that ambassador. i find that hard to believe. wouldn't you think at the height of our concern about russian hacking mr. flynn would have remembered meeting with the russian ambassador and would have been, would have told him to stop meddling in our affairs? but that didn't happen, did it? >> representative sewell that is not something i can answer. >> not only did mr. flynn not remember talking to the russian ambassador, and not only did he not remember what they talked about, he also appeared to lie
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to vice president-elect mike pence all about it. now, mr. comey, do you think that mr. flynn's failure to disclose the communitycation and contact he had with the russian ambassador and their topic of conversation alongwith a blatant lie to vice president pence meet the standard for an investigation by the fbi? >> i have to give you the same answer. i'm not going to comment. >> now i know, director comey, that you probably can't comment on thias well but i think it review a short timeline and that is based on press reportings because we need to get this for the public record i think. so on december 25th, 2016, mr. flynn reportedly exchanged text messages with the russian am bass dollar on december 2th, 2016, mr. flynn reportedly spoke on the phone with the russian ambassador. by then it was pretty clear the obama administration would take
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actions against russia. on december 29th, 2016, mr. flynn reportedly spoke on the phone with the russian ambassador again. that day the obama administration expelled 35 russian operatives from the united states and announced new sanctions. we also know from press reportings that sometime in december mr. flynn met in person with the russian ambassador at trump tower and that mr. trump's son-in-law, jared kushner, was also there. the purpose of the meeting was to quote, establish a line of communication, end quote, with the kremlin. i should add that the white house and mr. flynn didn't disclose this december face-to-face meeting until this month. on january 20th, january 12th, sorry, 2017, press reported that mr. flynn contacted the russian ambassador again. and on january 15th, 2015, vice president-elect mike pence stated on several sunday morning shows regarding mr. flynn's
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conversation with the ambassador, quote, what i can confirm having spoken to him about it is that those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the united states took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions. end quote. on january 26th, the acting attorney general, sally yates reportedly told, president trump's white house counsel, who immediately told president trump, that mr. flynn was vulnerable to russian blackmail because of discrepancies between vice president-elect pence's public statement and mr. flynn's actual discussions. own february 10th, president trump denied knowledge of this, telling reporters on air force one, quote, i don't know about that, end quote, in response to request hes about mr. flynn's conduct.
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the white house also publicly denied that mr. flynn and the russian ambassador discussed sanctions. of course on february 13th, 2017, mr. flynn resigned as national security advisor. now direct tore comey, all of these accounts are open source press reportings. given russians longstanding desire to cultivate relations with influential u.s. persons, isn't the american public right to be concerned about mr. flynn's conduct, his failure to disclose that contact with the russian ambassador, his attempts to cover it up and what looks like the white house's attempts to sweep this under the rug? don't we as the american people deserve the right to know and shouldn't our fbi investigate such claims? >> i can't comment. i understand people's curiosity about our work and intense interest in it. mr. king said, often times speculation about it, but we can't do it well or fairly to the people we investigate if we
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talk about. so i can't comment. >> i'd like to turn to another topic about mr. flynn. his failure to disclose until pressured last week by my colleagues on the house oversight and government relations committee, government reforms committee, payments he received from russia for his 2015 trip to the 10th anniversary bail la of rt, the russian-owned propaganda media out le according to the january 2017 classified ic assessment report, rt's criticism of the united states was quote, the last facet of its broader and long-standing anti-u.s. messaging likely aimed at undermining viewers trust in the u.s. democratic procedures, end quote. this january assessment points out this is a strategy that russia employed going back to before the 2012 elections
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according to the ic assessment. so admiral rogers, am i right that the rt is essentially owned by the russian government and how long has the intelligence community been looking at rt as an arm of the russian government? >> so we're certainly aware, have been for some period of time of the direct connections between the russian government and rt individuals. we're aware of monetary flow and other things. >> how long have you known about that? a few months. a few years? how long has -- >> some number of years. i apologize, ma'am. i don't know off the top of my head. >> aren't i right to assume then that the former director of dia, the defense intelligence agency, mr. flynn, would have been aware that rt's role as an anti-u.s. be russian propaganda outlet, when he agreed to speak at their anniversary gala in 2015? isn't reasonable to assume that -- >> i'm not in a position to comment on the knowledge of something else from another
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person, ma'am. >> director comey, would it be unusual for foreign government official to get paid by a foreign adversary to attend such an event? would it be unusual and raise questions at fbi if that person failed to disclose the payments received for that ininterest. >> i don't know in general. as to the specific i'm just not going to comment. >> yes, sir. i understand that you can't come by i'd le to read an exchange green between mr. flynn and yahoo! news correspondent and regarding his 2015 trip to russia during the rt event. the correspondent asked, were you paid for that event? there was back and forth for a bit. then mr. flynn said, quote, yeah, i didn't take any money from russia if that is what you're asking me, end quote. so director comey, isn't it true that the house oversight committee last week received
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information and released publicly that mr. flynn accepted nearly $35,000 in speaking fees and traveling fees from rt, this government, russian government-owned media outlet? >> i believe i've seen news accounts to that effect. >> moreover, isn't it also true that according to the emoluments close of the united states constitution a person holding any office of profit or trust can not accept exists or payments from a foreign, from a foreign country? and doesn't the do confident, the department of defense prohibit retired military officers from taking any consulting fees, gifts, traveling expenses hon rare yum or salary from a foreign government including commercial enterprises or owned by or controlled by a foreign government like rt? >> not something i can comment on. >> an you speak to whether or not the emoluments clause would apply to someone like mr. flynn
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a retired three-star general. >> i can't. >> so isn't it, i just find it to be really hard to believe that given the emoluments clause does apply to retired officers like mr. flynn, i can't believe that mr. flynn, a retired military officer would take money from the russian government in violation of the united states constitution. and i believe that such violations worthy of a criminal investigation by the fbi. what level of proof do we need in order for us to have a criminal investigation by the fbi of mr. flynn? >> i can't comment on that. >> shouldn't the american people be concerned what -- i think that it's really hard for us to fathom that he would know that he should have disclosed that he received $35,000 as a part of a speaking engagement to rt, the
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russian, u.s. anti-propaganda outlet. >> i can't comment on that, miss sewell my final line of question is mr. flynn working as an agent of a foreign power. mr. comey, following on mr. heinz's line of question, that the foreign agent registration act that individuals who lobby on behalf of a foreign government must register with the united states government? >> i believe that is correct. i know i keep sang i'm not an expert the reason i'm saying that i don't know exactly how they define things like lobbying in the statute. as a general matter if you're going to represent a foreign government here in the united states touching our government you should be registered. >> and isn't it true just last november, 2016, mr. flynn was working as a foreign agent doing work that principally benefited the government of turkey and yet he didn't report it until just last week? >> i can't comment on that. >> isn't it true that mr. flynn
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was reportedly paid over half a million dollars for this work? >> same answer. >> and isn't it true that the trump white house on at least two occasions was asked by mr. flynn's lawyers whether he should report that work, the work that he was doing on behalf of the turkish government and yet the administration didn't give him any advice to the contrary? do you know anything about that. >> i have to give you the same answer. >> so, director comey i know you can not discuss whether any investigations are ongoing with u.s. persons. and i respect that. i think it is important though that the american people understand the scope and breadth of what in public, open source press reportings of mr. flynn's actions, that led to his resignation. and while we can't talk about whether there are an investigation, i believe that we here at hpssci on intelligence must put the facts into public
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domain. one, mr. flynn lied about his communication with the russian ambassador. secondly, that mr. flynn lied about taking money from the russian government. and thirdly, that mr. flynn at a minute mum, did not disclose worked as an agent of a foreign power and that the white house did not help in this concern. so gentlemen, it is clear to me that mr. flynn should be under criminal investigation and i know you can not comment but i believe it is my duty as a member of this committee to comment to the american people that this,t his engagement of lying and failure to disclose really important information and contacts with a foreign ambassador do rise to the level of, of disclosure and to me, criminal intent. so, i say this to say that the american people deserve to know the full extent of mr. flynn's involvement with the russians and the extent to which it influenced the 2016 election. i believe our democracy requires
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it. thank you. i yield back to my ranking member. >> time's expired. recognize myself for 15 minutes. mr. comey, and mr. rogers, you both said that the russians had, they favored donald trump, the selection and you made that change from the beginning of december, it was not that they were trier to help donald trump, but that changed by january, early january. mr. conaway talked about that. do russian -- >> i don't agree with that. i'm going not to misspeak earlier. we didn't change our view from december to early january. the fbi. i don't know anybody did on the ic team. >> from my perspective -- >> at some -- >> at some point the assessment changed from going from just trying to hurt hillary clinton to know that they were actually trying to help donald trump get elected. that was early december as far
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as i know. and then by january you had all changed your mind on that. >> that is not my recollection. >> that is not my recollection either, sir. >> okay. so is it, do russians historically prefer republicans to win over democrats? >> i don't know the answer to that. >> i don't know the answer to that. >> did the russians prefer mitt romney over barack obama in 2012? >> i don't know we ever drew a formal analytic conclusion. >> did the russians before john mccain in 2008 over barack obama? >> i never saw a u.s. intelligence community analystic position on that issue. >> don't you think it is ridiculous for anyone to say that the russians prefer republicans over democrats? >> i didn't think that is what you just heard us say. i apologize, sir. >> i hope you didn't hear us to say that. we don't know in those
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particular races. i'm not qualified enough -- >> i'm just asking a general question, wouldn't it be a little preposterous saying historically going back to ronald reagan and all we know who the russians would prefer, somehow the russians prefer republicans over democrats? >> there is, i'm not going to discuss in unclassified form, in the classified segment of the reporting version we did there is some analysis that discusses this because remember this did come up in our assessment on the russian piece. i'm not going to discuss this in unclassified forum. >> mr. king. >> mr. chairman. i would say on that because we're not going into the classified section to that, indicating that historically russians have supported republicans and i know that language is there, to me puts somewhat of a cloud over the entire report. it seems to indicate the direction it was going in. let me say for the record.
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i know what your answer is going to be but i have to get this on the record. on march 15th, former acting director of cia mock morell and acting director of under president obama on the record i have differences with the mike morell in the past. asked questions about trump campaign conspiring with russians. hissance was there is smoke but no fire at all. there is no little candle. there is no spark. do you agree with mr. morell? >> i can't comment, mr. king. >> admiral rogers? >> i will not comment on on going investigation. >> i understand that my way of getting on the record. appreciate that. you were talking about the significance of leaks and how important we stop them. to me, and i've been here a while, i've never seen such a sustained period of looks going book to december when not the intelligence committee, but "washington post" was told a conclusion of the report. that is number one.
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what it was going to be. we have situations in "new york times" where they talk of meetings, they talk about transcripts, they talk about conversations. there was one in particular spoke about trump campaign individuals meeting with russian intelligence agents and again, director comey, i don't know if you can comment on this, but the white house chief of staff said, i guess that day or the next day, that mr. mccabe from your office went to him at the white house and told him that that story was bs. is there any way you can comment on whether or not mr. mccabe told that mr. priebus. >> i can't comment but agree with your general premise. leaks are always a problem. subject of goering washington and abraham lincoln complain about them. i do think in the last six weeks, couple months there has been at least a apparently a lot of conversation about classified
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matters that is ending up in the media. a lot of it is just dead wrong. which is one of the challenges because we don't correct it. but it does strike me there has been a lot of people talking or at least reporters are saying people are talking to them in ways that struck me as unusually active. >> i fully understand the media's fascination with palace intrigue, with which faction at the white house is trying to outdo the other. that is all, to me it is all legitimate. that goes with the game. but if you're talking about leaking classified information, if you're talking about leaking investigations, i mean, you stated today there is an fbi investigation going on. so if the "new york times" can be believed, i would think it would have to be somebody from the fbi telling them about purported meetings which mr. mccabe was said bs with russian intelligence agencies. somebody familiar with that investigation spoke to the "new york times." i use that as an example.
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also one, to me there is small universe, i think january 6th, when yourself, admiral rogers, director brennan and general clapper went to trump tower to meet with president trump. the media reports are that at the end of that meeting, director comey, you presented president-elect trump with a copy of the now infamous or famous dossier. i don't know how many people were in the room, but within hours that was leaked to the media and that gave the media the excuse or the rational to publish almost the entire dossier. do you, does that violate any law? you were at a classified briefing with the president-elect of the united states and had to be a very, very small universe of people who knew that you handed them that dossier. it was leaked out within hours. are you making any effort to find out who leaked it? do you believe that constitute ad criminal violation. >> i can't say, mr. king except i can answer in general. >> yeah.
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>> any unauthorized disclosure of classified conversations or documents is potentially a violation of the law and a serious, serious problem. i spent most of my career trying to figure out unauthorized disclosures, where they came from. it is very, very hard. often times it doesn't come from the people who actually know the secrets. it comes from one hop-out. people who heard about it or were told about it. that is the reason so much information that purports to be accurate classified information is actually wrong in the media, people who heard about it didn't hear about it right. but it is an enormous problem whenever you find information actually classified in the media. we don't talk about it because we don't want to confirm it. it should be investigated aggressively if possible prosecuted so people take it as lesson it is not okay. this behavior can be deterred, and deterred by locking people up who engaged criminal activity. >> admiral rogers was in the room.
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general clapper was in the room and. is there anybody in the room that could leak it out? this was a report not circulated of 20 people. this isn't unmasking of names where 20 people in the nsa and 100 people in the fbi. this is four people in the room with the president-elect of united states. i don't know who else was in that room. thats with leaked out, within minutes or hours of you handing him that dossier. it was so confidential, if you read media reports you handed it to him separately. believe me i'm not saying it is you. it is a small unpercent of that people that would have known about that if it is disclosure of classified information, if you start investigating leaks that is one place you could really start to narrow it down. >> again, mr. king, i can't comment because i do not ever want to confirm a classified conversation with a mt. or president-elect. i. my general experience there are turns out more people that know about something than you expected. first, there may be more people
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involved in the thing you realize, not this in particular but in gin, more people have been told about it heard about it, staff is briefed on it and those echoes are my experience most often being shared with reporters. >> can you tell us who was in the room that day. >> what? >> can you tell us who was in the room that day? >> no. i will not confirm what was the conversation because you i might accidentally confirm something in the newspaper. >> will you tell us who was in the room if there was a conversation. >> not a classified setting. i will not confirm any conversations with either president obama or president trump or when president trump was the president-elect. >> not the conversation or ion the fact you gave it to him, but can you tell us who was in the room for the briefing you gave? >> you're saying later ended up in the newspaper. >> yes. >> my talking about who was in the room would be confirmation it was in the newspaper was classified information. i'm not going to do that i'm not going to help people who did something that is inauthorized. >> we all know four of you went to trump tower for the briefing.
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that is not classified, is it? >> how do we all know that though? >> okay. >> can see the predictment we're in here. >> i get it. i get it. but we are duty-bound to protect classified information both in the first, when we get it and then to make sure we don't accidentally jeopardize classified information about what we say about something that appears in the media. >> if they're listening i would advise director clapper and director brennan we'll be asking them the same questions last week next week, perhaps give us some answer. chairman i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. mr. low lobiondo is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman, director comey, admiral rogers, thank you for your service. thank you for being here. understanding that what both of you have been saying about the classified nature of the investigation, the classified nature of topics we're talking about, can you give us any
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indication of when we, the committee, may in a classified setting know something from you? would we have on going updates? >> mr. lobiondo i don't know how long the work will take. i can't commit to updates. as you know, i briefed the committee as a whole on some aspects of our work. i briefed briefed in great detae chair and ranking. i don't know, i can't predict or commit to up dates. as our work goes on we're in constant touch with you. we'll do the best we can. but i can't commit to that as i sit here. >> so as the house intelligence committee and the senate intelligence committee are conducting our bipartisan investigations and looking wherever it may lead with individuals or circumstances, if you through the fbi investigation come across a
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circumstance with an individual or a situation, would we be made aware of that under normal course of business? >> not necessarily but it's possible. >> okay. so can you either director comey or admiral rogers tell us what we are doing or what we should be doing to protect against russian interference in future elections or any meddling with our government, or for that matter, any state sponsor, iranians, north koreans, or chinese, with any meddling they may be doing? >> first i think a public discussion and acknowledgement of the activity is a good positive first step. it shine as flashlight, if you will, illuminates a significant issue we all have to deal with.
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there is a variety of ongoing efforts both within the government and private sector in terms how we harden our defenses. we need a discussion about just what for example, does critical infrastructure mean in the 21st sendty. i don't think we traditionally would have thought of an election infrastructure. that is critical. we traditionally view critical infrastructure has industrial output, aviation, electricity, finance. i don't think we thought about it in the informational dynamic. that is a challenge coming ahead. particularly elements within the government and private sector that is the key to the future for me. >> so, just for the record, i also had a whole list of specific questions about individuals and or circumstances that don't want to be repetitive and have you say i can't comment on them but i would anticipate when we move to classified session that this committee will be able to explore some of
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those, some of those situations in a little more depth. i have a couple of other questions about the, about the russian intervention but i don't have enough time to get into right now. if you could give me a couple minutes when we get to the next round. okay. so very briefly, the, if you can describe the elements of russia's active measures in the campaign in the 2016 election. what we've only got 35 seconds but that is the first thing i want to get into, exactly what they were doing if you can tell us anything about that? >> we saw cyber used. we saw the use of external media. we saw the use of disinformation. we saw the use of leaking of information, much of which was not altered. we saw, several if you will common traits we've both seen over time.
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i would argue the difference this time the cyber dimension and the fact that the release of so much information that they had extracted via cyber is a primary tool to try to drive an outcome. >> so in this setting can you talk to us at all about what tools they used? >> i'm not going to go into the specifics how they executed the hacks. i apologize, no, sir. >> we'll try to get into that in classified. we'll hold off for now, thank you. >> gentleman yields back. mr. schiff is recognized for 15 minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just had a couple follow-up mr. comey can you tell me what an sf 86 is? >> sf 86? >> yes. >> it is the standard background clearance form that all of us who are hired by the federal government want to have access to classified information fill out. >> would someone who is an incoming national security advisor have to fill out an sf-86? >> yes, i think so.
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>> would that sf-86 require that the applicant disclose any payments received from a foreign power? >> i think so. i mean the form is the form. i think so, and foreign travel as well. >> i would make a request through you to the justice department or whatever ic component would have custody of mr. flynn's sf-86. i make a request that that be provided to the committee. and i yield now to mr. carson. >> thank you, ranking member. i'd like to focus my line of questioning on russia's views towards ukraine. and in march 2014, russia illegally annexed the ukrainian territory of crimea beginning a conflict which has effectively yet to be resolved. admiral rogers, can you please briefly describe, as you
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understand it, sir, how russia took crimea? >> i would argue the insertion of military force they occupied it, physically removed it from ukrainian control. >> sir, we heard terms like little green men and hybrid warfare. can you please explain how these relate to russia and ukraine. >> so on the ukraine side what we saw was over time, rather than the kind of overt kind of activity we saw to such degree on the crimea side, what we saw was a much bigger effort on the influence in the attempts to distance russian actions from any potential blowback to the russian state, if you will. hence of use of little green men in it sure he row gates in unmarked military uniforms. surrogates. flow of information and
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resources to force the separatable of ukraine. >> has russia returned the crimea back to ukraine, sir. >> no. >> do they have intentions to? >> they publicly declared they will not. >> why do russians want ukraine. >> it is on the immediate periphery of the russian state. >> am i right they see it as part of their broader objective to influence and impact russia's, ukraine's desire for self-determination? >> yes. i think that's part of it. >> sir, has russia tried to claim stolen territory in ukraine, the u.s. and rest of the world saw the annexation for what it was, a crime. shortly after russia invaded the united nations essentially declared it a crime in a non-binding resolution.
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our own government recognizing seriousness of the event instituted new sanctions against russia, is that right, sir. >> yes, sir. >> this was a time much of the word was united. russia invaded another country and illegally annexed its territory as we all stood shoulder to shoulder to ukraine. one person that didn't see it that way however, was president donald trump. on july 30th, in an interview with abc news, mr. trump said of putin, and i quote, he is not going into ukraine, okay? just so you understand he is not going into ukraine. all right. end quote. now admiral, hadn't putin already gone into ukraine two years before and hadn't left? >> we're talking about crimea and influence and the ukraine generally, yes, sir. >> he still hasn't left, correct, sir? >> now we're starting to get into very technical questions about are the russians physically in ukraine? is it surrogates. crimea is very clean example.
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they outright invaded with armed military force and have annexed it. >> are they effectively still in ukraine? >> they're certainly supporting the ongoing effort in the ukraine to split that country. >> we'll get back to mr. trump in a minute. first tell me, sir, what would it mean to russia and putin to have sanctions lifted? >> clearly easing of economic impact. greater flexibility. more resources. >> according to nato analysis the russian economy shrunk by as much as 3.5% in 2015 and had no growth in 2016. in big part because of western sanctions, especially those against the oil and gas industry. we're talking about a loss of over $135 billion. just in the first year of sanctions. it's a huge sum of morn --
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money. they are not to put the economy over a cliff but put long term pressure on putin. putin said in 2016 sanctions are severely harming russia. so we know they had success putting pressure on the kremlin. admiral, what would it mean geopolitically, would it help, would it help legitimate russia's illegal land grab? >> sir, i'm not, i'm not in the position to talk broadly about the geopolitical implications. we have stated previously, from an intelligence perspective, we have tried to outline to policymakers the specifics of russian invasion of crimea, the continued russian support of separatists in the ukraine. russia's continued attempt to pressure and keep ukraine weak. >> would it help cleave the united states from her allies. >> if we removed sanctions? >> there is a lot at stake here for russia. this is big money. big strategic implications.
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if they can legitimate their annexation of crimea what's next? are we looking at new iron curtain, descending across eastern europe? you know, most in our country recognize what is at stake and how the united states as a leader of the free world is the only check on russian expansion. back to mr. trump and his cohort. at the republican convention in july, paul manafort, carter page, trump himself changed the republican party platform to no longer arm ukraine. so the same month that trump denied putin's role in ukraine, his team weakened the party platform on ukraine. and he as as we have and continue to hear, they held secret meetings with russian officials some which may have been on the topic of sanctions
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against russia for their intervention in ukraine. this is no coincidence in my opinion. in fact the dossier written by former mi6 agent christopher steele alleges that trump agreed to sideline russian intervention in ukraine as a campaign issue which is effectively a priority for vladmir putin. there is a lot in the dossier yet to be proven but increasingly as we'll hear throughout the day allegations are checking out. this one seems to be as accurate as they come. in fact, there are also one pattern i want to point out before yielding back, manafort. fired. page. fired. flynn. fired. why? they were hired because of their russian connections. they were fired. however, because their connections became public, they were effect he tiffly culpable. they were also the fall guys.
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so i think after we hear mr. quigley's line of questioning, we might guess who could be next. mr. chairman, mr. ranking member, i yield back. >> i yield the balance to representative spear. >> thank you, ranking member. thank you, gentlemen for your service to our country. you know i think it is really important as we sit here that we explain this to the american people in a way that they can understand it. why are we talking about all of this. so my first question to each of you is, is russia our adversary? mr. comey? >> yes. >> mr. rogers? >> yes. >> is, do they intend to do us harm? >> they intend to insure i believe that they gain advantage at our expense. >> director comey? >> yes. i want to be, harm can have many meanings. they're an adversary.
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so they want to resist us, oppose us, underminus, in a lots of different ways. >> one of the terms we hear often is hybrid warfare. and i'd like to just give a short definition of what it is. it blends conventional warfare, iraq lar warfare and cyber warfare aggressor intends to avoid attribution or retribution so would you say that russia engaged in hybrid warfare in an effort to under mine our democratic process and engage in our electoral process? director comey? >> i don't think i would use the term warfare. i think you'd want to ask experts in the definition of war. they engaged in a multifaceted campaign of active measures to undermine our democracy and hurt one of the candidates and hope to help one of the other candidates. >> i would agree with the
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director. >> all right. thank you both. i actually think that their engagement was an act of war, and act of hybrid warfare. i think that is why the american people should be concerned about it. now in terms of trying to understand this, i think of a spider web, with a tarantula in the middle. and the tarantula in my view is vladmir putin. who is entrapping many people to do his bidding and engage with him. i would include those like roger stone, carter page and michael caputo and wilbur ross and paul manafort and rex tillerson. i'd like to focus first on rex tillerson in the three minutes i have here. he was the ceo of exxonmobil.
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in 2008 he said that the likelihood of u.s.-russia businesses was in fact a poor investment. that russia was a poor investment climate. that was in 2008. in 2011 he closed a $500 billion deal with rosneft oil. the ceo of rosneft is igor sechen, a confidant of president putin, second most powerful man in russia. and probably a former kgb agent. the deal gives exxon access to the black sea and the kara sea and siberia for oil development. rosneft gets minority interests in exxon, in texas and the gulf. rex tillerson calls sechen a good friend.
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in 2012 mr. tillerson and and sechen go on a road show here in the united states to talk about this great deal they had just consummated. also in 2012 there is a video of president putin and mr. tillerson toasting champagne at the deal. and in 2013, mr. tillerson receives the russian order of friendship. and he sits right next to president putt -- putin at the event. my question to you, director comey is, is it of value to president putin knowing what you know of him and that his interests in doing harm to us, is it of benefit to mr. putin to have rex tillerson as the secretary of state? >> i can't answer that question. >> admiral rogers? >> ma'am, i'm not in the
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position to answer that question. >> all right. so in 2014, igor sechen is sanctioned. he laments that he no longer will be able to come to the united states to motorcycle ride with mr. tillerson. could you give me an understanding of what are some of the reasons that we impose sanctions? director comey? >> on sechen? >> well, just in general. >> again you'd have to ask an expert but from my general knowledge it's to punish activities that are criminal in nature, that involve war crimes. that involve violations of u.n. resolutions, or united states law in some other way. it is to communicate and enforce foreign policy interests and values of the united states of america. that is my general sense. but an expert might describe it much better. >> admiral rogers. >> i would echo the director's comments.
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it is also a tool we attempt to drive and shape choices and actions of other. >> so in the case of igor sechen who was sanctioned by the united states in part to draw attention to the fact that russia had had invaded crimea, it is an effort to try to send a strong message to russia, is that not true? >> i think that's right. >> yes, ma'am. of the. >> with that, mr. chairman, i will yield back for now. >> gentleman yields back. i yield myself 15 minutes. yield to the gentlelady florida, miss ros-lehtinen. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it is never acceptable for any foreign power to interfere with our electoral process. this committee has long focused on russia's reprehensible conduct.
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and we will remain focused on the threat eminating from moscow. i agree with you, mr. comey, this investigation where it is going we will follow the facts wherever it leads on a bipartisan level and there will be no sacred cows. there are many important issues at stake as you gentlemen have heard. there is bipartisan agreement on danger of illegal leaks and our ability to reauthorize important programs upon which our intelligence community relies. but i want to assure the american people that there is also bipartisan agreement on getting to the bottom of russian meddling in our election which must remain the focus of this investigation and yours. so admiral rogers, i agree in what you said that a public acknowledgement of this foreign meddling to be a problem is important as we move forward.
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and following on congressman lobiondo's questions, based on this team, i would like to ask you this question, could you describe what if anything russia did in this election that to your knowledge they did or they didn't do in previous elections? how, how it was, were their actions different in this election than in he previous ones? >> i would say the biggest difference from my perspective both the use of cyber, the hacking as a vehicle to physically gain access to information, to extract that information and then to make it widely, publicly available, without any alteration or change. >> the only thing i would add they were unusually loud in their intervention. it is almost as if they didn't care we knew what they were doing or that they wanted us to see what they were doing. it was very noisy. their intrusions in different
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institutions. >> and what specifically, based on this loudness, did the fbi or the nsa do to prevent or counterthis russian active pleasure that we reed about in the intelligence community assessment? as loud as they were, what did we do to counter that? >> well, among other things, we alerted people who had been victims of intrusions to permit them to it tighten their systems, to see if they couldn't kick the russian actors out. we also has a government supplied information to all the states so they could quip themselves to make sure there was no successful effort to after effect the vote. there was none as we said earlier. the government as a whole, inoui believe it was director clapper and secretary jeh johnson issued a statement saying this is what the russians are doing. it is north of an innoculation.
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>> the loudness to which you refer, perhaps they were doing these kinds of actions previously in other elections but they were not doing it as loudly. what, why do you think that think did not mind being loud and being found out. >> i'm not sure. their number one mission is to underthe democracy and this nation. it might be they wanted us to help them telling people what they were doing, their loudness in a way counting on us to amountlify it telling what the american people saw and freaking people out how the russians might be undermining our elections successfully. that might have been part of their plan. i don't know for sure. >> i agree with director comey. the big difference to me in the
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past while there was cyber activity we never saw in previous presidential elections information being published in such a massive scale that had been illegally removed, both from private individuals as well as organizations associated with the democratic process, both inside of the government and outside of the government. >> and this massive amount and this loudness, now that it has become public knowledge, now that we have perhaps satisfied their thirst that it has become such a huge dial, do you expect their interference to being amplified in future u.s. elections? do you see any evidence of that in european elections? or do you think that this public acknowledgement would tamper down the volatility? >> i will let mike rogers -- maybe i say as an initial matter. they'll be back. they'll be back in 2020.
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they may be back in 2018. one of the lessons they may draw in this that they were successful because they introduced chaos, division and discord and sewed doubt about this amazing country of ours and democratic process. their misread of that it worked and they will hit us again in to 2020. >> i fully expect them to continue this level of activity. our they come to the conclusion it generated a positive out come from them, calling into question democratic process, for example, is one element of the strategy. we're working closely, we, our fbi teammates, others working closely with our european teammates to provide insights we have seen as they themselves, france and germany, for example, about to undergo significant national leadership elections over the next few months. >> and in terms of the european
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elections, what, what have you seen or any information that you can share with us about russian interference? >> you've seen some of the same things we saw in the u.s. and disinformation, fake news, attempts to release of information to embarass individuals. you're seeing that play out to some extent in european elections right now. >> i look forward to continuing with you. thank you so much, mr. chairman. >> gentlelady yields back. mr. turner is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. comey, admiral rogers thank you for being here today, for what appears to be attempts at being forthcoming with the committee. i want to thank the chairman and ranking membership. this is a bipartisan effort. i think as you have looked to what this committee is undertaking everyone wants answers and everyone wants answers to all of the questions are being asked. because this goes to such an important issue concerning our
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elections. admiral rogers, i will begin with a question to you concerning the foreign intelligence surveillance act. admiral, as you know the foreign service -- foreign intelligence surveillance act provides the circumstances or authority under which the intelligence community may collect or intercept the communication of a foreign person located outside of the united states, or as mr. comey indicated, a person who was covered under a fisa court order. mr. rooney and mr. gowdy, you discussed minimization procedures under the foreign intelligence surveillance act. those minimization procedures are supposed to protect privacy rights of u.s. citizens. specifically it is geared towards communications of those who may be inadvertently or incidentally collected as a result of the intelligence community's lawful collection of communications of others. mr. rogers, is the intelligence community required to cease
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collection or the interception of communications if the result of the collection or interception includes includes the communication of incoming administration official, president-elect, or president-elect's transition team? >> depends on under what authority. there is series of questions we go through. is there criminal associated activity? does the conversation deal about threats to u.s. persons, breaking of the law, so there is no simple yes or no. >> mr. rogers is there any provision or minute maization requires you to cease collection. that is my question. are you under any circumstances required to cease election in the collection results inadvertent or incidental collection of incoming u.s. administration official, the president-elect or the president-elect's transition team? >> purely on the basis of exposure. i want to make sure i understand the question. >> are you required to cease, if
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you are undertaking lawful collection under the foreign intelligence surveillance act of a person or individual, either because they're a foreign person located outside of the united states or the person that you're collecting against, is the subject of a fisa court order, if incidental to that collection or inadvertently the collection results in the collection of communications of an incoming u.s. administration official the president-elect or president-elect's transition team are you required under the minute maization procedures to cease collection. >> not automatically. intelligence community may be collecting against, either by making phone calls to them or receiving phone calls. so it's important for us to understand that the minimization procedures that are intended to protect
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privacy rights of americans do not inherently include a prohibition of the intelligence community incidentally or inadvertently collecting communication of incoming administration. >> yes, sir. >> mr. comey, are you aware whether or not the director of national intelligence, director clapper, ever briefed the president of the united states then president obama concerning the possible inadvertent or incidental of any members of the incoming trump administration. >> that's not something i can comment on. >> and why not, mr. comey? >> a couple of reasons. it might involve classified information, it might involve communications with the president of the united states and both of those grounds i cannot talk about here. >> mr. comey, have you previously discussed your conversations with president obama with this committee? >> i don't remember.
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i may have with the chair. i don't remember with the full committee. >> we'll have to refresh your memory on those conversations then. mr. comey, did president obama ever acknowledge to you of having been briefed concerning possibly inadvertent or incidental collection by the intelligence community of any communications of the members of the incoming trump administration. >> i would give you the same answer. >> well, mr. comey, the first whether or not mr. clapper had briefed the president of the united states, and we'll certainly be following up with him, he is going to be appearing before us next week, and we'll certainly be directing the question to him also. mr. comey, are you aware of any evidence that general flynn prior to the inauguration ever communicated to the russian government or russian government official that the trump administration in the future would release,
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resend, or reverse u.s. sanctions against russia or ever made any offer of a quid pro quo for releasing sanctions. are you aware of any evidence? >> not something i can comment on, mr. turner. >> and why is that? >> i'm trying very hard to talk about anything that relates to a u.s. person or rule in or rule out things we might be investigating. i'm trying to be studiously vague here to protect the vegetation. so please don't interpret my no comment as meaning this or meaning that. i just can't comment. >> mr. comey, there are statutes, guidelines, and procedures concerning what does it take for the fbi to open up a counterintelligence investigation into a u.s. citizen. it is not just subject to discretion. you can't just say, well, let's go look at somebody. you have to have a basis. you've now informed us that you've opened a counterintelligence investigation into the trump campaign, members of the trump campaign concerning russia in
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july of 2006. now, we're trying to get a picture of what does it tip over for an investigation. previously people have said there have been individuals who have attended a meeting with russian officials, a member who is paid to attend a conference, a picture that is taken, traveled to a foreign place. there are many people both in all of our administrations and sometimes, you know, certainly members who have left congress who would qualify for that. what is the tipping point? i mean, it can't just be that. don't you need some action or some information besides just attending a meeting, having been paid to attend a conference that a picture was taken or that you traveled to a country before you're open to investigation for counterintelligence by the fbi? >> the standard is i think there's a couple of different at play. a crediblal allegation of wrongdoing or reasonable basis to believe that an american may be acting as a foreign
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power. >> well, the reason why we're struggling with this, mr. comey, we obviously have the statements of mr. clapper that there's no evidence with collusion with russia, and he just left the intelligence community. as you're aware, we now sit because as you said the russians wanted to put a cloud over our system and, mr. comey, by your announcement today, i mean, there is now a cloud that undermines our system. there is a cloud that where we're sitting with mr. clapper who was obviously in a in a very important position to know who stated to us there is no evidence of conclusion, and you will not give us evidence or any substantive evaluation of it, we now sit with this cloud, and it's important, mr. chairman. i have two additional questions when we gain time. >> we'll get back to you, mr. turner. mr. schiff for 15 minutes. >> thank you very much. i represent jackie spear. >> thank you. and, again, let's go back to this tarantula web.
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so mr. tillerson in 2014 started to lobby the united states government asking them to shift or lift the sanctions. now, in his confirmation hearing as he said, i have never lobbied against sanctions personally to my knowledge, exxonmobil never lobbied directly against sanctions. and yet there is lobbying reporting that shows that exxonmobil actually paid over $300,000 to lobbyists in 2014 and that mr. tillerson visited the white house five times in 2014 and treasury with secretary lou seven times. is there something disconcerning about a u.s. ceo
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attempting to undermine the sanctions imposed by our government against another country for acts that we find to be disadvantageous to the world order. director comey. >> that's not a question i can answer for a variety of reasons. i'm not quantified to answer, and i shouldn't be asked to answer questions like that. >> okay. how about this then. is it disconcerning to you as the director of the fbi that a u.s. ceo would say publicly that he is very close friends with president putin and has had a 17-year relationship with him. >> that's not a question i can answer. >> would it raise any red flags? >> that's not a question i can answer.
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>> admiral rodgers. >> lots of american corporations do business in russia. i have no knowledge of the specifics we're talking about. i'm in no way qualified or knowledgeable enough to comment on this. >> all right. let's move on to someone else in that web. his name is michael caputo. he's a pr professional, conservative radio talk show host. in 1994, he moved to russia and there he was working for the agency for international development. he was fired from that job because he refused to follow a state department position. he then opened a pr firm in moscow and married a russian woman. he subsequently divorced her and in 1999, his business failed. rodger stone, a mentor to him, urged him to move to florida and open his pr firm in miami, which is exactly what mr. caputo did. and then in 2000, he worked
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with media to improve putin's image in the united states. now, do we know who gas media is? do you know anything, director? >> i don't. >> well, it's a oil company. in 2007, he began consulting the ukrainian parliamentary campaign, there he met his second wife. so i guess my question is what possible reason is there for the trump campaign to hire putin's image consultant? any thoughts on that, director comey? >> no thoughts. >> admiral rodgers. >> likewise, ma'am. >> all right. do either of you know what mr. michael caputo is doing for trump today? >> i have no idea. >> and i'm not going to talk
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about a u.s. persons. >> all right. let's move on now to carter paige. carter paige was the founder of global energy, it's an investment fund. he has only one partner and that partner is surgy, who is the former executive of russia state own gas oil company. before that from 2004 to 2007 he worked for merrill lynch in moscow. in march of 2016, then candidate trump referred to carter paige as his foreign policy adviser to the washington post. the next day paige -- he's an adviser on russia and energy. but then subsequently candidate trump says he doesn't know him. on september 26, he takes a leave of absence from the
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campaign and then paige publicly supports a relationship with russia criticizes u.s. sanctions and nato's approach to russia saying -- and subsequently saying he's invest his stake in august. and criticizing the u.s. sanctions an article in global policy and then rebuke the west for focusing so called annexation of crimea. in july of 2016, he gives a graduation speech at the new economics school, denies meeting with the prime minister christopher steel and his d dossier, offering 19%. it becomes the biggest transfer of public property to private ownership.
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now, carter paige is a national security adviser to donald trump. do you believe that -- why do we -- i guess, again, here's another company that has had sanctions oppose imposed upon it. can you, again, clarify why we impose sanctions on companies? >> admiral rodgers did it better than i. >> i apologize. i don't remember the specifics of my answer, but i'll stand by my answer. >> which was excellent. >> all right. i think at that point i will heel back, mr. chair. >> i now yield. >> thank you, gentlemen, for your service. thank you for being here.
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we've talked a little bit about the russian playbook; right? extortion, be righ bribery, false news, disinformation, they all sound familiar; correct? as we talk without thinking about anybody in the united states just generally the russian playbook and how it has worked in particularly eastern europe and central europe, a lot of it involves trying to influence individuals in that country; correct? >> yes. >> so what we've talked about a little bit today seems to be sort of a black-and-white notion of whether there was collusion. but does a russian active measure attempting to succeed at collusion, does the person involve have to actually know? i mean, does it have to involve knowing collusion for there to be damage? >> i can answer generally in the world of intelligence, oftentimes there are people
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who are called coon the plaintiffees, who are acting -- don't realize they're dealing with agents of a foreign power, and doing things for someone they think is a friend or business associate, not realizing it's for the foreign government. so it can happen. it's actually quite a frequent technique. >> and beyond that sometimes to include things where the actor doesn't necessarily know what they're doing is helping that other government. >> examining. >> and what are instances? just examples of what that might include in a generic sense in europe and -- >> well, oftentimes a researcher here in the united states may think they're dealing with a peer researcher in a foreign government and not knowing that that researcher is either knowingly or unwittingly passing information to a foreign adversary of the united states. >> and can you explain and
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elaborate how this problem with defining what collusion is, the differences that might be involved with explicit or implicit collusion? >> collusion is not a term, a legal term of art, and it's not one i've used here today. we're investigating to see whether there's any coordination with people associated with the campaign. >> implicit coordination. >> i guess implicit, i would think of it as knowing or unknowing. >> all right. >> you can do things to help a foreign nation state as i said without realizing you're dealing with. you think you're helping a buddy who's a researcher at a university in china. and what you're actually doing is passing information that ends up in the chinese government. that's unwitting. i don't know anyway implicit. explicit would be i'm sending this stuff to china because i want to help the chinese government, and i know he's hooked up with the chinese government. >> admiral rodgers, would you give other examples of what you've witnessed in your career. >> sometimes u.s. individuals
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are approached by other individuals connected with foreign connections that will represent, assume an identity, if you will. and i want you to think i'm actually a -- working for a business, commercial interest, those kinds of things, create a relationship. and then it turns out there's really no commercial interest, they're acting as -- >> and romance can be a feature. somebody dating someone, create a close relationship, and the u.s. government person think so they're in love with this person and vice versa and they're actually an agent of a foreign power. >> you describe this as naïve acquiescence. >> i'm not sure what that means. >> i don't know what that means. >> you're going on without, you're being naïve. >> sure. i can see that.
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>> going on things with what you probably can't comment upon, we're all very familiar at this point with mr. sessions' testimony before the united states senate where he specifically said he wasn't one who had this contact with the russians. and then there was the amended, i guess, testimony, in which he acknowledged, i believe, two such testimony. the first was in july during the convention and then later in september afterwards. all the while that the issues that we are talking about today, the hacking, the dumping of materials were taking place, and certainly someone in the position of mr. senator sessions would have been aware of this, perhaps would have remembered these conversations or might have mentioned, ask the russian ambassador to knock it off. but apparently none of those things happened or at least he
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didn't remember that they happened. unfortunately, what we're reading now is that there was a third meeting as early as april of last year in washington d.c. a meeting which candidate trump was present and the russian ambassador was present. at somat some point in time, this goes well beyond an innocent -- under the best of circumstances "oh, i forgot, sort of thing. or that doesn't count." when you correct your testimony in front of the united states senate, you're still under oath, you're swearing to the american people what you're saying is true. the third time is well beyond that and quite simply perjury. so as we look at this, as we go forward, gentlemen, i ask that you take that into consideration. this is far more than what we have talked about just in the
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general sense did the russians hack or not and to the scope of this to a concerted effort and plan to lie to the american public about what took place and what the motivations were beyond these -- this process. again, i thank you for your service, and i yield back to the ranking member. >> i yield to mr. swallow owe of california. >> thank you. director comey, you've served time in a courtroom as a prosecutor, and i wonder if instructing juries every day you discovered that a person lied deliberately about the case, you should not consider anything that the witness says. >> yep. that's familiar to me. >> and your testimony at the beginning of this hearing was that president trump's claims that former president obama had wiretapped him is false. >> i said we have no information that supports them. >> thank you. with respect to donald trump,
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do you remember the other instruction relating to truthfulness of a witness or defendant. if a defendant makes a false or misleading statement relating to the charge crime knowing this statement was false or intending to mislead, that conduct may also show he or she were aware of their guilt. >> yep. familiar to me. from my distant past. >> i want to talk about the kremlin playbook and there are a number of ways that a foreign adversary could seek to influence a person. do you agree with that? >> yes. >> financial? >> yes. that can be one. >> romance, you said is another. >> yes. >> compromise. >> correct. >> setting up a compromise. >> sure. to execute on a compromise. yes. >> how about inadvertently capturing a compromise. meaning they have vast surveillance, and you stumble into that surveillance. >> and then they take that information and try to use it to coerce you.
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yeah, that's part of the playbook. >> i'll yield back, chair, and continue once time is back. >> we'll go back to mr. turne mr. turner. >> thank you, gentlemen, i want to go back to the issue of rodgers indicated to put a cloud to undermine our system. and i would think certainly today, mr. comey, with your announcement with the investigation that the russians would be very happy with that as an outcome because the cloud of their actions and activities continue and will continue to undermine until you're finished with whatever your investigation is currently in the scope of. i want to go back to the issue of how does one open an investigation? because, again, i'm a little confused by some of the things that we hear as to the basis of an investigation. now, mr. comey, if an individual attends a meeting with the foreign leader, is that enough to open
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counterintelligence information? >> that somebody met with somebody? no. >> without more than, if they have their picture taken with a foreign leader, is that enough? >> depend on where they were. >> assume they're in the foreign country and in that foreign leader's government offices or facilitates, if they're having a picture taken with them, is that enough to open a counterintelligence investigation? >> it would depend? >> on what? because i'm saying just a picture. because i can tell you certainly there's lots of people that would have lots of pictures. >> yeah. >> is it enough that a person just had their picture taken with a foreign leader at the foreign leader's government official offices or place of residence. >> the reason why i said it depends, it depends. did the person sneak over to the foreign country and meet them clandestinently?
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>> let's say it's open that the person has attended an event that has gone over to meet with the foreign person, foreign government official and is at their foreign government official facilitate or their official residence and has a picture taken and has no intention of covertly being president with the foreign person. is that picture enough to open a counterintelligence investigation? >> tricky to answer hypotheticals, but i think my reaction to that doesn't strike me enough. i know your next question is going to get deeper into the hypos. >> no. i'm not getting deeper into hypos. these are straight forward. what if you're paid to attend a conference in a foreign country, and you're paid to attend that conference directly by the foreign government but nonetheless, payment does occur for you to attend the conference. we know president bill clinton attended many such conferences
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and spoke and received payment. is receiving payment by attending to speak at a conference. again, it's not covert. it's open. they're attending to speak at a conference. they received payment for the purpose of speaking. is that enough to open a counterintelligence investigation? >> i can't say as i sit here. it would depend upon a lot of different things. >> if you had no or information or evidence other than the fact that they attended, is that enough for you, the fbi, to open a counterintelligence investigation for a private u.s. citizen? >> i can't answer the hypothetical because it would depend on a number of things. >> i limited to where there would be no other things. i said only. if the only information you had where they attended an event they paid, which was a conference, is that only sufficient information to open against a private citizen? >> who paid them? did they disclose it? what did they discuss when they were there? who else was with them?
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lots and lots of circumstances that make that simple even hypo difficult to answer. >> let's say that they've traveled to a foreign country, and they openly traveled, it wasn't covert, is traveling there enough? >> just traveling around the world? no. >> okay. well, i'm very concerned, mr. comey about the issue of how an investigation is open. and how we end up at this situation once again where mr. clapper as the director of national intelligence just said that when he left, there was no evidence of conclusion and yet as admiral rodgers said we're sitting now where the russians' goal is being achieved or undermining our electoral process. so i certainly hope that you take an expeditious look at what you have undertaken
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because it affects the heart of our democracy. mr. comey, i have a question, again, concerning classified information. now, i know that if i attend a classified briefing, and i receive classified information, and i go and tell someone that classified information, if i leak it or release it, that i've committed a crime. but what if someone goes to a classified briefing, walks out of that briefing, and openly lies about the content of that briefing. because it's unclear to me what happens then. and it's important because as you know this committee and certainly both of you gentleman have handled a lot of classified information and recently, more recently, the reported classified information to the washington post, the times, and you know and i know, and we all know having handled classified information that some of that information is not true. are the sources of that information, if they come out
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and lie about the content of classified information, have they committed a crime? >> it's a really interesting question. i don't think so. if all they've done is lie to a reporter, that's not against the law. if they've done it -- i don't want to break anybody's hearts with that. but that is not against the law. it is not -- and the reason i'm hesitating is i could imagine a circumstance where it's part of some broader conspiracy or something but just that false statement to a reporter is not a crime. >> and i just want to underscore that just for a second because i agree with you. i think it's no crime. and so every reporter out there that has someone standing in front of me and saying, oh, i'm taking this great risk of sharing with you u.s. secrets besides them purporting to be a trader are committing no crime to lie to them. so all of these news articles that's containing this information that we know is not the case are being done so
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as damage to the united states but without the risk of a crime. and the next aspect to your question, mr. comey, is this. what obligation of the intelligence community to correct such falsehoods? some of this information that we read in the washington post and the new york times is extremely false and extremely. what is your obligation, mr. comey, to be that source to say i can't really classify that information, but i can tell you it's not that. >> yeah. it's a great question, mr. turner. there's a whole lot out there that is false, and i suppose some of it could be people lying to reporters. i think that happens. but more often than not, it's people who act like they know when they really don't know because they're not the people who actually know the secrets. have made one or two hops out, and they're passing on things that they think they know. now we have no obligation to correct that, we can't. because if we start calling
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reporters and say, hey, this thing you said about this new aircraft that you developed, that's inaccurate, actually. it has two engines. we just can't do that because we'll give information to our adversaries that way, and it's very, very frustrating, but we can't start down that road. now, when it's unclassified information, if the reporter misreports a bill that's being debated in congress, we can call them and say, hey, you ought to read it more carefully. you missed this or missed that. we cannot do that with classified information. it's very, very frustrating because i've read a whole lot of stuff, especially in the last two months that's just wrong. but i can't say which is wrong, and i can't say it to those reporters. >> mr. comey, is there a way we at least can
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have some exchanges as what's not true so the american people don't listen to false stories in the "washington post" and "new york times" that we know are not true? that would be helpful. if you think about that -- >> i would love to invent that machine we can't. because where do you stop on that slope? >> false is false, mr. comey. >> i don't call "the new york times" to say you got that one wrong. binge bow, they got that one right. it is enormously complicated endeavor from us. we have to stay clear entirely. >> mr. comey, one was question. we all read that vice president pence publicly denied that mr. flynn talked with russians. i'm assume you saw those reports. did the fbi take any action to the being advised mr. vice president's statements. >> i can't comment on that, mr. turner. >> general flynn was interviewed by fbi personnel, is that correct? >> i can't comment on that, mr. turner. >> mr. comey, i do not have any
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additional questions but i thank you both for your participation and again i thank the chairman and ranking member of bipartisan aspect of this investigation. >> gentleman yields back. dr. wenstrup is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you, gentlemen for being here. i appreciate your endurance in this effort today. one question, how long has russia and the soviet union been interfering or attempting to interfere with our election process? >> in the report we previously talked about we've seen this kind of behavior to some degree attempting to influence outcomes for decades. >> going back to the soviet union at least. >> not to the same level necessary but the basic trend has been there. >> so i'm curious also what triggers a counterintelligence investigation of a government official. and in some ways i'm asking for myself. for example, last week i spoke at an event on foreign policy with --
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neil: we're continue to monitor these hearings. we'll go back, because fascinating developments here. you're seeing fbi director james comey and nsa director mike rogers being grilled about what they knew an when they knew it even though they have been unable to answer close to 2/3 of the questions put to them but an interesting exchange about the double standard of information in what you feel free to publicly comment on, versus what you don't. when it came certainly to the fbi director, getting grilled but those who said you seem to be pretty sure there was no evidence for any wiretapping charges that donald trump has made but apparently plenty of evidence to suggest that the russians intervened in the last election without adequate proof. furthermore, that questions about whether general michael flynn had gotten paid by the russians for a speech he made. we didn't apply the same standards to whether, for example, bill clinton or by extension hillary clinton got paid by russians for speeches made at the same time.
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so, obviously a double standard that is coming up in these hearings. woefully little of that coming up in these hearings but it is what it is. concurrent with this is the confirmation hearing that formally began today, neil gorsuch, the man the president tapped to replace school. scalia was a big fan of the judge, the judge of he, but at this point judge gorsuch has not had a chance to make his opening statement. committee members on the judiciary committee have. among them senator mike lee who joins us now. thank you for joining us. how is it going thus far and are we getting a sense from opening statement what is your colleagues are getting at? i'm sure democrats in the 11-nine breakdown, nine votes tipped their hand or not tipped their hand whether they would support gorsuch what are you hearing? >> behave on the statements made so far by my democratic colleagues it appears some
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democrats of the committee will come out guns ablazing for judge gorsuch. i think it is inforth gnat. that the slurs and attacks are unfair. i think they will be disproven by events of the week. disproven by the testimony we expect to hear from judge gorsuch and disproven by judge gorsuch's outstanding track record of jurisprudence which focuses figuring out what the law is rather than what he wishes it might say. neil: senator, your colleague, lindsey graham, he said this is the single-best thing the president has done. what you do make of that because he is a frequent critic of the president. >> i think judge gorsuch is a finance fantastic pick if that is what he means i agree with it wholeheartedly. this is a great pick. you couldn't find somebody better or difficult to find somebody better who more closely falls after the mold of justice scalia in his desire to figure out what the law means.
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hi willingness to stick to the text of the law and text of the constitution in questions brought before the court. neil: senator, is it your sense it will just take a majority of senators to approve judge gorsuch or do you think it will approve the 60-vote threshold that democrats seem to be piping for? >> look, neil, first of all, i believe that this guy is going to do so well at this hearing this week i think he is going to get 60 votes. one way or another, judge gorsuch will be confirmed. neil: okay. because as you probably aware, a number about liberal groups have promised any democratic senator who votes for the judge is going to be facing a primary battle. what do you make of that? >> well i think that is interesting that they have made that statement, so far interesting they feel apparently so threatened by the mere possibility of having someone else on the supreme court who wants to interpret the law and constitution based on what it actual says, rather than on the basis of what some liberal interest group wants.
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neil: competing with air traffic over the capitol, sir, i do want to get into some of the popular attack lines many democrats have been planning to focus own with the judge including that he is too much in the hip pocket of business. exaggerating the point to make it. that is their point. he made a number of decisions that benefited companies when it comes to environmental rules, when it comes to overtime rules, when it comes to paying sick workers if they're out a disproportionate amount of time. is it your sense as well that is going to be his achilles' heel? that democrats who might be thinking about supporting him will stop or pause because of that? >> well, look, i know they want to make it about that. i know there are democrats on the committee who are wanting desperately to make this about judge gorsuch being supposedly in the pocket of this or that type of party. it just isn't true. if you read his opinions, if you spend hours and hours that i have spent reading judge gorsuch's opinions you will find case after case which he has
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ruled for the little guy. which he has ruled for the david fighting against the goliath. the fact is that the only, the real consistent line that you will see in his cases, it is not one that is based on the type of plaintiff or defendant in any case. it is instead based on who's got the better argument under the law. sometimes that is the big guy. sometimes that is the little guy. but he is, he is as dedicated to blind justice as anyone the federal judiciary has ever seen and i'm very proud to support his nomination. neil: senator, i know you've been wrapped up, justifiably so, in these gorsuch hearings, separately in hearings involving fbi director james comey and nsa director mike rogers, prompting responses from no less than eric holder tweeting out the intel hearing today, bottom line, so far, trump campaign is under investigation, and two,
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trump tweets about obama are bogus. he is referring to the latter one there about the former president tapping his phones. i want to focus on the latter comment, do you agree with james comey and mr. rogers there seems to be little evidence of that tapping story? >> there are those who are serving on those committees. those in the hearing you're familiar are far more familiar with this than i am. let me tell you what concerns me in this area. it was pretty well-establish that there was not a wiretap as such as along the lines what president trump was referring to. it is possible that president trump was referring to something else. perhaps an order pursuant to the section 702 of the fisaments, one aimed at a operative of a foreign government but
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incidentally bought in u.s. communications, communications involving u.s. citizens, some might have been familiar with the trump campaign, i don't know. there is grave risk in a threat identified by the church committee hearings several decades ago, hearings i referred to in my book, our lost constitution. we have to remember every presidential administration from fdr through nixon used our intelligence gathering agencies to engage in political espionage. the only reason that didn't go further, the knicks son was the administration immediately preceding the work the committee did. this is always risk. we should be on high alert. those who were in in charge of collecting intelligence are not engaged in domestic espionage and i want to get to the bottom of whatever happened here. neil: do you think there is so little evidence to support the wiretapping charge that president trump raised, now that
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you're being most judicious and polite bit, but many of your colleagues are saying the president is wrong, wrong, wrong. what do you say? >> if we're talking about a wiretap, title 3 wiretap does not appear to happen here. neil: why would the president say that? makes you wonder why he would say it? >> sometimes people use imprecise language and use terms of art to refer to something else. neil: do you think he lied? do you think the president lied? >> i doubt he would say something like that unless he at least thought something was occurring in that vain but i'm not going to speak for him. you will have to speak to him and his staff. i'm saying we shouldn't be too quick that everything going on within the federal government is harmless. to assume there isn't political espionage going on. i would like to get to the bottom of it. i'm not willing to assume simply because there doesn't have to be a title 3 wiretap necessarily means nothing happened here. neil: only reason i mention
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that, sir, not toking bare the point, many argued that comment or charge whether genuinely felt or passed along to the president hurt his agenda up on the hill. it complicated the health care passage. it also complicated delayed tax cuts. do you agree with that. >> that is, it certainly hasn't helped but, i want to make very clear that the fact that this statement was said shouldn't slow anythings down. we should pay careful attention to this comment of the we should look into what if anything is behind it. but in the meantime we do need to focus on repealing obamacare. we do need to focus on achieving real lasting tax reform for the american people. we do need to focus on whittling down the burgeoning the administrative regulatory state which is costing americans $2 trillion a year, overwhelming borne by middle and poor
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americans. we have unemployment, underemployment, higher prices on goods and everything they buy. neil: sir, finally, you've been very patient with my questioning. everything seems to look good. that is always dangerous i think yesterday at this time duke's prospects looked good in the ncaa tournament. whatever the odds are gorsuch will be accepted they seem to be strong that he will become the next supreme court justice. that right now, i'm talking to the supreme court justice after him, that you're in a half a handful of potential candidates for that next justiceship that opens up. would you be interested if offered? >> look, anybody who has watched the supreme court throughout his entire life like i have, would be disingenuous if they said anything other than absolutely, yes, if asked i would consider it and would be honored to even be considered. neil: you know, that is such a straightforward, honest answer, i'm flummoxed, senator.
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but thank you. very good seeing you again. i appreciate it. >> thank you. neil: senator mike lee. we'll have a lot more coming up. my buddy charlie gasparino is here on the market impact on all of this stuff. so far non-existence. we're looking for sean spicer. we're not living for this thing. i want to rip my hair out with these things. we'll be watching. that is what we do. so you don't have to. we'll have more after this.
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neil: all right. we're monitoring sean spicer and his hearing kicking off right now. the dow is now negative after being positive much of the morning throughout all these developments. we have former cia officer with us, and a charlie gasparino. begin with you, end with you on these markets. markets hate to peg them with one event. >> the dow was stuck at around 24. was not moving much. it moved when comey mentioned the investigation into the russian meddling in the u.s. investigation but, u.s. election but it kind of stayed there. it went down now. listen, net-net, mike lee, that was revealing interview when you asked him point blank, is all this stuff trump saying obama wiretapping him is that absurd, is that helping.
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no it doesn't help his tack-cutting agenda. it was kind of interesting, after you said the market started going down. i'm not saying they're directly related but that sentiment is the reason why the market is down. neil: jesse burns, what do you make of it, not so much the market stuff, but whether donald trump is going to have a tough time when so many republicans are now saying, as again today, as they say laid last week there, is no there there. we can't find this tapping charge that you have against the plenty of other things we're finding out but that one we just can't nail down? how bad is that. >> well it is at the point where it is no longer a sideshow if it ever was. for weeks it has been the focal point of congressional inquiries now. they're looking into this. no one can find evidence, members of both party have to go on the record, the fbi director. yeah, definitely, distracts from a lot of what they're trying to pursue and it is putting resources in the direction that
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seems like no one feels like they're being justified. neil: brian wright, you're a former cia operations officer. so work through my ignorance on this. how can we be so sure and unequivocal that those, those comments from the president, that about being tapped by the former president are wrong? nothing to support it but very much convinced that the russians were in fact manipulating or trying to our elections? i mean how can we have it both ways? >> well, i think if in fact there were these fisa court authorizations of, you know, allowing surveillance to happen, that may be what he is tripping up over because wiretapping claim just is flat-out wrong, but if in fact the fisa court as authorized that surveillance, he or his associates certainly could have been caught up in the weeks and months leading up to his haven't all election and indeed his presidency.
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>> would it surprise anybody that paul manafort, title 3 fisa would tap his phone. neil: it could happen but not the president-elect. >> had direct ties with russians or doing business there or roger stone, full disclosure, guy i know, i guy i like, another associate of donald trump has been out there talking about his connections with wikileaks and "gucifer," or any number or flynn himself, any number of former or people in the trump orbit that had connections with russians or with russia. neil: lay odds they're all, no evidence at all. >> but it is possible that happened. neil: you're just saying about the president. >> possible it happened without a title three, those were picked up on intercepts you don't need title three on. neil: what if republicans say there is no there there? >> even if that is the case i just wonder, listen, just, it zooms to me that if we're going, if there is any truth to this, you can ask the cia gentleman,
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russians that are being spied on by us which we're supposed to do, having some connections with trump people and getting picked up that way. neil: jesse, one thing at that came up, a lot of people probably ignored it, i thought it was revealing, that, forget the congressman that asked us, congressman turner, what is the difference between general michael flynn getting paid by the russians presumably for a speech or seminar whatever the event was, we don't even know when it was or bill clinton or for that matter hillary clinton getting paid by authorities? why is it given disproportionate amount of attention now? >> well, i think it was revealing the fact that democrats have been pushing for months for comey to even confirm there was an investigation and he said they have been looking into this since july. so, apparently, you know anything since july onward of course would be involved in that but we don't know the scope of it. neil: we don't know when it was terp talking about, right? >> right.
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we don't know the exact extent of it. you will see a lot of scrutiny what they can actually confirm. neil: i don't mean to jump on you, my friend. sean spicer talking about this very issue right now. >> we believe is newsworthy about the intelligence fathering process and unmasking of americans identified in intelligence reports and illegal leak of such unmasked individuals which is a federal crime. direct are to comey told the house intelligence committee certain political appointees in the obama administration had access to names of unmasked u.s. citizens such as senior white house officials, senior department of justice officials and senior intelligence officials before president obama left office, michael flynn was unmasked and then illegally his identity was leaked out to media outlets despite the fact nsa director rogers said unmasking and revealing individuals in endangers, quote, national security. not only was general flynn's identity made available, director comey refused to answer
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the question whether or not he actually briefed p the obama on his phone calls and activities. director comey called these types of disclosures of classified information a threat to national security. he said he will investigate and pursue these matters to the full extent of law. he also said the leaking of classified information had become, quote, unusually active in the time frame in question. it is important to note that both directors and comey and rogers told the committee they have no evidence that votes were changed in the swing states president had won of the i think that pretty much until we get the ending of this hearing, i don't know that i want to comment too much further. with that i'm glad to take a few questions. jonathan. >> sean, does the president still have complete confidence in fbi director comey? >> there is no reason to believe he doesn't at this time. john. >> i answered it. >> he said there is no information to support the allegations that the president made against president obama. >> at this time. >> so is the president prepared
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to withdraw that accusation apologize to the president? >> we started a hearing. it is still ongoing. and then, as chairman nunes mentioned this is one in a sear esries of hearings that will be happening. as i noted last week there, is also a lot of interesting news coming out of that in terms of activities that have gone on to reveal information on american citizens that have been part of this, particularly general flynn. there is a lot of things aren't being covered in this hearing that i think are interesting. that, you know, since it is on going i will leave that for now. i think are there is a lot of areas that still need to be covered. there is a lot of information that still needs to be discussed. >> investigating the links and possibility of coordination between the trump campaign and the russians. given that the president just this morning said that the democrats made up the russia story, why would the fbi director be investigating a story if it is simply -- >> i don't think that is what he said. >> no, he did.
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he said he is investigating nature of any links between individuals associated with campaign and russian government and whether or not there was any coordination. >> investigating it and having proof of it are two different things. look at acting obama cia director said there is snoke but there is no fire. senator tom cotton, not that i'm seeing not that i'm aware of. you look at director clapper, not to my knowledge. senator chris coons democrat from delaware. there is no evidence of collusion. there is point you continue to search for something everybody has been briefed hasn't seen or found. i think it is fine to look into it but at the end of the day they will come to the same conclusion that everybody else has had. you can continue to look for something but continuing to look for something that doesn't exist doesn't matter. there is a discussion, i heard some names floated around hangers on the campaign. i think at some point people that you know, to the thrown around at the beginning of this hearing, some of those names, greatest amount of interaction
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that he have this had is cease and desist letters sent to them. >> roger stones and carter page. >> exactly. carter pages, yes. but those people, greatest amount of interaction they had with the campaign was a campaign apparently sending them a series of cease and desist letters. so i think when you read a lot of activity about associates there is a fine line between people who want to be part of something that they never had an official role in and people who actual played a role in either the campaign for the transition. julie. >> two quick questions on the hearing today. the president, now that we know there is an ongoing investigation by the fbi, does the president stand by his comments he is not aware of any contacts that his campaign associates had with russia during the election. >> yes. >> second one, has anyone from the white house -- >> can i amend the first one. obviously, just to be clear i know that, i'm trying to think through this one obviously general flynn. >> during the campaign, before the election.
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>> i'm not aware of any at this time. even general flynn was a volunteer of the campaign and obviously there has been discussion of paul paul manafort who played a limited role for amount of time. >> he was campaign chairman. >> can you stop interrupting other people's questions. jonathan. it is not your press briefing. julie is asking a question. please calm down. >> are you saying the president is aware that contacts that manafort -- >> nothing previously discussed. i don't want to make it look like we're not aware. >> second thing is, anyone from the white house up to the president interviewed by the fbi as part of this investigation. >> not that i'm aware of? mara. >> you maid a point of saying comey refused to say whether he had briefed obama about the investigation and also the president on his official account tweeted the same thing today. comey made a point today of saying please do not draw any conclusions from my ability to
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confirm or deny anything. but you are drawing a conclusion. >> i think we're pointing it out. we're making a point, that it is not known. further, everyone looking for a conclusion today, i think there is a lot more that needs to be discussed and looked at before we can jump to a conclusion, hold on, i think the point is, in the same token you have got individuals that want an answer and at the same time there is clearly a lot of information that still hasn't come out or still hasn't been discussed. >> you're looking forward to the investigation? >> i think there is a lot more to come is the answer -- >> reason i'm asking a question, that they are going to come to the same conclusion of everybody else. >> my point is -- >> do you already know the conclusion. >> there is this continuous, media narrative continues to talk about collusion that exists, yet every person that has been briefed, nunes, tom cotton, chris coons, democrat of delaware, clapper, obama
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appointee all said nothing they have seen makes them believe there was any collusion. i think there is difference between talking about an investigation into the 2016 election which we all know and the any evidence of collusion. there is no evidence of, according to the people that have been briefed of any collusion or activities that leads them to believe that that exists. i think that is an important point that gets overlooked and over and over and over again. >> fine to look into it, but they are going to come to the same conclusion as everybody else. >> my point to you is there's an assumption on behalf of most people in the media about a what that investigation must mean,
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and despite the narrative that gets played over and over again with respect to what the investigation might mean in terms of collusion, every person, republican and democrat, that has been briefed on it has come to the same conclusion that there is no collusion and that that's over. while we can talk about an investigation big pickingture holistically -- picture, the idea that so many people are trying to jump to a conclusion seems very, very misguided. jake. >> hey, sean. two quick. just off the briefing with the president, do you expect -- [inaudible] president xi, the summit that's been reported on for next month, was that meant to be taking place early april -- [inaudible] >> i'll try to have more of a readout afterwards. i know they're going to talk extensively about what he accomplished in both, you know, japan, south korea and, obviously, in beijing. but i'm going to let the secretary of state debrief the president before i get ahead of deciding what they, what was

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