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tv   Happening Now  FOX News  December 7, 2017 8:00am-9:00am PST

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or all of those 10,000 texts sufficient to understand why this individual was dismissed and how it might be relevant to the question of the objectivity of director comey's investigation and conclusions? >> there are a couple parts to your question if i might. first i want to be clear that the individual in question has not been dismissed. >> he has been relieved from the duties he had. >> he was reassigned away from the special counsel investigation, which is different than disciplinary action. second, as to the question of access to the text messages, we would be happy to try to work with the committee on that. i want to be sensitive that there is an active -- very active outside independent investigation by the inspector general and the last thing i want to do and the last thing
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the committee would want to do is compromise or interfere with that. we have to go through a process how we can be sensitive to those operational considerations while at the same time be responsive to congress and this committee and its oversight responsibility. >> i thank jim for yielding. we have been in communication with the inspector general and respect the investigation that is taking place there. and we have asked the department of justice and through them the federal bureau of investigation for all of the 1.2 million documents that have been provided to the inspector general. minus those that relate to any particular ongoing grand jury investigation. now, i have received back from the assistant attorney general mr. boyd, a letter indicating
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that they will make a full some response to that request. so i would like in following up with mr. issa's question to hear you tell us that you will also provide us with that honoring of that request because most of those documents that department has committed to provide are coming from the federal bureau of investigation. >> i don't mean to suggest that we wouldn't be fully responsive and cooperative with the committee. i'm simply saying we would work with the justice department in making sure that we have considered all the appropriate factors we need to to make sure we haven't doing something in terms of unintended consequences with ongoing investigation but we have no desire to frustrate the legitimate oversight requests of this committee. >> i just want to ask the director, can this kind -- does
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this kind of document request of the inspector general ongoing investigation, could it interfere with that investigation? is it proper to respond? what are the limitations here? >> i think a lot of that is -- requires, as the chairman referenced, us to make sure we're touching base with the inspector general since it's his investigation and not ours. if the inspector general is comfortable with the information being provided and it is not going to interfere with or impede his investigation that's one very significant consideration that can be put to the side. so -- our staff will work with the justice department staff and your staff to make sure we are doing everything we can to be responsive and making sure we aren't in some way jeopardizing or compromising and ongoing investigation or revealing something about a grand jury matter or anything like that. >> we ask for it minus grand
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jury material. it takes time to do that. mr. boyd committed to a date of january 15 and he is going to require your cooperation. we want to have your assurance that cooperation in meeting that date will be forthcoming. we intend to follow up with further letters on clarifying this but it is very important we have this information very quickly, the inspector general is completely cooperative with us in his investigation but they aren't his documents, they are the f.b.i. and the department of justice documents. the question is directed to the department and we need to have full response. >> we intend to be fully cooperative with both this committee and the inspector general. >> i robbed the gentleman from california of his time. >> i will be brief. >> he has an additional minute. >> director, at this time as far as you know you aren't asserting or believe there is
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any privilege as to those documents, is that correct? >> i haven't reviewed however many million documents. >> i'm only saying that at this time you know of no privilege. >> bill: i'm not aware of it but i haven't asked the question yet to be honest. >> i appreciate that. lastly, since in the case of peter strzok and other statements, because this information was not made available to us at a time in which your predecessor, mr. comey, specifically said he is breaking precedent being open and transparent as to the investigation of hillary clinton's taking from government possession documents under the federal records act and classified documents, do you agree that a denova review at some point by someone is clearly warranted as to whether or not the decision not to prosecute was appropriate? >> well, congressman, i think what i would say to that is there is what i would consider
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a de novo outside review by the inspector general with decisions made, charging and not charging decisions in the matter that you are referring to were based on any kind of improper considerations or political considerations. and depending on what the inspector general finds, there could be any range of possible steps that we or others would have to take in response to those findings. >> it is not a de novo review by the inspector general but if impropriety occurred and whether or not to prosecute hillary clinton -- >> i think i can briefly respond which is i think of the inspector general's investigation as de novo in one sense. it is objective arms length, no skin in the game if you will. but you're right. the inspector general is not second guessing prosecutorial decisions and things like that.
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however, the inspector general is looking at the very important question of whether or not improper political considerations factored into the decision making. if he were to conclude that's what happened, then i think at that point we're in a situation where we have to assess what else might need to be done to unring that bell, if you will. >> thank you. >> the chair recognizes the woman from texas, ms. lee, for five minutes. >> thank you for your service and i welcome you. i'm holding in my hand right now the mission of the f.b.i. which reads the mission of the f.b.i. is to protect and defend united states against terrorists and foreign intelligence threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the united states and provide leadership in criminal justice services to federal and state and international agencies and partners and responsive to the needs of the public and faithful to the constitution of the united states. do you adhere to this mission?
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>> yes, ma'am. >> does it include your responding to the political bias and comments of politicians? >> i do not think it is part of my responsibility to respond to opinions and biases, if they are out there by politicians. >> forgive me for the time period i have. director comey made a statement that there would be no prosecution against a former secretary of state, would that statement have been reviewed by the department of justice? >> congresswoman, i think how that -- that whole decision making was handled is part of what the inspector general is looking at it. >> bill: you indicated you report to the deputy attorney general and he reports to the attorney general. in the normal protocol, a statement that you would have made or any other f.b.i. director would have made, director mueller when he was the f.b.i. director reviewed by that protocol? is that the likely protocol? >> likely protocol, sure.
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>> let me move on to indicate it was stated earlier that the f.b.i. the former secretary disclosed top secrets to emails, whether that -- answer the question whether that should be investigated, the present president disclosed top secret classified information to russian ambassador and foreign minister in the oval office. is the f.b.i. investigating those disclosures? >> i wouldn't confirm or suggest the existence of any ongoing investigation. >> a few years ago this committee considered and eventually moved on an obstruction of justice element in an impeachment proceeding. do you believe yes or no can a sitting president commit obstruction of justice? >> congresswoman, legal questions especially legal questions regarding impeachment are not something that i'm equipped to answer. >> this is separate and apart from impeachment. do you believe a sitting president can commit an obstruction of justice? >> that's a legal question and
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i would defer to the lawyers on that one. i am a reformed lawyer as an f.b.i. director. >> if a sitting president commits a crime it becomes a non-crime? if a sitting president commits a crime does it become a non-crime? >> same answer. >> let me move on to the idea of the quote from the president of the united states and do you believe that the f.b.i.'s reputation is in tatters? what impact did that have on the f.b.i. and if you would move quickly i know you gave a long assessment but what impact would that have on the f.b.i. if that is a statement made nationally and also to the world that the f.b.i. is in tatters? >> congresswoman, the agents, analysts and staff of the f.b.i. are big boys and girls. we understand that we will take criticism from all corners and we're accustomed to that.
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i believe personally based on what i've seen that our reputation with our counterparts in law enforcement, federal, state and local. our counterparts in the intelligence community and counterparts around the world, the communities that we serve, the victims that we protect, the judges we appear before, the scientists we interact with in the laboratory services space, for example, my experience has been that our reputation is quite good. >> thank you very much. i want to be assured to the american people that andrew wiseman and peter strzok, who were removed from their posts, that that will not sabotage bob mueller's investigation to trump campaign's collusion with russia, their removal. that their removal, peter strzok and mr. wiseman will not sabotage mueller's investigation into russian collusion. their removal from the investigation. >> i'm not aware of any effort
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by anyone to sabotage mueller's investigation. >> let me talk about the black identity extremists. we've had conversations, a report that was done august 14, 2017 said that during the same period of this report they found that right wing extremists were behind twice as many incidents, 115, and just over a third of these incidents were foiled, than those who might be considered islamists or might be considered others. there is a black extremist identity report. again i ask the question would you see that that report be clarified and would you take note of the fact that the convictions dealing with violence are more for the -- looking for my chart are more
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dealing with islamists and left wing and less for right wing? so right wing extremists are not being prosecuted, black identity extremists as declared by the f.b.i. are in fact subjected to a report and if i might say an f.b.i. that is not diverse, that i know that we would like to work on to make it diverse but they are not being prosecuted the way right wing. right wing has the lowest amount of prosecutions in the united states domestic terror incidents involving federal prosecution, right wing is the lowest. the left wing is prosecuted 100%. can you explain that? >> time of the gentleman has expired. he can answer the question. >> i have to look at the statistics that you saw. i can tell you that we have in our domestic terrorism program that the last time i looked we
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have about 50% more white supremacists in that category, investigations than we do in the black extremist category. the other point i would like to make. in all contacts, we only investigate if there are three things. one, federal criminal activity, credible evidence of federal crime. two, credible information suggesting an attempt to use force or violence, and three, those things in furtherance of a political or social goal. if we don't have that we don't investigate no matter what wing. >> i would like a report back on that question, please, thank you very much. >> the gentleman from iowa, mr. king is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you for your testimony here today and service to our country. number of curiosities i come here with this morning as all of us do. and one of them is that in the
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f.b.i. interview and investigation of general flynn, are there notes from those interviews do you know? >> number one, i don't know. beyond that i wouldn't want to comment on an ongoing investigation being run by the special counsel. >> and in a normal circumstance like that would you expect there to be notes in any other case? >> it is our normal practice to memorialize interviews. >> do so by notes. >> it usually gets reflected what is called an f.b.i. 302. how agents go from the process of this spoken conversation to the 302 varies. then there are other settings where it's a different kind of format. >> when an agent sets someone down for that kind of interview notes would be normal and in most cases would there also be an audio tape recording? >> i think an audio tape would
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be unusual. >> videotape would fit that? >> also unusual. >> you don't know whether they are available for general flynn. i bring this up because of the interview of hillary clinton and when we interviewed some of the members of the former administration that were familiar with the interview, the matter, we'll use their word, now the investigation of hillary clinton, we learned here in this room that there were no notes available to us. that there were no audio and no video available to us and in fact they had not been made available to the foreign general loretta lynch and neither had they been made available or at least reviewed by former director comey. it was curious to me a heavy decision of one of the highest investigations in the history of this country the people who made the decision didn't review the materials, they just simply received the briefing of the people they had appointed to do the investigation. i guess i'll ask you, you will tell me you don't have an opinion on that. would you conduct a similar
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investigation in a similar manner, wouldn't that send off an alarm bell to you if it were going on in your department today? >> i think what i would say is i think investigations are best conducted by taking appropriate memorialization of an interview. what i will also say in the particular investigation, i think your question goes to whether or not the handling of the investigation was skewed or tainted in some way by improper political considerations. and i think that's what the outside inspector general is looking at and i'm looking forward to seeing what he finds. >> and i believe that question has already been asked about principles that were in the room during that investigation, one is counsel and at the same time being the subject of the investigation. i'll pass that along and put some more information out here before this committee. in october of 2015 president obama referenced the lack of intent on the part of hillary clinton that she wouldn't jeopardize national security and never intend to do so.
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october of 2015. april of 2016 he made a similar statement that hillary clinton was an outstanding secretary of state. she would never intentionally put america in any kind of jeopardy. we also notice the language has been moved from extreme care -- excuse me from gross negligence to extreme carelessness. carelessness was also language president obama used if his public discussions of the matter. i'm going to make the point here that it looks to me that the get out of jail free card that hillary clinton received was rooted clear back in barack obama and his introduction of the word intent or lack of intent as a requirement for 18 usc 793f and that's been brought up here. i have asked you again surelyly you've examined the definition between extreme carelessness
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and also gross negligence that is within the statute. you really going to tell us today you don't have an opinion on that distinction? >> gross negligence is the language in the statute, i believe. but i believe also that almost anybody who grabbed the dictionary would say gross negligence and extremely careless are pretty darn close to each other. i would also say whether or not the handling, including the handling of the statement that director comey issued, is exactly what the inspector general is investigating and i think as he should. it's better than the f.b.i. not investigate itself on this and i think that's what the inspector general is doing. that is my response to that question. >> it does do a clarification to your earlier response and i appreciate that. i would like to follow up with this. there is a report that there are investigations of 27 potential leakers within the f.b.i. and i also want to ask
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if the inunmasking that was ordered that took place shortly before the election and throughout the transition period until the inauguration of and even beyond perhaps of president trump, have any investigative committee in congress had access to the full list of those unmasking requests? and how much of that is classified? >> congressman, i don't know what access committees have had to unmasking requests, specific committees. i would be happy to have my staff take a look at that. i will say that unmasking requests get made not just by parts of the intelligence community but by congressional committees themselves often ask for unmasking so they can digest the information. a lot of times legitimate concerns about unmasking are really almost more about to me
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a problem that i take very seriously, which is leaks of information. that's something that we have now dedicated unit since i've taken over that is focused specifically on that and also recently issued a new media policy that clamps down and tightens up the rules about interaction with the media inside the f.b.i. and that's something i think we take very, very seriously. >> in conclusion we know as much about the conversation on the phoenix tarmac between president clinton and loretta lynch as we do about the interview of hillary clinton within the f.b.i. >> the chair recognizes mr. cohen for five minutes. >> we've been blessed with great f.b.i. agents in tennessee. in memphis i had a situation
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where there was a county employee named mickey wright who was murdered. the f.b.i. worked on the case and justice was found and he got a light sentence, the f.b.i. that did that. they recently arrested a man named costello and got him for 15 pounds of meth which is the drug you ought to be looking at. drugs like opioids and meth and crack and heroin. not so much cannabis. he had 10 people arrested an convicted and who got larry bates who swindled and got him 22 years in jail. the f.b.i. did a great job. when the president tweeted that the f.b.i. was in tatters, director comey said i must let the american people know the truth. the f.b.i. is honest, strong and is and always will be
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independent. did you welcome his tweet and do you agree with it? >> well, i believe that description of the f.b.i. aligns with my own description as my folks would tell you, i'm not really a twitter guy. i have never tweeted, don't have any plans to tweet. don't really engage in tweeting. >> you have been at the f.b.i. long enough to know the reputation of previous directors. what was the reputation of director comey within the agents of the f.b.i.? >> well, my experience with director comey was that when i worked with him, which was back in the early 2000s, was that he was a smart lawyer, a dedicated public servant, and somebody that i enjoyed working with. we haven't stayed in as much touch over the last several years and of course there is now the ongoing investigation. but my experiences have all been positive.
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>> do you know the reputation of director mueller within f.b.i. agents and lore? >> any experience has been director mueller is very well respected within the f.b.i. >> when you were interviewed by president trump. you were interviewed by president trump before you were appointed, is that not the case? >> yes, not exclusively. but yes. >> what questions did he ask you? >> my recollection is the conversations were more about my background and in particular we talked a lot about my desire to join the war on counter terror as somebody who had been in the justice department and f.b.i. headquarters on the day of 9/11 itself and having met -- i talked a lot about my interaction with the victims of 9/11 in my last law enforcement
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experience. and my desire to return to public service to keep people safe. >> he didn't ask you any questions about russia or mr. comey or mr. mueller or any other questions like that at all? >> no. >> good, very good. the f.b.i. concentrates on situations that presently are a threat to the united states or to safety of the public, is that correct? >> yes. >> so the issues concerning the current president would be more important to you than the issues concerning the person who he defeated who is now not in office, would that be an accurate assessment? >> i'm reluctant to try to compare one matter to another in that way. what i would tell you is that we take any effort to interfere
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with our election very seriously. i take any effort to mishandle classified information very seriously. >> thank you. benjamin franklin said that -- he gave the american people a republic if you can keep it. you are the heir, the legacy of griffin bell, having worked at spalding and you have an excellent reputation if you can keep it. you will be tested. i feel you will rise to the task but you will be tested. that's the balance of my time. >> recognize the gentleman from ohio mr. jordan. >> was agent peter strzok the former head of counter intelligence at the f.b.i.? >> i don't remember his exact title. i believe it's direct >> he was a key player in the clinton investigation and participated in the clinton interview and also the same peter strzok who now we know
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changed director comey's exoneration letter and changed the term gross negligence a crime to extreme carelessness, is that the same guy? >> i don't know every step that the individual you mentioned was involved in but certainly i know that he was heavily involved in the clinton email investigation. >> and is this the same peter strzok who helped was a key player in the russian investigation and the same one put on muelle special counsel's investigation. whether he was a key player that's not for me to say. >> the same peter strzok we learned this weekend was removed from the special counsel team because he exchanged text messages with a colleague at the f.b.i. that were displayed a pro-clinton bias, is that accurate? >> yes. >> talking about the same guy. here is what i'm not getting.
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peter strzok is selected to be on mueller's team after all this history, put on mueller's team and then he is removed for some pro-clinton text messages. there are all kinds of people on mueller's team who are pro-clinton. 96% of the top lawyer contributions went to clinton or obama. but peter strzok, the guy who ran the clinton investigation, interviewed mills, abiden, changed gross negligence to extreme carelessness. ran the russia investigation and interviewed mike flynn gets put on mueller's team and gets kicked off for a text message that is anti-trump. if he kicked everybody off mueller's team who is anti-trump i don't think there would be anybody left. there has to be something more here. it can't just be some text messages that show a pro-clinton, anti-trump bias. there has to be something more and i'm trying to figure out
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what it is. my hunch is it has something to do with the dossier. did peter strzok help produce and present the application to the fisa court to secure a warrant to spy on americans associated with the trump campaign? >> congressman, i am not prepared to discuss anything about a fisa process in this setting. >> we aren't talking about what happened in the court but what the f.b.i. took to the court. the application. did peter strzok -- was evolved in taking that to the court? >> i'm not going to discuss in this setting anything to do with the fisa court applications. >> let's remember a couple of things, director. i know you know this. we've all been made aware of this in the last few weeks. let's remember a couple things about the dossier. the democratic national committee and clinton campaign which we now know were one in the same paid the law firm who paid fusion gps, who paid christopher steele who then
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paid russians. to put together a report that we call a dossier full of all kinds of fake news, national inquirer garbage. it has been reported that this dossier was all dressed up by the f.b.i., taken to the fisa court and presented as a legitimate intelligence document. that it became the basis for granting a warrant to spy on americans. i'm wondering if that actually took place. it sure looks like it did. and the easiest way to clear it up is for you guys to tell us what was in that application and who took it there. >> congressman, our staffs have been having extensive interaction with both intelligence committee on our interaction with the fisa court and the appropriate setting for those questions. >> i think peter strzok, head of counter intelligence at the f.b.i., peter strzok, the guy who ran the clinton investigation, did all the
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interviews, peter strzok, the guy running the russian investigation at the f.b.i., peter strzok, mr. super agent at the f.b.i., i think he is the guy who took the application to the fisa court. if that happened, if this happened, if you have the f.b.i. working with a campaign, the democrats campaign, taking opposition research, dressing it all up and turning it into an intelligence and taking it to the fisa court to spy on the other campaign. if that happened that's as wrong as it gets. maybe i'm wrong. you can clear it all up for all of us here, all the congress who wants to know and america who wants to know. you can clear it all up. release the application, tell us what was in it and tell us if i'm wrong. i don't think i am. i think that's exactly what happened and if it did it is as wrong as it can be and people who did that need to be held accountable. >> congressman, we will not
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hesitate to hold people accountable after there has been an appropriate investigation independent and objective by the inspector general into the handling of the prior matter. based on that i will look at all available remedies depending on what the facts are when found. as to the access to the dossier, that is something that is subject of ongoing discussion between my staff and the various intelligence committees. >> there is nothing prohibiting you director. is there anything from preventing you from showing this committee what was presented to the fisa court? the application you put together at the f.b.i. that was presented to the fisa court. anything preventing you from showing us that? >> the director can respond. >> i do not believe that i can legally and appropriately share a fisa court submission with this committee. >> talking about what the f.b.i. put together. what you took there. the process put together, what you presented. what you took to the court. >> when i sign fisa
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applications, which i do every day of the week they are all covered with a classified information cover. so that's part of why -- >> is it likely that peter strzok paid a part in the application presented to the fisa court? >> the gentleman's time has expired. i want to follow up to your last response. the house judiciary committee has primary jurisdiction over the foreign intelligence surveillance court. any request for documents coming to any part of the congress should include the house judiciary committee. if it is classified in any way, shape or form it can be provided to us in a classified setting. but that is information that we are very much interested in and very much want to receive. >> i don't think there is anything prohibiting the f.b.i. from giving us what they used to put together what was taken to the fisa court. that's what we're asking for and there is nothing prohibiting him from doing that. >> i don't think there is, either.
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time of the gentleman has expired, however. you care to respond to that e director wray? >> i think i've covered it. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia mr. johnson for five minutes. >> thank you, director wray, you have led a distinguished career as an assistant u.s. attorney for the northern district of georgia, atlanta. we're home boys on that part. justice department associate deputy attorney general. even serving as assistant attorney general heading up the criminal division of the entire justice department and then as a litigation partner at the international and premier law firm of king and spalding. >> it was getting a little hot in the house intelligence committee as you heard congressman jim jordan of ohio suggesting that peter strzok, the head of counter intelligence, the top counter intelligence agent in the f.b.i., might have gone to the
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foreign intelligence surveillance or fisa court using material that was in a sense paid for by the democrat national committee, the so-called dossier to embarrass president trump. >> wray not conveying any information. that's not a surprise. the text messages, the anti-trump sentiment was interesting to hear him point out the fact that if you talk to anybody on mueller's team you are probably going to get the same sentiments. why is his being treated any differently? >> julie ban dare yes, sir along with jon scott for a truncated version of "happening now." what did you think, josh, of jim jordan's line of questioning? interesting. >> that's right. jim jordan unleashed a potent accusation not only did peter strzok have some anti-clinton texts but he kind of was the point person in terms of authorizing surveillance against the trump campaign. he really said that was a
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theory. he didn't have any evidence behind those allegations but he really put wray on the spot and wray as he did throughout the hearing deferred, ignored the question and deferred a lot of these questions about that specific case of peter strzok to the inspector general's investigation. >> his summary made some sense on the surface, or his supposition. that peter strzok had been involved in questioning hillary clinton aides huma abiden and cheryl mills. he has been involved in questioning hillary clinton herself. he had changed the language in jim comey's filing taking it from gross negligence -- grossly negligent to extremely careless. but then when he sends some and i trump text messages to a woman who is also working for the f.b.i. he was romantically involved with her all of a sudden he gets booted from this
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clinton investigation and jim jordan says it doesn't necessarily pass the smell test. >> republicans are arguing there was a double standard between how the f.b.i. handled the interviews with top clinton officials and with how they handled the interview with michael flynn more recently. it is -- politics are mixed up with justice in this case. during the 2016 campaign trump was largely supportive of the law enforcement agencies. a lot of democrats were the ones criticizing the politization of the f.b.i. a lot of different threads. peter strzok is an important one. i hope the f.b.i. and it sounds like christopher wray is in the future going to be transparent. the report from the inspector general will come out. democrats were the ones accusing the f.b.i. of politization during the campaign and now the republican's turn. >> wray is in a tight box. the president has been criticizing his athey pretty
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harshly of late. >> it was an awkward moment for christopher wray in his first hearing and testimony. he is trying to raise f.b.i. morale at a time that president trump is calling the agency as being in tatters and you have republicans hitting him for suspected politization of some of their handling of previous cases relating to peter strzok. democrats are giving him a hard time. he wants to make sure he isn't overly loyal to president trump. he wasn't getting easy questioning on either side. both republicans and democrats have reason to give him scrutiny. >> josh, thank you. >> so we are continuing to watch this and a lot going on today. not only this is happening but we are actually getting more word on al franken and news has come out confirming that he will be resigning today, which is another huge push against sexual allegations made against
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a lot of politicians. the democrats are standing up and setting an example. >> seven minutes away from the time when al franken is expected to take to the senate floor. julie says she has confirmation he will resign as of late yesterday his office was denying that. after multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. we will have that for you live when it happens.
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>> jon: fox news alert and this could be the end of the senate career of former comedian al franken accused by at least seven women of sexual harassment and in some cases worse. he is expected to go to the well of the senate any minute now and multiple reports say he will be announcing his resignation from the senate. let's go live to peter doocy on capitol hill for us now. >> we don't know yet just a few
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minutes ahead of when franken is supposed to take to the senate floor to make this announcement whether or not he is on the complex. there are big groups of cameras like this one everywhere. this one at the entrance, the senate carriage entrance. we don't know if he snuck in a different way or on his way or if we catch him on the way in to get any more word, any more information about his thinking but the senator has been hunkered down. nobody wants to get ahead of him so nobody will say for sure here on the hill whether or not they know he is going to leave or if he is going to stay. again, we think -- somebody is saying heads-up. i don't know if that means he is coming. not wanting to block the shot just in case. but still no word about franken. he has not been back to minnesota for quite a long time since these allegations broke. he has been staying mostly at his daughter's house.
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this -- he did do a press availability on the hill last week or the week before. this is going to be the most extensive we believe remarks that he has made. again, if he decides to resign it will be a farewell address. if he decides he is going to stay it would be a surprise to a lot of people here. his democratic colleagues say they expect he will resign, they think he will resign. they all want him to resign, more than 30 of them. but nobody knows for sure what is coming and what kind of detail we'll get here, john. >> jon: 36 of his fellow democrats in the senate say it's time for him to go. among them most of the female democratic senators in the senate have said it's time for him to go. our colleague chris stirewalt was on "america's newsroom" this morning saying pretty unusual to go to the well of the senate to announce your resignation. usually that's done with a paper statement or john conyers announced he is resigning basically on a radio interview
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from his hospital bed. why go to the senate? >> good question, jon. this is pretty unprecedented. there was a thought yesterday when all of these senators and democratic colleagues were calling for franken to resign well maybe he is just -- then he said he would make an announcement more than 24 hours later there was a thought maybe he needs time to go home and talk to his constituents. that's not going to be the case. no matter what we hear today, he hasn't been home since all of this hit the fan a couple of weeks ago when the first accusers came out. and so we do not know what he has been talking to his family about for the last 24 hours. we also still don't know many of the details. you know what? here is senator franken right here, jon. we can maybe ask him. senator franken, what will you miss about washington
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he is giving a speech. >> jon: stern faced would describe the senator. >> i would say so. looks like he had a folder hard copy of his speech. since he is coming in right now it would appear he is just going to be -- not make a stop at his office across the street in the hart senate office building. he and his family are heading right to the floor. not that long of a walk. when you are a senator they clear the way for you when you want the way cleared. he should be speaking in the well any minute. >> jon: it was to take place at 11:45 eastern time. it is 11:46. it is running like clockwork.
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he was first elected 2008 and reelected. minnesota's democratic governor will make an appointment if this is to be his resignation. but that appointment would last only until 2018 at which time that appointed candidate and any others would run to fill the seat for the next two years until the seat is scheduled to be up for reelection in 2020. it will be an interesting time in minnesota politics if in fact we are about to see the resignation of the democratic senator from minnesota, the junior democratic senator, al franken. >> right, the democratic governor can appoint a democrat for the next year. after that there is no guarantee the democratic party in minnesota holds onto the seat. so will this become another up for grabs potentially senate seat in what is already
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expected to be a wild mid-term cycle that will get going we expect once the calendar turns over to 18. >> jon: democrats have the advantage in minnesota. it is thought this could be a very competitive race. al franken beat norm coleman by just a handful of votes. if memory serves correctly that election was not certified for quite some time because it was so very close. although minnesota tends to lean democratic, these are interesting times in politics and just about anything could happen. what do we know about the senate schedule? we understand he has entered the senate now. fox news alert. senator al franken, democrat of minnesota has entered the senate and asked for time to make a speech and all
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indications are that he is leaving the senate. we'll pause for one moment to let our fox stations around the country join us. this is fox news coverage of senator al franken making an important announcement from the senate floor. i'm jon scott in new york. franken, as you might know, has been accused by at least seven women of sexual harassment. they began with a los angeles d.j. and radio host and cascaded from there. franken has apologized but yesterday there was a real cascade of criticism from his fellow democratic senators, primarily women, but now the total is up to 36 of democratic senators who have said that al franken should resign. the junior senator from minnesota is about to make remarks on the floor of the senate. as of late yesterday he was saying he was not going to
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resign. but julie, you got -- >> julie: there are sources saying -- there are reports that they have confirmed that he will be resigning today. this comes amid several sexual allegations. we talk about sexual misconduct but improper touching, unwanted touching. this is basically the wave of what we have been seeing since harvey weinstein and his accusers stepped forward and spilled into politics. not just republican nor democrat. >> a couple months ago i felt we had entered an important moment in the history of this country. we were finally beginning to listen to women about the ways in which men's actions affect them. the moment was long overdue. i was excited for that conversation and hopeful that it would result in real change
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that made life better for women all across the country and in every part of our society. then the conversation turned to me. over the last few weeks, a number of women have come forward to talk about how they felt my actions had affected them. i was shocked. i was upset. but in responding to their claims, i also wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation because all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously. i think that was the right thing to do. i also think it gave some people the false impression that i was admitting to doing things that, in fact, i haven't done. some of the allegations against
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me are simply not true. others i remember very differently. i said at the outset that the ethics committee was the right venue for these allegations to be heard and investigated and evaluated on their merits. that i was prepared to cooperate fully and that i was confident in the outcome. you know, an important part of the conversation we've been having the last few months has been about how men abuse their power and privilege to hurt women. i am proud that during my time in the senate i have used my power to be a champion of women. and that i have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women i work alongside every day.
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i know there has been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks, but i know who i really am. serving in the united states senate has been the great honor of my life. i know in my heart that nothing i have done as a senator -- nothing -- has brought dishonor on this institution. and i am confident that the ethics committee would agree. nevertheless, today i am announcing that in the coming weeks i will be resigning as a member of the united states senate. i, of all people, am aware there is some irony in the fact that i am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault
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sits in the oval office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the senate with the full support of his party. but this decision is not about me. it's about the people of minnesota. it's become clear that i can't both pursue the ethics committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator for them. let me be clear, i may be resigning my seat but i am not giving up my voice. i will continue to stand up for the things i believe in as a citizen and as an activist. minnesotans deserve a senator who can focus with all her energy on addressing the challenges they face every day.
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there is a big part of me that will always regret having to walk away from this job with so much work left to be done. but i have faith that the work will continue because i have faith in the people who have helped me do it. i have faith in the dedicated, funny, selfless, brilliant, young men and women on my staff. they have so much more to contribute to our country and i hope that as disappointed as they may feel today, everyone who has worked for me knows how much i admire and respect them. i have faith in my colleagues, especially my senior senator,
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amy klobuchar. i would not have been able to do this job without her guidance and wisdom. and i have faith, or at least hope, that members of this senate will find the political courage necessary to keep asking the tough questions, hold this administration accountable, and stand up for the truth. i have faith in the activists who organize who helped me win my first campaign and who have kept on organizing to help fight for the people who needed us, kids facing bullying, seniors worried about the price of prescription drugs, native americans who have been overlooked for far too long. working people who have been taking it on the chin for a generation. everyone in the middle class and everyone aspiring to join it. i have faith in the proud
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legacy of progressive advocacy that i have had the privilege to be a part of. i think i probably repeated these words 10,000 times over the years, paul wellstone's famous quote, the future belongs to those who are passionate and work hard. it's still true. it will always be true. most of all, i have faith in minnesota. a big part of this job is going around the state and listening to what people need from washington but more often than not, when i'm home i am blown away by how much minnesota has to offer the entire country and the entire world. the people i've had the honor of representing are brilliant and creative and hard working
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and whoever holds this seat next will inherit the challenge i've enjoyed for the last 8 1/2 years, being as good as the people you serve. this has been a tough few weeks for me. but i am a very, very lucky man. i have a beautiful, healthy family that i love and that loves me very much. i'm going to be just fine. i would just like to end with one last thing. i did not grow up wanting to be a politician. i came to this relatively late in life. i had to learn a lot on the fly. it wasn't easy and it wasn't always fun. and i'm not just talking
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about today this is a hard thing to do with your life. there are a lot of long hours and late nights and hard lessons. and there is no guarantee that all your work and sacrifice will ever pay off. i won my first election by 312 votes. could have easily gone the other way. and even when you win, progress is far from inevitable. paul well stone spend his whole life working for mental health parody and it didn't pass until six years after paul died. this year a lot of people who didn't grow up imagining that they would ever get involved in politics have done just that.
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they have gone to their first protest march or made their first call to a member of congress or maybe even taken the leap and put their names on a ballot for the first time. it can be such a rush to look around the room of full of people ready to fight alongside you. to feel that energy. to imagine that better things are possible but you, too, will experience set backs and defeats and disappointments. there will be days when you will wonder whether it's worth it. what i want you to know is that even today, even on the worst day of my political life, i


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