tv MSNBC Live MSNBC March 20, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT
positions at multiple agencies at the time of the call, spoke on the within of anonymity to and that officials began poring over intelligence reports, intercepted communications and diplomatic cables. in february of this year, the "new york times" reported a u.s. citizen whose namely not use discusses sanctions with the russian ambassador in a phone call according to officials who have seen a transcript of the wi wiretaped conversation. and again in february of this year, the "new york times" reported on a phone call involving a u.s. citizen, including significant discussions of often records,
intercepted calls, intercepted communications and reported the nsa captured calls and then asked the fbi to collect as much information as possible. my time is up so i will say this for this round. i thought it was against the law to disseminate classified informati information. is it? >> oh, yes. sure, it's a serious crime. i'm not going to comment on those particular articles because i don't want to in any circumstance compound a criminal act but confirming that it was class footd. >> it's a serious crime and it should be for the reasons you said. >> i'll yield to director schiff. >> mr. comey, i want to begin by attempting to put it rest
several claims by president trump about his predecessor. i want to ask you about wha the president said and ask you whether there was any truth to it. first the president claimed, quote, terrible, just found out that obama had my wires tapped in trump tower just before the victory. nothing found this is mccartyism." was the present state that obama had his wires tapped in trump tower a true statement? >> with respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior station, i have no information that supports those sweets and if have looked -- the department has no information that supports those tweets. >> the president accused mr. obama and presumably the fbi
of engaging in mccarthyism. as you understand the term mccarthyism, do you have think president obama or the fbi was engaged in such conduct? >> i'm not going to try and characterize the tweets themselves. all i can tell you is we have no information that supports them. >> were you engaged in mccarthyism, director comey? >> i try not to engage in any isms of any kind, including mccarkarcarthccarthyism. >> director comey, can you answer the president's question, would it be legal for president obama to have ordered a wiretap of donald trump? >> i'm not going to characterize a or respond to the tweets themselves. i can tell you in general as admiral rodgers and i were just saying, there is a statutory framework in the united states
under which courts grant permission for national security, it's a rigorous, rigorous process that involves all three branches of government and it's one we've lived with since the late 1970s. that's how it works. so no individual in the united states can direct electronic surveillance of anyone. it has to go through an application process, ask a judge. the judge can then make the order. >> so president obama could not union lat isra-- unilaterally o a wiretap of anyone? >> nobody could. >> mr. trump also tweeted that the application was turned down by a court. there was any request made by the fbi or justice department to wiretap donald trump turned down by a court? >> that's one of those subjects i can't comment on one way or another. please don't interpret that
other than i just can't talk about anything that relates to the fisarocess in an open setting. >> third, the president stated i bet a good lawyer o coucould ma great case over the fact that president obama was taping my phones prior to the election. could you make out a great case that president obama wire tapped the phones. >> all can i say is we don't have any information that supports those tweets. >> in my opinion you would be a great and unethical lawyer to -- >> what was the gravamen of the
offense by nixon and his operatives during watergate. a lot of people watching may be too young to understand what watergate was about. what was the gravamen of that offense? >> as i recall, i was a kid but i studied it quite a bit in school but the gravamen was the abuse of power, including break-ins, unlawful wiretaps, on instruction of justice, sort of the cycle of criminal conduct. >> it was a break-in of the democratic mekts by office of the president. was it. >> did it also involve the kof-up by the wes? gl gle -- >> i said the fbi and department of justice have no information to support those tweets. >> but there is evidence, is
there not of a break-in of the democratic headquarters by a foreign power using cyber means? >> yes, there was. as the intelligence community report said in january the russian intelligence services hacked into a number of enterprises in the united states, including the democratic national committee. >> and there was an effort by the rugs to cover up their breakup by using cutouts like wk leaks to publish the stolen material, isn't that right? >> certainly to cover up they were the ones releasing it. >> director rodgers, in an effort to explain why there was no evidence supporting the president's claim that obama had wapd h wiretapped him, the president and sean spicer have suggested that gchq wiretapped mr. trump
on their behalf. did you ever -- >> no, sir, nor would i. >> and the five is are some of our closest intelligence partners and britt enis one ain them? >> yes, sir. >> have you seen anyone else in the obama administration made such a request? >> no, sir. and my view is the same as director comey, i've seen nothing on the nsa side that we engaged any such activity nor did anyone ever ask us to -- >> and if you were to ask the u.s. to spy on the british, that would be against the u.s. law, isn't that true? >> yes, sir. >> now, the british allies, our british allies have called the president's suggestion that they wiretapped him for obama nonsense and utter lily ridicul. would you agree?
>> yes, sir. >> does it do damage to our relationship with one of our closest partners to make a baseless claim that the british participated in a conspiracy against them? >> i think it clearly frustrate as key ally of ours. >> it certainly wouldn't endear the british intelligence services to continue working th us, would it? >> i believe that the relationship is strong enough that is something we'll be able to deal with. >> but it's not helpful, you would agree? >>. >> yes. >> director rogers met with angela merkel. during a joint press conference, the president suggested they both had something in common, that they had both been wiretapped by president obama. director comey demonstrated why the claims about his being wiretapped by president obama were unsupported by any evidence. but the claim directed to merkel came up in something in the
snowden disclosures. i'm not going to ask you on whether but i'm going to ask whether the chancellor herself expressed her concern at the time. >> yes, sir. >> light of this is it helpful to our relationship with the chancellor or our relationship with german intelligence to bring this up again in a public forum? >> it certainly complicates things but again i'd like to think that our relationship is such we're going to be able to deal and keep moving forward. >> so our relationships with the british and the germans you hope are strong enough to withstand any damage done by these comments? >> by anything in general, sir. we have foundational interests with each other and we need to keep working together. >> this time, director comey, let me ask you a few questions you may or may not be able to answer. do you know who rodger stone is?
>> generally, yet. >> are you aware mr. schiff, i'm worried we're going to place i don't want to go, which is commenting on any particular person. so i don't think i should comment. i'm aware of public accounts but i don't want to talk more than that >> are you aware that he has public pli acknowledged having directly communitied with gusifer 2, a persona of russian intelligence? >> i've read media accounts to that effect. i don't want to hurt be in. >> if mr. stone acknowledged mr. podesta's time in the barrel was coming in august of 2016, would that have been prior to the public release of stolen e-mails of mr. podesta's?
>> i believe that's the correct chronology. >> do you know how mr. stone would have known that mr. podesta at the time mr. podesta said he was not even aware whether his e-mails had been stolen and would be published? >> it's not something i can comment on. >> at this point, mr. chairman, i'm going to yield to mr. himes. >> thank you. the ranking member and gentleman, thank you for being with us today. let me when i get my own time, i'll have some follow-up question, but let me start with a point that the chairman brought out i think very specifically, which is that there's no evidence that votes were technically changed in any of the jurisdictions that he named, admiral rodgers, thanks
for confirming that. the intelligence community believes that the russians penetrated the networks of the dnc, of john podesta and other have, is that a fair characterization of the conclusions of the intelligence community? >> yes, sir. >> and did the intelligence community ever do an analysiss to whether the dissemination of that adverse information in a closely fought election had any effect on the american electorate? >> no, sir. the u.s. intelligence community does not do assessments of -- >> of course not. that's not your job. >> yes, sir. >> in fact, those of us who go through campaigns know that's actually something we probably have a little bit more understanding of. let me just ask this question then. was there any equivalent dissemination of adverse information stolen from the rnc or individuals associated with the trump campaign?
>> no. >> thank you. director comey, in the remaining minutes here, i appreciate your frankness on the topic of an ongoing investigation and appreciate your inability to go too much further than you went, but i do want to ask you a question to try to clear up some confusion. this committee of course is engaged in an investigation about links, as you said, between the trump campaign and the russians should there be any possible collusion. we've had a number of statements very early in the investigation that there was no evidence of collusion. this is still very early in our investigation. is it fair to say that you're still relatively early in your investigation? >> it's hard to say because i don't know how much longer it will take, but we've been doing
this -- this investigation began in late july. so for a counterintelligence investigation, that's a fairly short period of time. >> so you used the word coordination, which to me suggests that you are in fact investigating whether there was coordination between u.s. persons and the russians. is it fair for me to assume that we shouldn't simply dismiss the possibility that there was coordination and conclusions between u.s. efforts and.s. persons as an investigatory body? >> all can i tell you what we're investigating, which includes whether there was any coordination of the trump campaign and the russians. >> okay. i'll yield my time to the ranking member. >> i'll yield my time to representative is sewell.
>> can you say what kind of coordination or contacts you're looking at in your investigation generally when confronted with something like this? >> i can't. >> can you discuss whether or not there was any knowledge by any trump-related person and the russians? >> i can't. >> so with respect to any ongoing investigation, whether the specificity of the person, u.s. person or otherwise, you can't comment on any of that? >> correct. >> can you characterize what the nature of your investigation generally -- when you do an investigation of this sort, can you talk a little bit about the process generally. >> not a whole lot. i can tell you we use our great,
great people, we coordinate with our brothers and sisters in other parts of the intelligence community to see what they may know from around the world that may be useful to us and we use all the different tools and techniques that we use in our investigations. i'm not sure that's useful but that's all can i say. >> how long does a counterintelligence investigation like this usually take? you say it started in july. >> there is no usually. it's impossible to say flankran. >> thank you, miss sewell. >> is there an exception in the law for current or former u.s. officials who request anonymity. >> to release classified? ? >> yes, sir. >> no. >> is there an exception in the law for reporters who want to break a story?
>> that's a harder question, as to whether a reporter incurs criminal liability and one beyond my can. >> i don't know about that but the statute does use the word publish, doesn't it? >> it does but that's a question i know the department of justice has struggled with through administration after frustration. >> i know lots of people have struggled with it but you're not aware of an exception in the current dissemination of classified information statute that carves out an exception for reporters? >> no, i'm not aware of anything carved out in the statute. i don't think a reporter's been prosecuted in my life me, though. >> there have bee aot of statusta statutes for which nobody's been convicted and doesn't keep people from discussions those investigations, namely the logan act. how would a reporter know
someone made a phone call to a foreign power? >> legally? >> yes. >> if it was declassified or discussed in a judicial proceeding or something like that. >> assuming those sfakts afacts play, how would they know? >> someone told them that they shouldn't know. >> how would they know of intercepted phone calls? >> same way, if it was declassified or in an illegitimate way. >> how would a person know of a transcript of an -- >> same way. legitimate a declassified meeting or sun told them that shouldn't have. >> what does masked mean in terms of fisa practices? >> it's our practice of removing the names of u.s. persons to
protect their privacy and identity unless it hit certain exception. so masking means, i'll see an intelligent report from nsa will say u.s. person nom one, u.s. person number two, u.s. person number three and there's no further identification on the document. >> admiral rodgers said there are 20 people in the nsa that are part of the unmasking process. how many people in the fbi are involved in the unmasking process >> i'm not sure. we con noom contact with persons a whole lot more than the nsa because we only conduct our operations in the united states to conduct electronic surveillance. i can find out the exact number. >> i think given the fact that yoand i believe this is kate call, vital, indense penceable, a, it would be nice to know the universe of people who have the
power to unmask a u.s. citizen's name because that might provide something of a road map to investigate who might have actually disseminated a masked u.s. citizen's name. >> sure. the number is relevant but what i hope the u.s. -- the american people will realize is the number's important but the culture behind it is in fact more important, the training, the rig oorks the discipline. we are obsessive about fisa in the fbi for reasons i hope make sense to this committee but everything has to be labeled to warn people but i want to assure you the culture of the fbi and the nsa and i mean that in a good way. >> i am not arguing with you and i believe the culture is important. but if there are 100 people who have the ability to unmask and the knowledge of a previously
masked name, then that's a hundred different potential sources of investigation and the smaller the number is, the easier your investigation is. so the number is relevant. i concede the culture is relevant. nsa, fbi, what other u.s. government agencies have the authority to unmask a u.s. citiz citizen's name? >> i think all agencies that collect information pursuant to fisa have what are called standa standard m standard minimization procedures -- >> how about main justice? >> main justice i think does have standard minimization procedures. >> that's four, nsa, cy, fbi, main justice. does the white house have the authority to unmask a u.s. citizen's name?
>> i think other elements of the government that are consumers of or products can ask the collectors to unmask. the unmasking lies with those who collected the information. if mike rodgers collected seasoned and it says u.s. person number one and it's important to know who it is, our request will go back to them. the white house can make similar requests but they don't on their own collect so they can't unmask. >> you say it's vital, critical, indispensable, we both know it's a threat to the reauthorization of 702 later on this fall and it's also a felony punishable by up to ten years so how would you begin your investigate that a u.s. citizen's name appeared in the "washington post" or "new york times," why would you start
your investigation? >> you would start by figuring out who are the suspects, who touched the information and use investigative tools and techniques and see if you can eliminate or include people as more serious suspect. >> do you know whether director clapper knew the name of the u.s. citizen that appeared in the "new york times" and "washington post"? >> i can't say. i don't want to confirm -- >> would he have access to an unmasked name? >> in some instances. but i'm not talking to the particular. >> would director brennan have access to an unmasked name? >> in some circumstances. >> would susan rice have information to an unmasked name? >> in general. any national security adviser would i think as an ordinary of the ordinary course of their business. >> would former white house
adviser ben rhodes have access to an unmasked u.s. citizen's name? >> would that include acting a.g. sally yates? >> same answer. did you brief president obama on -- i'll just ask you. did you brief president obama on any calls involving michael flynn? >> i'm not going to get into either that particular case, that matter or any conversations i had with the president. i can't answer that. >> director comey, there's been some speculation this morning on motive. i'm not all that interested in motive. first of all, it's really hard to prove.
secondarily, you don't have to prove it. i guess there are a couple of reasons you would not have to unlawfully, felonously release material. you already had the information, didn't you? >> i can't answer in this particular matter. >> how about in theory? is there something in theory a reporter would have access to that the head of the fbi would not? >> it's hard to answer. i would hope not. >> i would hope not too. i would hope you had access to everything as head of the premiere law enforcement agency. so if you had it all, the motive couldn't have been to help you because you already had it. and admiral rodgers, the motive couldn't have been to help you because you already had it.
so in the universe of possible motives for felonious information we can rule out wanting to help the intelligence communities and the law enforcement communities. those are two motives that are gone now. that leaves some more nefarious motives. ishe investigation into the leak of classified information, has it begun yet? >> i can't say because i don't want to confirm that that was classified information. >> well, i don't want to quarrel with you, director comey, and i do understand that you cannot ordinarily confirm or deny the existence of an investigation but you did it this morning citing department of justice policy given the gravity of the fact pattern. would you not agree that surveillance programs that are critical, indispensable, vital to our national security, some of which are up for reauthorization this fall that save american lives and prevent terrorist attacks also rises to
the level of important? >> i think those programs are vital and leaks of information collected pursuant to court orders are terrible and should be taken very, very seriously. what i don't ever want to do is compound what bad people have done and confirm something that's in the newspaper because sometimes the newspaper gets it right. there's a whole lot of wrong information allegedly about classified activities in the newspaper weeks don't call them and correct them either. we don't go anywhere near it because we don't want to help and compound the offense that was committed. >> i understand that, director comey. some of the word appeared in this public reporting include the word transcript, which has a very unique use in the matters you and i are discussing this morning. that is a very unique use of that word. wiretap has a very specific meaning. the name of a u.s. citizens that
is supposed to be statutorily be protected is no longer protected. let's assume 90% is inaccurate, that other 10% is still really, really important. to the extent you can rely on the date in either "the washington post" or the "new york times," we are talking about february of this year is when the reporting first took place. so we are -- we're a month and a half or two months into something that you and i agree is incredibly important and also happens to be a felony. i'm just simply asking you to assure the american people -- you've already assured them you take it really seriously. can you assure them it is going to be investigated? >> i can't but i hope people watching know how seriously we take leaks of classified information but i don't want to confirm it by saying we're investigating it. i'm sorry have i to to draw that line. i just think that's the right way to be.
>> well, i'm not going to argue with you, director comey, but it is -- we're going to discuss a lot of important things today, whether russia attempted to influence or democratic process is incredibly important. whether they saw the to influeni -- sau sought to influence it, incredibly important. our u.s. row responsible, incredibly important. some of it may rides to the level of a crime, some may not. one thing we agree on is the release of felonious classified material is definitely a crime. i understand some of the procedures you are up dpen, i would mum blin chably ask you to seek authority to whom ever -- this is an agreement between the
american people and its government. we the american people give certain powers to government to keep us safe. when those powers are not criminal investigation or national security, then i'll belt uf my fellow citizens are rethinking their side of the equation because that u.s. set sen could be them next time. it could be you. it could be me. it could be anyone until we start seriously investigating and prosecuting what congress thought was serious enough to attach a n-year felony to. with that i would yield back, mr. chairman. >> can i just add a response to what you said? i agree with you, mr. gowdy. two things folks at home should know. first, an unauthorized disclosure of fisa is an extraordinarily unusual event so be assured we're going to take it very seriously because of trust, the american people and
federal judges that oversee our work is vital. and second, this conversation has nothing to did with 702. folks often mix them together. 702 is about targeting non-u.s. persons oversee seas. pursuant to fisa, the fbi can collect it in the united states. the conversation you are and i were happening is vital and confusing. >> director comey, you are 100% correct and i am 100% correct in saying that doesn't make a distinction in most of the people watching television. what we are reauthorizing this fall has nothing to do with what we're discussing other than it's another government program where people consent to allow the government to allow certain things with the explicit promise they'll be protected. they're different but bu in the eyes people watching, the a
government official leaking the name of a citizen. you and i both -- it is in jeopardy if we don't get this involved. >> i'll yield 15 minutes to mr. schiff. >> i just wanted to follow up on a few questions about roger stone before i pass it to my colleagues. >> director comey, are you aware that mr. stone played a role in the trump campaign? >> i can't answer. >> you have aware of mr. stone playing political dirty tricks. >> i'm not going to answer. >> mr. stone was in communication with a russian creator gusifer 2.
mr. stone on august 17th, are you aware, received a communication from gusifer 2 that said, quote, i'm pleased to say that you are great. please tell me if i can help you anyhow. it would be a great pleasure to me. are you aware of that communication from essentially gru through gusifer to mr. stone? >> i have to give you the same answer. are you aware that mr. stone was in touch with mr. asangs and wikileaks? >> same answer. >> this is a question i think can you answer. do you know whether the russian intelligence service has dealt directly with wikileaks o whether they, too, used an intermediary? >> we assessed they used some
sort of cut out, not directly with wikileaks in contrast to gusifer 2.0. >> are you aware mr. stone tweeted that i have total confidence that my hero julian assange will educate the american people soon? >> same answer. >> and are you aware that mr. assange released the mails. >> same answ. >> i know we're going to the 90-minute mark in this hearing. let me review. there's a lot on the table. my friend on the republican side will get no argument on this side on the importance of investigating leaks. leaks are a threat to our national security, whether they're perpetrated by edward snowden or maybe from people inside the white house.
but mr. comey, if i can use your phrase, intention public interest, there is intense public interest in the fact that our new president will attack anyone and everyone, he will attack the cast of "hamilton," chuck schumer, our allies, mexico, germany, he will attack the intelligence community which you lead associated you with mccartyism and nazism, but there's one person and one country which is immune, which is inoculated from any form of presidential attack no matter what many behavior, no matter if there's a violation, no matter if vladimir putin kills political opponents, the new president dein fend, obfuscates, attacks. and the people around him have
an -- we all campaign. i don't think any of our campaign people have connection with a foreign power, never mind an adversary of the united states. and the individuals i quoted have dissembled, misled or lied about the nature of those connection until the political pressure has gotten to a point where they have been fired or recused in the case of the attorney general. so i want to look briefly at one of these individual and director comey, i understand your constraints but let me ask a couple of questions regardless. paul manafort, who is trump's former campaign manager, i want to ask a few questions about him. director comey, can you tell me what the foreign agents registration act is? >> sure. not in an expert way but it's a statute that requires people who are acting as agents of a non-u.s. government to register
with the united states. >> right. so the national security division of the department of justice writes this is their manual, the purpose of fara is to ensure that the u.s. government and the people of the united states are informed of the source of information and the identity of persons attempting to influence u.s. public opinion, policy and law, unquote. would you agree that guarding against foreign espionage or foreign influence measures false under this heading? >> yes. >> in general is willful vie ligs or failure to register pursuant to this law in some circumstances a crime? >> i believe it is. i'm not an expert on fara but i believe it is. >> and it could lead certainly to counterintelligence concerns, right? >> yes. >> now, paul manafort as reported in the "new york times" and other outlets and his deputy rick dpats ran a cam pan in washington to lobby government
officials and push positive press coverage of pro ukrainian officials. and he began working fo a russian official as least as far back as 2007. the lobbying was only discovered by the new anti-corruption bureau which found secret ledgers in kie kiev listing $13 work done by mr. manafort. did he ever register under fara? >> that's not something i can comment on. >> whether he registered or not is not something you can answer? >> no. >> paul manafort was donald
trump's many campaign manager been. >> i really don't want to start answering questions about a u.s. person. it's obvious -- >> i think the facts would show he never did register but as the ranking member pointed out it perhaps should come as no surprise that the republican platform which was drafted at the republican convention in july of 2016 underwent a pretty significant change with respect to the american response to russia's illegal invasion of ukraine and their aggressive in that country. it appears from our standpoint that we had perhaps somebody who should have registered under fara pulling the strings there. there's more and i don't know how much you'llable able to comment on this but i want to just explore for a second the nature of the russian government because often times the question becomes was there contact with russian officials? and i want to read officer brief quote from a book on putin's
government who wrote instead of seeing russian politics being pulled down by history, accidental auto democrat, popular inertia, bureaucratic incompetence or pore wrn advice, i conclude from the beginning putin and his circle saw the to create an authoritarian regime ruled by a close nit cabal who used democracy for decoration rather than direction. mr. comey, is it fair to say that the line that exists in the united states between government officers is -- are there those who might be agents of influence or might be doing the kremlin's bidding in contact wit others? >> that's fair to say. one of our missions is to try to understand who are those people and are they acting on behalf of the russian government, those
russian citizens. >> is there true there are a category that part of this close-nit cabal? do chances increase they might be connect kgb. >>. >> long evident can be a consideration. >> >> correct. >> and the ukraine was part of the soviet union. >> correct. >> i'm just observe a steel and iron magnate is the richest man in ukraine and a strong putin ally li who reportedly recommended paul manafort. last set of questions for me. i have a report that appeared in cnn yesterday. the headline is "former trump campaign chief paul manafort wanted for questioning in
ukraine corruption case." and i raise this with you because the story is told of paul manafort acting on behalf of ukraine's former justice minister, alexander lavrinovic, who was the justice minister under the previous pro-russian regime, who -- i'll read a segment from this story, who was involved in jailing the former prime minister, who was the main political -- -- who manafort advised until he was deposed in 2014. he was released from jail at the same time that yanocovich was sted. in response to the derioration in the international climate, they say manafort drafted a
public relation firm skadden arps and talks about the transfer of over a million dollars potentially illegally from ukrainian coffers to skadden aarps. it appears to have been confirmed by the department of justice that the current ukraine ed regime has made seven requests to the united states government for assistance under the mla treaty as part of this corruption case and the story says you were presented personally with a letter asking for that assistance. is that all true? how do you instetend to respond that request?
>> that's not something i can comment on. johnson lich we have a very strong relationship and cooperation in the criminal and national security areas with our ukrainian partners but i can't talk about the particular matter. >> the story says that the d.o.j. confirmed there have been requests for assistance on this matter. you can't go as far as confi confirming that there have been these requests made? >> if they've done that, i would need them to do it given. i can't comment on it. >> okay. well, i appreciate that. and with that i will yield back the remainder of my time to the ranking member. >> and i yield to terry sewell. >> thank you, mr. ranking member. my questions this morning really revolve around the resignation of the former national security adviser michael flynn. director comey, much has been made about russia's historical and interference with political elections around the world meant to cause discord and disunity,
especially in western alliances. does the fbi generally assume that russian ambassadors to the united states, like ambassador kislyak are at least overtly collecting intelligence on influence americans, especially plit cam leaders? >> that -- political leaders? >> it's not something i can answer in an open setting. >> do you use -- >> i can answer as a general matter. nation states that are adversaries of the united states use traditional intelligence officers, sometimes use intelligence officers praoperat under diplomatic cover, use co optees, all manner of human beings can be used in
intelligence collection operation but i'm not going to talk about the particular. >> would someone like ambassador kislyak play that type of role for russia? >> i can't say here. >> the declassified january community assessment report that your agency helped to draft "assessing russian activities and intentions in the recent u.s. elections" state since the cold war russian intelligence efforts related to the united states elections have primarily focused on foreign intelligence collections that could help russian leaders understand a new u.s. administration's plans and priorities, end quote. so knowing what we know about russia's efforts and the role of the russian ambassador, director comey, would you be concerned if any one of your agents had a private meeting with the russian ambassador. >> if an fbi officer had a
private meeting wh a russian officer for any reason would be concerning. >> would you expect that agent to report that meeting? >> yes. >> admiral rodgers, a similar question. would you be concerned if one of your intelligence officers had a private meeting with the russian ambassador and would you expect that intelligence officer to report that meeting? >> disclosure of interactions with foreign governments is a requirement for all our employees including myself, for example. >> i ask these questions because on at least four occasion, i can count, mr. flynn, a three-star general and former intelligence officers, someone with influence over the u.s. policy and someone with knowledge of state secrets and the incoming national security adviser communicated with and met with the russian ambassador and failed to disclose it. so i ask you, directors, if you wouldn't stand for own staff to do this, why should we, the
american people, search michael flynn doing it? >> mr. sewell, i can't speak to what the disclosure obligations are for other people in the dpft so it's hard for me to answer that. i can answer and i answered i hope accurately with respect to one of the special agents. >> and i likewise would answer the same way with the nsa. >> i yield myself 15 minutes. director comey, you announced this morning there will be an investigation into trump associates possible and president trump and anyone around the campaign in association with the russian government. if this committee or anyone else from that matter, someone with the public, comes with information to you about the hillary clinton cam pan or their associates or someone from the clinton foundation, will you add that to your investigation? they have ties to russian intelligence services, russian agents, would that b something
of interest to you? >> peopl bring usnformation about what they think is improper unlawful activity of any kind, we will evaluate time, they should keep doing it. >> do you think it's possible the russians would not try to infiltrate hillary clinton's campaign, get information on hillary clinton and try to get to people that are around that campaign with the clinton foundation? >> the russians in general are always trying to understand who the future leaders might be and what levers of influence there might be on them. >> if information does surface about the other campaigns not just hillary clinton but any other campaign you'd take that serious also if the russians were trying to infiltrate those campaigns around them. >> of course we would.
>> are those standards the same for intelligence agencies? >> a broad set for promulgated standards and associated with a particular authority that you're using to collect the information in the first place. >> same thing your analyst would have same similar type of standards? >> correct, that's one of the really good things that's happening since 9/11 especially since 2004 is the adoption of a common set of trade craft provision. >> i'm a cpa. are those same standards promulgat promulgated, aail of your analysts would have a test to know the standards. >> i think they're classified. i can take that one for the record, sir. >> when the ic attribute a
hacking you do that through forensic evidence. when it comes to trying to determine intent of foreign leaders walk us through how the nsa or fbi does that. >> we assess the range of information that we've collected and an attempt to generate understanding as to not only what has occurred but part of the intelligence profession profession is trying to understand why, what was the intent. we'll use the range of information we have available. we are i a single source organization, one reason why organizations like cia, the defense intelligence agency, which take multiple sources to try to put together a complete picture so we're just one component of a broader effort. >> it's about putting together a puzzle. sometimes from forensics you can get a good indication what they must be intending to accomplish, other times human sources and additional signals, intelligence to give you that sense. >> both of you would agree it's
a precise art or precise science rarely of determining intent of any foreign leader. >> that's correct, all of intelligence work requires judgment at the center of it. >> in some cases it's clearer an others, a particular foreign leaders shop. >> i'm not getting into specifics. >> just in general if you had a next door neighbor -- nevermind. pivoting to the january 6th intelligence community assessment, both your agencies agree with the assessment that the russians' goal was to undermine the public faith in the u.s. democratic process, is that still your assessments? >> yes. >> they wanted to denigrate secretary clinton and harm her electability and presideotentia presidentially and putin publicly blamed her since 2011
for inciting mass protests against his regime in late 2011, early 2012, do you both agree with that assement? . >> yes. >> and finally admiral rogers went on to say president pew tip and the russian government aspired to help president i guess had been candidate trump at the time but president-elect trump's election chances when possible by discrediting secretary clinton. you had a low er confidence level. >> i'll note get into specifics in an unclassified forum but for me it boiled down to the level of nature on the sourcing oen that one particular judgment was slightly different to me than the others. >> to be clear, we all greed with that judgment. >> all right. >> but you really agreed and he almost really agreed. >> not our term of art but --
>> i understand. in terms of laying out the three assessments, and whether or not the ic was consistent in its view of those three assessments across the entire campaign could we walk through the fbi's walk down that path, did as of early december of '16 did the fbi assess that the active measures were to undermine by the russians were to undermine the faith in the u.s. democratic process, had you come to that conclusion by early december? >> i think that's right, december of last year. >> '16. yes, sir. >> i think we were at that point, yes. >> active measures conducted against secretary clinton to denigrate her hurt her campaign and undermine her presidency? >> correct. >> active measures specifically
to help president trump's campaign, early december you already had that conclusion? >> correct, they wanted to hurt our democracy, hurt her, help him, i think all three we were confident in at least as early as december. >> the paragraph that gives me concern because of the timing when all of that occurred i'm not sure if we got the exact same january assessment six months earlier it would have looked the same because they developed a clear preference for president-elect trump. any idea when that clear preference analysis, when did that get into the lexicon of when you talking back and forth among yourselves on a classified baseis? >> i don't know for sure, but i think that was a fairly easy judgment for the community. putin hated secretary clinton so
much that that he had a clear preference against the person he hated so much. >> that might work saturday afternoon when my wife's red raider, playing the texas longhorns. the logic is that because he really didn't like candidate clinton he automatically liked trump. that assessment is based on what? >> part of it is lodgeic. by definition you want their opponent to lose. >> this says she wanted her to lose and him to win. >> they're inseparable. it's a two-person event. >> when did you decide you wanted him to win? >> well, logically when you wanted her to lose, you wanted -- >> i'm not talking about him and
putin. i got that. i got that but the question is, when, let me finish up then. you go through that sentence about the clear preference for donald trump and we don't know when you decided that was the case, then it says when it appeared tooscow that secretary clinton was likely to win the election the russian influence campaign focused on undermining her expected presidency. so the next it says aspired to help president-elect trump election chances. >> the assessment was as the summer went on and the polls appeared to show secretary clent w clinton was going to win the russians gave up and focused on trying to undermine her. it's the red raiders they're not going to win so hope key people on the other team get hurt so they're not such a tough opponent down the road. >> sir, you believe this fbi was
consistent through early december on, that was the case, that they assessed they really wanted trump to win it and working to have him win and her lose? >> yes, our analysts had a view that i don't believe changed from late fall through to the report january 6th it had the three elements. >> all right, so then on deeps the 9th well in advance of the january 6 deal, "the washington post" put out an article, and again cia here today, hope to have them next week concluded russia intervened in the '16 election to help donald trump win the presidency rather than to undermine the confidence in the electoral system, rather than just undermine it. they don't mention ms. clinton at all and then it says to help trump get elected, the u.s. senior briefed on the intelligence position, u.s. official briefed on intelligence
presentation u.s. senators said that's the consensus view. how much, this is written by a guy named adam entas, alain and greg miller, did they help draft the january 6th document? did the writers from the western post help you write the january 6a assessment? >> no they did not. >> how did they get almosthe exact language december the 9th? >> it hadn't been written yet. i don't know. this is the peril of trying to comment on newspaper articles that report to purport classified information. i can't say much about them. they're often wrong. >> yep. you mentioned earl whier in one of our hearings that when anybody uses the i can't talk because i'm bound by position of anonymity is code for breaking the law generally, right, when somebody says i'm talking to a reporter, i'm