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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  March 20, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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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 revealing
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classified secret information the reporter can't tell who it is because as mr. gotti speaking on condition of anonymity, it should be termed i'm breaking the law and don't want to be outed. >> sometimes. i think there are other motives but that can be one of them. >> it's your statement to us then that the fbi was consistent in its assessment that denigrate the u.s. electoral process, hurt hillary and her potential candidacy and coincidentally, concurrent across all of that they intended to help trump. that's your testimony? >> correct. >> i yield back. >> mr. king. >> thank you, mr. chairman. if you can yield a few minutes into the next round, i'll start with this and make the comment. i thank director comey and admiral rogers for what i believe is the cooperation you've always given the committee. thank you for your service. director comey, we're in a predicament here today. i understand your situation where you can't comment on the
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investigation and yet we have various scenarios laid out which could go on for months and months and months without anyone being able to disprove them until the investigation is completed. i'd like to use the example we could have said that in 2012 presidentby bobama was overhea telling medvedev if i'm ected te vladimir we can work out better arrangements, he ridiculed candidate romney in the 2012 election romney said he thought russia was still a threat and 2013 we saw basically president obama invited the russians into syria when they've been pretty much removed from the middle east 40 years before, and also, as far as aid to ukraine the obama administration always refused to give lethal aid to ukraine and it can be argued the republican platform in 2016 was actually stronger than the democratic platform on that. if there was an investigation going on with the obama administration we could lay out
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the scenarios and say that proves something or might prove something. until the investigation was completed, that type of almost possibly slanderous comments could be made. so i would just again, i'm not asking you to hurry the investigation along. you have to do what you have to do, but i guess i could ask you just in the remaining moments i have in this round, i know that i guess it was two weeks ago director clapper said that as far as he knows, all the evidence he's seen there's no evidence of any collusion at all between the trump campaign and the russians. now, obviously a detailed exhaustive report was put out talking about russian influence in the campaign, all of the intelligence apparatus had input into that. either you, admiral rogers, do you have any reason to disagree with the conclusion of general clapper that there's no evidence of collusion between the russians and the trump campaign? >> mr. king it's not something i
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can comment on. >> likewise i'm not going to comment on an ongoing investigation's conclusions. >> but again you're not going to disagree with general clapper, just not going to comment. the reason i point that out that's the situation the other way around you can't comment on something there's an inference out there because a person's name is brought up, because he may have worked for somebody at a certain time there's a guilt impliein th. i'm not in any way being crical of either you. i'm saying this is a situation i think n be damaging to the country, and does advance the russian interests of trying to destabilize democracy and cause lack of confidence in our system. with that i yield back, mr. chairman. >> recognize mr. schiff for 15 minutes. >> a couple follow-up questions before i pass to representative sewell. it wasn't the russians had a negative preference against secretary clinton, they had a positive reference for donald trump? is that correct? >> correct. >> i want to ask you to say whether this is an accurate
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characterization of mr. trump i won't put new that spot. would it be logical for the kremlin to prefer a candidate that disparaged nato to be president of the united states? >> you're not going to put me in that spot you said? i'm happy with that. >> i'm not going to put you on the spot of answering whether this is an accurate characterization of mr. trump's views but would it be logical for the kremlin to want someone who has a dim view of nato. >> all kidding aside that's beyond my responsibilities. >> well what is the russian view of nato? do they like nato? do they want to see nato strong? >> again, i'm sure you have already spoken to people who are greater experts than by yeah they don't like nato. they in a know encircles them and threatens them. >>. >> would they have an impression of a candidate wants sanctions
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over ukraine? director, would they like to see the sanctions on ukraine go away? >> yes. >> would they have expression fored amirgs for putin. >> reformulate the question mr. putin likes people who like him. >> a candidate who encouraged brexit and other departures from europe, would they like to see more brexits? >> yes. >> have the russians in europe demonstrated a preference for businesspeople as political leaders with the hope they can enhangle them in financial interests or may allow their financial interests to take precedence over the interests of countries in europe they represent? >> in our joint report president putin expressed a preference gerhard schroeder and berlusconi
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because he believes they are people more open to negotiation, easier to deal with. >> i'll yield to representative sewell. >> i'd like to continue my line of questioning on michael flynn. i'm sure you can understand my concern that mr. flynn not only failed to disclose the contacts with the russian ambassador but he said he did not remember whether he discussed sanctions with russia with that ambassa r ambassador. i find that really hard to believe. wouldn't you think that at the height of our concern about russian hacking that mr. flynn would have remembered meeting with the russian ambassador and would have told him to stop meddling in our affairs but that didn't happen, did it? >> ms. sewell that's not something i can answer. >> not only did mr. flynn not remember talking to the russian ambassador and not remember what they talked about, he also appeared to have lied to vice
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president-elect mike pence all about it. mr. comey do you think mr. flynn's failure to disclose the contact he had with the russian ambassador and their topic of conversation along with a blatant lie to vice president pence meet the standard for an investigation by the fbi? >> i'm not going to comment, i have to give you the same answer. >> i know director comey that you probably can't comment on this as well, but i think it's really important we review a short timeline that's based on press reportings, because we need to get this for the public record i think. so on december 25th, 2016, mr. flynn reportedly exchanged text messages with the russian ambassador, on december 28th, 2016, mr. flynn reportedly spoke on the phone with the russian ambassador. by then it was clear the obama administration was going to take actions against russia.
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on december 29th, 2016, mr. flynn reportedly spoke on the phone are w the russian ambassador. that day the obama administration expelled 35 russian operatives from the united states and announced new sanctions. we also know from press rorpgz sometime in kees mr. flynn met in thursday with the russian ambassador at trump tower. and jared kushner was there, the purpose of the meeting was to "establish a line of communication" with the kremlin. i should add that the white house and mr. flynn didn't disclose this december face-to-face meeting until this month. on january 12th, 2017, press reported that mr. flynn contacted the russian ambassador again, and on january 15th, 2015, vice president-elect mike pence stated on several sunday morning shows regarding mr.
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flynn's conversation with the ambassador "what i can confirm having spoken to him about it is that those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the united states took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sampgss." on january 26th sally yates reportedly told president trump's white house counsel who immediately told president trump that mr. flynn was vulnerable to russian blackmail because of discrepancies between vice president-elect pence's public statement and mr. flynn's actual discussions. on february 10th, president trump denied knowledge of this, telling reporters on air force one "i don't know about that," in response to questions about mr. flynn's conduct. the white house also publicly
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denied mr. flynn and the russian ambassador discussed sanctions and of course on february 13th, 2017 mr. flynn resigned as national security adviser. director comey all of these accounts are open source press reportings. given rush aia's desire to cultivate relations with u.s. persons isn't the american public right to be concerned about from pl flynn's conduct, his failure to disclose that contact with the russian ambassador, his attempts to cover it up, and what looks like the white house's attempts to sweep this under the rug don't we as the american people deserve a right to know and shouldn't our fbi investigate such claims? >> i can't comment. i understand people's curiosity about our work and intense interest in it and as mr. king said oftentimes speculation about it, but we kcht' do it well or fairly to the people we
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investigate if we talk about it so i can't comment. >> i'd like to turn to another topic about mr. flynn his failure to disclose until pressured last week by my colleagues on the house oversight and government relations committee payments he received from russia for his 2015 trip to the tenth anniversary gala of rt, the russian owned propaganda media outlet. according to the january 2017 declassified ic assessment report, rt's criticism of the united states was "the last facet of its broader and longstanding anti-u.s. messaging likely aimed at undermining viewers' trust in the u.s. democratic procedures." this january assessment points out that this was a strategy that russia employed going back to before the 2012 elections, according to the ic assessment.
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so admiral rogers, am i right that the rt is essentially owned by the russian government, and how long has the intelligence community been looking at rt as an arm of the russian government? >> so we're certainly aware and have been for some period of time of the direct connections between russian government and rt individuals, we're aware of monetary flow and other things. we have been for years. >> how long have you known about that, a few months, a few years? how long has the united states -- >> some number of years. poll ji i apologize, ma'am, i don't know off the top of my head. >> the former director of dia, defense intelligence agency, mr. flynn, would have been aware that rt's role as an anti-u.s. russian propaganda outlet when we greed to speak at their anniversary gala in 2015, isn't it reasonable to assume that he would know? >> i'm not in a position to comment on the knowledge of something else from another
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person, ma'am. >> director comey would it be unusual for a foreign government official to get paid by a foreign adversary to attend such an event, and would it be unusual to raise some questions at the fbi if that person failed to disclose the payments received for that trip? >> i don't know in general and as to the specific, i'm just not going to comment. >> yes, sir, i understand you can't comment but like to read an ehange bween mr. flynn and a yahoo! news correspondent from july 2016 regarding his trip to russia during the rt event. the correspondent asked, "were you paid for that event?" then there was back and forth for a bit, and then mr. flynn said "yes, i didn't take any money from russia, if that's what you're asking me." so director comey, isn't it true that the house oversight committee last week received information and released
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publicly that mr. flynn accepted nearly $35,000 in speaking fees and traveling fees from rt, this government, russian government owned media outlet? >> i believe i've seen news accounts to that effect. >> moreover, isn't it also true that according to the emoluments clause of the united states constitution, a person holding any office of profit or trust cannot accept gifts or payments from a foreign country and doesn't the dod, the department of defense, prohibit retired military officers from taking any consulting fees, gifts, traveling expenses, honorariums or salaries including commercial enterprises owned by or controled by a foreign government, like rt? >> that's not something i can comment on. >> can you speak to whether or not the emoluments clause would apply to someone like mr. flynn, a retired three-star general?
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>> i can't. >> so isn't it, i just find it to be really hard to believe that, given the emoluments clause does apply to retired officers like mr. flynn, i can't believe that mr. flynn, a retired military officer, would take money from the russian government in violation of the united states constitution and i believe that such violations worthy of a criminal investigation by the fbi. what level of proof do we need in order for us to have a criminal investigation by the fbi of mr. flynn? >> i can't comment on that. >> shouldn't the american people be concerned what -- i think that it's really hard for us to fathom that he wouldn't know he should have disclosed that he received $35,000 as a part of that arrangement to rt, the
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russian/u.s. anti-propaganda outlet? >> i can't comment on that, ms. sewell. >> my final line of questioning is in regard to mr. flynn working as an agent of a foreign power. director comey, following on mr. hines' line of questioning am i correct that the foreign agents registration act requires that individuals who lobby on behalf of a foreign government must register with the united states government? >> i believe that's correct. i know i keep saying i'm not an expert. the reason i'm saying that is, i don't know exactly how they define things like lobbying in the statute but as a general matter if you're going to represent a foreign government here in the united states, touching our government, you should be registered. >> and isn't it true that just last november, 2016, mr. flynn was working as a foreign agent doing work that principally benefited the government of turkey, and yet he didn't report it until just last week? >> i can't comment on that. >> isn't it true that mr. flynn was reportedly paid over half a
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million dollars for this work? >> same answer. >> and isn't it true that the trump white house on at least two occasions was asked by mr. flynn's lawyers whether he should report that work, the work that he was doing on behalf of the turkish government, and yet the administration didn't give him any advice to the contrary? do you know anything about that? >> i have to give you the same answer. >> so director comey i know you cannot discuss whether any investigations are ongoing with u.s. persons and i respect that. i think it's important though that the american people understand the scope and breath of what in public open source press reportings of mr. flynn's actions that led to his resignation, and while we can't talk about whether there are an investigation, i believe that we hear at hpsci they put those
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facts in the public domain, mr. flynn lied about meeting the russian ambassador and taking money from the russian government and thirdly mr. flynn at a minimum did not disclose work as an agent of a foreign power, and that the white house did not help in this concern. so gentlemen it's clear to me that mr. flynn should be under criminal investigation and i know you cannot comment, but i believe it is my duty as a member of this committee to comment to the american people, that this, that his engagement of lying and failure to disclose really imptant information and contacts with a foreign ambassador do rise to the level of disclosure, and to me criminal intent. so i say this to say that the american people deserve to know the full extent of mr. flynn's involvement with the russians, and the extent to which it influenced the 2016 election. i believe our democracy requires
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it. thank you. i yield back to my ranking member. >> time's expired. i recognize myself for 15 minutes. mr. comey and mr. rogers, you both said that the russians had, they favored donald trump this election, and you made that change from the beginning of december, it was not that they were trying to help donald trump, but that changed by early january. mr. conway talked about that. do russian -- >> i don't agree with that. i we didn't change our view from december to early january. we the fbi and i don't know that anybody else did on the ic team. >> meaning from my perspective, we didn't -- >> at some point the assessment changed from going from just trying to hurt hillary clinton to know that they were actually trying to help donald trump get elected. that was early december as far
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as i know, and then by january, you had all changed your mind on that. >> that's not my recollection, mr. chairman. >> that's not my recollection either, sir. >> okay. so is it, do russians historically prefer republicans to win over democrats? >> i don't know the answer to that. >> did the russians prefer mitt romney over barack obama in 2012? >> i don't know that we ever drew a formal analytic conclusion. >> did the russians prefer john mccain in 2008 over barack obama? >> i never saw a u.s. intelligence community analyst position on that issue. >> don't you this i it's ridiculous for sin anyone to say the russians prefer republicans other democrats? >> i didn't think that's what you just heard us say, i apologize, sir. >> i hope you didn't hear us to say that. we don't know if those particular races and i'm not
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qualified enough -- >> i'm just asking a general question. want wouldn't it be preposterously going back to ronald reagan and all we know who the russians would prefer that somehow the russians prefer republicans over democrats? >> there is, i'm not going to discuss it on unclassified forum in the classified segment of the reporting version that we did, there is some analysis that discusses this, because i remember this did come up in our assessment on the russian piece. i'm not going to discuss this in an unclassified forum. >> mr. king? >> i would say on that, because without going into the classified sections that indicating that historically russians have supported republicans, and i know that language is there, to me puts somewhat of a cloud over the entire report. seems to indicate the direction was going. i would say this for the record and i know what your answer is going to be but i have to get
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this on the record. march 15th mike morell was asked about the question of the trump campaign cone spirg with the russians. his answer there was smoke but no fire at pull there were niece little camp fire, no candle, there's no spark. do agree? >> i can't comment. >> i understand that was my way of getting on the record so i appreciate that. you talked about the significance of leaks and how important it is we stop them. to me i've been here a while i've never seen such a sustained period of leaks going back to december, when not the intelligence committee but "the washington post" was told the conclusion offal report what it
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was going to be. we have situations in the "new york times" where they talk of meetings, they talk about transcripts and conversations. there was one in particular spoke about trump campaign individuals meeting with russian intelligence agents. the white house chief of staff said on that day or the next day that mr. mccabe from your office went to the white house and told him that story was b.s. can you comment whether mccabe told that to mr. priebus? >> i can't mr. king but i can aglee with the general premise, leaks have always been a problem. subject from george washington and abraham lincoln complaining about them, but in the last six weeks, couple of months there's been at least a lot of
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conversation about classified matters ending up in the media. a lot of it is dead wrong one of the challenges because we don't correct it but it strikes me a lot of people talking or reporters saying people are talking to them in ways that have struck me as unusually active. >> i understand the media's fascination with palace intrigue, which faction at the white house is trying to outdo the other. that depose with the game. if you're talking about leaking classified information, leaking investigations, you stated today there is an fbi investigation going on. so if the "new york times" can be believed i would think it would have to be somebody from the fbi who is telling them about these purported meetings which mr. mccabe said was b.s. with the russian intelligence agency. somebody familiar with that investigation spoke to the "new york times." and so i'll use that as an example and also one there's a
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smaller universe january 6th when yourself, admiral rogers, director brennan, and general clapper went to trump tower to meet with president trump. media reports are at the end of that meeting director comey you presented the president-elect trump with a copy of the now infamous or famous dossier. i don't know how many people were in the room, but within hours that was leaked to the media, and that gave the media the excuse or the rationale to publish almost the entire dossier. does that violate any law, you were at a classified briefing with the president-elect of the united stat united states and a small universe of people you know handed him the dossier, are you making any effort to find out who leaked it and do you believe that constituted criminal violation? >> i can't say, mr. king except i can answer in general.
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any unauthorized disclosure of classified conversations or documents is potentially a violation of law, and a serious, serious problem. i've spent most of my career trying to figure out unauthorized disclosures, where they came from. it's very, very hard. oftentimes it doesn't come from the people who actually know the secrets. skom from people who heard about it or were told about it and so much information that reports to be accurate classified information is actually wrong because the people who heard about it didn't hear about it right. we don't want to talk about it because we don't want to confirm it but it should be investigated and prosecuted. this can be deterred by locking some people up who engaged in criminal activity. >> could you say it was obviously admiral rogers in the room, you were in the room, general clapper was in the room and director brennan was in the
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room. were there any other people that could leak this out? this is an unmasking of names where you may have 20 people in the nsa, 100 people in the fbi, not putting together a report all the intelligence agency, this is four people in a room with the president-elect of the united states. i don't know who else was in that room, and that was leaked out seemed within minutes or hours of you handing him that dossier and it was so confidential that you handed it to him separately. i'm not saying it's you. it's a small universe of people that would have known about that and if it is a disclosure of classified information, if you're going to start with legislating leaks, that would be one place where you could start to narrow it down. >> again, mr. king, i can't comment because i do not ever want to confirm classified conversation with a president or president-elect, i can tell you my general experience, it often turns out there were more people who know about something you expected at first, both because there may be more people involved in the thing than you
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realize, not this particular but in general and more people have been told about it or heard about it or staff have been briefed about it and the echoes my experience what most often ends up being shared by reporters. >> could you tell us who else was in the room with you that day? >> no, because i'm not going to confirm it was such a conversation because then i might accidentally confirm something that was in the newspaper. >> could you tell us who was in the room, whether or not there was a conversation? >> no, i'm not confirming there was a conversation. in a classified setting i might be able to share more with you but i'm not going to confirm any conversations with either president obama or president trump or when president trump was the president-elect. >> not the conversation or even the fact that you gave it to him but can you tell us who was in the room for that briefing that you gave? >> my talking about in the room would be a confirmation in the newspaper was classified information. i'm not helping people who did something that is unauthorized. >> we know four of you went to trump tower for the briefing. that's not classified, is it?
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>> how do we know that, though? >> you can see the predicament we're in here. >> i get it. i get it, but we are duty bound to protect classified information when we get it and then to make sure we don't accidentally jeopardize classified information about what we say something that appears in the media. >> director clapper and brennan we'll be asking them the same questions next week and perhaps they can give us some answers. mr. chairman i yield back. >> mr. lobianda is recognized. >> thank you mr. chairman, director comey and admiral rogers thank you for your service and thank you for being here. understanding that what both of you have been saying about the classified nature of the investigation, the classified nature of the topics we're talking about, can you give us
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any indication of when we, the committee, may in a classified setting know something from you? would we have ongoing updates? >> mr. lobiondo, i don't know how long the work will take. i can't committee to updates, as you know. i have briefed the committee as a whole on some aspects of our work and briefed in great detail the chair and the ranking. i don't know, i can't predict or commit to updates, but as your work goes on we're in constant touch with you and we'll dot best we can but i can't commit to that as i sit here. >> so as the house intelligence committee and the senate intelligence committee are conducting our bipartisan investigations, and looking wherever it may lead with individuals or circumstances, if you, through the fbi investigation, come across a circumstance with an individual
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or a situation, would we be made aware of that under normal course of business? >> not necessarily, but it's possible. >> okay. so can you director comey or admiral ronnellers tell us what we are doing or what we should be doing to protect against russian interference in future elections, or any meddling with our government, or for that matter any state sponsor iranians, north koreans, chinese, with any meddling they may be doing? >> first i think a public discussion of the acknowledgment of the activity is a good positive first step because it shines a flashlight on this if you will, illuminates a significant issue i think we all have to deal with. there's a variety of ongoing
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efforts within the government as well in the private sector in terms of how do we harden our defenses. we need to have a discussion about just what for example this critical infrastructure mean in the 21st century. i don't think we'd have thought of an election infrastructure as critical. we viewed it as something that generated an industrial output, aviation, electricity, finance. i don't think we've traditionally thought about it in the informational kind of dynamic. i think that's a challenge for us coming ahead and continued partnership between the elements within the government as well as in the private sector, that's the key to the future to me. >> so for the record i had a whole list of specific questions about individuals and/or circumstances that don't want to be repetitive and have you say i can't comment on them but i would anticipate when we move to classified session that this committee will be able to explore some of those situations
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in a little more depth. i have a couple of other questions about the russian intervention, but i don't have enough time to get into it right now, mr. chair if you could give me a couple of minute when we get to the next round. >> you can go ahead and ask the first one. >> so very briefly, if you can describe the elements of the russia's active measures in the campaign in the 2016 election, we've only got 35 seconds, but that's the first thing i want to get into about exactly what they were doing, if you can tell us anything about that. >> so we saw cyber used, we saw the use of external media, we saw the use of disinformation, we saw the use of leaking of information, much of which was not altered. we saw several, if. you will, common traits we've seen over time as well as i would argue the difference this
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time was that the cyber dimension and the fact that the release of so much information that they had extracted via signer is a primary tool to try to drive an outcome. >> in this setting can you talk to us about what tools they used? >> i'm not going to go into the specifics of how they executed the hacks. poll ji i apologize, no, sir. >> we'll try to get into that in classified. i'll hold off for now, thank you. >> mr. schiff is recognized for 15 minutes. >> thank you, i just had a couple thought questions. director comey, can you tell me what sf 86 is. >> it's the standard background clearance form that all of us who are hired by the federal government who want to have access to classified information fill out. >> would someone who is an nbc national security adviser have it fill out sf 86? >> yes, i think so.
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>> would that sf 86 require that the applicant disclose any payments received from a foreign power? >> i think so, and the form is the form, and foreign travel as well. >> i make a request through you to the justice department or whatever ic component would have custody of mr. flynn's sf 86 i make a request that that be provided to the committee. and i yield now to mr. carson. >> thank you, ranking member. i'd like to focus my line of questions on russia's views toward ukraine, and in march 2014, russia illegally annexed crimea beginning a conflict which has effectively yet to be resolved. admiral rogers, can you please briefly describe as you understand it, sir, how russia
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took crimea. >> i would argue through the insertion of military force they occupied it and physically removed it from ukrainian control. >> we heard terms like little green men and hybrid warfare. can you explain how these relate to russia in ukraine? >> in the ukraine side over time the overt activity we saw such a degree on the crimea side we saw a much bigger record on the influence and attempts to distance russian actions from any potential blow-back to the russian state if you will hence the reference to little green men surrogates in unmarked military uniforms, the flow of information the flow of information of resources to support forcible separation of
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the ukraine. >> admiral has russia returned crimea back to ukraine, sir? >> no. >> do they have intentions to? >> they publicly indicated they will not. >> admiral why does russia care about ukraine? >> it's on the immediate periphery of the russian state, national interest. >> am i right they see it as a part of their broader objective to influence and impact russia's, ukraine's desire for self-determination? >> yes. i think that's part of it. >> sir, has russia tried to claim stolen territory in ukraine, the u.s. and the rest of the world saw the annexation for what it was -- crime. shortly after russia invaded, united nations essentially declared it a crime in a nonbinding resolution. our own government recognizing the seriousness of the event
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instituted new sanctions against russia, is that right, sir? >> yes, sir. >> now this was a time where much of the world was united. russia invaded another country, and illegally annexed its territory. as we all stood hoshoulder to shoulder with ukraine. one person who didn't see it that way however was president donald trump. on july 30th at an interview with abc news, mr. trump said of putin and i quote "he's not going to ukraine, okay? just so you understand, he's not going into ukraine, all right?" end quote. admiral, hadn't putin already gone into ukraine two years before and hadn't left? >> we're talking about that crimea influence and the ukraine generally, yes, sir. >> and he still hasn't left, correct, sir? >> now we're starting to get into some technical questions of how do the russians physically in the ukraine, is it surrogates that the crimea is a clean example to me they outright
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invaded with armed military force and annexed it. >> reporter: they effectively still in ukraine? >> they're certainly supporting the ongoing effort in the ukraine to split that country. >> we'll get back to mr. trump in a minute. first tell me, sir, what would it mean to russia and to putin to have sanctions lifted? >> clearly easing of economic impact, greater flexibility, more resources. >> according to nato analysis, the russian economy shrunk by as much as 3.5% in 2015 and had no growth in to 2016 in big part because of sanctions against the oil and gas industry. we're talking about a loss of over $135 billion just in the first year of sanctions. that's a huge sum of money and sanctions aren't meant to push their economy over a cliff, but to put long-term pressure on putin to change his behavior.
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putin himself said in 2016 that sanctions are severely harming russia, so we know they've had success in putting pressure on the kremlin. admiral what would it mean geopolitically, would it help legitimate russia's illegal land grab? >> sir, i'm not in a position to talk broadly about the geopolitical implications. i mean we have stated previously from an intelligence perspective we tried to outline the policy makers the specifics of the russian invasion in crimea, the specifics of the continued russian support to separatists in the ukraine and russians continue to attempt to pressure and to keep the ukraine weak. >> would it help cleave the united states from her allies? >> if we remove the sanctions? >> there's a lot at stake here for russia. this is big money, big strategic
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implications. if they can legitimate their annexation of crimea, what's next? are we looking at new iron curtain descending across eastern europe? you know, most in our country recognize what is at stake and how the united states, as a leader of the free world, is the only check on russian expansion. so back to mr. trump and his cohort. at the republican convention in july, paul manafort, carter page and trump himself changed the republican party platform to no longer arm ukraine. so the same month that trump denied putin's role in ukraine, his team weakened the party platform on ukraine, and as we have and will continue to hear, this was the same month that several individuals in the trump orbit held secret meetings with russian officials, some of which may have been on the topic of sanctions against russia, or
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their intervention in ukraine. this is no coincidence in my opinion. in fact, the dossier written by former mi-6 agent christopher steele alleges that trump agreed to sideline russian intervention in ukraine as a campaign issue which is effectively a priority for vladimir putin. there is a lot in the dossier that is yet to be proven but increasingly as we'll hear throughout the idea checking out and this one seems to be as accurate as they come. in fact, there is also one pattern i want to point out before yielding back, manafort fired. page, fired. flynn, fired. why? they were hired because of their russian connections. they were fired. however because their connections became public they were effectively culpable but they were also the fall guys, so i think, after we hear mr.
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quigley's line of questioning, we might guess who could be next. mr. chairman, mr. ranking member, i yield back. >> i yield the balance to representative spear. >> thank you ranking member, thank you, gentlemen, for your service to our country. you know, i think it's really important as we sit here that we explain this to the american people in a way they can understand it. why are we talking about all of this? so my first question to each of you is, is russia our adversary, mr. comey? >> yes. >> mr. rogers? >> yes. >> do they intend to do us harm? >> they intend to ensure i believe that they gain advantage at our expense. >> director comey? >> yes, i want to be, harm can have many meanings. they're an adversary to we want
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to resist us, oppose, undermine us in lots of different ways. >> so one of the terms that we hear often is hybrid warfare, and i'd like to just give a short definition of what it is. it blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare, and cyber warfare. the aggressor intends to avoid attribution or retribution. so would you say that russia engaged in hybrid warfare in its effort to undermine our democratic process and engage in our electoral process, director comey? >> i don't think i would use the term warfare. you'd want to ask perts experts in the definition of war. they engaged in a multifaceted campaign of active measures to undermine our democracy, and hurt one of the candidates and hope to help one of the other candidates. >> i'd agree with the director.
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>> thank you both. i actually think that their engagement was an act of war, an act of hybrid warfare, and i think that's why the american people should be concerned about it. now, in terms of trying to understand this, i think of a spider web with a tarantula in the middle, and the tarantula in my view is vladimir putin, who is entrapping many people to do his bidding and to engage with him, and i would include those like roger stone and carter page and michael caputo, awilbur ros and paul manafort and rex tillerson. i'd like to focus first on rex tillerson in the three minutes i have here. he was the ceo of exxonmobil. in 2008, he said that the
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likelihood of u.s./russia businesses was, in fact, a poor investment, that russia was a poor investment climate. that was in 2008. in 2011, he closed a $500 billion deal with rossneft oil. the ceo of rossneft is igor sechin, who is a confident of president putin, second most powerful man in russia, and probably a former kgb agent. the deal gives exxon access to the black sea and the cara sea and siberia for oil development. rosneft gets minority interest in exxon, in texas, and the gulf. rex tillerson calls sechin a good friend. in 2012, mr. tillerson and mr.
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sechin go on a road show here in the united states to talk about this great deal that they had just consummated. also in 2012, there's a video of president putin and mr. tillerson toasting champagne at the deal, and in 2013, mr. tillerson receives the russian order of friendship. and he sits right next to president putin at the event. so my question to you, director comey, is, is it a value to president putin, knowing what you know of him, and that his interest in doing harm to us, is it of benefit to mr. putin to have rex tillerson as the secretary of state? >> i can't answer that question. >> admiral rogers? >> ma'am, auto i'm i'm not in a
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that-to-answer that question. >> in 2014 igor sechin is sanctioned and he lamts he will no longer be able to come to the united states to motorcycle ride with mr. tillerson. could you give me an understanding of what are some of the reasons that we impose sanctions? director comey? >> on sechin? >> just in general. >> again you'd have to ask an expert but from my general knowledge it's to punish activities that are criminal in nature, that involve war crimes, that involve violations of u.n. resolutions, or united states law in some other way. it's to communicate and enforce foreign policy interests and values of the united states of america. that's my general sense. but an expert might describe it much better. >> admiral rogers? >> i would echo the director's comments. it's also a tool that we use to
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attempt to drive and shape the choices and actions of others. >> so in the case of igor sechin who was sanctioned by the united states in part to draw attention to the fact that russia had invaded crimea, it's an effort to try and send a very strong message to russia. is that not true? >> i think that's right. >> yes, ma'am. >> all right. with that, mr. chairman i'll yield back for now. >> the gentleman yields back. i yield myself 15 minutes and i yield to the gentle lady from mr. miss ros-lehtinen. >> it's never acceptable for any foreign power to interfere with our electoral process and this committee has long been focused on russia's reprehensible conduct, and we will remain focused on the threat emanating from moscow, and i agree with
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you, director comey, when you say this investigation that is ongoing, we will follow the facts wherever they lead on a bipartisan level, and there will be no sacred cows. there are many important issues at stake, as you gentlemen have heard. there is bipartisan agreement on the danger of illegal leaks and our ability to reauthorize important programs upon which our intelligence community relies, but i want to assure the american people that there's also bipartisan agreement on getting to the bottom of russian meddling in our election, which must remain the focus of this investigation and yours. so admiral rogers, i agree in what you said, that a public acknowledgment of this foreign meddling to be a problem is important as we move forward, and following on congressman
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lobbying on the questions and based on this theme i'd like to ask you gentlemen if if you could describe what, if anything, russia did in this election that to your knowledge they did or they didn't do in previous elections, how it was, were there actions different in this election than in previous ones? >> i'd say the biggest difference from my perspective was both the use of cyber, the hacking as a vehicle to physically gain access to information to extract that information, and then to make it widely publicly available without any alteration or change. >> the only thing i'd add is they were unusual loud in their intervention, almost as if they didn't care we knew what they were doing or wanted us to see what they were doing. it was very noisy, their intrusions in different
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institutions. >> and what specifically, based on this loudness, did the fbi or the nsa do to prevent or counter this russian active measure that we read about in the intelligence community assessment, as loud as they were, what did we do to counter that? >> well, among other things, we alerted people who had been victims of intrusions to permit them to tighten their systems to see if they couldn't kick the russian actors out. we also as a government supplied information to all the states so they could equip themselves to make sure there was no successful effort to affect the vote and there was none as we said earlier, and then the government as a whole in october called it out, and i believe it was director clapper and then secretary jeh johnson issued a statement saying this is what the russians are doing, sort of
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an inoculation. >> and the loudness to which you ref refer, perhaps they were doing these actions previously in other elections but not as loudly. why do you think that they did not mind being loud and being found out? >> i don't know the answer for sure. i think part their number one mission is to undermine the credibility of our entire democracy enterprise, of this nation, and so it might be that they wanted us to help them by telling people what they were doing, their loudness, in a way, would be counting on us to amplify it by telling the american people what we saw and freaking people out about how the russians might be undermining our elections successfully. that might have been part of their plan. i don't know that for sure. >> i agree with director comey. i mean a big difference to me in the past was while there was cyber activity, we never saw in
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previous presidential elections information being published in such a massive scale that had been, you know, illegally removed both from private individuals as well as organizations associated with the democratic process, both inside the government and outside the government. >> and this massive amount and this loudness now that it's become public knowledge, now that we have perhaps satisfied their thirst that it has become such a huge deal, do you expect their interference to be amplified in future u.s. elections? do you see any evidence of that in european elections, or do you think that this public acknowledgment would tamper down their volatility? >> well i'll let mike rogers maybe as an initial matter, they'll be back. they'll be back in 2020, they may be back in 2018, and one of
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the lessons they may draw from this is that they were successful because they introduced chaos and division and discord and sowed doubt about the nature of this amazing country of ours and our democratic process. it's possible they're misreading that as it worked and so we'll come back and hit them again in 2020. i don't know, but i think we have to assume they're coming back. >> i fully expect them to continue this level of activity, because our sense is that they have come to the conclusion that it generated a positive outcome for them in the sense that calling into question democratic process, for example, is one element of the strategy. we're working closely, we, our fbi teammates, others are working closely with our european teammates to provide the insights that we have seen to try to assist them, as they themselves, france and germany for example, about to undergo significant national leadership elections over the course of the next two months. >> and in terms of the european
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elections, what have you seen or any information that you could share with us about the russian interference? >> you've seen some of the same things that we saw in the u.s. in terms of disinformation, fake news, attempts to release of information to embarrass individuals, you're seeing that play out to some extent and european elections right now. >> i look forward to continuing with you. thanks so much. >> mr. turner is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman, mr. comey, admiral rogers, thank you for being here today and for your, what appears to be attempts at being forthcoming with the committee. i also want to thank the chairman and the ranking member schiff. this is a bipartisan effort. i think as you've looked to what this committee is undertaking, everyone wants answers and everyone wants answers to all of the questions that are being asked because this goes to such an important issue concerning our elections.
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admiral rogers i'll begin with a question to you concerning the foreign intelligence surveillance act. now admiral, as you know, the foreign service, foreign intelligence surveillance act provides the circumstances or authority under which the intelligence community may collect or intercept the communication of a foreign person located outside of the united states or as mr. comey indicated a person who is covered under a fisa court order with mr. rooney and gowdy you discussed the minimization procedures under the foreign intelligence surveillance act and those minimization procedures are supposed to protect the privacy rights of u.s. citizens. specifically it's geared toward the communications of those who may be inadvertently or incidentally collected as a result of the intelligence community's lawful collection of communications of others. mr. rogers, is the intelligence community required to cease
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collection or the interception of communications if the result of the collection or interception includes the communications of an incoming u.s. administration official, the president-elect, or the president-elect's transition team? >> it depended under what authority as i said early on a series of questions we go through, is there criminal associated activity, does the conversation deal with threats to u.s. persons, breaking of the law, so there's no simple yes or no. there's a series of processes. >> is there any provision of minimization that requires to you cease collection? that is my question. are you under any circumstances required to cease collection if the collection results in the either inadvertent of the president-elect or the president-elect's transition team? >> purely on the basis of exposure i want to make sure i understand the question. >> are you required to cease, if
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you are undertaking lawful collection under the foreign intelligence surveillance act of a person or individual located outside of the united states or the person you're collecting against, is the subject of a fisa court order, if incidental to that collection or inadvertently the collection results in the collection of communications of an incoming u.s. administration official are you required to cease collection? >> not automatically. >> thank you. so the answer is no, kr ekt? the reason why in this is important intuitively we know incoming administration would have conversations with those that the intelligence community may be collecting against, either by making phone calls to them or receiving phone calls to them. it's important to understand the minimization procedures intended to collect the privacy rights of


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