tv MSNBC Live With Kate Snow MSNBC March 30, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
surprised if there are not local prosecutors now beginning to investigate some of these issues circling around russian interference in the 2016 election. specifically mr. manafort's real estate disease. and i have to say the, go zags. >> abusing your opportunity there. i appreciate it. that will do it for me. i'm katy the tur. a busy afternoon. we're going on start just where she left off with the breaking news. the white house responding to a "new york times" report citing current american officials, xlams two white house officials provided house intelligence chair den nunes with reports suggesting the president and team members were swept up in incidental surveillance. and friendly fire. a week after the health care failure, president trump lashing out at his own freedom caucus, threatening to run them out of
office in the mid terms. and ivanka trump is now a federal employee. she'll have an office in the white house. a closer look at the ethics rules surrounding that fire. but first let's get caught up on everything that just happened. kelly o'donnell at the white house, kasie hunt on capitol hill, and an analyst in boston with us. i want to go to you first, ken. you're with our investigative unit and you've been really digging into this. what do we at nbc news about this? "the new york times" reporting that two white house officials helped give chairman nunes access to these documents last week. what have we been able to confirm? >> nbc news has not confirmed that these two officials were the ones who handed nunes the information. we've been hearing for days,
one, cohen watnik was brought in by the former intelligence agency. and under be nunes before going to the white house. these men are perceived as likely to be perceived as being at the white house. the other thing is that nunes explicitly denied that his source was a white house staffer. he said it was an intelligence official. i confirmed just moments ago that cohen-watnick is a white house official. >> that's very important. as he white house official. because "the new york times" called him a senior director for intelligence at the nsc. is our reporting different? >> no, no. that's his title. >> but not defense intelligence
as you just said. >> okay. let me go to kelly. sean spicer, very defensive during that briefing last hour. essentially saying this is all just process and that reporters are obsessed with the process of how this information was gathered, right? >> yeah. and just picking up on your conversation with ken, because the national security council does take people from intelligence sxagss other departments across the government, although ken ran this down and found out the individual in question is a white house employee, it makes me wonder if chairman nunes would have been aware of that distinction. perhaps his denial isn't necessarily closing a door on that. in the weeds there but worth knowing. sean spicer talked about the white house has invited top intelligence officials from capitol hill and oversight. the two committees on senate, and house. the chairman and top delegates sent a letter to invite them to
review information at the white house of an intelligence nature. a big question. did not describe to us if that is the same information that devin nunes, cheryl of the house intelligence committee the did directly. those are big important questions. we weren't able to verify a short time ago. it was note panel sean spicer began his briefing with an announcement of sorts that seemed to have some relevance to the news that was breaking. here's how it unfolded. >> we are not as obsessed with the process as much as the substance. our goal is to make sure the ranking members of both committees as well as the chairman sees it. the if he recalls are important to this and then worry about the outcome at the end. >> reporter: so the issue of process versus substance. sometimes reporters have to weed through the process to get at
the substance and officials often don't like the see that happen. in this case, spicer is saying that there is information that the white house is not going to reveal through the so-called process questions. things like would have waved in -- wave is an acronym at the white house. everything that nunes would need to be processed through to the white house grounds. they're not providing even though it is readily available, choosing to focus substance. to tell us they're having this information they want to share with the committees. that will be available to the committees but not going through all the questions that reporters might have about some of what is around this. reporters use process to get at substance and to give as you sense of how did this unfold. and sometimes there are clues in that so-called process that can be very illustrative. that's something sean spicer is pushing back on.
>> let me be crystal clear. is sean spicer disputing the report in the "new york times"? is he disputing that these two men were involved in providing information on devin nunes? >> he would not engage and therefore that's not a no. he would not take up the questions that related specifically to that report. you could say that he is typically when someone doesn't give you a direct no, that leaves open the possibility there's something there. but he would not engage on that subject lt. >> let me bounce over the kasie hunt. first of all, any reaction? we just had a lot of reaction. isn't this the day that the senate intelligence committee is holding a public hearing? >> i think the words to that were you can't make this stuff up. and that i think kind of captures how democrats in the house and on the house intelligence committee feel with what has gone on through this whole zlag with devin nunes and
this new information ask where it came from. we are at the point where sean spicer refuses to engage and devin nunes saying he won't reveal his anonymous source based on anonymously sourced news reports. a little circular there and that has brought the house intelligence committee investigation to an absolute standstill. they did not meet this week. you did see the chairman and ranking member meet behind closed doors today. we talked to adam schiff after that meeting but not before this new information came to light or this report in the "new york times." and of course, we are still working corroborating, came to light. so yet another twist in this saga that has frankly raised doubts about the credibility of the house it's intelligence into russian meddling and put the onus on the senate side. you're seeing the opening parts
of that today. they decided not to go with a fireworks big name oriented first hearing in this investigation. we're not hearing from jim comey or mike rogers or any of the potential trump administration officials that are expected to be called to testify. jared kushner we know will at some point but likely behind closed doors and not today. instead, they '38 ground work for the context of their investigation. they had a couple of expert witnesses. one of whom talked about how president trump when he was on the stage during the campaign occasionally cited what he referred to as active measures. active intelligence efforts from the russian government on stage. fake news reports, et cetera. and they told senator marco rubio that it is possible his own campaign was meddled with by the russian government. rubio so far has not had any reaction to that. but two parallel investigations that are taking very different tacks right now. >> let me up on that.
when you look at the two different investigations and the filibuster investigation, the senate seeping to move ahead more quickly and in a more orderly say, a more bipartisan way. are you confident the senate will get somewhere before anyone else? >> yeah. so i think one important thing, kate, we've been using the word process. process is really important. it can keep the politics down to a minute mimum. what the senate is doing, so we can understand with regard to russia and russia's intentions toward united states and our elections. i think that's a proefessional way to approach this. the house has committed too many process fouls. we may still need to have an independent bipartisan investigation. we have to see what will happen with the senate.
on the dark campaign of fake news, that's still ongoing. we see even someone like myself get swept up in all of this. when people like me are speaking on behalf of process, people spin to it suit their needs. and it may be the russians are behind even such fake news today. >> let me jump in on this. sean spicer did bring your name up in the press beefing. he talked about something you said on morning joe. i want to get your reaction. >> we are not going to engage actively in that kind of leaking that has been a problem. if you look at the obama's deputy assistant secretary of defense out there, evelyn farkas, she made it clear it was their goal to spread this information around. that they went around and did this. she said, quote, that's why there are so many leaks. they have admitted on the record that this was their goal to leak stuff.
and literally she said on the record, trump's team. there are serious questions out there about what happened and why and who did it. and i think that's where our focus is and making sure that information gets out. >> evelyn, your resnacks. >> there is a total distortion of what i said and what i was talking about. i was talking about the fact i was, i was outside of government. noticed access to intelligence on this whatsoever. i was concerned because i knew how the russians operate and i was reading these reports about them hacking into the elections and then giving information wikipedia and the trump team. people were going to moscow. there was a lot of reporting on this. so i got worried that the process wasn't being followed with regard to capitol hill, with regard to congress. wasn't clear to me that the white house was keeping them in the loop. and that was really important. especially since we were about to have a transition in the government. >> let me get to you, heidi. you've been patiently waiting.
tell me about the politics of everything this afternoon. the senator estimated would it take some time, six to eight months. that puts us closer to the mid-term elections and that's looming over all of this. how do you see it this. >> nothing will get done on capitol hill if this gets hotter and hotter. and it essentially coup lly culn an independent to
come review this information with adam schiff calling a press conference. one could guess that he is going to talk about receiving this. and perhaps his intentions on following through and to see the information. perhaps he'll even talk about what he is able to after that point. so concluding this quickly is not something that is likely. if you look back into some of the president's own comments in
an oncamera interview with tucker carlson a couple weeks ago, he talked about more information coming out. he talked about there was some sort of good stuff, not an exact quote. giving the intentions that the president might have bg some additional information that could help to explain his wiretapping tweet. trying get out of that obvious fact error. this is a story that will continue to be of great interest as the committee dozen their work and other elements come about. if the white house was trying to defend the president by looking for information, there are a lot more questions to be asked about it. and the white house not wanting to go into the particulars, saying they only want these officials from capitol hill who have the proper clearance to go into this. that will be a hard position to hold going forward. >> since you mentioned those questions, i want to play some sound this last hour from sean
spice where our colleague was pressing him on whether the president directed people to go looking for evidence of wiretapping. take a listen. >> did the president direct anyone in this white house or the national security team to try to find information or intelligence to back up charges of wiretapping? >> i don't -- i'm not aware of anything directly. i have to look into. that again, there are two sides of this. one is the information side. two is the policy and the activities and the legal piece of what happened. and i don't -- those are big buckets. >> is it possible? >> i won't comment. >> he won't comment on that. that seems to be the big question at the crux of all of this. did devin nunes basically go over to the white house because the president had asked people to look into things and invited him over. then he goes the next day and briefs the president himself. it is sort of circular.
>> and it all comes back to the whole timing of. this it would take you back. it was right after comey had come up to the hill and testified there was no there, there to the wiretapping claims. and i think that nunes, this may be the last glow as well in terms of the house having to make a decision about whether they'll continue to have him as cheryl or whether they're going on officially see this investigation to the senate. keeping anymore place by for all intents and purposes is ceding this to the senate. they're so deliberate about making a scene yesterday about trying to make it look like there's no politics going on. they know that the next step if that committee does get infected by what's happening on the house side. and frankly, i think there are a lot of democrats that that makes
nervous as well. that would set us back in materials of timing. these commissions take a lot of time put together. the commission itself could be viewed as political, depending on who is picked to be put on it. >> all right. just a reminder to our audience, we're waiting for that press conference from adam schiff, the top democrat on house intelligence. we think that's within the next 20 minutes or so. so don't go anywhere. kasie hunt had to run off. up next, change of plans. after saying she will not play a role in her father's administration -- >> there are a lot of things that i do feel strongly about. not in an administrative capacity. >> daughter ivanka trump changes course and takes a job in the west wing. pro
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people think that you're going to be part of administration, ivanka. >> i'm going to be a daughter. i've said throughout the campaign that i'm very passionate about certain issues and that i want to fight for them. >> so that was just over four months ago when ivanka trump said that she wanted to just be a first daughter.
now she has officially been named assistant to the president. that's the title. questions have been raised about some of the president's choices about members of his own family. for now, i'll joined by the executive answer of crew. thank you for being with us. >> happy to be here. >> she was already serving an unofficial role but now she's taking on this office and this official role and the white house explains it as the right way to go. your thoughts. >> well, first of all, i will say that making her an official employee, we called on her to do that last week with several organizations, we're glad that they listened. it was disturbing that the white house counsel's office thought it was okay for her to perform all the duties of a white house employee without actually being one and therefore without having any of the ethical responsibilities that a white house employee would have. >> so do you have no concerns at
this point about a first daughter being an advisory role to the president? >> no. i wouldn't say that. i would say this is an important step. this means that her financial affairs will be reviewed by the office of government ethics, which is really important. i think a lot of questions do remain. it is not entirely clear that the laws against nepotism, bringing in family members doesn't apply. >> wasn't that created after kennedy? doesn't that go back to robert kennedy? >> it does. it was put into place a little after president kennedy brought in his brother to be attorney general. and there are concerns there. there are concerns because like her father, ivanka trump retains ownership interest in a number of the trump companies, and that can create conflicts of interest. constitutional problems.
hopefully at least the government ethics will be looking and hopefully trying to make sure she avoids those problems. but concerns definitely remain. >> let me read from her statement sheflt put out a statement that said i have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president, and i will serve as an unpaid employee subject to all the same rules as other federal employees throughout the process i've been working closely and in good faith with the white house council to address the role. it is unprecedented. what kind of kernels are there about her brand? she has removed herself from the brand itself. >> she removed her likeness. it does not appear she's removed her financial interests entirely. so there's still the possibility the brand could benefit from her
position and her father's position. and that could raise some concerns. her continued interest in the trump organization could raise some concerns. and there's the fact that so far, the white house council has seemed to be reluctant baeft to do anything about what seems to be a growing number of ethics concerns among white house employees. >> you're referring to kellyanne conway with the brand. and we've sblookd another white house employee who appeared to own stock in companies while he was meeting with companies and trying to influence stock that would affect them. this morning we talked about, we asked the white house counsel to
look into whether steve bannon was inappropriately working with his former employer, bright b.a.r.t. we've seen potential violations of ruse will on having outside people advising the president without any kind of transparency. and so far we've heard nothing from the white house counsel on any of these potential problems and that doesn't give us a lot of confidence. >> thank you. any minute now, you're looking at the little box in the corner. we're expecting to hear from ad am schiff. (vo) when i brought jake home,
it. for more, i want to go to the reporter who has been following all of it. what's the latest there? >> so it was repealed. the replacement bill, 142, that is being taken to the governor's desk as we speak. but lgbt activists, some critics are not happy them don't consider this a victory. some saying they're disappointed. that this is a sad day for lgbt rights in north carolina. essentially because they argued that the replacement bill still leaves room for discrimination. that has bill 142. it gives the state the final say regarding multistall bathrooms. it also prohibits cities from issuing the nondiscrimination ordinances until 2020. but hb 2 was repealed. that replacement bill was passed with a much larger margin than what was expected earlier today. and i want to introduce you to
one of the house member who's voted in support of bill. i'm being joined here by representative ed haines. what do you say, what do you respond to all those lgbt activists who say, this wasn't a victory. >> i'll tell you, looking at what you were saying, we agree it is one of the saddest days in our state's history. and this is not something we were incredibly happy about. we knew it was going to be difficult. we knew our lgbtq community would not be happy with it. but to hold with it while we get through this and we are committed to running separate lgbtq legislate that will put them in a protected class including veteran status, an issue going into this bill. we want to get this and we'll commit to doing that, pushing the legislation forward. we felt, the governor is not happy. he's been negotiating this bill for weeks on end and we felt
like we have to make a move at this point to save the state from more embarrassment and $3.5 billion economic loss. >> a lot of house members today, they mexico that had this bill, this replacement bill was voted on today because the ncaa wanted it so. was there economic pressure because the ncaa's deadline? >> i think we would say certainly there was a deadline. but they never gave us any pressure. you must vote on this. they said this is our deadline. if you would like to participate in this going forward for championships, then you'll need to get this resolved. this was about broader economic, preventing economic loss to the state. it was about bringing more jobs back. about bringing more people back in my contradict who work for minimum wage to get back to work. >> thank you so much. like the representatives said, a expense this replacement bill is
a compromise bill of sorts. still, it is repealed today in north carolina. >> all right. thank you so much. for more, i want to bring in the ceo of the group that works to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. the last time you were here with me, we were talking about the new administration and the fears. we talked about this bill and how worried you were. your retook this compromise they've found? >> it is infuriating to consider that freedom and equality has to be bartered. so once again we find ourselves in a space where young people are looking to leadership, to elected officials to represent them. and they are being failed. >> why are you saying that specifically? what is it that worries but this new legislation? >> so what this does, it makes it worse. because it removes for three
years this freedom and independence and equality has a time limit. 2020. it removes the ability of local leadership enlaws for their communities. keeping their community safe. it is virtually all right keeping communities from making decisions is that allows the power to go to the state legislature. those arguably most removed from the troubles, the trials, the anguish that our young people. particularly our trans community are experiencing every day. >> and how much do you think this had to do with the ncaa? >> i think it had a lot to do with bringing business back. i think you heard an elected official, assuming good intentions. but economics in the bottom line are certainly a driving fact. and i find it hard to believe that that or without a deadline, they mustered and pulled together for a 48-hour dead line had enacted by the ncaa.
here we go again, where people's rights are being trampled. and it has become a conversation about economy and the bottom line. and there are human lives, particularly the most vulnerable at stake. >> always great to have you here. thank you so much. and remember, we are waiting now for that press conference to begin at capitol hill. that will be schiff, the democratic leader of the house intelligence committee. up next, battle lines drawn. the president makes his feelings known as he takes to twitter and takes on the house republican freedom caucus. me to a crashing halt ] ah. when your pain reliever stops working, your whole day stops. awww. try this. for minor arthritis pain, only aleve is fda approved to work for up to 12 straight hours with just one pill. thank you. come on everybody. aleve. live whole. not part.
let's go to capitol hill, adam schiff. >> the committee's responsibilities. we have sent the white house a reapply. i am more than willing to come to the white house to review the materials. i did make clear in my letter that it will be ultimately necessary to share these materials with the full committee and we will need their cooperation as well to work with tagss who have custody of the original documents. when analyzing questions of whether something is properly the subject of incidental collection or properly unmasked or the distribution list is appropriate, that is impossible to do without consulting the agencies to find out how the materials were gather asked why there was a need to know in case of any unmasking of names. this is not something that will be apparent on the face of the documents. it is also not something that i
think either chair or ranking member alone can somehow adjudicate. i did express in my reply. on the same day "the new york times" wrote the story saying the source of theers the provided to our chairman was in fact national security council staff, i was informed in a letter from white house council that the national security council staff found these materials in the ordinary course of business. now, that concerns me. if in fact the national security council staff that discovered these materials reportedly in the ordinary course of business are the same national security council staff that provided them to the chairman to be provided to the president, it raises the profound question, why they were not directly provided to the
white house by the national security staff. instead, were provided through a secure route through the chairman. if that was designed to hide the origin of the materials, that raises profound questions about just what the white house is doing that need to be answered. i have asked the white house for their assistance in answering those questions as well. the third point i want to make in what will be necessary to answer the questions the white house has asked to us look at in terms of the procedures, we will look into that. we want to find out also if in fact these are the samers the or a subset of the same materials earlier provided to the chairman. why that circuitous method, was used to provide they will to the committee and i want to make one point as well.
this issue is not going to distract us from doing our russia investigation. if that's the object here, it will not be successful. we are going to look into everything the russians did to influence our election. we are not going to be deterred or distracted. issues of incidental collection important and they are part of our ordinary oversight and we will oversee them. we're going to get to the bottom of just what the russians did and how they did it and whether there was any coordination or collusion with u.s. presidents. that work will go on regardless. i'm happy to answer your questions. >> can you clarify for us, it says at the beginning of the letter. the staff discovered dpomts were responsive to march final letter. you do not know if these are the same documents chairman reviewed on white house grounds last week? >> well, none of us have any way of knowing. i think only the white house knows the answer to that
question and we should ask them. i have to say, it is highly concerning to me that on the same day this "new york times" story reports, and i don't know whether "the new york times" sources are accurate about whether the two people mentioned in the story. but the fact that sean spicer yesterday had no idea who may have been involved in that review by the chairman, today they suddenly do. you know, it raises a lot of very difficult questions for the white house. but again, we need to get to the bottom of whether these same staff that discovered the materials in the ordinary course of business, according to the white house, were trying on use a circuitous method of delivering them back to the president. that would be deeply disturbing. >> you say you will not be distracted but that appears to be the case. your investigation has effectively ground to a halt because of all these questions
and because of a lot of politics. how can the american public still have confidence in this investigation? >> well, there is no question there is a cloud over the investigation as a result of the way the materials were provided. if indeed we're talking about the same documents here. what i'm saying is, and i speak for the democrats on the committee. i home i speak for the republicans on the committee. this is too important not to go forward. we are determined to go forward. whatever options are put in our way. i've been very frank about what i consider some of the conflicts here. ultimately, it is up to the speaker who conducts this investigation on the gop side. i can only be responsible for what we do on the democratic side. but we're not going to be distracted. we're going to continue to call witnesses and we have the representations of the majority that they will support the witnesses that we want to hear before the committee. we're going forward.
but you know, as significant as this is now, there is just no way we can allow the investigation to be deterred from the much more important issues at stake. >> when you met, did he reveal anything about the source of the information, whether the white house had any involvement of him getting on the white house grounds? [ inaudible ]. >> we didn't get into any level of detail on that issue. our focus during our conversation was, how do we go forward in terms of the witnesses that we want to testify, how do we move forward with the hearings that we had scheduled that were cancelled and getting the hearings back on track. that was the length and the breadth of our discussion. as i mentioned earlier, not an
easy conversation at the moment. but you know, this work has to go on. and you know, i'm prepared to work whoever i need to to make sure we get to the bottom line here. >> is there any impact, any headway in resolving this and bringing this into it? [ inaudible ] it is my had understanding you are -- is there any progress? >> you know, i wouldn't say we're withholding anything. we signed the letter that the chairman wanted. we invited directors comey and rogers to come back and testify closed session. we have invited others to come back. the chairman has yet to sign that letter. i hope that he will. i think that would be in the interests of the public. the white house has made clear
now, they want sally yates to testify. we want her to testify. she is fully prepared to testify. the only thing is the signature of the chairman and we hope they get that. >> the white houser council counsel wrote a letter to us. we received that effectively simultaneous, announcing it during the press conference. and that was in response to questions i have raised to review these materials. but again, we accept it. i'll go read them. i look forward to it. it is ultimately going to be necessary if the white house really wants to us answer the questions they've raised. for the full committee to look at this. not just the ranking chair. and we'll need support of the agencies.
they will be the depository of information about how the materials were gathered and what procedures they followed. >> had [ inaudible ] in the same format as the chairman. what setting. would you do it in the same format? >> well, again, i have no idea what format the chairman used them or even what materials the chair has viewed. one of the questions i asked the white house in my responsive letter is, are these the samers the? and of course, if these the same materials, or any subset are the same materials, why weren't they presented in a more transparent way to the committee? a lot of unanswered questions. i think the letter that i got from white house counsellor
as well as in developing our witness list. and we have finalized an initial witness list. the way these investigations work, you start with a set of witnesses that you want to interview first. that leads to you more information with witnesses. this is not the last or the final or the comprehensive witness list. but we did discuss about whether we could come to agreement on the witnesses we both want to bring in. and that i think we made a lot of we made a lot of progress on that score. and at the same time, we had a long discussion about the hearing that was canceled and how to get that hearing scheduled once again. it is my hope that the chairman
will reschedule the hearing that he postponed, you know, according to the chair so we'll have it closed here. that will remove any obstacle to going forward with the hearing we already committed to doing. >> is that officially going to happen next week? >> you know, i don't know when that will happen. >> were there any concerns, i know you have talked about sally yates and republicans, potentially not wanting her to testify, are you aware of any other concerns from, say, for example, cia as it relates to john brennan, has the administration expressed concerns about them testifying in an open hearing? >> no, i'm not aware of concerns. clapper andtestify ed frequently in open session. i think senator king said in a quite articulate way today how important it is this investigation be done not just in private but also in public,
because i think it's quite right to point out if we do this entire investigation in private, and ultimately we reach a conclusion, even if we're able to agree on that conclusion, it's not going to have the public's confidence. if they're not part of this investigation, if they're not read into as much as they can be read into, they're not going to have much confidence. it's going to look like some backroom deal. so we really need to be sure that as much of this we can do publicly, we should, obviously a lot of it we can't do publicly. and of necessity. but there's no reason why sally yates can't testify in public. yeah? >> speaker ryan said this morning that the chairman nunes had told him that his source was the whistleblower type person. the two people described in "the new york times" article -- [ inaudible ] >> you know, it certainly doesn't sound at all like what i would consider a whistleblower. we have procedures for whistleblowers to come to the committee. when they come to the committee, they are protected. they provide whatever materials,
information, they have and they're protected. that procedure wasn't followed here. and if we're talking about not people from the agencies, and, again, i don't know whether "the times" has it right or has it wrong, but if we're talking about national security council staff, they can go to white house council. there are already mechanisms and places they can go to share this information. and if the object here was to give it to somebody to give to the president, it makes it all the more bewildering why it wasn't just taken directly to the president, particularly, you know, if one of those individuals is the director of intelligence at the national security council. they have frequent access to the president. they don't need our chairman to deliver something to the president they can deliver themselves and obviously, so to me, this looks like nothing like the whistleblower case. and, again, i think the white house needs to answer is this
instead a case where they wish to effectively launder information through our committee to avoid the true source of the information? that question the white house really needs to answer. yes? >> after you met with the chairman this morning, you said by the middle of the day you would have a finalized list. is that still the case? do you have -- >> you know, i have to say we've been a bit overtaken by events during the day. we have our witness list. they have theirs. so we have exchanged witness lists. my understanding is that there is a lot of common agreement and we may have something more to say by the end of the day, but frankly, as in every day in this investigation, you wake up and you think it's going to be one kind of day and turns out to be quite a different day. so that is something we're still focused on and we'll try to resolve, if not today, then not tomorrow. >> are you taking steps -- >> the two individuals you
mentioned in "the new york times" story, do you -- does the committee want to speak to those people? your staff, the minority? >> well, you know, i certainly think we need to get to the bottom of whether this was some strategy by the white house. obviously that would be deeply concerning to us. and if it's necessary for us to interview these two individuals, then we should do so, but i have to say i'm more than perplexed by how these materials have been put forward and the motivations behind it. and i do think that the white house has a lot of questions to answer. so we're going to do our best to find out. >> why do you think the invitation was extended to you today in the manner that it was? after "the new york times" story came out. >> well, you know, the timing certainly looks fortuitous, and
probably more than fortuitous, but per the letter, it said that the ranking member had been asking to review these materials which, of course, i have. that suggests, of course, that these are the same materials that the chairman has reviewed. and if that's the case, it begs the question, why all the subterfuge if that's what it was? maybe there's an innocent explanation here. i don't understand it. but i hope that they'll have an explanation for just why they've used this path to provide materials to the committee. >> so you're suggesting it, but you're not saying it? you personally believe the white house had been working with chairman nunes to undermine and undercut this investigation? >> you know, the only thing i'll say is, again, you know, trying to keep the focus on, you know, what's the best route to doing a
credible investigation? if there's been a substantial question about whether we can do that, then we need to take whatever steps are necessary to restore credibility to the investigation. and i don't want to speak for the chairman. i think you can and have asked him these questions. i do want to try to keep my focus on, okay, what's the path forward here? and to do my best to cordon off any distraction, keep our eyesight on what's truly at stake here, and, again, you know, i think this is, i'm sure, quite mystifying to the country. people need to appreciate the context. the context is we had a foreign power intervene in our election. this is not about whether that was decisive or not. it doesn't matter. they intervened in a very significant way.
our intelligence community has concluded, not democrats, not republicans, but the entire intelligence community, the russians will do this again, indeed, are doing it right now, in europe. we need to understand what they've done here. we need to understand if they had help of the u.s. persons here. that is the mission. the rest may be important but that is the mission. and i'm going to do my best to keep my focus on that mission. when we run into obstacles and we ran into a huge obstacle this week with all of this, i want to be candid about whether i think it poses a problem in terms of the credibility of our investigation. and it has. but at the same time, i want to keep it as laser focus i can in making sure we get the investigation done. >> can the credibility be restored.
>> yes? >> two foreign targets, what effect do you think that could have on -- [ inaudible ] >> i don't know whether -- i don't know anything about the materials yet. so i'm not in a position to say whether these were intercepted between foreign parties. i just don't know. i don't even know if these are intercepts. so, again, i'm either in the enviable or unenviable position or not knowing what these materials are, but i think people need to understand the process of figuring out how these were collected, were they properly collected, were they properly disseminated, properly masked or unmasked? we look at these issues all the time. this is not new for out committee which makes s it so unusual, irregular, that it would be presented to us in this way. this is within our ordinary wheelhouse. there is a proper way to put this before the committee. that certainly was not