tv Democratic Leaders on Justice Dept. IG Report CSPAN June 14, 2018 5:53pm-6:27pm EDT
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>> now, senate minority leader chuck schumer and house minority leader nancy pelosi and other democrats react to the justice department inspector general's report on fbi conduct related to the 2016 presidential campaign and the hillary clinton email el investigation. this is about one hour. >> okay. good afternoon, everyone. i'm proud to be joined i my colleague, , senator feinstein d warner and my dear friend and
house colleague who i've known longer the anybody probably in this room, jerry nadler. leader pelosi, ranking member cummings and ranking member schiff are voting and on their way. and they will speak when they get here. welcome so we now know the long awaited report from the inspector general has been made public. several things are crystal clear. first and foremost, anyone who is hoping to use this report to undermine the mueller probe or prove the existence of a deep state conspiracy against president trump will be sorely disappointed. both of us are interested in the truth, however, are pleased to know that inspector general wrote time and time again that when it came to the clinton e-mail investigation, quote, no evidence that, no evidence that the conclusions by department prosecutors were affected by
bias or improper consideration. no evidence. rather we concluded that they were based on prosecutors assessment of the facts, the law, and passed actors. couldn't be planar. couldn't be a more strong repudiation of those who wish to say that there was bias in the mueller investigation. did director comey, the fbi and doj handle the public aspect of the investigation into hillary clinton's e-mail correctly? of course not. we democrats said that then. the inspector general makes it clear now. but director comey's mishandling of the publicity around the clinton e-mail campaign will prove to the benefit of then
candidate trump, not the other way around. it was trump who benefited from all these mistakes. so with hardly reflects deep state are bias against. as the president told lester holt in his own words on national tv, she fired he fired director comey. what does this mean? in the days ahead the president and his allies are try to twist themselves into pretzels and trying to use this report to undermine the special counsel and the russia probe. ..
we have no doubt he will be tweeting all sorts of walls information to the facts not in -- donald trump one elections of the complaint about the fbi jim comey and all the rest don't mean anything. the end of the day the actions reviewed in this report helps donald trump win the election, not the other way around. events this report contains no evidence to make any reasonable person conclude that the special counsel investigation is anything other than independent, impartial and just as important today as it was before this report was issued. senator feinstein. >> thank you leader. all i have been able to read is the executive summary where the recommendations are.
senator schumer summarized the most important one and that is that i'm reading from the report we found no evidence the conclusions by department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper consideration. rather we have determined that they were based on the prosecutor's assessment of the facts, the law and pasta department practice. what the ig did conclude was that james comey violated department of justice policies on three occasions. with its july 5 press conference, his october 20 letter to congress and his november 6 notification to congress. many of us agree on that conclusion and the ig report repeatedly says that the justice department for bids discussion about ongoing investigations.
again let me read a ""back from report. comey engaged in ad hoc decision-making based on his personal views even if it meant rejecting long-standing department policy practice. we found unpersuasive comey's explanation as to why transparency was more important than department policy and practice with regard to the react debated midyear investigation. while by contrast department policy impact this were more important to follow with regard to the clinton foundation and the russia investigation. department policy and practice is to not discuss investigations and for me that's a key take away today. house and senate republicans continue to demand the deputy attorney general rosenstein and special counsel mueller disclose information about the russia
investigation. if it was wrong for comey to release information related to the clinton investigation, it would be wrong for the fbi and the justice department to release information about the mueller investigation. throughout the clinton investigation republicans in congress demanded information for director comey and doj under subpoena and threat of contempt. today they are doing the same thing with the mueller investigation. it was wrong then and it's wrong now. instead of demanding disclosure of information about the ongoing investigation congress should protect investigative information from disclosure. lastly, the fbi said the following and i quote. although no bias or other improper consideration was found in the fbi's decision or
reaction the appearance of bias is disconcerting and potentially damaging to the fbi's ability to form performance missions. law enforcement must not only avoid actual bias but also the appearance of bias. >> thank you senator feinstein. senator warner. >> thank you. two quick points. one, this is an example of where the system work. there were concerns raised. the inspector general did a thorough and lengthy review. the white house and its allies continue to make ad hominem attacks on the integrity of virtually everyone who works at the department of justice and the fbi. i hope we are going through a bit of applause.
their two conclusions i draw from their prey. one, no political bias in two the actions of the then fbi director more than one time actually benefited mr. trump's campaign and his election chances so i hope we can put this behind us and continue to allow the mueller investigation and the last remaining a partisan investigation to finish our work. >> thank you senator warner. leader pelosi. >> thank you very much leader schumer. i appreciate the comments made by you in coming over here i heard you and by senator feinstein and ranking member on the intelligence committee senator warner and the judiciary senator feinstein and my ranking member jerry adler.
now we are joined by a ranking member on the intelligence adam schiff. in addition i wanted to make two points that may be additional but i want to emphasize them. one is that the ig informed us that rudy giuliani was part of the investigation. we will see what that takes us to. the report does not answer how they got those leaks and democrats are demanding answers. secondly the report says the fbi was under constant pressure from congressional republicans. that pressure has now been directed to the mueller investigation. the report provides no basis to the g.o.p. to challenge the legitimacy of the mueller investigation. it must continue unhindered. it's deeply disturbing that the republicans are possessed with undermining our intelligence and law enforcement agencies. republicans need to end this and
focus on what matters protecting our democracy. just this week special counsel mueller said the operations are still occurring yet yesterday the g.o.p. failed to appropriate a single dollar. they refuse to hold the full committee hearing on election security and homeland or house administration committee. congress takes an oath of office to support and defend the constitution and to protect the american people. democrats of honor that go through with real action to secure elections. we found no evidence by the inspector general. we found no evidence at the conclusion by the department. rather we determined that they were raised on prosecutors assessments were wrong in the past department practice. i yield to the distinguished member of the judiciary
committee jerry nadler. >> thank you very much. representative fine seen have only had time to read the exact live -- but in repeated at two key reactions. first the decision and report all helps donald trump win the election. all the errors were in trump's favor. when he appeared before the house judiciary committee in 2016, september of 2016 i told director comey that it was wrong to treat the two presidential candidates differently. speaking at length about the clinton investigation on several occasions while refusing to acknowledge the existence of what we now know as the investigation of the trump campaign. the report today confirms we were right to be worried about the double standard. those who confirm said mr. comey was brought in his decision to publicly reopen the investigation in october. his choice is not between
silence and disclosure. his choice was between as the report puts it policy/practice following policy/practice of not following policy/practice. also if we learned anything from these findings should be that the department of justice and special counsel mueller must be allowed to complete the investigation without political interference a lesson that my republican colleagues seemed to have missed and that president trump may never learn. second the comments of my republican colleagues since the report was released are completely untethered from reality. republicans are clinging to the hope that somehow, some way or log debug myth of an fbi conspiracy against president trump is still true. a group of caucus members just as kid you not an investigation into the investigation of the investigation.
a third-degree investigation. facts are facts. secretary clinton did not is my republican colleagues suggest receive special treatment. the political views of the agents rank this case did not affect the outcome of the investigation. these are bindings of the report. when the department of justice and the fbi deviated from normal practice they did so to the detriment to secretary clinton and the benefit of the campaign of donald trump. and still am convinced if you think this report stands for anything but the fact that the republican narrative we have heard and will continue to hear is completely false i direct you to the key findings of the inspector general and i think it's quoted right here. we found no evidence in the conclusion by department prosecutors -- we found no evidence in the conclusion by the department prosecutors affected by bias or other improper consideration. rather we determine they were based on the predicates are so
assessment of the facts, the law of past department practice to let me stress the hope that we will now see in and to the slander by republican colleagues and the president of the department of justice the people of the fbi and the continued attempt to pressure them into not doing their job properly. continuing attempts at what i think are continuing obstruction of justice. thank you very much. >> thank you mr. leader. just to underscore a couple of points. think probably the two conclusions of the inspector general report our first that no political bias influence the decision-making at either the fbi or the department of justice while there may have been political bias exhibited in some private text messages none of that political bias influence the decision-making in the clinton e-mail investigation. the second key conclusion of the
inspector general is bad director comey and others made serious errors of judgment and while the serious errors of judgment were not driven by political considerations they were nevertheless serious mistakes. those mistakes unquestionably have the effect of helping the trump campaign. that was not by design but that was the effect and you need look no further than candidate trump's comments applauding then director comey for discussing the investigation in october to see what you weigh those errors in judgment cut. none of this report obviously reflects at all on the continued investigation by special counsel it is more important that investigation go on unimpeded but it is not completely irrelevant in the sense that one of the points made by the inspector general perhaps among the gravest mistakes attributed to director comey was discussing
the ongoing investigation publicly and sharing information about an ongoing investigation with congress that the knowledge that information would likely be made public. that is the continuing concern as some in congress pressed the judge -- justice department to disclose information about pending investigation. we should not repeat out mistake again and so there were serious errors of judgment made. those errors in judgment were not made with the political bias but nonetheless serious mistakes in those mistakes have the effect of helping the trump campaign. none of this reflects on the special counsel's work and we are determined to make sure that work goes on unimpeded but we should be mindful of the inspector general's conclusion that discussing an ongoing investigation and sharing information about an ongoing investigation when it is likely
the investigation will be made public is a mistake and we should do everything possible not to repeat that mistake. thank you. >> congressman cummings ranking member of the oversight committee. >> thank you very much senator schumer. after reviewing the inspector general's report today there is one broad overarching and inescapable conclusion that i draw. the fbi's actions leading up to the presidential election helped donald trump in his effort to become president of the united states of america. director comey had a double standard. he spoke publicly about the clinton investigation while keeping secret from the american people the investigation of donald trump and russia.
director comey talk publicly about hillary clinton's quote case which resulted in no charges and the reopening of the case in october of 2016 based on e-mails that showed absolutely nothing new. at the same time he kept secret from the american people the ongoing investigation of president trump's campaign in russia which was happening exactly at the same time. i feel disheartened by this report because i warn direct the -- director comey personally against his double standard before the election. i want to share with you a statement that i issued on october 31, 2016 just days before the election and here is what i said and i quote.
if it comes out after the election that the fbi kept secret from the american people the fact that it was investigating former trump campaign manager paul manafort for seeking access to e-mails or investigating anyone else associated with trump then i have no idea how director comey will be able to explain his actions. i do not know how director comey will justify his decision to withhold information relating to trump while publicly announcing ongoing investigative steps against his opponent just days before the election. i issued this statement on thome were 2016. sadly this is precisely what the inspector general's report confirmed today.
the report concludes that these actions violated long-standing guidelines intended to protect citizens from unfair attacks and the fbi from influencing our elections. let me make one final comment. we understand why director comey did this. republicans committee chairman with unilateral subpoena power lodged incessant senecal attacks against the fbi in the investigation of hillary clinton. i witnessed it myself. the simple lesson from today's report is that the fbi should not at occult under this republican president. these apologies -- policies are intended to keep the fbi from doing exactly what it did come influencing a presidential
election. ironically today republicans are lobbying those same attacks against special counsel robert mueller. it's time for those attacks to stop through special counsel molars investigation has produced 18 indictments against 20 individuals and three companies, encompassing 75 criminal acts and is yielded five guilty pleas. i have said it before ladies and gentlemen but we are in a state where we have to protect the soul of our democracy and i have said it to the press, it's so important that we get this right things that are happening today may not be were first during my lifetime but i'm going to fight with everything i've got to make sure we maintain this democracy that allowed all of us to be where we are today.
thank you. >> thank you congressman cummings. we will take questions on this subject. >> james comey who has violated protocol multiple times -- [inaudible] >> the bottom line is the president said he fired them because of the russian investigation in an interview. that speaks for itself. >> are you concerned with the fact that the justice department waited until today to talk about [inaudible] are you concerned about the conduct?
>> it has made many bad comment and it led director mueller to remove him from his investigation. go ahead, jerry. >> the report finds and this is on page three of the executive summary. says we did not find documentary testimonial evidence of improper considerations including political bias affecting the specific investigations we have reviewed. these decisions were pretextual. our reputed not find evidence of political views expressed in these i would say private messages to the specific investigators decision that we review. rather consistent with the analytic approach specific decisions with result of discretion or judgment by the
prosecution not unreasonable to another words the report specifically finds whatever the political opinions expressed in the e-mails between the two of them they did not ring that i is in any way to the investigation or the investigation decisions made by them and others were performed reasonably. further says in some instances we found evidence they advocated for more investigation amid your investigation such as the use of her injury search warrants. in some instances they were more bias on the hillary side then the decision a relatively made. my personal opinion? it darris love wray. we don't know -- and as long as
they kept them from affecting their judgment of the executive decision and the key finding of the investigation are one of the key findings of the inspector general is that none of those personal political opinions affected the investigation or decisions in the investigation in any way and therefore do not subtract from the validity. >> given all the criticism about director comey and his judgment in this report do you think any of you -- undermine his credibility in the area but he's a witness? >> well again he didn't handle himself well here but no one cast aspersions. we'll have to wait and see what happens if he is a witness but no one has cast aspersions on that. on his honesty. it's an error of judgment but
not an error of credibility. >> i want to make decisive that point which is the inspector general criticizes call me for a failed exercise of judgment not for lack of candor and not for lack of integrity but for exercising judgment in a way that was inconsistent with department policy and the explanations of the game did not merit the department's policy. the director has sought to frame the issue as reveal or conceal and i think the inspector general properly frame the issue under department policies and the director should have abided by them. >> be democrats weren't reflexively -- of hillary clinton during the election. with the benefit of hindsight
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