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tv   Sen. Feinstein Opening Statement  CSPAN  May 1, 2019 7:43pm-7:55pm EDT

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bottom line is, we're about to hear from mr. barr the results of a two-year investigation into the trump campaign, all things russia, the actions the president took before and after , 40 ampaign, $25 million f.b.i. agents, i appreciate very much what mr. mueller did for the country. have read most of the report. or me, it is over. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome, attorney general. on march 24, you sent a letter to chairman graham and the ranking member of this committee providing your summary of the principle conclusions set out in
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-- principal conclusions set out in special counsel mueller's report. this was widely reported as a win for the president and characterized as confirming there was no conclusion. following this letter, the white house put out a statement declaring the special counsel, and i quote, the special counsel did not find any collusion and did not find any obstruction, end quote, and that the report, quote, was a total and complete exoneration, end quote, of the president. however, last night, the "washington post" reported that special counsel mueller sent you a let for the late march where he said your letter to congress failed to, quote, fully capture the context, nature, and substance of his office's work and conclusion. end quote. and that he spoke with you about the concern that the letter threatened to undermine the
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public confidence in the outcome the investigation. that's in quotes as well. then on april 18, you held a press conference where you announced repeatedly that the mueller the report found no collusion and no evidence of a crime. an hour later, a redacted copy of the mueller report was provided to the public and the congress and we saw why mueller was concerned. contrary to the declarations of the total and complete exoneration, the special counsel's report contained substantial evidence of misconduct. first, special counsel mueller's report confirms that the russian government implemented a social media campaign to mislead millions of americans. and that russian intelligence services hacked into the d.n.c. and the d.c.c.c. computers,
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stole emails and memo, and systematically released them to impact the presidential election. your march letter stated that there was no evidence that the trump campaign, quote, conspired or coordinated with russia, end quote. however, the report outlined substantial evidence that the trump campaign welcomed, encouraged, and expected to benefit electorally from russia's interference in the election. the mueller report also details how time and time again, the trump campaign took steps to gain advantage from russia's unlawful interference. for example, president trump's campaign manager, paul manafort, passed internal campaign polling data, messaging, and strategy kilimnic aconstantin
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russian national with ties to russian intelligence. the mueller report explains how paul manafort briefed kalamnic in early august of 2016 on, and i yet, the -- and i quote, the state of the trump campaign and manafort's plan to win the election, end quote. including the campaign's focus on the battleground states of michigan, wisconsin, pennsylvania, and minnesota. next the mueller report documents the trump campaign's communications regarding secretary clinton's and the d.n.c.'s stolen emails. specifically, the report states, and i quote, within approximately five hours of president trump calling on russia to find secretary clinton's emails, russian intelligence agency g.r.u. officers, quote, targeted for
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the first time clinton's personal office. end quote. the mueller report also reveals that president trump repeatedly asked individuals affiliated with his campaign including michael flynn, quote, to find the deleted clinton emails, end quote. these efforts included suggestions to contact foreign intelligence services, russian hackers and individuals on the dark web. the report confirms that trump knew of wiki leaks releases of the stolen emails. and received status about -- status updates about upcoming releases. while his campaign promoted coverage of the leaks. donald trump jr. communicated directly with wikileaks and at its request publicly tweeted a link to emails stolen from
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clinton's campaign manager. second, in your march letter to congress, you concluded, and i quote, that the evidence is not sufficient to establish that the the president committed an obstruction of justice offense, end quote. however, special counsel mueller methodically outlined 10 episodes, some continuing multiple actions by the president to mislead the american people and interfere with the investigations into russian interference and obstruction. in one example, the president repeatedly called white house counsel don mcgahn, at home, and drect him to fire mueller. saying, quote, mueller has to go, call me back when you do it. then later, the president repeatedly ordered mcgahn to release a press statement and
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write a letter saying the president did not order mueller fired. the mueller report also jut lines efforts by president trump to influence witness testimony and deter cooperation with law enforcement. for example, the president's team communicated to witnesses that pardons would be available if they, quote, stayed on message, end quote, and remained, quote, on the team, end quote. in one case, the president sent messages through his personal lawyers to paul manafort that he would be taken care of and just, quote, sit tight. end quote. the president then publicly affirmed this communication by stating that manafort was, quote, a brave man, end quote, for refusing to break.
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similarly, the mueller report stated, the president used inducements in the form of positive messages in an effort to get michael similarly, cohen not to cooperate. and then turned to attacks and intimidation to deter the provision of information or undermine cohen's credibility. finally, while the march letter to congress and the april press conference left the impression there were no remaining questions to examine, report notice several limitations. mull -- limitations mueller faced while gathering the facts that congress needed to examine. more than once, the report documents that legal condition -- excuse me, conclusions were not drawn because witnesses refused to answer questions or failed to recall the events. in addition, numerous witnesses
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including but not limited to jared kushner, sarah sanders, rudolph giuliani, michael flynn, steve bannon, and john kelly all stated they could not recall events. the president himself said more than 30 times that he could not recall or remember enough to be able to answer written questions from the special counsel. the special counsel also recounted that, quote, some associated with the trump campaign deleted relevant communications or communicated during the relevant period using applications that featured encryption or do not provide for long-term retention of data, end quote. based on these gaps, the mueller report concluded, and i quote again, the office cannot rule out the possibility that the
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unavailable information would have shed additional light on or cast a new light on events described in the report, end quote. and contrary to the conclusion that the special counsel's report did not find evidence of communication or coordination between the trump campaign and russia, the mueller report explicitly states and i quote, a statement that the investigation did not establish particular facts does not mean there was no evidence of those facts. volume two, page two. let me conclude with this. congress has both the constitutional duty and the authority to investigate the serious findings contained in the mueller report. i strongly believe that this committee needs to hear directly from special counsel mueller about his views on the report in
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his march letter. i also believe senators should have the opportunity to ask him about these subjects in questions directly. i have requested this to our chairman, to authorize a hearing with special counsel mueller and i hope that will happen soon. thank you, mr. chairman. >> we'll show you the entire hearing in just a few minutes. first, some reaction from senators outside of the hearing when it concluded. >> speak on what you heard today, do you think bill barr should resign? >> i'm not calling for his resignation. i'm deeply concerned in his involvement in criminal referrals from the mueller investigation, 14 pending cases spawned by this investigation, i believe he should step aside. i don't think he has the objectivity we should expect of an attorney general who has the authority over this investigation.


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