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tv   Americas Newsroom  FOX News  May 3, 2017 6:00am-8:01am PDT

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>> well, tomorrow breakfast with friends pete hegseth is going to dubuque, iowa. >> is that a sports bar or diner? >> bill: good morning, everybody, we could be in for fireworks on the hill. the f.b.i. director james comey on the hot seat this morning. the likely focus russia and the election. adding fuel to what was already expected to be a fiery hearing new comments from hillary clinton blaming comey in part for her election defeat. that's not all she said. interesting. welcome to wednesday here on "america's newsroom." >> shannon: i'm shannon bream, president trump firing back at clinton saying the f.b.i. is the best thing that ever happened to her. clinton reflected on the election yesterday. did take some of the blame herself but also pointed the finger at comey and russia. listen. >> i was on the way to winning until a combination of jim
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comey's letter on october 28th and russian wikileaks raised doubts in the minds of pegoing but got scared off. >> shannon: john roberts joins us live from the north lawn. hello, john. >> bill: good morning to you. another busy day at the white house. 103 days into donald trump's presidency yesterday hillary clinton relitigating the results of the november 8th election. taking a lot of the responsibility. in fact, saying she was responsible for the loss because she was a candidate in one breath and then on the other handles blaming the loss on the f.b.i. director james comey for announcing he was reopening the investigation into her emails. listen to what she said here. >> of course, i take absolute personal responsibility. i was the candidate, i was the person who was on the ballot. the election was on october 27th i would be your president. it wasn't.
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it was on october 28th and there was a lot of funny business going on around that. >> president trump responded. comey was the best thing that happened to hillary clinton in that he gave her a free press for many bad deeds. the russia story was an excuse used by the democrats for losing the election. perhaps trump ran a good campaign and this from kellyanne conway. you ignored wisconsin, called us deplorable, aod also of dollars and no message. lost to a better candidate and signed it from woman in the white house. the f.b.i. director will be in front of the senate judiciary committee at 10:00 this morning. the reason for the hearing was to ask about the 2015 terrorist attack in garland, texas, the hearing will likely turn to questions about hillary clinton and russia's attempts to influence the election. what was probably going to be a
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fairly milquetoast hearing could see sparks flying. >> shannon: the gop launching an aggressive pr campaign over the spending bill. controversial in some quarters. >> they hope to have a vote on the omnibus spending bill at 4:00 or a little after that. the white house and republicans in the house launching a strong defense of the spending bill pushing back against the narrative the president got rolled by democrats over that bill. mull vany coming out yesterday to say the president did get money for his top priorities, $21 billion in new military spending. more money for school choice and 1.5 billion for border security including millions to replace old border fence with what mulvaney described as steel wall. >> we're building this now. there is money in this deal to build several hundreds of millions of dollars of this to replace this. that's what we got in this deal and that's what the democrats
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don't want you the know. this stuff is going up now. why? the president wants to make the country more safe. >> he said the omnibus spending bill doesn't include money for bricks and mortar for a wall but there are hundreds of millions of dollars to put up the steel wall. it is an elaborate fence but mulvaney says it's what the secretary of homeland security john kelly and the border patrol wants. the palestinian will be here to visit with president trump today. abbas laid down a marker saying any two-state solution has to see israel withdraw to pre-1967 borders and allow east jerusalem to be included in a palestinian state. the opening bid from the palestinian president. what he has talked about before but certainly something that likely would not lead to a peace deal any time soon. >> shannon: we'll look forward to a read-out of that meeting.
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could get tense. john roberts, thank you. >> bill: there is a lot of reaction to hillary clinton's comments. former arkansas governor mike huckabee is live in a few minutes and at 10:00 a.m. eastern time, 55 minutes from now director comey is in that room in front of the senate judiciary committee and we'll carry that live. we'll take you through everything as we get it here. i thought the clinton interview was fascinating. when you put so much of your time and attention and energy into winning the white house and don't, it takes a while to unwind. there was a lot of that yesterday. >> shannon: as you said. it was like therapy on the stage. >> bill: chair, not a couch, close enough. >> shannon: a lot of unpacking. >> bill: five minutes past the hour. the battle over obamacare, where are the votes this morning? republican leaders working to win back moderates, many of who expressed concern over those with pre-existing conditions.
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unless they get an extension of that skilled, which is possible, time is getting thin. >> tonight is a big night, right? >> every night is a big night. this is an important week. this is a very big week and i -- i like the direction we're headed. we're working to get it done. >> will you stay past thursday? >> not sure right now. we're working to get it done as soon as we can. >> bill: screen left was this man, louisiana congressman steve scalise, house majority whip. you were the one responsible for counting votes, sir. thank you for your time this morning. i'm told the magic number is 22 to get is past. >> we're moving closer to getting the number we get to pass the bill. 216. that's what we've been focused on from the beginning. each day we've been getting closer. there have been more members
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that had issues. a couple of members come out against the bill that we've been working closely with to get back into the yes column. i think you'll see positive developments on that this morning over at the white house. >> bill: there is a meeting at the white house, who is there, why is it so important? >> fred upton former chairman of the house energy committee where the bill went through, fred had come out against the bill as well as billy long who has been a long-time supporter of president trump during the campaign and beyond. they had some specific issues with the bill that we've been working with them on and i think we have a solution that addresses some of their concerns, gives us the ability to bring more people into the yes column without losing any of our current yes votes. that's always the balance. >> bill: very critical. mark meadows said last night there is an 80% chance you'll get a vote this week. where do you place that percentage chance? >> i spoke with mark meadows last night. spoke to a lot of our
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colleagues. who else i've spoken to a lot is the white house. the president trump has been directly involved at helping us get this bill across the finish line and he is not going to stop until we get it done. vice president pence has been incredibly involved. he is directly involved in some of these talks, too. we're working through with each member to get that magic number and bring to the floor and pass the bill. that's the most important thing is providing relief for families who are struggling under obamacare, the high cost, deductibles, doctors fleeing the marketplace. people need relief from obamacare. that's what we're working on and this bill accomplishes and protecting people with pre-existing condition. >> bill: now there is not a clearance whether or not you have the votes necessary. >> we aren't quite there yet but getting closer every day. you see the events that will unfold at the white house will be another big step to get us closer to that magic number and ultimately to bring the bill to the floor and pass it.
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our members are really focused on helping deliver this win to the american people to provide relief from obamacare. >> bill: what is the risk if you don't get a vote this week? >> i really think this is something we have to muscle through. we have to keep working. look, our members have been very focusing on the main issues to lower costs for people. people are paying too much money for healthcare and put them back in charge of healthcare decisions getting bureaucrats out of the way. we just need the final pieces to get it passed. >> bill: if you're responsible for counting the votes, who is in and who is not? >> we have a whole lot more in. >> bill: who are you talking to today? >> specific meetings with some members who had specific questions about different parts of the bill. and how it will be implemented.
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and, the speaker, majority leader macarthur and my chief deputy whip. our whole leadership team has pulled together and seeing rank and file members and freshmen saying can i talk to somebody and help get them across the finish line? you see a focus from the president himself all the way down to get this bill passed and provide relief for families. >> bill: it's wednesday. will you stay past friday or not? >> i think we ought to stay until we get it done. we're focused on continuing to get the vote count up until we can pass the bill and bring it to the floor and have that vote. >> bill: appreciate your time. steve scalise not getting a lot of sleep. thanks for coming on with us today. watch the meeting at the white house and we'll see. >> shannon: some of the members who have had outreach from the president say it isn't moving them this time. the phone call from the white house isn't always the case doing the trick. a fight over healthcare and the
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war of words over the budget. the white house pushing back against democrats spiking the ball on the bipartisan budget deals. their whole goal was to make republicans look incompetent. will there be cooperation going forward? >> mr. trump, i love your presidency. i call it disgrace the nation. he doesn't stand by anything except the dressing room door at miss usa pageants. >> bill: talk about reaction. stephen colbert going off on the president where some people say crossed the line. critics on the right and left lined up against him. did he go too far? >> shannon: this is being called a miracle. a crashing plane sparks fire balls as it plummets to the ground all caught on video that you can see. you won't believe what happened to the passengers.
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>> the clintons have taken victimhood to a scientific height. the entry in the dictionary should start with them. the fact is as you point out the things that did affect the end of the campaign. wikileaks stem from the fact of the original sin was the unbelievable arrogance of her setting up her server, keeping it secret, lying about it. >> bill: charles krauthammer spobding to hillary clinton's interview from yesterday blaming her loss from questionable decisions by the f.b.i. and russian interference and misogyny. >> i think it played a role. every day that goes by we learn more of some of the unprecedented interference including from a foreign power whose leader is not a member of my fan club and so i think it is real. >> bill: it's real, governor,
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mike huckabee former governor of arkansas back from israel as well. what was your take on the interview? >> well, there is a difference between an explanation and an excuse. an explanation is what your friends say. an excuse is what you say when you can't accept the results. what we saw was an excuse. hillary clinton still cannot except the fact she lost. if the election were held october 27th. hillary, it wasn't, it was held in november. everyone who runs for office understands it's all about making that magic moment count the day of the election. many elections change but the number one thing, bill, that is so ridiculous is when she continues to talk about the russians and the wikileaks scandal. the fact is it wasn't that the leaks happened, it was that the content, which has never been disputed, revealed her contempt for religious people, for working people, for all of the people out there in middle
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america for whom she held nothing but disrespect. that ultimately cost her the election. >> bill: late last night the president responded. f.b.i. director comey was the best thing that ever happened. he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds. continues the phony trump russia was an excuse used by democrats as justification for losing the election. perhaps trump just ran a great campaign. the server, she mentioned that a moment ago. krauthammer did, rather. no campaigning in wisconsin. think in michigan was locked up. making the election all about him instead of what she would do if she were president. go. >> she blew off critical states that trump went and campaigned and took them away from the democrats for the first time in 30 years and the second thing was continually whined about the fact the russians were out to get her. it wasn't the russians the influence in the election.
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her inability to give anybody a good reason why she should be president other than its i'm a woman, it's my turn. >> bill: bill maher said this from yesterday afternoon. >> i don't know why she needs to be coming back. she had her turn and itdidn't work out. i compared her to bill buckner, the ball rolled through her legs. >> 1986. so now we can chew on this thing. she says there will be a book out in the fall. let's put that to the side. you came back from israel. there is a meeting at the white house today. you met with netanyahu. abbas is with the president today. why is it considered such a pivotal meeting on the middle east today? >> donald trump has to confront abbas and the palestinian why there hasn't been any progress on peace. the palestinian continue to teach their school kids it's
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great to murder jews and pay out big sums of money in pensions for people who murder jews and do terrorist acts and they continue to delegitimize israel as a nation. the life of israel. it comes down to this. this is not a political diplomatic, this is not an economic or even a military issue. let me be blunt and it will shock people to say it. this is ultimately a theological question. you cannot avoid it. it comes down to whether you believe that that land was given through the promise of isaac or ishmael. that goes back a lot further than 1967, oslo in 93. you can go through all of those and say those were the markers. no, they weren't. this goes back to abraham and if you don't take it back there, you aren't going to see any result because that's where it originals.
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>> bill: two significant meetings at the white house and also the republican leaders on healthcare. we'll watch them both. >> shannon: budget director mick mulvaney talking tough when it comes to democrats claiming a win on the spending deal. >> what i said yesterday is what you ordinarily say when you walk out of a negotiation which is we got some of what we want, we're equally happy and they're trying to make it look like they pulled one over on the president. it isn't true. >> shannon: is it killing the chances of any kind of cooperation moving forward? senator roy blunt joins us. >> bill: the hunt is on for a drivers behind a drive-by shooting. two officers in the hospitals in chicago's south side. >> a lot of people take for granted that police officers put their lives on the line every single day to protect the
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not the other way around. go to xfinity.com/myaccount >> bill: there is a manhunt underway in chicago. here is the story. looking for the suspects behind the shooting of two officers late last night. we're told the pair patrolling the south side, a high crime area where they were caught in a drive-by shooting. one gang attacking another. an officer shot in the arm. the other shot in the back. police questioning three people of interest. one believed to be the driver of a car in question. both officers expected to be okay but the arrests have not come through yet. >> shannon: congress is scheduled to begin voting on a bipartisan government spending bill later today. the white house is defending the plan and talking back to democrats as they said it was putting the brakes on president
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trump's agenda. >> if you're in a bipartisan meeting it's unusual for one group saying we killed the other guys and doesn't bode well for future discussions. they wanted a shutdown. we know that. they were desperate to make this administration look like we couldn't function, like we couldn't govern. >> shannon: roy blunt joins us now. senator, thank you. okay. so the minority leading there in the senate chuck schumer said we have a strategy and it worked. nancy pelosi says it's a defeat for the president. how do you respond? >> no wonder people are fed up with washington to do the basic work of funding the government and suddenly one side is we won, you lost, we're gonna do this, you're gonna do this. this is the new way to block the president's legislative agenda. what a bunch of nonsense. there is no doubt this bill
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reflects republican priorities. this is the third year now and only the third year that republicans have chaired these committees in both the house and the senate. there is essentially no new money. it's in the -- under the budget cap agreement so there is a lot of reprioritization. programs eliminated to focus on the things republicans wanted to do but needed and have bipartisan support like healthcare research, opioid abuse, there is program after program here that wasn't a priority three years ago that is a priority now. maybe the biggest priority is a majority of this money goes to strengthen the nation's defense and that's a national priority, certainly a trump priority. >> shannon: all right, after the public reaction we heard mick mulvaney pretty fired up there. king said there is so much pressure on both parties and
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leaders of both parties to come out at each other but never cross the aisle. you've been on the hill for a while. is this different, the same? how would you characterize the state of affairs and the ability to work with your colleagues across the aisle on things moving forward? >> i think we have to get used to doing the normal work of the government without constantly looking for partisan advantage. i actually think this bill is a bill that the president reached good conclusions on and congress reached good conclusions on. again, more spending on defense than anything else. he got quite a bit of his supplemental in addition to the normal defense spending, which was better than last year's defense spending. but we have to get back to looking at these bills hopefully one at a time. i know that's what the majority leader in the senate wants to do and hopefully what senator schumer wants to do. there is a reason people are
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fed up with people in washington constantly saying we did better than you did here. but when you look at these bills, for instance in healthcare research, the 12 years before i started chairing that committee, there had been zero increase. now we've eliminated or consolidated 28 programs that had previously been funded and we've had a $2 billion increase last year and now this year both -- these are the priorities that the president i believe is going to be for. i'm glad we see those priorities in this bill. and there is too much jumping up and down trying to point fingers at the other side. this is a bill that does border security, more of the money is spent on defense than anything else. the president should be pleased to sign this bill and pleased in the way this bill was negotiated. and i hope he gets credit for it. >> shannon: within the gop you know there is a split there. conservatives who say they aren't going to vote for it. you need democrats to get it
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across the finish line and i want you to answer some of the conservative critics. numerous concessions to the left. fails the test of fiscal responsibility. does not advance important conservative policies and of the issue of planned parenthood the president of students for life christina hernandez says the republican party is the only party with an anti-abortion platforms and yet here we are watching them pass a bill that funds planned parenthood even though they control the house, senate and white house. it's like the gop doesn't know they won last fall. >> first of all the easiest thing to vote against is a spending bill. a big bill over a trillion dollars of spending. if you can't find something in there that you can say this is the reason i'm not going to vote for this entire bill you are not trying. but if you want to do the job of democracy bringing people together, you have to look at a way to do that on planned parenthood of course it's not
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mentioned in the spending bill at all. just a few days ago we reversed an obama regulation that would have taken away from states their determination whether they want to deal with planned parenthood or not. states make that decision and will continue to. and in the last -- again in the last two weeks the congress said to the states and the president agreed, you can make the decision who you want to be your local provider. there is no money here for planned parenthood unless states decide they want money to go to planned parenthood. >> shannon: thank you for taking time out of a busy time in d.c. to visit us here on "america's newsroom." >> bill: 31 past. we're learning more about the identity of a third american now being held by north korea. how do we bring these three americans home now? plus this. >> you guys were sent there to drain the swamp. there is a clear trump agenda that isn't seeable.
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>> shannon: growing criticism from conservatives that president trump isn't following through on one of his biggest promises.
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they offer free cancellation if my plans change. visit booking.com. booking.yeah. >> bill: we can confirm an american professor the third u.s. citizen to be detained in north korea. they said they intercepted kim at an airport about a month ago and accuse him of trying to overthrow the government. now remember, there are two other americans detained in north korea. from the university of virginia by way of cincinnati, ohio, now serving hard labor sentences. otto has been sentenced to 15 years hard labor for touching a poster in his hotel room. no word on the north koreans as to the status of their release. >> some people are getting
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concerned that there is more concern for bipartisanship and working with democrats than there is in draining the swamp and actually peeling away all of the roughage that is preventing actually moving forward here on so many of these issues that affect people domestically. >> i was with the president in harrisburg, pennsylvania, saturday. it took him an hour just to outline the highlights of the last 100 days. he signed more bills into law than any president in the first 100 days since harry truman. 13 bills rolling back regulation and red tape for businesses, 500,000 jobs have been created since the first of the year. this president is fighting every day to advance his agenda and i couldn't be more proud to be standing shoulder to shoulder with him. >> shannon: mike pence addressing growing criticism
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that president trump isn't doing enough to drain the swamp. let's bring in marc thiessen, good morning to you. >> good morning. >> shannon: folks who voted for the president -- i remember thinking this out there on the campaign trail that the president had made so many big, bold promises and people were excited and got on board and i worried those people were disappointed if he was elected. it was a bold agenda and they expect it in the first 100 days. is it fair to say he isn't draining the >> no but it's hard to drain the swamp. it is very big and thick with corruption and bad policies and all the rest. it is a hard job. we shouldn't have expected him to do it in the first 100 days. he got a lot done in the first 100 days. he did something more conscious quensal in his first 100 days
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than roosevelt. get gorsuch on the supreme court. it's huge. he started the work on obamacare and the budget. it took barack obama 17 months to pass obamacare and we shouldn't expect it to be repealed in 100 days. i think he is doing well. the budget deal was a pretty good deal that he cut. so i don't think people should be upset with it at all. >> shannon: those are worried and had high expectations are looking at continued funding for aca subsidies. negotiating from a place of giving the left a lot of concessions on thing people think if you control, the white house, house and senate you should be able to resist some pressure from the left. as i talked about with senator roy blunt. senator schumer said we won. they're taking a victory lap over what they're accomplishing. we're not getting the border wall. money is toasted parmesan shrimp
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briefing right here. you >> you have more people marching against you than cancer. the only thing your mouth is good for is being vladimir putin's [bleep] poster. >> among those saying he went too far conservatives and gay activists. brad blakeman and richard fowler, gentlemen, good day to both of you. he has been feasting on trump for a while, brad. what did you think of this monologue? >> way, way beyond the pale. disrespectful but cbs is as war with the president. reminds me of lord of the flies. a tribal mentality across not
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only cbs but other platforms as well to debase the president. and to attack the president. and not oh fairgrounds but on malicious grounds. it has to stop. we live in a society where we should have respect for the president at a minimum. and certainly you have the ability to question the president but it is the way they're doing it and lampooning the president. it is a disservice. >> bill: i could see it in a comedy club on a saturday night. on a network? >> i wouldn't go that far as stephen colbert, they hired him for just that. he was the former host of the colbert show on comedy center. he attacked politicians. this is what cbs wanted and asked for. >> bill: i get it. i'm all for humor and free speech. we're down with that. i asked whether or not he went
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too far. did he? >> i don't know if i would say that but like i said >> two minutes ago you said he went too far. >> that's my point. over and over again i think he had had this argument about whether or not celebrities go too far or comedians go too far. we're living in a divided country. because the country is so divided these particular voices tend to make themselves known. for example, last week it was a kidd rock picture mocking hillary clinton in the white house. that should have gotten as much outrage as this. what we have now is a polarized nations which allowed for these things to be said and what we have to roll back and come together. >> bill: come back to the larger picture, the media, brad, do you think cbs is at war with the white house? >> i do. they feel the president is as war with them. this is a way of using their ability and their air time to
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get back at the president. >> bill: just to be clear dickerson had a lot of time with president trump over the weekend. the sit-down interview, the oval office conversation that was cut short. that's what happens when the camera is still rolling. on monday the morning show had three hours in the east room of the white house. there is no one in network news who would not get -- jump at that opportunity to be that close for that long. >> that's right. what is the only thing we remember from all that time with cbs? it was that 30 seconds that they chose in their coverage. so this is it. they bite the hand that quote, unquote, feeds them by giving them access and what do they do? at night they lampoon the president. it's disgraceful. >> here is my one point on this. i said it on fox and friends on monday. we've seen this president, whether we like it or not, make enemies for the media. harrisburg rally he attacked
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news organizations, fake news, open liars and has his supporters view at them. i'm not saying the media is right for some of the things they do. we get it wrong a lot. but at the same time our job is to inform the public. when you have a president who attacks relentlessly the media, what do you expect? >> bill: the question is whether or not you go too far. this was rough on monday night. last point, brad. do you believe the president needs to call all the presidents together of the network news agencies and have a meeting at the white house? why do you believe that and what would it accomplish? >> there has to be a -- restore dignity and decorum back to the coverage. it reached a point now you think it can't get any worse and it does. not good for the country. i think the president should do
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that. whether the news organization come or not is up to them. he can pick them you off one-on-one but it's about time there is some burying of the hatchet for the good of the public. >> i agree. >> bill: richard and blake, thanks. >> shannon: we're just moments away from f.b.i. director james comey appearing on capitol hill. >> bill: we have this moment captured on camera. small plane falls from the sky. two people on board survive. we have their story next.
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>> bill: f.b.i. director james comey back on the hill in a
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matter of moments set to face questions about the f.b.i.'s investigation of russia and the presidential election. that hearing begins at 10:00 a.m. eastern time. we'll take you there live once it gets underway top of the hour here on "america's newsroom." >> shannon: video captures a fiery plane crash in washington state. the small plane hits power lines and clips street lights before it crashes into the middle of a busy street just outside seattle. we're live from los angeles. incredible foot badge there, william. >> really lucky. the single engine piper had just taken off from painville used by boeing the test jets. the plane loses power and altitude. coming in on the right side of the screen you see the plane clip the power lines and fractured a fuel cell. the plane crashes and appears to explode but the pilot from
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oregon and the passenger survive telling police the engine had stopped just after take-off and would not restart. falling fast seeing only homes and commercial buildings he makes a split decision to land on nearby harbor boulevard. he plows into five cars. some catching fire. yet those inside survive as well. witness amanda hayes saw this fireball approaching. ducks under the dashboard thinking she will die. the wing grazes her car as it goes down. >> i could feel the heat on my face, the fireball and the wing clipped the van and i was certain when it was over i wasn't sure if we were okay or our van was okay. probably the closest i've come to think this is the end. >> he did a good job of getting and the passenger. >> the cause is under investigation. hitting the power line slowed the plane down so when it
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crashed there was minimal impact saving people's lives and only the wings hit the cars. they walk away, too, without major injuries. >> bill: amazing. >> shannon: it truly is. thank you for that report. there aren't adequate words. miraculous, unbelievable. >> bill: you watch it every time and it's just wow. >> shannon: i could watch it in a loop. it's fascinating but point out the fact the pilots have to have skills. >> bill: in the meantime waiting on arrivals on the hill. a live look at the hearing room. we'll hear from james comey in a matter of moments. we anticipate a lot of questions about russia and the election. what has he since uncovered? it all begins top of the hour. that's why you drink ensure. with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for the strength and energy to get back to doing... ...what you love. ensure. always be you.
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>> shannon: f.b.i. director james comey getting ready to face hours of what could be some very tough questions. as he makes his first
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appearance on capitol hill since confirming the investigation into russia's involvement in the presidential election. welcome to a brand-new hour of "america's newsroom." >> bill: i'm bill hemmer, shannon bream right here. no shortage of topics. putting comey on the hot seat. that appearance coming only a day after he was criticized by both president trump and hillary clinton. catherine herridge outside the hearing room with more from the hill. what do you expect? >> within the last few minutes he has arrived on capitol hill. he is a holding room before the hearing begins. this is a routine oversight committee hearing but based on our reporting the questions today will be anything but routine after the republican chairman chuck grassley sent this letter to the f.b.i. director about the russia investigation alleging there are inconsistencies between
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what the director told the senator in private and justice department documents by the bureau's relationship with a foreign british intelligence officer christopher steel. he was the one behind the anti-trump dossier published in january by buzz feed and the senator wants to know about two specific meetings agents had with steel in july and october of last year and whether the bureau paid him $50,000 for doing continuing research on the russia case and that the firm had ties to russia and also had been hired to do opposition research for a clinton-aligned election group. >> bill: what about his deputy, andrew mccabe? he has come under fire as well. on what grounds? >> look, one of the central issues for republicans and democrats is whether the f.b.i. has remained a neutral party throughout the 2016 election cycle and one of the principal
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allegations is that director comey's deputy, andrew mccabe had a serious conflict of interest when his wife took over $700,000 from democrats for a state race in virginia. the f.b.i. did a review and said mccabe was not in conflict but that hasn't been sufficient for chuck grassley who wants to know more about that decision and also whether there may be a conflict now that mccabe is also involved in the russia investigation into potential contacts between trump campaign aides and moscow. >> bill: one last thing. when you consider the headlines of the past 24 hours with hillary clinton doing the interview and president trump responding last night by way of twitter, how do you anticipate that changing the tone or the tenor of what happens today? >> i think there will be sharp questions from republicans and democrats on the committee.
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but i think the thing viewers ought to watch for at home and it may not be known to us for still a couple of weeks, is this inspector general's report at the justice department that specifically is looking at the actions of the f.b.i. director, as well as former attorney general loretta lynch and also comey's aide, andrew mccabe during the election cycle whether they act appropriately and guidelines or fail to do so. that could be used as a justification for president trump to indicate he has lost faith in the f.b.i.'s director to be politically neutral carrying out his duties. >> bill: the timing is very interesting. stand by on the hill. shannon has more now. >> shannon: let's bring in chris stirewalt. very eventful morning in d.c. the last time we heard publicly from the director he said his goal was to not make news. so i would assume he will follow along that train of thought or try to today. >> for a guy who was really
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good at making news in 2016, in 2017 he has developed a knack for avoiding it and up to these senators republican and democrat, to try to nail him down and find the tough spot where they can force him to answer difficult questions. >> shannon: we're looking live in the room. he has arrived and taken a seat at the table. there will be preliminary things. statements from the committee once he starts speaking we'll get there. let's talk about the fact that hillary clinton pointed the finger squarely at comey yesterday talking about her election defeat. there were a lot of things that factored in, comey was one of them the day he issued the letter looking into more emails. had the election been the day before she would be president clinton. donald trump tweeted this, comey was the best thing that ever happened to hillary clinton. he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds. the phony trump russia story was an excuse used by the
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democrats for losing the election. perhaps trump ran a good campaign. >> hillary clinton fails to observe that she was the worst democratic nominee probably since michael due kakis. she was a disaster. her campaign was horrid. arrogant, out of touch, no message. trump needs to be careful, too. because here is the deal. james comey did the worst that he could go to hillary clinton. the worst thing that he could have done to hillary clinton, he did. which was if he would have said you need to indict this woman, the democrats would have picked a new nominee. he didn't do that. he said she lied to you, she abused her privilege, she mishandled sensitive documents, she is a wrefp. all these terrible things about her but please proceed with your candidacy. just to remind you all before the election, all these things i said before let's do that
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right before the election. people inside the f.b.i. were saying there were other investigations that they were looking at other things going on. the f.b.i. was terrible for hillary clinton in the election. trump and republicans need to be somewhat circumspect about this. there is a chance if they would have done it differently it wouldn't be president trump today. >> shannon: we expect the investigation will be talking about russian interference and collusion with the trump campaign. we have gotten at least a confirmation from the f.b.i. director that investigation has been going on for months. how forthcoming do you think he will be with lawmakers today? they get to the hearing and they get in the chair and say i can't answer that in an unclassified setting while an investigation is going on. you know they'll try. >> i'm not at liberty to comment on an ongoing investigation. be prepared to hear that 7700 times today as he works through. that's his job. everybody in washington is waiting.
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there are inspector general investigation. everybody in washington is waiting for the conclusion of the senate intelligence committees' look at this stuff. nothing needs to move forward on russia, sanctions or any of this stuff until comey and his team have concluded their work. he still has the football. >> shannon: one thing that hasn't gotten a lot of attention that i wanted to bring up that i think that senator grassley the chairman of the senate judiciary committee sent a letter last week. it went relatively unnoticed to comey asking about a document that apparently the f.b.i. came upon while it was coming upon some information that apparently had been hacked and they talk about this memo written by a democratic operative who expressed confidence that miss lynch would keep the clinton investigation from going too far. grassley said what are you talking about there and lynch wasn't going to let it go too far?
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he asked for the document and asked for the deadline of may 1. i would expect that kind of thing he would bring up with comey today. is it related to russia? do you think he would answer that question? >> we don't know whether comey has been responsive in back channels to grassley, we don't know. and he may have already settled that concern behind closed doors or with a letter back or whatever else. but yes, the mishandling and boy, did they mishandle it. the mishandling at the justice department of the clinton investigation, the tarmac meeting between bill clinton and loretta lynch, the presidents and democrats in and around the investigation, was sort of maybe a fitting capstone to the obama era justice department for their fast and furious, exerting executive privilege. all those things with her predecessor eric holder. in the end loretta lynch who
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was supposed to redeem the justice department did the opposite. >> bill: we're trying to wait until james comey talk. we're stretching. >> are you saying you don't want the talk to me? >> bill: i want to plug in and go back six months ago. what hillary clinton said yesterday is had the election been held on october 27th she would be the president, right? but there were 12 more days of campaigning after that. she pointed to nate silver suggesting that this is an unbiased statistician, mathematician, however you want to analyze it and suggested that the proof is in his numbers in evidence that shows that she would have been president had comey not stepped in. he has not publicly commented on his investigation of hillary clinton yet. my guess is today he won't go very far. >> no. right. he is going the try to say the things he said before. he will try to clarify and do
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all that. as to what nate silver said or didn't say, he did a great job on 2016. he was quite good and by the way he was one of the people who said when everybody else said donald trump has a 2% chance to win nate silver and his team at 538 i wholly agreed with. put her prob -- trump's probability of a 20, 25% range. they were in the same category. trump was a long shot but nate silver had made clear all along democrats, you are taking this for granted. they did not heed his warning. they did not heed like people like me were saying when we said you're living the back door open for this guy in the upper midwest. they were trying to run up the numbers on the popular vote. whatever james comey said or did not say, hillary clinton was a hideous candidate for the democrats and what i find
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impossible -- what i find impossible is she and her family, after two defeats, will not stop inflicting themselves on their party. i find this very selfish and very arrogant that any candidate having been defeated twice, rejected two times, would come back again and inflict themselves on democrats and not allow democrats to move on to a new candidate. it is just astonishing. >> bill: we found the topic for what we'll receive this afternoon, am i right or wrong? thank you, chris. shannon, as you said, james comey said, quote, i'm determined not to make news. well, let's find out together. chuck grassley opening statements, drop on in now on the senate judiciary committee. >> she failed to recuse herself from that. the director's announcement effectively gave her cover to have it both ways. she would appear publicly uninvolved but remain in control of the ultimate outcome.
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moreover, in his haste to end a tough politically-charged investigation, the f.b.i. failed to follow up on credible evidence of the intent to hide federal records from the congress and the public. it is a federal crime, as we know, to willfully and unlawfully, conceal, remove or destroy a federal record. director comey said the f.b.i. also discovered several thousand work-related emails that secretary clinton did not turn over to the state department. he said the secretary clinton's lawyers, quote, cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery, end of quote of additional emails. the justice department also entered into immunity agreements limiting the scope of the f.b.i. investigation. some of these agreements prohibited the f.b.i. from reviewing any emails on the laptops of the clinton aides
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that were created outside of secretary clinton's tenure at state. but, of course, any emails related to alienateing records would not have been created until after she left office during the congressional f.b.i. reviews. even though these records were subject to -- the justice department agreed to destroy the laptops. so a cloud of doubt hangs over the f.b.i. objectivity. the director says the people at the f.b.i. don't give a rip about politics. but the director installed as deputy director a man whose wife ran for elected office and accepted almost a million dollars from governor terry mcauliffe, andrew mccabe met a person with that office about his wife's political plans and
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did not recuse himself from the or the russian matter despite the obvious appearance of conflict. the inspector general is reviewing these issues but once again the people deserve answers and the f.b.i. has not provided those answers. we need to f.b.i. to be accountable because we need the f.b.i. to be effective. its mission is to protect us from the most dangerous threats facing our nation and as the director was last here -- since the director was last year the drumbeat of attacks on the united states from those directed or inspired by isis and other radical islamic terrorists has continued. for example, in june 2016 a terrorist killed 49 and wounded another 53 in orlando. frequented by gay and lesbians community. it was the most deadly attack in the united states soil since
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9/11. but long afterwards in september a terrorist stabbed 10 at a mall in minneapolis and another terrorist injured 31 after he detonated bombs in new jersey and new york city. in november a terrorist injured 13 after driving into students and teachers at ohio state university. our allies haven't been immune either as we read in the newspaper frequently. we all recall the tragedy of july 2016 when terrorists plowed a truck through a crowd in france killing over 80 people. so we in the congress need to make sure that the f.b.i. has the tools it needs to prevent and investigate terrorism as well as other serious violent crimes. and these tools must be -- must adapt to both evolving technology and threats while preserving our civil liberties. i hope we can also hear from
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the director about the f.b.i.'s use of some of these tools that may require congress's attention and most obviously the fias section 702 authority at the end of the year. it provides the government the ability to collect the electronic communications of foreigners outside the united states with a compelled assistance of american companies and bush and obama administrations were strongly supportive of 702 and now the trump administration is as well. from all accounts, the law has proven to be highly effective in helping to protect the united states and its allies. the privacy and civil liberties oversight board and many other federal courts have found section 702 constitutional and consistent with our fourth amendment. yet questions and concerns persist for many about its effects on our civil liberties,
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specifically in the way the f.b.i. queries data collected under section 702. in addition the director has spoken out often about how the use of encryption by terrorists and criminals is eroding the effectiveness of one of the f.b.i.'s core investigative tools, a warrant based on probable cause. i look forward to an update from you, director comey, on the going dark problem. i'm also waiting for answers from the f.b.i.'s advance knowledge of an attempted terrorist attack 2015 garland, texas. the attack was interrupted by local police officer but not before a guard was shot. after the attack, the director claimed that the f.b.i. did not have advance knowledge of it. but it was recently revealed that an undercover f.b.i. agent was in close communication with one of the attackers in the weeks leading up to the attack. the undercover agent was in a car directly behind the
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attacker's when they started shooting and fled the scene. the committee needs clarity on what the f.b.i. knew, whether there was plans to disrupt any attack, and whether it shared enough information with local law enforcement. and obviously you expect me to always remind you about whistleblowers. finally as you know the f.b.i. whistle blower enactment act clarified that f.b.i. employees are protected when they disclose wrongdoing to their supervisors, in april we learned that the f.b.i. still has not updated its policies and done much to educate employees on the new law. the inspector general gave the f.b.i. updated training this past january. employees who know that they are protected are more likely to come forward with evidence of waste, fraud and abuse. they should not have to wait many months to be trained on such a significant change in
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their rights and their protections. and these are all important issues and i'll look forward to discussing them with you, director comey. the public's faith, the f.b.i., congress and our democratic process has been tested lately. oversight and transparency will hopefully restore that faith. you may take as long as you want, senator. >> thanks very much, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, as you've stated, this is the committee's annual oversight hearing to conduct that oversight of the f.b.i. so usually we review and ask questions about the f.b.i.'s work that ranges from major federal law enforcement priorities to the specific concerns of individual members of the committee. however, this hearing take place at a unique time. last year, for the first time, the f.b.i. and its investigation of a candidate
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for president became the center of the closing days of a presidential election. before voters went to the polls last november, they had been inundated with stories about the f.b.i.'s investigation of senator clinton's emails. the press coverage was wall-to-wall. every day there was another story about secretary clinton's emails. every day questions were released -- every day questions were raised about whether classified information had been released or compromised. and over and over again there was commentary from the f.b.i. about its actions and investigation. on july 5th, 2016, two months before the election, director comey publicly announced that the f.b.i. had concluded its investigation and determined
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that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case against secretary clinton. that should have been the end of the story. but it wasn't. 11 days before the election, on october 28th, 2016, director comey then announced that the f.b.i. was reopening the clinton investigation because of emails on anthony wiener's computer. this explosive announcement -- and it was -- came unprompted and without knowing whether a single email warranted a new investigation. it was, in fact, a big october surprise. but, in fact, as it turned out, not one email on the laptop changed the f.b.i.'s original conclusion that no prosecution was warranted. and only two days before the election, the f.b.i. sent
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another public letter to congress affirming its original conclusion. this was extraordinary, plain and simple. i join those who believe that the actions taken by the f.b.i. did, in fact, have an impact on the election. what's worse is that while all of this was going on in the public spotlight, while the f.b.i. was discussing its investigation into senator clinton's email server in detail, i cannot help but note that it was noticeably silent about the investigation into the trump campaign and russian interference into the election. in june 2016, the press reported that russian hackers had infiltrated the computer system of the democratic national committee. in response, then candidate trump and his campaign began
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goading the russian government into hacking secretary clinton. two months later, in august, on twitter, roger stone declared trust me, it will soon be podesta's time in the barrel, end quote. he then bragged that he was in communication with wikileaks -- this was during a campaign -- the campaign in florida, he told a group of florida republicans that founder julian assange and that there would be no telling what the october surprise might be, end quote. clearly he knew what he was talking about. two months later, on october 7, thousands of emails from john podesta's account were published on wikileaks. we now know that through the
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fall election, the f.b.i. was actively investigating russia's efforts to interfere with the presidential campaign and possible involvement of trump campaign officials in those efforts. yet the f.b.i. remained silent. in fact, the f.b.i. summarily refused to even acknowledge the existence of any investigation. it is still very unclear -- and i hope, director, that you will clear this up, why the f.b.i.'s treatment of these two investigations was so dramatically different. with the clinton email investigation, it has been said that, quote, exceptional circumstances, end quote, including the high interest in the matter and the need to reassure the public required public comment from the f.b.i. however, i can't imagine how an
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unprecedented big and bold hacking interference in our election by the russian government did not also present exceptional circumstances. as i said at the beginning, we're in a unique time. a foreign adversary had actively interfered with a presidential election. the f.b.i. was investigating not just that interference, but whether campaign officials associated with the president were connected to this interference. and the attorney general has recused himself from any involvement in this investigation. at the same time, the f.b.i. must continue to work with its state and local law enforcement partners and the intelligence community as well, to investigate crime of all types. violent crime, increased narcotic trafficking, fraud, human trafficking, terrorism,
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child exploitation, public corruption and yesterday this committee had a very important hearing on hate and crimes against specific religions and races, which are off the charts. in order to do all of that, i firmly believe it is of the utmost importance that the american people have faith and trust in the nation's top law enforcement agency. we must be assured that all of the f.b.i.'s decisions are made in the interests of justice, not in the interest of any political agenda or reputation of any one agency or individual. so, mr. director, today we need to hear how the f.b.i. will regain that faith and trust. we need straight forward answers to our questions. and we want to hear how you are going to lead the f.b.i. going forward.
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we never, ever want anything like this to happen again. thank you, mr. chairman. >> director comey, i would like to swear you in at this point. you affirm that the testimony you are about to give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? thank you very much. as the old saying goes for somebody as famous as you, you don't need any introduction. i'll just introduce you as the director of the federal bureau of investigation and thank you for being here today and we look forward to your testimony and answer to our questions. you may begin. >> thank you, mr. chairman, senator feinstein, members of the committee thank you for having this annual oversight hearing about the f.b.i. i know that sounds a little bit like someone saying they're looking forward to going to the dentist but i do mean it. i think oversight of the f.b.i. of all parts of government but especially the one i'm lucky enough to lead is essential. i think it was john adams who
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wrote to thomas jefferson, power always thinks it has a great soul, the way you guard against that is having people ask hard questions, ask good questions and demand straightforward answers and i promise to do my absolute best to give you that kind of answer today. i also appreciate the conversation i know we'll have today and over the next few months about reauthorizing section 702 of the foreign intelligence surveillance act that you mentioned, mr. chairman. this is a tool that is essential to the safety of this country. i did not say the same thing about the collection of telephone dialing information by the nsa. i think that's a useful tool. 702 is an essential tool. if it goes away we'll be less safe as a country and i mean that and would be happy to talk more about that. thank you for engaging on that so we can tell the american people why this matters so much and why we can't let it go away. as you know, the magic of the f.b.i. that you oversee is its people and we talk a lot about
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our counter terrorism work and counter intelligence work and i'm sure we'll talk about that today but i thought i would give you some idea of the work being done by those people all over the country, all over the world every day, every night, all the time. and i pulled three cases that happened that were finished in the last month to illustrate it. the first was something i know you followed closely, the plague of threats against jewish community centers this country experienced in the first few months of this year. children frightened, old people frightened. terrifying threats of bombs at jewish institutions especially the jewish community centers. the entire f.b.i. surged in response to that threat working across all programs, all divisions, our technical wizards using our vital international presence and using our partnerships especially with the israeli national police. we made that case and the israelis locked up the person behind those threats and
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stopped that terrifying plague goins the jewish community sessions. the second case, the bot net, the zombie armies of computers that are taken over by critical to do harm to innocent people. last month the f.b.i. working with partners with the spanish national police took down a bot net and locked up the russian hacker behind that bot net who made a mistake that russian criminals sometimes make of leaving russia and visiting the beautiful city of barcelona and he is in jail in spain and the good people's computers latched to that zombie army have been freed from it and are no longer part of a huge criminal enterprise. the last one i'll mention is this past week for the first time since congress passed the statute making it a crime in the united states to engage in female genital mutilation, the mutilate little girls. a felony in the united states since 1996 we made the first
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case last week against doctors in michigan for doing this terrifying thing to young girls all across the country with our partners in the department of homeland security. we brought a case against two doctors for doing this to children. this is among the most important thing we do protecting kids especially and it was done by great work that you don't hear about a lot all across the country about the f.b.i. it is the honor of my life. you look at me like i'm crazy for saying it about this job. i love this work, i love this job. i love it because of the mission and the people i get to work with. some of whose work i just illustrated by pulling those three cases from last month but it goes on all the time around the country and we're safer for it. i love representing these people speaking on their behalf and i look forward to your questions today. thank you, mr. chairman. >> bill: thank you for your opening statement. i'll start out probably with a couple subjects you wish i didn't bring up and then the third one that i think everybody needs to hear your
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opinion on a policy issue. it is frustrating when the f.b.i. refuses to answer this committee's questions. but leaks relevant information to the media, in other words, they don't talk to us, but somebody talks to the media. director comey, have you ever been an anonymous source in news reports about matters relating to the trump investigation or the clinton investigation? >> never. >> question two on relatively related. have you ever authorized someone else at the f.b.i. to be an anonymous source in news reports about the trump investigation or the clinton investigation? >> no. >> has any classified information relating to president trump or his association -- his associates
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been declassified and shared with the media? >> not to my knowledge. >> you testified before the house intelligence committee that a lot of classified matters have ended up in the media recently. without getting into any particular article, i want to emphasize that, without getting into any particular article, is there an investigation of any leaks of classified information relating to mr. trump or his associates? >> i don't want to answer that question, senator for reasons i think you know. there have been a variety of leaks. leaks are always a problem but especially in the last three to six months and where there is a leak of classified information, the f.b.i. if it's our information makes a referral to the department of justice or if
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it's another agency's information they do the same and doj authorizes the opening of an investigation. i don't want to confirm whether there are any investigations open in an open setting. >> i want to challenge you on that. the government acknowledges when it is investigating classified leaks. you did that in the valerie plain case, what's the difference here? >> the most important difference is i don't have authorization from the department to confirm any investigations they authorized. maybe we can get that at some point but i won't sit here in an open setting without talking to them. >> you can expect me to follow up on that offer. >> sure. >> several senior f.b.i. officials who would have had access to the classified information that was leaked, including yourself, and the deputy director, so how can the justice department guarantee the integrity of the investigations without
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designating an agency other than the f.b.i. to gather the facts and eliminate senior f.b.i. officials as suspects? >> i won't answer about any particular investigations but i know of situations in the past where if you think the f.b.i. or its leadership are suspects you have another investigative agency support the ingaition. it can be and has been done in the past. >> okay. moving on to another subject, "the new york times" recently reported that the f.b.i. had found a troubling email among the ones the russians hacked from democrat operatives. the email reportedly provided assurances that attorney general lynch would protect secretary clinton by making sure the f.b.i. investigation quote, unquote, didn't go too far. how and when did you first learn of this document?
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also, who sent it and who received? >> that's not a question i can answer in this forum, mr. chairman, because it would call for a classified response. i have briefed leadership of the intelligence committees on that particular issue. but i can't talk about it here. >> you can expect me to follow up with you on that point. >> sure. >> what steps did the f.b.i. take to determine whether attorney general lynch had actually given assurances that the political fix was in no matter what? did the f.b.i. interview the person who wrote the email? if not, why not? >> have to give you the same answer. i can't talk about that in an unclassified setting. >> then you can expect me to follow up on that. i asked the f.b.i. to provide this email to the committee before today's hearing. why haven't you done so? and will you provide it by the end of this week? >> again, to react to that i have to give a classified
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answer and i can't give it sitting here. >> so that means you can't give me the email? >> i'm not confirming there was an email, sir. the subject is classified. in an appropriate forum i would be happy to brief you on it but i can't do it in an open hearing. >> i assume that other members of the committee could have access to that briefing if they wanted? i want to talk about going dark, director comey. a few years ago you testified before the committee about going dark problem and the inability of law enforcement to access encrypted data despite the existence of a lawfully issued court order. you continue to raise this issue in your public speeches, most recently boston college. my question, you mentioned it again in your testimony briefly but can you provide the committee with a more detailed update on the status of going
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dark problem and how it has affected the f.b.i.'s ability to access encrypted data? has there been any progress to overcome any problems? at our hearing in 2015 you said you didn't think legislation was necessary at that time. is that still your view? >> thank you, mr. chairman. this shadow created by the problem we call growing dark continues to fall across more and more of our work. take devices for example. the default, encryption on devices is affecting now about half of our work. first six months of this fiscal year, f.b.i. examiners were presented with over 6,000 devices for which we had lawful authority to open. in 46% of those casess we couldn't open those devices with any technique.
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half of the devices we encounter in all of our cases cannot be opened with any technique. that's a big problem. and so the shadow continues to fall. i'm determined to continue to make sure the american people and congress know about it. i know this is important to the president and the new attorney general. i don't know yet how the new administration intends to approach it but it is something we have to talk about because like you, i care a lot about privacy, i also care a lot about public safety and there continues to be a huge collision between those two things we care about. i look forward to continuing that conversation. >> you didn't respond to the part to the view legislation is not needed? >> i hope i said last time we talked about this it may require a legislative solution at some point. the obama administration was not in a position where they were seeking legislation. i don't know how president trump intends to approach this. i know he spoke about it during the campaign and he cares about
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it. it a premature for me to say. >> senator feinstein. >> thank you. director, i have one question regarding my opening comment and i view it as a most important question and i hope you will answer it. why was it necessary to announce 11 days before a presidential election that you were opening an investigation on an new computer without any knowledge of what was in that computer? why didn't you just do the investigation as you would normally with no public announcement? >> great question, senator, thank you. october 27th the investigative team that had finished the investigation in july focused on secretary clinton's emails asked to meet with me. i met with them late morning in my conference room and they laid out for me what they could see from the metadata on this
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fellow anthony wiener's laptop seized in an unrelated case. what they could see was that there are thousands of secretary clinton's emails on that device, including what they thought might be the missing emails from her first three months as secretary of state. we never found any emails from her first three months. she was using a verizon blackberry. if she acted with bad intent that's where it would be in the first three months. >> they weren't there. >> can i finish my answer? we can see thousands of emails from the clinton email domain including many, many from the verizon clinton blackberry domain. we need a search warrant. and the department of justice agreed. i agreed and authorized them to seek a search warrant and i faced a choice. i've lived my entire career by the tradition if you can possibly avoid it, you avoid any action in the run-up to an
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election that may have an iment pact. i sat there that morning and i couldn't see a door labeled no action here. i could see two doors. they were both actions. one was labeled speak, the other was labeled concealed. i am not trying to talk you into this but i want you to know my thinking. having repeatedly told this congress we're done and no case there, no case there, to restart in a hugely significant way potentially finding the emails that would deflect on her intent from the beginning and not speak about it would require an act of concealment if my view. i stared at speak with conceal. speak would be bad. an election in 11 days. that would be really bad. concealing in my view would be catastrophic not just to the f.b.i. but well beyond. honestly, as between really bad and catastrophic i said to my team we have to walk into the world of really bad. i have the tell congress we're restarting it not in a
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frivolous way but a hugely significant way. the team said we can't finish this work before the election. they worked night after night after night and found thousands of new emails on classified information. somehow her emails were being forwarded to anthony wiener including classified information because of her assistance. they called me the saturday night before the election and said thanks to the wizardry of our technology we've had to read 6,000. we think we can finish tomorrow morning, sunday. we found a lot of new stuff. we did not find anything that changes our view of her intent. so we're in the same place we were in july. it hasn't changed our view. i asked them lots of questions and i said okay, if that's where you are i also have to tell congress that we're done. look, this is terrible. it makes me nauseous to thinks we might have had impact on the election but honestly it
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wouldn't change the decision. everybody who disagrees with me has to come back to october 28th with me and stare at this and tell me what you would do. would you speak or would you conceal? i could be wrong, but we honestly made a decision between those two choices that even in behind site. this has been one of the world's most painful experiences i would make the same decision. i would not conceal that on october 28th from the congress. i sent a letter to congress. people forget this. i didn't make a public announcement. i sent a private letter to the people on the committees. in the world of leaks, it was very important that i tell them instead of concealing. reasonable people can disagree. that's the reason i made that choice. and it was a hard choice. i still believe in retrospect the right choice, as painful as it has been. i'm sorry for the long answer. >> let me respond on the letter it was just a matter of minutes before the world knew about it. secondly, my understanding and the staff has just said to me that you didn't get a search
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warrant before making this announcement. >> i think that's right. i authorized and the department of justice agreed we would seek a search warrant. i don't see it as a meaningful distinction. >> it's very hard -- it would have been -- you took an enormous gamble. the gamble was that there was something there that would invalidate her candidacy. and there wasn't. so one has to look at that action and say did it affect the campaign? i think most people who have looked at this say yes, it did affect the campaign, why would he do it? and was there any conflict among your staff, people saying do it, people saying don't do it, as has been reported? >> no. it was a great debate. i have a fabulous staff at all
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levels. one of my junior lawyers said should you consider what you are about to do may help elect donald trump president? and i said thank you for raising that. not for a moment. because down that path lies the death of the f.b.i. as an independent institution in america. i can't consider for a second whose political fortunes will be affected in what way. we have to ask ourselves what's the right thing to do and do that thing. i'm proud of the way we debated it and everyone agreed we have to tell congress we're starting this in a hugely significant way. >> there is a way to do that. i don't know if it would work or not. in a classified way carrying out your tradition of not announcing investigations. you know, i look at this exactly the opposite way you do. everybody knew it would influence the investigation before, that there was a very
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large percentage of chance that it would. and yet that percentage of chance was taken and there was no information, and the election was lost. so it seems to me that before your department does something like this, you really ought to -- because senator leahy began to talk about other investigations, and i think this theory does not hold up when you look at other investigations. but let me go on to 702 because you began your comments saying how important it is and yes, it is important. we've got, i think, a problem. and the issue that we're going to need to address is the f.b.i.'s practice of searching
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702 data using u.s. person identifiers as query terms. and some have called this an unconstitutional back door search while others say that such queries are essential to assuring that potential terrorists don't slip through the cracks as they did before. so could you give us your views on that? and how it might be handled to avoid the charge which may bring down 702? >> thank you, senator. that's a really important issue. the way 702 works is under that provision of the statute, the fisa court, federal judges authorize us to collect the communications of none us people we believe to be overseas if they use american infrastructure. the criticism the f.b.i. has gotten and feedback we've gotten since 9/11 is you have to make sure you are in a position to connect the dots. you can't have stove piped information. we responded the that over the last 10 years mostly to the
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great work of my predecessor and we have con federated databases so if we collect information under 702, it doesn't sit in a separate stove pipe. it sits in a single cloud-type environment so if i'm opening an investigation in the united states states in any matter and i have a name of the suspect and their telephone number and their email address, i search the f.b.i. databases. that search necessarily will also touch the information that was collected under 702 so that we don't miss a dot. but nobody gets access to the information that sits in the 702 database unless they have been trained correctly. if there is -- lets imagine that terrorists overseas were talking about a suspect in the united states or someone's email address in the united states was in touch with that terrorist and that information sits in the 702 database. we open the case in the united states and put in that name and
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that email address, it will touch that data and tell us there is information in the 702 database that's relevant. if the agent doing the query is properly trained how to handle that he or she will be able to see that information. if they aren't properly trained they'll be alerted there is information. then they have to go get the appropriate training and the appropriate oversight to see it. but to do it otherwise is to risk us where it matters most in the united states failing to so my view is, the information that's in the 702 database has been lawfully collected, carefully overseen and checked and our use of it is also appropriate and carefully overseen and checked. >> so you are not masking the data -- unmasking the data? >> i'm not sure what that means in this context. what we do is we combine information collected from any lawful source in a single f.b.i. database so we don't miss a dot when we're conducting investigations in the united states.
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what we make sure though is nobody gets to see fisa information of any kind unless they have had the appropriate training and have the appropriate oversight. >> my time is up. senator hatch. >> thank you, senator. director comey, in january i introduced s139 the rapid dna act. it is bipartisan sponsor on this committee and maybe more. mr. chairman, i want to thank you for putting this bill on the agenda for tomorrow's business meeting. this is the same bill that the senate unanimously passed last year and developing a dna profile and performing database comparisons in less than two hours. following standards and procedures approved by the f.b.i. it would allow law enforcement to solve crimes and innocent advocates to exonerate the wrongly accused.
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you came before this committee in december of 2015 and i asked you then about this legislation and you said it would quote help us change the world in a very, very exciting way, unquote. is that still your view of the value of this legislation? and do you believe that congress should enact it on its own without getting tangled up in other criminal justice reform issues? >> i agree that rapid dna will enhance the safety of the american people. if a police officer somewhere in the united states has in his or her custody someone who is a rapist. before letting them go on some lesser offense they can check a dna database and get a hit. it will save lives and protect people from pain and i think it's a great thing. >> your prepared statement touches on what the f.b.i. is doing to protect children from predators. personnel and organizations such as employees, coaches, or
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volunteers often work with unsupervised -- with youth unsupervised. it magnifies vetting at the time they join such organizations. along with senators franken and klobuchar i introduced an act to give better access to the f.b.i. fingerprint background check systems. do you believe providing the girl couts and ymca to fingerprint background checks is an important step in keeping child predators and violent criminals away from our children? >> i do, senator. i don't know enough about the legislation to react. i think the more information you can put in the hands of the people who are vetting people who will be near children, the better. we have a new feature of the f.b.i.'s fingerprint system called wrap back that once you check someone's identification, check them to see if they have no record, if they later
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develop one you can be alerted to it if it happens after that which i think makes a big difference. >> you spoke about the going dark program whereby strong encryption technology inhibits law enforcement to access personal data and communication on smartphones and similar devices. your prepared testimony for today's hearing addresses this issue as well. i have expressed significant concern about proposals that would require device or software manufacturers to build a back door into their programming to allow law enforcement to access encrypted data in the course of investigations. i remain convinced that such back doors can be created without seriously compromising the security of encrypted devices. i believe this is an issue where law enforcement and stakeholders need to work together to find solutions
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rather than coming to congress with one size fits all legislative fixes. what are you doing to engage with stakeholders on this issue and what kind of progress are you making, if you can tell us? >> i think there is good news on that front. we've had very good open and productive conversations with the private sector over the last 18 months about this issue because everybody realizes we care about the same things. we all love privacy and care about public safety. none of us want back doors. we don't want access to devices built in in some way. we want to accommodate both interests and optimize the privacy security features of devices and allow court orders to be complied with. we're having good conversations. i don't know where they'll end up. i could imagine a world that ends up with legislation saying if you make devices in the united states states you figure
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out how to comply with court orders but we're having productive conversations. >> section two of the fisa act is up for reauthorization. we have much more to go on than simply speculation or theory. now the intelligence value of section 702 is well documented and never been intentionally misused or abused. every federal court including the fisa court that has addressed the issue concluded that 702 is lawful. administrations of both parties have strongly supported it. describe for us the targeting that section 702 requires and how each agency's procedures are subject to oversight. >> 702 is a critical tool to protect this country. the way it works is we're allowed to conduct surveillance
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again under the supervision of the foreign intelligence surveillance court on non-u.s. persons who are outside the united states if they are using american infrastructure. email system or phone system in the united states. it doesn't involve u.s. persons or activity in the united states. and then each agency has detailed procedures for how we will handle this information that are approved by the fisa court and become court orders that govern us. not only overseen by that court but the inspectors general and congress checking on our work and you're correct. there have been no abuses. every court that looked at this said it is appropriate under the fourth amendment and under the statute. it was an act passed by a democratically controlled congress for a republican president and renewed by a republican controlled congress for a democratic president and upheld by any court has looked at it. the intelligence services say
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we need this to keep the country safe. people get confused about details and mix it up with other things. we need to explain it clearly. >> thank you, my time is up. senator leahy, turn to you. >> welcome back. you mentioned you like these annual meetings. of course, we didn't have an annual meeting last year. it has been, i think, last year was the first time in 15 years that the f.b.i. did not testify before this committee. but a lot has happened in the last year and a half as noted. senator feinstein noted that americans across the country have been confused and disappointed by your judgment in handling the investigation into secretary clinton's emails. number of occasions you told us
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and commented on that investigation and released internal f.b.i. memos and interview notes. i may have missed this but my 42 years here i've never seen anything like that. but you said absolutely nothing regarding the investigation into the trump campaign's connections to russia's illegal efforts. was it appropriate for you to comment on one investigation repeatedly and not say anything about the other? >> i think so. can i explain, senator? >> i only have so much time. >> i think i treated both investigations under the same principles. people forget we would not confirm the existence of the hillary clinton email investigation until three months after it began even with a public referral and the
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candidate herself talked about it. if october of 2015 we confirmed it existed and said not another word. not a peep about it until we were finished. >> critical time possible, a couple weeks before the election, and i think there are other things involved in that election, i'll grant that. but there is no question that that had a great effect, historians can debate what kind of effect it was, but you did do it. the -- in october, the f.b.i. was investigating the trump campaign's connection to russia. you sent a letter informing the senate and house that you were reviewing additional emails that could be relevant to this. but both investigations were open but you still only >> i commented on october 28th and a le

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