tv Americas Newsroom FOX News July 12, 2017 6:00am-8:00am PDT
>> thank you very much for joining us today. we will be back. >> thank you and good morning. we are waiting for what is a contentious nomination. expected to face questions on russia over the firing of comey. new allegations on donald trump jr.'s meeting. life in washington, we are here with "america's newsroom" ." >> shannon: hours after,
donald trump jr. says he wished he would've done something differently. >> i can vouch for the information. at some he sent me an email. i can't help what somebody sends me. i read it and responded accordingly. in retrospect, i would've done things differently. >> bill: this starts our hour. president trump talks to the french leader tonight. also the confirmation hearing, begins in 28 minutes. >> there's a lot of anticipation outside of the hearing room. i'm going to step aside. you can see the line extends down the hallway and back into a hallway that occurs around the corner. people have been lined up here for over an hour. but we anticipate are several lines of questioning is a get
through the opening statements from the committee chairman. as well as the ranking member d democrat. how will they respond to new allegations against donald trump jr. how will they explain contact with russian officials? and in order to secure his nomination to be fbi director, does christopher ray have to give a pledge of loyalty to the president or administration? because that's key given the testimony of the fired director last month. >> you testified that the president asked you to be loyal to him. and you said you would be honest and be the head of the fbi.
>> got very awkward and i said, you will always have honesty for me. and he said honest loyalty. >> another issue for both republicans and democrats, is how christopher ray is confirmed to maintain the integrity of the fbi. and president trump was accused of asking him to let go of the investigation. that's what we expect to dominate the proceedings on the hill. >> bill: thank you. >> shannon: meanwhile president trump comes to his son's defense this morning. white house correspondent, good morning. >> and strong defense of
donald trump jr., who tweeted out this morning, my son did a good job last night. he was open, transparent and innocent. this is the greatest witch hunt in presidential history. it is a huge political and public relations problem for the president. and again, knocking his agenda off the rail. the big problem is the email communications released yesterday. when she is offered a meeting in giving documents and information that would be incriminating to hillary and help your father. anna sean hannity's program last night, it said that all of this happened before even talking about the russian investigation. >> to me this was opposition
research. they may have had something contradictory to all the stories you been hearing about. so i wanted to hear it all. it went nowhere and it was apparent that was the meeting was actually about. >> the contact that he met with wanted to talk with an american law that led adoptions of russian children. >> there were some puffery to the email. in the end there was some bait and switch about what it was going to be about. there's nothing there. >> donald trump jr. said he never told his father because there's nothing to tell him about after the meeting. the president turning it back on the democrats.
"the washington times" state democrats willfully used moscow misinformation to influence the election. anna putin's spokesman, said that russia had nothing to do with setting up that meeting. >> shannon: the president is headed to france, what can we expect? >> he's going to be meeting with the new french president tomorrow. and friday is bastille day. and one year ago, 86 people were mowed down by terrorists. the president will be standing side-by-side with the french president and his display of solidarity with france. in the fight against isis and terrorism worldwide. >> bill: good morning. and thanks for coming back here on "america's newsroom."
here's the statement, the vice president was not aware of the meeting, he was not focused on the campaign. how big of a problem is this for the white house? >> this is not something white houses on right now. vice president pens had a few senators over last night talking about health care. and they will continue to talk with the need to repeal and replace obamacare. the vice president is entirely focused on advancing the president's agenda. and they need to go to washington and work there to accomplish it. >> bill: did the vice president ever meet with representatives from russia? >> he has said that when he
joined the campaign, his focus was on talk to the american people, making the case that president trump would make to the people, and that he and president trump would be sent to washington and finish their agenda. >> bill: did he ever meet with representatives of the russian government? >> that's something the special prosecutors will be looking at. in all my time with the president, he was focused on talking to the american people, taking his case to the people, and making sure the people knew why they needed to send president trump and vice president pence to auction. >> bill: is that a "yes" or "no"? >> i'm not aware of anything. the focus that i saw during the
campaign has been focused on working the agenda that the people send him to washington to accomplish. that's what the vice president is doing and president. we are seeing jobs being create created. isis on the run and near defeat. those are kind of thing that american people are focused on. >> bill: what was the white house aware in the 2016 meeting hashtag >> i will refer you to details that mr. ciampa said. i can tell you that the vice president said he was not aware of that meeting more than a month before he joined the campaign. his focus is not on the russian connection. he's focused on moving the agenda forward in talking with nation's governors on friday. all in an effort to continue doing what the american people
sent them to accomplish. >> bill: the vice president met with mitch mcconnell yesterday. his two weeks enough to get health care done? >> that's the hope. we know the majority leader will have a revised version of the bill out tomorrow. it's kind of sad that we have to have an extended session here because the democratic obstruction. we seen the democrats are not willing to join with us president or republicans. in moving the agenda forward. there is an example just this week. as a procedural vote taken in the senate about, why responding hours of debate wasting time and having to go through things that
are unanimous. >> bill: can mitch mcconnell had 51 goes on health care? >> the vice president said that is critical, the time is now to do this. we are working toward that goal of repealing and replacing obamacare. something the president has been talking about. now is the time to do that. work is happening behind the scenes on the white house and capitol hill. were going to continue taking that message to the american people and that now is the time to act. give people choice and restore it and american peoples choice for health care. >> bill: we appreciate your time, please come back. thank you. >> shannon: much more ahead on
the battle for health care reform. senators trying to forge a deal on that and other key issues. a man who pushed to get rid of it. >> bill: and a big story today, a hearing for fbi director. and a discussion about james coley in the memos, and will talk to him who is a member of the president's legal team. also more on the russian investigation. >> instead of what we got now is donald trump jr. coming forward, releasing all of his emails, and the media is in a frenzy because he released emails.
>> bill: awaiting the senate confirmation, and another 15 minutes. christopher christopher wray ise for the fbi director. and now discussion over the leaked memos. >> he leaked memos with the conversation he had with the president of the united states to a reporter. and for the sole purpose of obtaining a special counsel.
they are appointed based on evidence that is illegally distributed. they will that for the legitimacy of the process. >> bill: good morning. in the prison of james comey, how do we approach this? >> i think a lot of questions are going to be as much as what changed comey and in contrast what christopher what ray would bring to it. that was not his personal notes, that was a government work product. when he became a private citizen, that stayed the property of the u.s. government. that he shared it with somebody is problematic and i'm hoping that in the context of the hearing, as any questions raised if that's normal fbi procedure.
>> bill: it's pretty much confirmed that these memos had classified information. >> he had a private conversation with the president that ought to be secured. margaret have a chance to view them and classified information so i cannot talk about that. >> i'm not sure why the senators haven't seen them already. this is an issue and christopher wray is going to have to provide some answers. >> it's a huge issue because in order to be a successful fbi director, there has to be a new way of conducting business. they are not a political organization. they're not going to change the name of an investigation because
of political pressure. and i can engage themselves in political campaigns. if they don't do that, i don't think you will be confirmed. i don't have much though because he seems like a straight arrow. >> bill: how much trouble is president trump and or the campaign? >> i think legally he's in no trouble. politically i don't think there's a whole lot of interest. outside of the beltway and news media. it is a huge distraction. i would ask the president, why are you more upset over donald trump jr. then you were about hillary deleting thousands of hers?
i think the hypocrisy is staggering. i think most american people are sick of hearing all these allegations about russia. if they get something come up bring it to us in the meantime. can you please have the president restore jobs and roads and go after isis. >> bill: thank you for your time governor. >> shannon: another big story this week. delay in trying to get the health care bill done. were going to ask that question to republican senator. also will donald trump's juniors email come up during the confirmation of the fi director. >> this is pretty russia mania.
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what do we say? it's going to be great. watch. remember what we were just saying? go irish! see that? yes! i'm gonna just go back to doing what i was doing. find your awesome with the xfinity x1 voice remote. >> shannon: tensions are running high washington as the august reset comes closer. republicans have yet to score a major legislative victory after taking over the white house, senate and house. >> we don't have enough time to address all of these issues. >> republicans have had seven
years to put together a health care bill. >> there's not enough time for the substance of the bill. i wouldn't want to go home and face the voters either if i was them. >> we have experts in the industry that knows what works and what doesn't. it's going to take some time. >> shannon: senator from georgia joins us live. some folks said you know what to do and why don't you stick around. >> i applaud the leaders decision to delay this. we sent a letter to encourage our caucuses and that's what were doing. we can't even get them nominated and confirmed it because of obstructionism.
we have the budget reconciliation and 12 appropriation bills. we only have 30 working days between now and september 30th. and then we have the tax package. >> shannon: there's two different versions that will be unveiled. one of them includes the amendment by ted cruz that said insurers are allowed to offer lesser plans as long as they have one that meets the obama's care standards. where do you stand? >> i have personal experience of that. it was a very simple program. that's what really drove premiums up.
it was the elimination of several policies. what is trying to do is give insurance companies to offer a wider variety of policies. >> shannon: we hear that that idea is a nonstarter. can you get the 51 votes hashtag >> the people that objected are worried about pre-existing conditions. when some states like south dakota have dealt with it. you can do it by putting a ratio on the present premiums and protect policyholders. it is way there and i'm hoping we can find it during the next week. and that's by getting more scores done and other alternatives. >> shannon: what percentage would you give to pass this in
the next week. >> i think if we can get what's senator cruz proposes, i think we can get it done. the first thing you have to worry about is that obamacare is collapsing under its own weight. premiums are up, people are dropping out of it every day. the cbo estimate from the number of people is to lose insurance is ridiculous. we've got to find 80% solution, there is no 100% solution. >> shannon: good to see you, thank you. >> bill: we are only minutes away from the hearing of the director of the fbi. christopher wray from georgia, age 50. what questions will centers push
>> shannon: we are moments away from the confirmation hearing of the fbi director christopher wray. now here with us, fox news politics enter. how much do you think this is not going to be about christopher wray and other topics? >> to a great degree. senators like to hear themselves talk and give speeches and put themselves in from the cameras. this is an opportunity to speak to the country over live coverage. we can expect that. also they might present other issues relevant to the discussion.
and views on the loyalty to the president and constitution. also relationships to bob mueller and his relationship with james comey. in the background of the justice department when there were dramatic changes made and how the fbi looked at terrorism and try to prevent attacks. i think this will be an interesting hearing. >> shannon: he's taking his place there now. and the giant links of the cameras that show up. do you think they will talk about donald trump juniors email today? >> i'm sure that that will be discussed a lot.
they're not going to pass up an opportunity to try to insert that into the narrative of the day. christopher wray has a great advantage. he's been in a private practice for many years. he's been a successful criminal defense attorney and made many millions of dollars. he's not been privy to any of the details. they can ask them questions and he can say, i have no idea. >> shannon: as we talk about those emails, what are the key points for you russian? is it more about the support of drums presidency, or is it more about his response? >> i think there are two big issues. the fact that he's receiving email from a russian government source.
willing to share damaging information on hillary clinton from the russian government and that he took the meeting itself is problematic. politically, is problematic. the second point is that if you look at the narrative in the trump administration, so many of them have categorically say there has not been contacts with the russians. this puts a lie to all that. that's going to be one of things we hear a lot about. >> shannon: as they are getting started, the chairman has gambled in. let's listen in. >> this is an important day for you, your family, and an important day for the country considering the importance of the fbi and law enforcement in america. i welcome you and your family to
the community. the ranking member and i will give opening statements. and then the senator will introduce the nominee. and then you can introduce people that are here that support you. and then after his opening statement, we will turn to questions. as an accommodation to the minorities request, we will have rounds of questions. the director of the federal bureau of investigation is charged with running a vast agency with tremendous power. this power if used appropriately could threaten the civil liberties of every american,
inappropriately. if used appropriately, it protects the nations from terrorists, spies and hardened criminals. the attorney general is referred to as the top law enforcement officer in our country. the fbi director serves the attorney general as the top cop on the street. it is very demanding job that requires a keen understanding of the law, sound management skills, calm, calmness under pressure and a level head. from what i've seen so far with meetings with christopher wray, he appears to possess these qualifications. he has an impressive legal career graduating from yale and a clerk in a judge on the fourth
circuit. also spending many years as an assistant u.s. attorney and on the front lines of many cases. during his time as a prosecutor, he often worked closely with the fbi. while in that position, christopher wray received the department's highest award for public service. he was unanimously confirmed to me the legal division as assistant attorney general. in that role he led and managed over 400 prosecutors and 900 total employees in all areas of federal criminal law. he worked closely with federal law enforcement partners and key senior officials with the fbi.
it is important for the director to be independent. in reviewing his record, i've seen his commitment to the independents. he prosecuted little guys and big guys is a ten-day separate people in our society. including major league baseball player, gun traffickers. he prosecuted people on both sides of the political spectrum. including people working on a republican campaign. and he oversaw the task force that investigated enron. this led to convictions of several enron executives. he has earned the strong bipartisan support of over 100 former u.s. attorneys across the
country. including employees of president clinton and obama. and has many letters of support. the top priority of the fbi is to protect national security. the director of the fbi needs to be effective, accountable, in protecting our nation from terrorism and foreign intelligence threats and cyber attacks. the gravity of this responsibility is clear when we remember the scores of americans killed or wounded in terrorism and on u.s. soil following september 11th.
isis and other terror groups have done terrorist attacks in fort hood, boston, san bernardino, orlando, st. cloud, new york city, columbus, and other places. uniformly these terrorist attacks on the u.s. show that the fbi needs the tools to protect against and investigate terrorism and other violent crimes in the homeland. these tools must preserve civil liberties while being adapted to changing threats and advances in technology. this provides government the ability to collect electronic
communications of foreign outside of the united states. this received full support of bush, obama, and now the trump administration. many federal courts, the privacy and civil liberties oversight board have found section 702 constitutional and consistent with the fourth amendment. the fbi does face questions about that information and the impact on privacy and civil liberties. in addition, the fbi must have the tools to navigate the going dark problem is more terrorism use encryption. i look forward to hearing how he plans to handle these issues and protect the american people and keeping with the fbi's mission.
everyone here knows that i care about whistleblowers. in december, president obama signed the fbi whistleblower bill which i worked together to pass. this guarantees that employees that make disclosures about supervisors are protected. unfortunately there's a lot of problems with this process. the justice department doesn't allow fbi agents to get independent judiciary review of retaliatory claims. it concerns me that the fbi has not worked with us to fix that. fbi whistleblowers need the support of their leadership to ensure there is a speedy and effective way to resolve the cases. i would like the assurance from
christopher wray that that would not happen. some is predecessors have not done a good job doing that. the previous director said that the people in the fbi don't give a rip about politics. but he installed a man whose wife ran for state senator. that's a lot of money for one state seat. deputy director met in person with governor about his wife's political plans. this official fbi biography was used to set up the meeting and goals, and the goal was to close the deal and get his wife to run
for office. a special counsel is reviewing whether that was a violation which prohibits partisan political coordination by the fbi. inspector general is reviewing if that should've been recused based on the financial ties to the clinton physical network. he was also named in a lawsuit by female fbi agent. michael flynn wrote a letter in support of the female agent. so that makes him an adverse witness in the proceedings. and he supervised the investigation. three fbi employees personally
witnessed him making disparaging remarks during the russian investigation. and he never recused himself and his failure to do so calls into question whether he handled the investigation fairly. i've asked inspector general to add this to their ongoing revie review. the fbi is entrusted to a lot of power. the director is accountable to his leadership and to the people elected representatives. that's why the fbi director has a 10-year term limit. and there's no restrictions by the president to fire any director as president trump did. the term limit is a ceiling and 94.
in this committee intends to examine the circumstances of mr. comey's firing. and the term limit is in there to protect it from politics or abusing power. the fbi was run by j. edgar hoover, the most independent fbi director in history. the people charged were targets of his secret files. so were the americans whose civil liberties were trampled by the comey program, yet they fbi building bears his name and ugly legacy. people rule in america. vigorous oversight by elected
officials from both legislative branches is essential. i've been doing oversight work for the fbi on the entire career on this committee. as long as i'm chairman, i will ask the questions and expect honest answers. yesterday we've had a hearing that illustrated the long history of congress exercising authority to do oversight including ongoing criminal matters. sometimes you cannot talk public about all of the details but we strive to be open as possible. some people argue that oversight is somehow interference. this ignores the important work of our work to ensure transparency and accountability.
this committee has received detailed information about ongoing criminal matters and foreign activities and will continue to seek that information. that's why oversight is all about. in the past the fbi has resisted accountability and unresponsive to our letters. christopher wray, you and i have spoken with this problem and i expect those to change. i would like assurances that you will be responsive, and that request will be taken seriously and answered in a timely manner. i think christopher wray for his willingness to return to public service and i look forward to candid conversation today.
>> i like to begin by welcoming the nominees family to the hearing. i want them to enjoy the day. this is probably as good as it gets so enjoy it. i would like to recognize my former colleague sam nunn. it's great to welcome you back. you are a beacon of integrity, good logic while you served in the senate. welcome back. fbi director is currently vacan vacant. on may 9th of this year, president trump fired james comey. although we're still sorting out all the circumstances and
details surrounding the decision, it does not appear that mr. comey was fired because the bureau was a mess. nor was there evidence that rank-and-file issues have lost confidence over the clinton administration investigation. rank-and-file agents of the fbi did continue to support james comey. deputy attorney general rosenstein told congress that when he wrote his memo, president trump already decided to remove mr. comey. based on press reports and the president's own words, the reason why he was dismissed was because he would not pledge his loyalty to the president. and he would not lift the cloud of the russian investigation.
president trump said in an interview, i was going to fire comey regardless of recommendation. when i decided to do it, i said to myself, this russia thing with trump in russia is a made up story. as the fbi's investigation into russian election interference and possible coordination with the trump campaign, it appears the president became more and more concerned with director comey's unwillingness to cooperate in the russian matter. all of this raises important question for the next fbi had regarding independence. the fbi must remain an independent law enforcement
organization free from political influence. in the stars from the very top. the fbi director does not serve the president, he serves the constitution, law and the american people. the director of the fbi must be a leader who has the integrity and strength that will enable him to withstand any attempts at political interference. the judiciary committee will fully examine the qualifications and integrity of the person standing before us. will the fbi pursue investigations regardless of who's implicated? will he stand up for right is right and lawful? these are not abstract question
questions. in the committee must consider how christopher wray has handled such situations in the past. according to one press account, he expressed his desire to resign in a standoff with the bush white house about the legality of the nsa surveillance program. yet it was testified that the year earlier that christopher wray was part of senior leadership that may have reviewed a memo justifying the use of enhanced interrogation techniques. this is significant because we
know there are those that would bring back torture of the code. so how he will handle this is important. in 2,009, this committee heard important testimony stating that fbi interrogators have used the informed interrogation approach. an fbi agent who was a key fbi interrogator, testified to us about the contrast between the fbi's techniques and the enhanced interrogation techniques used by the cia during the bush administration. he testified that these enhanced techniques were operationally
ineffective and unreliable. and harmful to counterterrorism. we learned that bob mueller ended the fbi's participation in the interrogation of other cia detainees. because of the harsh torture methods they used. and because they were undermining the investigation. he pulled his people out. this is important because the issue of interrogation techniques isn't just something of the past. trump said that torture works, and he would immediately bring back waterboarding and much worse. so i'm interested in knowing
more about the nominees knowledge for the cia's use of torture during the bush administration and knowledge of detainee abuse in iraq. the cia's use of torture are a stain on our nation's values and history. the senate intelligence committees torture report was issued in 2014 when i was chairman of that committee. it all lined the horrific abuses of detainees and the flimsy legal reasoning used to justify such practices. christopher wray was the assistant deputy attorney general when the office of legal counsel issued the torture memo
memos. one of the authors of these memos, testified that olc would not have issued such opinions without approval of the office attorney general. in his testimony, he referenced christopher wray as one of the people who received drafts of the memos. this raises the question of what exactly christopher wray role in reviewing these memos. i would like you to clear this up this morning. i think this should go on the record and i think he should respond directly to the committee. i'm also concerned by reports that christopher wray was
alerted early on by the abuse of detainees in iraq. i would like to know more about what he no, and what he did about the response. this committee is charged with considering the qualifications and experience with criminal and terrorism investigations. we must also examine his independence, integrity, and willingness to stand up in the face of political pressure. it will most certainly come. mr. chairman, thank you for holding this hearing and i look forward to hearing from the nominee. siegel >> we will go to an introduction of our nominee.
i also had the privilege of serving you for over a decade. and i know how determined you are to get things done. you may proceed. >> thank you very much. it's a great honor to be before the community today. the president's nominee for director of the fbi. history does seem to run them. in 1977, i strongly recommended the judge to this committee. it's a challenging time for the justice department and fbi. i described judge bell for his candor, integrity, and
independence. years later, judge bell contacted me praising christopher wray as a rising star. he recommended him to my colleagues to head the criminal division of the department of justice. throughout time of all this career. i have satisfied myself fully that my support of him was well-placed. i can ensure that he embodies the same traits of judge bell, candor integrity and independence. what is the basis of my confidence in chris?
from his service in atlanta, where chris worked with the fbi with criminal prosecutions appeared in 2001 when he served principal deputy. he's been a leader in the department of justice. after september 11th, chris worked hard with the leadership, with other senior officials to respond to the attack and restructure the department to be more effective to prevent future acts of terrorism. he also helped oversee other forms of justice including project safe neighborhoods initiative.
in the fraud task force. in 2003 at age 36, chris is nominated by president bush to lead the justice departments division. the senate confirmed him unanimously. and this is justified by overseeing two important divisions of the department. criminal division and national security division. in recent years i've observed him close up where he heads the special matters team started by judge bell. in private practice, chris was regarded as one of the most skillful people in the country. christopher wray possesses an
unwavering commitment to the rule of law. he has a proven track record, independent of favor or influence. he commands the respect and admiration of lawyers and judges and all who is observed as conduct and record. he understands the loyalty to our laws and nation, and not any officeholder. he's demonstrated that is principles be upheld. i would like to read one paragraph from a letter, i have had the chance to work with men
and women who have served at the department of justice. i have witnessed them handling the most sensitive investigations and matters. i can tell firsthand that i have not worked with anyone with a keener sense of the departments mission and need to conduct free from favor, influence and partisanship. why is christopher wray confirmation important? he will follow the facts and the law with fairness and objectivity. every member of this committee knows how important that job is to our nation.
history tells us that among the other important tasks we allow the department of justice and the fbi to serve on a powerful branch. this is been made clear during the watergate investigation. and at the iran-contra investigation. in the whitewater investigation. in the nsa surveillance episode. all of these challenges need thorough oversight which is essential. we ask of the men and women of the fbi is enormous. upholding laws, investigating
lawbreakers. the fbi deserves a director so they can accomplish these tasks with our nation's confidence. there's too much at stake to allow this nomination to stand idly. thank you members of this committee for moving forward on this nomination. i am confident that meeting pressures and enormous consequences, christopher wray will devote himself entirely to protect the american people and upholding our constitution. i strongly urge the committee to confirm christopher wray as
director of the fbi. thank you for letting me speak today. >> thank you for your appearance and statement. >> i remember testimony of judge bell. i've served here with many u.s. senators. sam nunn is one of the best i've ever worked with. i've learned a lot from him. every experience with him is great except for the time we were in a darkened room with a s.w.a.t. team breaking in. it's an honor to have you here. >> thank you.
members of the committee, thank you for the privilege of appearing today. i would like to thank senator nunn for that kind introduction. there is no way i could undertake an endeavor like this without the support of my family. with me today is my wife, children, my parents, my sister, my niece, my brother and sister-in-law, . a commitment like this affects the whole family. and i would like to express my gratitude to all them. i monitored by the president to be nominated to lead the fbi.
i'm humbled to work alongside the outstanding men and women of the bureau. they have proven their unshakable commitment to protecting americans, upholding our constitution and laws and demonstrating the virtues of the fbi model, fidelity, bravery and integrity. a colleague often used to say that it's amazing what you can accomplish when you don't care who gets credit. in my experience, the people of the fbi demonstrated that in the way they tackled the mission.
the fbi has earned the reputation of the finest law enforcement agency in the world. all of the staff operate largely out of public view. the toilet great risk to themselves in a great sacrifice to their families. they prefer rather not individual recognition. i feel very fortunate to witness that kind of selfless and inspiring commitment firsthand throughout my career. as a prosecutor, i learned a great deal of working with my colleagues to various crimes.
those agents are my friends to this date, and it taught me a lot about him what it means to play it straight and follow the facts. i continued my public service to work at the justice department with larry thompson. after 9/11 i witnessed the fbi's extraordinary capabilities as the people there moved heaven and earth to find who committed the horrific attacks and make sure they never happen again. i know from up close, that the horror of 9/11 is never faded from the fbi's memory. the bureau works tirelessly every day to protect every
american. as head of the justice department, i saw countless examples of the fbi's pursuit of justice, free and independent of favor or influence. from counterterrorism to counterespionage and cybercrime, human trafficking and public corruption and fraud, i've worked with the men and women of the fbi reported all online to make our lives better. if i'm given the honor of leading this agency, i will never allow the fbi's work to be driven by anything else besides the facts come a lot in of justice. my loyalty is to the constitution into the rule of
law. those of in my guideposts throughout my career and i will continue that. there's no doubt that our country faces great threats. america's law enforcement's and intelligence agencies have to pitch a perfect game every day. while those who want to inflict harm only have to hit once. i consider the most important duty is to ensure that nothing distracts the fbi from the mission. in conclusion, i pledge to be the leader the fbi deserves to run the independent bureau. thank you mr. chairman, i look
forward to answering questions. >> were going to have tenant rounds. there are two votes scheduled at 12:30. i asked if we can get done by 12:30 but we will let people go as long on the questions. i'll ask that we don't lose a whole 45 minutes while we have the votes. the first questions will seem softball. i think they are very important to every member of the committe
committee. when we have some saying that democrats can't get answers to the questions. and things like the role of whistleblowers. it's basic to the constitutional principle of the separation of powers. we've heard a lot about the need for fbi to be independent. and also for the fbi to make decisions free of political pressure or influence. what is your view of the independence of the fbi?
>> i believe it is only one right way to do this job with independence, playing it straight, faithful to the constitution and laws. without fear or regard to partisan political influence. that's commitment i brought through my years. that's the commitment that i think the american people expect of the fbi director. that's the commitment i would make to this committee and country if confirmed. i have a lot of respect for the men and women of the fbi.
anybody who thinks that i would be pulling punches doesn't know me very well. >> i emphasize the importance of oversight and transparency. do i have your assurance that if confirmed, you will assist me in members of the committee and us with our oversight activities? >> i understand what you're getting at. i think the role of this
committee is special and i would do everything i could to ensure we are being responsive and prompt by dealing with all members of the committee. >> would you pledge to provide information to congress in a timely manner and foster communication regarding our oversight request? >> i would do everything in my power to ensure the fbi is being responsive and prompt with responding to oversight requests. >> i have a feeling that not just the fbi but most agencies
teach or treat whistleblowers like they are a skunk at a picnic. there isn't the exact protection at the fbi. when we met, i gave you a list of whistleblower cases. that list shows it's taken 2-10 years for cases to be resolved. whistleblowers also have no access to independent review in the fbi and retaliation is rarely as a plan. tone is said at the top, how will you protect whistleblowers
in the fbi and hold retail leaders accountable? your predecessors did a poor job in this. >> your reputation for looking over whistleblowers i think is unparalleled and i know this topic is very important to you. retaliation against whistleblowers is wrong. i'm not yet familiar with the bureaus internal processes. but there needs to be a process for whistleblowers. they can play an important role in accountability. it's not just oversight, but
accountability comes from withi within. whistleblowers can be an important part of that. >> i appreciate your words. you said whistleblowers should not be retaliated against. two of your predecessors told me the same thing. so you can understand why i have or don't expect that your misleading me. but your good intentions may not be carried out. i think is important you know that. i want you to be aware that fbi whistleblowers are the only federal law enforcement that has no access to independent judicial review.
in members of the community are pursuing legislation along that line. i hope we can get some support from you so that you not treated differently. there is no doubt extremely qualified and none array of different areas. the ultimate goal is to protect and defend the u.s. against terrorism and other threats. the fbi director needs to lead that, please explain how you have the relevant background skills, knowledge and experience to lead the fbi in combating
threats? >> most of my four years in the department, were focused on those issues, counterterrorism and counterespionage. during that period of time, both of those sections were part of the criminal division. my oversight responsibilities focus on the criminal division in those sections were high priority. well over 50% of my time was
focused on those issues. >> this will probably be my last question. your predecessor spoke repeatedly about the need for law enforcement to have the tools to research threats to national security. in that regard, please explain as fbi director will you advocate for fixes to be put into place to get electronic information transaction records for national security investigations. >> is a tricky balance to be struck in that territory.
access to electronic information is paramount. i do know that were going to have to as a society, find solutions to these problems. technology is overtaking us all so committed to working with everyone to find a solution. >> thank you. >> did you discuss mr. comey or his firing with anybody in the white house? if so, who, when? >> i did not discuss those topics with anybody in the
white house. my only discussion was mr. rosenstein making an observation to me. and that in effect made for a better landscape to take on his position. that was it. >> you served as the deputy attorney general senior advisor when the torture memos were issued. one of the authors of the memos testified in 2008. that you were one of the
officials who would have received drafts of the memos. in those memos would not of been issued without approval of the deputy attorney's office. he believed that you provided comments on the memo which included that interrogation tactics don't qualify as tortur torture. what was your role in reviewing or proving that memo? regarding the treatment. some of us were trying to get a hold of those memos during that time. we couldn't even see the memos.
this looms big in my mind. >> i recognize and respect the issue. my view is that torture is wrong and unacceptable. both of my predecessors had a policy that the fbi is going to play no part in the use of any torture techniques. thirdly, one of the things we did was investigate and prosecute an cia contractor that
gone overboard. that was the case i'm very proud of. >> and that was a homicide case. >> i think it was in the salt. an afghan detainee. we prosecuted him in the district of north carolina. he was convicted and sentenced. that was an important case and sent a message for the intolerance of that conduct. we talked about this in our
meeting, in my recollection, i never provided comments or approval on the torture topic. is the kind of thing i think i remember. my portfolio was focused on the criminal division. the office of legal counsel was not part of my portfolio. that was not within my wheelhouse. as assistant attorney general, we did provide input on the
statute, but not the particular technique. the proper role of prosecutors is not to provide legal advice, but investigate and prosecute cases of people who go beyond the bounds of the law. >> can you speak on your connections to the detainee prison, and abuse of detainees? in that memo expressed a suspected homicide. when were you first informed
about allegations of detainee abuse at this prison or elsewhere, who informed you and what actions did you take? >> i don't have a clear recollection of when i first learned about that abuse. we were getting referrals from the cia about the various detainee matters. some of those referrals included not just places in afghanistan but i rock. a lot of those investigations took a while and came to fruition after i left the department. >> so you have no specific recollection?
civil injunction authority related to terrorism, there is a relentless and growing isis recruitment effort. it's identified in over 100 criminal indictments of criminal authorities. the civil injunction exists for the attorney general to attain orders to those who provide material support to terrorist organizations. in shut down websites for distributing software and spying on people. how do you feel about the use of this civil injunction? >> i'm not really familiar with
this particular tool. i would be interested in learning more about it. from my experience in terrorism, material support, legal remedies are very important. if america is counting on people to catch the terrorists with their finger on the switch of a bomb, that's overly optimistic. you have to look at the whole process, where begins, and we would rather catch the terrorist with hands on a check and then on a bomb.
so that's very important to prevent attacks as opposed to play catch up after attacks have occurred. >> will you commit to informing this committee if you witness or learn of any efforts to interview interfere with the wof mueller? >> i worked closely with director mueller in the past. he's a straight shooter and have a lot of respect for him. i would support him in his mission. >> when i asked is if you learn of tampering would you let this committee know? >> i would consult with the
appropriate officials. to make sure i'm not jeopardizing the investigation. our consider an effort to tamper with an investigation to be unacceptable and inappropriate. >> welcome to the community. i'm pleased to have you in this position. i'm grateful that you be willing to take it. this will be an interesting life, but i'm not sure if he'll be a nice life for you or your family. let me begin with encryption. such technology is essential in
protecting privacy. as the chairman of the task force, i've had conversations with numerous tech leaders. proposals for backdoors into encrypted devices are not the solution, i think. we need a public-private partnership work together to find a path forward. will you commit to work with congress and the industry stakeholders so we can find a solution that's workable for both sides? >> this is an important issue.
this is one of the most difficult issues facing the country. there's a balance that needs to be struck between the importance of encryption and the threats to our systems. and giving law enforcement the tools they need to keep us safe. sitting here today, i'm not sure what the solution is what we had to find a solution. it's more productive to work together than pointing fingers and blaming each other. that's the approach of trying to take, and that's the approach i would want to take here. being in the private sector, i think i know how to talk to the
private sector and get them on board to understand why the issue is so important. >> and now child predators, i recently joined with senator senator franken with child protection acts and provide background checks to youth serving organizations. to make sure that child predators are not able to be a part of such organizations. i like to think for providing support for this bill. would you commit to continue working with congress to ensure that youth organizations have access to fbi background checks for employees and volunteers? >> this is an important issue.
i'm very interested to support those efforts and work with you on the child exhortation. i'm aware on a personal level of the threat that predators face to the most vulnerable populations in the country. i want to work with everyone to find solutions. >> current law restricts access to the fbi's dna records. recent developments in rapid dna technology offers some great promise for dna analysis.
using this technology, a law enforcement officer can know within two hours whether an individual is wanted for an outstanding crime. my bill expands access to dna records for rapid dna instruments. it would help law enforcement to solve crime and exonerate the innocent. will you help us on this issue? >> i would look very much forward to working with you and others on the community to work with these issues. when i served in law enforcement
before, it was clear what a valuable tool is to ensure that the right people are caught and prosecuted. and also those of their own aren't unfairly accused. it's a good sense enforcement to make that tool more readily and rapidly available. >> clinton was investigated for her unclassified server system. it ranged from confidential to top-secret. as someone who served 20 years in the senate intelligence committee, i have deep respect for that intelligence committee and the need to protect classified information.
i was troubled by the way she handled such information. what's your perspective on how the fbi should handle cases in the future about those cases? >> this issue is very important to me. they investigated a number of cases of data exposure. it shows just how much of our sources come from our overseas partners. most americans have no idea how important that is. if we can protect classified information, that information
can get jeopardized, and risk the lives of intelligence community personnel. also it causes our allies to lose confidence in us. those things need to be treated very severely and investigated aggressively. >> unconcerned about violent crime trends. violent crimes have increased by 4% and murders have increased by 11%. while you explain what you will do to curb this trend? >> dealing with violent crime
and gun violence, it's a subject i spent a lot of time on. the fbi needs to look for ways to contribute along with atf. the approach should be to see what we can do to provide value. that could be organize gang activity, places where the fbi has expertise to complement the atf and law enforcement. the whole being greater than the sum of the parts approach. >> thank you again and your family.
firing of james comey. the president misled the public of his firing. that is president made his motivation very clear. he fired him because of the russian thing. which was the investigation between the collusion of russia and the president's campaign. now there are multiple investigations regarding interference by other countries by russia. yesterday we've learned that other members of the trunk campaign were eager to work and talk with members of the russians organization.
about the campaign. we need to know exactly what happened. i don't care they're helping a republican or democrat, no country especially an enemy like russia should interview interfeh our country. the fbi is a powerful tool to the president, and they may expect your loyalty is the president did with director comey. nobody in the white house asked you for a pledge of loyalty?
if the president asked you to do something unlawful, what would you say? >> i would try and talk him out of it, and if that failed, i would resign. >> why did the president fire director comey? >> i don't know. i'm not familiar with all the information the present had so i'm in position to speak to tha that. i know there's a special counsel underway. and i think that issue falls into the investigation. >> director muller is looking at
if there crimes that took place. i'm wondering if the president face the great pressure by russia, and that pressure is taken off by firing comey. >> i don't know all of the circumstances that statement. during my time at the departmen department, in all my dealings with comey, he was a dedicated public servant and a colleague. >> i absolutely pledge to work
against interference. >> the fbi director did things that were illegal and improper when did it for his own political motivation. the intelligence community, concluded that russia intervened in the 2016 election to help donald trump. do you have any doubt about that? >> the only thing i've been able to review on that, is the public
form of the assessment. i don't have access to all of the classified information. from what i reviewed, i've no reason to doubt the assessment. now be one of the first things i want to see. >> you see the actions of russia and europe. for russia trying to expand their influence. i don't want any interference with our elections or other countries. during an event on criminal procedures, you discussed the
extent where foreigners were protected by the fourth amendment on american soil. and that a resident of mexico was not protected because he was not a member of the people. it was at a good of handling undocumented aliens. how does that apply to undocumented aliens within the united states? >> at the time of my recollection, the main thrust of my marks were about how those
who criticize need to come up with an explanation. i was trying to make the point that there's some logic to looking at original is in that context. >> you think they should have any protection whatsoever, or can they just go in and break doors down and search for whatever they want? go we need to be mindful of the civil liberties of all. >> you agree that is torture? >> yes. >> that's the same answer director comey said.
there are things you do on a bipartisan basis on this committee. i asked director comey, and he promised me a follow-up. and then he asked me what are we doing going over all of these cases that were closed. if those cases come up, will you commit to having an agent conduct investigations to determine if those documents were correct?
we've had people convicted because they were faulty, we should know that. >> i share your concern about having forensic science done appropriately. we can't have innocent people convicted because of flawed science. i'm not aware of the particular case, but i would like to get briefed on early on. >> thank you. and i have a question about mayor giuliani's input on the investigation. i would ask for your commitment to respond to those questions. will you respond to them? >> i look
>> i didn't mean to interrupt his answer, i'm sorry. >> i think you've been an outstanding director. america is listening about what is going on in this hearing and you're going to be speaking pretty soon as the top cop in the land. are you familiar with the article from politico, january 11th, 2017 titled "ukrainian efforts to sabotage trump backfire costco? donald trump was the only presidential candidate who is boosted by officials of a former soviet bloc country. ukrainian government officials tried to up hillary clinton and undermined trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. they also disseminated documents indicating a top trump aid and corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter only to back away from the election. they helpe