tv Happening Now FOX News July 12, 2017 10:00am-11:00am PDT
recognition because they believe the principles they serve are so much more than themselves. it's beautifully crafted and as someone who has worked with and around the bureau before, 36,000 current employees -- >> i think it's about that. >> it's really thoughtful. without a lot of recognition, often times, and danger and that's life and limb and times at home and thank you for representing that in a way that you obviously there have been some dark times of the bureau in the past, we spoke a little bit today about director hooper and the way he mismanaged that agency 45 years ago. at the of the bureau by white house administrations across both parties. of the kennedy administration,
the johnson administration and the nixon administration regularly tried to politicize on weapon eyes the fbi. against civil rights activists and lots of other people who weren't able to fight back against that big and overreaching state. one of the reasons why you have earned so much support for the way you conceived of this mission end of this calling today is because of the ways you have made it clear how you think this oath obligates you to work for the constitution and in defense of the constitution on behalf of the american people, not on behalf of either political party. as you have reiterated again and again, the willingness to resign and put aside the investigation, i think that is why you hear so much bipartisan support for your confirmation today. would you also pledged to this committee that if ever directed by the white house to shut down or curtail an investigation that you would report that back to this committee? not necessarily in a public setting but at the very least in
a classified setting, would you come do not commit that you would end an investigation is something you would report back to this committee and the senate? >> i would certainly report it wherever is appropriate, i would need to make sure i was compliant with all of my legal l obligations in doing so. i would want to make sure i could bring it to the appropriate committee's attention and the appropriate way. >> i appreciate all the complicated chain of command issues inside an agency like yours, where the bureau reports out a little different level. at the senate's constitutional obligations to oversight mean we are one of the destinations to which you should be reporting, not just the executive departments chain of command. >> i would certainly agree that this committee and other committees with oversight responsibility over the fbi have enormously critical roles, it is
part of our system and i think it needs to be respected and all the appropriate ways. i would make every effort within the chain of command as he referred to, to urge that we be as forthcoming as we legally and appropriately can be with all the right members of the senate and the house. >> this is obviously a very politicized time in american life, a politicized time in the congress. i am filling in right now for a chairman, chuck grassley of iowa who has lots of bipartisan respect around this place because people know that when he does oversight, he is doing it as an article one branch of article two of the constitution, not as a republican of an administration that he either is or isn't aligned with his own party affiliation. this is a constitutional separation of powers issue and i think i can publicly say on behalf of the chairman, there was a lot of robust support around here for making sure that
this is a committee that would like to hear those details when you are ever pushed to politicize. your predecessor, assuming your confirmation, famously referred to wikileaks as intelligence porn as opposed to journalism. and that wikileaks is regularly acting on behalf of other governments against the interest of the u.s. public. can you briefly explained to this committee and the american people how you believe wikileaks came to be an outlet of foreign and specifically russian propaganda? >> senator, i do not have access to that information, i don't know how that came to occur. i certainly share a former director comey's concern about that and i have no reason to doubt his description. but that is something i would have to learn more about once i had access to classified information.
wikileaks was not a thing when i was in government before. my observations of it have been solely through, like any american, watching the news media in bits and pieces. >> i recognize you have been in the private sector so you are not up to speed on all of these issues yet. is it your sense as you are arriving to lead a critical agency that is a part of the intelligence community, broadly a law enforcement agency but also has the national security division and lots of other icy relationships, is it your view that we are currently adequately investing in the challenges of our time? >> senator, i don't the guy know enough to be able to make a responsible evaluation of the resources. but i can tell you is my sense is that as much as everybody is talking about the threats of the sort you are describing, i have the sense that we are just scratching the surface of how
grave the threats really are. or at least how grave the threats are about to be before we blink and wake up. that is based on what limited information i have had, my sense is one of the biggest changes i have seen from being in law enforcement for a number of years and being out and starting to be reintroduced again, is whereas sieber was a discrete topic in 2005, it had a lot of attention. now in 2017, cyber in many ways permeates every aspect of national security, of the intelligence community, of every type of criminal contact we deal with. it's become part of the fabric of our security but also of the threats to our security. it is hard for me to imagine we are doing nearly enough, i think we can always do better.
>> when you are in a classified bunker getting briefings on these topics, i am 1 of 5 people in the u.s. senate who has never been a politician before. in my time interviewing people, it is fairly stunning how when you ask direct questions about not just our cyber operations and implementation but cyber doctrine, offensive and defensive doctrine, when you ask who is responsible for cyber doctrine inside the executive branch, in the last administration and of the current administration, the main thing that happens is people start looking sideways and figure out who else they can point to. how do you conceive of the fbi's responsibilities in the larger institutional framework of cyber responsibilities across the u.s. government? what is the fbi's role? >> the fbi probably has multiple roles, a criminal investigative role and there are ways in which
the criminal investigative tools can be used to prevent, detect, disrupt threats. but it also has an intelligence role, where it partners with our partners in the intelligence committee and our overseas partners in trying to defend our systems and our infrastructure from attacks. it just a slightly different kind of role, and the two things work hand-in-hand. i would think that there is an analogy that could be drawn to the terrorism arena in terms of awareness, i remember listening to a prominent counterterrorism expert in a room full of prosecutors from all around the world, it was a very jovial meeting until this guy got up and spoke. he said there are two types of countries, those who have been hit by a terrorist attack and
get it and there are those who have not yet. you could have heard a pin drop. it certainly caught a lot of joy out of the room. i think there is a degree to which the cyber threats that we face, the same kind of statement could be made there. my strong suspicion as there are countries have been hit and started to wake up, companies that have been hit and started to wake up, and there are many who haven't realized it yet. the key word being yet, because it is common. >> assuming you are confirmed, can you tell us a little bit about your first 90 days, the 100 day plan for how you will assess issues like our cyber capabilities and cyber threat and that counterterrorism space, a place you have worked a lot more trying to get back up to speed with where we may be under investing and how you risk, rank, and prioritize among
those? >> one of the first things i need to do is sit down with the senior management of the bureau and start getting briefed up on all of the areas that the fbi is responsible for. i would be largely following off of the priorities the fbi has in its strategy, which prioritizes counterterrorism, counterespionage and cyber at the top. my guess is i am probably furthest behind in some ways because of the advance of technology on the cyber front, i would want to prioritize in particular, spending more time on some of those issues early on just because my own learning curve as is true of anybody who has been out of that part of it, with the breakneck pace and advance of technology would be impacted. those would be some of the things i would prioritize early on. >> thank you. i have a number of cyber questions you and i started discussing in my office that i
look forward to following up with you on and trying to support you on when you have this important new calling. i am going to turn the gavel back to the chairman. thank you, mr. wray. >> thank you for the visit to my office as well, i enjoyed the discussion. just following up on some of that, you feel you can exhibit independence as director of the fbi as necessary for that decision. >> senator, i am my own man and i intend to be governed by the constitution, by the laws and by the rules and to do things by the book strictly independently without fear or favor and certainly without regard to partisan politics. that's the only way i think you can do this job. >> thank you, we discussed in my office all the challenges coming
up for the fbi. you mention technology and cyber obviously. with regard to technology, it seems that in this committee, we try to balance of security, privacy, as soon as we arrive at a solution, technology changes and we are at square one once again. can you talk about that process with the fbi and how you can work with this committee and the congress to ensure that we have the proper balance between privacy and security? >> certainly as you say, there needs to be a balance. that's not just of privacy interest but a protection of infrastructure. i do believe very strongly that technology, the private sector is advancing at such a rapid pace and government historically is not as nimble in change.
somehow, we as a country have to figure out a way to get to be one step ahead of the bad guys. and those who would do us harm and the way they would use technology against us as opposed to constantly chasing the last technological advance. it's got to be a high priority to work both with congress but also to reach out to industry and see if we can secure a better in that effort. >> thank you. it is important to arizona as a border state, eliminating public corruption on the southern border has traditionally been a priority for the fbi. in the past, the bureau has investigated corruption, do you agree that this remains an issue, especially for border states like arizona? >> senator, i strongly agree that public corruption is an
important priority for the fbi, all throughout the country. my experience with public corruption investigations goes all the way back to my time as a law prosecutor, some of the most meaningful cases i worked on were public corruption cases. as assistant attorney general, the public integrity section reported up to me and that sanction played an incredibly important role. as to the fbi, my experience historically has been that some of the very best agents in the fbi gravitate to the public corruption squad and that is because the skill level and sophistication of the very best fbi agents is in my view without parallel and public corruption cases are extremely difficult to pursue and it requires some of the best and brightest agents and it is watching a good public corruption fbi agent worker cases a site to behold and would inspire any american as it did
me when i saw it. >> thank you. as you may or may not know, all applicants for law enforcement positions at u.s. cups domes directing that customs and border protection are required to pass polygraph test. these high failure rates have prevented us from hiring enough officers to adequately staff at our ports entry's. we are turning away qualified applicants because of the potentially flawed polygraph. they have heard of false positives out there and if you there might impact their ability
to land another federal or state law enforcement job in the future. given the fbi success administrating its own poly graph, i have a hospice of mr. comey as well, would you commit to provide guidance or share best practices to better conduct their polygraph examinations? >> that is not an issue i am especially familiar with at this stage but something i will look forward to learning more about and seeing how we at the bureau could be helpful in that regard. >> that would be helpful. we understand the fbi has a much better program and it is significant problem on our border to hire, to deal with attrition let alone higher the number of officers as border patrol agents or port officials that we need. over the past few years, we have witnessed several high-profile
data breaches at federal government agencies, including omb. a data breaches are often called by a technological vulnerability, human vulnerability or both. i asked your predecessor about this but i want to hear your thoughts as well given amount's of sensitive data held by the fbi. what steps will you make take e sure this data is secure? >> at the moment i don't know much about the fbi's security status in terms of its cyber security but that is something i would need to focus on early on, i want to get briefed by the right experts to understand not only what we have done but what they see as the threats. and how they can be confident that they have correctly identified the threats, what kind of pressure testing and
reality checking they have done to make sure that our systems are not more vulnerable than they might appreciate. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i would like to defer to my colleague. >> thank you for making me go first, good afternoon, mr. wray, thank you for your willingness to serve in your family. i want to they ask you a couple of questions and hope that you could give me answers that are straightforward, as much as you can given the limitations of your position. in your view, is obstruction of justice a serious crime? >> absolutely. >> is that your view that lying to the fbi is a serious crime and both should be investigated vigorously if there is evidence that they occurred? >> yes.
>> to your knowledge, is there evidence that there has been perjury or obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation into russian interference in our election in 2016? >> i do not have knowledge to that effect, i think special cancer mueller would have jurisdiction over that. >> the reason he is investigating is because there is evidence to warrant a special counsel as i advocated at the very beginning of rod rosenstein's appointment. i view this investigation with the utmost seriousness because it does involve obstruction of justice and perjury and potential defrauding the government of its lawful services, conspiracy to violate the computer fraud and abuse act and other violations of law. you and i have talked about the need for the fbi to be as independent and immune from
political interference as possible because i foresee a firestorm brewing that will threaten the fbi. i am going to support you because i do believe that you will provide the kind of independence and integrity that the fbi needs based on your record and your experience and expertise. i am trusting as i think members of this body will, trust you to take that most solemn and historically significant obligation as seriously as you do the crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice. those kind of crimes betray the rule of law because they impede vigorous and independent investigation. we will be counting on you to protect to the fbi, which is an institution of such professional excellence and integrity that it
is worth any person's career to defend, i hope you agree. >> i do agree, senator. >> if you foresee a threat to the independence and integrity that rises to the level of political interference, will you commit to taking appropriate action, which may include resigning from office? >> yes, as we discussed when we met, one of the lessons i got from both former attorney and deputy attorney general's, is that you cannot take a position like this without resolving in advance that you have to be willing to quit or be fired at a moment's notice in order to stand up for what you think is right and that would be my commitment to stand firm to that. >> you also told me that you tried to persuade whoever might be taking an inappropriate or illegal action, whether it is
the president of the united states or anyone else, an effort to persuade that official to persuade a course. >> that is correct. my whole career, both public and private, has consisted of an awful lot of times telling people they don't things they o hear and talking people out of bad ideas. >> in my view, the firing of your predecessor warrants investigation as a potential obstruction of justice. we have not yet proof beyond a reasonable doubt, we have nothing like it. we are short of evidence necessary to charge anyone. but if that kind of crime has been committed, you would investigated seriously and diligently, correct? >> as to the particular investigation, special counsel mueller is in conducting that
investigation and i would view the fbi's role in providing whatever's appropriate support that is needed so he can do a thorough investigation. if it were to occur and some other context, absolutely, the fbi -- i take obstruction of justice, deathly seriously because they go to the integrity of the process and as i said, i think in response to questions from some of your colleagues, it is the integrity of the process that gives the american people confidence that the outcome of the investigation is the right one. >> you are a partner in that investigation and i believe you told me when we met privately that you would provide whatever resources are needed by robert mueller to do that investigation. >> i would provide all inappropriate appropriate resources. when we worked together before, my experience with him was always terrific, and i feel
confident that he would be professional and only make appropriate requests. >> will you commit to report to this committee any attempts to deny him and that investigation resources or other support that are needed by others in the administration? >> senator, if there was an inappropriate request to deny him appropriate resources, i would try to evaluate the circumstances and take all appropriate action. >> will you be making records of your conversations as jim comey did? director comey made memoranda to reflect his conversations with the president and others, would you do the same? >> i think it would depend on the situation. i can commit that i would be
listening very intently to any conversation i had with anybody of consequence, to me that is the most important thing. if a conversation i had suggested to me that i ought to create some record, i would not hesitate to do it and i have done that before in various stages of my private practice. i would evaluate each situation on its own merit and circumstances. >> a conversation with the president of the united states would probably be a significant conversation, correct? >> it would depend with the conversation was about. if the president said "how is your family?" i'm not sure i would create a record of something like that. >> correct, but if he said i want a pledge of loyalty from you christopher ray, that would be significant? >> that would be significant. i was not asked to take any kind of loyalty oath and i would have refused to take any kind of loyalty oath. >> i heard your testimony about that in the past and i respect
and believe that you are being truthful in that regard. going in the future, i take it that if he asked for a pledge of loyalty or ask you to shut down an investigation or go lightly onto someone, that would be a conversation worth reporting and in fact worth reporting to this committee, i hope. >> a conversation like that is something i would take very seriously and want to make sure all the right people knew. >> let me ask one last question on this line. you have been asked about the emails from donald trump, jr., that have been public recently. in your view, as a former prosecutor could those emails be evidence of criminal intent? >> i think i may have said this to one of your colleagues, i actually have not read the emails. i haven't even had a chance to read any of the newspaper coverage about the emails because it has all happened when
i have been going up and down meeting with all of your colleagues. i'm not as up to speed on it, i cannot responsibly answer that question. >> let me switch to a different topic, you have mentioned the scourge of gun violence in this country. would you support common sense measures to stop gun violence as you know i have championed a number of them along with others on this committee and in the senate, including universal background checks, would you support that kind of effort? >> i would want to look at any specific legislative proposal and get back to you once i had evaluated a specific piece of legislation. i do support efforts to deal with gun violence aggressively and effectively. i think my record both as a prosecutor and leadership of the department is consistent with that. >> in principle, you would support such measures, you would want to see the details but for example on universal background
checks, you were not rule out supporting the measure. >> i would not rule out any common sense gun reform legislation without having a chance to review it. i would have to make an assessment based on the circumstances. being tough on gun violence is it something i would want to be as director of the fbi. >> one last question, between 1977 and 2015, there have been hundreds of crimes committed against reproductive health care facilities, clinics, and other offices. abortion providers, reproductive health care. 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 185 arsons and so forth. in 1998, attorney general janet reno created the national task force on violence against reproductive health providers to coordinate investigation and
prosecution of such incidents. as fbi director, i hope you will continue to support the fbi's participation in that effort. >> senator, i gather there is a specific statute that is in place that the fbi has investigative jurisdiction to enforce. we would zealously investigate all criminal violations including the ones under that statute. >> there are criminal statutes that i appreciate your commitment, thank you. >> >> i feel like you have saved the best for last or something like that. thank you very much for your patience, it is good to see you again. i support the attempt to assert the
this committee has an important role to play as i think you have acknowledged to ensure that law enforcement investigations are done free from political influence. clearly there has been a lot of emphasis and concern on the part of this committee in light of why this vacancy for the fbi director occurred. the independence of the fbi and you should you be confirmed of any political influence. i want to return to some questions about russia's interference with our elections and the continuing position of the president to take seriously the damage to our country or even the conclusions of our intel communities. >> as i said senator, i have only been able to review the public summary, but i have no reason to doubt the conclusions
of the intelligence community. >> the nonpublic portions would be even more confirming than the public information. there has also been testimony, not only by former director comey but others in the intel community cut that we can expect russia to continue to interfere with our elections. should you be confirmed, what would you do to prevent this kind of interference? >> i would want to get briefed by the appropriate professionals, both at the fbi and in other parts of the intelligence community on what we know about how any nation state, whether it is russia or any other nation has attempted to interfere. what are we doing to detect it, how can we be confident we are taking all the right steps, are there sources of information we are not getting that we need to
get access to? i would need to get briefed on all of those efforts. >> in my meeting with you you made it very clear that any foreign countries attempts to interfere, particularly one that is an adversary to us, is an attack on some very basic premises of our country, our democracy. he would take this kind of conclusion that russia will continue to interfere as a very serious, that it would be a priority. >> very serious indeed, senator. >> there were a number of one-on-one conversations that i would characterize as improper or questionable one-on-one meetings that fbi director comey had with president trump. you have testified to the concerns you would have and you have set a number of times that showed that kind of circumstance occur between you and president trump, you would go to
the deputy attorney general, not to the attorney general sessions. you have said that no number of times during your session today. why would you not go to ag sessions? >> unless there was something the attorney general was recused from, i would not rule out talking to the attorney general as well. the department's organizational chart, the fbi reports to the deputy attorney general, number one. number two, contacts the policy of the department has, the governor's policy between the white house and the justice department is direct that those kind of contact should occur through the office of the attorney general. that strikes me is the appropriate place to start. >> in this instance, attorney general sessions has recused himself of anything
pertaining to the russia investigation. >> that is my understanding but i am not familiar with the full scope. >> on the other time when the deputy attorney general spoke with comey, there was a letter recommending that comey be fired. with would you consider that appropriate for someone who recused himself from these matters? >> i don't know all the circumstances surrounding director comey's firing, i know special counsel mueller is investigating that so it is probably not responsible for me to speculate. i will say that the attorney general of the united states has authority over the justice department, which covers much more than any single investigation. clearly the attorney general needs to be able to make decisions that affect the whole institution.
obviously, if he is recused he cannot participate in a particular investigation. >> i would say the firing of director comey was part and parcel as it turns out of the elections and that was -- a circumstance that attorney general sessions was supposed to recuse himself from. the attorney general does get briefings on fbi investigations, ongoing investigations, is that correct? >> historically that has been the case. >> in a case where the attorney general has recused himself, should he beginning briefings on mr. mueller's investigations? >> if i understand your question correctly, anyone who is recused himself from an investigation, whether it is the attorney general or anyone else, should not be getting briefed on that investigation. that specific investigation, no. >> the answer would be no, he should not be getting in briefings on the mueller
investigations. >> i have no reason to believe that he is. >> i think when you were first asked whether you had met with president trump regarding your nomination and you said no but later you said that you were first contacted about this nomination from -- with deputy director rosenstein and then you had a subsequent meeting with jeff sessions and rosenstein and then another meeting at the white house the president attended. when you had your initial meeting with deputy ag rosenstein, does the subject of comey's firing, did the subject of the mueller investigation, but? did you go in with any kind of seeking of reassurances that should you take this position you would be free to do your job, free from political pressure? >> i did go into my meeting with deputy attorney general rosenstein and attorney general
sessions, i met with them together. with a number of questions in my mind about wanting to be sure that i knew what i was getting myself into. and i was very comfortable with what i heard. there was not a discussion of comey's firing or the russia investigation other than deputy attorney general rosenstein making a comment to the effect that now that special counsel mueller has been appointed, that situation is more straightforward because there is an investigation going and special counsel mueller has that. from my perspective, the landscape that i was coming into at that point was different than it would have been without special counsel mueller having been appointed. >> did you come to a conclusion that you would not probably be having one-on-one discussions
about the russian interference with the president as had occurred with the director comey because you had mueller there conducting an investigation? >> yes. >> you were reassured that he would be able to do your job. >> i was very comfortable i would be able to do my job after that meeting, yes. >> at the time you had a meeting with jeff sessions and deputy director rosenstein, did you indicate to them that should you get the job that you would very much support the mueller investigation? >> i did not discuss the russia investigation with them. as i said, other than deputy attorney general rosenstein making the comment that that was now in place, which would make it easier for me to do my job, that was the sum total of that. what i did say to them is i would approach -- much as i have said to this committee. of the way i would approach this
job is with independence, straight and buy the book. >> considering that the president was very focused on the russian investigation and his position is that he hoped it would go away, when you met with the people at the white house, i am not sure who was there but the president was there. he did the question of the mueller investigation, about all? >> not at all. >> did you think that was odd, was it just a hello, good to see you kind of meeting you had at the white house? >> i would described as a pleasant conversation, i did not think it was odd that the president nor anybody else raise with me the conduct of a specific investigation because i would not have expected them to do that. >> i know i am running out of time, i want to get into a second round. thank you very much. >> people do want a second round. we will start the second round right now, i think we have at
least one republican that hasn't had the first round. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> you will have another opportunity. >> i want to ask you about section 702, provides government the authority to collect communications of foreigners located outside of the united states with the assistance of the american electronic communication service dividers. it is an authority used only for counterterrorism, but counterintelligence purpose as well. if this an authority that the privacy and civil liberties oversight board, a lot of people say it is very essential. i go to you as fbi director to be, one of your key responsibilities will be overseeing investigations of threats to national security. if you are predecessor repeatedly affirmed his support for the value of 702 as a national security tool. in a very general way, could you
tell us whether reauthorization of section 702 will remain important to the fbi under your leadership and whether the fbi under your leadership will make sure it uses this national security authority with proper training, execution, oversight to comply with the law and protect the fourth amendment rights? >> it has been a number of years since i had anything to do with it although i had a certain amount to do with it before. what i understand from the public comments of people in the intelligence community, 702 is a vital tool and when we need to put in high-priority, i would expect us to place high priority on it. my understanding to the second part of your question as there are a number of oversight
mechanisms built into the statutory framework, both the executive branch, multiple levels of oversight, the legislative branch. and of the court, the fisa court itself. i think that is appropriate and i would look for ways to make sure the tool is appropriate. >> i want to talk about leaks, the fbi has often failed to answer this committee's questions but then the same information gets leaked to the media were produced in the freedom of information act litigation. is it appropriate for the fbi to ignore requests from this committee and provide the same information to the media in a third-party litigation, if not, what would you do to ensure that this committee's request is received? i asked the same question of comey at his last oversight hearing a couple of weeks before he left the directorship. i said, how do you justify
citizen grassley getting more information then senator grassley can get and he said i cannot tell you why. a senator can't get as much information as a private citizen gets and often the letters that we send for information, we read about the newspaper before we get an answer to our letters. >> senator, as we discussed in our meeting in your office, i think it is obviously important for the fbi working with the department's help and approval to be as responsive as possible to this committee and especially of course to its chairman. i am not familiar with the particular circumstances surrounding the productions of any of these materials, i agree with you that that strikes me just listening to you describe it as an odd situation to put it mildly.
>> i don't expect you to respond to this next question, with anything about mr. mccabe but i use him as an example. the deputy attorney general has failed to explain to this committee what he is doing to deal with the conflict of interest. in a general manner, do you think it is appropriate for any fbi official to participate in a criminal investigation of someone who is an adverse witness in a pending eeo proceeding, and if not, what would you do if confirmed to assure that that does not happen on your watch? >> mr. chairman, obviously i want to make sure i understand the facts appropriately. i think one of the first things i would do on being confirmed is try to take stock of the situation with the senior leadership and understand better the circumstances.
there is of course the investigation into acting director mccabe's conduct and i know mr. chairman, your own strong support for the inspector general function is well-known and i would want to respect that and not comment here out of school. >> i am going to put some letters in the record of support for you. from various law enforcement organizations, and they support your appointment. law enforcement community at large supports strongly. fbi agents association atlantic division, society of formal special agents of the fbi, national fraternal order of police, national association of police organizations, international association of chiefs of police, major county chairs of america, association
of the criminal investigating agencies, the national narcotic officers association coalition and the national fusion center association all be entered into the record without objection. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. it looks like we are nearing an end here. i did want to mention, not just a letter of support that senator grassley just mentioned but also the early one that former u.s. maternity's from all over the country supporting you. i thought it was very impressive. our former republican appointee in minnesota as well as our recent democratic appointed attorney in minnesota. i want to commend you for that. a few follow-up questions. of the first is opioids, i don't know that that has come up and it is an epidemic would be a mild way of raising what is going on. in my state we have lost
everyone from a superstar like prince to a swimming star from a high school swimming team. we've had more people die from opioid overdoses in minnesota then we have from homicide or then we have from car crashes. you and i talked about earlier the bills that i have to make it easier to go after some of the synthetic drugs from a law enforcement standpoint and also the work we have done in leading the bill at a national framework. now it is time to implement everything from treatment to better sharing the data across state lines so that we can monitor prescriptions and share that data. i wander from an fbi perspective if you can give any views you have on this epidemic? >> senator, i strongly agree it is a major problem that is not only sweeping this country but seems to be getting worse all
the time and a lot of states. it sounds like including in minnesota. i think an awful lot of the effort in this area from a federal law enforcement perspective would probably come from the drug enforcement administration. i do think the fbi should look for ways to partner with other federal agencies and state and local law enforcement to figure out how it can contribute what it can uniquely contribute to a multidisciplinary assault on the problem. >> as you know, human trafficking as a whole has been very important to me, we passed a bill that sets out federal effort and both the former attorney general's as well as deputy attorney general yates who i know worked on these cases in atlanta was involved in this.
the fbi has an important part of the effort to end trafficking. one part of this program operation cross-country, which focuses on underage victims, was successful in rescuing 82 children and arresting 239 traffickers during its last cycle. i understand it has been an important issue for you and you have done some pro bono work to help trafficking victims. can you tell us how you intend to carry this out if you are to come into the directorship? >> as we discussed, this is an issue you and i both feel very passionately about. when i was in the criminal division, one of the things we did towards the end of my tenure was recognizing the increase in human trafficking and the multidisciplinary -- i use that word again -- nature of the problem.
we are bringing together both the child exploitation side of it, and immigration side of it, and alien smuggling side of it. if there is an organized gang activity side of it. in response to the questions you asked earlier in a different context, there is a financial side of it. so i think it needs to be sort of coordinated, it is an incredibly vulnerable population that has been subject to enormous leverage by the bad guys. one of the pro bono things i am most pleased of and i am looking forward to hearing my firm take to the next level, after i have left, is an effort focused on helping human trafficking victims. who do not get any serious help in our system. i was really excited to see the young lawyers in our firm get fired up to go see how they can be helpful.
it's a different kind of pro bono work then i think a lot of firms do and i think it's a great thing. >> thank you. >> senator klobuchar is going to shut down this meeting unless somebody on my side comes so i am going to go do a news conference, not about you but just a general one. that i do every wednesday at 2:00. i want to congratulate you and as i said originally, i think i said, we expect to move this along and get this position filled very quickly. i think your testimony today helps us do that and i want to complement your family and your friends for being here with you. and thank you senator klobuchar. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. getting back to the meeting you had at the white house regardin regarding, president trump was there, can you tell us who else
was there from the administration? >> i had to go meetings, the first was the president, the vice president, the white house counsel and a couple of people from the justice department. the second meeting was the president, the presidents of chief of staff, the white house counsel and again, some people from the department, including deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. >> one was the first meeting, do you recall? >> the first meeting was the day after memorial day, it was publicly reported, as i understand. >> neither one of these meetings, did the issue of the russia investigation, mueller or the comey firing came up? what did the president say to you in the first meeting and what did he say to you in the second meeting? >> both meetings were very conversational, about my biography, my background, i
talked about my commitment in the war on terror, and my experiences from having been in the department before. it was more of a -- i would describe it as more of a get to know you kind of conversation in both instances. >> knowing how strongly you believe the fbi should be free to investigate, free from a political influence, et cetera, at that time did you express any of that kind of a strong commitment to the independence of the fbi at either one of these meetings to anybody? >> i may have at some point repeated the line of that i told you a few minutes ago, about my commitment to playing it straight, that is my approach. it wasn't in context called for. i would say senator that i went into both meetings listening
very carefully to make sure that i did not hear something that would make me uncomfortable. having gotten a high level confidence and both deputy attorney general rosenstein who i have known since 2001, and attorney general sessions in that meeting that i have, i was then focused more in the white house meetings on making sure that i did not hear something that i would consider it problematic and i can assure you that if anything had been said that made me remotely uncomfortable, i would not be sitting here today providing testimony for my nomination. >> so in expectation of loyalty to the president would have been a red flag to you? >> i was not asked to take any kind of loyalty oath. >> that would've been the kind of thing you would have been sensitive to listen for? >> correct and that did not happen. >> let me turn to -- we have an
administration that has talked about a muslim registry, a various -- a muslim registry for example. would you go along with something like that? talked about surveilling mosque mosques, creating a registry. as fbi director, would you go along with such a scheme? >> i don't know enough about the specific proposals or plans that anybody is talking about. i would say that my commitment on these issues would be the same as it would be on anything else, which is faithful to the law, faithful to the constitution and faithful to the best practices of the fbi and the department. as i said, i think in response, my experience with terrorism manners is that we need the cooperation of the muslim-american community and that a lot of the leads and some of the most important
investigations have been from those people. i think the fbi director needs to be an fbi director for all americans. >> any kind of a program that would single out individuals based on their religion, would raise some concerns for you that you would ask some quite specific questions i would say on the foundation of religious freedom, not racial profiling. are those areas that as fbi director you would be particularly sensitive about moving forward on any kind of programs that would treat different groups, particularly minority groups in any kind of discriminatory way? >> needless to say, discrimination is abhorrent and not something i would condone. i would want to pay particularly close attention to any program that seemed to raise those kinds of concerns and as i mentioned, on the issue of religious freedom which is something that
has always been very important to me, as i said, one of the more meaningful cases i ever did as a prosecutor was a case where churches all around the country were being burned down precisely because of hostility to a particular religion. which is obviously unacceptable. >> i seem to be over my time. i know -- if you don't mind, your firm has represented various individuals who have interest in russian energy interests and set her up. i will submit a question as to whether any investigations that would involve clients of what would probably be our former law firm should you take this position, how you would handle any conflict issues regarding those kinds of circumstances and also i will submit some questions relating to hate crimes because as we mentioned in my meeting with you, there is a rise in hate crimes and what
this fbi should do to counter prevent hate crimes. >> thank you very much. mr. wray, you and i are going to be engaged in a little bit of a filibuster. i have some follow-up questions. there is a question i asked you very quickly about the shell company and the use of shell company, you answered it fine but i want to explain it, it is a very big deal to me. the treasury department has noted a specific rise in the use of shell company, foreign buyers use them as a way to hide their identity and safely conceal money in the u.s. it could be from any country. i raise this with the director comey when he testified last time, and your experience with white-collar cases, does the anonymity associated with the
use of shell companies to buy real estate hurt the fbi's ability to trace the money and fight organized crime? >> certainly, those kinds of maneuvers, the created demand creation of shell companies and things like that are unfortunately an all too common way that criminals and others try to circumvent detection. certainly, i would think that the fbi needs to work with its partners in law enforcement, especially the treasury department, to follow the money and sometimes that is easier said than done. i think that is a critical step to trying to prevent and disrupt and not just detect after-the-fact, criminal conduct. >> thank you very much. senator durbin. >> thank you. i know this has been a long ordeal with you but i think it is going to be coming to an end. let me just try to ask two or three questions. to nail down this memo issue, i
want to follow-up on what you said earlier about your role in approval and to irrigation techniques which we also discussed in my office. you said you do not recall reviewing or commenting you also said you, quote, provided general information and legal support, closed quote, regarding the legal standards for interrogation. i want to ask you about one specific memo and i'm going to send it down to you if you haven't had a chance to see it, because i want you to. it was written by daniel levin dated december 2004. this memo replaced the august 2002 binding memo. and it says that the criminal division reviewed and proven, specifically says it. criminal division reviewed this memorandum and concurs in the analysis set forth below. here's the question point. in a foot note on the