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and the clinton campaign to secretly fund a widely discredited dossier on candidate >> mr. chairman, anything that arises in this nature that may be or may not be connected to my recusal on the question of the campaign in russia would be discussed between me, the senior ethics advisor at the department of justice and that's how i make my decision, that's what i promised to do when i was confirmed before the senate judiciary committee, that's what i will do. i am unable to provide information to you as to what decision has been made in this matter. >> thank you very much. i am not and never was a prosecutor, but i did some middle defense work back in the day when i practice law for almost 20 years.
it seems to me that presidential campaign using the law firm as a conduit to pay for activities with which the campaign itself doesn't want to be directly associated is more than just dirty politics. it's also quite possibly illegal. to me, it seems that this is at least a violation of campaign finance laws for failure to accurately disclose the actual recipients of campaign disbursements. however, this type of arrangement is not illegal. if it's not illegal under current law, we are risking opening pandora's box with all sorts of underhanded activities by campaigns being laundered through law firms and shielded under attorney-client privilege. as the chief law enforcement official in this country, do you share a similar concern in your opinion is illegal under current law for presidential campaign to fund its ending of the compilation and dissemination of political dirt on its opponent
by using a law firm to directly pay for the work? >> i would think it doesn't matter worthy of consideration, but as to the details of the men for me to express ultimate comment today, i am unable to do so. >> thank you. let me shift over to something entirely different. federal law currently still sites marijuana as a dangerous drug, so prohibited, still illegal under federal law. yet a number of states have the for abode medical purposes, now even for recreational purposes and basically made it legal, what is your department's policy on that relative to enforcing the law? >> our policy is that the same fundamentally as the
holder-ledge policy that the federal law remains in effect and the state can legalize marijuana for its law enforcement purposes, but it still remains illegal with regard to federal purposes. >> it seems to me that there's always been a tremendous amount of gray area in that whole field, which i think as a nation we need to look much more closely at both from the state's point of view and the federal government point of view. that's just my feeling on that. running out of time. i have about four other things but let me just go to one final thing here. i have been very involved in the area of victims rights. i was the following henry hyde's leadership on this, introduce the victims rights constitutional amendment years back, various pieces of legislation on victims rights. and i've also worked closely with the parents of murdered children. when you talk about something
that affects one's family, there's nothing that should affect the family more adversely at something like that happening and we still have capital punishment on the books both at the federal level and many of our states, yet these families are drag the left and right through hearing after hearing. these cases can drag on for more than 20 years before the imposition of capital punishment actually occurs in many instances, it never does. while these people are behind bars often times, they attack, sometimes kill guards, sometimes kill other inmates. i'd be interested to see what is your intentions relative to capital punishment in this country? to go states have capital punishment. the federal government has capital punishment for a number of offenses and specifically controlled. we have within the department a
recommendation process through our opponent committee to seek or not to seek the death penalty when a case is charged, sometimes it's a complex thing. but i believe the death penalty, the federal death penalty is a part of our law. i think it is a legitimate penalty. it is constitutional. we will do our duty even in those circumstances that require the imposition of the death penalty. >> thank you very much. my time has expired. but the chair recognizes the gentleman from california. >> thank you, mr. attorney general for being here today. former national security advisor michael flynn is under investigation because of his work and ties to foreign governments. according to various reports, much of his work with these foreign governments went unreported when mr. flynn was required to make certain disclosures by law. as chairman of the trump
campaign, national security advisor committee and lead advisor on the trump transition team, i think he worked closely with mr. flynn, and i would like you to answer a few yes or no questions about mr. flynn and knowing that mr. flynn is under investigation, i'm going to stick to subject matters that predate both the special counsel investigation and your appointment as attorney general. the foreign policy platform at the republican national convention undertook dramatic changes made to do discussed changes to the republican foreign policy platform with mr. flynn at any point during the campaign? >> i don't recall it. i was not at the convention when the platform committee met. >> you with the lead of the campaign, but you don't recall discussing it? >> that may be a bit of a stretch. i was asked to lead, inform, and
find some people who would join and meet with mr. trump to give him advice and support regarding foreign policy and i did so even though we were not a very effective group, really. >> you met with ambassador kislyak in 2016. did you discuss that meeting with kislyak with mr. flynn? did you discuss your meeting with the ambassador with mr. flynn? >> i met with some 25 ambassadors that year. i did meet once in my office be seven. i don't believe i communicated any of that information to mr. flynn. >> are you aware of any meetings between ambassador kislyak and mr. flynn that might have occurred around the time of your
meeting with the ambassador? >> i do not. >> in her testimony before the senate in may, former acting attorney general sally yates testified that one week into the trump administration, she notified the administration that mr. flynn had lied to vice president pence about discussing sanctions with ambassador kislyak as part of the transition team and the president's pick for attorney general, in january, were you notified when the administration was notified of mr. flynn's lie and his susceptibility to russian black male? >> i don't believe so. >> we now know that you were aware of the efforts of carter paige and george papadopoulos to meet and establish communication with the russian government. >> that's not necessarily so, from what mr. carter paige says, and i don't recall that.
>> all right. to do at any point discussed with michael flynn the possibility of then candidate trump or his surrogates meeting with the russian government? >> i do not recall such a conversation. >> did you know that flynn was working for the turkish government while acting as a surrogate for the trump campaig campaign? >> i don't believe i had information to that effect. >> did you know that he was working for the turkish government at any point after the election? >> i don't believe so. >> were you or anyone on the trump campaign aware of mr. flynn's effort to extradite turkish clerk? >> i read that in the paper recently, but i don't recall ever being made aware of that before this recent release in the paper. >> you just read about in the newspaper afterwards? after the inauguration, you did
not know that the fbi was requested to conduct a new review of turkish 2016 extradition requests for mr. google and? >> did you know about that? >> i'm aware that the turkish government continued to press the federal government with regard to seeking the return of him to turkey. they had a role to play at and that although i'm not at liberty to discuss the details of that. >> did you know that the turkish government allegedly offered $15 million for mr. flynn to kidnap mr. gulen? >> absolutely not. no.
speed of the time of the denim and has expired. the chair recognizes the judgment from iowa, mr. king for 5 minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you general sessions for your testimony here today and your service to our country over the years that you have been front and center. a number of things that i wanted to discuss. one of them is the daca situation and it seems as i'd recall you made a public statement sometime back about the constitutionality of the policy that was implemented by president obama. would you care to reiterate that position today? >> the president, president obama indicated multiple times that he felt that he didn't have the power to do daca in the way it was done. eventually, they must have changed their mind and executed this policy to take persons who is in the country unlawfully and to give them lawful status, work permits and then even participation in social securit
social security. i've felt for some time that that was not proper a federal district court in texas so held in the fifth circuit court of appeals also held that it was unlawful. so what happened was we worked on the research but the department of homeland security withdrew the policy because it was not defensible in my view. >> and established to close it down march for the next year? >> that's right. the homeland security asked for time to wind this program down, and i thought that was appropriate. >> there's a lot of public dialogue about what kind of legislation might be passed in conjunction with the daca polic policy, and that is up in the air right now. i'm noticing the democrats are saying we're going to have everything we want on daca or we will shut the government down. it causes me to think about what should happen if congress
reaches an impasse and there is no passage of any legislation to extended the daca policy, if the president should decide before that march visit date to come around that period of time that he wants to extend the daca policy, what would your position be at the time? >> that's hypothetical, senator king. i don't think i should speculate on that. i do think congress will have to give it thought. we have a lot now that is in place, that congress passed in congress would have to change i it. >> i would just remark that i'm watching a lot of people will be rewarded for violation of the rule of law and i appreciate your emphasis on rule of law your testimony today. multiple times coming back to that point. >> i would just say it is correct in my view and i think you probably share it that something is lost whenever you provide an amnesty. the price will be paid if that is done, but sometimes circumstances and judge may need to be done. we need to be careful. >> thank you.
we have been made aware here in this committee that there's a significant backlog in immigration cases. have you presented any request to congress or statement that could inform us as to how many resources you might need, how many judges you may need to get this backlog caught up and then an idea of how many we might need to maintain an anticipated level? speak of is a very good question. yes, we worked on it. we have some preliminary information. we are seeking a total of about 360 judges. we had that about 50 up to the total. we have shortened the time process for selecting people, not shorting the training program. and we are adding judges. i would say on the backlog, it has gone up dramatically. it is now over 600,000. but the last two or three months, we are almost not adding to the backlog and i am told by the additional work we are doing
by january, we will not be adding to the backlog but hopefully we are reducing it. that would be a real change in the trend that we were heading on. >> then i just ask you to reflect as this committee anticipates the potential of the special counsel to broaden this look that i think is forced upon us and a reluctant away, but it certainly support this special counsel to look back at sometimes here that i believe should be incorporated into this, and that is i look back at october 16th, 2015 when barack obama was speaking of hillary clinton and whether she might've violated any security clauses in our statute and particular 18 u.s. 793, when he said he had no impression that mrs. clinton had purposely tried to hide something or to squirrel away any information, made the
point of intent, behind that in april after that, april 10th, a similar statement, she would never intentionally put america in any kind of jeopardy. those words of intent caught my intention when i heard james, use that very word july 5th of 2016 and it seems as though he latched onto this statement made by president obama had more or less implied and implemented into interpretation of the statute that word intent as if it were condition before there could be any prosecution for a violation of 18 u.s. 793. i don't know that i had a question on that, i just want to make sure i put that into the record so it's under consideration by the doj. >> the time of the donovan has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas for 5 minutes. >> thank you very much. mr. general, do you believe in this book, the constitution of the united states? and will abide by it with all of your intention?
>> that's exactly correct. >> i think you so very much. i took the liberty of reviewing federal crimes against children, particularly those dealing with physical abuse. as you well know, wendy miller, debbie watson gibson, beverly young yelled nelson, these young women have accused this individual, judge moore who is running for federal office, the united states senate of child sexual activity. do you believe these young wome women? >> i have no reason to doubt these young women. >> with that in mind, if you believe these young women, do you believe judge moore should be seated in the senate if he wins and would you introduce investigations by the doj regarding his actions? >> we will evaluate every case as to whether or not it should be investigated. this kind of case would normally be a state case i would say
representative jackson lee that the ethics people at the department of justice, and i talk to them about that when this campaign started at the feet i used to hold that they advised me that the attorney general should not be involved in this campaign. i have friends in the campaign. >> i want to make sure that if he comes to the united states senate that there would be the possibility of referring his case for at least a federal review by the department of justice. >> we will do i.d. >> may also refer you back to the meeting on march 31st, 2016 with mr. papadopoulos. you will know that mr. papadopoulos in addition to his comments in the meeting regarding the meeting between trump and mr. putin had a series
of meetings, trump, and mr. papadopoulos and you leading that committee, i can't imagine your memory would fail you so much but moving on, he was in that meeting but you also had stephen miller was a senior policy advisor who was noted in the stipulated statement of events to receive conversation from mr. papadopoulos about his constant interaction with the russians to intrude in the 2016 election. you continued in the october october 18th meeting before the judiciary committee for hearing in the senate to not answer the question. now in light of the fact that are now part of the record, do you wish to change her testimony before the senate intelligence committee on june 13th, 2017 were you said "i have never met with or had any conversations with any russians or any foreign officials." let me jump to the final part. "i have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the term campaign grade" do you want to admit under oath that you did not tell the truth or misrepresented or
do you want to correct your testimony right now? >> you are referring to my testimony. >> before the senate intelligence committee in my time is short and have two more questions please. >> i am not able to respond because i don't think i understand what you were saying. >> i am asking your intelligence committee testimony, do you want to change it for you indicated you had no knowledge of involvement of the trump individuals involved in conversations regarding the term campaign with russia? and mr. miller gave, supported mr. trump's press conference where he said russia, if you're listening, i will still be able to find the 30,000 emails. do you want to change your testimony will use it i have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to trump campaign regarding russians involved in the campaign? there of testimony on june 13th. >> not able to understand. let me say this. >> let me move to a document
that you have prepared. the gentle and keeps saying he cannot recall, he cannot recall. >> the witness wants to answer the question she asked. >> i should be given extra time and i do not have extra time. >> the witness will answer the question. >> yes or no, does he want to change his testimony in the intelligence committee? >> i would say this, i stand by this testimony at the intelligence committee read i have never met with her had any conversation with any russians or any foreign official concerning any type of interference with the campaign for election in the united states and further, i have no knowledge of any such conversations. by anyone connected to the term campaign. >> thank you very much for that. >> what i did say in my opening statement, i explained that when i was asked in october just a few weeks ago when i was asked about the matter, that i have
any knowledge of anyone who had talked to the russians indicated that i had not recalled that meeting when that occurred. but i would have been pleased to have responded and explained if i had recalled it. i've tried to be honest about that and give you my best response and did throughout all the testimony i've given. >> you stand by your testimony. thank you very much fred are you familiar with the names eric garner, walter scott, tamir rice? that question is that i hold up the poster dealing with the reports under your jurisdiction, black identity extremists, it is interesting to me that you are opposing individuals who are opposing lethal force similar to the attack on reverend dr. martin luther king but there seems to be no report dealing with a tiki torch parade in charlottesville chanting will not a place is. why is there an attack on black
activists versus any reports dealing with the alt-right and the white nationalist? can you answer that question quickly? are you investigating that? >> one was that report completed? >> in august of 2017. >> i have not studied that report. >> i asked you because it's an attack on individuals who are simply to petition the government and address grievances. let me move to criminal justice reform. we have found that mandatory minimums and over incarceration has been the history of criminal justice. we are moving to a criminal justice reform which you oppose that the united states senator . and now you intend to return toward discredited nixon era law and order criminal justice policies going to make america great. do you have any interest in rehabilitating those costs and recommending that mandatory minimums created the opportunity for over incarceration rather than telling your prosecutors to prosecute on every single crime? is there any opportunity to work with your office to deal with
the progress of ways of dealing with criminal justice reform at this time? yes or no? >> yes. i would just respond and say that senator durbin and i worked together to release crack cocaine penalties some years ag ago. >> the time of the gentlewoman has expired. >> i'm sorry. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. iser for 5 minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. general sessions, it's good to see you again. i don't speak russian, and i don't meet with russians, and i don't really want to ask about those questions today, but i do have some very important questions. >> you said that, but i bet you have met with some russian in your lifetime and taking those words at face value, somebody might accuse you of not being honest. that's what they've done to me.
>> you're absolutely right, general sessions. it is the challenge that is a member of the foreign affairs committee, i meet with lots of ambassadors. i don't want to try to remember everyone and everything that was discussed and what i thought was a performa meeting. there were a couple of areas that were left over from previous administrations that i like to talk to you about. one of them was we sent loretta lynch, general lynch a letter related to sober homes and a predicament and the agreement is fairly straightforward. in her answer to the chairman and us was not satisfactory and we've given yourself a copy of it. essentially, sober living homes are nothing but boarding houses. they are required to provide no care whatsoever to the alcoholic or recovering drug abuser because it has to be done somewhere else. they don't qualify as sober homes. and yet currently, there is in the ninth circuit decisions that
cause cities to be unable to regulate them in a way that would prevent people from simply buying houses in a row in a very prestigious neighborhood and turning them into sober living homes which are wedding houses with 15 or more people. would you agree to work with us to try to find an appropriate way to align your enforcement of the americans with disabilities act and your enforcement of the fair housing act with the necessity for cities to be able to essentially regulate how many people live in a home? >> yes. i would be pleased to do that. these are important issues because a lot of money is being spent in some of it not likely in these areas. >> a lot of of those federal dollars being squandered to the benefit of people that are speculating. the second one is a child court ruling versus the army corps of engineers case, are you familiar with this case?
>> i'm not. >> i like you to become familiar because during your administration, an attorney on your behalf argued that a valid regulation delivered to congress and eligible under cra to be considered or rejected continue to argue that that was law. would you agree that your attorney on your behalf should not argue regulations which have not been delivered to congress and as a result were not eligible for cra review? >> mr. iser, i have not recalled the case, didn't recall it by name. that matter was intensely reviewed by new assistant attorney general for the acting environment of natural resources division after great consideration. we felt it was advised to me and i approved going forward with
that decision and corporate i will take responsibility for it. i have to tell you, we did look at it very hard. >> in general, you would agree that if a regulation is created or some other words of the executive branch, they don't have the weight of law unless they are delivered to congress we have an opportunity to review them on to the congressional ac act? >> that would sound correct. >> thank you. the last question is less of a soft ball and neither one of these are softball, they are very important to california. in a previous congress, the ways and means committee of the united states house voted for and referred criminal charges against lois lerner. i was also involved in investigating her wrongful activity. they referred criminal charges, and they did so under a statute that says, and i'll paraphrase it as well as i can, that the u.s. attorney for the district of columbia should present to the grand jury the following. and then they laid out the criminal charges. the previous attorney general or
the u.s. attorney for u.s. attorney in district made a decision not to enforce that. the statute as we understand it is not a statute that says you will look at this and decide independently, it actually says it shall be presented to the grand jury. will you commit to review that, and if you agree with us as to what the statute says, and we think it's pretty plain english, order a u.s. attorney to present to a grand jury, and if they know billet, fine, but presented consistent with statutory law? >> i will review that more personally but the department of justice view has been it takes the full load of the house to accomplish that act and i will give it a personal review which have not done. >> if you could stop the clock for one second. if the entire house voted to the
time. >> the time of the general and has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen for 5 minutes. >> thank you, sir. mr. attorney general, first up i noted that you went to the 50th anniversary of the alabama march committee for that you are a sponsor of the gold medal for those folks that march. having done that, i would like to ask you what have you done as attorney general to those who have been distributed to for years and voting have more access to the ballot box? >> we will absolutely resolutely defend the right of all americans to vote, including our african-american brothers and sisters. it cannot ever be suggested that people are blocked from voting. and we have done a number of things in the department of justice. >> let me ask you this, mr. attorney general. it is a fact that there have been studies to show that voter
i.d. is more discriminatory in its effect on african-americans and latinos than anything else. will you stop defending voter i.d. law cases back >> no. the supreme court has approved voter i.d., probably other courts have too. it can be done in a discriminatory way is not proper and should not be approved grade i believe it is said in law that it probally could be handled in written voter i.d. law is lawful. >> let me suggest with all due respect, we come some from a similar region. we have agreed to responsibly to anybody else in this country to see to it that african-americans get a chance at the ballot. when they were discriminate against, they were slaves for 200 plus years, they were under jim crow, they weren't allowed to vote and they're still being discriminate against. i would submit to you and ask you to look out voter i.d. laws, election day voting, early
voting and other indices that would allow people to vote that have been stopped. secondly on marijuana, you said that you're basically doing the same as the holder and ledge grade i believe general holder and general lynch abided by congressional approach approprs where states had passed laws on medical marijuana and others. would you abide by congressional appropriations to limitations on marijuana when it conflicts with state law? >> i believe we are bound by that. >> thank you, sir. that is great. what you did on crack cocaine was good. it wasn't as good as it could've been. your proposal was a 20 to one ratio, you decided on a team to one. you were good negotiator but he took what he could get. it should've been one to one. you admitted that hearing that it could discriminate against the disparity against african-americans and minorities and you will look at that.
>> i would say that a fact of legislation was to significantly reduce the penalty one is subjected to for dealing with crack cocaine. >> and that was good. spinner that may be a better analysis than the 18 to one or whatever it is. generally considered a more dangerous drug. >> marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin, do you agree with that? >> i think that's correct. >> thank you, i would hope that in your enforcement that you would look at the limitations of got. there's always an opportunity cost and put your opportunity cost, your enforcement on crack, on cocaine, on meth, on opioids, and on heroin. marijuana is the least bothersome of all. 28 states are 29 states and the district of columbia have legalized it for medical purposes, eight states and the district of columbia for recreational purposes. famously said that the states with the laboratories of democracy, i would hope that you would look at marijuana and look
at the states as laboratories of democracy and see how they have helped. in states with or gotten medical marijuana, they have 25% less opioid use. it gives people a way to relieve pain without using opioids, which is inevitably leads to death and crime. i would hope you would take a look at that. >> we will take a look at it and we will be looking at some rigorous analysis of marijuana usage and how it plays out. i'm not as optimistic as you. >> you said one time that good people don't smoke marijuana. which of these people are not good people? >> let me explain how that occurred. >> quickly. rick santorum, newt gingrich, ted cruz, jeff bush, george bush, arnold schwarzenegger, which of those are not good people? >> let me tell you how that came about. the question was what do you do about drug use, the epidemic we
are seeing in the country, and how you reverse it. part of that is a cultural thing i explained how when i became united states attorney in 1981 and drugs were being used widely over period of years, it became unfashionable, unpopular, and people were seeing, and it was seen as good people didn't use marijuana. that was the context of that statement. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. >> alabama or auburn? >> the donovan's time has expired. >> i love alabama. >> mr. attorney general, that the fbi pay christopher steele? did the fbi pay christopher steele, the author of the dossier? >> that is a matter you will have to direct to maybe the
special counsel. >> why is that? i'm just asking. >> i'm not able to reveal internal investigatory matters here under the investigation of anybody but particularly. >> this happened in the summer of 2016. we know that clinton campaign paid through a law firm's fusion gps to produce the dossier. we know the author was christopher steele, it's been reported that he was on the payroll of the fbi. i'm just wanting to know if, in fact, that his case. >> i am not able to provide an answer to you. it's bigger than they present dossier by the court? >> i'm not able to answer that. >> did you know the fbi did to the established process protocol in evaluating claims made in the dossier? >> i am not able to answer that. >> on january 6, then fbi director james comey briefed president-elect up in new york
about the dossier. shortly after that, the fact that meeting took place in the subject of the meeting was the dossier was leaked to cnn. do you know who it said information? >> i do not. >> are you investigating who leaked that information? >> that would be a matter within the investigatory powers of the special counsel. >> you have a number of investigation going on regarding leaks. is that likely one of those that you are investigating? go i am not able to reveal the existence of investigations or not. >> mr. attorney general, i appreciate your service in the senate, i appreciate your service in the justice department. frankly, i appreciate yesterday's letter saying you are considering appointing a special counsel. that you sent to us. but my concern is, we sent you a letter three and half months ago asking for a second special
counsel, and you fear now just considering it, what is it going to take to get a special counse counsel? we know that former fbi director james comey misled the american people in the summer of 2016 when he called the clinton investigation a matter. obviously an investigation. we know fbi director connie was drafting and exoneration letter before the investigation was complete. we know loretta lynch one day before the benghazi report came out five days before secretary clinton was scheduled to be interviewed by the fbi met with former president bill clinton on the tarmac in phoenix. we know after that meeting when he was corresponding with public relations people, he was using the name elizabeth carlisle. as i've said before, seems to me you just talking golf and grandkids, you can use your real name. we know that mr. comey publicize the investigation and we know he made the final decision on whether prosecutor or not. and then when he gets fired, he
leaks a government document through a friend to "the new york times" and what was his goal? to create momentum for a special counsel and it can't just be any special counsel, of it's got te robert mueller, the same who is now involved we now learn in ths whole investigation with the informant regarding russian businesses wanted to do business in the uranium business in the united states regarding the uranium one deal. i guess my main question is what is it going to take, not to mention the dossier information, what is it going to take to actually get a special counsel? >> it would take a factual basis to meet the standards of the appointment of a special counsel. >> is at analysis going on right now? >> it is in the manual of the department of justice about what is required. we've only had to go. the first one was the waco, janet reno senator danforth who took over that investigation special counsel and mr. moeller.
that was a pretty special factual situation. we would use the proper standards and that is the only thing i can tell you. you can have your idea, but sometimes we have to study what the facts are and to evaluate whether it needs to standard required. >> we know one fact, we know the clinton campaign and the democratic national committee paid for through the law firm, paid for the dossier. we know that happened and it sure looks like the fbi was paying the author of that document and it sure looks like a major political party was working with the federal government to then turn in opposition research documents of some "national enquirer" story into an intelligence document, take that to the pfizer corporation so they can then get a warrant to spy on americans associate of the president trump campaign. that's what it looks like and i'm masking you doesn't that warrant in addition to all the things we know about james comey in 2016 does that warrant naming a special second counsel as members of this committee wrote
you three and a half months ago asking you to do? >> mr. comey is no longer the director of the fbi. we have an excellent man of integrity and ability in chris wray and i think he is going to do an outstanding job and i am very happy >> i'm asking for special counsel. figure the time of the gentleman has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. johnson for 5 minutes. >> general, you have led a remarkable and notable career over the last 42 years as an attorney in private practice as the attorney general alabama that the u.s. attorney in alabama, later the u.s. senator of alabama and now the attorney general of the united states of america, and you have made a professional judgment call when you recused yourself from the investigation
of the russian interference in the 2016 elections and you have caught a lot of rock for that decision. what i want to know is why did you recuse yourself? >> thank you very much. i told the senate judiciary committee when i was confirmed that i would evaluate those manners. i would speak to counsel on the senior ethics advisor. >> my question is why did you recuse yourself? >> i will get to that. >> i don't need the filibuster. >> i did do that bread i evaluated that and they showed me something i was not familiar with them, the code of federal regulations. it said if you participate in a substantial role in a campaign, department of justice employee should not participate in investigating that. >> thank you. >> i felt that was correct. it was not because i had any concern about anything i had done previously, but it was to me, five are not bound by that, i don't see how other people in
department of justice could be expected to follow the rules of department either. because thank you, sir. after you recruit to self, did participate in the firing of thi director who is leading the investigation into the russian interference with the 2016 elections. prior to jim comey's firing, were you in contact with the trump administration, donald trump himself or any of his political campaign officials about their quest to fire jim comey? >> i am not able to and cannot reveal conversations with the president of the united states or his top advisors. >> let me ask you this question with regards to the at&t proposed acquisition of time warner, which owns cnn, it appears to be a vertical merger
much like the comcast-nbc universal merger that doj approved. unlike its treatment of comcast nbc universal, doj has suggested strongly that it will not approve the at&t time warner merger unless time warner sells off cnn's parent company, turner broadcasting. it is well-known that your boss, president trump has great disdain for cnn, which he calls fake news. what i want to know is how's the white house or any individual in or on behalf of the trump administration for the trump political team campaign excluding staff from sec or doj, has anybody contacted you, your office, or your assigns up
regarding that at&t-time warner accusation? >> first, i would say that i don't accept and cannot accept the accuracy of that news report. we have a professional -- >> your department has not told time warner that at&t that they must shed turner broadcasting? >> our words were professional, they do meet with -- >> is that a false report or a true report? ago i would just tell you, i don't think i'm able to accept t that have coming out on that. >> let me ask you this question. on october 18th when testifying before the senate judiciary committee, senator sasse asked you if the department had taken adequate action to prevent election meddling in the future, you stated there was no review
underway of the cyber security vulnerabilities. have you requested a review of what laws need to be updated in order to protect our elections from foreign influence? >> we have discussed those matters, but no completion has been done. >> are you conducting a review at this time? >> yes. our team is looking at that. the fbi has real skills in that area. i think we are not anywhere near where i would like us to be yet. but let me ask you this question. what an individual with department is leading the inquiry? >> we are working with voting rights section, criminal section, national security section, probably is the most knowledgeable in the hacking area as well as the expertise in the fbi. >> the gentleman's time has
expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. smith for 5 minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, i want to thank you for all of your efforts to restore the rule of law. nothing could be more important to our justice system and nothing could be more important to protecting the lives of americans and frankly not just protecting their lives but keeping all americans safe. in particular, many of us appreciate your efforts to crack down on sanctuary cities to blatantly ignore federal immigration laws to combat criminal gangs that prey on our communities to return to robust prosecutions of drug cases, to protect children from dangerous child predators, and to safeguard religious liberties that are confined in our constitution. i like to go back to a second to sanctuary cities. i have been waiting 20 years for president and administration that would enforce current immigration laws. so happen that i introduced a bill in 1986 for senator alice
simpson and among every things outlawed sanctuary cities. so the law as they are and i want to thank you for being willing to enforce that law which will protect many innocent americans from harm and perhaps save their lives. more generally, i would like to ask you if you feel that there are any immigration laws and if so, which ones that need to be better enforced? >> there absolutely are. maybe even some improved. i know you worked on that, and the chairman has worked on that with excellent legislation and i totally believe that a professional legislation -- i know the chairman has worked on and you have worked on would be tremendously helpful. we have got a deal with numbers, so when you create a mechanism, we had 5,000 people in 2005 who
claimed a credible fear. if last year, it was 95,000. this is creating hearings and backlogs that were never intended to be part of the system, did not happen before. so there are so many things out there that burden our law enforcement officers and make it more difficult, more expensive, more lengthy to complete these things. we just have to make up our minds. we have to make up our minds, do we want a lawful system of immigration that serves national interests or do we want open borders and we are not going to enforce it? thank you for your leadership, mr. smith. i know you will be leaving this body also and i've enjoyed so much of the honor of working with you. >> thank you, mr. attorney general. i'm not going to ask any questions and i'm going to end with that, mr. chairman. >> the chair thinks the gentleman grade we will take a break, attorney general sessions
so the committee will reset in 10 minutes. >> melissa: you are watching their the house judiciary committee questioning jeff sessions on a number of attorney general jeff sessions on a number of different items, really a wide ranging questioning, they are breaking for lunch for a moment. let's bring in -- let's see, we have iliana johnson's standing by. she's the national political reporter with politico, and she joins us now. what was your take away their? they really drill down on a lot of different details and one of the funny exchanges was when darrell iser said i know i've never spoken russian or had any meetings with russia, and
attorney general sessions said very quickly, you might want to think before you say something like that because it could come back to haunt you basically. there's probably something you're not thinking about right now and you'll be accused of lying like i was. >> he was. that really speaks to him trying to explain what his defense is on all of this. he saw the attorney general really be challenged about his consistent responses, which is he doesn't recall or he doesn't remember and he is previously told senate committees adhesively doesn't recall any interactions with any russians during the campaign or being told about any interaction with any russian officials during the campaign, and now we subsequently learned that there was a term campaign official george papadopoulos who had a significant amount of interaction with russian officials, so he was really pressed about that particularly by democrats and he is saying he simple he did recall it, that
his previous testimony remains truthful. sterilize or there was doing him a solid and they had a pro-family exchange where he was saying it's completely normal not to remember this but in the course of work as a senator, particularly on an intelligence or foreign affairs committee, lots of interactions with foreign officials that you wouldn't necessarily remember. >> melissa: in particular with regards to papadopoulos what he said was if i had recalled that encounter at the moment, i would've told you that i pushed back on him and told him he does not represent the campaign, he does not represent anyone in this meeting. he said that my answer, i would've been very forthright because what i did in that exchange was tell him no. so how did you think that playe played? >> i think that played well. it wasn't only jeff sessions who told papadopoulos no, it was even paul manafort who has now been indicted for some of his inappropriate contact with foreign officials and his lack of disclosure about that who actually told the same campaign
official george papadopoulos no, at that time candidate trunk will not meet with vladimir putin. so this official who had the most contact that we know right now with russian officials was told no by multiple senior level advisors on on the truck campa. the other thing i thought was interesting was jeff sessions really characterized this foreign policy advisory committee is a chaotic mess that he essentially said this thing was completely disorganized and ineffective and that's really the reason why it really was in formal a total mess. >> jon: we have to jump in here because president trump is on his way back to the united states after a lengthy trip to asia. he is on board air force one and has just spoken with members of the press aboard air force one, one of the topics that came up were the three ucla basketball players who were detained in china after reports of shoplifting there. and the president may have played a role in freeing those members of the basketball teams were coming back to the u.s. president trump again on his way back to the white house after a
nearly two week trip to asia where he met with numerous foreign leaders. we are
getting that tape now. >> we look forward to going back. we really enjoyed it. we had a lunch and i was able to make my final remarks at lunch. the lunch was great. everybody was there. they were delayed three hours, as you probably heard. there was a delay, but we had a lunch. and they let me make my opening, my ending remarks, so that was really good. we are leaving pretty much on time, i think. pretty much on time. >> a little early. >> very proud of it from a standpoint of security of safety, very proud and trade, you will see members that you won't believe over the years.
they will be treating us much differently than they have in the past grade people were taken advantage, countries were taken advantage of the united states more than just this region but the world. in those days are over. we are going to be fair, we are going to be reciprocal as i said in my remarks before. we will be reciprocal, meaning if they are doing it, we are doing it. that's the way it's going to be. i think we've made a lot of progress just in terms of relationship. we actually sold $300 billion worth of equipment and other things, and i think that number is going to be quadrupled very quickly. that's over a trillion dollars on stuff that we have done and done a really fantastic job, it's been a great trip. it's also been really good in terms of north korea and getting everybody together. i think their acts are altogether. china has been excellent, japan
and south korea have been excellent. i think that's a very important part of the trip. the other important part is trade and relationships. the philippines is an unbelievably important military location. if you speak to the admirals and you speak to the generals, that's the perfect spot. as you know, we had no relationship for a long period of time with the philippines and now we have a very good relationship there. we are back with the philippines and strategically a very important location, maybe the most important strategic location in that area. we had a great time. i hope you guys are all okay. you all look well. go to sleep for a little while and we will talk to you later. the basketball players, i know a lot of people are asking. i will tell you what i heard about it a few days ago. we had a great conversation with the president and what they did was unfortunate. you're talking about a very
prison sentences. they do not play games. he was terrific and they are working on it right now and hopefully everything is going to work out. i know they are very grateful because they were told exactly what happened. it's a very, very rough situation with what happened to them. i was with them -- yes, he is and he has been group terrific. the president has been terrific on that subject. it was not a good subject, that was not something that should've happened. go rest. i hope so. i think we are going to go into details of what i said. >> president trump
on board air force one saying he's very proud of his trip to asia confirming that he did play a role in getting those three ucla basketball players free from
custody in china and also saying he is proud of the trade deals that he has been managed to negotiate in the days of the u.s. being taken advantage of with trade partners, those days are over. i just want to weigh in real quick on the hearings. it seems to me that a lot of these members of congress were more interested in hearing the questions and hearing the answers from the attorney general. >> melissa: that's so unusual. if that's true. let's bring iliana back in just for another minute to talk about it. along those lines, you definitely really did hear jim jordan talking about the fbi and did they pay to have that dossier made. iliana, are you still with us? >> i am here. >> melissa: we heard the response to that was basically i can't really talk about it. i am not able to answer that question with the exact quote that came from attorney general sessions. where do you think that goes? >> one of the interesting things about jeff sessions' tenure at justice department has been that
republicans are as frustrated with him as democrats are. he has really given republicans including president trump with human relationships really cool. he has frustrated greatly because they want to see aggressive investigations against democrats, jim jordan wants to know what's happening, in terms of any sort of fbi or department of justice investigation into this field dossier. they want investigations against hillary clinton and the obama administration, and they are not really seeing those so far. today we just saw the very beginning with sessions announcement doing an intense investigation against the clinton foundation but republicans really have been as frustrated with what they thought would be overly aggressive sessions justice department haven't quite gotten that. that's what's interesting, certainly on display today. so he certainly seems comfortable in that setting. he has been in a number of these already now. go by members of congress and the senate. how do you think he handled it? >> he certainly seems cool under fire and i think it's helpful that the thing that these house members are most to sit in hearing about which is the
russian investigation, he can't talk about. that is helpful to him. >> melissa: absolutely. thanks to everyone. thank you for joining us. "outnumbered" starts right now >> fox news alert. attorney general sessions getting grilled on capitol hill today. taking a break from testimony when they return. we will take you back there live. the committee wants sessions to clarify what he knew about any possible impacts between members of the trump campaign and russian officials. today's hearing comes after new details emerge that contradicted statements sessions made in the past under oath. this is outnumbered. i'm sandra smith. here today is harris faulkner. republican strategist and fox news contributor lisa booth. former national security staff under presidents bush and obama gillian turner and today's one lucky guy national review senior editor and fox news contributor jonah goldberg. is he outnumbered. we are glad we made it to air here because the hearing could come back on soon