tv Americas Newsroom With Bill Hemmer and Sandra Smith FOX News July 12, 2018 6:00am-9:00am PDT
one touching down. >> bill: good morning, i'm bill hemmer live inside of "america's newsroom." the tour continues. >> sandra: good morning. i'm well. i'm sandra smith. before he landed in london the president spoke this morning at a wide ranging news conference at nato headquarters saying nato allies have agreed to boost defense spending under pressure from him. a statement that at least one ally is already disputing. >> president trump: everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment. they'll up it at levels that they've never thought of before.
the united states commitment to nato is very strong, we mains very strong. but primarily because everyone, the spirit they have, the amount of money they are willing to spend, the additional money that they will be putting up. germany has agreed to do a lot better than they were doing and we're very happy with that. we had a very good relationship with angela merkel. i'm meeting with president putin on monday and i think we go into that meeting not looking for so much. i hope that we are going to be able to get along with russia. i think we'll probably be able to. he is representing russia, i'm representing the united states. so in a sense we're competitors. not a question of friend or enemy. he is not my enemy. and hopefully someday maybe he will be a friend. >> bill: that was in brussels. kevin corke is now in london. good afternoon. there appears to be a disagreement over exactly what
the president was able to get our allies to agree to. where is the discrepancy and where are we now? >> listen, bill, it really is maybe a matter of semantics. let me break it down for the folks unable to watch the press conference that you could have seen earlier today on fox news. the president said the emergency nato meeting was the result of his criticism over the alliances disagreements. to have members get up to the 2% goal. the president predicted it would go to 4%. but france's president macron said there was no new formal spending commitments made at the summit. the president held court with reporters for better than half an hour this morning as we bring you live pictures of his arrival in london. he touched on mass migration and illegal immigration also, which frankly have bedeviled
europe and the u.k. for some time now. >> president trump: i told them today the e.u., the european union better be very careful. i think those people like me a lot and agree with me on immigration. i think that's why you have brexit in the first place because of immigration. >> he spoke about brexit there, bill, for just a moment. it is interesting to point this out. as you've been following the nu, -- news, that has been a good big story here. the british people voted to exit from the e.u. and a great many of them including lawmakers feel like what they've been given instead is not what the people asked for. that among the many topics we expect the president to touch on during his time year as he meets with theresa may and a
stop up in scotland at his golf course. >> bill: what's going on in england is interesting with brexit. he talked about the unrest with three ministers resigning from the cabinet there. when asked about vladimir putin, he asked about it, syria, ukraine, meddling and to paraphrase, he may deny it we'll see what he says about that but he described it as a loose meeting. does that suggest they are setting the bar low? how much do we expect to come out of the trump/putin talk on monday? >> spot on. lower the bar of expectation. they want this to really take on the tone of a collegial meeting. the president made the point today, bill, to suggest that vladimir putin is a competitor. he said listen, he is fighting on behalf of the russian people and i'm competing and fighting on behalf of the american people. i would like to see us get along. i think we can get along.
wouldn't it be great if we did? he has struck a similar tone in previous conversations in comments about vladimir putin. what that will look like after the two men meet in finland remains to be seen. i think you are right. he wants to keep everyone dialing down the expectation. if something big happens, that would be great but that's highly unlikely or at least it seems that way based on how he is describing it, bill. >> bill: kevin corke in london with us. as we watch the president and first lady come off air force one greeting dignitaries at the bottom of the stairs is a tradition. we'll see an interesting meeting over the next 24 hours. >> sandra: leading up to the big summit for vladimir putin on monday. meanwhile the president and first lady just touching down in england. and this on a day that he began with an unexpected news
conference that he gave in brussels before departing the nato summit there wasn't really expected. could have been planned but he did answer wide-ranging questions from reporters in that room this morning. which led to a lot of news. >> bill: i want to bring in republican senator corey gardner, on the senate foreign relations committee. we can see you now live from the capitol. i thought one of the telling comments from the president's press con convenience saying i believe in nato. was there any doubt about that to begin with? >> i think you had a lot of news reports talking about whether the president is committed to nato. this morning's statement makes it clear the president says he supports nato. it's one of the key architect tours of security in our time. great support for nato in congress. the house and senate pass resolutions in support of nato and the president knows this and he expressed that this morning. what's key is the fact that we need our nato allies, those in
europe, to make sure they are putting more dollars into their security commitment for europe, for us than they have. that's what you heard about this morning. >> bill: the other thing he said about this pipeline that was a big deal yesterday. nobody was talking about it before but me. maybe we have a better relationship with russia as a result of that. what do you think? >> i think this pipeline is a big issue, what you've seen. we would like to get more of our energy out of the united states over the europe and i hope that europe will help us do that. this pipeline is a significant issue. >> bill: when he referenced vladimir putin, i don't know him well enough to call him a friend or enemy. he is a competitor representing russia and i'm representing the united states. fair statement, i would say. >> look, i think they are a competitor but there is a difference. if you're running in a race with two great runners in the race trying to beat each other to the finish line. one of those runners tries to trip the other runner as they
get to the finish line. that's what we continue to see out of vladimir putin. i think russia quite frankly ought to be named a state sponsor of terror for their chemical attacks and activities in syria, attacks being complicit in attacks against syrian people. illegal incursions into crimea. i hope this meeting will be yes we're competitors but a chance to talk about how we disagree in the strongest terms with russia's continued violations of international law. >> bill: would you expect that on monday? >> it needs to be that way. the president needs to be very firm. we aren't going to take lightly interference in elections or take lightly violations of international law. we are competitors but we also aren't going to be turning a blind eye or turning away from illegal activities. >> bill: what do you think we got from this nato meeting?
>> the president talked about $33 billion in money that will be coming into the nato alliance through defense spending within those countries. we have 2% commitment they will spend 2% of their national budgets on defense spending. that's the agreement they reached through nato. we can't care more about the security of europe than europe does. nato is a great organization and great allies. we have to keep the alliance strong but make sure we aren't the only ones who are funding the piggy bank, so to speak. >> bill: do you think he had the right message? >> i think he came in with the right message. perhaps tone was a little bit different than people were expecting and delivery was a little surprising to people. >> bill: he got a lot of attention. >> bottom line is we have a great relationship with europe. that will continue. nobody is going to be able to drive a wedge between the united states and our allies in nato. >> bill: thank you for your time, the senator from colorado. thank you for sharing your thoughts with us from the hill
as we watch marine one on the tarmac. it will head to theresa may and tomorrow we'll see the queen. that will be quite the image. >> sandra: the next pictures will be a meet and greet at the u.s. embassy and we'll continue to follow the president's movements while in england. the other big story this morning we're awaiting a hearing with peter strzok, what will he say in front of the american people? he is set to make his first public remarks regarding his controversial anti-trump text messages. plus the president looking to rebuild relations with russia during a meeting with president vladimir putin. that upcoming summit on monday "fox news sunday"'s chris wallace will join us with what we can expect from those talks. ♪motorcycle revving ♪ motorcycle revving ♪motorcycle revving
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live coverage of the president and first lady taking off an marine one in the skies of england to meet with theresa may and a meeting with the queen tomorrow. tomorrow there will be another press conference with the president. we'll cover it live. news back in the u.s. from the white house about a member of the white house staff marc short head of legislative affairs announced he will leave the white house and take a position at the university of virginia. some reports suggest he will depart within a week and start his new job the first of august. that news breaking about an hour ago. right now 14 past the hour. sandra has more on what to expect. >> sandra: another top story we're watching. f.b.i. agent peter strzok set to testify about an hour from now in a joint hearing of two house committees. it will be the first time that we will hear from strzok publicly. his testimony comes just one day after ex-f.b.i. lawyer lisa page defied a congressional subpoena. lawmakers are focused on
anti-trump text messages the two former colleagues sent each other while they were having an affair and working inside the f.b.i. catherine herridge is live on capitol hill. a big morning this morning. >> it is, sandra. good morning. a lot of pressure has come to bear on both parties this morning not only agent strzok but his former colleague and lover f.b.i. lawyer lisa page. late last night the republican chairman of the house judiciary and oversight committees sent this letter to page's lawyer laying out a strict timeline. she needs to show up and publicly testify in an hour or give a closed door deposition friday. if she chooses not to do that, they intend to initiate contempt proceedings tomorrow morning. we also learned from the chairman that they believe that page and her lawyer have not been that straight with them. they had to call in the feds because they say they were playing games.
>> our attorneys have had communications with her attorney for nearly a month now about this appearance. and her attorney agreed to accept service of a subpoena and turned around and immediately tried to reject it so that's why we sent the marshals to her house to serve the subpoena. they had to go back three times before they were finally able to reach her. >> page's attorneys told fox in a statement that her client had a hard time getting access to her notes and records at the f.b.i. we learned yesterday in fact when page resigned from the f.b.i. she also lost her security clearance. that had to be reinstated in order to review some of that classified information. but republicans say why does she need to read notes that she wrote or memos that she wrote? she should be familiar with her actions and very straight forward in any kind of testimony or deposition. >> sandra: what are we
expecting? we're less than an hour from now that we will see peter strzok. what do we expect when this hearing gets underway this morning? >> well, you know, sandra, i can't emphasize enough a highly fluid and tense situation on capitol hill. we expect agent strzok at any time but just speaking to other journalists we feel like we'll believe it when we see it and he arrives for this public testimony. because this is going to be his first opportunity to really deconflict a lot of data. for example, the text messages that he sent to f.b.i. lawyer lisa page. you know, they badmouthed candidate trump and members of his team. but there was that critical email what i would call a turning point email text message in august of 2016 uncovered recently by the inspector general where they talk about stopping trump and the inspector general said that kind of crossed the threshold from badmouthing the candidate
to speaking about taking a decisive action against him. you remember two weeks ago agent strzok was up here on capitol hill for a closed-door deposition, a transcribed interview. it went on for 11 hours, 90 minutes was in a classified session and his team wants that transcript released immediately so the public can see what they say were just badgering questions that really didn't go to the heart of what happened during the clinton email and the russia investigation, sandra. >> sandra: what are really sort of the possible outcomes of his testimony today? he could sit down and answer all the questions he is asked. he could sit down and say he is not answering any questions at all. what -- one thing of what to expect but what could happen. what scenarios could play out? >> right. that's a great question. there are a number of scenarios. he could come today, he could be sworn under oath, and then
in a number of cases he could elect to take the fifth. or he could refuse to answer on the basis that it's part of an ongoing investigation. lawmakers complained that was the response they got to a lot of questions about the russia investigation. or he could use this as an opportunity to make the case that he thinks this has become highly politicized and that he has had a target on his back along with other f.b.i. officials. it is also an opportunity and a forum for him. i have to emphasize, everyone on the hill right now feels a little bit of anxiety over whether he is going to come and publicly testify or whether at the very last minute he could withdraw and kind of leave lawmakers in sort of -- i don't know what to say. it would be so dramatic if it happened. in the lurch and very disrespectful as well. >> sandra: we had a live shot
of the entrance. we expect to see him walk in the main entrance there. is there a possibility he could sneak through a back door? >> okay. if you've been up here on capitol hill it is a rabbit warren of entrances. he could come along a number of different hallways. there are some restrictions over where reporters can be on capitol hill in order to get still photos or video of him. last time when we were up here on capitol hill i was able to get a pretty long walk shot with strzok and throw some questions to him, though he did not respond. my expectation is after that experience two weeks ago, he may be a little bit more calculated as to how he enters the room today because there are sometimes a number of options where you can come in through a back way, the minority entrance and that allows you to circumvent a lot of the reporters. >> sandra: we'll keep our eye on it. thank you very much. >> bill: we have this, the trump administration says it
has completed the reunification for children under five. they released a joint statement. 57 of 103 in question were reunited with their families. 46 determined ineligible for reunification at this time. including safety concerns chief among them. it comes two days after the administration did not meet a court-ordered deadline. that's happening. we'll do the trump-putin summit. >> sandra: stormy daniels has been arrested after an incident last night at a club in ohio. what her attorney is saying now. plus the world cup finals are set. >> bill: here we go, smitty. >> he scores! >> bill: croatian beating england. france and croatian on sunday.
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it gives you super fast speeds for all your devices, provides the most wifi coverage for your home, and lets you control your network with the xfi app. it's the ultimate wifi experience. xfinity xfi, simple, easy, awesome. >> bill: breaking overnight. overnight last night the adult film star who claimed she had an affair with president trump arrested at a strip club in columbus, ohio. her attorney for stormy daniels apparently accused of allowing a patron to touch her while she was performing and her attorney saying the arrest was a setup and politically motivated. we'll see what comes of that. >> sandra: israel striking military posts in syria after a drone entered its airspace unauthorized. military officials say that drone was unmanned and was shot down. jonathan hunt has been
following the story for us. he is live from jerusalem this morning. jonathan, what exactly did israel hit? >> sandra, three strikes in all but they appeared designed to send a symbolic message rather than designed to inflict any real damage or indeed casualties on the syrian armed forces. the israeli hit small syrian military outposts. no word of casualties. each of those outposts was destroyed completely as far as we can tell. the message was from israel to syria, we'll respond to anything we see as a provocation. that provocation in israel's mind came yesterday when a drone was launched from syria and flew across the israeli/syrian border, came about six miles into israel
before an israeli patriot defense missile was launched, hit the drone, brought it down and it landed on the shores of the -- the southern shores of the sea of galilee. what you have with the israeli strike that followed the drone being brought down was a symbolic message, syria, if you provoke us in any kind of way, we can and will respond. this was a minor attack but a very symbolic one. >> sandra: all of this happening while the israeli prime minister was in moscow to meet president putin? >> yeah, interesting that prime minister netanyahu was meeting with president putin just before -- days before donald trump, president donald trump is due to do so in finland. the two men yesterday in moscow discussed syria and iran's role in syria. what prime minister netanyahu wants is russia to use its power to persuade iran to withdrawal its forces from
syria. the iranian forces fighting alongside the syrian arm he. now, mr. netanyahu doesn't seem to have got his wish. all russia is willing to do at the moment, it appears, is encourage iranian forces not to get too close to the israeli/syrian border. of course, we could be in the first step of a negotiating process. as i say, no coincidence this meeting happened just before putin meets with mr. trump. there is a school of thought here that the u.s. could put more pressure on russia to in turn put pressure on iran if the u.s., for instance, was to lead the way in lifting the sanctions that have been imposed on russia because of their invasion of crimea. that's something israel would like to see. no indication whatsoever at this point, sandra, that president trump would be willing to agree to such a deal. but certainly it will be on the agenda in helsinki, one would think. >> sandra: thank you. >> bill: as we mentioned and
showed you a moment ago president trump arriving in london 25 minutes ago. before arriving he said this about the next leg of his trip. >> president trump: i'm going to a few hot spots. nato, the u.k. and then we have putin. and i said putin may be the easiest of them all. >> bill: so we wait to see on that. the president expecting tough talks in britain before his upcoming meeting with vladimir putin and chris wallace is on deck to break that all down coming up next. >> president trump: we want to find out about syria. we will, of course, ask your favorite question about meddling. i will be asking that question again.
>> bill: moments ago on camera we saw peter strzok enter the security area on capitol hill where he will get ready for his hearing scheduled to begin in 28 minutes. peter strzok has put together an opening statement that you'll see and hear live on "america's newsroom." he will give a strong argument against any sort of taint or
political bias. his comments are striking, sandra, they are direct and we'll see how lawmakers, both republican and democrat, respond after that. peter strzok was running the russia investigation in the summer of 2016. he was the nexus to a lot of what the f.b.i. was doing at the time. what was his involvement in terms of what he did instructing agents within the agency to look at members of the trump team? and if you look at some of the statements, sandra, he will say that based on what i knew i could have easily gone public with the information but i chose to keep it quiet. then he will say my work has never been tainted by any political bias. that's just what we know right now. >> sandra: fascinating to hear him asked about those text messages that we have all read multiple times and heard multiple times and how fascinating it will be to see how he chooses to respond to those. you can expect he will face a
grilling from the house republicans in moments. he has arrived and we'll take that hearing when it begins at the top of the hour. >> president trump: ultimately he is a competitor. he is representing russia. i'm representing in the united states. we're competitors. not a question of friend or enemy. he is not my enemy. hopefully someday maybe he will be a friend but i don't know him very well. >> sandra: we've got live pictures now of the president's arrival. he is on his way to winfield house in london. he will arrive there. the president and first lady will participate in a meet and greet at the u.s. embassy in london. a big trip for the president starting out with the nato summit where he made waves meeting with our nato allies there. he left brussels this morning after an unexpected press conference answering a wide
range of questions from reporters all over the world. and now he makes a stop in london. he will be meeting with theresa may, the queen tomorrow and all of this ahead of his big one-on-one meeting, the summit with vladimir putin happening on monday in helsinki. chris wallace will be there and he has some big news for us. chris wallace, good morning, what is it? >> good morning to you, sandra. yes, we'll be there for the summit on monday and immediately after the summit, i will have the first and only interview that the russian president vladimir putin will give to a western journalist. very interested in that. there will be a joint news conference after the summit. president trump and president putin answering a few reporters' questions but then we'll sit down for a half-hour interview, no holds barred, no subjects off limits. we'll obviously talk about the summit and what has been
accomplished or not accomplished there. any potential breakthroughs, hot spots between the two leaders on nato, syria, ukraine. we'll get into the allegations of russian meddling in the 2016 election and ask him about potential meddling in the 2018 election and i want to talk about vladimir putin and what he wants for his country. an exclusive interview with vladimir putin on fox news on monday. >> sandra: we look forward to that, chris. meanwhile we have live pictures still up of marine one landing there and security detail and communications team of the trump administration getting off there. we expect to see live pictures of the president and first lady shortly as he is on his way to meet with theresa may. we'll look forward to your interview with vladimir putin, chris. everyone on the left and right has their take over a, whether or not the president should be meeting one-on-one with vladimir putin, and two, what
should be discussed. >> well, i don't know that many people think he shouldn't be meeting with vladimir putin but what should be discussed is obviously a very hot point. and one of the concerns that a lot of the people that president trump just left in brussels, the european allies, is will the president make any concessions as he did, for instance, to kim jong-un when he unilaterally announced the u.s. wouldn't participate in any more war games with south korea and the president and kim said were provoketive. europe and nato have girded itself against russia and putin after the invasion and seizure of crimea and the interference in ukraine when sanctions were imposed on russia. the concern is things have not changed. russia is still in crimea and destabilizing ukraine and their concern is whether or not president trump will make concessions to vladimir putin
when he meets with him. the situation on the ground that occasioned those sanctions hasn't changed. we don't know what president trump's attitude will be toward putin or putin's attitude toward president trump. trump makes the argument that he is tougher than obama. lethal aid to ukraine. kicked russian diplomat us out of the u.s. after the nerve gas attack on a former russia spy in britain. it will be interesting to see what comes out of that summit. especially interesting to see what vladimir putin says to us immediately thereafter. >> sandra: we've been getting a lot of response to this upcoming meeting. yesterday on this program we had former governor bill richardson, a democrat, former ambassador and asked him about the upcoming summit and here is what he had to say on whether or not the meeting should take place and under what conditions. listen. >> i'm for meeting adversaries
and i think -- but i don't want the president to have a love feast with putin. i want him to get something done to protect america's interest. >> sandra: someone who does not think this meeting should be happening was chuck schumer a leading democrat saying they should not meet one-on-one and went on a twitter fest and issued a joint statement with nancy pelosi. president trump's insults and denigration of one of america's most steadfast allies, germany, is an embarrassment. the president needs to remember that. as commander-in-chief his duty is protect the american people from foreign threats not to sell out our democracy to putin, chris. >> what a surprise chuck schumer would be critical of whatever president trump did. if he is selling out america's democracy that wouldn't be a good thing but there is no indication he will do that. look at the facts on the ground. one of the interesting things about president trump in all of this, such a difference between
his words and his deeds. there is no question that some of the things that he has said would give cause for concern when it comes to putin. when he talked about inviting them back into the g-7. the reason they were kicked out was because of the seizure of crimea. when he talks in other positive ways about putin and says that nato is as bad as nafta, when you look at what he has actually done, not what he said but what he done the u.s. is contributing still an enormous amount of money to nato. aid to ukraine. he says he will bring up the meddling that russia engaged in in the u.s. election in 2016. we'll have to wait and see. the idea that he is going there to sell us out. i think it was schumer, maybe somebody else was upset that just the two would meet with translators. they've done that since the
1950s. the idea that the president shouldn't be able to meet with his russian counterpart is absurd. >> sandra: more live pictures of the president and first lady touching down for their arrival ahead of this meeting with theresa may. i want to get in what she has said about the upcoming meeting with putin. >> open channels of communication between the u.s. and russia are key to managing the risks of confrontation. this is what she had planned to say according to her spokesman. we have the live pictures up next to you, chris. this is a big week for this presidency. >> absolutely. and look, in terms of the summit and why this is one of the reasons i'm so fascinating about sitting down with vladimir putin right after the summit, there is so much for these two men to discuss. putin has called nato a threat. the president obviously has had his criticism although he praised it today as he was leaving. we'll want to talk about that.
they still have ukraine and huge differences on syria. the new start arms control treaty runs out in 2021. will they be able to extend that? putin in march said the russians developed a new invincible missile that could defeat all of our anti-missile systems. plus election meddling. i would think that's a fairly full plate for a few hours on monday afternoon in helsinki. >> sandra: fair to say that. chris wallace, we look forward to your big half-hour sit-down interview with vladimir putin coming up this monday in helsinki. we look forward to the summit, the interview with putin. we'll be watching all of it. >> bill: no shortage of topics when you look at the parallel worlds. the summit on monday with putin and the president arriving in london a short time ago. and now what we're about to see in 18 minutes, which takes us to the very heart of this russia matter. what was happening and not happening. we're moments away now. fox news alert from the start
of the peter strzok public hearing on capitol hill for the first time, what 99% of us will hear peter strzok actually talk. and there is a line of lawmakers that have been waiting to either rehab his image or tear it down. you'll hear from both sides in a matter of moments now at 10:00 a.m. eastern time. we are getting a lot of information from catherine herridge and others he will give a strong defense for what he was doing and if he truly wanted to hurt candidate trump he could have done that by going public and chose not to. how will he describe that? how will lawmakers frame the arguments? we're waiting on that. meanwhile former f.b.i. lawyer lisa page agreeing to talk with lawmakers privately. we believe it will happen tomorrow. jason chaffetz breaks it all down on all these developments coming up live next. >> if she doesn't appear before our committee by 10:00 p.m. on friday, then at 10:30 we'll move forward withholding her in
>> bill: here we go. peter strzok is inside the room about to break his silence moments if now. what can we expect to hear during a very public hearing? former congressman from utah jason chaffetz with me now. fox news contributor today. good morning to you. go ahead and characterize it for us. you'll have bob goodlatte, the chairman, trey gowdy will do some questions as well and on down the line. what is going to happen? >> there are a lot of embarrassing moments where peter strzok and lisa page were engaged in a conversation that i'm sure they never thought would go public. as the former number two person for counter intelligence for the f.b.i. he should have been keenly aware this stuff might be out there in the open. the big story behind the scenes is did this person in his capacity as an f.b.i. agent use the resources of the american people and of the f.b.i. to
proactively go after donald trump and the trump campaign during a presidential election. did they try to plant somebody in the organization? after an inspector general report says there was bias and animus and this person was in a position to use his resources in a nefarious capacity. that's why the hearing is so important. >> bill: compromise the agency's appearance of objectist and see how he explains all the text messages including this one from august of 2016. remember the context for this. this is three months before a national election and a text to lisa page, no, no, he won't. we'll stop it referring to the election of donald trump. how does he explain that, jason? >> a lot of people were concerned there were no charges in the case. peter strzok didn't get to make
charging decisions. what he did get to make is decisions about how to utilize resources to quote, unquote, stop the trump campaign, put an end to it. what was this insurance plan? there are lots of texts out there that need explanation and while members only have five minutes i think he will get barraged for hours. the other thing that is going to happen in this hearing that happened in the closed-door meeting last week is how many times will he say i can't talk about that because the f.b.i. told me not to? he is a former employee and should be able to answer any questions. that's not a legitimate excuse. >> bill: he will say in prepared remarks including this. i truly believe that today's hearing is just another victory notch in putin's belt and another milestone in our enemy's campaign to tear america apart. this investigation is not politically motivated. it is not a witch hunt. it is not a hoax. you are a lawmaker and have been on these committees before. how do you frame the argument
and the questions, how prepared are these lawmakers today? >> well, some are more prepared than others. you get somebody like a john radcliffe or jim jordan, these guys will be very prepared in their remarks. lamarr smith, for instance, is one of the best there is out there. but nevertheless, this is unique in that you have him in his own words and so it's very difficult for him to step back and claim that i was just trying to do my job when at the same time they will be able to pull out an email or text message saying i could smell the trump voters. that hillary clinton was going to win 100 million to nothing. you'll hear that time and time again. i don't know how he defends this. it's what makes the hearing fascinating. >> bill: john radcliffe said last night. i was with him 11 hours last night and didn't find his explanations to be believable and credible for the text
messages. at the end of the day we'll find out if the f.b.i. is in a better or worse position. >> sandra: peter strzok is set to testify publicly for the first time. the hearing begins in moments. we'll take you there live. noooooo... nooooo... quick, the quicker picker upper! bounty picks up messes quicker and is 2x more absorbent than the leading ordinary brand. ahoy! (laughing) bounty, the quicker picker upper.
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>> sandra: four-term republican congresswoman martha roby forced into a gop runoff with former democratic congressman bobby bright. at the center of the election is donald trump. why does the incumbent face such a tough reelection battle this time around? >> well, it dates back to comments she made during the 2016 presidential race. she initially supported donald trump but temporarily withdrew her support after the release
of an access hollywood tape. she tweeted donald trump's behavior makes his unacceptable as a candidate for president and i won't vote for him. president trump is highly popular in alabama and two years later she has to explain the comments she made against him. >> no regrets but let me say the campaign is long over. we have been governing and president donald trump is just that, he is president of the united states. of course i want him to be successful because when he is successful we're all successful. >> president trump has endorsed roby tweeting she has been a consistent and reliable vote for our make america great again agenda and in a republican primary runoff against a recent nancy pelosi voting democrat. president trump is referring to bobby bright a former democratic congressman who roby defeated in 2010. now running for his old seat as a republican in the red state bright has to distance himself
from his former party. >> republican, democrat is not what's important for the prosperity of our country. i've been a conservative all my life. >> that message seems to resonate when bright talks directly to voters, sandra. >> sandra: thank you very much. we'll continue to follow that race. looks like an exciting one. >> bill: moments from now peter strzok in center stage in the hot seat where he appears before house lawmakers. our a-team is standing by at the top of the hour to talk about what we can expect to hear. it could be a heated hearing, that might be an understatement. from both sides. peter strzok the embattled f.b.i. agent coming up live next. ♪motorcycle revving ♪ motorcycle revving ♪ no matter who rides point, ♪ there are over 10,000 allstate agents riding sweep.
>> sandra: this is a fox news alert. a highly-anticipated hearing about to get underway on capitol hill. embattled f.b.i. agent peter strzok on the hot seat today. he is set to testify for the first time publicly as lawmakers examine possible political bias tied to the russia investigation. welcome to a brand-new hour of "america's newsroom." i'm sandra smith. he has arrived. >> bill: good morning. i'm bill hemmer. his testimony after one day after lisa page dodged a subpoena. she will now appear for a private interview tomorrow. but strzok goes first and then page will go second. setting off alarm bells when
their anti-trump text messages were discovered. strzok was the lead agent in both the clinton email matter and the russia investigation. this goes back to mid-2016. testified about two weeks ago behind closed doors. you are going to hear from committee members, bob goodlatte from virginia, the chairman of the committee. trey gowdy, who has been with us numerous times talking about the concerns he has with the perceived bias on behalf of strzok and what that bias did in terms of the decisions he made within the agency. >> sandra: catherine herridge pointing out what she sees as one of the most important points that he makes in his opening statement that we are about to hear. peter strzok says i understand my sworn testimony will not be enough for some people. americans are skeptical of anything they hear out of washington the fact is after months of investigations, there is simply no evidence of bias in my professional actions. there is, however, one
extraordinarily important piece of evidence supporting my integrity, the integrity of the f.b.i. and our lack of bias. >> bill: he expect to hear from goodlatte and nadler. gowdy and them cummings and expect an opening statement from strzok that we've seen with prepared remarks. we have our a-team here. i want to bring in marie harf, morgan ortagus, and james freeman. to each of you, james, i will begin with you. what is your expectation for today? >> i think all americans are hoping to finally hear the collusion case. we haven't heard the evidence yet and if he is saying look, this was totally legitimate and ignore all my texts, which seem to show an extreme bias against the president, there was really a justification for this what many people consider outrageous use of surveillance assets in a political campaign.
i think he has to make the case and not give us a sort of adam schiff version of it is really bad and it looks awful but i can't talk about it. i think he has to tell us if he is going to succeed in this public hearing why this began and how it began. >> sandra: you are looking at him live there on capitol hill. this is expected to begin at any moment. he arrives with a team of about four people and you can expect him to be highly prepared. he has already sat down 11 hours with house republicans answering questions and now we'll see him publicly testify and he is expected to say that he regrets -- has significant regret his text messages created confusion, caused pain for the people he loves and the fact that they provided ammunition for misguided attacks against the f.b.i., an institution he dearly loves. >> there is a couple things in life i would like to avoid. one of them is being on the other end of trey gowdy
whenever in his questioning. i'm really looking to see what that line of questioning will be. he is a very fair at this sort of thing. something that is important that i'm concerned about that i think we might see today is he has made statements this is just another victory notch in putin's belt. if he comes out today and tries to tie this investigation and what these committees are doing to somehow vladimir putin and saying that his conduct -- this investigation somehow helps putin, i think he will be in dangerous territory with the republicans for doing that. i think he needs to have a -- no matter if he provides his professional conduct was above reproach the text messages call into questions for ordinary americans who want to believe in the integrity of the f.b.i. i would also say for the rank and file at the f.b.i., if he pulls people that are regular agents around the country and around the world, many of my
friends, there is frustration as to what happened in the leadership of the f.b.i. in the last two or three years. >> bill: what is the state of the f.b.i. at the end of this hearing? marie, what is your expectation when you know he testified for 11 hours and john radcliffe said i was there for 11 hours and didn't find his explanation for the text messages to be believable or credible and what is described as numerous interjek shuns on behalf of his attorney. i don't know who the gentleman is he is talking to now. i'm not sure if it's attorney, friend, colleague or even a relative. how he answers these questions and how far he goes will tell us a lot. body language, defensive posture. how does he explain it? >> right. this is the first time he will be able to tell his side of the story publicly. not just go through text messages and try to read the tea leaves. that's often not a useful way of spending time. what's interesting we heard from democrats who were in that closed-door hearing that he
held for 11 hours who said the opposite. so in some respects this will be a rorschach test about the russia investigation. the other thing i heard when he was asked about the russia investigation, what he was able to say was actually quite damning. the mueller investigation continues. anything to impede that cannot be said publicly for the sake of that investigation. that's a tough line for him to walk here. he is not in charge of that and hasn't worked on that for many months so he has to be very careful about how he walks that line. but i think as interesting as his answers are, the questions coming from the members of the committee will also give us a sense for how both the republicans and the democrats are following this. >> bill: i found over time sometimes they're prepared for this and sometimes they aren't prepared to frame their argument. i'm told that is his attorney he is talking to right now.
>> sandra: james, catherine herridge brings up a good point by giving us the comparison to what we have now seen. he is about to say in his opening statement to the conclusions of the i.g. report, one of which -- one paragraph addresses the no, he is not, we'll stop it text message that peter strzok sent in response to lisa page's text. the i.g. concluded imply a willingness to take action to -- you will likely hear those text messages in the context of many questions about to come, james. >> obviously that one was very damning. you see about the insurance policy against president trump and he will be asked to explain that. he seems eager to tell us why, despite this mountain of
evidence, despite all these texts showing extreme bias, showing animus, he is going to say it never affected my work. these were just -- i think he is going to say these are just two people sharing our opinions but it was not about the job we were doing since it constantly refers to the job they were doing. that will be very hard to believe but i really think he is not going to get away with saying this investigation was totally legitimate and justified and needed, but i can't provide any evidence for that and i will not go into the origins of it and why we thought it was appropriate to surveil a political campaign. i don't think that will fly. if he will say i can't talk about it, i think he naturally should also say and therefore i can't say whether the investigation was legitimate, either. >> bill: morgan, what do you make of that and the fact that
peter strzok was the nexus of so much that was happening in the russia investigation or hillary clinton email matter. it has been reported he was notified in early october before the election in 2016 there were all these emails on anthony wiener's laptop. >> the point i was going to bring up. because there was so much concentrated power at the top of the f.b.i. on these two investigations, there is a lot of lawmakers that will want to know when you found classified emails on huma abiden on her husband's laptop why was the trump investigation prioritized over those finding more classified emails. there could be a legitimate reason for that. i think because he was also in charge of the clinton email investigation, there are still many, many questions about the actions that took place there
and again, everyone in government can have their own personal opinions. marie and i both served in government as career diplomats and you are human beings and have political opinions. the case where it's dangerous is not that he had political opinions but those opinions were expressed in the text messages in relation to two very high-profile investigations that he was overseeing. so what do we need to get out of all this? we need to have the faith and integrity of the f.b.i. restored. the iga report pointed out inconsistency. the agency needs to do housecleaning. the rank and file need to have faith in the agency again and average americans need to believe when our government is looking at clinton versus trump that they are taking these sorts of investigations seriously and we're in a very sad and perilous state unfortunately where we are with
the f.b.i. and i would like to see the faith and integrity restored today. i hope peter strzok is able to come clean and do that. >> sandra: you are looking live at peter strzok. marie harf, lisa page is someone else that house republicans want to ask questions of regarding her time in the f.b.i. and her communication with the man on the screen right now, peter strzok. she was set to answer questions in a closed-door setting yesterday and then bailed from that and now we're getting word that she is going to do that but it will happen tomorrow. do you make anything of the timing? perhaps she is waiting until she hears peter strzok's public testimony? >> i don't make much of the timing. when things get scheduled on the hill it's a strange bureaucrat dance. one thing that peter strzok will say today. everyone is accusing me having biased against donald trump. this is peter strzok's words.
i was one of a handful of people who knew the details of the ongoing investigation into donald trump and his campaign on russia and i didn't consider leaking it to the press, using it politically when lots of people inside the f.b.i. were leaking. it is an interesting situation to think about he knew damning information about donald trump and never went to the press. >> bill: do you see the possibility it can be explained away? >> i think we should give him a chance to do that. a long career in law enforcement and f.b.i. his text messages were stupid but as morgan said he is allowed to have personal opinions and we should give him the chance in this hearing to answer questions, to ask him questions in a fair way and give him the chance to answer and if then the answers don't make sense, then we can have a conversation. but let's not just jump to our partisan right versus left and
automatically assume if we're republicans we don't like him and if we're democrats we do. let's look at this honestly. >> bill: if the closed-door hearing went 11 hours i don't know how long this one goes today. jason chaffetz, i want to bring you back to the conversation and respond to the following statement from peter strzok. i understand that my sworn testimony will not be enough for some people, he will say. after all, americans are skeptical of anything they hear out of washington the fact is after months of investigations there is simply no evidence of bias in my professional actions. based on what you know, is that true? >> well look, you have a 560 page inspector general report that denies that and when director mueller heard and saw these texts he immediately dismissed him. i don't know how he gets around that with any sort of credibility. those aren't partisan barbs. i think the words are very hollow.
>> sandra: jason, just reading through the prepared remarks he is about to make in his opening statement he is eager to answer the questions of congress but he wanted to directly address those texts in his opening statement. he is saying, like many people and to marie's point i had expressed political opinions during a presidential election. many obtained opinions that were not always expressed in terms i am proud of. jason. >> well, they're not just opinions. he talked about what he was going to do in his official capacity and that's the core question. did he use the resources and assets, the title that he had, to move dollars and people to inappropriately inject himself into a political campaign. that's the core question. and the committee missed an opportunity. they should have insisted that lisa page sit side-by-side so he never has an excuse to say well, you will have to ask lisa
page. the two of them, both the subjects of the texts should have been sitting side to side. >> bill: bob goodlatte took his chair. do you know the gentleman peter strzok is talking to with a beard? is that a lawyer for strzok or the f.b.i. or do we know? >> that's an interesting question. i know that -- i believe that's his attorney. but the other question is will an f.b.i. attorney try to inject himself into this? evidently what was happening in the transcribed interview the f.b.i. was repeatedly saying you can't answer that. you should not answer that. in this hearing the only person that can speak is the person that is sworn in. if bob goodlatte only swears in peter strzok, he is the only one that can speak. nobody else can jump in. >> sandra: you say the committee had a missed opportunity. they had him for 10 or 11 hours behind closed doors and here we go again. what should be asked to come to -- to get to in your words the
truth? >> well, it's hard because members only have five minutes at a time but it is on the record for the american people and that's the good thing. his own words will be used against him. i don't know how he answers that. they will take out portions of the inspector general report and what they found because there is some damning information there. the job of congress is to help fix this so it never happens again. i know there will be a lot of partisan barbs but this is serious. he was the number two person in counter intelligence for the f.b.i. and one of the most sloppy individuals in terms of taking care of his own text messages. if congressional investigators can find it and the inspector general the russians could also find this. how is it that this person is operating in this capacity? and trying to go after a presidential -- into a presidential campaign. it is absolutely one of the most stunning things. the f.b.i. we need to restore its confidence. right now they don't have it.
>> bill: you have a theory as to why lisa page side stepped the meeting yesterday. did she want peter strzok to go first? >> i -- it's hard for me to inject myself into her thoughts. she knows that congress is feckless and congress has no ability to compel her. to bypass that there aren't consequences. how many other procedures do you hear take option a, b or c. let's do whatever is most convenient for you. congress has really got to stand up for itself. a lot of people, myself included, was a big part of why i left. congress would never actually stand behind what it said compelling people to testify. >> bill: will you hold them in contempt of congress it doesn't appear it carries much weight, jason. >> congress doesn't go to court. that's the problem. you have to go back to the
department of justice to actually get a subpoena enforced and go to the department of justice. when jeff sessions decided not to prosecute on the brian pagliano case. i sent a subpoena to him twice. he didn't show. jeff sessions as the attorney general never prosecuted him. she sees that and there is a consequence for that. >> sandra: now the development with lisa page agreeing to appear for a private interview tomorrow, friday, voluntarily according to chairman goodlatte this morning. we're still working out the details and i can't get into that. that is an important and positive development because we've been trying for seven months to talk to lisa page. here is the chairman. let's listen to the chairman. >> we welcome everyone to this morning's hearing on oversight of f.b.i. and d.o.j. actions
surrounding the 2016 election. before we begin, without objection, the mou that mr. gowdy and i entered into will govern these proceedings. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york, ranking member of the judiciary committee. >> i want to express my appreciation to the staff for preparing objections that we will not use but i appreciate the chairman consulting with us on the mou and pursuant to our conversation i do not object. >> chair thanks the gentleman. chair recognizes himself for the purpose of an opening statement. i wish this hearing were not necessary. many children grow up wanting to become f.b.i. agents, to catch bad guys and protect the american people. i have little doubt that our witness today has done that very thing during his many years serving as an f.b.i. special agent. a special agent's mission is a
vitally important business to which we dedicate some of our best and brightest. however, this is precisely why our joint investigation is such an anomaly. we want the f.b.i. and the department of justice to be off the front pages and to return to doing what they are best at, battling crime, terrorism, and espionage and protecting all of us from harm. we don't want to read text message after text message dripping with bias against one of the two presidential candidates. we don't enjoy finding compelling evidence that the f.b.i. director had pre-determined the outcome of the case months in advance. but that is thus far what we have found and these are only small pieces of the larger puzzle. the more information we acquire, the more interviews we conduct, and the more sources we contact, the more we learn. it has unfortunately taken a
great deal of effort to get our executive branch agencies to cooperate with our legitimate congressional oversight. but we have made substantial progress and it is a credit to our investigative task force members and staff. for all those in this room who continue to disparage our investigation as mere conspiracy theory and for all those who have chosen to ignore serious irregularities and potential crimes that we have uncovered, i say this, imagine if you were under investigation and the investigator hated you, dispar aged you in all manner of ways and frater nao*ized with another employee working on your case who hated you, denigrated your supporters and made decisions on how your case should be treated and eventually adjudicated. would anyone sitting here today
believe this was an acceptable state of affairs? particularly at an agency whose motto is fidelity, bravery, and integrity. i think not. to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, please replace president trump's name with your own name in a small sample of things mr. strzok has said. envision how you would feel if you found out that the chief agent investigating you as a member of congress was making these statements f trump, trump is a disaster, just went to a southern virginia wal-mart. i could smell the trump support. or perhaps most alarmingly and revealingly, we'll stop it. referring directly to mr. trump's candidacy for president. if you think we're wasting time. suppose this has been said
about candidate obama or about hillary clinton while she was running in the same election. would we be where we are today? the only honest answer is an absolute affirmative yes. of course we would be here because every single democrat would be protesting bias and discrimination against their preferred candidates by an out of control f.b.i. and d.o.j. so please stop saying this doesn't matter and is only the product of conspiracy theory. instead, the american people hope you will understand that this investigation goes to the very heart of our system of justice. one that is supposed to be fair and treat everyone equally under the law. mr. strzok and others inside the f.b.i. and d.o.j. turned our system of justice on its head and that's why we're here and why this matters. yesterday chairman gowdy and i received a letter from my colleagues on the other side of
the aisle raising numerous objections about the nature of our investigation. these claims are largely spurious and i have responded publicly to them before. however, these claims are also revealing. the final line of that letter states that our democratic colleagues will, quote, undertake efforts to protect their rights, end quote. i implore my friends not to continue their efforts to undermine this investigation and as for their rights, i submit that the rights that should concern us are the rights of the american people. namely to know the facts, to trust that their law enforcement agencies are operating fairly and justly and to feel secure in the knowledge that no one is above the law. i now recognize the ranking member of the judiciary committee, the gentleman of new york mr. nadler for his opening statement. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i must say before i begin my formal statement
that this country has a number of emergencies right now under the jurisdiction of this committee which we aren't spending any time or attention to. the leading one being the fact that 3,000 children were improperly taken away from their families and the administration seems either unwilling or out of total incompetence unable to return the kids to their families even under court order. we ought to be holding hearings about the intentions or the competence of the department of homeland security on this question. mr. chairman, of more immediate concern than this hearing certainly. at the outset of this congress my democratic colleagues and i asked you to look into russia undermining our last election you said no and offered a variety of excuses. we couldn't look into president
trump's attempts to obstruct the early investigation because other committees have juries dick over part of this. you also reluctant to interfere with the special counsel. until mr. mueller's investigation is complete it is redundant for the committee to look into the same issues. you said they would never intrude on a active criminal investigation claiming perhaps erroneously that the majority never questioned the f.b.i. about the clinton investigation while that investigation was still ongoing. mr. chairman, this joint investigation is now so far afield from the original statements that it can be difficult to discern what we are investigating at all. you initially described this inquiry as an investigation regarding charging decisions in the investigation surrounding secretary clinton's email server in 2016, close quote. just a few days ago over the course of an 11-hour interview republicans asked mr. strzok more than 200 questions about
the special counsel's investigation. more than 30 questions about mr. strzok's personal interactions with the special counsel, and 25 questions about the f.b.i.'s use of confidential human sources to determine who at the trump campaign might have been compromised by a foreign government. are we no longer going the wait until special counsel mueller concludes his work, mr. chairman? perhaps the rules of this joint investigation such as they are operate differently now that we are approaching the mid-term elections and special counsel mueller is closing in on the president's close associates. in the majority's view it seems our job is to ask questions about the internal workings of the special counsel's investigation and to demand documents that lay out his strategy. but not to make any attempt to understand how the russian government influenced our last election or any effort to protect our next election from an attack by the russian government, a key foreign adversary. the majority's view it is more
important to quiz mr. strzok about the f.b.i.'s use of confidential human sources in some wild attempt to prove president trump's baseless claim that a spy, unquote, was planted inside his campaign. that it is to learn about the impact of exposing the identity of these sources while still working undercover. my republican colleagues appear to have revealed the identity of one such source already. in the majority's view, the text messages exchanged between mr. strzok and lisa page are a higher priority than president trump's request that james comey end the investigation to michael flynn or his decision to fire director comey because of that russia thing with trump and russia unquote. that's a quote from the president. or his repeated attempts to fire special counsel mueller directly. the majority's view we don't have time to conduct oversight on almost any national security issue but hours on end to discuss mr. strzok's affair.
which brings me to my next point. i have come to expect that president trump will tweet abhorrent things about decent people but i hope i can expect better behavior from my colleagues. mr. strzok volunteered to be here today just as he volunteered to appear two weeks ago for what turned out to be an 11-hour interview. you don't have to like him, but you have to treat him and any witness before this committee with respect. questions like do you love lisa page, and who did you vote for in the last election, questions that were posed aren't relevant to any aspect of our official business. the same of the majority's treatment of rosenstein on june 29th which was at best uncivil and of the committee's treatment of lisa page which has been unfair to say the least. mr. chairman, i agree that ms. page must comply with a subpoena but it is beneath your office to suggest that her
decision not to appear for deposition means she has something to hide and call her pathetic as mr. desantis did. nothing to do with the swamp as mr. jordan suggested. can we not be decent to our witnesses? must republican descend to the president's level even in his defense? i know the majority wants a public fight with mr. strzok today. i expect they will ask him questions about the special counsel's investigation that you know the f.b.i. will not permit him to answer. as you did more than 200 times in our last meeting with mr. strzok so that his decision not to answer and instructions by the f.b.i. not to answer can be played out on cable news again and again. i expect mr. strzok walked into the room knowing that republicans may hold him in contempt for following the policy of the department of justice. they should not comment on or acknowledge the existence of an ongoing criminal investigation.
a single decision not to -- a single decision to deviate from that protocol can cause lasting damage. according to mr. comey's deviation from that protocol must acknowledge. when we reach that impasse, mr. chairman. think back to the statements you made about interference with the special counsel earlier and consider the consequences of our words and actions here today. the majority keeps telling us over and over again there was bias in the clinton investigation, bias in the russian investigation, and bias must never again effect an investigation at the department of justice. the rules that prevent mr. strzok from answering some of the questions today are designed to accomplish precisely that. to prevent congress and the public from injecting bias and politics into the special counsel's investigation or into any other investigation.
when the special counsel's job is done, i would invite all of us to join in examining his findings. until then, mr. chairman, i hope we can treat our guest with common courtesy and leave the special counsel alone to do his job. i yield back. >> their thanks the gentleman. i recognize the chairman from south carolina, mr. gowdy, for his opening statement. >> in our justice system we give law enforcement officers incredible powers. investigate, search, seize, to stop. the power to allege and accuse. the power to eavesdrop and intercept private communications. the power to look through bank records and phone records. the power to even check what books you checked out of the library. these are awesome powers that must be used responsibly because those powers affect reputations and freedom. these awesome powers are given a correspondingly high
expectation that these powers will be used fairly, lawfully, professionally, in a manner worthy of our respect. about two weeks ago f.b.i. agent peter strzok was interviewed for more than 10 hours. we learned that agent strzok has a most unusual and largely self-serving definition of bias. agent strzok despite the plain language of his texts and emails and despite the inspector general's report and despite common sense doesn't think he was bias. he thinks calling someone destabilizing for the country isn't bias. he thinks promising to protect the country from someone he hasn't even begun to investigate isn't bias. he thinks promising to stop someone he is supposed to be fairly investigating from ever becoming president isn't bias. he thinks talking about an insurance policy to keep someone from becoming president
isn't bias. that is for one of the folks he was investigating. he has a different set of rules for others that he is investigating. agent strzok thinks saying someone he is allegedly investigating should be elected president 100 million to 0 before he ever interviews her. he doesn't think that's bias. agent strzok thinks pronouncing someone innocent before bothering to interview more than 30 different witnesses isn't bias. he thinks claiming you can smell the trump supporters isn't bias but he doesn't say a single solitary word about being able to smell the support of any other candidate. to him that isn't bias. the moment special counsel bob mueller found out about peter strzok's texts and emails, he kicked him off of the
investigation. but that was a year and a half too late. the texts and the emails may have been discovered in may of 2017 but the bias existed and was manifest a year and a half before that all the way back to late 2015 and early 2016. so it wasn't the discovery of texts that got him fired, it was the bias manifest in those texts that made him unfit to objectively and dispassionately investigate. so if the bias existed in late 2015 and early 2016, and it did. his unfitness to investigate existed then as well. agent strzok struggled to define bias for the better part of 10 hours. for the rest of us, bias is the pre-judging of a person, group or a thing. it usually has a negative connotation but it is a pre-conceived position or a pre-judgment. it is the making up of your
mind ahead of time based on anything other than the facts and that is exactly what he did. bias is saying hillary clinton should win the presidency 100 million to 0 when she was still under investigation, wasn't even the nominee, hadn't been interviewed and 30 other witnesses had also not been interviewed. in march of 2016 agent strzok had clinton winning 100 million to 0. even though the investigation was far from being over. that is the pre-judging of someone's innocence before all the evidence is in. on the other hand he said trump would be destabilizing, called him an idiot. bigoted nonsense, called him a disaster. said he should f himself. strzok promised to stop trump from becoming president before
the investigation began. he talked longly of trump resigning two months after he was inaugurated and well before the special counsel investigation even began. strzok even talked about impeachment the day special counsel was appointed. that is pre-judging guilt. it is pre-judging punishment and it is textbook bias. we live in a 50/50 country and we accept that. but we're a 100% country when it comes to having law enforcement that doesn't pre-judge innocence before investigations are over and doesn't pre-judge guilt and punishment before an investigation even begins. agent strzok had hillary clinton winning the white house before he finished investigating her. agent strzok had donald trump impeached before he started investigating him. that's bias. agent strzok may not see it but the rest of the country does and it is not what we want, expect or deserve from any law
enforcement officer, much less the f.b.i. a fair, bias-free investigation is not a republican or democrat issue. it is an american issue. or at least it used to be. >> recognizes the ranking member, the gentleman from maryland, mr. cummings. for his opening statement. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. when chairman goodlatte and chairman gowdy launched their joint investigation into hillary clinton's emails, they promised not to interfere with the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by special counsel mueller. they were crystal clear. let me read some of their
statements. on december 6 chairman gowdy said, and i quote, i specifically communicated to special counsel robert mueller i would wittingly or unwittingly interfere with a criminal probe. end of quote. on march 18 chairman gowdy said, and i quote, i've been really very clear. leave him alone. let him do his job. end of quote. chairman gowdy went on to offer advice directly to the president. and this is what he said, and i quote. my advice to the president is the same thing i just told his
lawyer, give bob mueller the time, the independence, and the resources to do the job. he went on to say that when you are innocent, if the allegations of collusion with the russians and there is no evidence of that, and you are innocent of that, act like it, end of quote. this was the advice that chairman gowdy gave to the president of the united states of america. let me be very clear, i have a tremendous amount of respect for the chairman of the oversight committee. chairman goodlatte echoed those comments declaring that he and chairman gowdy had, and i
quote, no intentions of interfering with the substantive investigation of mr. mueller, end of quote. but now they are doing the opposite. behind closed doors, they are asking individuals involved in the russia investigation hundreds of questions about confidential human sources, fisa applications, potential witnesses in the special counsel's criminal probe. in public they are holding emergency hearings, issuing unilateral subpoenas and threatening contempt and impeachment. they even demanded that the top justice department law enforcement officer in charge of this investigation, and i
quote, finish it the hell up, end of quote. what has changed? what has changed? why did our chairmen promise not to interfere wittingly or unwittingly but then suddenly launch this aggressive attack against our special counsel? there has been one obvious development, the special counsel has now obtained five guilty pleas and indicted 18 others, including some of president trump's closest advisors. here are the individuals that have already admitted their guilt. michael flynn, president trump's national security advisor. he pleaded guilty to lying
about his secret communications with the russians. making false statements to the f.b.i. and impeding the investigation while he worked at the white house last year. let me underscore, these are not allegations, these are admissions. president trump's national security advisor admitted that he committed these crimes and he is now cooperating with the special counsel. rick gates, trump's deputy campaign chairman. he pleaded -- are there rules for that, mr. chairman?
>> are there any rules against what they are doing? fight the rule if there is a rule against what they are doing. fight the rule. >> the gentleman may proceed. >> thank you very much. let me underscore these are not allegations, these are admissions. president trump's top national security security advisor admitted and he committed these crimes and he is now cooperating with the special counsel. rick gates, president trump's deputy campaign chairman, he pleaded guilty to, quote, conspiracy against the united states of america, end of quote. to intentionally engaging in a variety of criminal schemes and
to lying to the special counsel and the f.b.i. last year and even this year. he admitted to committing those crimes. he is also cooperating with the special counsel. george papadopoulos, president trump's foreign policy advisor. he pleaded guilty to making false statements to the f.b.i. in 2017 about when he first learned that the russians had dirt on hillary clinton. also now cooperating with the special counsel. richard pineto. digital marketing strategist pleaded guilty to identity fraud and trafficking in hundreds of stolen bank account numbers over the internet. which were bought by russians
to interfere with the 2016 election. and alex van der zwaan, the son-in-law of a russian pleaded guilty for lying to the special counsel and the f.b.i. in november for his work for paul manafort with foreign nationals aligned with russia. of course, this does not include mr. manafort himself, who is scheduled to begin his criminal trial later this summer. he is sitting in solitary confinement after allegedly engaging in witness tampering. this also does not include michael cohen, the president's long-time lawyer. at this moment he may be considering whether to
cooperate with special counsel. at the last judiciary committee hearing, chairman gowdy said that if the special counsel has evidence of a crime, he said submit it to the grand jury. as chairman gowdy himself said, if you are innocent, act like it. today i urge our chairman to change course and to keep their promises to protect the integrity of the special counsel's ongoing investigation and instead of asking hundreds of questions that undermine it, to work with him. and with that, chairman, i yield back. >> bill: we welcome our witness and mr. strzok if you would please rise i'll begin by swearing you in.
do you swear the testimony you are about to give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? thank you. let the record show the witness answered to the affirmative. mr. peter strzok is a deputy assistant director of the human resources division of the f.b.i. mr. strzok has worked at the f.b.i. for approximately 22 years. prior to his current assignment he was a deputy assistant director in the counter intelligence division. that is what brings him before the committees today as we continue our investigation. your written statement will be entered into the record and summarize your testimony in five minutes to help you stay within the time there is a timing light on your table. when the light switches from green to yellow you have one minute to conclude your testimony. when the light turns read it signals your five minutes have expired. you may begin. >> chairman goodlatte and gowdy
and ranking members. thank you for the opportunity to testify before your committees again this time in an open hearing. i testify today with significant regret recognizing that my texts have created confusion and caused pain for people i love. certain private messages of mine have provided ammunition for misguided attacks against the f.b.i., an institution that i love deeply and have served proudly for over 20 years. i'm eager to answer your questions but let me first address those much-discussed texts. like many people, i had and expressed political opinions during an extraordinary presidential election. many were for concerns for the security of our country. opinions not always expressed in terms i'm proud of. but having worked in national security for two decades and proudly served in the u.s. army those opinions were expressed out of deep patriotism and an
unyielding belief in our great american democracy. at times my criticism was blunt but despite how it's been characterized, it was not limited to one person or to one party. i criticized various countries and politicians including secretary clinton, senator sanders, then candidate trump and others. but let me be clear, unequivocally and under oath not once in my 26 years of defending our nation did my personal opinions impact any official action i took. this is true for the clinton email investigation, for the investigation into russian interference, and for every other investigation i've worked on. it is not who i am and it is not something i would ever do, period. i understand that my sworn testimony will not be enough for some people. after all, americans are skeptical of anything coming
out of washington but the fact is, after months of investigations, there is simply no evidence of bias in my professional actions. there is, however, one extraordinarily important piece of evidence supporting my integrity, the integrity of the f.b.i., and our lack of bias. in the summer of 2016, i was one of a handful of people who knew the details of russian election interference and its possible connections with members of the trump campaign. this information had the potential to derail and quite possibly defeat mr. trump but the thought of expressing that or exposing that information never crossed my mind. that's what f.b.i. agents do every single day and that's why i'm so proud of the bureau. and i am particularly proud of the work that i and many others did on the clinton email investigation. our charge was to investigate
it competently, honestly, and independently and that's exactly what happened. i'm also proud of our work on the russian interference investigation. this is an investigation into a direct attack by a foreign adversary and it is no less so simply because it was launched against our democratic process rather than against a military base. this is something that all americans of all political persuasions should be alarmed by. in the summer of 2016, we had an urgent need to protect the integrity of an american presidential election from a hostile foreign power determined to weaken and divide the united states of america. this investigation is not politically motivated. it is not a witch hunt. it is not a hoax. i expect that during this hearing i'll be asked about that ongoing investigation. with the f.b.i. has directed me not to answer i will abide by
the f.b.i.'s instructions. let me be clear, this is not because i don't want to answer your questions. if i were permitted to answer, i would. and the answers would doubtless be disappointing that the question ners and undermine the conspiracy narrative being told about the russia investigation. i understand we're living in a political area where insults and insinuation drown out honesty and integrity. the honest truth is russian interference in our elections constituents a grave attack on our democracy. most disturbingly it has been wildly successful sewing discord in our nation and shaking faith in our institutions. i have the utmost respect for the role. this is just another victory notch in putin's belt and our enemy's campaign to tear america apart. as someone who loves this country and cherishes its "deal
it is painful to watch and worse to play a part in. mr. chairman, i welcome your questions. >> we'll now proceed with questions and i recognize the chairman mr. gowdy. >> agent strzok, the f.b.i. investigation into potential russia collusion with the trump campaign began on july 31st, 2016. you drafted the originating document, you approved the originating document, you were the point of contact on the originating document, and the f.b.i. has represented to congress that nothing from an investigative standpoint with respect to russian collusion and the trump campaign began before july 31st, 2016. but 10 days before the investigation even began, 10 days before you drafted the originating document, approved the originating document, was
the point of contact on the originating document. 10 days before the investigation began, which the department you work for says nothing was done before july 31st, you said trump is a disaster. i have no idea how destabilizing his presidency would be. and because you struggled a couple weeks ago with a word that i thought had a commonly accepted definition i'll give you the definition of destabilizing. the first one is obvious. it is to make unstable. the second one caught my attention. the second dictionary definition. to call something such as a government to be incapable of functioning or surviving, that's a pretty significant allegation to make 10 days before you even began to investigate someone. so that was before july 31st. i want to ask you in that first
week we'll go ahead between july 31 and august 8, how many interviews did you conduct related to the alleged collusion between russia and the trump campaign? >> congressman, as you know counsel for the f.b.i. based on the special counsel's equities has instructed me not to answer questions about the ongoing investigation. >> i'm asking for a number. haven't gotten to the names. how many people had you interviewed between the beginning of july 31 and august 8. an eight-daytime period. we're a week into an investigation. how many people had you interviewed. >> i understand your question, i appreciate it and i would very much like to answer. but as i've stated, as you know that counsel of the f.b.i. based on the special counsel's
equities have directed me not to answer any questions about the ongoing investigation into russian attempts to interfere. >> mr. strzok, you are under subpoena and are required to answer the question. are you objecting to the question? if so, please state your objection. >> i object. the gentleman does not have standing to object. >> point of order. >> the point of order should be heard. >> let him state his point of order. >> this demand puts mr. strzok in an impossible position. he is still an employee of the f.b.i. and f.b.i. counsel instructed him to answer the question. if we have a problem take it up with the f.b.i. not badger mr. strzok. >> the gentleman's point of order is not well taken. >> it is right on point. >> no, it is not.
mr. strzok, are you objecting to the question and if so please state your objection. >> mr. chairman, two things one i do not believe i'm here under subpoena but here voluntarily. secondly, i will not based on direction of the f.b.i. to me, based on that i will not answer that question. because it goes to matters which are related to the ongoing investigations being undertaken by the special counsel. >> mr. strzok you have not stated a valid legal basis for not responding to a question directed to you by a member of the united states house of representatives and you are overruled. >> point of order, mr. chairman. >> let me continue. your testimony is essential to this hearing and to our oversight and information gathering functions with regard to the actions taken and decisions made by the department of justice and the federal bureau of investigation in 2016 and 2017. i'm specifically directing you to answer the question in
response to our subpoena, notwithstanding your objection. >> point of order, mr. chairman. >> mr. strzok, please be advised that you can either comply with the committee's direction to answer the question and refuse to do so. the latter of which will place you in risk of contempt citation and potential criminal liability. do you understand that? the question is directed to the witness. >> i have a point of order before he answers the question. >> the point of order is not well taken. >> you don't know what it is. you can't say it is not well taken. >> the witness will answer the question. >> mr. chairman, i raise my point of order and insist on it. >> what is the point of order? >> the united states attorney's manual instructs department personnel not to respond to questions about the existence of an ongoing investigation or comment on its nature or progress. in a letter of 2000 referred to the letter the department made
it -- quote, congress has a legitimate interest how the department enforces statutes congressional inquiries pose a threat to the law enforcement and -- the question being directed at the witness is out of order. the witness's saying he will not answer because of the instructions of the f.b.i. pursuant to f.b.i. policy which is necessary so as not to allow us to subvert an ongoing criminal investigation, he is right. he should not answer the question. >> the gentleman has not stated a valid -- the united states supreme court has recognized it is unquestionably the duty of all citizens to cooperate with the congress in its efforts to obtain the facts needed for intelligent legislative action.
it is their unremitting obligation to respect the dignity of the congress and its committees and to testify fully with respect to matters within the province of proper investigation. >> mr. chairman, i will -- mr. chairman, we all know that if we were to ask a question of a witness about a military secret, if we were to ask him how does the h bomb work, he could not answer that question. this is the same thing. >> that is a classification issue, not an issue of whether or not this is a valid question for which -- >> i appeal the ruling of the chair. >> he has ruled it is not a point of order. >> that is not a ruling. >> mr. chairman, i insist on my point of order and appealing the ruling of the chair. >> mr. strzok. >> point of order mr. chairman. you have ruled we have a right to answer mr. -- >> it is not a valid point of
order. >> point of order, mr. chairman. >> mr. strzok. >> mr. chairman, i appeal the ruling of the chair you just made on whether -- >> you have not stated a valid point of order. >> it is your ruling and i appeal it. >> that is not an appealable. >> point of order, yes it. is appealing of the rule of the chair is exactly what he is requesting. that requires a vote. either sustain it or overrule it. >> the gentleman from new york has not cited a rule of the house being violated. therefore it is not a point of order. >> that's your ruling. >> mr. chairman, mr. chairman, is it not appropriate to also interject the attorney/client privilege which cannot be overridden and is a rule of the house to the extent that witnesses have the right to an attorney/client privilege in
this house and that is what this witness is asserting. attorney/client privilege and he has been advised not to answer the question. >> the gentleman has not raised the attorney/client privilege. he says he has been instructed by the f.b.i. not to answer the question. >> by lawyers. >> now, he knows the advice i have just given him. if he would like i will restate it but knowing this, will you answer the committee's question as directed or do you refuse to answer the committee's question. >> point of parliamentary inquiry. >> it's not in order. >> point of parliamentary inquiry, mr. chairman. >> the gentleman from south carolina has a time. a parliamentary inquiry is not in order during the gentleman's time. the chair is instructing the witness to answer the question
and the question to you is -- will you answer the committee's question as directed or do you refuse to answer the question. >> i move to adjourn. >> second. >> you are not recognized for that purpose. >> mr. chairman, i think you have no choice but to recognize such a motion. >> i do not. >> are you going the make up rules as we go along? >> the motion is not in order during the time controlled by the gentleman from south carolina. >> i appeal that ruling of the chair. >> mr. strzok, will you answer? >> i appeal your ruling ruling of the chair -- >> the gentleman is not in order. the gentleman is not recognized. >> i appeal your ruling. >> nothing this, will you answer the committee's question as directed or do you refuse to answer the committee's question?
>> mr. chairman, as you know counsel for the f.b.i. has directed me not to answer questions about the ongoing investigation. as you also know, counsel important the f.b.i. is sitting behind me. may i consult with him? >> you may consult with your own counsel. >> i may not consult with f.b.i. counsel? >> only with your own counsel. >> mr. chairman, there is no basis for that. he can consult with the f.b.i. counsel. >> the chairman isn't being proper. >> witnesses can't be directed not to confer with his attorney. >> the f.b.i. is not his attorney. his attorney is seated behind him. >> he is an employee of the f.b.i. >> his attorney may consult with the f.b.i. attorney? >> isn't the privilege that of the f.b.i. and shouldn't the f.b.i. counsel be solicited on that point?
>> mr. chairman, my counsel has reiterated that counsel for the f.b.i. has directed that i may not answer that question. >> mr. strzok, in a moment we'll continue with the hearing but based on your refusal to answer the question at the conclusion of the day we'll be recessing the hearing and you will be subject to recall to allow the committee to consider proceeding with a contempt citation. >> point of order, will the committee consider contempt for mr. bannon who refused to answer mr. gowdy's questions when he was not -- >> that is not a proper - >> parliamentary inquiry. >> that is not in order when the gentleman from south carolina controls the time. >> just so the record is clear because it's been a little
while. i didn't ask you to content of those interviews or the names. i asked if you interviewed anyone from july 31 until august 8. i find it interesting the f.b.i. will tell us no interviews were conducted before july 31. that apparently doesn't impact an ongoing probe but between july 31 and august 8 it does. here is the good news. i already know the answer to it. i went and looked at the file. the first interview i can find is august 11 of 2016, which is 11 days after it began, which makes me wonder on august 6 -- so you hadn't interviewed anyone. you are investigating this alleged russian collusion with the trump campaign. you are the lead investigator and the point of contact and you drafted the document and here you are before you've interviewed a single witness saying f trump, then that same
day your colleague lisa page wrote maybe you are meant to protect the country from that menace and you responded, i can protect the country at many levels. we are not even a week into an investigation that you originated, approved, were the contact for. you hadn't interviewed a single soul until august 11th and you're already promising to protect the country from that menace donald trump. then on august 8 you still hadn't interviewed anyone. you are eight days into your russian collusion with the trump campaign investigation and you got another text from your colleague, lisa page. trump is not ever going to become president, right? right? you replied no, no, he is not. we'll stop it. by the time you promised to stop him from becoming president on august 8, how many interviews had you conducted?
>> mr. gowdy, two answers to that. one, with regard to how many interviews had or had not been conducted i have been directed by counsel for the f.b.i. not to answer that question. second, sir, i think it's important to take those texts in the context of how they were written and what they meant. >> someone may ask you that. i asked how many people did you interview before you wrote it. if you want to get into context let one of my other colleagues do that with you. here is what i want to know. who is the he in he is not. >> he is then candidate trump. >> so when you said no, donald trump is not in connection with a question going to become president, what is the it? we'll stop it? >> that text needs to be taken in the context. >> if you want to have a debate
over a two-letter word we'll have to do that some other time. what and who did you mean by it? >> as i've stated, that text was written late at night in shorthand. >> i don't care when it was written or whether it was long hand, cursive. i don't care about any of that. i want to know what it meant, agent strzok. >> it would be his candidacy for the presidency and my sense that the american population would not vote him into office. >> we hadn't gotten to the will yet. >> i'm trying to explain the text. i wrote it. >> the will is the american people. your testimony. that we'll stop it you were speaking on behalf of the american people, is that correct? >> what my testimony is and what i said during extensive asking of this question during my prior interview i don't recall writing that text. >> do you have deny writing the text? >> i can tell you that text in no way suggested that i or the f.b.i. would take any action to
influence the candidacy of candidate trump. >> fantastic answer to a question nobody asked. >> can the witness answer the question that is posed? [inaudible] statement >> we look forward to that. >> his time is expired, mr. chairman, by 2 1/2 minutes. >> it is going to be tough for me to get through it if i keep getting interrupted. your testimony a couple weeks ago was the we meant the american people which i found confusing because on november 7, the day before the election, you said this. you were concerned with those same american people you were speaking on behalf of might
actually elect donald trump president so you said omg, this is fing terrifying. i think we know what fing means. pretty sure we have omg down, too. what was terrifying about the same american people you trusted to stop him in august not stopping him in november? what was so terrifying about that, agent strzok? >> i do not have a copy of the transcript. we haven't been provided that transcript. >> it is the text, not the transcript. >> what i would say in that i was not referring to the american electorate at all. i respect them in their decisions and their right to vote is a cornerstone of our democracy. at no time did i insult or call into question the judgment or the power of the american electorate. what i was expressing in that text is my personal belief and my personal sense of how i saw and what i believed in the potential upcoming administration. >> that's what i find so
confounding because in august you blamed the we on the american people that the american people would stop it because you don't want it to be you and lisa page. >> point of order. we have indulged this harassment nine minutes. this judiciary and oversight committee i thought we had a rule of law. >> the chair in agreement with the ranking members of both committees agreed there would be lib ralt in the questioning by the chairmen and the ranking members of each committee. the gentleman will continue. >> mr. chairman, we expect that liberalty on every one of our questioning. >> what i find confounding you were counting on the american people. the we you referenced in august when you said we'll stop it. the american people didn't stop it. he actually won. then we go to march of 2017 and you are already talking longly
about him resigning. and then we go to the day that special counsel mullber -- before we go to that, that's march of 2017. march of 2016 you wrote god, hillary should win 100 million to 0. i assume that would be former secretary of state hillary clinton? >> that's correct. >> in march of 2016 weren't you investigating her for potential mishandling of classified information. you had interviewed her or 30 other witnesses >> i will have to check but i will drk- >> if she said something incriminating we should have won 100 million to 0 then? >> likely not. >> why wouldn't you wait until the investigation was over before you have her the nominee and winning a general election against an opponent that hadn't even been named yet 100 million to 0, agent strzok, that's how
bad she should win? >> mr. gowdy those personal expressions of my observing the political process of the presidential primaries had no bearing on my actions of any investigation to include the investigation of secretary clinton or anybody else. sir, if i may. >> you couldn't think of a single person that wouldn't vote for hillary clinton >> it was clearly hyperbole. >> how about we divide it by 10. i'm pretty sure it's 10 million. 0 divided by 10 is still zero. you couldn't think of a personal who would vote for her for president before you interviewed and while you were supposed to be investigating her. >> that's not the truth. i could envision millions of americans likely and did vote for then -- >> you wrote it. did you write it? >> i did write that, sir. >> were you under dur were you
under duress. >> the gentleman from south carolina controls the time. >> may 17, 2017 bob mueller is appointed. jim comey has been fired and leaked the memos to his law professor friend and mueller as special counsel. do you remember how long it took for you to start talking impeachment after bob mueller was appointed? >> i don't, sir. >> one day. and you were talking about impeachment. for anyone who may have missed it the day after his appointment, agent strzok, you did it again five days later. now, how many interviews had you done as part of the special counsel team within the first five days of his appointment? >> sir again same answer as before. i can't get into details. >> the answer is also the same.
it's zero. no interviews had been done. >> i don't know if that's true or not. >> no interviews had been done. by august 8 when you are talking about stopping him and how terrifying it would be for him to win and how you can protect the country and no interviews had been done before you are talking about impeachment of the president. no wonder bob mueller kicked you off of the investigation, agent strzok. my question is, if you were kicked off when he read the texts shouldn't you have been kicked off when you wrote them? >> not at all. >> it was the discovery of your texts and the existence of your bias that got you kicked off. >> no it wasn't. i didn't have bias. >> why did you get kicked off? >> my understanding why i was kicked off is based on the understanding of those texts and the perception that they
might create. >> hang on a second. hang on a second. you are saying it was the perception. there are 13 democrats on the special counsel probe including one to what he hoped was a victory party. they weren't kicked off. you were. why were you kicked off? >> i can't speak to special counsel mueller's decision. >> how long did you talk to him when he let you go? >> witness answer the question. >> witness will be afforded the opportunity -- >> my recollection it was a short meeting somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes, probably around 15 minutes. >> your testimony is bob mueller did not kick you off because of the content of your texts but some appearance he was worried about. >> my testimony what you asked and what i responded to he kicked me off because of my bias. i'm stating to you it is not my understanding that he kicked me off because of any bias.
it was done based on the appearance. if you want to represent what you i had accurately i'll answer the question. i don't appreciate >> i don't appreciate having an f.b.i. agent with an ma*us working on two investigations during 2016. >> the chair -- >> we endured 15 minutes of badgering of the witness. can he be allowed to answer. >> the witness at any time can ask for additional time to respond to any member's question if the time has been end-to-end. >> you said you would give him that opportunity. >> i am giving him that opportunity. >> may i respond >> yes, you may. >> it is important when you look at those texts that you understand the context in which they were made and the things that were going on across america. in terms of the texts that we
will stop it, you need to understand that was written late at night off the cuff and it was in response to a series of events that included then candidate trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero and my present exception based on that behavior that the american population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the united states. it was in no way unhe quifshically any suggestion that me, the f.b.i. would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate. so i take great offense and i take great disagreement to your assertion of what that was or wasn't. as to the 100 million to 1 it was a statement made in jest. i realized millions of americans would vote for donald
trump and their right and what makes our democracy the vibrant process it is. to suggest we can parse down the shorthand like they're some contract for a car is simply not consistent with my or most people's use of text messaging. i can assure you, mr. chairman, at no time in any of these texts did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action i took. furthermore, this isn't just me sitting here telling you, you don't have to take my word for it. at every step, at every investigative decision there were multiple layers of people above me, assistant director, deputy director, director of the f.b.i. and multiple layers of people below me. section chiefs, unit chiefs and analysts all of whom were involved in all of these decisions. they would not tolerate any improper behavior in me any more than i would tolerate it in them. the suggestion that i in some dark chamber in the f.b.i.
would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards and do this is astounding to me. it couldn't happen. the proposition that might occur anywhere in the f.b.i. deeply corrodes what the f.b.i. is in american society, the effectiveness of their mission and deeply destructive. [applause] >> i move to subpoena steve bannon. mr. bannon was a witness in the house intelligence committee investigation and he refused to answer questions of mr. gowdy. >> the gentleman is not recognized. the chair recognizes the gentleman from maryland, mr. cummings. for his. >> a motion is always in order, rule 11, clause 2. >> i move to subpoena steve bannon in our house intelligence investigation he
was under subpoena and refused to answer questions of mr. gowdy. mr. gowdy appears to have a sincere interest in getting to the bottom of what happened. i move to bring mr. bannon to this committee. also mr. chairman is in resent of nunes's letter recommending the committee look into russia and recommended witnesses. i move for consideration from mr. bannon to be subpoenaed and if he refuses contempt proceedings to confer. i yield back to mr. cummings. >> motion is not germane and the gentleman from maryland,
mr. cummings >> i move to overrule the ruling of the chair. >> mr. chairman i will table the motion. >> motion is made to table the appeal of the ruling of the chair. all those in terms of take the appeal aaye. the ayes have it. >> i ask for a recorded vote. >> point of parliamentary inquiry. >> gentleman will state his point. >> on the vote to table or for that matter on the vote to repeal the ruling of the chair can we take separate votes of the two committees or one vote of everything? >> my understanding was you and mr. cummings were satisfied with one role call vote. we'll go through each committee in order and then we'll take the cumulative vote after the conclusion of both committees. i just wanted to clarify that point. >> mr. chairman, i had asked for a recorded vote.
>> mr. gowdy passed. >> the clerk will call the roll. >> that's not a vote. >> it will call the roll of members who have not yet been recorded. >> mr. issa votes yes. mr. gowdy, mr. bucks. ms. roby, mr. rossette. ms. bass. mr. jeffries. >> i've been asked by the minority and the majority counsel to advise members their
votes will only be counted once if they're on both committees. and the clerk of the oversight -- >> point of order. on what basis would that rule be since each committee is voting separately on that? >> procedurely we have agreed to one vote. we'll call for the members who have not voted. >> mr. gowdy. mr. amash. ms. fox. mr. hurd. mr. mitchell. mr. clay. mr. gomez.
>> the gentleman woman from north carolina. >> mrs. fox votes yes. >> clerk will report. >> mr. chairman 38 members voted aye, 31 members voted no. >> the motion to appeal the ruling of the chair is upheld. the chair recognizes the gentleman from maryland, mr. cummings, for his questions. >> mr. strzok, first of all let me say this. to the members of the f.b.i. who may be watching this i want them to be clear that we have
the utmost respect for the organization and you -- and i thank them for doing what they do every day. and protecting our rights and protecting our people and protecting our way of life. and as i listen to you in answering chairman gowdy's questions, particularly at the end you gave a very impassioned statement but can you understand why there are members that question whether the thoughts that you may have -- that you put in an email or text might interfere with the investigation? can you understand at least the questioning of that? >> yes, sir, i do. >> and i know you are familiar with oaths because i'm sure you've taken them 50 million times but i remind you you are
under oath and i will ask you this. how do you square that? in other words, i understand the piece about there are so many layers that the f.b.i. wouldn't even allow it to happen even if you wanted them to, but how do you take that compartmentalize and when you walk into that room be neutral and independent or live up to our oath? do you understand my question? >> i do, sir. >> can you answer that? that would be very helpful to me, and i hopefully you answering that question will be helpful to my colleagues. in fairness to all of us. go ahead. >> thank you. i certainly do, sir, appreciate and understand that question and that concern and why people
would look at those texts and want to know why and how they should believe that those personal beliefs played any role in my official acts. what i can tell you, sir, is that first i, like every f.b.i. agent and like every person in this room and everybody watching has a political opinion. each and every one of those people in the f.b.i., whatever their political beliefs, walks in the door and they leave those behind. the f.b.i. has a culture. it is in our culture, it is in our training. it is in our policy and everything we do is dedicated to the pursuit of the facts where they lay and applying the law to those facts. there is no room for personal belief. it is something that is something culturally that doesn't occur, were it to occur it would be noted and stopped. in addition to that culture, we
have policies. we have procedures. we have laws. we have guidelines that are designed to provide outside checks and balances to provide for outside review, to provide for any number of ways that the individual actions of any agent, any analyst, any support personnel are not acting in any way other than official policies and procedures. so when i tell you again as i did personally what i believed and what i did i understand why people may or may not have doubts or believe that. but then i would turn to you and say look at the entirety of the rest of the organization, the men and women who make it up. all the things that are in place to ensure our jobs in the f.b.i. is to competently and independently pursue the facts wherever they can and i cannot stress to you enough that's exactly what is done day in and day out and exactly what has guided my behavior for over 26 years. >> let me ask you this.
in previous testimony to congress, president trump's f.b.i. director christopher wray explained the critical importance of protecting confidential human sources. this is what he said, agent strzok. and i quote, the day we can't protect human sources is a day the american people start becoming less safe, end of quote. do you agree with that? >> i do. >> the problem is we now have the transcript of your 11-hour closed-door interview with our committees and it shows that republican members asked you repeatedly about confidential human sources involved in the russia investigation. is that correct? >> my recollection is yes, sir. >> do you remember how many
questions they asked you about that? >> i do not, sir. >> one republican member asked you this question and i quote, in the month of july, was there any information from confidential human sources given to you as it relates to the russia investigation, end of quote. do you recall being asked that question? >> i do. >> that question was specifically about information from confidential human sources in the russia investigation. obviously you could not answer the question and that is because the department of justice has a longstanding policy against revealing information from confidential human sources during an ongoing criminal investigation, is that right? >> yes, sir.
>> will the gentleman yield? >> i want to finish. and that is what director wray was talking about when he testified that revealing those sources or their information will make america less safe, is that right? >> i don't know why director wray said that but i agree with that statement. >> how dangerous could it be to reveal the identity of a confidential human source? >> extraordinarily dangerous. >> will the gentleman yield to his friend? >> i want to be clear since the gentleman from maryland, who is my friend, is going along a line of argument that would suggest a question asked by me. i want to make it perfectly clear i asked if you talked with confidential human sources. i never asked for a name nor would i ever ask for a name of a confidential human source. i appreciate it and yield back. >> i don't think i said that
but anyway, thank you, gentleman. disclosing the identity of a confidential human source could create a risk to that person or our national security, is that correct? >> yes. >> what effect could revealing a confidential human source have on the f.b.i.'s to recruit or retain human sources in the future? >> it could and is having an extraordinary impact in that people who come to the f.b.i. with information are putting themselves at risk. risk of their job or life and they trust and put their literally sometimes lives in the hands of the f.b.i. so when they observe -- if their identity is put at risk that's a personal risk to that individual source but every other person and potential source and washington, d.c. or beijing, moscow wondering about approaching the f.b.i. to give them information is going to look to how well or how poorly
the f.b.i. protects their information and protects their identity as they weigh whether or not to take the risk to work with the f.b.i. and the united states of america. >> mr. strzok, the inspector general report criticized your political text messages and raised concern that your political views may have impacted your decision in the summer and fall of 2016 to prioritize the trump/russia investigation over the reopening of the clinton email investigation. i understand from your transcribed interview with the committee that you dispute that finding. >> i do. >> you told us during your interview that you immediately assigned agents to follow up on the weiner laptop and we know you were a key player in the f.b.i.'s actions such as sending a letter about the reopening of the clinton investigation shortly before
the election that clearly hurt secretary clinton's candidacy and benefited candidate trump. but more importantly you described during your interview that you believed russia's attempts to interfere with our election posed a grave threat to our national security. you stated, and i quote, i could not think of a more grave allegation of a counter intelligence division or let alone the nation than that a hostile foreign power was seeking to clandestinely influence our presidential election. remember saying that? >> i do. >> why is the interference by hostile foreign power in our election such a monumental threat to our nation? >> i think when you look at the threat that represents. when you look at the threats
facing the united states and what it means to protect the united states, the prospect of voting is the key core of who we are as a democracy and there is no more important vote that we exercise as a people than a vote for the president of the united states. when i look at the span of threats that i was responsible for the counter intelligence division was responsible for in the f.b.i., the prospect of a hostile foreign power interfering and influencing the election for the president of the united states of america, i can think of few more severe or consequential threats facing our nation than that one. >> two more questions. what could be the potential impact of a hostile foreign power successfully interfering with our presidential election? >> i think it's multi-fold. i think there is certainly from a broad perspective it draws into question the effectiveness
and credibility of our electoral system. it places into question the motivations and the actions of those people either who are elected or who were brought in as staff to staff that campaign and eventually administration. it draws into question whether or not the actions of the elected party and group of governing folks acting ultimately in the interest of the united states or whether or not there is a potential those interests have been compromised in favor of that foreign power. >> finally, how is that threat made worse if -- if the presidential campaign colluded or worked with the hostile foreign power? >> i think that would be the worst realization of that potential threat. i think it would indicate the f.b.i. -- some of that is hypothetical. the f.b.i. would approach that from the perspective if there were people within the campaign
who were colluding or working with the government of russia, there is very little that would be of more importance to the f.b.i. or the expectation of the american people that we get to the bottom of it. the american people expect that, frankly any presidential candidate who might have that going on in their campaign i think would want to know about that and have the f.b.i. get to the bottom of it. but any actual inclusion or cooperation would be one of the gravest threats to our democracy. >> the chair recognizes himself. mr. strzok, i want to follow up on a couple of the questions chairman gowdy asked. your texts and emails make it appear you came to an -- you also appear to have been pining for the impeachment of president trump at the very beginnings of the russia case. does the f.b.i. normally make such decisions on whether to recommend prosecution or exoneration so far ahead of all the facts coming to light?
>> typically d.o.j. makes prosecution decision in cases. >> do they normally make such decisions whether to recommend prosecution far ahead of the facts coming to light? >> i don't think any -- my experience the final decision is never made until the conclusion of the case. i think it is fair to say that in the conduct of investigations, particularly very large investigations with a lot of folks working on it, my experience is there comes a time if you are worth your salt in the conduct of that investigation, an agent, attorneys assigned to that will have a very good idea well before the case is concluded there may or may not be crimes. >> let me ask you this then. how many other cases on which you have worked do you recall opining of the disposition of the case before interviewing witnesses >> i remember quite a few cases we would discuss the outcome of the case with prosecutors from the beginning of the case
talking about what crimes may or may not be relevant and decide which elements may be strong as well as toward the end trying to shore up evidence that may or may not be there. >> let me ask you this about that. in regard to those cases, was it normal behavior on your part to chat with colleagues in the manner you did on the russia case about how much you despise the very person you are investigating or complimenting the person you are investigating in the clinton case. is that typical? >> i would draw a distinction between commenting on case related matters and personal belief. those are different matters than saying this person as a witness was not credible or this person as a target or subject did or didn't do something. that's a different matter. >> you could separate out what your personal is from what you discussed with others in investigations? >> i'm telling you, sir, i separated out my personal
belief from any -- >> -you did not do that with regard to attorney page, correct? >> i disagree with that. i separated out my personal beliefs. >> do you recognize how your vitriol against president trump makes it appear you could never approach the case in a fair-minded manner? >> of course i appreciate that. >> let's look at a text that hits home for me. on august 26, 2016 you texted ms. page just went to a southern virginia wal-mart. i could smell the trump support and smell is in capital letters, all capital letters. what does trump support smell like, mr. strzok? >> sir, that's an expression of speech. i clearly wasn't smelling one thing or the other.
living in northern virginia, driving -- what i meant by that was living in northern virginia, having traveled 150 miles south within the same state i was struck by the extraordinary difference in the expression of political opinion and belief amongst the community there. >> you said smell in capital letter. >> a quick choice of words. >> earlier you had texted ms. page that another part of virginia louden county in northern virginia is, quote, still ignorant hillbillies, end quote. is that what you meant? >> not at all. >> do you consider trump supporters to be ignorant hillbillies? what did you mean by that? >> a fairfax county resident there is a healthy competition between fairfax and louden and in no way did i or do i believe any resident of louden county
or southern virginia or anywhere else in the nation is -- are any of those things. that was a flippant -- >> do you understand the implications of this text when my constituents in virginia read it? >> i do, sir and i would ask you to tell them that that was in some cases certainly unfortunate use of words that in no way do i believe that those things are true. >> you and miss page used personal phones and accounts to communicate. have you turned over those communications to the inspector general? >> no, sir. >> if not, why not? >> sir, they asked and working with my attorney the inspector general and i arranged an agreement where i would go through my personal accounts and identify any material that was relevant to f.b.i. business and turn it over. it was reviewed. there was none. my understanding the inspector general was satisfied with that action. >> we know from texts that you
and ms. page would transition to i-message and gmail. who determined they were personal in nature and not business related since you've just testified at length that a number of the communications that you have made on government communications devices were personal in nature? >> the broad, broad context of what i used personal email and phones for was personal communication. for those things that were work-related almost unveersly that material was translated into f.b.i. systems. anything that was a record or constitute needing to be there it was provided but i made that decision. >> let me ask you this. when did attorney general lynch know that charges would not be brought against former secretary of state clinton? >> i can't answer that question, sir. that is something you would have to ask her. >> do you know whether it was prior to lynch's announcement she would drefr to career prosecutors and director comey
on whether to prosecute clinton? >> i don't know. >> why would lisa page text that lynch's decision was quote, a real profile in courage since she knows no charges will be brought, end quote. >> that's a question you have to ask here. >> how did you take that statement when she texted it to you? >> the way i took that, sir, we had for many months, a career team from the eastern district of virginia and agents from the f.b.i. working intensively on this case. we had gone through mountains of evidence, tons of interviews, and we were looking at the various statutes that might apply to any sort of criminal conduct and i think we were, as we surveyed that as the attorneys looked at it saw a number of very fatal areas where elements of the crime were lacking. our ability to demonstrate
facts to prove the elements of a crime. we had begun to arrive at a sense it was going to be difficult, if not impossible, to identify any statute where we could satisfy those elements to the crime. my assumption is from the department of justice's perspective those line attorneys were briefing their supervisors briefing their supervisor and the deputy attorney general and attorney general and the same sense it was a difficult if not impossible proposition there were viable charges to be brought against secretary clinton. >> did you ever believe these texts would become public? >> i did not. >> given that, you felt free to express your true feelings, didn't you? >> i suppose, yes, that's a difficult question to answer. >> mr. strzok, former director comey played judge, jury and exonerateor in the hillary
clinton investigation. in your experience at the f.b.i. have you ever seen the f.b.i. make the decision whether to prosecute for the department of justice? >> mr. chairman, i would not agree with that characterization of director comey. in answer to your question i have not seen it before. >> all right. was that appropriate what he did hold a news conference and publicly announce the decision that was supposed to have been made by the department of justice? >> sir, that was his decision. >> was it appropriate in your opinion? >> i don't think it's for me to say. >> what is your opinion? >> i understand the variety of factors -- i understand some of the factors that went into director comey's decision to make the announcement. i can tell you that decision was not made lightly at all. i can tell you my experience in that decision. >> you aren't aware of any precedent for that? >> i am not. >> mr. strzok, in a footnote 197 of the inspector general's
report it is noted that, quote, supervision of the russia investigation was briefly transitioned from strzok to another counter intelligence division dad in early 2017. why were transitioned from the russia investigation in early 2017? >> let me see if i can answer that question without getting into operational detail. the investigation was brought, what russia was doing against our country were a number of things. actions in the cyber arena and agent and intelligence services and actions by subjects of investigation that are currently ongoing. the prospect of how the f.b.i. would investigate that was a multi-tiered effort and so some of those efforts that traditionally fell into line with the other d.a.d. and their span and scope of responsibility were moved to their supervision. >> so the footnote goes on to
state that quote, however, a.d. told us that f.b.i. leadership decided to keep strzok involved in the russia investigation and he was reassigned back to it. do you know who in f.b.i. leadership, end quote, decided to keep you involved in the russia investigation? >> i do not. >> could it have been deputy director mccabe? >> possibly, i do not know. >> when were you assigned back to the russia investigation and when you were reassign there, were you still in a supervise re role? >> i would answer that question, i don't entirely -- my recollection does not comport with that statement. there were elements of the investigation that stayed under subordinate leaders and section and unit chiefs on down the line. there were elements of it that were transferred to a different d.a.d. and remains with that d.a.d. my recollection is a bit different from the a.d.
>> did you ever consider recusing yourself since you had such personal disdain for the person you were investigating >> i did not. >> others required that >> i would not characterize those decisions to the same set of considerations. >> you don't think it was the bias expressed in your text messages that caused mr. mueller to remove you from the investigation? >> i don't think that bias was expressioned in those text messages. i cannot speak to why mr. mueller chose to remove me from the investigation. those text messages are not indicative of bias. >> mr. mueller never told you why you were being removed? >> he mentioned the existence of the text messages and that based on that he needed to ask me to return to the f.b.i. >> lots of people have text messages, mr. strzok.
>> yes, sir, my impression not stated by him. my impression was based on the appearance of those messages and in part of a desire by him to avoid even the appearance of any potential bias, that he asked me to return. that's a question >> but he kept everyone else. >> sir, i don't know the staffing decisions that were made. >> including 13 democrats. >> sir, i don't know the affiliation of the people. >> he was concerned enough to remove you but you never felt concerned enough to remove yourself. >> that is correct. >> you are going to get asked other questions here that relate to your transition from the investigation of ms. cli