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tv   Simone Biles Other Olympians Testify on Larry Nassar Sexual Assault...  CSPAN  September 15, 2021 10:02am-2:09pm EDT

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ahead with your question. caller: mr. mcfarlane, why isn't anything being said about the one that helped plan the event and he claimed -- host: we are going to have to ended there and that hearing is just getting underway but we will have scott mcfarlane back again. it sounds like these cases will be going on for a while but thank you so much for walking us through this morning. guest: my pleasure. host: we will be back tomorrow at 7 a.m. on the "washington journal" but we take you like to the senate judiciary committee, their hearing on the investigation of the former usa gymnastics dr. already underway. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> athletes have special vulnerability to abuse. an article published in the chicago tribune highlighted a
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former chicago blackhawks coach who pled guilty to sexual contact with a high school student he was coaching. cases like these make clear that sexual abuse of young athletes is a persistent problem that teams and leagues and athletic associations are failing to prevent. it shocks the conscience when those failures come from law worse meant itself and yet, that is exactly what happened in the nasser case. while he worked for a number of years, he abused young athletes under the guise of medical treatment. he used his trusted position to take advantage of his patients. use the competitive nature of sports to hide in plain sight. by the time he was convicted and sentenced in federal and michigan state court, over 150 survivors had come forward to recount the impact of these horrific crimes. today, we believe he abused more
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than 300 athletes before he was brought to justice. as the details of his crimes emerged, there has been a consistent theme of neglect and inaction by those who are responsible for protecting the athletes. between 2018-2019, the subcommittee in congress led by our colleagues senater richard blumenthal and senator terry moran conducted an 18 month investigation into this case. the investigation concluded that the u.s. olympic committee and the usa gymnastics knowingly concealed abuse by nasser between the summer of 2015 and september of 2016. the senate passed two bills aimed at addressing the failures of the nasser case with overwhelming bipartisan support. the act of 2017 was sponsored by senator feinstein and the paralympic amateur athletes act of 2020 by senators moran and blumenthal.
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both extended the duty of certain adults to report suspected child abuse. these are good and important steps. the reporting requirement in both laws is not worth much if law enforcement and the fbi failed to respond and immediately investigate these abuse cases in that's exact it would happen in the nasser case. these vector general's findings in his july report paint a shocking picture of fbi dereliction of duty and gross incompetence. the inspector general's scathing report details the neglect and inaction of the fbi in inspecting the allegations beginning in july of 2015, 15 months before they were publicly reported. the facts revealed by the inspector general exposed apathetic incompetent and unethical senior fbi officials. in the 15 months that fbi officials shirk their responsibility, nasser abused at least 70 young athletes.
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for many of them, this was a continuation. for others, they were abused from the first time while the fbi sat on the case. the fbi went weak from the initial report to undertake any investigative activity. the fbi failed to timely interview key witnesses. the fbi failed to properly document misstatements and store evidence. the fbi failed to inform state and local authorities of the abuse when it of believe debts when it believed it did not fall within federal jurisdiction. one senior fbi official went so far as to seek a job with usa gymnastics ceo at the same time he was overseeing the fbi's failed investigative effort. to add insult to injury, the fbi supervisors dr. the paperwork, misled the media and lied to the inspector general in an effort to can -- to conceal their dereliction of duty. so maybe tended to minimize the
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misconduct -- to minimize the misconduct. this does not arise out of nowhere. they are enabled by systematic organizational failures and training, supervision, hiring and promotion. i'm committing to pursuing legislation to hold abusers accountable and provide justice to the survivors. i know many of my colleagues feel exactly the same. today, her focus is on the fbi, how it failed so badly when it came to eating the victims. what are the fbi leaders today ensuring this will never happen again? we were fortunate to hear today from four outstanding witnesses who survived larry nasser's abuse. day and the hundreds of athletes who also suffered at the hands of nasser deserve much better from everyone including the fbi. we will also hear from the inspector general and the fbi director. they owe these young women and nation to ensure this never
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happens again. i will add that i am disappointed. i asked the justice department to testify about their decision not to prosecute the two fbi officials who made false statements to the ig. i understand it's a long-standing department policy not to comment on decisions and not prosecute but robust oversight of the department of justice is a core responsibility of this committee. i am committed to ensuring that committee members have an opportunity to question the department of justice about this issue at an oversight hearing in the fall. the fbi's handling of the nasser case is a stain on the bureau. as chairman of the judiciary committee, i'm working to ensure the failures of the fbi, the gross failures in this case will never be repeated. i recognize ranking member grassley. >> thank you chairman durbin for a very strong and appropriate statement that you just made. thank you for holding this hearing. thank you for involving me and
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others in this hearing as well. as the former chairman of this committee, i convened a hearing in 2017 on the importance of protecting young athletes against abuse. it took place before larry nasser, the now disgraced teen test team doctor was convicted. our committee heard them from other gymnasts about a culture in competitive sports that made it difficult for many girls to come forward and report their sexual abuse. that hearing convinced me of the need to champion legislation on which i work closely with senator feinstein, then ranking member, in 2017. the enactment means that copious instructors and others who work with young athletes now are
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mandatory reporters of child exploitation or abuse. oversight of the fbi is one of eric committees important duties, i also repeatedly pressed the fbi for more information on its handling of the nasser investigation from 2017 to the present. the fbi personnel ignored my steps request in january, 2018 for a briefing and when i contacted the fbi by letter, to restate the request, i was advised that the inspector general was reviewing the matter. the f, while one of our premier law enforcement agencies, has stumbled in several ways in recent years. an associated press investigation identified half a
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dozen sexual misconduct allegations involving senior fbi personnel over the past five years, which each of the accused officials avoiding discipline. another shocking example came to light the summer when the inspector general completed his report on the handling of sexual abuse allegations against the former team doctor for usa gymnastics. it was then that we learned that the fbi severely let down thousands of teenage girls, several of whom bravely came forward in 2015 to report their abuse. children suffered needlessly because of multiple agents and multiple offices at the fbi neglected to share nasser's allegations with their law enforcement counterparts at the state and local levels.
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disturbingly, the abuse occurred at the hands of someone who was entrusted with their medical treatment and well-being. brief survivors, now poised young women, or with us today and we welcome you and your testimony. the fbi response to the inspector general's route for attributes this episode to a few agents at the fbi field offices who neglected to carry out their duties properly. i suspect there is much more to that story. when issue, not talked about much, is that the fbi has a division in washington, d.c. known as the violent crimes against children unit. this component of headquarters was notified by two of its field
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offices about the nasser allegations way back in 2015. and 2016 respectively. the children's unit employs subject matter experts so it is well-positioned in the fbi to guide those field offices on their duties in child exploitation cases. because it is housed at headquarters, this children's unit also was uniquely positioned to play a coordinating role by supervising case transfers to the appropriate fbi field offices. this unit was well-positioned to offer qualitative supervision of field offices work, for example, by ensuring that follow-up occurs in sensitive cases, tragically, it's obvious, these things did not happen.
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the fbi, including this children's unit also places its image before victim protection in this case. the children's unit help develop a white paper, or more accurately, a whitewash, after the nasser case attracted national attention. it insured that truthful information was provided about the fbi's role in this investigation was clearly not the main priority. this is a serious problem at the heart of the fda -- fbi, not a few errant agents. at today's hearing, i hope to hear more about exactly who at fbi headquarters other than its children's unit, new about the nasser allegations my how and when they learned of these
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allegations and what they did in response. if there is one thing the inspector general's report illustrates its of this, that we need to make sure the bureau is more effective and held more accountable. this episode is unfortunate, too, because as i have said repeatedly, there are many extremely fine men and women in the fbi and many who served their country well as employees of that superb agency. i look forward to hearing from young women who were the first to bravely come forward and share their experiences of abuse. i also hope to hear from our government witnesses and how to improve the fbi approach in child exploitation cases and how to ensure negligent agents are
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held accountable, just like chairman durbin has asked. finally, i want to mention that i am working on legislation to close the legislative loophole in the sex tourism statute that the inspector general flagged in his report. this gap in the law allows larry nasser to evade federal prosecution for assaulting children while traveling abroad and that can never happen again stop i look forward to working with the inspector general, members on this committee and making this necessary change in law, thank you. >> we look forward to working with you on a bipartisan basis. i know recognize senator dianne feinstein of california. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i welcome the opportunity to say a few words about this appalling abuse of young athletes and the
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failures of the fbi to protect them. it was more than five years ago that we heard about the horrific abuse perpetrated by larry nasser and began working to reform how amateur athletic organizations handle sexual abuse allegations. i have met several times with some of our witnesses, i believe two are here today and other athletes who have been harmed by the conduct that we are all here today to discuss. the strength and the courage that i have seen from these young women is really astonishing and a role model for others. they are really the champions for sexual abuse prevention who are speaking out to ensure other young athletes don't suffer as they did. unfortunately, their bravery in some cases has been met with a
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disturbing lack of action within the fbi step the findings in the justice department inspector general july report found serious problems with how the fbi conducted its investigation of larry nasser. the agency's failures allowed a sexual predator to continue to abuse more than 70 young women. that is inexcusable, mr. chairman. it should not be a survivors burden to continually seek justice and demand an end to their nightmares. that is the job of our law enforcement agencies and the fbi candidly must do better. hopefully, this hearing will make that clear. now it's our turn to take action on behalf of these women. congress must do everything we can to protect others that come
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after them. mr. chairman, thank you for holding this hearing and hopefully, we can ensure that these failures are never repeated. >> thank you for your leadership on this issue as well. senator cornyn? >> mr. chairman, thank you and ranking member grassley for holding this hearing and giving me a chance to say a few words at the beginning. as these women and countless survivors before them have demonstrated, it takes tremendous courage for victims of sexual assault to come forward and tell their story. whether it's telling a family member, a friend or law enforcement about their abuse, there are fears that their claims will not be taken seriously or they will be ignored or that the victim will somehow be blamed. those fears cause survivors to remain silent for months, years or even a lifetime stop
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unfortunately, the fbi's mishandling of this case has done nothing to convince survivors that their trauma will be treated with the urgency and care it deserves. when survivors make the difficult decision to come forward, they should be treated with dignity and respect. that is the bare minimum. and it didn't happen here. the allegations raised by well-known world-class athletes are not taken seriously by the f ei, what hope do other victims of sexual assault have? if this monster was able to continue harming these women and girls after the victims first went to the fbi, how many other abusers have escaped justice? if the fbi did so little in the investigation involving world-class athletes, what hope can average american have, what faith can they have in the
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system? i wrote a letter to the inspector general last summer, urging him to release his report which back then was overdue so we could begin to answer some of these. i am disappointed it took more than a year after that letter was sent for the report to be finally released and it's fair to say that his report has left us with questions. there were obviously catastrophic failures at multiple levels of law enforcement which resulted in direct harm of these young women. the fbi had two separate opportunities to do its job and it failed. in fact, it was the university police department that finally did a real investigation, one that finally brought nasser to justice. i have always believed that the fbi should be the gold standard for law enforcement and i believe that by and large, it is. instead, in examples like this, we see failure of ethics,
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failure of competence and dishonesty. i am eager to ask director horwitz, inspector general horowitz and director ray about the grave missteps made by the fbi and more importantly, to understand the changes they will be implementing to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again. we must demand real change and real accountability and will not be satisfied by platitudes and vague promises about improved performance. this nation must be a place where when victims speak, they are not ignored and it must be a place where those who commit crimes like larry nasser are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. the fbi must demonstrate as they have not attempted to do before that they understand their failures, they will learn from them and do better. mr. chairman, i want to
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recognize the leadership of senator moran who will testify here and senator blumenthal from the commerce committee and spearheading a lot of this investigation, urging us all to this point where we are today, thank you. >> i will echo that step the next person to speak will be senater richard blumenthal who has been a real leader on the issue together with his partner in this effort, senator jerry moran who will testify briefly afterwards. senator blumenthal, please proceed. >> thank you and my gratitude to you for holding this profoundly significant hearing and to senator moran, my partner who has worked tirelessly with me on this issue and been a great partner in our common effort but most important, i really want to thank the athletes and survivors
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who are here. you have truly inspired us. i will never forget the moment we stood in the kennedy caucus room. there were 40 or more of you and you told us that you had been failed repeatedly by institutions that were supposed to protect you. and you called on us to keep our word. today's hearing is another step in our keeping the promise that we made to you then, that we would work to hold accountable the institutions that failed you and to reform them and make sure that this kind of wrongdoing, more than wrongdoing, heinous, hideous abuse, never happens again. we have investigated and have asked the inspector general to
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investigate as well and he has produced a report and let me come to the reason we are here today. it's not only that the fbi failed to do its job systematically and read heatedly, it is also the cover-up that occurred afterwards when fbi agent's made material false statements and deceptive omission, referred by the inspector for criminal prosecution. those referrals were declined. without explanation. without any public explanation at all. my hope is that the department of justice which was invited today and has declined to appear, will match your courage by explaining why those lines by fbi agent's did not lead to
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criminal prosecution and accountability and even days before this hearing, there had been no action, even administratively, only with this hearing steering the fbi in the face did they fire one of those fbi agent's. there is no question that larry nasser was a monster stuff he was a horrific predator. he was not the only monster in gymnastics and gymnastics was not the only sport that had monsters. our report focused not only on the monsters but the enablers. the institutions that failed you , the schools like michigan state university, usa gymnastics , the coaches and trainers, they all looked the other way when you came to them and then the
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fbi looked the other way. in july of 2015. they look the other way and did nothing until late 2016, almost 18 months later and in that timeframe, dozens of young women lay before larry nasser and he did with them what he wanted. with trauma and terror that will last a lifetime. that pain was preventable, it was needless. the fbi's failure to act had real human consequences. and that will be forever a stain on the fbi's reputation. but even more so, the cover that
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occurred afterwards because when those agents came under scrutiny, they actually manufactured statements, they lied about what survivors told them. the ultimate abuse of authority. there is nothing we can do to reverse the pain and grief that larry nasser caused you but we can take action against the law enforcers who became enablers. those institutions became enablers and so did the fbi. and so, i call on the department of justice to come forward. they declined to do so today. senator feinstein and i urged them to be here. they owe the american people and you an explanation.
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i call on the department of justice to pursue action, not just administrative action, but criminal prosecution where appropriate. this day is a hard one. it's probably scary for you but also hard for all of us who have valued and respected the work of the fbi. the fbi has admitted, and i quote -- the actions and inactions of the fbi employee described in the oig report are inexcusable and a discredit to this organization. i agree. but it isn't just those two fbi employees who are to blame. this failure was systematic. this investigation was mishandled from coast to coast from indianapolis to los angeles
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and it has to leave us wondering whether the fbi is capable of these kinds of sexual abuse investigations. i will close where i began. we wouldn't be here but for the term courage of so many survivors and their unwavering demand for change. there must be accountability for the individuals and institutions that enabled larry nasser. anything else is unacceptable. thank you, mr. chairman. >> we will now you're from senator lack burn who will appear on the screen -- we will now hear from senator blackburn in the last statement will be from senator moran. >> thank you you, mr. chairman. i so appreciate we are having this hearing today and have the
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opportunity to hear firsthand from some of these athletes. i appreciate the work and the effort that the committee has put into the preparation for this. over the past few years, we have seen scandal after scandal that have come to light. they have exposed men who have abused their positions of power to take advantage of and harm women. these stories of abuse continue to be shocking every time we hear about it. we are inclined to listen more closely to believe these stories because we have seen this type of behavior before. it is really hard to imagine a scandal, however, that comes as close to the depravity of larry
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nasser. the young athletes who are with us today trusted him and he abused that trust. not once but repeatedly. in the years since, larry nasser's people has been outshone by the courage of these young women who have been strength to so many, to go after what happened in these crimes. many of these brave young women should be saluted, every one of them saluted for the positions they have taken to standup to tell their stories and to go after justice for themselves and for fellow athletes. as we have heard others of my colleagues say, it is shameful
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that the fbi was very slow to respond. it is shameful that the fbi, who was charged with investigating these horrific crimes and abuses grossly failed to fulfill its duty. they sat idly by. they turned a blind eye and mr. chairman, i think one of the things we all want to hear is why did they discount, why did they devalue what they were hearing from the athletes? from the time this arose to them on action was taken by the university, by local police and there was a dismissal of larry nasser. there were 70 more victims.
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those are the victims we know about that have come to light. every single person in authority who turned a blind eye to these young athletes'allegations is complicit in the larry nasser crimes and everyone one of them should be considered a predator. we cannot say to future generations of women and girls from this kind of future abuse if we continue to settle by diplomatic resolutions. we owe it to these young women and two girls in women's everywhere to figure out why their government failed them, why these institutions did not listen to them and that process begins today. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you and i will ask is
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our final witness, senator jerry moran. though he is not a member of this committee, he has been a real leader with senator blumenthal in oversight and legislation on this issue. >> thank you for holding this hearing and thank you also for inviting me to speak before the committee today. i am grateful for your interest in this topic. i would like to thank the survivors who will once again tell their story. i have expressed my respect for them today. mckayla maroney, maggie nichols, simone biles, aly raisman as well as all the survivors who were other survivors were also joining us today, jessica howard, jamie dancer, kaylee lorenz. on january 25, 2018, as chairman of the senate commerce subcommittee with jurisdictional health and safety of amateur athletes, senator blumenthal, my
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ranking member and i opened an investigation into how usa gymnastics, the u.s. olympic and paralympic committee and michigan state university allowed a monster to assault and abuse young women for decades. early in our meeting with the survivors, one of them asked the question and it has stuck with me since them, since the beginning of our investigation, 3.5 years ago and the question was -- why was there more than one of us? i do not know how to answer that question. i do not know a human being that i would not expect to report if someone told them they were being abused to report to law enforcement to officials. and yet, time and time again, no one, no one accepted that responsibility. for these young women.
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why was there more than one? most recently, we learned even the federal bureau of investigation belongs on the list of those who failed in their responsibility, allowing for there to be more than one, more than dozens. over 18 months, we held for committee hearings. we conducted hundreds of interviews and we reviewed over 70,000 pages of documents. this bipartisan effort culminated last fall with the passage of the amateur athlete act which strengthened legal liability and accountability mechanisms over the olympic movement. in the united states and worked to restore a culture that put athletes first. we continue to know our job is not done.
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we will continue working with athletes and survivors to make certain that the law is effective in meeting its goals. we are here today because of those athletes, those victims, those survivors because of their advocacy and their courage. together, we have demanded change and accountability from the institutions and individuals who covered up, enabled and contributed to the abuse of young athletes. as i said earlier, unfortunately, that list includes the federal bureau of investigation. senator blumenthal is correct, it's not just about visa survivors, it's not just about gymnastics, it's not even necessarily about the olympics. this challenge is pervasive in our country, in our society, in our culture and the chairman, chairman derman indicated today in instance is -- in his home state. all of us could find those, no those and recognize there is
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much more to be done. during the course of our investigation, we uncovered evidence the fbi received credible information of the dangers larry nasser posed to athletes. yet, the fbi did not appear to take any additional actions. furthermore, we learned that while the agents in indianapolis claims to send information to the appropriate offices in michigan, it was not until evidence collected by local authorities that the evidence was turned over to the fbi in lansing, michigan and officials in michigan then learned of nasser's abuse. subsequently, the oig report in july confirmed this misconduct. the oig report confirmed our suspicions. the fbi received explicit warnings about larry nasser's horrific abuse from a survivor years before the perpetrator was finally arrested.
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the fbi failed to protect their athletes. this in action is appalling and as we have all said, unacceptable. i remain committed to working with this committee, my colleagues in the senate and the survivors here today to protect and empower all athletes. as the ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the department of justice, i will work to be certain the fbi agents are held accountable for their actions, that it is never repeated. i look forward to working with you, mr. chairman, mr. ranking member in that regard in a no senator shaheen, the chairperson of our pro-appropriations committee would join us in that effort. our goal should remain the same -- to hold accountable those -- for these crimes and make certain future generations can train, compete and can succeed without fear of abuse.
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i appreciate inspector horowitz and his report, his thoroughness . i think senator blumenthal for his partnership and -- in our subcommittees and continuing efforts and i particular thank the senate judiciary committee for allowing me to speak today. this is something we must not forget in all of us need to be able to answer why was there more than one? mr. chairman, thank you. >> thank you for your testimony and good work on this issue. we will now transition into the first panel. i asked the staff to do their good work and just hold for a minute. go ahead.
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>> we will now turn to our panel of witnesses and asked them to come forward and be seated. though they probably need no introduction, they are so well known across the nation, i want to see if you words about some amazing young women who have come to speak to us today. our first panel has four witnesses who are members and former members of usa gymnastics. they are olympians, national and international gymnastic champions in each of them is also a survivor. canal back order -- our first witness simone biles, one of the greatest gymnast of all time. she's the first woman to capture five all-around world championship titles and the most decorated gymnast male or female in world championship history. 25 medals overall. she is a seven-time olympic
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medalist. for extra ordinary accomplishments have received widespread recognition including two associated press female athlete of the year awards. mckayla maroney is a member of the american women's gymnastics team dubbed the fierce five at the 2012 summer olympics. she won a gold medal and team competition and individual silver medal in the vault. she was also a member of the american team of the 2011 world championships where she went gold mammals debts gold medals in the 2013 13 world championships where she defended her vault title and we frequently see her on tv jumping on a roof. [laughter] our next witness, maggie nichols, led the university of nebraska gymnastics team two national championships in 2017 and 2019, also winning six individual titles. she represented the united states and the 2015 world championships where she wanted gold metal in team competition
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and a bronze medal on floor exercises. to also hold several usa gymnastics national championship metals. finally, aly raisman, one of the most accomplished american gymnast of all time. two-time olympian, team captain of the 2012 and 2016 women's gymnastics team, six olympic and world championship metals including an individual silver medal in the 2016 olympic all-around and gold medals and team competition in 2012 and 2016. a leader on-and-off the floor, she uses her platform to advocate for abuse prevention and education. i thank you each for being here. let me lay out the mechanics -- after we square in the witnesses and the first panel which is the tradition each witness will have five minutes to provide their opening statements. there will then be one round of questions in this extraordinary procedure. each senator will have one
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minute to question so please, honor your allotted time to ask a question. following that, we will switch to our second panel will once again have five-minute opening statements from the witnesses and then another round of questions each senator will have five units or questions. with the witnesses please stand to be sworn in? raise your right hand and confirmed that the testimony you are about to get before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? let the records show the witnesses answered in the affirmative. be seated. ms. biles, your first if you would like to give your opening statement. pull the microphone close to you, it works much better. >> thank you for the opportunity to share my story with this committee and for bringing light to the crisis of abuse and
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amateurs words. your commitment to ensuring the safety of gymnast in all amateur athletes is appreciated, important and necessary to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. please bear with me. to be perfectly honest, i can imagine no place i would be less comfortable right now than sitting here in front of you, sharing these comments. my name is simone biles and i'm a gymnast who was trained at the level of the sport. as an elite in this, i have the honor to represent the united states of america in multiple international competitions including world championships and the olympic games. over the course of my gymnastics career, i have one 25 world championship metals and seven olympic medals for team usa. that record means so much to me and i am proud of my representation in gymnastics. i'm also a survivor of sexual abuse. i believe without a doubt, that the circumstances that led to my abuse and allowed it to continue
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our directly the result of the fact that the organizations created by congress to oversee and protect me as an athlete, usa gymnastics and the united states olympic and paralympic commute -- committee failed to do their job. nelson mandela once said that there can be no keener revelation of a society soul than the way at which it treats its children. it is the power of that statement that compels and empowers me to be here in front of you today. i don't want another young jennet -- gymnast, limbic athlete or any individual to experience the horror that i am hundreds of others have endured before, during and continuing to this day. to be clear, -- sorry >> take your time. >> to be clear, i blame larry
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nasser and i also blame an entire system that enabled and perpetrated his abuse. usa gymnastics in the united states olympic and paralympic committee knew that i was abused by their official team dr. long before i was ever made aware of their knowledge. in may of 2015, the former head of usa gymnastics women's program was told by my friend and teammate, maggie nichols, that she suspected i too was a victim. i didn't understand the magnitude of what was happening until the indianapolis star published its article in the fall of 2016 entitled former usa gymnastics doctor accused of abuse. while i was a member of the 2016 u.s. olympic team, neither u.s. ag, u.s. opc nor the fbi ever
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contacted me or my parents step while others had been informed an investigations are ongoing, i have been left to wonder why i was not told until after the real games. this was the largest case of sexual abuse in the history of american sports. although there have been a fully independent investigation of the fbi handholding of the case, neither u.s. ag nor u.s. opc have ever been made the subject of the same level of scrutiny. these are the entities entrusted with the protection of our sport and our athletes and yet it feels like questions of responsibility and organizational failures remain unanswered. as you pursue the answers to those questions, i asked that your words be guided by the same question that rachel and many others have asked -- how much is a little girl worth? i sit before you today to raise my voice so that no little girl
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must endure but i am of the athletes at this table and the countless others who needlessly suffered under nasser's guise of medical treatment which we continue to endure today. we suffered and continue to suffer because no one at the fbi or u.s. og did what was necessary to protect us. we have been failed and we deserve answers. nasser is where he belongs but those who enabled him deserve to be held accountable. if they are not, i am convinced that this will continue to happen to others across olympic sports. in reviewing the oig report, it feels like the fbi turned a lined i and went out of its way to protect u.s. ag and u.s. opc. a message needs to be sent, if you allow a predator to harm children, the consequences will be swift and severe, enough is enough stuff i will close with one final but, the scars of this
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horrific abuse continue to live with all of us. as a lone competitor in the recent tokyo games, i can assure you that the impact of this man's abuse are not ever over or forgotten. the announcement in the spring of 2020 about the tokyo games that were be -- that were to be postponement that i would be going to the gym to training, to therapy, living daily among the reminders of this story for another 365 days. as i have stated in the past, one thing that helped me push each and every day was the goal of not allowing this crisis to be ignored step i work incredibly hard to make sure my presence could maintain a connection between the failures and the competition at tokyo 2020. that has proven to be exceptionally difficult burden for me to carry, particularly when required to travel to tokyo without the support of any of my family.
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i am a strong individual and i will persevere but i never should have been left alone to suffer the abuse of larry nasser. the only reason i did was because of the failures that lie at the heart of the abuse that you are no asked to investigate. i appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts with this committee today. i want to sincerely thank each of you for joining the survivors of this abuse to do what we all can to prevent anything like this from ever happening again stop thank you. >> thank you, ms. biles. ms. maroney? you have to push the button on your microphone. >> are we on? all right, good morning and thank you chairman durbin and ranking member grassley and members of the judiciary committee for inviting me to speak today. as most of you are probably aware, i was molested to gymnastics national team and
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olympic team dr., larry nasser. in actuality, he turned out to be more of a pedophile than he was a doctor. what i'm trying to bring to your to tension today is something incredibly disturbing and illegal. after telling my entire story of abuse to the fbi in the summer of 2015, not only to the fbi not report my abuse but when they eventually documented my report, 17 months later, they made entirely false claims about what i said. after reading the office of inspector general report, i was shocked and deeply disappointed at this narrative they chose to fabricate. they chose to lie about what i said and protect a serial child molester rather than protect not only me but countless others. my story is one in which special agents in charge and his subordinates did not want you to hear. it's time that i tell you. in the summer of 2015, like i
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said, i was scheduled to speak to the fbi about my abuse with larry nasser over the phone stuff i was too sick to meet with anyone in person and talking about this abuse would give me ptsd for days but i chose to speak about it to try and make a difference and protect others. i remember sitting on my bedroom floor for nearly three hours as i told him what happened to me. i hadn't even told my own mother about these facts but i thought, as i am comfortable and -- as uncomfortable and hard it was, i was going to make a difference and hopefully protecting others from the same abuse. i answered all of their questions honestly and clearly and i disclosed all of my molestations i had endured in extreme detail. they told me to start from the beginning. i told them about the sport of gymnastics and how you make the national team and how i came to meet larry nasser when i was 13 at a texas camp stop
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i told him the first thing he ever said to me was to change into shorts with no underwear because that would make it easier for him to work on me. within minutes, he had his fingers in my vision. -- and my for chin in my vagina. they asked if he used gloves, he never did. they asked if the treatment ever helped me. i said no, it never did. this treatment was 100% abuse and never gave me any relief. i then told the fbi about tokyo, the date he gave me a sleeping pill for the plane ride to then work on me later that night. that evening, i was naked, completely alone with him on top of me molesting me for hours. i told them i thought i was going to die that night because there was no way he would let me go. but he did. i told them i walked the halls of tokyo hotel at 2:00 a.m. at
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only 15 years old. i began crying at the memory over the phone and there was just dead silence. i was so shocked at the agent silence and disregard for my trauma that after that minute of silence he asked -- is that all? those words in itself was one of the worst moments of this entire process for me. to have my abuse be minimized and disregarded by the people who are supposed to protect me, just to feel like my abuse was not enough. the truth is, my abuse was enough and they wanted to cover it up. usa gymnastics in concert with the fbi and the olympic committee working together to conceal that larry nasser was a predator. i then proceeded to tell him about he had signed me a blast on a sheet so he could molest me for hours twice a day. i told them how he molested me right before i won my team gold-medal, how he gave me present but me -- bought me
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coffee and sent them screenshots of him texting me. he said i love how you see the world through rose colored glasses.i hope you continue to do so. this was very clear, cookie-cutter pedophilia and abuse and this is important because i told the fbi all of this they chose to falsify my report and not only minimize my abuse but silence me yet again. i thought given the severity of the situation, they would act eckley for the sake of protecting other girls but instead, it took them 14 months to report anything and larry nasser, in my opinion, should have been in jail that day. the fbi, u.s. og and u.s. opc set idly by while dozens of girls continue to be molested by larry nasser. according to the oig report, about 14 months after i disclosed my views to the fbi,
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nearly a year and a half later, the fbi agent who interviewed me in 2015 decided to write down my statement, a statement that the oig report determined to be materially false. by manatt taking immediate action from my report, they allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year. this in action directly allowed nasser's abuse to continue. what is the point of reporting abuse if our own fbi agent's are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer? they had legal, legitimate evidence of child abuse and did nothing. if they are not going to protect me, i want to know who are they trying to protect? what's even more upsetting is that we know that these fbi agent have committed an obvious crime. they falsified my statement and that is illegal in itself.
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get no recourse has been taken against them. the department of justice refused to prosecute these individuals. why? deputy attorney general lisa monico couldn't bring herself to be here today. it is the department of justice's job to hold them accountable. i am tired of waiting for people to do the right thing. because my abuse was enough and we deserve justice. these individuals clearly violated policies and were negligent in executing their duties and in doing so, more girls were abused by larry nasser for over a year. not convicting these agents is a disservice to me and my teammates and a disservice to the system which was to protect all of us from abuse. it was a disservice to every victim who suffered needlessly at the hands of larry nasser after i spoke up. why are public servants whose job it is to protect getting
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away with this? this is not justice. enough is enough. today i ask you all to hear my voice. i ask you please, do all that is in your power to ensure that these individuals are held responsible and accountable for ignoring my initial report, for lying about my initial report and for covering in closing, i would like to express my deep gratitude to the u.s. senate, a powerful institution that from the very beginning has fought for us, rather than against us. thank you and i welcome any questions. >> thank you, miss maroney. >> members of the dish a committee, thank you for inviting me to speak to you today. i want to thank you for your commitment to choosing athlete safety and choosing to let accountable those who are
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responsible for athlete safety. i previously identified as athlete a. this is not happen to gymnast to be or athlete a. it happened to me, 90 -- maggie nichols. i was an elite gymnast and by 14 i made the national team and i traveled internationally, attending competition and i represented our country, where i won a gold medal. violent fifteens ended in the summer when my coach and i reported larry nasser's abuse. i went on to compete at the university of oklahoma, where i was named first-team oklahoman and was a national champion. i reported my abuse over six years ago and yelled, my family and i have received few answers and have even more questions
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about how this was allowed to occur opinion and sacrificing my childhood for the chance to compete, i am haunted by the fact that even after reporting my abuse, 70 women and girls had to suffer at the hands of larry nasser. usa gymnastics and the fbi have a trade me and those abused by larry nasser, after i reported. the cover of my abuse and the failure to interview me for over a year after my complaint are well documented in the oig report. usa -- my family and i were told by the former president to keep quiet and not say anything that would hurt the investigation. we now know that there was no real investigation occurring. while him -- larry nasser
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continued to abuse women and girls. the fbi issued no search warrant and made no arrests. i was treated differently. not only did the fbi failed to conduct a thorough investigation, they also knew that it created a false narrative where larry nasser was able to retire. it allowed dozens of little girls to be molested. as the report details, fbi agent's did not properly document evidence, failed to report to proper authorities and the special agent in charge, seeking to become the director of security. a job opportunity was raised by penny. fbi agent's in charge of the investigation lied to investigators about what had happened. this conduct by these fbi agent,
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including the special agent in charge, who are held in high regard and expected to protect the public is shameful. this can be produced a report titled the courage of survivors, a call to action. it found that the u.s. committee -- they failed to adequately respond to credible allegations against larry nasser. the oig report found that senior fbi officials lied to the inspector general, engaged in conflicts of interest and tried to cover up the biggest sexual abuse scandals in the history of sports. despite these findings of serious and criminal misconduct,
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no accountability has occurred. an important question remains, why? why would they lie investigators? why would they not properly document evidence that was received? why would they be interested? these questions remain unanswered. the victims have a right to know why their well-being was placed by those who chose not to do their jobs. no one has faced federal charges other than larry nasser. for hundreds of survivors of larry nasser, this hearing is one of our last opportunities to get justice. we ask that you do what is in your power to make sure that those who engaged in wrongdoing are held accountable, under the law. >> thank you.
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>> i want to begin by thanking the judiciary committee, including the chairman for their commitment to seeking the truth for the hundreds, if not thousands who are systematically abused by they nasser and for the diligence to demand accountability, regarding federal law enforcement misconduct. i also want to express my gratitude to the other brave survivors here today, my friends and my teammates, for sharing their story and continuing to press for justice and reform. over the past few years, it has become painfully clear how a survivor's healing is affected
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by the handling of their abuse. it disgusts me that we are still fighting for the most basic answers and accountability over six years later. in 2015, it was known that at least six national team athletes had been abused by larry nasser. one of the athletes was abused -- given the unfettered access to children, stopping him should have been a priority, but instead the following occurred. the fbi failed to interview pertinent parties in a timely manner. it took over 14 months for the fbi to contact me, despite my many requests to be interviewed by them. the record established that steve penny, fbi agent abbett and their subordinates worked to can heal nasser's crimes.
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steve penny arranged with the fbi to conduct my interview at the olympic training center, where i was under the control and observation of usa gymnastics and the u.s. olympic and paralympic committee. the day of my interview, steve penny flew to the other picked training center and made sure that i was aware that he was there. i felt pressured by the fbi to consent to the plea deal. they diminished the significance of my abuse and made me feel that my criminal case was not worth pursuing. the special nt -- the special agent in charge met steve penny for beers, to discuss job opportunities in the olympic movement. another fbi agent worked with steve penny to determine jurisdiction without interviewing the survivors. i watched multiple high-ranking officials resign or retire
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without explanation of how they may have contributed to the problem. some were publicly thanked for their service and rewarded with severance or bonus money. my reports of abuse were not only varied, but they were mishandled by law enforcement officers who failed to follow their most basic duties. the fbi and others but then u.s. ag knew that nasser molested children and did nothing to restrict his access. steve penny and any employee could have walked a few steps to file a report. with the indiana child protective services, since they shared the same building. instead, they allowed him to slip out the door, letting him complete his work and even run
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for school board. nasser found more than 100 new victims to molest. it was like serving innocent children up to a pedophile on a silver platter. why did none of these organizations warn anyone? they have a long history of enabling abuse by turning a blind eye. both organizations knew about his abuse, long before it became public. he would not know that five eating their press releases, which would have you and their corporate -- corporate sponsors believe that athlete safety comes first. we have called for a factual investigation for years because we know firsthand these
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organizations and their public statements are not to be trusted. they claim that they want accountability but seek to restrict which staff can be interviewed on which document can be examined and claim attorney-client privilege over and over again. the so-called investigations orchestrated were not designed to provide the answers that we so critically need. why are we left to guess what they deliberately ignored? was it to protect the value of sponsorships? their own jobs? to avoid criminal liability? perhaps, but why must we speculate, when the facts are obtainable and the stakes are so high.
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why would law-enforcement officers ignore reports of abuse by a doctor across state lines and country borders for a future job opportunity? where there are additional incentives and pressures? why must we speculate when the facts are obtainable and the stakes are so high? just as it is naive to assume that the problem only rests with larry nasser, it is unrealistic to think that we can grasp the full extent of cup of -- culpability without understanding how and why they chose to ignore abuse for decades. why the interplay among these three organizations led the fbi to willingly disregard our reports of abuse. without knowing who knew what and win, we cannot identify all
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enablers or determine whether they are still in positions of power. we cannot fix a problem that we do not understand. we cannot understand the problem unless and until we have all of the facts. if we do not do all that we can to get the facts, the problems that we are here to address will persist and we are deluding ourselves if we think that other children can be spared the institutionalized tolerance and normalization of abuse that i and so many others had to endure. thank you for your time, your commitment and your genuine concern for those survivors who relied on the fbi to do the right thing. i welcome any questions and comments, and i will answer them to the best of my ability. >> i have been in a lot of committee hearings but i cannot remember compelling testimony like we have heard this morning,
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ever before because you had the courage to come up and tell the world what happened to you. it is heartbreaking to think what you have been through. thank you for being here. we have a job to do and we know it. it begins with this hearing, the accountability of the fbi and all of law enforcement when it comes to abuse cases like those that you have endured, personally. there is a historic element here, and not your audience includes young people, like yourself, who are victims and survivors themselves. i have one minute to question and my question to the panel, anybody who cares to respond, what would you say to other young athletes who may be suffering in silence or wrestling with a decision about whether to speak out?
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>> the first thing that i would want to say to anybody watching this that is suffering in silence or has been through something traumatic is that i support them. i believe them. just be patient with yourself and be kind to yourself. i am struggling as well. i am still trying to figure out how to heal from this. hearing is a roller coaster. sometimes i feel like i am taking a bunch of steps backwards. we are doing the best that we can, but i would encourage anybody out there to tell someone whenever you feel comfortable. it is important to have a good support system. if you are someone out there who does not have a good support system, that's ok. sometimes it takes a mile to find a good support system.
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just remember that i believe you and i support you. you are not alone and i encourage you to ask for help. >> i would say that they need to know that there abuse is enough. for so long, a lot of us questioned -- just because somebody else was not fully validating us, that we doubted what happened to us and that will make the healing process take longer. the second that i gave that to myself was when i began to heal and when i began to get my voice back. that took a long time. to reach out to other survivors and to hear their stories is what helps me to continue to heal. hearing these girls speak makes me continue to want to be here today and help others. >> before i ask my first
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question, we have not forgotten why these people have not been prosecuted. i want it put in the record, a letter that i wrote to the attorney general on july 16, to request that the department we visit the decision not to prosecute the fbi employees who failed all of you, and a lot of you that are not here as well. thank you very much. first of all, it is not enough just to commend you for your bravery of speaking out, but by years speaking out, you are helping not only young women, but wherever there might be the abuse that you talk about. it is very difficult, i'm sure, in this public setting and we felt that it has to be a hard
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job. thank you for coming forward. i'm going to ask questions and you decide how you want to respond, but i hope that one person will speak up. what can you tell congress and the government, witnesses testifying, about the additional steps, if any, that we can make sure that we can protect child athlete? we have heard from all of you about the fbi not doing its job and lying to us. beyond those things, do you have anything that you would like to add that congress should hear from you to protect child athletes? >> i think it is to look at the
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connection between the fbi, u.s. gymnastics and the committee. we cannot believe that there is a safer future for children unless we fully understand everything that happened. usa gymnastics says that they have done investigations, but they were not completely independent, and the scope matters. nothing should be off limits. it should go back decades. that has not been done and it is something that we have been asking for for years. i would like to see all of the investigations completed. the scope of that matters because until we know the facts, it was just guesswork. i hope you feel the same as i do that if we are thinking about children, i do not want to be guessing that they will be ok. i want to know with 100% certainty that somebody that
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looked the other way for us is not in a position of power. i think the investigation is crucial. i do not have any faith that things will get better in the sport until then. >> if nobody else is wanting to go beyond that, i will go to my last question. i hope this is not something so sensitive that you do not feel that you can talk about it, but do you have any thoughts or input to share about safe sport? it has been test with kong -- with handling allegations from amateur athletes. >> i think that -- i'm trying to be respectful here. i do not like say sport. i hear from many survivors that they report their abuse and it is like playing hot potato.
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a really big issue is it is funded by usa gymnastics or the olympic committee i'm not sure what the correct terminology is, but if you are funded by the organization you are investigating -- they are likely not going to do the right thing. i think that it needs to be completely separate. i personally think that it needs a lot of work, and i know from many survivors -- my mom has reported things to say sport and we followed up so many times and they say they cannot help you, or they ignore you and pass it on to something else. it is a complete mess. the priority does not seem to be safety and well-being of athletes but protecting usa gymnastics and doing everything
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keep the p.r. good. >> i agree. nobody really wants to be held accountable. nobody knows who to hold accountable. there needs to be a specific person in charge of protecting the athlete. it falls on then, when it is not. instead of it being passed around, there needs to be a specific job for that. >> thank you. i now call on senator lahey. we are trying to make this question period concise, so please do your best. >> thank you all for having the courage to come here today. i can only imagine how painful it is to relive these experiences, but i think that
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the resiliency and the perseverance that you are showing the world today is incredibly admirable, and i hope that the young survivors who see this, who feel powerless to tell their stories will look at this as an example. it is far more than telling the stories. obviously, i have been on this committee a long time and i cannot think of anything so moving. we have heard others talk about accountability and justice, but what does genuine accountability look like to you? when do you feel that justice will be done for the injustices that you have suffered? that should be the question that we have today, and i would like
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to hear from all of you on that. >> going back -- i probably sound like a broken record, but i will try. hopefully today will be the one where this time i say it ended actually happens, but for me, accountability looks like -- i think that this should not have ever happened. one time being abuse is too many. one child being abused is too many. a complete and full investigation -- from their, we will know the answers of who should be held accountable. i think that there needs to be -- when we think about a new usa
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gymnastics, survivors need to be in the room. they need to feel -- we need to feel like we are not adversaries. we need to feel that our voices that are that they want to actually be a part of the change that we so desperately want. i'm not trying to speak for them, but i imagine that it is crazy for me to try to wrap my head around. or does anything, that they be spared abuse. the fact that we have been treated as adversaries are so many organizations and our abuse has been diminished. we have been victim shamed online. we have been made to feel that we do not matter. i never want another child to feel that way again. michaela mentioned this that so
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often, survivors already question themselves and distrust how they feel. that is something that i went through, especially since the fbi made me feel like my abuse did not count. i remember sitting there with the fbi agent and trying -- him trying to convince me that it was not that bad is taken use of arp to realize that my abuse was bad, that it does matter. i think it is really important to have education and prevention in the sport as well. i do not see these organizations doing enough -- every person who walks into a gym should be educated. everything in between because if we do not have an investigation,
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education and prevention, this problem and nightmare will keep happening over and over again. >> does anybody else -- should i assume that you all agree with that? so do i. thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> one more to add. we went to see them be at least federally prosecuted to the fullest extent because they need to be held accountable. >> as a former prosecutor, i agree with that. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i also want to thank the four survivors that are joining us today and i want to tell you how much i respect and admire your courage. sounding the alarm on a system
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that has abused and neglected you, that was supposed to protect you. your stories are difficult for you to tell. it has -- it is extraordinarily important for us to hear about it. i believe that your courage will inspire a generation of women to speak out against those who have abused them. i want you to know that we are all very proud of the example you have said for other women. i hope that this will be a step towards righting the wrongs that have led to the so that we can ensure that they never -- these mistakes will never be repeated. thank you for shining a light on this issue.
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you are not alone. those allegations are downplayed , slow locked or ignored. now our job is to make sure that your sacrifices, your trauma and your nightmare have not been in vain. thank you. >> thank you, chairman. for me, this was deja vu. i listened to these young women, i saw the courage, and i saw their willingness to step forward. i am hopeful that we will be able to take some action and i would like to present a letter that was sent to the chief executive officer of the u.s. --
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and has eight specific things. i really hope that nobody goes through the horrors that you have experienced. i hope that you are able to put this behind you and you can lead a life as full and happy as possible. i had the occasion to sit down with at least two i have seen
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the tears. those days are now behind. i am convinced that this senate will act. thank you so much because you have played eggroll, if and when we do can happen. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank each of you for being here. being here this morning was not easy. each of you inspire millions across the globe. many look to your academic -- to your achievements. you have done extraordinary things, things that take a breath away, things that amazed children and adult. you are able to do that for 10 and thousands of hours of incredible work.
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and yet, that work pales compared to the work that it took to get here today. you could have stayed silent and avoided the scrutiny, the pain -- watching me testify, you could see the pain in each of you, sharing that story, but that courage that you demonstrated by reporting this abuse, by shining a light, that courage matters, and it is making a difference in the lives of others. the system failed you. what happened to you was grotesque and abusive, and evil. i am the father of two little girls who are both athletes, not at the level of each of you, but what you experienced was every parent's nightmare.
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you are trusting that your kids will be taking care of, not that they will be abused and targeted. i want to thank you. i want to thank you for calling out the abuse, calling out the system that failed you. that system needs to change and be held accountable so that this does not happen again. i want to thank you for the kids who will not face abuse. maggie, michaela, simone -- the state of texas is immensely proud of you, of all of you. right now, at home, there is a little girl or a little boy who is watching this. they may be facing their own personal hell. it may be facing abuse in sports
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or some other context. a monster doing unspeakable things to them. that little girl or little boy, i hope, sees your courage and realizes they can come forward to say something as well. that he or she can call out the person hurting them. so thank you for your courage. it makes an enormous difference. >> thank you. >> i want to first thank senator blumenthal, who has been so persistent in this for so long. thank you for holding this hearing. all of our witness is for the clarity and grace of your testimony here. your quest for accountability is 100% justified.
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thank you for pursuing it. we will endeavor to help you in that pursuit. it is astonishing and disturbing, how many adults let you down they failed at one of the most basic responsibilities of adulthood, which is to look out for children, take care of them, behave properly. so, i guess on behalf of adults everywhere, that we owe you an apology. what you have done today is impressive and it will make a difference. i am thankful to for stepping up the way that you have. >> you will see our next speaker on webex, helpful -- i hope.
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senator? well, perhaps the other senator is on virtually. we are going to search the ether. senator? well, in the absence, senator klobuchar. >> thank you very much, all of you. like my colleagues, i want to express my gratitude to you. as a fellow minnesotan, i am particularly grateful to you, maggie for sharing your story with the committee today. all of you and the other women and girls who make up the gymnastics community continue to inspire us. i was one of the geeks up at 4:00 a.m., watching this live, watching the olympics. to think, when you fall off the
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balance beams and you get back on, or you grab those bars, when you still have an injury or you perform some floor exercise that nobody knew was possible -- to all of us watching, that is something he could never imagine doing. the real courage is what you are doing today. your bravery is on full display and as a former prosecutor, like some of my colleagues, i know firsthand how hard it is to testify before a room of strangers. this time, you are doing it in front of the u.s. senate. what you are doing is part of your own healing and it is also part of healing for kids that you will never meet, little girls and boys that are aware of your fame. they may never be aware of what you are doing today and i think
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you have heard it from so many colleagues that have been leading on these bills. i have been proud to cosponsor them, but more must be done. more oversight and accountability. by coming forward today, you will make that difference, so we can make sure come on your behalf, that this never happens again. thank you, simone, michaela, maggie and allie for representing the women and girls of usa gymnastics, so well, on the world stage. most importantly, so well today. >> we are going to try one more time with senator cotton. are you with us? please proceed. >> thank you. i want to take a moment to thank each of the witnesses appearing this morning. the four of you have done amazing things in the quest of your lives. you have been good goal -- role
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models and have presented america while on the global stage. it is the curse that each of you has displayed, coming forward about the abuse you have faced. potentially taking down a whole system. this is the first time that we have had hearings on this issue. we have heard from others who faced similar abuse. unfortunately, for too long, the system failed the very women that it was supposed to protect. the report makes clear that there are individuals that should be held accountable. we went to speak about how that
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can be remedied. i want to thank each of you for coming before the committee and sharing your story today. >> thank you for holding this hearing. each of you are adults now. you are grown women and demonstrated your strength, determination and persistence in testifying here today. as we own the comment in terrible detail, you were victimized as young girls. we have failed you. u.s. of the committee, usa gymnastics -- those in federal law enforcement, who were responsible for taking your horrible testimony and translating it into prompt and decisive action to protect other children and to secure justice for you. thank you. for the courage it takes to testify and to insist on justice.
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thank you to senator blumenthal and senator moran for your persistent and effective engagement in this. we will next turn to hearing the director from the fbi and inspector general about what has been found by the inspector general and what action will be taken next. i want to briefly share with you , one of the most concerning parts of what you shared with us today was about your initial interviews with the fbi. where it was connected, how it was conducted -- conducted, how it was conducted -- that you are left alone as a teenage girl to have an interview by phone in agent, who suggested what you were testifying to was not horrific? or tried to persuade you that it was not that bad? or under circumstances, made it clear to you that the person responsible for usa gymnastics might be present and might have compromised that interview? the way that all of your interviews were conducted was
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just awful. sadly, that has been the experience for millions of victims of child sexual abuse over decades in the u.s. the positive thing that i wanted to share with you today is that for years, there has been a national network of child advocacy centers and there is one in each county in my state, that brings together trauma informed, child welfare professionals to make sure that victims are only interviewed once, that they are interviewed inappropriate settings, in a way that respects and recognizes the trauma and abuse that they have suffered and ensures that your horrible experiences, in terms of those initial interviews -- and has been compounded by you having to testify and speak again and again. we are working on that system.
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senator blunt and i will reintroduce a bill to double the funding. there is now a national network of 880 of these child advocacy centers all over the country. i wanted to share with you and with any victim of abuse, or the families that know about their child's abuse that might be watching, that what happened to you should not and need not happen again. there are professional child welfare centered opportunities around the country to seek justice. miss maroney, i concede what i said has particularly impacted you. thank you for your courage, persistence and your demands for justice. thank you. >> i believe senator blumenthal will be next. >> thank you, mr. chairman. you are heroes and stars, and role models for many young men
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and women around the country. your courage is obviously impressive to all of us on this committee, but so is your grace and daring, your athleticism, your grace and daring as people. and your determination not to be defined by the abuse that you suffered and to seek help, which should also be a model to others. a number of you have made reference to the therapy that you have sought, which also takes courage. you have been involved in a sport that often involves injuries and the abuse that you suffered involves emotional injuries that you are seeking to treat, as he would any physical
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injury. i would like to ask you -- i know that at least one of the athletes in the room was abused after july, 2015. let me ask each of you to answer yes or no, whether you know of athletes that were abused by larry nasser after july, 2015, during the 18 month period, when the fbi did nothing. you can just say, yes, you do or if you want to tell me how many come if you know, just yes or no. >> yes. >> kaylee was abused and she spoke out after we spoke out. >> yes. >> yes, i have met many of them.
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i also want to be clear that in the time that i had reported my abuse to usa gymnastics, i followed up many times. i'm sure you can imagine that it was hard for me, but also, i was so scared because of the positions of power. we followed up 70 times and we were constantly told that they were working on it and the most important thing was to keep it confidential and not tell anyone. they told me not to really talk about it with mckayla maroney. i thought that it was being handled, so i cannot express to you -- when you are told by the president of usa gymnastics that they were handling it -- i did not know that they were going to
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mishandle it the way that they have. when they are telling me that they are reaching out to the fbi, i unfortunately believed them. i cannot tell you how horrifying it is to meet young girls who look up to me, who watched me compete in the olympics and tell me that they went to see larry nasser because of me and my teammate, because they wanted to see the olympic doctor. in his office, he had photos of us, so they went to see him because they thought it was so cool to have the same doctor as us. it has been one of the hardest and most devastating parts for me. 70 survivors suffer with guilt and shame. it takes everything i have to work on not taking the blame for that because it is horrific.
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it is horrible to meet them and to know that over 100 victims could have been buried the abuse . all we needed was one adult to do the right thing. >> thank you senator. >> i join all my colleagues in inking each of you for coming forward. we know that there are young kids who look up to you as a fantastic athlete and gymnast that you are. as they get older, and hope they recognize the courage of you coming forward to tell us your stories. the experiences and horrific abuse that you suffered. i think that all people who have suffered abuse -- it is time for them to even talk to anybody about it. it was hard enough you to report your abuse, to be specific about what happened, but then to be
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set to the side, to get the feeling that the people that you relied on to do their job -- that they thought it was not a big deal -- i think that compounds that her thick abuse -- horrific abuse that you experienced. you are right to demand better from the fbi. from the usa gymnastics and others, including us in this hearing today. to show people that reports of abuse should be taken seriously. those who come forward come as you did, should be believed. your courage, shining a light on a culture of abuse of power inspires -- should inspire others to come forward. i knowledge how much courage it took for you to report in the first place, to undergo the
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horrifying experiences once again, to tell perfect strangers what happened to you, and to not be taken seriously. that is what we need to change. you have to undergo therapy, but the main thing is that we should prevent these abuses from happening in the first place. if that happens, we need to hold the people who are enacting abuse, accountable. thank you so much for coming forward. >> we probably have another 10 to 15 minutes and i do not know if we need a break now or if you want to go straight to the end. is anybody looking for a break? >> we are good. >> great. senator booker daca -- booker? >> thank you for being here today. it took extreme courage. i'm not sure anybody realizes
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the burden on survivors to come forward and recall what happened to them. it is not just recalling the trauma and the violence and the pain, but it is being forced to relive it. for that, i am deeply grateful that you would sink here, in a room of strangers come in front of powerful people -- to again relive that trauma. i also know that you did not come here for our kind word or our promise or empathy -- proudness or empathy. he came here for action. you have heard words for years, and you are still fighting. you are fighting against a systemic problem in our country that is not just in sports. we have seen it first, -- from
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church institutions and the boy scouts. he see it in diners, workplaces, factory floors. -- you see it in diners, workplaces, factory floors. you athletes are doing something in a tradition that is, to me, what has helped call the conscience of our country forward and expand our moral imagination to stop injustices of other sort. from people that have endured outrageous realities like billie jean king, who used their platforms come not to try to get individual attention, but to try to change this nation. i'm grateful that we are at a point where we are at such bipartisan determination -- it is not often enough -- but here we have bipartisan determination of my most respected colleagues to deliver what you really came
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for, which is action. i say that to tell you that we all know that the road to change, systemic change, not just in sport but in culture, it seems to tolerate such a high level of this sort of violence, but it will take time. there is one thing that always rings in my head. the only thing necessary for injustice to continue is for good people to do nothing. you all have seen that, first hand. i have heard you before. you asked the question, do you have any words for other survivors? i would like to simply ask the question, of you, to answer, to put the point and the light where it belongs. it should not take something directly happening to us to trigger our empathy and action.
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maybe i would like to know if you have any words for americans, in a country where this violence happens every single day. is there something that you would like to say to us, who all had to understand that we are playing a part in a culture that allows this to happen? >> i would like to say that i do not think people realize how much experiencing a type of abuse is not something that one suffers in the moment. it carries on with them, sometimes for the rest of their lives for example, being here today is taking everything that i have.
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my main concern is, i hope that i have the energy event to walk out of here. i do not think people realize how much it affects us, how much the ptsd and trauma impacts us. healing looks different for every survivor. the aftermath looks very different. for me, to paint a picture, i used to train seven hours a day when i was training for the olympics and processing my abuse affected me so much -- it is something that i struggle with and i can remember, when i first shared my story publicly, for a long time i did not have the energy to stand up in the shower. i would have to sit on the floor to wash my hair because standing up was too exhausting for me. i could not go for a 10 minute walk outside. this is someone who competed in olympic games. there are times where i feel
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like i forget what i am saying and i feel like my mind is not working. i feel like i have no energy at all. i am 27 years old and my 80-year-old ran father has more energy than i do. i have often wondered, am i ever going to feel better? it has affected my health come in the last couple of years. i have had to be taken in an ambulance because i passed out, and i am so sick from the trauma. it may not even be after a hearing like this. it hits me out of the blue. it is important to understand how much, even if we are not crying, how much we are all struggling and how much survivors are suffering. people say comeau well why did you just come forward now? is terrifying -- it was terrifying to that we will not
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be believed. sometimes it is so hard to say the words out loud. for a lot of us, this might take months to recover from. i want to make that clear. you may not know what someone else is going through, but for people who have been through trauma, it is hard. if someone is watching this, for a survivor who does not know why they are having certain issues, just know that you are not alone. i experienced the same thing. hopefully, in time, we can feel better. >> thank you, senator booker. i believe senator blackburn is available via webex. >> thank you, mr. chairman. because of limited bandwidth, i would do this by voice. thank you to each of the women,
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for being there today. and the power of their stories, and their words. three click questions. -- quick questions. >> senator blackburn, can you hear us? we missed your three questions. >> yes, three questions. number one, what are the reforms that you would like to see take lace? number two, if you did not trust safe sport, what we would like to know is who is a trustworthy -- is there an organization or individual that has your trust? who would be the go to? the third thing, did the fbi ever offer you a female agent,
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who could walk with you through this process? >> thank you, senator blackburn. i will let the panel respond to you. we have two more members after you. >> i never had a female agent alongside me. i'm signing i am not answering more questions. i am just exhausted. >> anybody else want to respond? >> there was a female agent in the room with me at the otc in 2016 but most of it was fueled by men asking questions. i honestly did not know what i was walking into. they told me i had a meeting with the fbi and did not tell me what it was about. i was pulled into a random hotel room and they started asking questions. i was never prompted.
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>> all right. senator padilla? sen. padilla: i think -- >> i think i had a female agent in the room at the training center as well, but i am not sure. >> i feel like we had the same people. >> if i recall, my communication was with a male fbi agent. >> senator padilla? sen. padilla: i want to start by thanking the chairman and all those who have made this hearing possible and to the panelists, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. i admire and respect each one of you for choosing to participate today, for sharing your
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testimony with this, and i recognize that you each had the option of respectfully declining the invitation to be here, but you didn't and i hope that you understand that your presence here is not just so important to the members this committee but to the senate as a body. it also speaks volumes for the countless victims of abuse that are out there listening or watching or will listen or will watch. i appreciate the conversation about mental health prompted by the questions from senator booker. my wife is an active mental health advocate and has treated me well to be cognizant of those issue -- issues. ms. biles, you might've heard
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about some of -- some of our application of your courage. it took a lot. i will offer a few comments. most of the questions that i would raise have been raised by my colleagues, but i also want to make it clear that mr. na sser's criminal complaints, while they have been closed, we cannot ignore the missteps and will not ignore the missteps that permitted his misconduct. the shields in place have no place in our country. to achieve the highest ideals of our nation -- we talk about fairness and equality so often -- and we want just ask -- we
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won't just ask why. we will not stop until we get the answers to the question of why this man was given the tools to abuse for so long. we will not just ask why. we will commit to getting the answers to why the initial investigation into these matters was bungled. lastly, we commit ourselves to promoting a justice system that holds powerful people, learning from this case, but that holds other powerful people accountable for their actions. so again, thank you. through your participation, through what we will learn and do, we hope to better protect future generations. >> thank you, senator. senator ossof? >> thank you again to all of you for being here and being so direct with us and for enduring
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this experience. i want to assure you that i have listened and heard what you are demanding and the burden should not be on you to see that there is not impunity in this case. personnel at the fbi, jay abbott and his subordinates, steve penny, usa gymnastics, u.s. olympic and paralympic committees, the burden is ours in the u.s. senate see that there is a full investigation, that there's personal and institutional accountability for abuse, enablement of abuse, neglectful and improper law enforcement conduct, and i think compelling evidence of potential obstruction of justice and corruption in this case as well,
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so thank you again for your testimony. i will make sure that you and your family has contact information for my office and will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that justice is done. thank you. >> thank you. ms. biles, ms. moroni, ms. nichols, ms. reisman, thank you for your testimony today. it was historic and will make a difference in the lives of people witnessing it. you do not have to wait for the judges to put numbers up on the board. you all win gold medals today in the cause of justice. you are excused. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> we will take a 10 minute break why -- break while
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we set up for the next panel. [indiscernible conversation]
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>> the senate judiciary committee wrapping up the testimony of the gymnasts, the second hearing expect to begin shortly. they are taking a break that should last another five minutes or so. we want to remind you that we will reair all of today's hearings this evening here on c-span.
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[indiscernible conversation]
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>> senator chuck grassley on the screen, ranking member of the judiciary committee. this hearing on break, looking at the fbi's handling of the investigation into larry nassar,
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the convicted sex offender and former u.s. gymnastics physician. testimony a short while ago wrapping up from four of the usa national gymnast. the committee will shortly hear from the fbi director and the fbi inspector general michael horowitz. we will show that to you and later show you the session of the house ways and means committee, marking up the house budget plan underway. again, waiting for the second panel to get underway here on c-span. [indiscernible conversation] sen. durbin: can i ask members to start to return to their positions so we can go to the next panel?
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the hearing will now resume. we will hear from our second panel, fbi director christopher wray, and department of justice inspector general michael horowitz, if they could come forward. no microphone?
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there's a live microphone out there and somebody is going to be broadcast if they are not prepared.
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[no audio] could the witnesses please stand to be sworn in? please raise your right hand. do you affirm the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god? let the record show the witnesses have answered in the affirmative. director wray, proceed with your opening statement please.
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mr. wray: good morning. on behalf of the entire fbi, i want to begin by thanking the brave women who testified here this morning, ms. biles, ms. moroni, ms. nichols and ms. raisman, among the many who nassar kurt. i am deeply and profoundly sorry to each and every one of you. i am sorry for what your families and you have been through. i am sorry that so many people let you down over and over again and i am a specially sorry that there were people at the fbi who had their own chance to stop this monster back into thousand 15 and failed, and that is inexcusable and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.
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before i became fbi director, i was generally familiar with the nassar story, shortly after his arrest in 2016, and i remember being appalled even then that so many people feel -- people failed to do their jobs. but when i became fbi director and learn there were also people within the fbi who failed, i was heartsick and curious. i ordered a special review to get to the bottom of it. that led in part to the inspector general's own room -- own review, and i am grateful for his extensive independent work. i want to be clear. the actions and inactions of the fbi employees detailed in this report are totally unacceptable. these individuals betrayed the
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core duty that they have, of protecting people. they failed to protect young women and girls from abuse, in the work we do certainly is complicated and uncertain, and it will never be perfect, but the kinds of fundamental errors made in this case in 2015 and 2000 16 never should have happened, period. i will do everything in my power to make sure they will never happen again. the fbi cannot carry out its final mission of protecting the american people without trust, and in this case, certain fbi agents broke that trust repeatedly and inexcusably, and to pretend otherwise would be yet one more insult to the survivors. failures like the ones that happened in this case threaten the very confidence we rely on
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every day to save so i want to make sure the public knows that the reprehensible conduct reflected in this report is not representative of the work than i see from our 37,000 people every day. the actions, instead, of the agents described in this report are a discredit to the minute women who do this job the right way, with uncompromising integrity, the way the american people expect and deserve. throughout my career as a prosecutor and now at the bureau, i have found that the agents and officers who investigate crimes against children and sex crimes are among the most compassionate and fiercely dedicated out there. i suspect a number of you on the committee have had the same experience on your end. and i am grateful to the women who came forward today so that i can say to everyone that there
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is no more important work in law enforcement and helping victims of abuse. it is work that has to get done right every time. it is essential that we do everything we can to ensure that victims continue to come forward with confidence that they -- that their reports will be thoroughly and aggressively investigated. a big part of that is accountability and holding our people to the highest standard our work requires. when i received the inspector general's report and show a special agent in indianapolis had failed to carry out even the most basic parts of the job, i immediately made sure he was no longer performing the functions of a special agent, and i can now tell you that that individual no longer works for the fbi in any capacity. as for the former
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indianapolis special agent in charge, the descriptions of his behavior also reflect violations of the fbi's long-standing code of conduct and the ethical obligations of all fbi employees, especially senior officials. that individual has been gone from the bureau for 3.5 years, having retired in january of 2018 before any review launched, and i will say it is extremely frustrating that we are left with little disciplinary recourse when people retire before their cases can be adjudicated, but let me be clear, people who engage in that kind of gross misconduct have no place in the fbi. i can also assure you that the fbi's response is not limited to those who failed so profoundly back in 2015. to make sure that something like this nothing happens again, we have already begun fully implementing all the inspector
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general's recommendations. that includes strengthening our policies and procedures, strengthening our training to understand the critical importance of thoroughly and expeditiously responding to all allegations of sexual abuse or assault because the american people are counting on us to get this done right every time. finally, i would like to make a promise to the women who appeared here today and tell all survivors of abuse. i am not interested in simply addressing this wrong and moving on. it is my commitment to you that i and my entire senior leadership team will make damn sure everybody at the fbi remembers what happened here in heartbreaking detail. we need to remember the pain that occurred when our people failed to do their jobs. we need to study it.
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we need to learn from it. that is the best way i know to make sure that this devastating tragedy is never repeated, so thank you, mr. chairman, and ranking member grassley, and members of the committee for the opportunity to testify today. i look forward to your questions. sen. durbin: thank you. inspector general horwitz? mr. horowitz: thank you. i also want to begin my testimony by recognizing the courageous women who came forward to report larry nassar's abuses and by thanking ms. biles, ms. maloney, ms. nichols and ms. reisman. they have shown remarkable bravery in detailing the assaults they endured at the very same time they were competing at the highest levels for her country. they did so with the belief that
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they would protect other girls from abuse. sadly, the response of the fbi agent who received that information betrayed their law enforcement responsibilities and their duty to these victims. nassar's abuses could and should have been caught sooner if appropriate action have been taken. not only did that not occur, but records were mishandled to falsely describe their handling of the handling of the matter. two of the agents lied to our investigators. the oig was able to investigate and identify these failures only because of the courage of the athletes is to our investigators. what they did was difficult and i want to thank them for their cooperation in coming forward. because of their actions,
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critical steps are being taken to make sure this does not happen again. let me summarize the results of our investigation. in july 20 15, usa gymnastics were worded sexual assault allegations against nassar to the fbi indianapolis field office. officials described graphic information provided by ms. maloney, ms. nichols, and miss reisman -- and ms. raisman. it was not until six weeks later that the indianapolis office -- and neither ms. nichols or ms. raisman were interviewed by the office. they did not formally document the interview of ms. maroney. they did not formally open investigation of the matter. following that interview, the
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indianapolis office and local federal prosecutors concluded there was no venue in indianapolis for the federal investigation. those offices had serious questions as to whether there was federal criminal jurisdiction. yet the indianapolis field office did not advise state or local authorities and did not take any actions to mitigate the risks to gymnasts that nassar was continuing to train. further, that office failed to transfer the case to the fbi office that might have had venue despite informing usa gymnastics that it had done so. after eight months of fbi inactivity, in may 2016, usa gymnastics officials contacted the fbi's los angeles field office to report the same allegations. the los angeles office opened an investigation and undertook numerous steps, but critically,
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it did not contact state or local authorities, and it didn't take action to mitigate the ongoing threat represented by nassar. -- threat presented by nassar. it was not until august 2016, when michigan university police received a sexual assault complaint from another gymnast, and the next month, the msu police department authorized a court authorized search of nassar's residents. among other things, they seized devices containing over 30,000 images of child pornography. according to court documents, 70 or more young athletes were allegedly sexually abused by nassar under the guise of medical treatment between july 2015, when the fbi received these allegations, until september 2016. we further found that when the fbi's handling of the matter came under scrutiny in 2017,
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indianapolis officials provided inaccurate information so it could appear that they had been diligent, and did so in part by blaming others. it resulted in the indianapolis supervisory special agent drafting a summary of his interview with ms. maroney that did not accurately reflect what she told them, and jeopardize the criminal investigation by providing, including false information that could have bolstered nassar's defense. further, we concluded that the agent gave false testimony to the oig in two interviews we conducted. we also learned during our investigation that, in the fall of 2016, the fbi indianapolis special agent in
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charge, steve abbott, met steve penny at a bar, and later, abbott engaged with penny, while at the same time participating in the nassar investigation discussions at the fbi. we determined abbott violated the fbi conflict of interest policy and made false statements in interviews we conducted. i want to conclude my testimony where i started by recognizing the courage and bravery of the extraordinary gymnasts we heard from today and that we have heard from -- that came before law enforcement in other settings. their persistence and strength are an example to all of us who work in the area of accountability in order to
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promote accountability. although the sexual abuses by nassar and the appallingly inadequate response by the fbi agent's cannot be undone, these athletes commitment to justice and their pursuit of accountability for all involved in this deeply tragic series of events will improve our institutions ultimately and help ensure federal ones respond in an appropriate and timely way to report sexual abuse in the future. our report recommends important reforms. as director ray indicated, -- as mr. wray indicated, -- thank you and i would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
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-- which didn't happen, and the later report and los angeles, and then they sat on it and then they sat on it. what is missing? what my missing here? >> needless to say, i share your reactions. i share your outrage. on a personal note, not just as
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a parent or brother or husband, but as somebody whose first introduction to law enforcement was working as an intern in ada's office in a unit focused on these parts of crimes was part of what prompted me to pursue a career in this in the first place, and i don't have an answer for you. it is inconsistent with what we train our people on, inconsistent with what i see from the agents who work these cases i see, and that is why this individual has been fired. sen. durbin: understood, but you heard ms. maroney talk about -- i cannot imagine this -- three hours she is sitting on her bedroom floor going through this interview, which you can tell was by a person, whoever it was, totally insensitive to this young woman's tragic experience.
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what has the fbi learned from that? i mean, in terms of cases of this sensitivity, to at least have interviewers who sense that there are certain words you need to be careful with? >> we have something called child-adolescent forensic interviewers, interviews specially trained in what it takes to interview people, victims, survivors, of these kinds of crimes, and one of the reforms we have put in place is to make crystal clear policy that interviews of people like ms. reisman should be conducted by these interviewers, and not telephonically, but in person wherever possible. that was true before and is now.
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we are putting in place mandatory training to ensure that occurs. that is a personal -- that is a partial answer. >> -- any indication that agents deliberately miss indicated -- deliberately misrepresented facts? >> yes. falsely testified to us about what he did in connection with our report as well as other matters we asked him about and special agent in charge abbott made full statements to us about the steps he took in 2015, when these allegations came in, but also about his effort -- his jobseeking efforts with the u.s. olympic committee. >> did they reach a level that constitute criminal violation? >> what we do at that point, we make a referral to prosecutors to assess them because that's
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the decision. >> what happened next? >> as inspector general horowitz said, those were referred to the prosecutors at the justice department, and they made the decision, as i understand it from the report, the prosecutors at the justice department on two separate occasions, both in 202021, declined to prosecute, but i would defer to the justice department. >> are you personally or professionally aware of any facts or circumstances that would lead to that decision? >> i am not. >> it is outrageous and i am sorry because i have great faith in this attorney general and is s -- and his department of justice, but will we asked them to explain this today, they refused and said they would not attend.
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i understand it is procedure to not go into the basis for deciding not to pursue prosecution but this is, on its face, obvious that these agents not only derelicted their duty when it came to these young women but also did their best to cover up what happened and that is inexcusable from where i am standing. let me ask you this finally, director wray. i accept your profession of real caring and i believe it is real caring about what happened in this circumstance today. what can you tell me, if it happened tomorrow, would be different? mr. wray: there's a bunch of things we are doing differently. we have accepted everyone of general horowitz's recommendations and then some. we are strengthening policies, procedures, training, systems,
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building into checks, triple checks, safeguards, oversight, different ways of making sure that we cannot have, as occurred here in certain instances, a single point of failure. that is one of the lessons here. that is unacceptable. part of what is built in here is a bunch of double and triple, even quadruple checks to make sure that doesn't happen both in terms of how the original reports are handled but also communication. one of the important recommendations from inspector general horowitz's reporting to state and local law enforcement and communication between field offices. i can go into detail about all of those. the last thing i will say is that there are some things that occurred here that are just so basic and fundamental and so foreclosed by our policies -- as
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inspector general horowitz said, we have clear policies on a lot of these things, so i have me clear in stern language, not just to the executive management, but to every single field office and entire leadership team of the fbi that what happened in this case is not acceptable. sen. durbin: it seems that a lot of the decisions were pinned on whether or not there was a violation of a sex tourism statute. why is that such an exclusive remedy that if you are not on all fours with that fact, the fbi agent felt they were constrained to do anything? mr. wray: well, i am not steeped in the particulars of the sex tourism statute the way i used to be, but one of the things we have tried to make clear to people is that we don't want people to get wrapped around the axle about federal jurisdiction issues at the front end.
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part of what needs to happen, as they are figuring that out with the prosecutors, is that they ensure that they are reporting to state and local law enforcement on a parallel track, so that is one of the key findings that comes out of inspector horwitz's report. >> give me a moment to include in the record documents that i have that show the nonresponsiveness of the fbi on this subject. sen. durbin: without objection. sen. grassley: the second one would be unrelated to this, but it deals with the unresponsiveness of director wray in regard to -- so i hope the committee will listen to this as well. i have asked director wray several times to meet with me relating to a very troubling briefing i received in august
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2020 from the fbi and which was later weaponized against mine and senator johnson's oversight. director wray and his staff have ignored my request to meet, repeating the pattern in the nassar case, nonresponsiveness, so without objection, i would like to introduce into the record today an email thread emblematic of the fbi's nonresponsiveness, showing the lengths i went to to get a meeting with director ray. -- director wray. the inspector's report shows that jay abbott at fbi was allowed to retire in 2018 and
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evaded prosecution even though this report describes significant misconduct by ham and an agent under his supervision. i ask the attorney general to reconsider his decision to not file charges, and i would like you to provide this committee with a list of all disciplinary actions that took lace with respect to fbi personnel who were the subject of this investigation. i believe you over that at the very least to the victims of today's hearing -- you over that at the very least to the victims of today's hearing. mr. wray: we can provide whatever information we can. certainly, as i already testified, the supervisory special agent who featured so prominently in inspector general horowitz's report i can confirm has been terminated. as to the former special agent in charge, he retired before
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this review commenced, before we learn the extent of his misconduct, much to my frustration. as to the decision of whether or not to prosecute either individual, i would respectively referred to the justice department, which i believe you said is where your letter was appropriately directed. >> i want you to give us your commitment that you will go to the justice department again to try to get that done. mr. wray: well, i am happy to do whatever would be appropriate. in this case, the criminal investigation that was conducted, the case agents, as it were, were from inspector general horowitz's office, which
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is appropriate, so that is a discussion between his office and the justice department, but if i can be a constructive part of that, i am happy to do whatever i can. sen. grassley: why didn't the children's unit at headquarters play a better supervisory role here, for example, by ensuring the correct office handled these matters, and why did it not follow-up to ensure that the indianapolis office handed over the case to an office with jurisdiction? mr. wray: i want to be careful to not paraphrase too much inspector general horowitz's report, because he is really the master of the facts here, but as i understand it, the indianapolis people most responsible concealed
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information from certain people at headquarters at different stages. that is part of the problem. we have implemented changes now that go to the point you are getting at, which is the transfers between field offices. we have built a number of additional checks, and one of those now gives headquarters, program management, visibility, so that they can ensure a second, third, fourth check to make sure the work is being followed up on and that the transfer is appropriately handled. sen. grassley: did anyone at the fbi headquarters consult with indianapolis and los angeles offices about notifying state and local authorities about the nassar allegations? mr. wray: i will let inspector horwitz speak to the facts. mr. horowitz: i am not aware of
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discussions about referring it to state and local authorities. sen. grassley: director wray, how far did knowledge of the nassar investigation extend within fbi headquarters in 2015? mr. wray: my understanding is that most senior individuals, based on looking at the investigation of inspector general horwitz -- the most senior individual, based on looking at the investigation of inspector general horwitz, was mr. abbott. sen. grassley: was the director aware of the nassar matter at any time before calendar year 2016? mr. wray: i don't know the answer to that, sir, but maybe inspector horwitz does. >> prior to 2016, did the fbi follow up with field offices
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about the status of the nassar investigation and whether further federal investigation was needed? >> senator, there was, in 2016, some dialogue about that, but as we described in our reports, the fbi policies don't require the level of detail and reporting to the headquarters unit that would, for example, put the responsibility directly on them to notify state and local authorities. sen. durbin: senator lady? -- senator leahey? >> i am glad an that you are her -- i am glad that you are here, but the conclusions are troubling. they are damming. they are horrible.
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i think of the young women who testified here today, what they would do, and i don't see where they get solace out of listening to this, and what the american people feel. senator grassley just mentioned about jay abbott, named in the report. he retired. was that a forced retirement? mr. wray: it was not? sen. leahy: did he ever faced possibility of prosecution? mr. wray: we referred our findings to the department's prosecutors about the false statements he made to us. sen. leahy: by consideration, do you make a recommendation? mr. horowitz: we don't make a recommendation formally. there are informal discussions but the responsibility is the
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prosecutors' and i have written years ago about the former fbi director's statement to the press about what he would do if he were the prosecutor. i am not about to jump in and take someone else's responsibility. sen. leahy: i understand that. when i was a prosecutor and law enforcement sent me their investigations, i had to make the final decision, of course, but i remember people get charged by fbi agents. i have seen those charges brought in various areas, organized crime. it is troubling to me to see that an fbi agent who lied, broke the law, knowingly broke the law, and nothing happens. i understand the procedures, but
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it bothers me greatly, the failures by the fbi field office in indianapolis to delay starting the investigation of larry nassar's widespread sexual assault of over 100 victims, and everybody -- i don't care where they are on the political spectrum -- had to be torn apart listening to the testimony of these victims this morning. i know i was. we talked about ms. raisman's testimony. she did not have a parent or a lawyer present when she gave her testimony. you mentioned changes in
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procedure. i understand this happen before you. today, which you have a parent or lawyer present with her? mr. wray: that would be a discussion between the agents and her and her parents. one of the things that, as i said, we have changed is to step up the emphasis on what we call cafi's, child forensic interviewers, and it is important to view these interviews as a unique kind of interview. there's all sorts of sensitivities. we learned about it in a powerful way from the women who testified here this morning. the point you made about parents, etc., that is one of those many sensitivities, so that is why it is important to have the interviews done by, or at least heavily involving, these child-adolescent forensic
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interviewers. that is why the policy has been strengthened to increase the use of them and to require them. that is why we have discouraged, as much as possible, telephonic interviews at all in these kinds of cases. one of the other helpful points that came out of inspector general horwitz is -- horwitz's report is the clarification that should also take into account women who are adults at the time of the inner you but who were victimized -- of the interview but who were victimized as children, so we are working hard to push out that program to avoid the kind of heartbreaking insensitivity you alluded to. sen. leahy: the supervisory special agent in indianapolis has been fired. what took so long to fire him, if i may ask? mr. wray: well, we waited for
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the report. i do not want a situation where two wrongs make a right, so we waited until we had the report, followed our disciplinary process and he's been fired. >> did he contest the firing? mr. wray: i probably cannot get into that discussion here. i want to be sensitive about privacy concerns and so forth. >> mr. horwitz, if you can say, is there a recommendation that he be prosecuted? mr. horowitz: again, what these -- what happens our discussions with the prosecutors. we don't make a formal recommendation to the prosecutors. you would have to have the department officials speak to that. >> i will just close with this. i think a whole lot of people should be prosecuted here besides nassar obviously.
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i'm thinking of some of the people within the athletic field who were aware of this, who turned a blind eye to it, who did nothing, people in government, even people outside. a whole lot of people should be imprisoned. i can tell you, frankly, as a parent, as a grandparent, there's a hell of a lot more of them i would like to see in prison. thank you, mr. chairman. sen. durbin: thank you. senator feinstein? sen. feinstein: thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, when this report was released, the oig report on july 14, the fbi publicly promised "to take all necessary steps to ensure that the failure of the
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employees outlined in the report do not happen again." that is a direct quote and an important promise. can you please describe the specific steps -- specific steps -- the fbi has taken in the past two months to ensure that these failures do not happen again? mr. wray: thank you, senator feinstein, for the question. first, as has already been mentioned, the disciplinary process has already been completed on the supervisory special agent and he has been fired. second, we have strengthened policies, procedures, systems and training to address and incorporate all of inspector general horwitz's recommendations. many of them are complete now. that includes on the issue of reporting to state and local law enforcement, which by the way,
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should have happened here anyway, but to ensure that it happens going forward, we now require that the agent handling one of these cases has to document that he is reported it -- that he has reported it, so there is an audit trail. he has to report it to his supervisor. there is mandatory training for everyone involved, two kinds already implemented, one for every employee in the fbi, and i have taken that myself, but also training specifically targeted at the employees who handle these kinds of cases and their supervisors. sen. feinstein: mr. chairman, i do not want to go into more specifics. i heard his commitment. i would like to see it in writing, sent to this committee in the form of a letter
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following this hearing so we have written evidence that the fbi is going to do certain things. sen. durbin: i can certainly join you in preparing a letter to the fbi so that they can respond to it with the director's signature. correct? sen. feinstein: i would appreciate that, mr. chairman. thank you. mr. horowitz, i am concerned the fbi's failures in this case may be a symptom of a broader failure to treat child sexual abuse cases with the sensitivity they deserve. according to the centers for disease control and prevention, one in four girls and one in 13 boys experienced child sexual abuse during their childhood.
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law enforcement agencies really should ensure our children are active. -- are protected. have you seen other instances in which the fbi's failure to properly investigate a case led to ongoing sexual misconduct or harm to children that could have been prevented? mr. horowitz: senator, thank >> i agree about the importance of this. what concerned me particularly here, we did not do a broad look at other cases, we had two offices who dealt with this matter, the indianapolis office and the l.a. office. the indianapolis office had all of the basic fundamental failures you have heard about and did not tell state and local law enforcement. the l.a. field office actually did open the case and did interview witnesses.
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yet, they also failed to report to state and local authorities. so, you had an office that took this seriously, but did not do what was also a fundamental step. they also had concerns about whether it was federal jurisdiction. as we all know, these are usually the province of state and local prosecutors and investigators. going back to something director ray --wray said, the fbi policies before this made it clear that in these kinds of cases state and local investigators are forced multipliers. yet, it did not occur in either office. that was concerning. sen. feinstein: lets me engage you on that. -- let me engage you on that. you said a number of things. it is really important.
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can this be put in any form of policy that becomes operational procedure for the agency? so, this committee and others know that things are going to change based on what is -- has happened in the recent past? mr. horwitz -- mr. horowitz: the report makes clear that things have to change. sen. feinstein: i am talking about your procedures, not what we say. mr. horowitz. what has -- mr. horwitz: -- mr. horowitz: what we all need to do, the fbi, the oig, and this committee is the follow-up you are talking about. we will continue to do our independent oversight of how recommendations i have -- recommendations have been implemented like we do in all reports.
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we will follow up on that. i am happy to report back to the committee on what we have seen. steps have to be taken. it sounds like the fbi has taken those steps to ensure record-keeping on the fact that something did occur. that may sound obvious and trivial at times. budd, one of the damming findings here -- but, one of the damming findings here is the lack of record-keeping in 2015 that was only attempted to be documented in 2017, then done falsely. sen. feinstein: after all of the emotion and all of what we now know, five years later, to see new practices go into place. what i am asking both off you is to do that and give us, here and now, some statement of your intent to do that, and they will be posted and people will be trained in them and they will be
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held responsible to carry them out. so, what we have said here and spent the time here can really make the change necessary. that no small child will be questions -- questioned by an fbi agent on the phone about this kind of thing. what you're practices are, so that everybody knows. mr. horowitz: we always follow-up on recommendations. we will do that here. you have my commitment. we will report back on what we found. it will be up to the fbi to implement them but we will not stop reviewing this matter until we, the oig, me, are confident that the steps that need to be taken are taken. >> that is exactly what is complement it by the recommendations, policy changes, mandatory training, i can put all of that in the letter that
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you and the chairman discussed. sen. feinstein: to the chairman and committee, would you put that in a letter? >> yes. >> can i add -- i am available at any time to meet with you to discuss this with you further and more formally. you have my commitment to that. >> may i add, in response to something senator feinstein asked, i would be remiss if i did not make the point that the work i saw in this case reflected in what inspector general horwitz found, -- horowitz found, part of what was so head jerking to me is how inconsistent it is from what i see from agents and professional staff who work these cases every day. i have seen them as a prosecutor and as the fbi director.
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over the last five years, our folks working with their partners have made 16,000 arrests of people like mr. nasser. that by itself should be deeply troubling and encouraging at the same time. encouraging in the sense that those people are taken off the streets. but, deeply disturbing because it gives you a sense of the sheer scale of this kind of abuse in this country. because, i have no doubt that for the 16,000 arrests we made, lord knows how many other predators are out there we did not get. sen. feinstein: that's staggering to me. thank you. >> director ray --wray, it strikes me very strongly, as we sit here today and heard the
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powerful testimony earlier this morning that the last time a wild been came for -- a woman came forward in this committee to testify to her allegations of sexual assault in her childhood the witness was christine ford. it appeared to me then, and it appears to me now, that her testimony was swept under the rug in a confirmation stampede. it is very possible that the fbi investigation of her allegations was just as flawed, just as constrained, just as
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inappropriate as the investigation in this case. we do not know because we do not have answers. i am still trying to get answers from you and from your organization along with senator cruz -- senator cruz and others, after more than two years. our first letter requesting information was in august 1 of 2019. our follow-up, we got a response to it yesterday. two months afterwards. not coincidentally, i suspect, on the people of your appearance -- on the eve of your appearance today. in that letter, dated yesterday,
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the assistant director said that the fbi is working with the department to identify and make available certain relevant documents. so, the answer was not even an answer. it was an answer that at some date in the future we might actually get an answer. today, now, can you give me that date when these certain relevant documents will be provided to us? >> i am aware both of your prior letter, also, the u most recently sent on monday. -- the u most recently sent monday. the docket -- the letter you most recently sent monday. we are expecting to get you the documents within the next two weeks. >> very well.
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i will be interested to see what deliberative executive branch information is included. it strikes me that the request does not get into the deliberative process at all. but, we will see how that goes. i just hope that is not being put up as yet another doll -- install, the -- stall or obstruction for us getting the documents we need. separately, i told you, that when i next had the chance, and today looks like it might be it, i wanted to ask you very specific questions and i did not want to catch you by surprise. i wanted to let you know those questions would be. so, i sent, on september 10, a letter with questions of that, again, relate to dr. ford's allegations. i have 51 seconds left.
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it will not work now. i would like you to tell me the date, here and now, when you will give me answers to these questions. i went years without getting qs bars answered by you and the guy. --wfrs --qfrs answered by you and the committee. i would like to get a date now. mr. wray: my goal would be to have as many as possible of the details in response to your question included in the response we are looking to get you within the next two weeks. i say that because, i said, i read your letter monday. we are already working on it. we will endeavor to get, a lot of what we will be providing in the next two weeks will be
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responses to those questions. but, today, i have been focused, as i know you are, on the nassar case and what happened to these women, in particular, the fbi's botched handling of this case in 2015. >> let's just make sure there was not a botched handling of another allegation in this committee. with regard to dr. ford. thank you. >> senator kunz? sen. coons: i continue to join you in asking for follow-up on our letters on the last few years. mr. horowitz, this is almost a
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textbook demonstration of the role and inspector general can play. director wray i appreciate your responses to the testimony and recommendations. but, i want to make sure we have covered a couple of things. many of my colleagues have always that's already covered topics i wanted to. but, -- had already covered topics i wanted to. but, one of the talented athletes and survivors are testify today was very pointed, aly raisman, in that she feels there has not been a thorough, factual investigation. i know senator blumenthal is incredibly capable and quite experienced. but, my impression from what he said and what i have read is that their concern is usa gymnastics and the olympic committee has thrown a variety of blocks -- of roadblocks
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integrate thorough investigation into whether there had or had not been previous incidents similar to dr. nassar -- larry nassar in u.s. gymnastics or sports more broadly. it is hard to believe this is the first time there has been a failing of this scale, governor -- given what you just said about the 16,000 arrests. we know that the horror of child sexual abuse is far more widespread in this country and around the world than any of us would like to see. so, mr. horowitz, do you think there is a pressing need? who would be the appropriate entity to conduct that? what advice do you have on respecting her request to this committee? mr. horowitz: the reason we could do a report like this is because the statute to authorities we have been given by congress make us independent.
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picking up on something aly raisman said was very perceptive. who is funding the oversight? as you know, back in 2008, we were given an independent budget line so our budget is not coming from the justice department but being sent by an independent appropriated. i do not know with the oversight mechanisms are currently on u.s. sc and the other entities. i did have a chance to talk with senator blumenthal about the importance of, given what i am heard from these gymnasts, the very issue you just mentioned, thinking about what is the right independent oversight mechanism of those bodies which are not just private entities, these are organizations that have been sanctioned by congress to oversee our u.s. athletes.
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and, they need strong oversight as well. i am happy to work with you as well, senator, and the committee, thinking about how to do that. because, we are seeing the ig model replicated in many places across the country, including many state and local entities. >> in other countries, the absence of a comparable structure is often at the core of how government entities failed to be held accountable. do i understand correctly that the fbi director and the fbi broadly has embraced and is implementing the four major policy recommendations you made? mr. horowitz: that is correct. director wray made that clear. he has certainly indicated to us, and we have information about the steps taken. as he knows and you all know, we
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will independently look at that. it will not just be the fbi's word for it. you will have ogr oversight -- oig oversight. sen. coons: is there anything specific to the culture of these two specific field offices, indianapolis in particular, that you think led to this shocking and uncharacteristic failure to follow even the most basic ethical and policy procedural guidelines? mr. horowitz: i did not pick up anything specific to the two offices as a cultural issue. what concerned me looking at this as a former prosecutor is the reluctance, or the failure, of both of these offices, one that did nothing and one that did something, to actually
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engage with state and local partners. that is a mindset that needs to be changed. i know director wray believes that as well. to see that in two offices, one of whom did actually do something, was concerning. sen. coons: i look forward to work with you to make sure state and federal law enforcement works as closely as possible. and interviews with victims are conducted in an appropriate way. thank you. sen. klobuchar: director wray this morning we saw the incredible courage on display under these bright lights in front of cameras, speaking with such clarity and termination.
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before we talk about what went wrong and what is happening, and i know you have been mentioning this, can you talk about, more about your personal reaction to what you heard this morning and what you have learned in the course of this investigation? director wray: in some ways, i have run out of adjectives. in other cases, certain colorful language would not be appropriate for me to use in a congressional hearing room. but, i was heartsick. i was furious. i was outraged. i was bewildered. as i said to a number of your colleagues, this is not the i see every single day, including the people who work on this particular program. and, the kinds of failures that are detailed in inspector general horowitz's reports are beyond the pale. that is why the supervisor and special agent most responsible
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for the case has been fired. i wish i could go back and change the past. i cannot tell you how much i wish her to change the past. but i can't. what i can do is use the painful lessons from this case to make sure everything will present in the fbi understands what -- every single person in the fbi understands what i expect of them and what the american people expect of them so this never happens again. sen. klobuchar: what is the most important step the fbi is taking now in response to the inspector general findings? director wray: the biggest one is to ensure that there cannot be a single point of failure. there cannot be a single point of failure in terms of reporting to state and local law enforcement. there cannot be a single point of failure in terms of transferring cases between field offices, in terms of making
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decisions about responding with the appropriate urgency when the allegations come in, and so forth. we are amplifying that through policies, procedure changes, additional checks, and safeguards, training, and, some fairly tough talk between me and the top 600 people in the fbi. sen. klobuchar: according to the ig report, state and local law enforcement did not receive any information from the fbi in the indianapolis or los angeles field offices about the investigation. the ig report found that the "prudence and sound justice -- judgment dictated that the layfield office should have notified local authorities -- the l.a. field office should have notified local authorities." what steps are you taking to make sure agents communicate allegations of sexual assault with local law enforcement? the rest array -- director wray:
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we have enhanced our procedures. they have to documented. they do not have to before. -- they have to document it. they did not have to before. they have to unload their supervisor so there is a second set of five. -- of eyes. we have enhanced our training to make sure it is mandatory regardless of whether there is some question about potential federal jurisdiction. we can continue to investigate with federal jurisdiction. but, we have to approach -- report to the local state -- to the appropriate state, local, and social services agency. sen. klobuchar: for many years i have worked on the abby home will act, which would encourage dos mormon -- which would encourage law enforcement
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responding to sexual assault crimes to avoid re-traumatizing the victim. we have talked about that some today. can you describe what steps the fbi is taking to ensure that when agents interact with victims they are using interview techniques appropriate that do not re-traumatize them. does the fbi have some fortune -- sufficient resources to support interviewers in investigations involving minors? detective ray -- director wray: child interviewers require specific skill sets. we have changed our policies to enforce the use of those interviewers for these cases. second is our victim services division. one of the things we changed
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even before receiving the report on my watch is to make clear that the victim services we provide, which is a little different from the performance of interviewing part, but it is also very important to handling survivors with appropriate sensitivity, that that is triggered at any stage, there is not just a full investigation. but, in a preassessment phase, it has to happen there too. so, both the child and adolescent forensic interviewers and the use of victim services. the scale of this kind of criminality in the country, as reflected by the 18,000 investigations we have had over the past five years and in the 16,000 arrests we have made over the last five years, i think that goes to your question about resources. i can assure you that if the congress were to give us more
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resources for those programs, they would immediately be put to good use. civil klobuchar -- sen. klobuchar: this bill has support in the house and will most likely be part of the violence against men act. -- against women act. sen. blumenthal: thank you both for being here. i want to thank, particularly, mr. horowitz and your entire team for the excellent work you have done on this investigation. director wray, i hope you will not misinterpret any of my questions as indicating disrespect for the fbi or your position in the fbi and your background as a law enforcement -- as a law enforcer and career prosecutor. you say you have run out of adjectives. but, you have not run out of
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action. the gymnasts who testified earlier really, with all due respect, they do not want more adjectives. they want action. part of that action is discipline and deterrence. you and i both know become a -- both know, because we both prosecutor, we look at action by prosecutors as deterrence, whether changing culture, whether in corporations in -- or in institutions like the fbi. michael langman has been fired. when was he fired? last week was to mark -- last week? director wray: i think it was within the last week. sen. blumenthal: why was he not fired earlier? a: we waited until we had the inspector general's report so we
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understood the totality as independently investigated of his conduct and then we followed our disciplinary process. one of the things in keeping with my insistence that everybody in the fbi do things in the right way includes making sure we follow our disciplinary process in the right way. we did that. he has been fired under that process. sen. blumenthal: someone, perhaps, more cynical than i would have concluded that it was the hearing, here, staring the fbi in the face of proper that action. but, i am not going to go there. -- in the face that prompted that action. but, i am not going to go there. i think what is more important is a criminal prosecution. here there are fundamental issues of fairness and law enforcement. mr. horwitz -- horowitz, your report is so powerful because it lays out the lies.
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for someone who has been a federal prosecutor, to put into a 302, a false statement by a potential witness, it is so bloodcurdling that i can understand your criminal referral. if in fact as you say, the false statement inserted by that fbi agent could have been used in a false offense by larry nassar. mr. horowitz: exactly white -- right. ms. maroney laid out the false statement in her testimony. the issue challenging the l.a.
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office was nasser's claim he was doing a medical -- larry nassar's claim he was doing a medical procedure.
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-- sowhause i was a u.s. attorney, fbi agents, pounding on my door and say "you have to go after this guy. he is dirty. here he -- he is a bad guy." director wray: we have those discussions all the time with the department, including the attorney general. i wanted to clarify one of the things i answer to your earlier questions. that is the supervisor we fired, that was two weeks ago, for the record.
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sen. blumenthal: i am going to put my prosecutor attorney general hat back on and go through what i saw in mr. horowitz's excellent report. j abbott was in close contact with stephen penny, the president of usa gymnastics. they were both trying to make usa gymnastics look better. j abbott was applying for a job with the olympics committee. he was on the hunt for employment. he others and he was lying to investigators. there is no statute of limitations here that would preclude a prosecution or, in
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your case, an investigation for conspiracy, correct? five years. director ray: i am not aware of any statute of limitations problem here. sen. blumenthal: i would call on youtube -- on you to open an investigation here for potential fossae man conspiracy. there are other potential violations. there is no preclusion based on statute of limitations. -- four false statement compare c -- conspiracy. there are no potential violations. there is no preclusion based on statute of limitations. you don't have the ability to prosecute him about you do have the ability to -- but you do have the ability to investigate. director wray: the inspector general's office has the right of first refusal as to who will take cases of potential criminal
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misconduct, especially at the fcs level with the special agent in charge. in this case, consistent with that arrangement, the inspector general's office took on the criminal investigation. so, that is who had the investigation. on the theory, i think in part, that it will have more credibility to be done by an outside agency. so, it is not the fbi investigating its own. sen. blumenthal: my time is limited. so, i am not going to go through a series that could be explored by one or the other of your office here to continue to bring justice and accountability to agents, members of the fbi, a special supervisory agent, and, a former special agent in charge. these are experienced agents. they are not a new trainee that might have wandered off in the
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wrong direction. but let me conclude. the people who have to answer here are the department of justice in a large degree. they declined the prosecution. they are not here today. they were invited. we urge them to appear. so, i hope both of you agree that they should be witnesses to answer many of the questions we have asked you and you rightly have said have to be answered by them. would you agree? director wray: look, as an independent -- mr. horowitz: look, as an independent director -- inspector general, i will not speak for the department.
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i am happy to have further discussions on ethics issues. one of the thing that is apparent from this case and many others is 18 usc 208 the criminal ethics statute you are familiar with is a very challenging statute. it could be made a lot what is d what is not. we have faced this challenge on many occasions in our ethics related work. i would be happy to chat further with you about that. director wray: i answer is similar. i really want to be careful not to speak to -- for the department or the committee in its oversight responsibility as to who its witnesses are. but, i understand the point of your question. thank you. sen. blumenthal: thank you both. i will be following up with both of you on these issues.
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i appreciate your testimony today. thank you. >> thank you both for being here. dr. ray --wray, you testified that you ran out of adjectives to describe the horror as to what you feel as to this case. but sexually abused women, girls, children, the most owner bowl -- the most vulnerable in our society, it has been going on since time immemorial pulled -- since time immemorial. i don't think we do a great job of investigating these crimes. sexual assault in the military is an ongoing scourge. it is clear that in your indianapolis field office you had a person in charge of that exhibited a certain attitude, kind of a mindset that as far as
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he was concerned, these kinds of crimes were not much of a big deal. it was not a big deal. so, i want to know, director ray, that you do provide specialized training for those agents, or those people within the fbi who deal with these kinds of crimes. that is what you testified, correct? director ray --wray: we have a number of different kinds of training, what is mandatory for all employees that emphasizes our obligation to enforce abuse even if they are not working these kinds of cases. the second, i think what you are referring to, is specifically geared towards people who handle these kinds of cases, and their supervisors. the new trading we have put in place in the wake of the inspector general's report adds in the lessons learned.
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it talks about the policy and procedure changes, but also about the lessons learned, the painful lessons, from this case. >> apparently, neither mr. abbott nor the second agent in your indianapolis office had that kind of training, correct? director wray: they had earlier forms of training. before i joined the fbi, they did not have the training put in place since the report. >> that is the thing about this training. you do not change hearts and minds because somebody goes through this kind of training. that is why the kind of follow-up, or whatever you put in place to make sure that that kind of mindset that conveys to the survivors of crimes like this that whatever happened to them is not a big deal or they are not believed. is it your expectation that when you have put in place the changes you have put in place and the kind of training you
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provide will ensure that all of your agents, all of the people who are dealing with these kinds of crimes junot display -- do not this play that kind of finds it to the survivors? director ray: it is certainly my expectation that people will -- wray: certainly it is my expectation that people will not reflect the kind of minds -- mindset reflected in this report. we have additional follow-up and safeguards. that is why, in addition to the training i have already described, we are putting in place a third training that will go by the end of the year, again, to every employee in the fbi that talks about the lessons from this particular matter. that was what i was trying to get at in my opening statement. we want to take the pain that occurred here and use it as a catalyst to teach people the importance of doing the work in the right way, to teach them what is at stake in getting the
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job done right. i think that is part of it. i will say that one of my biggest frustrations in this is that i bent a lot of time and have through my career working with -- i spent a lot of time and have through my career working with fbi professional staff who do these kinds of cases. what you see in this report is not what i see from these people. the people i see do not want to go home at night. they are afraid that in the one hour of sleep they get, that will be the one hour that some other child is victimized. it is a conscientiousness that most of the people who work these cases display is so far removed from what inspector general horwitz found -- horwitz -- horowitz found in any hapless that it boggles the mind. we will make sure -- in
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indianapolis that it boggles the mind. we will make sure it does not happen again. >> i hope you get feedback from the people you are questioning get a sense of how they have been treated and how their allegations have been dealt with. do you do that kind of follow-up? director wray: we do it informally through the use of two types of personnel, both of webb's -- of which i have made reference to today. the child adolescent for and sick interviewers are specially trained for this particular type of case, with all the sensitivities that requires. then, we have victims services personnel. they are designed to provide support and connect victims to other services. through those conversations with victims, we learn whether or not we are doing the job right. >> do you think that is an
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accurate way to measure whether the kind of specialized training that needs to happen in dealing with these kinds of sexual abuse cases is adequate? adequate feedback for you? director wray: i think it is a good way to get first-hand impressions from survivors as to about of their interaction with our people. that in turn should be fed into whether or not the training is working. it also goes into our policies, procedures, and everything else. >> these cards of crimes are vastly underreported, you would agree with that. so, it is a particularly traumatizing area of crime. therefore, you need specialized training.
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i commend you for doing that. i also want to make sure that training is actually thinking in. you do not change attitudes and a culture where one of our people who testified said "normalization of abuse." when she said that, it really struck me that that was what was going on in their lives. i see that senator cornyn is here. please go ahead. sen. cornyn: inspector general horowitz, director wray i just have a few questions. i know you have testified at some links, but given the conflicting assignments many members have i may ask you to eat some things said earlier. director wray -- to repeat some things said earlier. director ray, how many people work for the fbi remark --?
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>> we have roughly 37,000 employees. sen. cornyn: do you have real-time knowledge of everything they are doing? director rate --wray: no. sen. cornyn: but you understand that the buck stops with you? director wray: yes. sen. cornyn: one of the saying -- things that concerns me most about when these things happen is at the fbi level the focal days you as the director or management has understanding what is going on in a real-time basis. you depend on a chain of command and subordinates to provide you the information that you as the director would need.
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to me, the thing that i think most people watching the hearing might wonder, certainly i do, is that if these people eat -- delete --elite athletes, if their allegations of sexual assault are not taken seriously in an investigation of this nature, how can they have confidence that if something like this were to happen to them or their family or their loved ones that those allegations would be taken seriously? have you given that some thought? tell me what your answer is. director ray --wray: i understand all too well that the fbi depends on the trust of the american people, including, in particular, survivors of this kind of horrific terminology -- criminality.
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it depends on that trust for them to come forward and have confidence that their reports will be thoroughly investigated. i wish i could wave a magic wand and change what happened in 2015 and 2016. i cannot. what i can do is show the american people and make sure that our people show the american people that through the way we do our work, the significant changes we have put in place on my watch, adopting all of the inspector general's recommendations, building on double checks, triple checks, quadruple checks in certain instances, firing individuals where we can, that we are worthy of that trust. but, i understand we have to earn that trust. i will say, as i have said to a few of your colleagues, that what i see in this report is not representative of the incredible conscientiousness, compassion,
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and almost ferocious dedication i see from, even within the fbi, the people who work these kinds of cases. my hope is that those people will be able to help me prove to the american people that we are worth the of their trust. sen. cornyn: were some of the agents, the fbi employees, referred for chemical -- potential criminal prosecution to the department of justice? director wray: there were two agents whose conduct was referred area sen. cornyn: had there been prosecution of those agents? director ray: there has not been. -- director wray: there has not been. sen. cornyn: i think people want to see not only the recognition of mistakes that were made and a
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commitment to make sure they are not repeated, but they want to know there is accountability. do you know why the department of justice has declined to prosecute those two agents? director ray --wray: that is a decision by the justice department in response to the investigation done by the inspector general. i don't know the answer. i have done what i can do. that is to have fired the supervisor and special agent who was featured so prominently in the report. i wish there was action i could take with the special agent in charge. he retired before this review. sen. cornyn: you don't have jurisdiction anymore once he retires? director wray: there is nothing disciplinary we can do after somebody has left the bureau. that has been a frustration of mine. that is the reality of the system. sen. cornyn: i am thinking as we
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are sitting here about other inspector general reports that inspector general horowitz has issued on the crossfire hurricane scandal and i think part of the problem is that people see repeated instances where there is misconduct, the -- but then, no real accountability. i understand what you are telling me that once an agent retires there is nothing you can do. but, we are left with a request for the department of justice to come testify, deputy ag monaco has declined to do so. so, the american people, the victims of sexual assault, are left to wonder whether their claims are really being taken seriously, or if there is simply
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a declination by the department of justice to prosecute, and no real willingness to explain the rationale for that. or, why there is not some accountability where accountability cannot be had. that can be had -- can be had. so i am not sure what to do about that. but, you can understand, certainly, the frustration we all feel when there is the sense that justice has not been done. let me be clear, as others have, as you and i have discussed director, i believe the fbi is the gold standard when it comes to law enforcement agencies. it breaks my heart to see an agency that does so much good on a daily basis for so many people
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that its reputation is besmirched by a handful of people who go off the rails. then, the senses left that, well, they were never ultimately held accountable for what has happened. i think it leaves all of us looking for other things we might be able to do. we all experience tragedies. like this, other examples, loss-of-life, the marine whose funeral i attended monday in laredo, texas who was killed in the terrorist attack in kabul. i and others have had an opportunity to meet with and grieve with families who have been, through no fault of their own, a victim of some unjust act
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or incident. the one thing that it boils down to is if we can tell them, and it is actually a credible statement, and they believe that they have not suffered in vain or their loved one has not cost their life in vain, that somewhere, somehow, something good will come out of this in terms of the protection of people in the future, that is maybe a slender read --reed to hold onto, maybe the only hope we can offer out of a tragedy like this. you have any thoughts about that? >> i do senator. -- christopher wray -- director ray --wray: i do, senator. i too believe the fbi is the
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gold standard. we have made mistakes over the past 113 years. but what makes any high-performing organization high-performing is not that it never fails, but that it learns from its failures. what i would say to those women is i am so deeply sorry for what our folks did and more important he did not do in 2015 and 2016. they deserved so much better than what they got. but what i will say, the best thing i can do now, as the director now, to make sure that we use as their courage in coming forward, the pain that was caused, to use it constructively and have something good come out of it. that is all the changes we have made in response. as i said, i and my ears of team are determined to make sure everybody in the -- i and my leadership team are determined to make sure it does not happen
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again. sen. cornyn: inspector general horowitz, my impression of your office is that is it -- it is a high-quality operation. unfortunately, the product of your offices good work that your office -- your office's good work has exposed some ugly things. i am thinking back to crossfire hurricane and the abuses in the context of that investigation. now this one. do you have thoughts you can share with us in the role -- on the role of the inspector general in uncovering this investigation and what that means in terms of the fbi's ability to learn from these mistakes and correct them and prevent their reputation?
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mr. horowitz: i appreciate your strong support for our office. we issued many high-profile reports. many reports never make the front pages, or any pages, but are critical to reforming government, making changes that need to occur. we got jurisdiction over the fbi back in 2001, 2002, when attorney general ashcroft ordered that after the spy scandals that had hit the fbi. i think that, while it puts forth some concerning situations at times, by our young able to go in independently and look at offense and report -- our being able to go in independently and look at events and report on them, we are able to shine light on that, show transparency, and
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allow director wray and his team to see what occur and allow them to make the changes they are making. i can see -- say we are fortunate at the oig to be working with director wray and his leadership team who have, in my experience, always taken our recommendations to heart and move forward. as i said earlier, as much as we rely on that kind of commitment, we are also there to go in independently still afterwards and say, all right, we have heard this is what you did. now, what do we think of that? then, we report to you and them and to the public. this is not the end of our work. not in the least. we are going to back, one -- go back, once they have reported to us what we have done or millie on -- formally on the steps we
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have asked them to do and others. then, we will go back and write up and document what our thinking is and report to them. just to give a sense to the public, and i know you know this, now it has been almost 20 years since our various post patriot act reforms from the early 2000's. we are still doing follow-up on some of those reports. the fbi has made important steps forward. so, we keep following up. we will keep working on this. we will make sure that the structural reforms that we think need to occur will happen. but obviously, director wray and his leadership team are responsible from a management standpoint. sen. cornyn: thank you.
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>> thank you, senator cornyn. you owe me five minutes. i would like to call on senator ossoff to ask his questions remotely. sen. ossoff: thank you, madam chair. thank you inspector general horowitz and director wray. thank you in particular inspector general. can you elaborate on the nature of the discussions between mr. abbott and minster -- mr. penny about positions related to mr. abbott at u.s. gymnastics or the u.s. olympic mitty? >> they began in a discussion they had when they met at a bar in 2015 where mr. penny and mr. abbott discussed a future job opening, head of the security that head of security at the
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u.s. olympic committee. -- head of security at the u.s. olympics committee that mr. penny expected to occur. that initial discussion led to mr. abbott's interest in the position. then, there were ongoing discussions between the two of them in emails we have seen where mr. abbott expresses interest in the job. equally troubling, he acknowledges it would be inappropriate for him and a conflict of interest for him to pursue the position because of the ongoing larry nassar investigation. yet as we found in 2017, that is precisely what he did in applying for the job, which was -- which he was never ultimately interviewed for. sen. ossoff: who initiated the discussion of employment prospects? was that dangled by mr. penny or solicited by mr. abbott? mr. horowitz: first by mr. penny.
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sen. ossoff: an ongoing fbi inquiry into gross misconduct, criminal activity and sexual abuse by at least one usa gymnastics employee, the special agent in charge steering this investigation, the prospect of potentially accretive employment at a parallel organization where mr. penny may have influence. >> that is correct. >> -- at the same time, writing in emails how he is looking for additional information into the nasser investigation. >> is it within your jurisdiction to make referrals to potential prosecution to the department of justice with
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respect to personnel outside the department of justice components? >> it would not be -- except in the case where perhaps they were, for example, in a prison context where they are bringing in contraband. >> did you make any referral to doj specifically with respect to mr. penny and his conduct in this case? it is truly shocking in clear terms, dangling employment prospects to the special agent in charge of the indianapolis field office who has -- is supposed to be leading the investigation of sexual abuse. >> let me explain why we did not. the challenge on mr. abbott,
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with regard to the criminal issue, which is 18 usc 08, the criminal statute is a challenging one. and that is being generous. as it is written, to determine whether there was a criminal violation. the challenge here was, and i am focused on the law here, because mr. abbott was looking for a job at the u.s. olympic committee and mr. penny was employed by the u.s. gymnastics federation association, two different entities, that situation is not clearly covered. no matter how clear it would be to lay person. >> i want to explore that further.
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and the process by which you make the determination of criminal referral to individuals such as mr. penny or mr. abbott, i am certainly willing to have ongoing discussions about whether or or not that statute needs to be modified. in my view, based upon the facts you laid out in your report and you testified to today, this is clearly something that should not just be contrary to fbi code of conduct, but merits serious consideration of criminal prosecution for both parties, to a discussion so obviously inappropriate. if it is not illegal, it should be illegal, i suspect it is illegal and we need to look at what criminal statutes were violated by mr. abbott and mr. penny by having those disgusting discussions.
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it brings me to another point -- >> senator, i understand the director has a hard stop after your five minutes. if you have any particular questions for him, could you put those into the record and you can proceed with your questions of mr. horwitz. thank you very much. >> i would be happy to take your questions and follow-up in writing. thank you for your indulgence. >> thank you. please proceed. >> thank you madam chair, inspector general horwitz, you have made a number of meritorious recommendations for reform. it is our understanding, based upon testimony today, that many or all of them are in the process of implementing. here is my concern.
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almost all of this conduct already violated fbi policies and procedures. so, reform of rules, processes and procedures, clearly warranted and worthy of intense scrutiny and consideration, but for form without accountability is inadequate. these personnel already violated fbi policy. so, my question for you, we heard director ray state several times that he does not believe he has any recourse for disciplinary action with respect to these individuals beyond the date of their termination or retirement. have you or your team looked at what disciplinary and personnel
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prerogatives, processes, regulations need to be changed so that there can be accountability? we've talked a lot about what the doj needs to do and in my view they must enforce the law here given the most -- gross misconduct. within the spectrum of what the fbi can do independent, their inability to impose any accountability past the date of termination or retirement seems like a major weakness in the personnel management system that undermines the ability of someone like director ray to deter and punish misconduct discovered after someone leaves the bureau. >> i agree, i completely understand the frustration. as an organization that frequently faces this challenge of investigating people who immediately retire upon being
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investigated and go take their pensions and go off, we finalize our reports but there is no administrative consequences in the administrative context. there may or may not be criminal consequences, depending on the nature of the violation. i would be pleased to sit with you and your team to talk about those issues as well as the need to go through ethics laws on the criminal side of title 18. there is work to be done there. i could not agree with you more. >> let's have this discussion shortly. i want to thank you for your close collaboration with my team as we build a bipartisan and successful legislation to reform practices at the bureau. madam chair, if you will indulge me for one final question, which is whether a full and deep review of the service and
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disciplinary records for mr. abbott and for his subordinates, similarly implicated in misconduct, was undertaken to ascertain whether someone who demonstrated such terrible judgment? it such a lack of professionalism, may have done other damage, broken other rules or laws earlier in their career. >> what we would do in all of our matters is look to see if we had any prior allegations against individuals. beyond that, we would not normally go back into earlier points in time. frankly, with our staffing and personnel, we just don't have that ability to go beyond what we have in front of us and what we have seen before in terms of allegations. >> the offenses you established in your investigation are so
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severe and such an indictment of mr. abbott's character and judgment, i would submit to you and whoever the relevant person at the doj are there needs to be a full review of service record to determine whether or not there have been others that have been harmed by his ability to conduct himself in the bounds of regulation and law. thank you as always for your diligent work and your testimony. >> thank you, senator. [gavel]
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[indiscernible chatter]
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[indiscernible conversation] two this judiciary committee hearing has wrapped up. you can watch this in its entirety at 8:50 pm on c-span


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