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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  March 20, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

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official and adviser to the trump organization? >> i'm not going to comment on that. >> director, outside of mr mr. sadr's relationship with the trump organization, are you aware the u.s. government knew of him because of a $40 million stock fraud case prosecuted bit u.s. government? >> same answer. >>. >> director, what a u.s. person having multiple trademarks in addition to the other relationships that i just described be a red flag for a counterintelligence investigation, if those trademarks were in russia? >> multiple trademarks? >> yeah, registering trademarks in a foreign adversary's country. >> i don'ten what to make of that. >> were you aware donald trump had six trademarks in ruche? russia? >> i'm not going to comment on that. >> were you aware trump tried to market his trump vodka brand in russia? >> same answer. >> were you aware donald trump
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ran miss universe 2013 out of moscow? >> same answer. >> are you aware donald trump jr. said on a number of occasions that russian money is pouring into the trump organization and there's a disproportionate cross-section of the company's revenue coming from the same organization? >> same answer. >> hypothetically speaking would a foreign adversary and it's oligarchs having a disportionate coming from -- >> i'm trying to be helpful but i'm not going to answer a hypo. >> thank you. are you aware of a 2004 home purchase by president trump in palm beach county for about $40 million? >> not going to comment on that. >> are you afamiliar with a 2008 sale of that same property for 129% increase at about $98 million? >> same answer. >> are you aware the buyer in 2008 was a russian businessman? >> same answer. >> and under the earlier
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hypothetical, would a foreign adversary's oligarch purchasing a home for 129% more than the home was purchased before, would that be a tool a foreign adversary would use to try and recruit, develop or bring somebody onto their side? >> same answer as before. >> you said it's likely or someone should assume they're being surveilled when they're in russia. would you assume donald trump was being surveilled in 2013 when he was in moscow? >> i'm not going to answer. i'm trying to confine my answer to prominent people, not students and people would addition i don't ask them to assume that. >> would it be safe to say if donald trump was doing something he shouldn't have been doing while in russia, the russians probably saw it? >> same answer as before. >> would it be safe to assume if a prominent person was doing something they shouldn't have been doing while they're in russia, the russians probably
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saw it? >> yeah, i'll stick to what i said before about prominent people should assume. >>. >> mr. director, was donald trump under investigation during the campaign? >> same answer as before. i'm not going to answer that. >> is he under investigation now? >> i'm not going to answer that. >> please don't overinterpret as what i've said as chair and ranking know. we have briefed them in great detail on the subjects of the investigation and what we're doing but i'm not going to answer about anybody in this forum. >> director, from our perspective on the committee, the dots continue to connect president trump, his team, people in his orbit, to russia. and the questions that we have, it's quite simple. are these merely 100 different coincidences or a convergence where you're seeing deep personal and political and financial ties meeting russia's interference in our campaign. i'm wondering with your
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extensive counterintelligence, could it influence the election in which donald trump was candidate, do you consider these number of connections between well-connected russians and donald trump, the trump organization, the trump family, and the trump campaign to be a coincidence or a convergence? >> i'm not going to answer, mr. swallow. >> from your perspective, have you ever seen in the history of american politics or since you've been alive any political candidate have this many connections, personal, political and financial, to a foreign adversary? >> same answer. >>. >> mr. director and admiral rogers, this past election our country was attacked. we were attacked by russia. it was electronic, almost invisible. thanks to the hard work in our intelligence community we know the attack came from russia. it was ordered by putin vp. he sought to help donald trump and take down hillary clinton. the most disturbing finding for me and fellow committee members
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is russia intends to do this again. i see this as an opportunity for everyone on this committee, republicans and democrats, to not look in the rearview window but to look forward and do everything we can to make sure our country never again allows a foreign adversary to attack us. i think you and admiral rogers would agree it's not only russia sharpening the nifz to go back at us or our allies, it's also other countries who have similar capabilities. i think the best thing we can do now is unite around this investigation, have also a parallel independent commission to make sure we get to the bottom of what happened, why we were so vulnerable and ensure the american people we'll never let this happen again. i yield back. >> dr. wenstrup. >> thank you, mr. chairman. fy can, gentleman, go back to what we were talking about a little before with interference from the russians possibly through our media. have russians or soviets
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historically attempted to spread this information through the u.s. media? you mentioned they've been there over decades trying to interfere. they use media as a resource? >> we see them use media writ large as a resource to disseminate information, false information. >> and is that been pretty much regardless of who's in the white house? >> it doesn't seem to tie to a particular political party, that tactic, if you will. >> thank you. mr. comey, have you ever formed -- this is going back to the article from february 14th in "the new york times." have you ever formed and articulated an opinion about the article from february 14 tth in "the new york times"? >> have i ever formed -- >> formed an opinion or articulated an opinion on that article? >> yeah, i don't want to say, dr. wenstrup. >> thank you. when i look at your jobs, and thank you for being there and doing your jobs, and i mean that sincerely. your job, you observe and you investigate and you assess and
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you try to predict and you sometimes have to act, would that be correct? >> sure. >> my question is, as far as predictions and actions, had hillary clinton won the 2016 election for the united states presidency, which most had predicted, i would conject even the russians predicted she would win, what were the russians planning for november 9th and beyond that had she won? you mention -- i reason i ask is you said, they'll be back. my question is, have they left? i contend they haven't left. this isn't something they're turning on and off. this is a constant. any idea what may have happened november 9th and beyond that had she won? the pattern has been to interrupt us regardless of who was in the white house. >> yeah, they want to mess with us in a continuing and general way. its hard to answer the
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counterfactual. i assume they would have continued their efforts to undermine president-elect clinton as they had begun during the summer, especially with european allies to create a divide there, and lots of other things. what i meant by they'll be back. they aren't going away, i meant that in the sense of, their next opportunity to mess with our election is two years from now and in four years from now. that's what i meant by back. >> thank you. i think your job is difficult because there's a lot of conjecture with any relationship with russians in general and questions from me and others about can i meet with the russian ambassador, does that get me investigated, business ties here and there. you know, i mean, currently we share a space station with the russians. we buy engines from the russians for our rockets. and in the '90s we had joint military exercises with the russians. it gets a little bit tough for you guys to decide what and when
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do we investigate. and i appreciate you taking the time with us today. i yield back. >> mr. stewart. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and to the witnesses, thank you both. i'm impressed. i was a b-1 pilot. when i took off, first thought was, how long does it get to be before i get to go to the bathroom? you went almost four hours. our plan was to keep you here until you're in such pain and you would answer all of our questions. i have a list of questions but i want to divert and follow up on some things that have been said here today. mr. comey, you confirmed there is an investigation into the trump campaign officials. the fact there's an open investigation does not indicate guilt, though, does it? >> certainly not. >> in fact, many times an investigation you may find there is no wrongdoing. >> that's one of the reasons we don't talk about it, so we don't smear people who don't end up charged with anything. >> i appreciate that.
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and i would say that is especially likely to have -- when i say especially likely, i'm talking about have the finding no wrongdoing when there's a political motive. if there's one thing we've seen here today, i think, from some line of questioning there's certainly a political motive in some questions that have been asked to you. mr. clapper, the former dni, we all know who he is, i want to read what he said a few weeks ago. mr. clapper then went on to say to his knowledge there was no evidence of collusion between members of the trump campaign and the russians. we did not conclude any evidence in our report. when i say our report, that is the nsa, fbi and cia with my office. the director of national intelligence had any reflection of collusion between members of the trump campaign and russians. there was no evidence of that in our report. was mr. clapper wrong when he said that? >> i think he's right characterizing the report, which
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you all have read. >> i agree with mr. clapper. at this point everyone on this dias should agree with mr. clapper. we as the committee have seen no evidence, zero, to indicate there was co-collusion or criminal wrongdoing between the previous administration or campaign and russian officials. i want to comment quickly on the leaks. you said very clearly it's a crime, both of you have said that. you indicated it endangers national security, which i certainly agree with, that it makes us hard to authorize tools to protect our national security. and many times it's inaccurate. and i would ask you then if someone in the intelligence community has some concerns, if they feel like there's been an overreach or the government is doing something they shouldn't be doing, any government official, is there a process they can go to where they could make that known or express their concerns? >> yes. all of us, the intelligence community have robust
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whistle-blower provisions that we educate our folks on and part of the whistle-blower track is they can bring information to the appropriate committee or congress. >> that's exactly right. are both of your agencies capable of handling accusations such as that that may be brought to your attention? >> yes. >> yes. >> knowing that, i find it hard to justify any classified information that is leaked, and i hope you find those guys and i hope you crack them on the head because as a former air force guy, former military guy, who is committed to defending our national security, i think those guys are arrogant and inc. they'i think they're cowards because they won't stand up and make their case. they won't use the legal process. they hide behind some "new york times" reporter and without showing who they are or actually showing the information they have, and they make these accusations and leak this information, and i say, i hope you find out who they are and hold them accountable, and we
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should. i know you both agree with me on that. >> yes. >> i'd like to shift quickly, if i could, to the integrity of the report, previous dni, when he determined along with your acquiesce sense, i might add, both of you, that russia got a clear preference from mr. trump. this is a huge deal. think about the story, the american people have been told and some believe that our president was elected maybe because of the influence of a foreign government. and i love you guys, you know that. i defend you. we respect what you do. but i do need to make this point is the intelligence community is not perfect, is it? >> not perfect? >> yes. >> certainly not. >> certainly not. >> i can speak for me. he might be perfect. >> mr. rogers, i'll allow you to answer the same question. >> i am not. same as the director. >> as has been indicated here, and, look, again, that's not a criticism. that's just the human endeavor. we sometimes make mistakes, as
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do agencies sometimes make mistakes. all of us can think of examples of that, including meaningful mistakes, by the way. mistakes that had clear implications for our policy. it's been indicated here as well, there's a difference in level of confidence. now, mr. comey, you have a higher degree of confidence in this report than you do, don't you, mr. rogers? >> to be specific, a different level on one specific judgment, but i concur overall in that judgment. >> but that one judgment, that one is a very important part of this report. if i could make just this last point. this is an important point, i think. that is the difficulty of determining motive. i mean, we can go back, we can look at facts, we can look at what happened, we can often determine who did it, who they did it with, when they did it. but to determine motive, you've got to crawl inside someone's head. that's much, much more difficult. in fact, quoting from the preamble in this report, talking about leaders' intentions.
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it says this objective is difficult to achieve when seeking to understand complex issues in which foreign actors go to extraordinary lengths to hide asand objectify skate thei activities. do you think determining motive is one of the most difficult? >> i do. i should emphasize something admiral rogers said earlier. we made no judgment on whether russians were successful in having an impact on the election. that's not in the report. we didn't opine on it. >> i understand that. we're looking at russian activities and making a conclusion as to why they did that. in this case, they preferred one candidate over the other. i was in moscow last august. i came home and i did some media interviews and talked to some folks. i said, they're going to mess with our elections. that wasn't based on any intelligence or specific
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information. it's just based on history. we knew they would. i was always asked, well, who do they want to win? i said then, i don't think they care. i don't think they -- a, i don't think they could determine who would win. as we've said a number of times, though just want to break down the foundation. they just want to break the trust in our institutions. they to want take away that faith we have in our electoral process. by the way, the intelligence community agreed with us, with me on that analysis, for a long, long time, up until december. then suddenly they didn't. and that was when the president asked for this report and he asked for it to be concluded very quickly. and then the analysis changed entirely. and it went from, no, no, no, they don't really care to, no, no, they want mr. trump to win. and i think there's another plausible explanation, which is what i want to talk about in the few minutes i have remaining. l let me start by asking you, do you think the russians expected secretary clinton to win the election? >> yes, as of august, certainly.
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august, september. >> mr. rogers? >> yes. >> okay. mr. comey, you indicated as of august/september. do you believe they ever came to a conclusion that, you know what, mr. trump's going to win? >> no. the assessment of the intelligence community was that early on they thought he might have a shot. and so they wanted to mess with our election, hurt our country in general. that's always the baseline. they hated her, secretary clinton, wanted to harm her and thought they might have a chance to help mr. trump. and then later concluded that mr. trump -- it was hopeless and then they would focus on trying to undermine secretary clinton, especially with european allies. >> agreed. >> up until summer and through the fall, they believed that secretary clinton would win, is that true? >> i think the assessment was late in the summer they concluded, based on the polls inc. a lot of people were reading, that mr. trump didn't have a chance and they shifted to just focusing on just trying to undermine her.
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>> i tell you, if you were to tell me, and i know you didn't, i'm just saying if anyone were to tell me they concluded mr. trump was going to wirnn, i just say they're nuts because no one in the world thought that. every media organization, every political organization, every government organization i'm familiar with last fall thought secretary clinton would be the next president of the united states. >> i think the russians agreed. >> this is the point, a fine line but such an important point. and that is, how can you know for certain if the russians were motivated by hurting the person they thought, in fact, fully expected, was going to be the next perfect united states and comparing that with this kind of hail mary pass, maybe this guy's got a shot, let's help him get elected, because those motives -- that's coming back to my original point. determining motives is very difficult. you either have to have very direct information or you have to be able to get inside someone's head and figure out
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what it is that's driving them. knowing the russians expected secretary clinton to win, would you see that some of those things they've done would be consistent with undermining her presidency not necessarily because they thought mr. trump was going to win and they wanted to help him? >> again, i think it's two close related sides of the same coin. to put it in a homely metaphor, i hate the new england patriots. and no matter who they play, i'd like them to lose. so i'm at the same time rooting against the patriots and hoping their opponent beats them because it's only two teams on the field. but what the intelligence community concluded was early on the hatred for mrs. clinton was all the way along. when mr. trump became the nominee, there was some sense it would be great if he could win, would be great if we can help him but we need to hiurt her no matter what. then it switched to he's not going to win, let's hurt her. >> i would acknowledge the
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challenge at times about trying to understand intent. but the level of -- we're not going into specifics in an open, unclassified forum, but the multiple sourcing, the multiple sources we have that were able to independently corroborate the judgment. there's a reason we were high confidence in everything except one issue, to include the intent. >> i understand. i spent some time out at the cia last week. i went -- was with the staff as best we could through the 2,000 some odd pages. by the way, not many people did. some people are casting, you know, aasperions and not having done that. having done that, a reasonable could say what i say today, there is another element to this, as you say, mr. comey, another side of the coin. this is a very, very difficult, if my opinion, thing to say with high levels of confidence, which is why once again, the intelligence community isn't
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perfect sometimes. we do make mistakes. mr. chairman, i yield back. i'd like to come back for a few minutes if i could. >>. >> gentlemen yields back. >> just a couple of follow-up questions. director, you were asked about director clapper's comments and i think your response indicated that they were correct as far as the unclassified intelligence assessment goes. >> i understood the question to be about the report itself. >> i want to make it clear to people, though, the intelligence assessment, unclassified intelligence assessment, doesn't discuss the issue of u.s. person coordination with the russians. and i assume that's because at the time of the report in january of this year, that was under an investigation that you have now disclosed, is that correct? >> correct. the counterintelligence investigation is the fbi's business. the ic report was about what the intelligence community had about what russia had done. there's nothing in the report about coordination or anything
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like that. it's a separate responsibility of the fbi to try and understand that, investigate it and assess it. >> we shouldn't read mr. clapper's comments as suggesting that he takes a different view of whether you had sufficient -- sif >> i don't know exactly what he meant. all i can say is the fact which we laid out. there's the report and then our investigation. >> and the report doesn't cover the investigation? >> correct. >> mr. himes. >> thank you, mr. schiff. gentlemen, in my original questions to you, i asked you whether the intelligence community had undertaken any study to determine whether russian interference had had any influence on the electoral process. i think you told me the answer was no. >> correct. >> you said the u.s. intelligence community does not do analysis or reporting on u.s. political process or u.s. public
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opinion. >> thanks to the modern technology in front of me right here, i have a tweet from the president an hour ago saying the nsa and fbi tell congress that russia did not influence the electoral process. that's not quite accurate, that tweet? >> i'm sorry. i haven't been following anybody on twitter while i've been sitting here. >> it says the nsa and fbi tell congress that russia does not influence the electoral process. this tweet has gone out to millions of americans, 16.1 million, to be exact. is the defeat, as i read it to you, the nsa and fbi tell congress that russia did not influence the electoral process, is that accurate? >> well, it's hard for me to react to that. let me understand the state -- of what we've said is. weave offered no opinion, have no view, have no information on potential impact because it's never something we looked at. >> okay. >> it's not too far of a logical
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leap to conclude the assertion you have told the congress that there was no influence on the electoral process is not quite right? >> right. it wasn't -- it certainly wasn't our intention to say that today because we don't have any information on that subject. that's not something that was looked at. >> right. admiral rogers, before i yield back to the ranking member, there's another tweet that says, nsa director rogers tells congress unmasking individuals endangers national security. my understanding is there was a lengthy and very specific process for unmasking but it does not inherently in and of itself addition. >> i assume the comment is designed to address the leaking of such information but, again, i have not read what you're saying to me, so i'm not in a position to comment on it, sir. >> thank you. i'll yield back to ranking member. >> mr. castro. >> thank you. thank you, gentlemen, for your service to the nation and for your testimony today. i want to turn to the christopher steele dossier which
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was mentioned in the media and published in full by media outlets in january. my focus is to determine how many claims in steele's dossier are looking more and more likely as though they're accurate. first, let me ask you, ask you describe who christopher steele is? >> no, i'm not going to comment on that. >> are you investigating the claims made in the dossier? >> i'm not going to comment on that, mr. castro. >> okay. christopher steele is a former british intelligence officer with a career built on following ruche sha is important. this is not someone who does not know how to run a source and not someone without contacts. the allegations it raises about president trump's campaign aides' connections to russians when overlaid with known established facts and timelines from the 2016 campaign are very revealing. so, let's begin. if general, as my colleagues have discussed before, is it true a large number of oligarchs
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have continued with their close cooperation with the kremlin? >> can you say that one more time? >> have wealthy folks in russia profited from their connection to the kremlin? >> yes. >> and there are no free lunches in russia, if you get wealthy under putin it's because you support putin. >> i assume it varies by the particular individual and relationship we're talking about. >> okay. but putin never just trusts, he verifies, right? as a former kgb man he wants to keep tab on his wealthiest citizens, especially those that could ever pose a challenge to him, is that right? >> i assume he maintains knowledge of the situation around him who particular centers of influence within russia. >> thank you.
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is it likely the kremlin would accept or actively trade favors or other valuable or sensitive information, intelligence, from foreign figures about russian oligarches or wealthy businessmen living abroad? >> yes, but it depends on the particular situation. i don'ten if i would make a flat statement. >> it's certainly a possibility? >> it's a possibility. >> the dossier definitely seems right on these points. a quid pro quo relationship seems to exist between trump campaign and russia. a july 19 empty asserts russia was receiving intel from trump's team on oligarch. an entry states, trump and inner circle have accept the regular flow of intelligence from the kremlin. including on his democratic and other political rifvals, unquot. which is something for something. a july 30th entry likewise states, quote, a source close to trump campaign confirms regular exchange with the kremlin has
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existed for at least eight years, including intelligence fed back to russia on oligarch activities in the united states. is it true russia actively supports through undeclared intelligence officers or oligarch sympathetic from abroad. >> i think it's generally true. >> generally is a tactic. it's a tactic we have seen over time. again, i would caution us. we're talking about very specific cases theoretically here and i'm not prepared to get into specifics. >> and i know my colleagues have touched upon this but i think it's important in light of christopher steele's dossier to bring it up again. is it likely or plausible that the russians might seek out americans from moscow's
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purposes? >> it is one of the focuses of our counterintelligence mission to try to understand the ways in which they try to do that. that's at the core of their intelligence gathering, try to co-op, recruit americans to give them information. >> so, the dossier states entry dated august 10, 2016, that a, quote, kremlin official involved in u.s. relations, unquote, suggested moscow might offer assistance to, quote, sympathetic u.s. actors. does this sound like a plausible tactic out of the russian playbook? >> i'm not going to comment on that, mr. castro. >> okay. now, let's get even more specific. among the u.s. actors, this kremlin official mentions carter page and michael flynn. who my colleagues have already discussed at length in which the dossier describes as, quote, examples of successes by the kremlin official. we know carter page went to moscow on july 7th to give a speech to the new economic school. we're in possession of the slide deck from his speech there. and we know carter page obtained
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approval from the trump campaign manager at the time, corey lewandowski, as reported in politico, citing national security campaign official j.d. gordon. now, let me ask you another question with respect to somebody else. is it correct that igor, president of rosneft is a long-time aide and confidante to vladimir putin? >> not going to answer that, mr. castro. >> in an october 18, 2016 entry the dossier states that during page's visit to moscow he met with offering, quote, page and trump's associate the brokerage of up to 19% stake in rosneft if trump were elected president, sanctions on russia would be lifted. fortunately, the white house hasn't been so naive to unilaterally lift sanctions on russia, it was widely reported on january 27th of this year,
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they sold 19.5% stake in what reuters calls biggest privatizations since the 1990s. furthermore, reuters reported, public records show ownership structure of the stake ultimately includes a cayman isla island's company whose ownership can't be traced. what a coincidence. is this the subject of your investigation, one of the subjects of your investigation? >> same answer. evening i'm not going to answer. >> let's turn to wikileaks. as has been established before and re-established at this hearing, wikileaks was at an minimum pawn and active co-c co-conspirator in stealing democratic officials' e-mails. you agree this was done to offer moscow some measure of
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separation as to mask its hand in having hacked and stolen the data in the first place but so it could still have it publicly posted to inflict damage on the clinton campaign? >> yeah, i think that's fair. >> yes. >> okay. an entry from july 19, 2016 in the dossier states a trump associate knew the kremlin was using wikileaks in order to maintain, quote, plausible of its involvement. three days after this entry, wikileaks carries out the kremlin's wishes and publishes upwards of 20,000 stolen dnc e-mails and 8,000 associated e-mail attachments and the rest, as they say, is history. another entry dated august 17th has carter page and a russian associate discussing wikileaks, publishing e-mails in order to swing sanders' supporters away from clinton and to trump. again, from a september 14th entry of the dossier, quote,
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kremlin has further compromising material on clinton in form of e-mails and considers disseminating after parliamentary elections in late september. october 7th, wikileaks publishes john podesta's hacked e-mails. the coincidences keep piling up. let's turn in a few minutes i have remaining again to paul manafort. suffice to say paul manafort was a major part. trump campaign, including serving as chairman, convention manager and chief strategist before departing the campaign in disgrace in august 2016. it's also established the fact that paul manafort was a long-time official adviser to ukrainian leadership. is paul manafort a subject in your investigation? >> i'm not going to comment on that. >> all right. director, can you describe to the american people the russian
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concept of compronaud. >> it's a technique they use to gather information on people that may be embarrassing or humiliating and using it to coerce cooperation. >> in your career have you known instances where that's been successfully leveraged? >> yes, i believe our counterintelligence division has encountered it a number of times. >> does that include private places including places such as hotels that are wired for audio and video? >> i don't know enough about the particulars to say, but in theory, sure. >> thank you. i yield back. i yield back to ranking member schiff. >> i recognize mr. >> general rogers, before i get into the main body of my remarks, i want to go back to my earlier comment that there is no evidence to indicate there was a
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successful russian hacking of voter results or tabulations. what i did not hear you say is whether or not there had been any attempts to hack into election systems of any kind. >> i can answer that because the fbi's responsibilities are in the united states. we saw no indication of that. we saw efforts to penetration voter registration databases, state boards, we saw no efforts aimed at the vote itself. >> but you did see efforts to penetrate registration rolls? >> correct. >> did you see efforts to penetrate any other portions of election systems other than registrations? in this country it's a highly decentralized system. homeland security jeh johnson said they should become part of our infrastructure for cyber
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security. >> their efforts were aimed at voter registration systems in various states and it takes different forms in various states. sometimes as a private vendor, sometimes it's state. that's where it was focused and not on the vote itself, vote machine, vote tabulations, vote transmission, that we've seen. >> thank you. i yield back to ranking member. >> time's expired. let me go quickly to mr. turner. >> thank you, mr. chairman. there have been a lot of statements that have been made up here as opposed to questions. we don't certainly feel the need to clarify all of them, but there is one aspect that does need to be clarified. because its also involved both of your testimonies. there has been discussion up here concerning the statements by james clapper. rather than do the conjecture, as it's been made, i'm just going to receipted it. chuck todd said, let me ask you this, does intelligence exist that can definitively answer the following question whether there were improper contacts between
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the trump campaign and russian officials. james clapper said, we do not include any evidence in our report. i say our, that's nsa, fbi, and cia, with my office and the director of national intelligence, that had anything, that had any reflection of collusion between members of the trump campaign and the russians. there was no evidence of that included in our report. chuck todd followed up, i understand that. but does it exist? >> james clapper answered, not to my knowledge. so the text is not merely related to the report. i yield back. >> mr. crawford is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for being here today. i'll start with director comey. despite your express disdain for the new england patriots, i think that tom brady would like to express his gratitude for the fbi's assistance in recovering his stolen super bowl jersey so
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i'll do that on his behalf now. >> thank you. if i'm honest with myself, the reason i don't like the patriots is they represent sustained excellence. as a giants fan, that drives me crazy. >> director comey, are you familiar with an article, july 18, 2016, from the washington post entitled trump campaign guts gop's russia's campaign. >> i don't remember it. >> i'll ask to add this to the record. for your edification, director, there's an allegation contained in that article that trump staffers wrote an amendment to an amendment that stripped out platforms called for providing, quote, lethal defensive weapons and replace it with softer language, calling for, quote, appropriate assistance. are you familiar with a march 18th, 2017, story in the washington examiner entitled how
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pundits got key parts of the trump russia story all wrong. >> i don't know that. >> i ask for consent to add that to the record. for your edification i'll go to some of the meat of that story. are you aware of an allegation that trump staffers gutted the ukraine platform? >> am i aware of the article? >> anything of that nature, the article or any activity to that end? >> i don't want to talk about anything addition i'm willing to comment on whether i've seen different things in the media. i don't want to talk about anything beyond that. >> okay. safe to say, you're not aware of the final platform that retained all of the language from the original platform, plus a portion of the amendment offered by the committee member? >> i don't want to comment. >> then i'll go through addition i know you're limited on what you can comment on. i'll go through some of the -- as i said, the meat of this. reading from the platform it says, quote, we'll meet the return of russisian ba lidge
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republicans. and we'll use all appropriate measures to bring to justice practitioners of aggression and as is nation, end quote. does that sound to you as -- like a pro-russian or a pro-putin statement n your assessment? >> that's not for me to comment on. >> further, platform it says, quote, we support maintaining and if warranted increasing sanctions against russia unless and -- nato defense planning. again, that sounds like fairly clear language in their relationship to russia. would you agree? >> same answer, mr. crawford. >> thank you. the final language, i'll get to it here in just a second. there was an amendment, but the
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final language regarding that plank of the platform with regard to national security relating to russia, it says, quote, we support maintaining and if warranted increasing sanctions together with our allies against russia unless and until ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity are fully row restored. we will provide armed assistance to ukraine and greater coordination with nato defense planning. to me that sounds clear and straightforward, that is not conducive to a putin administration. >> i give you the same answer, mr. crawford. >> thank you, sir. it's also important to note that that platform was adopted in coordination with and in concert with the trump administration as they met at the convention and they went through the platform process. the trump campaign agreed to the platform condemning kremlin bee lidge republicans calling for
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increased sanctions against russia as i indicated in the text of that platform for the full restoration of ukraine territory for refusing to accept any territory change in russia, ukraine or elsewhere, and pledging to arm ukraine forces. i bring that up just to highlight and note the fact that none of that appears to be pro-putin or pro-russian language. >> mr. crawford, will you yield back to me? >> so, mr. comey, i just want to make sure. i know you're not going to comment on this, but i hope you'll take this back to your investigators because there seems to be the line out there that somehow the republican party watered down its platform. that's not true. that didn't happen. in fact, what happened is, is that the platform was actually increased, increased its certainty against what the russians were up to and it actually amended the platform to make it stronger than what it initially was.
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so, you know, i know there's a lot of circumstance -- circumstantial evidence out there about all these supposed people that knew the russians, but the reality is, and remains the case, republican party had a very strong platform that was against the russians and it was increased in its strength, not decreased, like has been reported. i know you won't comment, but i hope at least you'll provide that to your investigative team so we can at least get this off the table. will you take this back? >> sure. >> sorry, mr. crawford, we'll go back. >> not at all. thank you, mr. comey, i appreciate that. admiral rogers, would you like to make a comment about the new england patriots before i move forward? >> i'm a chicago bears guy, born and bred. >> admiral, you mentioned this before but i want to go through this lis. are employees of the intelligence community agencies
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required to disclose business with foreign nationals? >> yes, broadly, although not all foreign national interactions are the same. interactions with british are in a very different place than other countries, for example. >> appreciate that clarification. to your knowledge are elected officials required to disclose contact with foreign nationals? >> i don't know what the specifics are across the federal government because, clearly, in many jobs, that's part interaction with foreign counterparts as part of your job. i interact with foreign counterparts as does director comey regularly in the course of our duties. >> on federal campaign employees required to disclose contacts with foreign nationals, to your knowledge? >> i don't know. >> are private citizens in any way required to disclose or report contact with foreign nationals that -- >> i don't know. >> is it customary for transition teams for a presidential campaign for transition team members to meet with foreign nationals, to your knowledge?
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is that customary? >> it's an area i just don't have any knowledge in. >> is that unusual? >> i don't have any knowledge. >> has it happened before? >> i've never been part of a transition team. i don't know. >> are transition team members required by law to disclose contacts with foreign nationals? >> i apologize, i don't know the law there. >> thank you. i yield back to the chairman. >> thank you, mr. crawford. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, director comey and admiral rogers for your testimony today. my first set of questions are directed at director comey. broadly, when the fbi has any open counterintelligence investigation, what are the typical protocols or procedures for notifying the dni, white house and senior congressional leadership? >> there is a practice of a quarterly briefing on sensitive cases to the chair and ranking
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of the house and senate intelligence committees. the reason i hesitate is, thanks to feedback we've gotten, we're trying to make it better. that involves a briefing of the department of justice, i belief the dni and the addition some portion of the national security council at the white house. >> so, if that's quarterly -- >> to brief them before congress is briefed. >> it's quarterly for all three, then, senior congressional leadership, the white house and the dni? >> i think that's right. now, that's by practice, not by rule or by written policy. thanks to the chair and ranking member, we're trying to tweak it in certain ways. >> since in your opening statement you confirmed there is a counterintelligence investigation currently open. you also referenced that it started in july. when did you notify the dni, the white house or senior congressional leadership? >> that's a good question. congressional leadership, some time recently they were briefed on the nature of the
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investigation in some details. the department of justice has been aware of it all along. the dni, i don't know what the dni's knowledge of it was because we didn't have a dni until mr. coates took office and i briefed him his first morning in office. >> just to drill down on this, if the open investigation began in july and the briefing of congressional leadership only occurred recently, why was there no notification prior to the recent addition t-- the past mo? >> our investigation was it was of such sensitivity we wouldn't include it in the quarterly statements. >> when you say our decision, is that usually your decision what gets briefed in the quarterly updates? >> no, it's usually the decision of the head of our counterintelligence division. >> again, to get the detailed on the record, why was the decision made not to brief senior congressional leadership until recently when the investigation
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had been open since july, a very serious investigation? why was that decision made to wait months? >> because i think of the sense ti sensitivity of the matter. >> stepping back more broadly, in the case of russia, we know cyber hacking is just one tactic that's typically part of a broader influence or information warfare campaign. we know the russian government is ready and willing to employ hacking as but one of many tools in their tool kit to obtain information for use against the united states. is there any evidence that russia tried to hack other entities associated with the 2016 presidential campaign in addition to the dnc or clinton campaign operatives? >> yes, many others. >> can you specify those others? did that include the rnc? did that include any of the other campaigns of candidates in the primaries, either democrats or republicans? >> i think what we can say in an
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unclassified setting is what we have in the report, that there were efforts to penetrate organizations associated with the republican party and that -- i think what we said in the report, and there were not releases of material taken -- hacked from any republican associated organizations. >> the hacking, the use of cyber tools as part of their broader, whether you call it hybrid warfare or information warfare campaigns, it was done to both parties? >> correct. >> thank you. taking a further step back of what's been in the news recently, and i'm referring to the yahoo! hack, the yahoo! data breach. last week the department of justice announced it was charging hackers with ties to the fsb in the 2014 yahoo! data breach. was this hack done, to your knowledge, for intelligence purposes? >> i can't say in this forum. >> press reporting indicates that yahoo! hacked targeted journal iss, dissidents and government officials. do you know what the fsb did
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with the information they obtained? >> same answer. >> okay, i understand that. how did the administration determine who to sanction as part of the election hacking? how familiar with that decision process and how was the determination made? >> i don't know. i'm not familiar with the decision process. the fbi is factual input, but i don't recall -- i don't have any personal knowledge of how decisions were made of who to sanction. >> looking forward, what -- and this is for both of you. what is the nsa and fbi doing to keep americans safe, to keep campaign entities, to keep any entity associated with a major campaign safe from aggressive russia cyber measures that were utilized in this past election? >> so, we continue to maximize the insights generating about activity. this started with nsa initially gaining access in the summer of
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'15. we became aware of that activity, shared it with our fbi teammates. that continues. we tried to make sure the insights we generate are shared with our law enforcement teammates who interact with the private sector. we're trying to work broadly across the u.s. government to increase cyber security. as you heard discussed ongoing discussions about what's the role of the voting infrastructure in the united states in terms of critical infrastructure. we need to bring that within the critical infrastructure framework. know that topic has been ongoing for some period of time. >> director comey? >> i think that's right. just making sure that we are sharing information when we get it, more importantly, that we're showing people what we've learned from this cycle so they can tighten up. >> thank you. it seems to me in my first line of questioning the more serious a counterintelligence investigation is, that would seem to trigger the need to update not just the white house,
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the dni, but also senior congressional leadership. you stated it was due to the severity. i think moving forward it seems the most severe and serious investigations should be notified to senior congressional leadership. with that, thanks for the leniency, chairman. >> that's good feedback. the challenge is sometimes we want to keep it tight within the executive branch. if we're going to brief congressional leaders, the practice is we brief inside the executive branch and we have to figure out how to navigate that in a good way. >> we may have to update the law on that. gentle lady yields back. mr. schiff is recognized for 15 minutes. then i think we'll come back to our side for 15 and that will be it. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just a couple questions before i hand it back to mr. heck. dot russians favor united states' lethal weapons to ukraine. admiral? >> no.
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>> they would strongly oppose such an idea, would they not? >> they have been opposed to it to date. >> the idea of providing lethal defensive weapons to ukraine has bipartisan support here on the hill, including senator mccain, certainly myself, i would imagine many members of this committee. there was an effort at the convention to strengthen the platform by including a provision that would provide lethal defensive weapons to ukraine. that was defeated. paul manafort denied the campaign was involved in defeating that amendment. the delegate who offered the amendment later disclosed to the press that it was dropped at the insistence of the campaign. j.d. gordon, national security adviser for the trump campaign, was forced later to admit that, in fact, he had weighed in against the amendment that would have provided the u.s. should give lethal defensive weapons to
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ukraine. i would join my chairman in asking you to look into this. particularly since we know that ambassador kislyak attended the convention and if there was any communication between russia and campaign, if that had any coordination resulting in the defeat of an amendment that was against russian interests, the committee would certainly like to know and we welcome that inquiry. mr. heck. >> thank you, ranking member. there are a lot of emotions kicking around in this room today. i perceive anger and outrage and subdued somberness. the one i feel over whelmingly is sadness. we've heard nothing but terribly disturbing evidence of what has happened to our country at the hands of arguably our greatest adversary. what's worse, the evidence we've heard so far all seems, all seems, to lead to the conclusion that they had help from the
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inside. that this was, in part, an inside job. from u.s. persons, willing american accomplices or terribly naive ones or probably both who helped the russians attack our country and our democracy. we're both still at the early stages of our investigation. we're not indicting anyone. we're merely laying out some evidence and facts, dirty though they be, sleazy, though they be. no matter what, we can safely conclude at this point that never in the modern era has a president and his administration had so many foreign entanglements. entanglements that continue to push american foreign policy away from its core roots, beliefs, intrs and alliances toward unprecedented positions that only putin himself could approve of. how else can we explain the modification to the republican
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party platform in such a decidedly pro-russian way. republicans who are always so strong against geopolitical foes like russia. i know my colleagues on this committee take the russia threat very seriously. why wouldn't the people who inhabit the white house? how else can we explain an administration that beats up our oldest allies like australia and britain, and our strongest and most sacrosanct alliance like nato, but never, ever say a bad word about putin. in fact, they say a lot of good words about putin. an administration that, we have heard decisively, makes up baseless wiretapping charges against a former united states president. equates our intelligence agencies to nazi germany and argues moral equivalence between a repressive authoritarian human rights record like russia and our open and free democracy.
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yet this administration never, ever utters any criticism of russia. let's be clear, though, this is not about party. it's not about relitigating the election. it's not as if anything we do here will put a president from a different political party in the oval office. so, i hope that it's clear that it's about something much more important. and, no, it's not about political motivation to my friend who said and suggested that earlier. this is about patriotism. about something way more important than party. this is about country. and the very heart of what this country is built on, which is open, free, fair, trusted elections. we don't take our investigation lightly. and i know you don't. indeed, you go through a process to even decide to do that, whether to expend the resources, to begin with credible allegations and reason to
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believe that there is something that warrants is. and i, no doubt, belief you have talked to lawyers in and out of the prosecution divisions about whether or not this warrants an investigation. i know you don't take this lightly. but what we have seen is damning evidence today of what russia did. weave also seen damning evidence of how they did it. russia has a history of using active measures, many of which we heard about today. let's key cap them. hacking and dumping information to damage or embarrass their enemies. we heard about this, of course, with respect to wikileaks. using third-parties and cutouts, business people, oligargh and private people to cultivate relationships. we discussed ambassador kislyak, rosneft ceo igor sushchin.
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whoa heard about russia's use of gas promi gaspron, rosneft and a confusing web of offshore shell companies it would seem to hide or launder money. weave also heard how russia released disinformation to spread rumors and confuse the public and so distrust in the ability to even know truth objectively, using propaganda media outlets, whether directly owned by russia or not, to release such disinformation in order to claim plausible deniability of russia's hands. here again, we see wikileaks and gusfor 2 president 0 and propaganda outlets like rt, and, of course, the use of u.s. persons of influence. whether through active collusion or coordination or naive
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acquiescen acquiescence. we don't know the full extent of russia's attempts to undermine our elections and ultimately weaken our democracy. on that last point, we've heard about quite a few individuals from the trump orbit who fell somewhere on that spectrum from mere naivety, fearful enough, to unwitting russian dupes, to willing blindness to active coordination. this rogue gallery includes those already fired, roger stone, adviser to donald trump, paul manafort, adviser to donald trump, michael flynn, national security adviser to donald trump, carter page, adviser to donald trump. but the cloud of deep suspicion in russian entanglements extends to those still in power. rex tillerson, secretary of state to donald trump. michael ka put