tv The Beat With Ari Melber MSNBC July 12, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
of questioning peter strzok. i want to bring in allri melber. you have a special guest from today's big hearing. seamless transition. the baton is yours. >> we will continue coverage of what's been a dramatic hearing day with hours left. tonight as chuck was saying, i am joined by the top democrat at the hearing from the judiciary committee, he stepped out to speak with me. let me catch you up on what's going on. democratic staffers hoisted pictures to bring the thing to its opening. there's basically photos of people that pled guilty in this case that led democrats to say it is not a witch-hunt. we'll show you the defense of the mueller probe he was once part of. >> this investigation is not politically motivated. it is not a witch-hunt.
it is not a hoax. >> republicans say that it casts the entire probe in doubt. >> you wrote it. >> my point, sir. >> did you write that? >> i did write that, sir. >> were you under duress. your testimony is bob mueller didn't kick you off because of the content of a text, he kicked you off about appearance he was worried about it. >> it was not my understanding he kicked me off because of bias, it was done based on appearance. if you want to represent accurately, i am happy to answer the question. i don't appreciate what was originally said being changed. >> i don't give a damn what you appreciate, mr. strzok. >> he was caught privately texting with an fbi lawyer, both critical of trump and engaged in a relationship. called trump an idiot, disaster, and said they would quote, stop trump from becoming president.
>> it was in response to a series of events that included then candidate trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero, and my presumption based on that horrible, disgusting behavior that the american population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be president of the united states. it was in no way unequivocally any suggestion that me, the fbi, would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate. >> and things got quite fiery. congressman adler telling the republican chairman he was badgering the fbi agent. >> are you objecting to the question, if so, state your objection. >> mr. chairman, i object. the gentleman -- >> does not have standing to object. no point of order. >> we have a problem with this policy, we should take it up with the fbi, not badger mr. strzok. >> the gentleman's point of
order is not well taken. >> it is right on point. >> no, it's not. >> and congressman is taking a break from the hearing to join us live. what are we hearing and is the hearing useful? >> this hearing is a big show by the republicans to help the president as the walls close in, walls of the investigation close in on him, and they're trying to use the text messages of the private political opinions of mr. strzok to try to discredit the integrity and credibility of the investigation. they're asking him, and remember, he was removed from the investigation very early on, as soon as mueller learned about his text messages, and he hasn't been part of it. but they're insisting on asking him as they insist on asking deputy attorney general rosenstein questions they know he can't answer, questions about
an on-going investigation, on-going criminal investigation which the fbi lawyer instructs him not to answer. if he doesn't answer, they threaten to hold him in contempt. if he does answer, that will hurt the integrity of the investigation, it may help give information directly to the president's defense team as rudy guiliani has already suggested, but the point is the investigation, they're trying to use this to discredit the investigation, to poison the jury pool, the american people, against whatever the investigation comes up with. the point of the investigation is although the president is calling it a witch hunt and republicans are doing everything to discredit it, no one is defending it, because all we know about the investigation is there have been no leaks from it which is proper. they haven't been saying we're doing a good job because, or the court filings, there have been 20 indictments, mostly of people close to the president or his campaign. we know there have been five guilty pleas by people close to the president or his campaign
and various court filings and that's all we know and all we should know. but the president through his tweets and republicans through trying to throw mud against mr. page who is really a minor actor in this are trying to discredit, detract from what we know about the investigation which is the indictments and to discredit whatever they may come up with when they issue a report. >> you're referring to mr. strzok and miss page. >> yes. >> when you talk about whether it is done properly or not, there's another dramatic moment, you're the top democrat on the committee, top republican chairman goodlatte appeared to say the witness couldn't discuss matters with the fbi counsel. let me play that for viewers. >> as you know, counsel for the fbi has directed me not to answer questions about the on-going investigation. as you also know, counsel for the fbi is sitting here behind me. may i consult with them? >> you may consult with your own counsel. >> i may not consult with the fbi counsel?
>> only with your own counsel. >> mr. chairman, he can consult with the fbi counsel. >> the gentleman is not recognized. >> and the chairman is not being proper. >> i guess you were not recognized there. for the sake of transparency, you're recognized here, sir. what were you getting at and what was the chairman trying to do? >> it was rather pointless of the chairman because mr. strzok's counsel was next to the fbi counsel, she or he just leaned over and one told the other and then his counsel told him. but the point is that as an employee of the fbi, fbi policy, justice department policy has been for many years. we have a letter to the committee in 2000 from the then deputy attorney general saying we cannot comment on active criminal investigations. at the end of the criminal investigation then you can get materials, you can look into it, but you cannot comment,
mr. strzok cannot comment, nobody in the fbi can comment on an active criminal investigation because it would undermine the investigation. it might jeopardize secret fbi informants, it might give potential defendants information which they shouldn't have until later. it might undermine the integrity of the investigation. therefore, he was instructed not to answer questions about the on-going investigation, and the republicans tried to put him in position like deputy attorney general rosenstein, saying either violate long-standing policy and proper norms by talking about things you shouldn't talk about, namely the on-going criminal investigation, or we'll hold you in contempt. and that's highly improper. and again, it is all designed to create an artificial fight about something that ultimately is not important which is whether he was -- mr. page, mr. strzok, rather, was biased or not, even though the inspector general
found that any opinions or biases he had were not reflected in any decisions made by the fbi or by the justice department, and he was removed from the mueller probe early on as soon as mueller found out about the texts. they're using this to try to take attention from the mueller investigation and discredit the mueller investigation to throw a lot of mud there so when the mueller investigation comes out with whatever it does come out with, if it is not favorable to the president, they'll have a lot of people and will have poisoned the jury pool as rudy guiliani said, ultimately this could come to a judgment by the american people, should we impeach the president or not, et cetera, and they want to discredit what reports may come out when they don't know what it will be, when nobody knows what it will be yet. >> as for mr. strzok, is your position that basically what he said was stupid, but he didn't do anything wrong or what he said was fine? the thought experiment that republicans are asking americans
to consider is if an official said these things about barack obama or pick your favorite president, it might upset a lot of people around the country. >> oh, i asked mr. strzok, i said you've been in the fbi 22 years, you know a lot of people. were there other fbi agents with a low opinion of donald trump, yes. were there other fbi agents with a terrible opinion of hillary clinton and hoped trump would win the election, yes, he said. did any of this on your part or on their part effects decisions for the investigation, no. and the inspector general found that none of these things effected decisions made by the investigation, and mr. strzok was not in position to make such decisions on his own in any event, he was one of a number of people. frankly people are entitled, employees or fbi agents are entitled to private opinions, entitled to tell their lovers their private opinions as long as they don't let it effect any decisions made by the fbi, and there's no evidence whatsoever
that any opinion or bias by mr. strzok or anybody holding the other opinion effected any of the decisions made. in any event, none of this is relevant to the on-going investigation because he was removed from the investigation at the beginning. >> i want to play a question you posed that cuts to the heart of this, is easy to forget why we're in such a unique period now and his answer from earlier today for viewers that may have been at work or not seen it. here it is. >>. >> how frequently does the fbi investigate a conspiracy between a presidential candidate or campaign and hostile foreign power? >> first one i can remember in my lifetime. >> is it fair to say our country faced and is possibly still facing a grave threat from a hostile foreign power? >> it is. >> what are you getting at there as the larger stakes apart from the individual witness. >> the larger stake is that we know, all our intelligence agencies tell us, the bipartisan
senate intelligence committee said the same thing last week, that the russian government attempted to interfere with our election to help mr. trump's election and to hurt hillary clinton's election. this we know. we are also told by our intelligence agencies that they're attempting, will continue to attempt the 2018 elections. and we also know from testimony before the senate when the director of national intelligence was asked have you gotten instructions from the administration to do anything to help protect the integrity of mid term elections from russian intention to interfere, the answer was no. certainly what mr. strzok was saying, it is obviously correct, is that when a hostile foreign power is trying to interfere with the integrity of the very way we govern ourselves, with the integrity of our elections, that's a high priority, ought to be a high priority to deal with. >> congressman nadler, i appreciate you taking time out of the room, this is many hours.
it could go as late as 9:00 p.m. eastern? >> could be, depending how many stay for their five minutes of questions. >> we appreciate you making time to explain your position. what i want to do is go back into the hearing where congressman ted lieu is discussing this. >> the attorney general, jeff sessions made political contributions to the republican party. i still trust if there's a case involving a democrat or republican or independent or someone that voted for jill stein, attorney general jeff sessions could look at the facts and law and apply it and do it in a fair, unbiased manner. do you still trust attorney general jeff sessions to do that, even know he made political contributions to the alabama republican party? >> i don't know him in the same capacity i know the director, but he has taken oath as the attorney general, i trust him to discharge that. >> thank you.
and then let me conclude by saying this. we're going to know at some point what the robert mueller found. we already know about the hillary clinton e-mails because there has been exhaustive investigation into that, and the ig report. what we're seeing now is an attack on law enforcement. when i was prosecuting cases, i know when defendants doenln't h facts on their side, they go at law enforcement. that's what we're seeing. on a quote from sarah huckabee sanders who said basically when you're attacking the fbi, you're losing. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. walker for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. strzok, you mentioned i think to my count over 30 times about your personal beliefs when
it comes to your text and that was it was just your opinion. one of the texts, you said we will stop it, referencing the trump campaign. mr. strzok, that's not a personal belief text, that's a plan of action. who's the we in that text? >> sir, i disagree, that's not a plan of action. the we as i stated, the reason i am stating it so many times, i have been asked at least twice as many times, the reason i said, i don't recall that text. when i look at the context of it in the middle of the night, i can tell you i am certain it is not a suggestion that me or the fbi take any action. i can also assure you. >> you answered the question. you don't recall it. >> under oath, there was no plan of action. >> my eighth grade english teacher used to teach me stop was an action verb, so i believe it sounds it. from the content of text, as despicable as they were, let's talk about the volume of texts if we could, please.
50,000 texts over this time frame. is that the number you understand? >> that is a number i've heard. >> several hundred pages. 50,000 texts which is amazing. i'm hoping you at least had unlimited data plan since it was a taxpayer phone because of the great amount of volume. you testified under oath there are many more on your personal phone which blows me away. over 100 texts a day while you're supposed to be doing your job. friday, june 10th, 2016, there were 73 exchanged texts. this is the same day the fbi finally made a deal for clinton's attorneys and laptops. did you leave your desk to send 73 plus texts on that single date? >> i do not recall where i was when i sent the texts. >> i'm sure -- >> i would say if you look at the texts, the huge majority of them are in fact related to work minutia and administrative
things. >> there may be a lot, but there's a whole lot more. plus, i don't get to texts and families and friends until i finish work. you were the second lead investigator, that you're supposed to be doing your work. here we find 50,000 texts. >> of which the bulk of the work -- >> james comey talked about how the team was the a-team, spending every waking moment to complete the investigation. how does this square with the amount of time you seem to spend texting lisa page on working days. >> sir, the grand majority of those texts were work related matters. of many things i am accused of, some that are true and horrible, one of them is not being lazy. i can assure you those texts and what they represent is work and work that was going on frequently from 5:00 in the morning until 11:00 at night. i encourage you if you want to read through the 50,000, have
somebody catalog. >> that's astronomically high. 6 to 700 a week. don't give me this is all work related. unless you have the world's best thumbs. this is an integrity issue. that's part of the problem. we talked about the texts. you're right, they weren't all on official time, like making fun of trump people at the walmart. some of those were in your spare time. but i believe there is a credibility issue and that's probably one of the reasons mr. mueller decided to take you off this particular case. i believe you cannot sit there and tell us as you testified earlier today, you didn't know why he did, i believe it is obvious to the american people you so discredited the fbi you were removed from this case. with that, i yield the balance of my time to the gentleman from ohio. >> may i respond? >> the time is controlled by the gentleman from ohio. >> allow the gentleman to answer the question. >> at the conclusion of his time, the gentleman will be
allowed to briefly answer anything left unanswered by mr. walker. mr. josrdan now controls. >> i want to go to the votes that we had to leave the committee. you said when asked about documents received by the fbi by mr. orr, you said you didn't personally receive documents but the fbi did. >> that's correct. >> you said the fbi got documents from a different source in mid september. different source from whom? >> different source from mr. orr who provided the initial documents. >> mr. orr did not hand you the dossier? >> mr. orr didn't hand me anything. mr. orr provided information to the fbi that included material that's what everybody is calling the dossier. >> say that again. mr. orr provided what. >> he provided some elements of reporting that my understanding is originated from mr. steele. >> so bruce orr did give the fbi information relative to the dossier? >> yes. >> and another source in mid
september gave you personally -- >> no. >> you the fbi information relative to the dossier. >> i never personally received dossier. the fbi in mid september, the first time i am aware of the fbi having that information, the first entitlementtime i saw it september. that came into the fbi. that's when i became aware of it and first read it. >> one more time. bruce orr gave the fbi documents relating to and supporting or part of the dossier, is that accurate? >> mr. orr gave the fbi documents that included material i believe originated from mr. steele. >> thank you. >> the gentleman may briefly answer the question the gentleman felt he didn't have an opportunity to answer with mr. walker. >> yes, sir. i wanted to address, you bring up an integrity issue, you and the gentleman from texas, it is
insulting. i am here under oath. i am not lying, have never lied under oath. the insinuation, not only the insinuation, direct comment saying you have an integrity issue is insulting. did i take offense. >> i never mentioned your personal life. i said the amount of time you were spending on the taxpayer's dollar wasting it when you're supposed to be doing your job texting back and forth is a problem. >> the gentleman answered that question. the gentleman from maryland is recognized for five minutes. >> so we have more than 2500 kids in america separated from their families, no hearings from judiciary or oversight. thousands of people slain in gun violence from parkland to las vegas to san bernardino county, no hearings on the universal background check favored by 97% of the people. the president plunged us into
trade wars, insulting our allies around the world, flattering autocrats around the world, and has done nothing to stop another round of cyber sabotage of elections coming in 2018. our colleagues don't want to do hearings on any of the chaos set loose in the land. the gop wants to talk about your personal texts, two or three out of more than 50,000 we've seen. and the purpose is to derail and discredit the investigation by the special counsel that's obtained 19 indictments and 5 criminal convictions of people like flynn and gates and p papadopoulos. there's a discrete silence on the other side of the aisle, but they're outspoken about this. they say you're at the heart of a deep state conspiracy to oppose donald trump. to make this claim, they've got to ignore the fact you were an
equal opportunity insulter of politicians, you had choice negative words for democrats and independents, bernie sanders who you called an idiot. hillary clinton, martin o'malley who you called a freak show. that's not nice, but there's a first amendment here in america. you can still insult government officials without being thrown into jail or held in contempt of congress, at least by our side of the aisle. there are no kings here and we have freedom of speech, the right that is cherished by the people and feared only by t tyrants. my colleagues insisted making a conspiracy theory out of pillow talk texts. but there are a couple facts they can't get around. number one, the ig found no partisan bias effecting the official investigation. number two, attorney general sessions is a republican appointed by donald trump. rod rosenstein is a republican appointed by donald trump. james comey is a republican appointed by donald trump. fbi director wray is appointed by donald trump, and robert
mueller is a lifelong republican. this would have to be a republican conspiracy. i am looking for evidence of a republican conspiracy, all i could find were the kind of statements you have been arraigned on today. i want to ask about those statements. in spring of 2016, senator ted cruz called donald trump a, quote, sniffling coward, a pathological liar, and serial fill and derer. was this attack by senator ted cruz a coordinated part of a deep state conspiracy that you organized? >> no. >> august 8, 2016, senator marco rubio said donald trump was, quote, unworthy of being our president. was this attack part of a deep state conspiracy that you organized? >> no. >> in october of 2016, speaker paul ryan said i am not going to defend donald trump, not now, not in the future. was this part of a deep state conspiracy that you organized? >> no. >> former secretary of state rex tillerson called donald trump a
moron. scott pruitt said he is an empty vessel when it comes to the constitution. steve bannon said he is like an 11-year-old child. mcmaster referred to donald trump as a dope and an idiot with the intelligence of a kindergartener. karl rove called him a complete idiot. representative duncan hunter said he is an a-hole but our a-hole. gary cohn sent an e-mail describing trump as an idiot surrounded by clounlwns. were these part of a deep state gop conspiracy engineered by you and your friends? >> no. >> were any of these statements part of a conspiracy you organized? >> no. >> although this conspiracy appears to be overwhelmingly republican if it exists, balance compels me to ask about my hero, bruce springsteen, unlike others that were republicans, springsteen is a democrat. he said the republic is under siege by a moron. did you tell him to say that? >> no.
>> was it part of a deep state conspiracy to criticize the president? >> no. >> mr. strzok, this hearing has been a circus and kangaroo court run in banana republican fashion, and i believe some of my colleagues disgraced themselves today in their attack on the fbi and the justice system of america. how can we recover from the hole that's been dug here today? >> sir, america is strong. however bad i think i've seen it in my life, i am confident the institutions, the american people will endure and be great. i have full faith in the united states and all of the men and women, even in times of trial and tribulation, i have every confidence that we will emerge as great as we've ever been. >> i'm with you. thank you for your service to america. >> yes, sir. >> the chair recognizes the
gentleman from florida, mr. gates, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. you said repeatedly today you were not biased, but bob mueller kicked you off his team as a consequence of your bias, didn't he? >> i wouldn't agree with that characterization. i think i answered earlier my understanding was that, and again, there were no words spoken about this, but it was the potential appearance he wanted to avoid. >> did bob mueller say i am not firing you for your bias. >> he did not. >> what is your basis that it is the appearance of your bias rather than actual bias that resulted in mueller removing you? >> i think his experience both with me, my work and reputation of others about me and my work, he knows i am an individual that follows facts where they lay. >> your testimony that you were removed not for bias but the appearance of bias is based on your perception of robert mueller's perception of you? >> no, sir. i am saying what i think the
logical case. >> let me ask it simply. did robert mueller ask you if you were biased against donald trump? >> he did not. >> so he didn't ask you when he hired you? >> no. not typically a question asked during hiring meetings. >> one would seemingly think you were hiring someone to investigate something, you might ask. certainly when you were removed was it clear to you that mr. mueller was aware of incendiary text messages? >> yes. >> so he knew of text messages but never asked you whether you were biased or not? >> that's correct. >> your girlfriend texted you on the 8th of august, trump is not ever going to be president, right? right? do you recall your reply? >> i do recall my reply. if i hadn't, it has been refreshed in my recollection four or five times today. yes, i recall my reply. >> what was it. >> i'm sure you have it.
i don't want to misstate it, no, he's not, we'll stop it. >> did bob mueller ask you about that text message? >> he did not. >> about a week later august 15th, sent a text message regarding a meeting in andy mccabe's office, is that right? >> i don't know the date. i do believe i know the text message. >> did bob mueller ask you what happened in the meeting in andrew mccabe's office? >> there are many meetings i attended, not many, but he did not. >> did bob mueller ask you what you meant by an insurance policy? >> director mueller did not. >> on the 26th of july, this is contemporaneous with the opening of the trump, russia investigation, your girlfriend texted clinton has to win now. you reply a few days later. and damn, this feels momentous because this matters.
the other one did too, that was to make sure we didn't f something up, this matters because this matters. so super glad to be on this voyage with you. did bob mueller ask you why this matters? >> if you're asking why it mattered, it was comparison between a case about -- >> i have seen you answer questions i did not ask. i want to know if bob mueller asked you about this text message. >> director mueller didn't ask me about any text message, congressman. >> gosh, just days after mueller is appointed in two text messages, one on may 19 and 22nd of may, you reference impeachment. did bob mueller ask you why you were referencing impeachment? >> congressman, as i just stated, director mueller did not ask me about any text message. >> i find that very interesting that bob mueller has to remove you as a consequence of bias, you don't say it is bias, you say based on your perception of bob mueller's perception of you, it couldn't possibly be your bias, has to be the appearance of bias.
when we get into the manifestation of that bias through your words, bob mueller doesn't ask you about a single one of them. then i look at other people bob mueller picked on the team, like lisa page. curious to know whether or not he asked her about her incendiary text messages. throughout the team you've got people working for bob mueller that have active connections to hillary clinton, greg anders, kyle frein ee, andrew goldstein, donated to the hillary clinton campaign, james corals, donated to the clinton campaign. jeannie reed, represented ben rhodes in the benghazi investigation, represented the clinton foundation against freedom of information act requests, andrew wiseman, number two for mueller, attended hillary clinton's election night party. aaron zell be, represented justin cooper who set up hillary
clinton's private e-mail server, then there's you and miss page. it is interesting. when you were so damaging to the investigation that you had to go that bob mueller, the person that brought in all these people, that had connections to hillary clinton campaign, did not ask you about a single text message. i tend to believe, mr. chairman, it is because he didn't want to know the answer and that there was bias, and your perception of bob mueller's perception of you is totally unreliable and i yield back. >> time of the gentleman expired. the chair recognized miss demmings. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. strzok, let me clear this up right now. i am not angry and i am not desperate. and i am not afraid of the truth. but i am in pursuit of it. first of all, i want to thank you for your service to our
country through the federal bureau of investigation and for your service to our country through the united states army. mr. chairman, each of us as members of congress took an oath to uphold and defend the constitution of the united states. my oath as a member of congress was not the first oath that i took, it was the third oath for i served as a law enforcement officer for 27 years. and like the employees of the federal bureau of investigation and department of justice, i swore to protect this country and to remember uphold the rule of law. we have now wasted countless hours of our very limited and precious time chasing these phantoms, wasting both the witness' time and our own.
the inspector general's report must have been a very big disappointment to the president and to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. law enforcement officers, not only do they have political opinions, but they're encouraged to have them. as chief of police, i encouraged them to have them and express them. but their expression never interfered with their ability to conduct their job. perhaps congress could learn something from members of the law enforcement community because my colleagues on the other side of the aisle allow political bias to influence their judgment every day. and perhaps they should read and
all members of congress should read thee ethics manual for congress. the ig report said, and i quote, we found no evidence that the conclusions by department prosecutors were effected by bias or other considerations, unquote. president trump and his enablers' conspiracy theory about department of justice and the fbi have been investigated and after hours today they have still been debunked. the president's own campaign manager is currently sitting in jail, awaiting trial on multiple charges. there's enough evidence as we've already seen that resulted in five guilty pleas.
the truth hurts, but no matter how you hate it and how much it hurts, it is not going away. that's the real story here. and we need to keep our eyes on the ball and not chase ghosts through the halls of the department of justice while letting the important work of both these committees go undone. but since we're here, mr. strzok, i want to get your reaction to the president's tweet on december 3rd, 2017, after the clinton investigation, the fbi, the reputation in tatters, worst in history, always the biggest, always the worst, fear not, we will bring it back. mr. strzok, do you agree that the fbi's reputation is in tatters and the worst in history? >> not at all. >> do you agree with the characterization that the clinton investigation was phony and dishonest? >> no.
>> were you the sole decision maker on this case? >> no. >> in your opinion what kind of impact do statements like this, i care how it effects the law enforcement community, apparently my friends on the other side of the aisle, never thought as a law enforcement officer i would have to defend the department of justice from my republican colleagues on the other side of the aisle. what kind of effect do statements like this have on the morale, on the good men and women who do a tough job every day? >> congresswoman, i think they have a significant impact on the morale of the men and women of the fbi. i would tell you that regardless of what is going on swirling around them, my experience, agents and analysts and others i work with are focused on their job and mission. there's a lot swirling around, and agents tune that out, focus and do their job, but inevitably the perception and things being said are heard, and are
damaging. people know they're simply not true. they're not helpful but i have every faith and confidence in the fbi and the agents of the fbi and what we do every single day. >> thank you so much. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to discuss a little bit the wienner laptop discovery. you explained there was significant delay from the time that information was discovered in which obviously hundreds of thousands by your own words, hundreds of thousands of e-mails were discovered potentially pertinent to the hillary clinton e-mail investigation. there was a delay there. you have explained in the past the delay was caused because you were too busy. what were you doing during october of 2016 that caused you to be so busy? >> sir, i wouldn't call it a
significant delay, i don't think it was caused because i was too busy. the answer to the question in fall of 2016, i was deputy assistant director of counter intelligence division. >> you explained -- what were you busy doing. >> i was trying to explain. i was busy overseeing thousands of cases, every espionage case in the fbi, every economic espionage case in the fbi. every case -- sir, you asked the question. >> i am going to reclaim my time. were you involved in the russian investigation at that time as well? >> aspects of that were one of the many things. >> you were involved with it. inspector general horowitz expressed concern that so many individuals from the clinton investigation were assigned to the russian investigation, people like you. who made that decision for people from midyear team to go to the russian investigation? >> sir, i was deputy assistant director of counter intelligence
division. i am number two. if there's something large going on in ci, chances are i am going to have a role in it. it isn't working the case, the decision to assign me was certainly made absolutely by my boss. >> how many other people went to the russian case? >> sir, i can't get into the specific numbers. i can tell you of senior managers several of senior managers were involved, but this is one of the points i disagree with the inspector general, he doesn't appreciate the staffing and context and level of people involved. >> the overlap of personnel between the two cases? >> not that i am aware of. >> no one questioned it. at the end of october you were finally brought to the point to pursue the laptop information and make it public days before the election. did your involvement at that time with the russian election interference cease when the clinton e-mail case was
reopened? >> no. >> so you continued working on the russian case while also leading the reopened hillary clinton case? >> a colleague of mine, co-lead and i were bringing the team back together. sir, if i may, it is important, people have a misunderstanding. at that time i'm deputy assistant director. you talk about the case, you have multiple layers of people below that are doing that work. >> i understand that. the month before you told the ig your russia work load prevented you from addressing the issue on the laptop discovery. >> that's not what i said. >> and then you had time for both. >> that's not what i said. >> days before the election you're investigating two key investigations, and time lapse of nearly a month goes by where there are hundreds of thousands of e-mails directly related to the e-mail of hillary clinton
and her campaign, ignored until days before the election, and only when the new york group demands. let me ask you this. were any of your superiors concerned of the overlap, that time, water was going under the bridge? >> no. my recollection is all of us were concerned about the volume of material we had. >> andrew mccabe said he was surprised you had not reviewed the laptop before october -- >> that's inaccurate. you're misrepresenting what's said. >> this is in the ig report. >> you're misrepresenting what's stated. >> i am using the ig report. mccabe said he was surprised you had not reviewed the laptop. james baker, general counsel, said it was his understanding that information was being handled. gem thoug james comey thought the credibility of the bureau rested on that case. what gets me, how is it possible that you could handle both these
cases, perhaps two of the most important cases in the history of this country, at least in recent history, how in the name of justice does the fbi allow someone so biased as yourself to lead these two investigations at the same time where both end up being compromised, both tainted, justice apparently not happening in either case. you deliberately from all appearance delayed the checking into the hillary clinton e-mails on the wienner laptop until after the election or close thereof, and it is just corruption through and through. and mr. chairman, i yield back. >> mr. chairman, may i respond? >> briefly since it was pos-- wasn't posed as a question. >> there are a team above and below me.
i was number two in counter intelligence division. there were people below me, unit chiefs, supervisory agents, case agents all working on this. to the aspect, many things you said about the ig report were absolutely misrepresentations, the response and facts if you look at them in the report is that within hours of hearing from new york that there was potential material that was relevant, i had assigned subordinate supervisors, attorneys and others to look into it, which they in turn did within hours. as a result, less than a day after finding out about it, i set into motion a team that had nothing to do with the russian investigations to pursue that information. they came back and said new york is still working on it, my assumption from there was they having been assigned that task were pursuing it. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from arizona for five minutes. >> mr. strzok, are you familiar
with the guide known as diog? >> yes. >> this is a policy manual sets forth rules you are to follow to pursue an investigation, correct? >> yes, sir. >> and you agree that the diog guidelines applied to your investigation of president trump and the 2016 election, correct? >> yes, sir. >> and the diog policy, 8.1, requires all fbi employees shall comply with policies, quote, isn't that correct? >> i believe that's absolutely true, i don't know the cite. >> you're aware of that? >> yes. >> now, you no doubt are aware the doj issues investigation guidance instructions, correct? >> yes. >> now, specifically doj gui guidance dated march 12th states
federal quote employees are entrusted with authority to enforce laws of the united states, and with responsibility to do so in a neutral and impartial manner. this is particularly important in election year, end of quote. are you aware of this guidance? >> i am not, but i believe it and adhere to it, yes. >> i just want to make sure because this is really important because attorney general holder issued these instructions to all federal law enforcement agencies to conduct their investigations in a neutral and impartial manner, particularly in an election year. so once again, you're kind of familiar. >> sir, i don't recall that specific instruction, i focus on fbi policy, but that direction from the department if it is in force, i readily accept. >> you understand why federal employees are supposed to be politically neutral? >> yes, yes. >> everything he says.
and your anti-trump text statements are not politically neutral, correct? >> from investigating in a politically neutral way, i did that every day of my job. >> your text statements are not politically neutral. >> that's correct, yes. >> okay. and your investigation activities were in fact taking place in an election year, correct? >> yes. >> you in fact stated you intended to, quote, stop trump from becoming president in clear violation of fbi, doj guidance, wouldn't that be correct? >> that's absolutely incorrect. >> no, it wouldn't, it shows a strict bias. and it is politically charged. let me give you a little better situation. then candidate trump made comments on the travel ban, did he not? >> i recall a variety of comments. >> you have a good memory.
it was used against him by all of the lower courts, wasn't it? >> sir, that is not my area of expertise. >> you know it very well. you understand this very well, sir. it was used against him and upheld in lower courts until the supreme court, and guess what, why is it different for him than you? >> sir -- >> there's no difference here. the difference between him and you, you put it in black and white. >> sir, the difference between me and him, and again, i am not an attorney. >> he is not an attorney either. >> based on protected class in terms of passage of a federal law which is wildly demonstratively different than an individual expressing a personal political belief. it is stunning that that difference would not be apparent to any outside observer. >> you used your political belief in black and white in a text message. we established that in my previous question running up to
it. i have very little time here. you said about bias, this morning i watched. by the way, i'm a dentist. i read body language very, very well. and i watched you comment on actions with mr. gowdy. you got very angry in regards to the gold star father. that shows me that it is innately a part of you and a bias. >> sir, i disagree. i don't know if you're saying this experience is like being at the dentist, if that's what you're suggesting, i would tell you, sir, what you see in my response is a genuine passion for the united states of america. what you see is a passion as a patriot. what you see is -- >> i have two more questions. >> gentlemen, arizona controls the time. >> i have two more questions for you. if you're in a jury box and somebody sees the text messages, you're removed from the jury
box, are you not? >> sir, i can't -- >> you are. by the way, you are. and the last comment, this morning, you're a smart individual. we are not a democracy. we are a constitutional republic. that is why we have two ways both from a democracy voting and from where we have the electoral college. >> the time of the gentleman expired. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana, mr. johnson, for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. strzok, you have taken great offense today at questions about your credibility but for many of us, that's the real issue here. and i think it is for the american people. as we have been sitting here all day, i am getting text messages from constituents back home and they're concerned. the whole thing is described as shameful, a train wreck. it feels that way to many of us. i am playing clean up here, many
of us will at the end. let me ask a smattering of questions. here's what you and miss page exchanged the night donald trump secured the republican nomination. she wrote to you holy to you, h cruz just dropped out of the race. you responded what? she writing back, you heard right my friend. and she writes back in response, it sure does. here is our problem. you two are the most influential fbi personnel on the investigation. and within hours, you text to her, okay, now the pressure really begins. now, we really have to finish the clinton investigation and she agrees. why did you have to finish it up so fast? what were you referring to? was it to stop president trump? >> not at all. she was not one of the two most
influential people in the investigation. the purpose of the text did not have anything to do with president trump or candidate clinton. try to resolve the investigation as soon as we could to get the fbi out of the presidential race. >> were you slow walking it prior to that time? >> absolutely not. a constant sense of urgency. and everybody on the team understood that the closer and closer and longer and longer the investigation took that we continued thanks to the accuracies actions of some to be inserted into -- >> this is my time. we are not supposed to associate this with any all of the disparaging things you said about donald trump the candidate, those two things are
not related. >> what i am telling you under oath is that expression is what i just told, you the desire from the highest level of the bureaus to get us out of the general election. >> did you ever find evidence of collusion or conspiracy between then candidate trump and russia. >> based on the direction of the fbi, i cannot comment on ongoing investigations. >> you said in your text, you concluded quote there is no there there. what were you referring to? >> part of my concern is there might not be a there there. and in the beginning as we looked at the allegations there is a wide range of potential things going on. on one end, there was nothing. no illegal activity, no conspiracy to do anything. based on individual agendas and on the far end some of the
things that might be in the worst case, in the worst case, things that might lead to impeachment. i was approaching that with an open mind. and some of that saying, there is a reasonable chance, a reasonable realistic thing that might ka there is nothing going on here. >> you said today that every american has a political bias. but not every american has your level of responsibility, the duty, the extraordinary responsibility that you have on behalf of the american people. and our system of justice depends on equal and impartial justice under the law. do you believe in that? >> i do believe in that. >> by every objective -- the inspector general's report concluded. why should this committee, why
should my stitconstituents backe treat you as a credible person. >> what i am telling you to look at the facts. set aside the texts. look at what the ig found and look at the actions, the actions that i took. >> with all due respect, hold on. with all due respect, we cannot separate the text from the question. because the text were written during the investigation while you were in charge of this investigation, while you are the most responsible and important person of the investigation at many times and we cannot separate your personal views and bias from the facts that they developed. that's our pro be and at the end of the day, that is what we are concerned about. >> what i will tell you sir, is look at the -- >> the time of the gentleman has expired. >> the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. russell is recognized for
five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. strzok, you stated today, quote, i do not think that bias was expressed in those text messages end quotes. inspector general stated those derogatory texts were quote, not only indicative of a bias state of mind, but were also antithetical to the core values of the fbi and the department of justice, end quote. stating further that such actions implicated pro visions and referred information to the fbi for adjudication which is still outstanding. you stated today quote that no time did personal beliefs entered into decisions i made end quote. yet mr. horowitz stated in strzoks decision to prioritize over following up.
discovered on the wiener lap lop. we did not have confidence that it was free from bias. they would be noted and stopped. the justice department ethical guidelines state the following, quote, superiors may never send to subordinate bloiys an e-mail directed at the success or failure of the political party end quote. another one, quote, express opinions about the candidates and issues if the expression of political activities directed at the success or failure of political party, candidates or partisan political group, the expression is not permitted while the employee is on duty,
end quote. the fbi domestic investigation and operation guide in section 3.1, because we had heard about the adherence of policy and what these things do, and i quote them, we who enforce the law must not merely obey it, we have an obligation to set a moral example that those whom we protect can follow. because the fbi's success in accomplishing its mission is directly related to the support and cooperation of those we protect, these core values are the fiber that holds together the vitality of our institution end quote. mr. strzok, given the extra marital relationship and types of derogatories communication exchanged with fbi counsel lisa page as laid out in the report, do these actions -- protects and
follow. end quote. >> thanks for your question. i would tell you i am not proud, i am -- >> did the policy guide your behavior for these accuracietio? >> for the bulk of my -- >> these actions had no gubias, and yet we heard from the report that they concluded that it was. and now we see extra marital relationship and derogatory conversations. for those whom the fbi protects, do you believe it does? >> i would respond this way. >> yes or no. >> i disagree profoundly. >> thank you for that. in sex 3.3.1. in general the fbi to the law,
rules, or regulations by themselves or other employees, chain of command. you knew your conduct was wrong, not only in the use of texts, the forwarding of political e-mails and links. >> none of that is wrong, sir. >> and also that the extra marital relationship could place you outside of what could be proper for an fbi agent. my question is did you make any attempt to report your conduct fob the chain of command? >> yes or no. >> my conduct -- >> did you report -- >> my conduct to be the investigations was always, always, proper. >> thank you, reclaiming my time and mr. chairman, my closing remarks i address to you. i don't have any further kpecomt that i need. fbi agents are required to
adhere to strict conducts. judgment, the ig found that the use of official device to send messaging and political commentary demonstrated extremely poor judgment. and the powers of government are drawn from the people's consent. the executive branch draws law enforcement powers from that consent and from the trust willed powers. we have heard a lot about ethics, patriotism and service. i am mindful of the words of cries from luke. you should know a tree by its truth. i yield back my time to you mr. chairman. >> thanks gentlemen. and the gentleman from arizona mr. biggs is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, you have worked as a criminal investigator for at least 20 years, is that
IN COLLECTIONSMSNBC West Television Archive Television Archive News Search Service
Uploaded by TV Archive on