tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN February 27, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PST
i think most of you probably saw chairman nunes's comments this morning. he was very clear, number one, that he reached out to us to say i've been telling people, reporters, that these allegations and descriptions in the "new york times" are not accurate. and then we shared that information with him. but he came to us to share that he equally had that issue brought up to him. he was briefed and saw, quote, no evidence that the story was accurate. so the answer is, you know, we have continued to give reporters information and sources that went to the accuracy or lack thereof of a report that was in a newspaper. and you know, i think chairman nunes also said it's interesting how we literally were engaging with the press saying if office question about the sourcing on this. wasly when brought to our attention we said it is a not accurate as far as we know. but then most of you and your colleague who is inquired had
said, that's great, you are saying that, but who else can corroborate this. our yoob is to continue to share sources when informed share sources who equalled included that the times story was not accurate. >> you don't think it's suspicion getting the cia director on the phone to knock down a story of an investigation you. >> using words like knocked down. there was a story in a -- hold on. there was reporters coming to us saying there is a story out there. what's your take on it? >> and our answer was, we don't believe it's accurate. we don't believe it. it's false. obviously that's our take on it. and obviously reporters were saying to us, well, is there anybody you can opponent to to substantiate this claim? remember, this started with the fbi bringing it to us, bringing it to our attention saying the story in the times was not accurate, in fact, twarks b.s. all we said is that's great,
could you tell other reporters the same thing you are telling us. i would think that other reporters, yourself included would think that would be a helpful thing to get the story straight. all we sought to do was get an accurate report out. i think chairman nunes this morning over and over and over and over again made it very clear that no evidence that has been brought to his attention suggested that reporting was accurate. so, you know, respectfully, i think it's interesting that i'm being asked what's appropriate when what we are doing is actually urging reporters to engage with subject matter experts who can corroborate whether or not something is accurate or not. >> should there be a special prosecutor? darryl icea called for a special prosecutor to look into this? >> a special prosecutor for what? >> to look -- >> right. and i guess my. >> he was part of the campaign, so. i mean, sessions was part of the campaign, attorney general. >> here's my -- jonathan, we have now for six months heard story after story come out about
unnamed sources saying the same thing over and over again. and nothing has come of it. right? we've heard the same people. the same anecdotes. and we have heard reports over and over again. as chairman nunes made very clear today he has seen nothing that corroborates that. at one point you have got to ask yourself what are you investigating. >> russian interference. beyond the protests. >> the house and the senate looked at it. you know as i do that the intelligence community looked at it as well. there is a big difference. i think russia's involvement in activity has been investigated up and down. the question becomes if there is nothing further to investigate what are you asking people to investigate? chairman nunes spoke clear today when asked over and over and over again about all of this and said that he has seen nothing that leads him to believe that there is there. the president has spoken time and time again he has no interest in russia, hasn't talked to people from russia for
years. you keep asking -- i say you collectively to try to find something that's seemingly -- at least the reporting that i'm seeing in different organizations suggests that there's nothing new that's being reported. it's the same stuff over and over again that we've heard for literally six months. the question becomes at some point what do you need to further investigate if there is nothing that has come out? >> do you not categorically deny there were no contacts between the russians and anybody in the campaign? >> that's what the investigation would look at. >> right. and i guess my point is that you have had the intelligence community look at russia's involvement in the election. you have had the house and the senate both do the same. when i'm trying to ascertain is at what point -- how many people have to say there is nothing there before you real there is nothing there. i can't say unequivocally. all i'm saying is the peep who have done investigating with russia and its activities in the united states specifically now with respect to our election
haven't provided anything to lead me to believe or should lead you to believe -- and i continue to see reports coming from media sources saying when they checked in with law enforcement or intelligence community sources there is nothing more that happy been previously reported over and over again. at some point you have to ask yourself what are you actually looking for? how many times do you have to come to the same conclusion before you take the answer. mara. >> just to follow up on that, did you personally reach out to pompeo? >> i'm not going to discuss what we did internally. i'm going to say we shared. we did our job about making sure when reporters had questions we let them know what subject matter experts were available to discuss the accuracy of a newspaper story, mara. >> i'm a' sure people will come back to this. but i have another question. which is during the campaign the president said he was not going to touch medicare, social security. his treasury secretary repeated that. it sounded like the omb director
is leaving that as an open question. >> no no no. >> i'm wondering what's the state of the promise, that he won't touch it for current retirees. >> i think what the omb director made clear is how it works. the budget is dealing with top line numbers. budget discretion is not part of it. >> i want the state of the promise. >> the state of the promise is clear. as you point out he made the promise. >> what is the promise, curt retirees, people near retirement, anybody paying into -- >> i will follow on that more specifically but i think the president has made it clear that's not what he wants to do. he wants to focus on the discretionary side. that entitlement reform, with respect to those items that he mentioned he stands by his word. fred? >> i want to ask you. the executive order on religious freedom had previously been in
the works. will that still come in and if it does, will it extend beyond religious freedom? >> i'm sorry, fred, what? >> will it extend beyond. >> i think we've discussed executive orders in the past. for the most part we are not going to get into discussing what may or may not come until we are ready to i about it forward. owe livier. >> i have one more. >> okay. >> the issue of tax reform. and will there be -- how committed is the administration to a border adjusted tax? and is there any concern that tlp won't be enough conservative support for that, it could block any meaningful tax reform? >> i am not going going to get into the specifics of the tax reform today. the president has made it clear we will have an outline of the reform soon. what is clear he has talked about the concerns he has with
rurnt regulatory tax policy that benefit businesses moving jobs out of the country. he will continue to fight for policies that promote manufacturing and job creation in the united states and supports american workers. i don't want to get ahead of the exact nature of the policy. he has been seeking a lot of input. as i mentioned earlier, he is going to talk today with speaker ryan and senator mcconnell. i know that both the join session, the status of repeal and replace, and i'm sure some discussion of tax reform will probably come up. there is a lot. we continue to move forward and work with them. >> a couple on the isis strategy. now that you received it, what happens, the timetable. and there is a report that you are asking for 30 billion on top of the $54 billion. is that true? does that cover the isis strategy? >> right now that principles meeting that i mentioned at the beginning is happening as we speak. so secretary mattis was coming
over to brief the prince tells as far as the isis plan. again, part of it was to make sure that he fully discusses the recommendations that he is making and seek the input and feedback of the other opinions prels downstairs. that can help guide where we go from here, howl we go. with respect to the funding, i think director mulvaney note there had will be a supplemental at some point. right now the focus is on the budget and we'll go from there. john. >> thank you sean. two brief questions. first i read your statement at the thursday briefing to governor maloy of connecticut during the nga meeting and he responded, and i quote, sean didn't read a thing that i said. he said that in connecticut they are already working to get criminals who are in the country illegally out. his objection was to going into warming centers or schools where officials might frighten children. your response to the governor on that? >> again, i was asked specifically what the comments
were with respect to sanctuary cities. again, i would reiterate with all due respect to the governor i'm not here to pick a fight with the governor. i enjihad my time going to school in the state of connecticut. find affection for that nut meg state. but the reality is that i think there is a difference whether or not what he wants to do with state funds, maybe -- you know, without knowing the exact nature of how he is funding what he is if you know funding it's difficult. the question i was asked at the time was on how we will be handling it. i think the answer whether it's connecticut or california, is that the president's executive order and the president's commitment is to make sure that tax dollars are not used to support programs that are helping people who are not in the country legally and who are not citizens entitled to them. >> blake -- >> one more question, sean. >> starting early. >> for 58 years, when presidents have gone to rome they have always met the pope, going back to when president eisenhower met
pope john xxiii. this president has had a disagreement with this pope. when he goes to rome in may, his first trip, will he meet with the pope? >> that's a great question. obviously i would be a huge fan of that but i don't think we are at that place in planning process to make an announce member with any visits with the pope. blake. >> sean, thank you. two budget questions if you don't mine. mr. mulvaney i believe just said that what the administration plans on putting forward doesn't add to the current deficit projects which the cbo says it is, but he said it won't significantly drop from that. my question is, is the administration comfortable putting something forward that might rack up deficits of potentially hundreds of billions of dollars. >> i'm trying to understand the question. >> he said it wasn't going to add to it. >> right.
>> he didn't necessarily cut from it ear. if it doesn't cut from it it is to be hundreds of billions in deficit. i'm curious. >> right, correct me if i'm wrong, but he made it clear that it dund add to the baseline deficit that continues to be the he will go. and i think as we continue to work through the process of passback it could work both ways. we could identify if you go to savings and reductions through working with the departments. but we are going to make sure that the top line number we maintain is as close to that as possible. this is the beginning of the process as the director noted. we send the number to the department of the agency. give them ideas how we came up with this. and then they come back to us and either justify why a particular program or office or what have you needs to stay in existence or why maybe not the rook that is offered. it's back and forth process that will occur over the next few weeks. to get ahead of it is a problem. >> let me get a reaction to
nancy pelosi. she put out a statement and said the following, quote, five weeks into his administration president trump has not introduced a single jobs bill. your reaction to that would be what? >> he has created a lot of jobs. i think that's -- he is continuing to work with congress on both repealing and replacing obamacare, tax reform and fundamentally both of those two items alone i think can help spur a lot of economic growth. the meet that is we've had with the ceos, the health insurers -- there is so many things that are both job killing and that can be done to help promote a better regulatory and tax climate that lead to job creation. i think that's one of the biggest problems right now is that people in washington aren't necessarily talking to job creators. and saying what is the impediment that you have to hiring more american workers? what are the impediment you have to manufacturing more, to building here? the meetings and the action has the president has taken on both
regulatory and other matters have helped spur job and -- job creation. you heard these companies come in over and over again, the automakers, airlines, sprint -- i mean the list goes on and on and on of people saying to the president because of your agenda, because of your vision, we are willing to commit to hiring additional people, to manufacturing more. that's how jobs are created. it's not through the government. too often it's the government regulations that stifle and prevent job creation. i think the president as a businessman fully appreciates and understands how this works and what some of those impediment do to creating jobs and to growing the economy. and so i -- you know, i would just say that you haven't seen anything yet. that's going to continue to be the case. troy. >> is there a concern of the administration that a large scale military build up will feel threatening the other countries around the world and lead to an arms race? >> no, if you look at the state
of our military, the age of our military ships, our planes and some of the other hardware that exists, you recognize that we need to rebuild a lot of these things. the size of our navy has gone down significantly. and there are new needs and new planning. and when you look at the commitment that you have to make not just in one year, but in several years for a lot of these programs, ships, and tanks, hard -- even weapons systems, they don't get built in a month or a day. you have to make a commitment early on to make the investment because of the time that it takes to procure them, to build them, the research and development that goes into it. i would just suggest to you that this is the first step in making sure we make the commitment to a military that especially through the sequester the last few years has not gotten funding it needs to get off life support. there are a lot of things taken care of by the military where they are just continuing to -- they are not putting the systems and projects in place to allow the military to keep up with the
times. and that's a problem. major. >> sean, one investigation question, one budget question. [ inaudible ] give an interview with the miami herald over the weekend. he said quote the government owes my son an investigation. on behalf of the president of the united states is the president open to an investigation of the raid in yemen. the father of ryan owens called ate stupid mission. is there something you would like to communicate to him about that mission that might persuade him otherwise? >> thank you. that's multipart. let me kind of walk through it slowly. first of all, i can't possibly imagine what he's going through in terms of the loss of a son. i can tell him that on behalf of the president, his son died a hero. and the information that he was able to help obtain through that raid as i have said is going to save american lives. it's going to protect our
country more. he made a sacrifice to this country. he was on his 12th deployment. i know that his wife when she spoke to the president, knows that he did this because he loved it. he cared about our nation. and the mission was successful in helping prevent a future attack or attacks on this nation. it obtained a lot of information that will help us keep safe. with respect to -- it is standard operating procedure for the defense to under go a 15-6 review. it is three pronged. because there was a fatality and if loss of life, there is that. because there were civilians involved, that's another. and third is because there is hardware, a helicopter that was damaged. that is a separate. in fact there will be three reviews done by the department of defense because of the nature of this. but, again, i can't stress
enough that on behalf of the president, on behalf of this nation, we express our condole ens, extend our prayers to him during this time. >> as you said, it is standard procedure, is there anything witht president is particularly curious about with this mission in that it was brought to him, he authorized it quickly? does he believe in the -- that it was carried out well and there is nothing he is particularly curious about in the way the helicopter was damaged the failingities. >> number one, i walked through the timetable previously in terms of how long this had been planned for, dating well back into the previous administration. and as you know their democrat dags at the time was to wait for a moonless night that night wasn't going to occur during president obama's administration. so when general mattis got into
the department of defense he was briefed up on the status of the thing, made aware of when the next time was to go. we went through the process to ensure that we continued to believe that the mission -- the way it was going to be conducted and the results of the mission would be worthy of action. the conclusion continued to be as it was prior, that we should move forward. as i mentioned before, i think you can't ever say that when there's loss of life and people injured that it's 100% successful. but i think when you look at what the stated golf that mission was, it was an information and intelligence gathering mission. and it achieved that -- its objectives. so, again, i would express our thoughts and our prayers and our condolences to all of the people and chief owens's family and his
friends, his ship mates. but as a s.e.a.l. and someone who was deployed 12 times he knew this was part of the job and he knew what he was doing. so we are very comfortable with how the mission was executed. and you know, we'll let the department of defense go through that review process and then see where that leads us. but i think to get ahead of the three separate reviews that are being done by the department of defense would be probably irresponsible at the time. >> on the budget. >> major gets two, too. >> real quick on the budget, as you are aware to undo the defense sequester you have to get 60 votes in the senate because you have a domestic sequester on defense. are you confident with these numbers and this kind of heavy discretionary spending cut proposed you can get the 60 votes to change the law? because without that change in law the proposal is just that.
it doesn't become operational. >> i think when it comes to our nation's security, specifically our nation's military, i don't think that it is a partisan issue. thank that senators from across the country, whether you are talking about florida or whether you have got an army installation or a navy base, you understand this -- the state of repair that many of our planes, ships, and other hardware is in. and i think that there is a bipartisan commitment to give the military and its members the equipment and the tools it needs to succeed and protect this country. i do feel confident. april. >> sean -- i'm sorry. sean, i have a couple of budgeary questions for you. one, at the press conference, president trump talked about the fixed -- [ inaudible ] what is the investment in this budge when it comes to a fix for
inner cities? >> i think it is a good try. the director was very clear. part of process was to start the pass back process where we are going to the various departments, hud or d.o.t. and giving them a top line number and then hearing back. i don't want to get into a specific number with you before we get too far down the process. i think that's a conversation that we are going to have with the agencies. and then we will have, subsequently, with congress, when they start drafting their resolution. >> i have a follow up on this but i do have another question. he talked about health care, he talked about education, and he talked about crime. he continues to talk about chicago and law enforcement. so you don't have any kind of budgetary numbers when it comes to -- and health care is a piece that is -- it is a one of the line items for this budget. >> that's right. i'm not saying we don't have numbers. i'm saying we are not giving them out. that's a big difference. i he no you are going to do a good job trying. as the director noted on this, that they have come up with top
line numbers based on their going through each of these agencies's budgets and saying there is a boo applicationtive number here. sometimes they will give them more, part of it is giving them less. it's part of the conversation with the departments and agencies to figure out what those investments are. maybe it's repurposing funds in a different way. it's not necessarily a zero sum gain. there is a way that a department can reallocate money to a program that might end up benefiting because there's a duplicative or out of date program or office that that savings could be applied to something. but i don't want to get ahead of the process right now. only to say that we are at the very beginning of it. >> hbc news. >> yes the. >> the president is going to see that 80 plus presidents of hvc with the president today. >> that's right. >> some are concerned what this executive order looks like. and they are waiting to hear the commitment before they say i'm
all in. >> okay. >> what is the commitment that this president is trying to back when it comes to hbcus when it comes to say their future, funding, research projects, moving it out of the department of education into the purview of the white house, what is the commitment he is going to give today? >> i don't generally speak about executive orders until her finalized. i will just say that one of the things that i think there's a commitment from this white house to do is to look at the various resources throughout the federal government that support hbcus. for example. the department of defense has rotsy and our rotc programs. are they being properly -- is that funding being properly executed and spent? there is programs within each of the departments, the department of education, the department of housing and urban development, that affect grants or programs or direct funding that go to hbcus for various different
things. whether it's construction projects or teaching programs, or mentorship programs -- whatever it is, they span throughout the entire government. and i think that what we are committed to doing is ensuring that the -- that there is high level understanding and commitment that goes straight to the president of how we harness those resources within the government and make sure that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. so it's -- it is a one thing to have them. right, spread throughout the different departments. it's another thing to make sure that there is a direct pipeline to the president of the united states that those programs are being executed in the way that's benefitting the future of hbcus and the various projects and teaching that goes on there. >> so what are you saying? there is going to be a piece that is going to basically go throughout all the agencies to make sure that there is some kind of commitment to hbcus and contract -- let's say engineering for some schools or
in research for other schools? >> i -- i am -- i would say this. i think i'm going to stick to waiting until we announce it to get out a lot more. >> when -- >> i anticipate it very soon. i want to give myself a little wiggle room. phil rut ger. >> budget rhetted question on infrastructure. the president has repeatedly including today again called for a major infrastructure plan to the tune of a trillion dollars, bridges roads, you name it, where does that money come from, where it fits into the budget that's under review right now and what the time line looks like? >> i think that would be part of a longer term discussion we are having with congress. the president got in office 30-some-odd days ago. the idea of getting to budget that's referred to as a skinny budget is to get -- the government will be continuing to fund it and we will be working with congress. i understand your point. >> is it a priority for him? >> it is, absolutely. but i think we have got to make
sure it's done right and that we work with congress. i think as you correctly mention there is obviously a funding mechanism to this. and we have already talked about things like comprehensive tax reform that could add to that discussion. and so i just -- i understand what you are asking in terms of how this would be funded and when it will be coming in the pay for it. but we are looking to have that conversation with congress. it comes outside the budget discuss. >> how does he square that with need to tighten the belt, which he also mentioned today. >> in the same manner we are presenting the budget. we are looking to add that to defense. what it means is that we have to look through other programs to fine reductions and savings. i think that same kind of discussion would happen with respect to infrastructure. not necessarily the savings u.s.
piece but the funding piece. there is there are several ways. i know there is a lot of discussion, private/public partnerships us discussing in term of the funding mechanism. all i'm trying to get at is there are various ways to do this funding without just relying on the american taxpayer. their spending rooks, other funding mechanisms. in due course we will get around to that discussion. >> related to that, he mentioned in his remarks about infrastructure today that as he drives through the queens smith town tunnel and the lincoln town tunnel he worries about ceiling tiles falling? is there a specific incident he was talking about where people have been talking about or is that just a fear of his. >> i don't know. i am i'll ask him but i'm sure the secret service will take care of alleviating the concerns. >> because they were signaling
the complete budge would be ready early may and the president today describe how complicated he discovered that the health care repeal and replace has become. can you describe when it is that the president would present his framework for an overhaul of health care? is it going to be included in the bumming so we would see it before may? >> i don't think you are going to see it in the budge, no. that's not the appropriate vehicle for it. i think i've mentioned it before, i think you would drive -- or at least the leading option -- before i get locked into something -- is to add obamacare to the fy 17 bum process and put it through wreck sill yag. that would happen outside of the current budget structure. but i think he has been very clear he wants this outline within a matter of weeks and we continue to have these discussions with house and senate leadership, weighs and means and similar -- finance and similar diplomats on the senate side. when he talks to mcconnell and
ryan today i'm sure that discussion will continue. >> just to follow up on health care. because not every ingredient in the affordable care act can be handled in reconciliation, that's why i was asking about the elements of it that will be in the budget. we will see some of those? >> there are several piece of obamacare. some can be done by executive order, some need 50 votes, there are certain things that have to be done in certain ways legislatively to create a holistic approach to repealing and replacing it. we are doing that, working with the house and senate to make that happen. >> the order, the travel ban. >> right. >> is the president going to address the american people and congress in his speech tomorrow night and specifically crib and defend the immigration ban? and when will we see the revised executive order? >> so we are not going to -- i would not anticipate the speech
being a defense of ledgelation and executive orders. i think many previous presidents have gotten flew and used that as a legislative walk-through. but you will here about his commitment to immigration and his desire for border security and what it means not just about keeping the nation safe but what impact it's having on the economy. you will hear a lot about immigration tomorrow night. and he will talk about why it matters. and the goal that we have, and why we should come together on areas like this. katelyn? >> when is the next order? >> the next order? i think we should have it out probably middle of this week. looking towards the middle of the week. we will have further updates as we get lieu the schedule. i think our priority right now today was really to get the budget process kicked off and then continue to prepare for joint session. caitlyn. >> can i follow up on that. >> in a second. >> in $2015125 billion was
identified in wasteful pentagon spend. how can you justify adding $54 billion to the defense budget? is that going to be going to hiring soldiers or bureaucrats or contractors. is the president concern with the wasteful spending at the dod? >> of course, et cetera concerned. i think there is a difference between rooting out waste and fraud in various programs and offices and understanding when you are talking about adding to fleet or increasing airplane costs, that that can't be driven just through those. and the commitment that you have to make to purchase some of those very needed upgrades to our infrastructure, and to our arsenal, and to planes and ships doesn't just come through that. because even if you could start to really identify, you wouldn't be able to mike the financial commitment that needs to be done to rebuild some of the ships and planes in particular that need a substantial investment on the front ebb. john? >> if i could follow on alexa's
question, the ninth circuit court of appeals that just deny your request to suspend proceedings in regard to the initial executive order. that order came out just within the last few minutes. do you plan to continue defending your first executive order in court? what's the purpose of doing that as opposed to simply resinning it and then rendering that case moot? >> i haven't been able to read my phone while this has happened. i thank you, i appreciate it. with all due respect i would ask that i be able to get back to you tomorrow on that after we consult with the counsel's office and go through the briefing -- excuse me the reading of what the corps has said. give me time, let me get to have podium. >> rescinding question still stands. >> i understand that. and the president has made a commitment right now to continue to defend what we did. >> for what reason? >> because this is the strategy that he believes that we had the authority vested in u.s. code. i've talked about this extens e
extensively in the past. and i think that if you will allow me once we get done with the briefing i will follow up with the counsel's office. >> what i think some of us are trying to understand is if you have a new executive order that you belief addresses the concerns of the many courts who have weighed in on that, why continue to defend an executive order. >> because i think he's right -- i mean, we were right the first time it's not question of proving a point. it's that the manner in which it was done in the first place was what we believe and continue to believe was the right way to address this problem. and while the second executive order attempts to address the court's concerns that they made, the goal is obviously to maintain the way that we did it the first time because we believe that the law is very clear about giving the president the authority that he needs to protect the country. so just dropping that is not necessarily the most prudent thing. i think part of it is for us to recoup right now, figure out
what the court has said and then reassess the strategy. but i don't want to get ahead, as point out, you are reading it to me now. i would like the opportunity to go read it and actually have a lawyer read it since that won't do very much. go ahead. >> is there anything the federal government can do to protect the institution, do you have any leads on who is doing, and also on sequestering, when -- [ inaudible ] >> when can it be lifted? i think we have to go through the process to lift the sequester. with respect to some of the vandalism we've seen at jewish cemeteries we have to work with law enforcement. i think as has been pointed out multiple times i think one of the thing we can do is speak from this podium in particular and other places to make sure that everyone american understands what our values are and that that kind of behavior
and activity is wrong and won't be tolerated. and the highest levels of government denounce it. so i think it starts at that and then i think there is a law enforcement component that you would ask you to touch base with doj. >> on the budget. >> yeah. >> i understand this is a blueprint, i understand the president has previously said he doesn't want to -- >> either at cia, fbi or elsewhere to knock down stories it doesn't like is completely inappropriate is threatens the independence of those agencies and their investigation. if indeed mr. mccabe had conversations with officials about whether allegations in the press were accurate about the nature of the investigation, that is not appropriate. if the cia director was tasked to call reporters on backgrounds and knock down stories, that's even more inappropriate. and threatens the independence of that agency and any investigation that that agency may be undertaking in terms of
counter-intelligence. in my view, the predommen in challenges we will have in conducting a credible investigation are, one, we have to make sure that it remains bipartisan. it will add little value if it's not. number two, we will need the cooperation of the fbi. we will need the fbi to share with us what leads they have chased down, what leads they have not chased down, what investigation they have done, what they have not done. so that we can evaluate whether they have done a comprehensive job. this is not unlike what the join congressional inquiry did after 9/11. it did not simply assume that the agencies had gotten it right. but it did an insession investigation. and that's what we need to do. and i have yet to be convinced, i think, by the director of the fbi that we will have the fulsome kind of cooperation that we will need. we can't become the fbi. we can't accepted out our own
investigators fanning all over the globe. we may have a limited capacity to do some of that. but we cannot recreate everything the bureau may or may not have done. we will need their cooperation. and whether we will get that in as fulsome a manner as we need is yet to be determined at least in my view. finally, one of the other challenges we will have in doing a credible investigation is whether we have the staff to do it. we have an excellent staff, both majority and minority. but it is a limited staff of all the national security committees we have the smallest staff, half of what the other committees do. the chairman and i have made an appeal to increase our staff and i'm hoping that will be approved of even so, we are very limited in our resources. in my view we ought to be doing our investigation joanly with the senate intelligence committee. it makes little sense in my view we bring in the same witnesses, we obtain the same documents, we
do the same work in parallel. i think we could multiply our resources and our capabilities were we to do it jointly as did the join inquiry in congress did so after 9/11. so test those are a few thoughts on where we are. but, again, just to summarize before i go to your questions, we are going to be agreeing on our terms of reference. we've largely agreed already. we just put them down on paper. hopefully we can declassify any classified portion of that and share that with you. we have, i think, reach no conclusion, nor could we, in terms of issues of collusion because we haven't called in a single witness or reviewed a single document on that issue as of yet. and it's very important, i think, that we not prejudge either the conclusions of our investigation or any conclusion
that our intelligence agencies may or may not reach without doing our own independent analysis. yes. >> chairman nunes said earlier today that based on the briefings that you have gotten with intelligence officials he sees no evidence of collusion between campaign first and the russians. you have gotten the same briefings he has. is he right that there is no evidence? >> well first of all, we haven't obtained any of the evidence yet. so it's premature for us to be saying that we have reached any conclusion about the issue of collusion. in order for us to make that determination we are going to need the fbi to come in and testify what they looked at, what they haven't, what they found, what they didn't, what leads are yet to be investigated. we have had none of that. at this point, we don't each have any of the documents underlying the intelligence community's assess men of russian hacking. we are having to send our people
to the i.c. and review it there. and with the limited staff resources that we have, that's even more difficult. we are in the very infancy of this investigation, and it's premature to be taking any conclusion. i would say, you know, on the basis of conversations that the chair and i are having with intelligence official we can draw any conclusions. nor should we. we shouldn't be prejudging where the facts lead. and if white house is going to reach out to either our committee or the intelligence agencies every time they see a story they don't like and ask us or the intelligence community to push back on it, then we are of necessity going to be revealing classified information we shouldn't. because when you confirm a report or deny a report you tell something about the evidence you are receiving. in my view, i would urge members of both the hipsy and the sissy not to be talking about what we are concluding or not concluding. it's fine to be talking about
where we are generally in the investigation, what steps we have taken, what more has yes, sir to be done. i don't think we should be doug dog any conclusion. >> you think intelligence officials may know more than what they are telling you right now? >> what i'm saying i don't think that anybody should prejudge at this point whether there were contacts between the trump campaign and russia either directly or indirectly through cutouts, their business people, or any other way. we as an intelligence committee doing investigation don't know. we don't know the answer. and the most that we've had are private conversations the chair and i with intelligence officials. that's not a sub sootd for an investigation. so we should not be drawing conclusions at this point. >> curious, there was a report out last month with regards to an fbi officials giving a statement that was wired in regards to the dnc's responsibility in beefing up their own security in that when the fbi tried to get access to
their servers the dnc rebuffed them. is that going to be looked into, or no? >> yes, we are going to look into what was the intelligence community and the fbi response to the russian hacking? and that is how soon did we know that they were in the dnc for example? what steps were take snen were they adequate? were they not adequate? what needs to be done in the future. >> one of the seminole conclusion of the intelligence que community was the russians will do this went. one of the questions i have, we don't have any answers get, one of the questions i have is did the ic first perceive this as an intelligence gathering operation. does that account for the response of the ic. at what point did we learn it was not just intelligence gathering but rather weaponization of that data. all of those questions have yet to be answer. and many of those were not
answer in the report that the ic put out publicly and is part of the reason we need to look forth into night it seemed that congressman nunes was saying he received an interpretation of the intelligence, told there is no there there when refer to communications between trump campaigners and russian officials as they have describe. are they giving him a read on intelligence that you vice president seen or assessed yet? >> my concern is that our committee not reach any conclusions on the basis of essentially conversations with some of the intelligence community leaders in response to a newspaper article. that is not how we should be kkt conducting an investigation. now, obviously, you look at, you know, this story, which has become such a central focus of
things. and we are not in a position to discuss in detail, nor should we, how the russians operate, how they seek to exert their influence covertly, whether that they do that through third parties, individuals, business people, directly, electronically through encryption -- there are a whole host of issues that need to be investigated so that we understand the totality of what the russians did. and i don't think fbi officials or cia officials or members of our committee or the sissy ought to be reaching any conclusions. we certainly shouldn't. not if we are doing a real investigation of this. the chair and i have discussed it. we agreed we need to investigate this issue of collusion. we are not prepared to you contract any conclusions. i'm going to hold the chairman to that. and if there gets to be a point where i don't feel i can do my work i will certainly be very public about it.
but i still am going to do everybody i can to conduct this investigation as long as it's confined to our committee on the house side and our committee alone i am going to be doing everything i can to make it thorough and objective. >> so there is not so much attention just on one story, the "new york times" said communications between trump advisors and russian intelligence. just remind you cnn's reporting was communications between trump advisors, and other russians known to u.s. intelligence. i asked the same question to congressman nunes. on that particular point, has that possibility been investigated and answered already? are you saying that's something that is still being investigated? >> i'm saying in our committee as part of our investigation we have not investigated that yet. that will be investigated. we don't know the answer. we shouldn't prejudge it. and any conversations that individual members of the gang of eight or others have with ic
officials are not the conclusion of our committee. they are not the end point of the investigation. they can't be. and just as -- well, just as any other credible investigation, when you are just in the beginning stages, you don't reach conclusion on one of the key issues. so all i can tell you is from the committee's point of view that's obtain no witnesses, heard no witnesses, and not been given any testimony by the fbi what they have investigated -- there is no basis to draw that conclusion. one way or the other. and i don't think that conversations with intelligence lead remembers a substitute for doing a thorough investigation. >> mr. schiff? >> yes. >> are you concerned that a chairman may have in any way compromised the investigation by saying he has seen no evidence, reputting these reports and down playing any sort of contacts between the russian government and the trump campaign?
are you campaigned in any way he may have compromised the investigation? >> i'm concerned that the fbi engaging in conversations with the white house about an ongoing investigation or a potentially ongoing investigation -- if the cia director was brought in to push down news reports -- that threatens the integrity of what they are doing. the white house can reach out any time they want to republican members of the house and senate of our committee or any committee, of either party. they have every right to do that. but i would urge the members of our committee, and the sissy, including our chairs if they are reach out to by the administration on the subject of our investigation they should politely decline because obviously one of the key issues is whether people associated with the administration during the campaign may have colluded with the russians. and on that subject, there obviously is a profound potential conflict of interest. so i don't think members of our
committee ought to be discussing thosed a gagss with the administration. >> you don't think it has been compromised yet? >> look, the chairman and i have i think an important working relationship that we both want to keep intact. itch expressed concern to the chair about these issues. i'll continue to do so whenever i feel it important to do so. but i still want to do everything in my power to make sure that we do a thorough and objective investigation. and if i get to the point where i conclude that's just not possible i'll be vocal about it. but at this point i think the members of our committee want this to be credible and want this to be thorough. and that's when we're going to try to achieve. yes? >> you said that you have set the scope of your investigation. will it include investigating the leaks that have led to these
news stories that have us sitting here today talking about this, or not? >> it will. the scope of the investigation will include leaks. you know, i think as a practical matter, it may be difficult to carry that investigation -- that element of the investigation to completion unless we are prepared to bring in people from the white house to talk about what access to information they had and who they shared it with. so i think there are some limitations that the white house may put on ourable to bring people in before the intelligence committee. but we are going to be looking at that. you know, i do think in the broader scheme of things and obviously there is a difference of opinion between the probably the chairman and i as well as many of the members of the committee, while leaks are an issue and i didn't approve of the leaks that took place during the clinton investigation, i don't approve of the leak during this investigation, i would hate to lose sight of what's really
at stake here. and i think a lot of what the president says on this subject is designed to distract attention from the real sirius issues that are there. and in my view it's this, we are engaged in a desperate battle of ideas with russia right now. and i don't think it's hyperbolic to say that the success of liberal democracy around if world will depend on how this struggle turns out. they are not only interfering in our political process, but they are in europe and france and germany and elsewhere. they use a whole host of methods includingeck blackmail, extortion, paid media patrols, fake news, hack, dumping, forging of documents, and if we are going to inoculate ourselves against further russian interference in our elections and democratic affairs we need to know exactly what they have done.
and so that context is enormously important and shouldn't get lost in this. the reason why the conversations with flynn are so significant is that they involve potentially an administration official or soon to be undermining sanctions on the very interference in our political affairs. it's not, i think, something that we view inislation. it's important because it went right to the heart of the russian interference in our democrat affairs. >> can you follow up, you said at the beginning of your answer that you would have to bring in white house people to testify. chairman nuneslier today compared potentially bringing in some campaign first to mccarthyism saying i'm not going to do this to american citizens. do you buy that? seems like there is a disagreement between the two of you here? >> i strongly disagree with those comments. we have a capability to get to the bottom of this. the fact that people's -- >> do you want the call them, to
testify, the people who are named -- the three americans who were listed in the "new york times" report? >> well, i certainly believe that mike flynn needs to come in and testify. and i think we've seen bipartisan support for that, having him come in. and with respect to mr. flynn, he -- he deceived the vice president of the united states. the vice president of the united states then misled the country. that's a serious business. and of course, we know some of the history involving mr. flynn and rt and being paid to attend this conference with putin. so i think he is certainly a witness that we are going to want to bring in before the committee. in erms t in terms of the others, i think we follow the evidence where it leads. what i would like to know is what has the fbi investigated on this, if anything, what have they concluded, and what would the basis be for bringing these conditions or any others, before the committee?
but i don't think at this stage we ought to exclude anyone or any issue. and, you know, at this point in the investigation, we are, as i said, still in the phase of gathering daumts or actually trying to get personal custody of the documents in the hipsy. we are also in the process of developing some very preliminary witness lists on these baskets of issues. we need to follow the evidence wherever it leads. fit leads to those particular u.s. persons thenwe will subpoena them to come into committee. yes? >> why hasn't the fbi given up the information to you yet? and secondly, have you asked the senate if they want to do a joint investigation? >> well i've certainly raised the issue of joint investigation. and at this point, while nobody has explicitly ruled it out neither have they welcomed the idea. there may be a few reasons for that. but it was a formula i think
that worked very well post 9/11. and again, given the tremendous mismatch we have in investigative resources vis-a-vis the agencies and vis-a-vis the size of the issues here, because we still have a day job in the intelligence committee of overseeing these massive agencies it would be a force multiplier if we did the investigation jointly. >> has the fbi been dragging their feet? you mentioned it several times that you haven't gotten anything. >> we are requesting the chairman brief our whole committee as he apparently did to thesy sissy. and the chairman and i have had preliminary discussions with the director. but beyond that, we need really to get a full debriefing on everything that the fbi has looked at. what have they investigated? and at this point i'm not clear we are going to get that.
i don't have the assurances that i'd like to have from the bureau. e now i'll give you a sense of why. in an ordinary course of events, the bureau doesn't talk about pending investigations. and the bureau doesn't talk about closed investigations. now, obviously, with respect to the clinton investigation that policy was departed from and violated an extreme as we got closer to the election. so among other things it's insupportable for the bureau to take the position we can talk about that, we can't talk about any investigation involving the trump campaign. that's not going to be sustainable. at the same time, there is a strong institutional reluxe lukt aness to discuss ongoing investigations not only publicly, but even with congress. but here we have a bipartisan investigation into these allegations. it's been agreed to in the house and senate.
it has support of republican leadership in the house and senate. if we are going to take on that responsibility the fbi is going to have to be fulsome in the discussion of any investigations they are doing or have done. i haven't gotten that commitment yet from the director and we are going to need that commitment in order to do our work. yes? >> congressman schiff, earlier today chairman nunes was also saying that if it turns out that flynn in those discussions with the russian ambassador did say, you know, hold off on the response to the sanctions that came out from the obama administration right after christmas, he said we should be thank him and not going after him for deescalating a potentially dipg rouse situation. -- dangerous situation. >> my perspective is this. again, it gets back to the context in which flynn was talking to the russian ambassador. russia has just hacked into our
elections. they have just dumped information that was helpful to the now president of the united states. and in the period prior to the new administration coming into office, the obama administration leveed sanctions against the russians. and then you have a conversation or conversations between flynn and the russian ambassador. what was the subject of those conversations? now, i would like to -- i have had a briefing. i have not seen any transcripts yet. ultimately, i would like whatever transcripts exist to be published so the american public can see, given that the american public was misled about that conversation. but the significance of that conversation is that if it was of a nature to assure or reassure the russians that they didn't need to respond because the new administration would take care of it. then you have the incoming administration affirmatively undermining sanctions imposed by
the current administration, the current, being the obama administration. that's serious business. and when you add to it that the national security adviser, flynn, was dishonest about the nature of those conversations, that certainly shows at least a d i would say as a former prosecutor, some consciousness of wrongdoing. if there was nothing to be concern about then why -- why not be open and honest about the course of those conversations? why did mike pence go out on tv and fine the need to reassure the country that they had not been engaged in undermining the snkss imposed by president obama? you know, the final point i would make on this, which i find deeply disturbing, is it's bad enough that mike flynn wasn't truthful to the have. it's even worse that the vice president then unknowingly misled the american people. what is most troubling to me is the president was aware of all
this and he was okay with it. what only forced him to act weeks later was when it became public. >> on the point of the transcripts because you said you want the see them, nunes raised the concern it would be problematic because it was released for the congress to get their hand on them. >> whatever the leak investigation finds out in terms of who leaked information about what flynn said, that's one thing. but nothing in that should prevent the congress doing its investigation to find out exactly what was said in that conversation. again, i can't go into any of the specifics about how that conversation may or may not have been reported. but i would not leap to any conclusion that there is -- there was illegality involved on behalf of the intelligence agencies. again, whether i