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tv   At This Hour With Kate Bolduan  CNN  December 11, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PST

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reached after multiple days of meetings by fbi officialsch we reviewed the department policies and concluded the assistant director's exercise of discretion in opening the investigation was in compliance with those policies. we also reviewed as we've detailed in the report, the e-mails, text messages and other documents of those involved in that decision and particularly mr. presteps and we did not find documentary of testimonial evidence that indicated political bias or improper motivation influencing his decision to open the investigation. while the information in the fbi's possession at the time was limited, in light of the low threshold established by the department and fbi pred indication policy, which by the way is not a legal requirement but rather a prudential one in the fbi and department policies, we found that crossfire hurricane was opened for an authorized investigative purpose
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and with sufficient factual pred indication. this decision to open crossfire hurricane, which involved the activities of individuals associated with a national major party company for president was under department and fbi policy a discretionary judgment left to the fbi. s with we point out in our report, there was no requirement officials be consulted or notified of that decision prior to the fbi making that decision. consistent with this policy, the fbi advised supervisors in the national security division of the investigation days after it had been opened. as we detail in our report, high level department notice and approval is required in other circumstances, where investigative activity could substantially impact certain civil liberties and that notice allows senior department officials to consider the potential constitutional and prudential implications in
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advance of those activities. we concluded that similar notice should be required in circumstances such as those present here. shortly after the fbi opened the crossfire hurricane investigation and conducted, the football fib conducted several consensually monitored meetings, recorded meetings between fbi confidential human sources, which refer to as chs' and individuals affiliated with the trump campaign, including a high level campaign official who is not a subject of the investigation. we found that the chs operations received the necessary approvals under fbi policy, that an fbi assistant director, mr. prestep, knew about and approved of each operation even in circumstances where which was only required as first level supervisory agent approval and that the operations were permitted under department and fbi policy, because their
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use was not for the sole purpose of monitoring activities protected by the first amendment or the lawful exercise of other rights secured by the constitution or laws of the united states. we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political motivated to conduct the operations. we found they attempted to place chs' in or report on the crump campaign. however, we were concerned that under applicable department and fbi policy, it would have been sufficient for a supervisors to authorize the sensitive domestic operations undertaken in cross fire hurricane and that there is no applicable department or fbi policy requiring the fbi to notify department officials of a
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decision to task a confidential human source to consensually monitor, in other words, record, conversations with members of a political campaign just in terms of that, it's worth noting that had the meteor investigation which is the clinton investigation or in this investigation the fbi could have at the supervisory agent level one level removed from a line agent authorize an under cover or authorized a confidential human source to have a consetuay conversation with no notice from the department of justice or lawyer in the department of justice n. crossfire hurricane, where each of the operations has the potential to gather sensitive information protected by the first amendment, we found no evidence that the fbi consulted with department officials before conducting those operations and no policy as i just noted requiring them to do so. we concluded that current
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department and fbi policies are not sufficient to ensure appropriate oversight and accountability when such operations potentially implicate sensitive activity and that requiring department consultation as a minimum would appropriate. and we make a recommendation to that effect. one investigative tool for which the department and the fbi policy does explicitly require express advance approval by a senior department official is the seeking of a court order under fisa. when the crossfire hurricane team first proposed seeking a fisa order targeting carter image, in mid-august, 2016, fbi attorneys assisting the investigation considered it a quote close call, quosaed quote. and the fisa order was fought requested at the time. however, in september 2016, immediately after the crossfire
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team concerns pages alleged recent activities with russian officials. the fbi toirns advised it was ready to request fisa authority to surveil paige. fbi officials told us it pushed a fisa proposal over the line quosaed quote in terms of establishing probable cause. we concluded it played a central role in the decision to seek a fisa order. fbi leaderships supported relying on steele's reporting to seek a fisa order of being advised of concerns expressed by department attorney that steele may have been hired by someone associated with a rival candidate or campaign. surveillance authority under fisa can significantly assist the government's efforts to combat terrorism, clandestine intelligence activity and other threats to the national security. at the same time, the use of
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this authority unavoidably raises civil liberty concerns. fisa orders can be used to surveil u.s. persons and if some cases the surveillance will foreseeably collect information about the individual's constitutionally protected activities, such as carter paige's legitimate activities on behalf of a presidential campaign. moreover, proceedings before the foreign intelligence surveillance court, which is responsible for ruling on applications for fisa orders are exparte, meaning that unlike most court proceedings, the government is the only party present for the proceedings and fisa orders have not been subject to scrutiny through subsequent adversarial proceedings like court authorized search warrant and wiretap applications are potentially through the criminal process. in light of these concerns, the fisa statute and department and
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fbi policy and procedures have established important safeguard to protect the fisa application process from irregularities and abuse. among the most important are the requirements and fbi policy that every fisa application must contain a quote full and accurate closed quote, presentation of the facts and that agents must ensure that all factual statements and fisa applications are quote scrupulously accurate, closed quote. these are the standards for all fisa applications, regardless of the investigation's sensitivity, regardless, i'm sorry and it is incumbent upon the fbi to meet them in every application. nevertheless, we found that investigators failed to meet their basic obligations of ensuring that the fisa applications were scrupulously accurate. we identified significant inaccuracies and omissions in each of the four applications. seven in the first application.
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and a total of 17 by the final renewal application. for example, the crossfire hurricane team obtained information from steele's primary subsource in january 2017 that raised significant questions about the reliability of the steele reporting. this was particularly noteworthy because the fisa application relied entirely on information from the -- from the steele, i'm sorry, from the primary subsources reporting to support the allegation that paige was coordinating with the russian government on the u.s. 2016 presidential activities. however, the fbi did not share this information with the department lawyers and it was, therefore, omitted from the last two renewal applications. all of the applications also omitted information that the fbi had obtained in august 2017 sorry, august 2016 from another u.s. government agency detailing
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its prior relationship with paige, with carter paige, including the carter paimg had been approved as an operational contact for that other agency from 2008 to 2013, that paige had provided information to the other agency, concerning his prior contacts with certain russian intelligence officers, and that an employee of that other agency assessed that carter paige had been candid with them. the fbi never followed up on that information. as a result of these seven significant inaccuracies and omissions, relevant information was not shared with and consequently considered by department lawyers and the fisa court. and the fisa applications made it appear as though the evidence supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case. we also found basic if you wouldal and serious errors during the completion of the fbi
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agent race reviews, known as the woods procedures, which are designed to assure fisa applications contain a full and accurate presentation of the facts. department lawyers and the court should have ben given complete and accurate information so they could have meaningfully evaluated probable cause before authorizing the surveillance of a u.s. person associated with a presidential campaign. >> that did not occur. and as a result, the surveillance of carter page continued even as the fbi gathered information that weakened the assessment of probable cause and made the fisa applications less accurate. we concluded that investigators did not give appropriate consideration or attention to facts that cut against probable cause and that as the investigation progressed and more information tended to undermine or weaken the assertions in the fisa applications, investigators did not reassess the information
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supporting probable cause. further, the agents and supervisory agents did not follow or even appear to know certain basic requirements in the woods' procedures. although we did not find documentary of testimonial evidence of intentional misconduct. we also did not receive satisfactory explanations for any of the errors or omissions we identified. we found and as we outlined here, are deeply concerned that so many bake and fundamental errors were made by three separate hand-picked investigative teams on one of the most sensitive fbi investigations after the matter had been briefed to the highest levels within the fbi even though the information sought through the use of fisa authority have waited so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign and even though those involved with the investigation knew their actions would likely
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be subjected to close scrutiny. those that prepared the applications but also by the managers and supervisors in the crossfire hurricane chain of command, including fbi senior officials, who were briefed as the investigation progressed. we believe that in the fbi's most sensitive and high priority matters and especially when seeking court permission to use an intrusive tool such as a fisa order, it's incumbent upon the entire chain of command at the organization, including senior officials, to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are sufficiently familiar with the facts and circumstances supporting and potentially undermining a fisa application in order to provide effective oversight consistent with their level of supervisory responsibility. such oversight requires greater familiarity with the facts than we saw in this review, where time and again during our
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election interviews fbi managers, supervisors and senior officials displayed a lack of understanding or awareness of important information concerning many of the problems that we identified. >> that is why as you will see in the report, our final recommendation was to refer the entire carolina of command that we outline here to the fbi and the department for consideration of how to assess and address their performance failures. additionally, in light of the significant concerns we identified, the lig announced this week we are initiating an audit that will further examine the compliance with the woods procedures in fisa applications that target u.s. persons not only in counterintelligence investigation but also, importantly, in counter terrorism investigations. the oig report made a number of other recommendations to the department and the fbi. we believe that implementation
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of those recommendations, including that those that seek individual accountability for the failures identified in our report, will improve the fbi's ability to more carefully and effectively utilize its important national security authorities like fisa. while also striving to safeguard the civil liberties and privacy of impacted u.s. persons. the oig will continue to conduct rig lus oversight of these matters in the months and years ahead, including the recommendations that we made in this week's report. >> that concludes my statement and i'd be pleased to answer any questions the committee may have. >> thank you have been much and again to your team and thank you for the service you have done to the country here. the fbi or former fbi director james comey said this week that your report vindicates him. is that a fair assessment of your report? >> you know i think the activities we found here don't indicate anybody who touched
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this, unless run a cliff here. >> this is what comey said in 2018. >> it would be nice to have sound. do we have sound? >> never mind, i'll read it. director comey, the reporter is asking him, can i ask you a question on fisa abuse? it's a major issue for republicans. do you have the total confidence in the dossier when you used it to secure a surveillance warrant and also in the substantive renewal, this was asked in december of 2018 about a year ago. comey. i have total confidence that the fisa process was followed, that the entire case was handled in a thoughtful, responsible way, by doj and fbi, i think the nation -- i think the notion that fisa was abused here is nonsense. would it be fair to say that you
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take issue with that statement? >> certainly our findings were that there were significant problems. >> so when comey speaks about fisa, you shouldn't listen? >> you should listen to mr. horowitz. he's not indicated and to be concerned about the fisa warrant process is not nonsense. christopher steelee, is it fair to say that he had a political bias against donald trump? >> he, given who he was paid for, there was a bias that needed to be disclosed to the court. >> does it seem that he personally had advice, not because he was on the payroll of the democratic party? >> well, we found in the course of this and heard from mr. orr about his comment to him that he was desperate to prevent mr. trump's election. >> again, this is the guy that provides the dossier that gives the warrant over the top against carter page. he's paid for by the democratic party and he personally believes it's bad for donald trump to win
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and he's marketing the dossier, which is a bunch of garbage to anybody and everybody. to me that's important. is that important to you? >> any evidence of bias is supposed to be disclosed to the court and to the department lawyers. >> okay. so, let's play this out. in january, 2017, when they figure out the primary subsource and they talk to the russian guy that provided steele all the information, what should the fbi have done at that moment? >> two things. reconsidered internally where things stood and most importantly told the lawyers at the justice department who they were asking to help them get a fisa. >> and there are five people in that interview, right? >> correct. >> okay. are you going to make sure those five people are known to the higher ups? >> they are all a part of the referral i mentioned earlier. >> okay. did they have a duty to report to their supervisors and eventually to the court
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exculpatory information? >> absolutely. >> they did not? >> they did not. >> why? >> that's the question i can't specifically answer for you. >> can you say it wasn't because of political bias? >> on decisions regarding those fisa matters, i do not know their state of mind at this point. >> so we're talking about actions and what would motivate people. do you think comey and mccabe should have known? >> that's a challenging question as we explained in the report. there were multiple briefings up the chain including to the director and the deputy director. we don't have a clear record of what precisely they were told and as you know as information flows upstream -- >> would you be surprised if it didn't make it up the system? this earth shattering? >> i won't speculate. >> did strzok know? >> so, mr. strzok's -- there are three iterations of the team. mr. strzok actually transitioned off as the, on this matter in
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january of 2017. so it's not -- i might have to go back and look precisely. >> in president-elect bush he mentioned that steele can't verify. >> correct. >> so it's pretty clear to me that it got up. so the court should have been told there were not. >> correct. >> how did they describe this meeting to the court in the warrant application? >> so, in the second and third renewal of the last two application, they told the court they had interviewed steele subsource on whom steele relied in writing the reporting and that they found the primary subsource to be credible. they did not tell the court or the department lawyers any of the information which would have allowed them to know that if you found the primary subsource credible, you couldn't have also found the steel report incredible. >> did they mislead the court? >> that was misleading to the court and to the department to
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not -- there so they did two things in january 2017, they failed to report, obviously, exculpatory information. and when they did report to the court about the interview, they lied about it? >> but let me add, also -- >> okay. >> -- that a year later in february -- in june of 2018, when the department sent a rule 13 letter to the court informing them of other information that had not been provided to the court, the department still didn't know about the primary subsource information and so when the department in its letter said that it still stood behind the fisa application. >> very interesting. >> -- they referenced the primary subsource again. >> so are these the best and brightest we have? >> well, certainly the fbi, the actions of the fbi agents on this were not -- >> mccabe hand picks these
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people. are they representative of the department as a whole in your view? >> i certainly hope that that is not the way others are following these practices. >> yeah. me too. okay. so, let's fast forward now to june of 2016. mr. klein smith. who's he? >> i'm going to defer on speaking about people who we don't name basically in the report. >> okay. who's the guy that altered. tell me about the guy that altered the e-mail from the cia? >> so there was a lawyer in the office of general council of the fbi who was the line attorney working with the agents and counterparts of the national intuition on fisa. and that -- in june of 2017 as the last application was being prepared and immediately following mr. page, carter page,
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going to news outlets after word of the fisas hit the news media and said to the news media, i was someone who worked with u.s. intelligence agencies, not someone who worked against them. lawyers and agents went and said we got to figure out what's the story is that what happened? the lawyer, the ogc attorney for the fbi, reached out to a liaison at the other government agency that was at issue, asked the question, is -- was mr. page a source or a contact of some sort for your organization? the report back and the e-mail referenced the august 2016 memorandum that that agency had provided to the fbi that i mentioned in my on statement the fbi did no follow-up on and said what that liaison's general
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recollection was that mr. page was or is someone who is still, who had a relationship with the entity with the other government agency. but that the lawyer should go look another the report for confirmation. the lawyer then had a conversation with the fbi agent who was going to be the afiant. the person that swore at that final application. fisa application. the agent told us and as detailed in here was concerned about what he had learned about what page said publicly and wanted a definitive answer, as he put it, as to whether -- >> the agent if carter page was actually telling the truth, it changes one of the predtives to consider him a foreign agent. >> that was the concern of the act. it was the agent who was going to be swearing out -- >> if true, it would be helpful
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to mr. page? >> if true, it certainly could have and may well have been very helpful to mr. -- >> okay. >> at a minimum, without any doubt, it should have been known, followed up on and it should have -- >> what did this lawyer do with the fbi? >> when the lawyer had the discussion with the agent, and the agent said i want to see it, do you have it in writing? the lawyer said he did. and he forwarded the liaison's e-mail, but altered it to insert the words and not a source into the e-mail. >> so he doctored it? >> he doctored the original e-mail from the liaison. >> it made it look like the cia denied knowing mr. page? >> it flatly stated that he was not a source. >> just imagine, folks, you're representing somebody as a defense attorney and they do this to one of your clients. i hope somebody pays a price for this whether you like trump or not. so why did mr. kleinsmith,
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that's who we are talking about, you won't say it, i'll say it, what motivated him to do that? >> it is unknown as to precisely why he did it. >> this is a viva resistance guy? >> i will mention we reference in here, the text messages you mentioned and we have not made a determination but rather as we note in here, when we learned this, we notified the attorney general fbi director and referred it. >> you did a great job, the adages, if you wake up and there is lawn is wet you will assume it rained. if you got a guy that hates trump's guts from day one and thinks pence is stupid and voted for trump is an idiot, you give him power over trump, maybe are you making a mistake or again maybe all these people who had these biases did nothing about it. you know, maybe. maybe not. it doesn't really matter. we know what they did. is it fair to say that after january 2017 when the guy who
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gave steele all the information to disastrou dossier, that not only they should have told the court, they should have slowed down, do you think the second and third warrants set a legal basis after that point? >> you know, we don't reach that conclusion and i'm not going to -- >> would you have submitted a warrant application as a lawyer? >> let me put it this way, i would not have submitted the one they put in. >> okay. >> no doubt about it. it has no business going in. >> what i want you to know in january 2017 the whole foundation for surveilling carter page collapse exculpatory information is ignored, they lie to the court about what the interview was all about. is that a fair summary so far about the january 2017 -- >> on -- i'll, they certainly misled, it was misleading to the court. >> okay. fair enough. in january about six months later when they find more
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information that could be helpful to mr. page, they lie about it. do you feel like mr. page was treated fairly by the department of justice and the fbi? >> i don't think the department of justice fairly treated these fisas and he was on the receiving owned of the fisas. >> you would not want to be on the receiving end of this, would you? >> i would not want agents or anybody failing to put forward all the information they're obligated to tell the court on. i was in asa, i can see what could have occurred. >> i would be very comfortable with you investigating anybody. because i think you know the difference between getting somebody and trying to find the truth. that's what this is all ability. counterintelligence investigations. what's the purpose of a counterintelligence investigation? >> it's to identify potential threats to the nation. >> okay. this was and up as a counterintelligence investigation. right? >> correct. >> and we know the russians were screwing around with the
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democrats. right? that's one of the concerns? it was the russians who hooked the dnc? >> cic. >> so it's okay for everybody to be concerned. what are the russians up to. i do that. it's okay to look at what's the standard to start one of these things? >> there are two types of investigations, both of them have relatively low thresholds as we point out for pred indication. >> okay. so let's assume for a moment that relatively low threshold was met, would it be fwair to sy if you stopped there in looking at your report, you're making a mistake? >> you would be making a mistake. there is a -- there is 400 pages here for reason. >> there is a mountain of misconduct, please don't ignore it. so my point is, if this is a counterintelligence investigation, who are they trying to protect? who should they be trying to protect? >> well, if it's a -- the threat
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outlined in the friendly foreign government information, you would be looking to protect the election process. >> right. >> which would include the candidate, the campaign, the candidate and the american people. >> okay. so, did they ever brief hillary clinton about efforts to foreign influence involving her campaign, do you know? >> i've heard that i don't know for a fact. >> they did. do it for them. and they stopped it. was there ever a defensive briefing given by the fbi department of justice to donald trump about the concerns? >> there was not. >> what would you call a counterintelligence investigation that never had a protective element? >> i'm not sure, sorry, mr. chairman. >> okay. if without eventually trying to protect the entity being
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flupsed, is it legitimate? -- influenced, is it legitimate? >> it would depend on each fact and circumstance. >> here's what i'm trying to tell you. request you open up a counterintelligence investigation to protect somebody. you should do it. did they ever try to protect donald trump from foreign influence? >> they did not brief him. we lay it out on page -- >> in fact, when they gave a have a fill la briefing the russians are out there, you better beware, didn't they have an fbi act do a 302 on the defensive briefing, itself? >> they sent one of the supervisory agents from the crossfire hurricane team to the briefing and that agent prepared a report to the file of the briefing. >> about what trump said? >> about what mr. trump said and what mr. flynn said. >> okay. so when we get defensively briefed tomorrow, would it be okay for fbi acts to open up 30 on what we said? >> we have very significant
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concerns about that and i would note that director wray's response. >> for those who can set aside how they feel about president trump for a minute, under the guise of protecting the campaign from russian influence, they never lifted a finger to protect the campaign. any time they raised a finger for people suspecting the russians, it went the other way and the they kept going. when they did generically brief candidate trump, they sent an fbi agent in to do a 302. if this doesn't bother you, you hate trump way too much! was that fbi agent spying on donald trump when he went in there? >> it was a pre text meeting that i'm not going to -- the process by which they have to do these meetings -- >> if you don't have a
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foundationation for a warrant -- >> let the witness answer the question. >> go ahead. >> do you need to say anything else? >> i'm sorry. >> okay. the incident, the event, the meeting was a briefing and the fbi considered and decided to send that agent there to do the briefing. so the sath was actualagent was the briefing but also for the purpose of investigation. >> okay. i hope that doesn't happen to us tomorrow. i'll be really pissed if it does. okay. so let's play this out. they never told trump about the concerns. is it fair to say there came a point to where surveilling carter page became unlawful? >> i will let the court decide that. the court has this report and will make that decision. >> let's put it this way, if you don't have a legal foundation to surveil somebody and you keep doing it, is that bad?
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>> absolutely. >> is that spying? >> it's not -- it's illegal surveillance. it's not court authorized surveillance. >> whatever legal surveillance means -- illegal surveillance means, they did it. so all this stuff that they didn't illegally surveil trump's campaign. they did because they had no legal basis after the january 2017 data dump by the russian guy to believe that the dossier was reliable. they amounter exculpatory information in june of 2017 that would have further proven that carter page is not a russian agent and he was actually working with the cia. let me ask you very directly. do you believe carter page is or ever was an agent of the russian government trying to do harm to his country? >> i'm going to refer to the evidence we found here, which is that if i'm going to read this. >> thank you. >> they, the fbi, and at the end of these fisas, told us that
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they had found no evidence to corroborate the allegations in the steele dossier. >> it's not that clean, folks. they knew and they ignored it. and they continued to surveil him. why? why did they doctor the ema i-e. the people continued getting warrants that wasn't legitimate had a biased thatic road. how this opened, i don't know i know mr. durham has a different view. i respect your view they may have been a lawful predicate, one of the people pushing this was peter strzok from day one. so, ladies and gentlemen, we have a task at hand here, to make sure this never happens again, to hold people accountable. change our laws, save the fisa court if we can and i hope this chapter in american history is never repeated and finally, if you report that this 434-page report says lawful investigation with a few irregularities, you
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are doing a great disservice to the american people. thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as we spoke, inspector general, your office spent 19 months and interviewed 100 witnesses and your report concluded that the fbi had an adequate predicate reason to open the investigation on the trump campaign ties with russia. could you quickly define that predicate. >> yes. so the predicate here was the information that the fbi got at the end of july from the friendly foreign government that reflected a meeting that the friendly foreign government had with mr. papadopoulos in may. >> what was that, who was the friendly government? >> we don't mention that in the report. so i'm going to stick to what we -- >> is that classified? >> that is, my understanding is still classified. but --
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>> thank you. >> as i sit here, i am only going to speak with what's in the report. >> okay. go ahead. >> and as i mentioned in my statement, the comment was that mr. papadopoulos had made a suggestion that there had been a suggestion to the trump campaign that the russian government could provide information that would be damaging to candidate clinton and then president obama. >> so your report states that you didn't find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation played a role? >> that's correct. >> the thank you. and up didn't find a deep state conspiracy against candidate or president trump? >> as to the opening, we found no bias, no testimonial documentary on that. >> and no rational for a deep state that --
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>> we looked at mr. prestop as i noted who was the decision-maker. we did not find any everyday in his e-mails or texts of having engaged in any bias or having any bias. >> our fbi corrector wray provided a written response to your report accepting all of your findings. these include the key finding there was quote an authorized purpose and actual factual pred indication for the investigation. by contrast, attorney general barr expressed his doubt about the legitimacy of the fbi's investigation in press statements. did attorney general barr provide any evidence that caused you to alter this key finding that the fbi investigation had an adequate predicate? >> no, we stand by our finding. >> thank you. during your investigation, attorney general barr stated his belief that quote spying on the
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trump campaign did occur. end quote. and as you said, your investigation found no evidence that the fbi placed any confidential source within the trump campaign or tasked any confidential source to report on the trump campaign. that's correct, right? >> that's correct. >> further, no evidence of political bias or improper motivations influenced the decision to use confidential sources as part of the investigation? >> that's correct. >> did your office ask attorney general barr and u.s. attorney general -- u.s. attorney john durham to share whatever evidence they had that might be relevant to your investigation? >> we asked mr. durham to do that. >> and what about attorney general barr? >> and attorney general barr. >> thank you. so nothing they could provide altered your office's conclusion that the fbi did not place spies in the trump campaign?
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>> none of the discussions changed our findings here. >> thank you. in a press statement, issued monday, u.s. attorney john durham tasked by attorney general barr to also investigate the origins of the russia investigation stated and i quote, last month, we advised the ig that we do not agree with some of the report's conclusion as to pred indication and how the fbi case was opened. what's your reaction to that? >> well, i was surprised by the statement. i didn't necessarily know it was going to be released on monday. we did meet with mr. durham as i mentioned. we've provided him two a copy of the report as we did others to, through our factual accuracy review process. we met with him in november with regard to that, we did discuss the opening issue. he said he did not necessarily
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agree two our conclusion about the opening of a full counterintelligence investigation, which is what this was. but there are also an investigative means by which the fbi can move forward with an investigation. it's called the preliminary investigation. so there were two types of investigations, full and preliminary. they opened a full here. he said during the meeting that the information from the friendly foreign deposit was in his view sufficient to support the preliminary investigation. and as we note in the report, investigative steps such as confidential human source activity that occurred here are allowed under a preliminary investigation or under a full investigation. >> did either barr or durham present anything that altered your findings? >> no. >> i wanted to ask, since we have the author of the whistle blower legislation, very proudly
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sitting here, you previously told this committee that whistleblower rights and protections have been one of your highest priorities since becoming ig. as you know, there have been calls for the ukraine whistleblower to be identified publicly. even though that person was not a direct witness to the events. so what is your view? should the ukraine whistleblower's confidentiality be breached and that person identified publicly? and why not? >> so whistleblower protections have been one of my highest priorities. i appreciate working with all the members of the committee. obviously, particularly senator grassley. we wrote a letter recently as the ig communities quoting his statement on the issues and the importance of whistleblowers and whistleblowers have a right to expect complete, full confidentiality. and in all circumstances, it's in the law in the ig act, that congress wrote.
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and it's a very important provision. >> thank you. in a public hearing before the house intelligence committee, deputy secretary of state george kent testified that politically associated investigation through prosecutions against a points of those in power undermine the rule of law? do you agree with that? do politically motivated investigations undermine the rule of law? >> i agree. any politically motivated investigation undermines the rule of law. >> thank you have been much. did you find any evidence that president obama or anyone else in the white house asked the united states government to investigate then candidate trump or his campaign? >> we certainly didn't see any evidence that the fbi's files or the department's files which was our mandate here and authorized restriction. >> you have a policy information regarding the use of human
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sources. i'd like to ask you a few questions about it. your investigation found the use of confidential human sources was consistent with existing rules. correct? >> correct. >> the use of confidential human sources here was not solely to gather first amendment protected information? >> correct. and that is the standard currently in the rules. >> and you found no evidence that the decision to use confidential human sources was motivated by political bias. is that correct? >> correct. >> with regard to your policy recommendation, what, if anything, do you believe should be changed and why? >> so as i mention in my opening statement, i think we were surprised to learn and concerned to learn that in an investigation of any political national party political campaign, the confidential human source usage could be approved by only a first-level supervisor. in this insubstance as we note here, some of them were approved at the assistant director level.
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but they could have been approved at just the line supervisor level. for an investigation of a major party presidential campaign of either side, of any side, that's was concerning to us, particularly since there was not a requirement that any department lawyer whether at the national security division, the criminal division, the deputy attorney general's office, the attorney general's office needed to be notified. at any point in time. >> did you give interviews about your investigation while it was ongoing? >> i'm sorry did i -- >> did you give interviews? >> oh, myself? >> during the investigation? >> no, i do not do that. >> did anybody on the ig team? >> no and it would have been entirely inappropriate for them to do so. >> so just what -- i'd just like to clear this up, what are the dangers of discussing an investigation that's ongoing? >> so, i actually wrote and we wrote a 500-page report about that that we issued last year on
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the mid-year investigation and among other things criticized what occurred last year with regard to the handling of that investigation. ongoing investigations are -- need to be protected from outside influence. you don't know as an investigator or you shouldn't conclude as an investigator until are you done with the investigation, you shouldn't be reaching your conclusions until that point. and so giving preliminary ideas, advice, guidance, statements, can be misleading. and you should not be reaching final conclusions until you get to the end of the investigation. >> there is a lot of misimpression about two people. strzok and page. so i want to ask this question. for the last two years, president trump has relentlessly attacked former fbi officials as a way to undermine the investigation. for example, the president tweeted back and i quote, how
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can the wicked witch hunt provide when it was started influenced and worked on by peter strzok and lisa page who exchanged text messages critical of candidate trump? your investigation found that while lisa page attended some of the discussions regarding the opening of the investigations, she did not play a role in the decision to open crossfire hurricane. you also found that while strzok was directly involved in the decisions to open crossfire hurricane, he was not the sole or even the highest level decision-maker to any of those matters. >> that decision, as i understand it, was made by fbi assistant director prestap as you have indicated and by consensus after multiple days of discussions of meetings. most importantly, you found that the decision had a proper factual basis and that there is
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no evidence that quote political bias or improper motivation influenced it. so, based on your investigation, personal political views expressed in text messages did not motivate the opening of the investigation of ties between trump campaign advisers and russia. is that correct? >> that's correct. ultimate lip, we concluded that those text messages, which we found last year were entirely inappropriate didn't ultimately make, play this, play the role in mr. prestep's decision to open the investigation. >> thank you so your investigation also uncovered text messages between other fbi employees expressing support for candidate and president trump. correct? >> that's correct. >> so, fbi employees held personal political views that were both favorable and unfavorable toward the candidate
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at that time? >> that's correct. and as we note here, and we noted in last year's report, we did not find the text messages were inappropriate solely because people expressed a view as to which candidate they support or didn't support an election. what concerned us with the text messages we outlined last year and referenced again in this year's report as to certain individuals is the connection between their views and their work on the investigation. >> to conclude my questioning, what do you believe with your long experience are the most important points that this 400-plus page report brings forward? >> well, i think there were several, as you might expect in a 400-page report -- >> that's why i still have time. >> i think as we outline in the executive summary, first, it was
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opened with the proper predicate, sufficient pred indication by a person, mr. p mr. prestep, who was not a text person and senior to those people. third, that the confidential human source operations, while permitted by fbi policy, should cause everybody to give pause as to whether that policy is sufficient to provide accountability over decisions. >> well, that conclude my questioning. i want to say thank you and thank you to your staff. i am very grateful to the inspector general's office year in year out. thank you. >> thank you. >> i would yield we have all been watching and listening to the testimony of michael horowitz. we're going to take a quick
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michael horowitz testifying about the long awaited reported on the origins of the russia investigation. let's listen back in. >> with regard to that. >> does it refute the claims made by some that there's a deep state involved? >> it finds that it was a properly predicated investigation based on the rules at the fbi. >> and did you find anything where the fbi planted spies in mr. trump's campaign? >> we found no use of confidential human sources and placing them in the campaign or trying to put them in the campaign. >> i've used up 5 minutes. >> you'll get your ten minutes. >> i just want to let senator grassley go. >> has anybody been prosecuted or charged with any of this
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investigation? >> i'm sorry on this matter that i'm handling? >> yeah. >> no one that i'm aware of. >> following up on a question that senator feinstein asked, did the obama administration or president obama himself know about the counter intelligence investigation? >> i don't know the answer to that definitively. our authority was over the fbi and to look at the fbi and the department activities. >> in january 2018 chairman graham and i wrote to the fbi and the department referring christopher steel for investigation of potentially lying to the fbi. we told the fbi and the department that what the fbi told the court about steel's media contacts didn't match with what he told the british court. four questions in regard to that. did the fbi ever ask steel
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whether he was a source for the september 2016 yahoo news article that cited western intelligence sources, quote, unquote? if not, why not? >> they did not ask that question despite having the opportunity to do so. we got a variety of explanations including as to some of these issues that they didn't want to offend him or jeopardize their relationship with him. >> question two. on october 11th draft of the fisa application stating the fbi believed steel was the source for the yahoo news article but it was taken out in the october 14th draft. why did the fbi originally say steel was the source, and what factual basis did the fbi have to change that and tell the court that steel was not a source? >> this is what was so
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disturbing about that event, which is that the initial application said that the fbi assessed steel was a direct source. and on october 14th the drafts changed to the exact opposite. what we found is the fbi had no basis for the first statement, no evidence in their file. it turned out the first statement was, in fact, the accurate statement. the point, though, was they had no evidence to support that. and when they flipped it, they had no evidence to support that either. that's the kind of issue that under the basic woods procedures, had someone been doing their job and following up, they would have seen that and found that. and of course had they bothered to ask mr. steel, they might have found out which of the two versions was true. >> maybe they weren't interested in doing their job. question three, chairman graham and i sent our referral to the fbi and the doj on january 4th,
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2018. although the fbi already knew that british intelligence and fbi officials discussed litigation with director comey, the fbi never got steel's statement in that litigation until we provided them. the fbi also never considered updating the court on these statements. why d when did the court learn about these contradictory statements about whether steel did or didn't have contact with the media? and did anyone in the fbi seem concerned at all that it was not updating the fisk, the court, it was knowingly providing a court with incorrect and misleading information? >> so the fisa court first learned of it, at least as i unders


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