tv Hearing on Origins of FB Is Russia Inquiry Part 1 CSPAN December 26, 2019 2:28pm-3:15pm EST
candidates live on c-span or online at c-span .org or listen live on the free c-span radio app. up next, testimony from inspector general michael horwitz on the recent report alleging abuses of the foreign intelligence surveillance facts known as pfizer. he also addresses the justice department's decision to start the investigation into president trump's 2016 campaign and the possible relationship with russia. the senate judiciary committee hearing is about 5.5 hours. [inaudible conversations]
would it be okay if they raised their hands? is that all right? >> if they are okay with it, i am okay with it. >> thank you all. you have labored hard and your work product is impressive and i just want to thank you all for what you've done for the country mr. horwitz, i'm dying to hear from you but i bet i have not made 20 minutes of opening statements so i will take a little bit longerr to try to lay out what i think is the force as a nation. crossfire hurricane was probably the best name ever given to an investigation in history of investigations because that is what we wound up with a cross fire and a hurricane. there's been a lot of media reports about your report before it was issued. i remember reading all these headlines and in lawful investigation with a fear of
regularity. everything -- okay, low-level people kind of got off track. if that is what you get out of this report you clearly did not read it. if that is your take away and this is lawfully predicated and that is the main point you missed the entire report. how do you get a headline like that and that's what you wanted to be? you wanted to be that an nothing more. i can assure you if this had been a democratic president going to what president trump had gone through that would not have been the headline. the headline would be the fbi takes law into its own hands. biased agents cut corners. lied to courts. ignore exoneration. the first thing i want you to know t is how the cake is baked here. my goal is to make sure that
people when this is over whether you like trump, heat trump and don't care about trump you look at this is more than a few irregularities. if this becomes fewer irregularities in america then god help us all. now, the people that were in charge of this investigation were handpickedd. they were handpicked by mr. mccabe who is now high up in the fbi, the number two guy. the first question i will ask in a bit is this the best of the best? are these the peopleer normal representatives of the deferment of justice and the fbi? i hope you will say no because i believe it tot be no. if i believed otherwise i would be incredibly depressed.
so, ladies and gentlemen, i will assume something for the sake of argument. there was a lawful predicate to open up the counterintelligence investigation and i want you to know the standard to open one up is about like that. i also want you to know the counterintelligence investigation is not a criminal investigation. they are not trying to solve a crime but they are trying to stop foreign powers from interfering in america. i counterintelligence investigation is designed to protect americans from foreign influence. i want the american people to know there was an effort to affect hillary clinton's campaign by foreign actors. thert fbi picked up that effort and they briefed her about it and they were able to stop it.
we will be receiving a defensive briefing tomorrow as a committee from the fbi to tell us all about what we should be watching for and they may be specific thoughts but i don't know but i know they will revise to protect us, not to survey loss. from the time they opened up crossfire hurricane in this debacle was over they never made any effort to brief donald trump about suspected problems within his campaign. they had one briefing, talking about, you know, the russians are out there and you better be aware. nothing about carter page, nothing about papadopoulos, nothing about the other people that they thought might be working with the russians. why did they not tell him that? i hope you can give us an answ
answer. bottom line, ladies and gentlemen, i counterintelligence investigation is a good thing until it becomes a bad thing. because itt doesn't take much to open one and the worst thing can happen is for people to open one up whose real purpose is not to protect an american but to surveilled them. senator feinstein found herself in a situation all of us may one day find ourselves in. a longtime employee was suspected ofti having ties to a foreign government. they informed her and she took appropriate action. how easy would it be for somebody to calm in our campaigns as a volunteer and we really don't know who they are and you appreciate any help you can get and as it would be for all of us to get caught up in this scenario. i hope all of us would
appreciate if you really believe there is somebody w in my campan working with a foreign power, please tell me. so, i can do something about it. why didn't they tell trump? we will figure that out later but i think it's a question that needs to be asked. so, for a moment let's assume there was a lawful predicate to open up the counterintelligence investigation. what has been described as a fewer irregularities because of a massive criminal conspiracy over time to defraud the fisa court and to a legally surveilled american citizen and keep an operation open against a sitting president of the united states violating every norm known to the rule of law. many of us are prosecutors and many have been u.s. attorneys and many have event defense attorneys and trumps a time will come and go but i hope we understand that what happened here can never happen again
because what happened here is not a fewer irregularities but what happened here was a system failed. people at thes highest level of our government took the law into their own hands and when i say defraud the fisa court, i mean it. to your team you are able to uncover and discover abuse of power i never believed would actually exist in 2019. how bad is it? it was as if j edgar hoover had come back to life. the old fbi, the fbi that had a chip on his shoulder and wanted to intimidate people and find out what was going on in your life and the law be damned. martin luther king and just fill in the names. so, who ran this thing?
the people were handpicked by mccabe and the number two guy at the fbi. the supervisory agent, the deputy assistant director for counterintelligence is peter strock and he's a big player and all things crossfire hurricane and lisa page you may have heard of her and who is she. she was an fbi lawyer working for mccabe and these are two central characters in this debacle and let me tell you little bit about who these people are and where they are coming from. thanks to a lot of hard work by people from mr. horwitz, fbi and others here is what we know. peter strzok the front line
supervisor, february 12, 2016 oh, he's trump, he's abysmal. i keep hoping this raid will end and people would just dump him. the problem then is that rubio will likely lose to cruise. i never quite made it and i can understand why they would not consider me a serious candidate. the republican party is utter shamblesr . when was the last competitive ticket they offered? march 3, 2016. page, god, trump is a loathsome human. peter stzrok, oh my god, he's an idiot. do you know what newsrooms all over the country people are not --dash this represents the attitude of a lot of people in america and you can have that attitude but you cannot be in the journalism business and you should not be at the fbi.
if you are in the military and you saidd any thing like thisu about a commander-in-chief you would be charged with a crime. remember the mcchrystal buckle ewhere they had a barroom discussion with a reporter from the rolling stone and explicit take away, don't go to a bar with a rolling stone reporter and they started talking about how they did not like joe biden and i was when the first people to state that is out of bounds. you can have all the political opinions you want but if you are an officer in the united states military you will park those opinions and you will not speak ill of the commander in chief but that is not a rule that the fbi department of justice. march 16, 2016, i cannot believe donald trump is likely to be actual serious candidate for president. july 16 we are getting closer to when this thing opens. ehile donald trump is an enormous d ouc ag. again, a lot of people agree.
trump rarely spoke but the first thing out of his mouth as we will win so big. the whole thing is like living in a bad dream for july 19, 2016. trump is a disaster. i have no idea how to destabilizing his presence would be an a lot of people believe you are entitled to be happy or not supposed to be investigated. july 30, investigation opens. damn, this builds momentum about the investigation because this matters and the others wanted to but that was to ensure we didn't something up in this matters because this matters. super glad to be on this voyage with you and i hope you understand what this voyage was about. august 8, 2016. three days before peter strzok was named the front line supervisor and he's not ever going to become president, right? page two peter strzok. peter stzrok, no, no he won't.
we will stop it. these are the people in charge. august 15, 2016. i want to believe the path he throughout for consideration in andy's office that there is no way he gets elected. i'm afraid we can't take that risk that the american people will pick their president that is what they are saying. it's an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you are 40. august 26, 2016. just went to southern virginia walmart and i could smell the trump support. people in charge. october 11, 2016. currently fighting with stu for the fisa. stu was the lawyer who thought this thing wasre not on the up d up.
stood his ground until he could not stand it anymore. eventually he got run over. october 19, i am all riled up and trump is an eff ing idiot and unable to provide a coherent effort. "the new york times" probability is dropping every day and i'm scared for our organization, november 32016. oh my god, this is eff ing terrifying referencing an article entitled a victory by trump remains possible. november 9, 2016. are you ever going to give out your calendars? some kind of depressing. maybe it should be the first meeting of the secret society. november 13, i brought or i bought all the presidents men and i figure i needed to brush up oni watergate. november 13, 2016.
finally two pages away from finishing all the presidents men, page two peter strzok. what, god that would be so lucky in may 182017 the date page accepted a position on the special counsel's team. for me, in this case, i sense ofy have a unfinished business. i am least with an i.e., whatever that means, and now i need to fix it and finish it. strock, who gives an f? one more assistant director or whoever an investigation leading to impeachment. may 2017. you and i both know the odds are
nothing if i thought it was likely i would be there -- i would be there no question. i hesitate in part just because of my gut concerned that there is no big they are there. talking about impeachment. may 22, 2017. i am torn and i think no, i'm more irreplaceable than you are in this and i'm the best for it but there are others who can do it okay. you are different and more unique and this is yours. talking to paige. this is the front line supervisor and the lawyer to the cape. there is a guy named kleinsmith who eventually alters an
e-mail from the cia through the
department of justice and the fbi and mr. horwitz has been found this out and how they did it, i will never know. i'm jumping ahead here. when you read this report what they find is that a lawyer supervising the fisa process at the fbi according to mr. horwitz doctored an e-mail from the ciai to the fbi and he will be referred for criminal prosecution. why is that important? carter page who has been on the receiving end of all of this and the foundation to believe he was a foreign agent comes from a dossier that we will talk about in a minute and that dossier provided by his diverse deal, we can talk about him in a minute, they claim that carter page meets with three people
known to be russians. russian agents, people
associated with russiah. carter page while being wiretapped by his government says i don't know two of these people and to this day there are stno proof that he ever met twof those three. the third person he says yeah, i met him and i told the cia about my meeting because i was the source for the cia. they would have you believe that carter page is working against our government. not with our government. so, carter page in the summer of 2017 isot trying to tell anybody and everybody i was working with the cia and i reported my contact with this person and nobody believed him. the cia had told the fbi it was true earlier. it never made it through the
system. somebody got so rattled at the fbi that they asked mr. kleinsmith to check it out. he checks it out. he communicates with the cia and his -- is carter page a source for you? in an e-mail exchange they say yes, he is. what does mr. kleinsmith do? he alters the e-mail to say no, he's not. you caught him. i don't know how you caught him because you got to dig into this e-mail chain. it would be getting a lab report from the fbi and the fingerprints don't match and the agent says they do. that is how bad this is. now let me tell you a little bit about mr. kleinsmith, if i can find it. this is the lawyer supervising
the pfizer warned process. the guy that alters the cia e-mail because he did not want the court to know that carter page actually was a source and if the court had known then there's a lawful reason for mr. paige to be talking to the russian guy and he wasn't working against his country but working with his country, which undercuts the idea he was a foreign agent but that's why kleinsmith lied because he did not want to stop this investigation. this is after the election. i am so stressed about what i could have done differently. the day after the election i just devastated. i cannot wait until i can leave today and just shut off the world for the next four days. i'm sure a lot of people felt that way after trump got elected, maybe still feel that way but you shouldn't be in charge of supervising anything about donald trumpel if you feel that way.
i just can't imagine the systematic disassembly of the progress we made over the last eight years. the obama administration. they are crazies and this is the lawyer that they put in charge of supervising the warrant process. this is the tea party on steroids. i'm sure there are newsrooms all of america saying that is right. what is wrong with that? also, pence is stupid. whatever. this is what the guy thanks. right after the election and it is just hard not to feel like the fbi called some of this and it was a razor thin in some states. plus, my god damn name is all over the legal documents investigating trumps staff.
and this is the one that gets me the most. november 22, shortly after the election of donald j trump the fbi lawyer in charge of supervising the fisa process tweets out to friends, viva the resistance. what are the odds that this guy might do something wrong? what you have to be part of a right-wing conspiracy to t predt in the future maybe this guy will get off script? folks, if these are fewer regularities the rule of law in this country is dead. here is the good news. these are not a few irregularities but these are a few bad people. they couldew not believe trump one, did not want to believe and
do not want him to win and when he won cannot tolerate the fact that he won. all these smelly people elected him. this is bad stuff. if you get out of this report lawful investigation with a few irregularities it says more about you than mr. horwitz and how the hell did this whole thing start? what got us here today? they open up a counterintelligence investigation july and we know the russians are messing in our election and it was the russians, ladies and gentlemen, restore the democratic national committee e-mail, podesta's e-mails, screwed around with hillary clinton but it wasn't the ukrainians but the russians. they are coming after us again. so to be concerned that the russians are messing with presidential campaigns was a legitimate concern.a
as they looked around at the trump campaign and said well, let's see if we can protect the trump campaign. carter page went to moscow and erde speeches and if you've ever met carter page one thing will not accuse him of his being james bond. this poor guy, papadopoulos, picked sam clovis to be part of the national security team in the national security team was literally picked up off the street and if you've had a photo with donald trump and spent more time with donald trump then alpadopoulos and page. they are not paid but volunteers. but the fbi thanks we need to watch these guys so man affords as well as who was the other on. they open up a m counterintelligence investigation and let's assume for a moment the small predicates you need has been m
met. what the hell happened after they open it up? what did they find? were there suspicions validated? or did they find at every turn it's really not true and they ignored it? so, one of the firsthe things ty tried to do was to get a warrant under the foreign intelligence surveillance act to follow up carter page a volunteer for the campaign in american systems. they apply for the warrant internally in august of 2016 and the lawyers say you don't have enough. why? because they had nothing. maybe this reasonable articulation is the small but to get a warrant from the court you got to have probable cause. the lawyer saying you don't have it. everybody is now frustrated folks. that's not the right answer. so, mccabe suggests, the number
two guy at the fbi, let's go look at this steel dossier. maybe that will get us over the hump, stay tuned. we talk about that in a minute. in september 19 for the first time they introduce the steel dossier into the warrant application process and it worked. september 201 -- september 21 they get a signoff that says let's go get a warrant and the dossier got them to where they wanted to go and as you say, mr. horwitz, it was central and basically out comes determinative and without this dossier they go nowhere and with it they are off to the races. ... ... dossier, they go nowhere with it, they're off to the races. who is christopher steele? you thought these other people
were bad. wait till you hear about this guy. christopher steele was a former mi-6, is that right? 6, 5, whatever it is. he was a >> he was hired by a company called fusion gps to investigate donald trump. okay. you want to look at foreign influence? you are about to find it. fusion gps is on the payroll of the democratic national party. christopher steele is working for a company to find dirt on trump, and the money comes from the democratic party. did they tell the court this? no. is that a bit unnerving? would be to me. so christopher steele is on the payroll of a company funded by the democratic party. here's what bruce ohr told the
fbi about steele. he was desperate that donald trump not get elected and was passionate about him not being the u.s. president. this is the guy that gave them the work product to get the warrant. steele told ohr that if trump won the elections steele's source network may be in jeopardy by a new director and new agency heads appointed by trump who would have a higher degree of loyalty to the new president and could decide to take action against steele and his source network. let me tell you about christopher steele. ohr was right, he was on a mission to get donald trump. not only did he provide the dossier that made the difference in getting a warrant, his vices were well known. he was shopping the dossier. do i have it? to anybody and everybody in the
media and in politics to see if they would print it. the reason the fbi cut him loose is because they found out he was shopping this thing around to media outlets, rather than being is a valid source. but after they knew he was shopping it around, they kept him around anyway, because mr. ohr kept talking to him. bruce ohr's wife worked with christopher steele. she was employed by fusion gps. the wife of the number four guy at the fbi. christopher steele went all over the united states trying to get media outlets to publish this garbage. the first thing is about the golden shower, about the sexual encounter that president trump supposedly had in a ritz carlton hotel in russia. let me tell you how i come to
find out about christopher steele's work product. in december of 2016, john mccain goes to national security conference in canada and somebody tells him about the steele dossier and it's bad and you need to know about it, and it gets to john mccain. john mccain puts it in his safe. he gives it to me, and i read it. the first thing i thought of was oh my god, one of two things, this could be russian disinformation or they may have something on trump. if you read this document, the first thing you would think of is they got something on donald trump. it is stunning. it is damning. it is salacious, and it is a bunch of crap. they finally find the guy that
prepared all the information, but a little bit about steele. in 2015, the british intelligence service said you need to watch this guy. he's not reliable. they take time to go to london to check steele out, and they are told he demonstrates lack of self-awareness, poor judgment, keen to help but underpinned by poor judgment, judgment pursuing people political risk but no intel value. if you had spent 30 minutes looking at christopher steele, you would understand this guy is bias. he's got an ax to grind. he's on the payroll of the opposing party. take anything he says with a grain of salt. in january 2017, the fbi figures out who the sub source of the steele dossier is what you need to know, this is
not what steele found himself, this is what he gathered from one person. they finally found out who this one person is. they go talk to him in january 2017. where's that summary? five people interview the primary sub source, the guy that provided steele with everything. and they showed him the dossier. read pages 186 to 190. what does the russian guy tell the fbi about the dossier? that steele misstated or exaggerated the prime sub source's statement, that trump's alleged activities at the ritz carlton hotel in moscow was rumor and speculation. he went on to say he heard it at a bar. and in the report, it suggests
that a western employee of the ritz carlton confirmed this escapade by then private citizen trump. when he read that, he said that's not true. i never told steele that somebody working for the ritz carlton confirmed this. i heard it at a bar. primary sub source stated that he never expected steele to put the primary sub source's statements in reports or present them as facts. they were word of mouth and hearsay, conversations had with friends over beers, were statements made in jest that should be taken with a grain of salt. so in january of 2017, the person who did all the assembling of the information for the now famous steele dossier tells the fbi i disavow everything in there.
now, what should happen? time-out? let's reassess? maybe we got this wrong. what would you happen to happen? that the fbi would slow down because this is the outcome determinative document that has just had a hole blown through it. they don't slow down. they use the document they now know to be a bunch of garbage twice more to get a warrant against carter page. i hope carter page gets a lawyer and sues the hell out of the department of justice and the fbi. two more warrants were obtained by the department of justice and the fbi, after being told in january by the russian guy it's all a bunch of bull. but it gets worse. here's how they describe the interview to the court: the fbi found that the russian-based sub
source to be truthful and cooperative. nothing about and oh by the way, he said everything in there is a bunch of bull. you knew in january 2017 if there was no doubt before, you know by the guy who prepared it, that he disavowed everything. it is not true. it is a grain of salt. i didn't say all these things. instead of stopping, they keep going, and instead of telling the court the truth, what they're required to do, they lie to the court. a few irregularities. how would you like this to happen in your life? how would you like to be on the receiving end of this? to our people in the news business, what would you -- how would you like this to be your news organization? in january of 2017, there's no benefit of the doubt to be given. these five people from the
department of justice and the fbi have been told by the one guy who did all the work, it's a bunch of garbage, and the question is, how far up the system did it go? why did they apply for a warrant twice more? why didn't they stop? everybody wants to know was there any bias here? what motivated these people? why do you think they kept going? maybe because they were on a mission not to protect trump, but to protect us from trump. that's what they were trying -- protect all of us people from donald trump. that's what this is about. whether you believe it or not, i believe it. you know what? it could happen to you all next time. there's some pretty passionate people on our side that i wouldn't be investigating any of you. so what happens next? they get a warrant twice more when they know it is a bunch of
garbage. they lie to the court about the actual interview. i don't know what mccabe and comey knew but i'm dying to find out and should they have known. june 2016 -- 2017, this is the next time they take the law in their own hands. mr. klinesmith, six months after being told the dossier is a bunch of garbage, he alters an e-mail from the cia to change it from he is to he's not because if they had told the court that page was working for the cia, it explains the contact in the dossier. mr. kleinsmith had a chance in his mind to make things right and he took it. why did he take the law in his own hands? why did he doctor the e-mail?
did it have anything to do with the way he sees donald trump's presidency? you know what? it really doesn't matter what he was thinking. it matters what he did. i'm glad you found out what he did. i'm glad you told the country what he did because i'm hoping nobody will ever do it again. mr. horowitz, the 17 irregularities that you found, some of them are earth shattering. some of them should scare the hell out of all of us. i want to end sort of where i began, this is not normal. don't judge the fbi and the department of justice by these characters. we are better than this. like many of you, i have worked
with the fbi a lot of my time in the government. i have a great respect for it. director wray, off problem. for this hearing to mean anything, we have got to fix it. and the way we fix it is listen to mr. horowitz and get the director of the fbi in here to try to find out a way to make sure this never happens again to any politician in this country. it is trump today. it could be you or me tomorrow. imagine, ladies and gentlemen, if they could do this to the candidate for the president of the united states, what could they do to you? so the trump presidency will end in a year or five years. i don't know when. i hope he gets reelected, but we can't write this off as being just about one man or one event.
we've got to understand how off the rails the system got. i will leave with some optimism here. i think democrats and republicans are willing to make sure this never happens again, that if you open up a counterintelligence investigation on a presidential campaign in the future, there needs to be more checks and balances. i want you to audit the fisa process. mike lee and senator leahy are probably the standard-bearers for civil liberties, cruz, a lot of people, we all care, but these are the two that constantly want to make sure that somebody's watching those who watch us. they're worried about -- [inaudible]. while i may not agree -- >> we leave this hearing for a moment take you live to the senate for a brief pro forma session.
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