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tv   Hearing on Origins of FB Is Russia Inquiry Part 1  CSPAN  December 26, 2019 3:15pm-4:46pm EST

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the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., december 26, 2019. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable john kennedy, a senator from the state of louisiana, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: chuck grassley, president pro tempore. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands adjourned until 2:00 p.m. on monday, december 30, 2019. adjourn:e rules on how
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you start a counterintelligence investigation and the checks and balances that we need. mr. >> we return now to the hearing on the fbi russia inquiry. >> -- underlying problem, the system in the hands of a few bad people can do a lot of damage. thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i assume there is no time limit. >> take all the time you need. >> well, i won't take a long time, but i've been reading these reports, ladies and gentlemen now, for 25 years. and i have great appreciation for this inspector general. i just want to make those personal remarks. this is a tough arena, and as you can see, there are very tough people that are part of that arena, but to have an inspector general who tells its as they see it and does this year after year is a saving
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grace, and i hope people will get this report. if i have a grievance, it is that the print is too small. >> i agree with that. >> thank you very much. and it is heavy to carry around. but last year this inspector general pledged to congress that he would examine whether political bias played a role in the fbi's decision to investigate ties between russia and the trump campaign. the inspector general kept his promise. his office conducted a 19-month investigation. they interviewed more than 100 witnesses, reviewed more than a million documents, and issued this 434-page report that contains several important findings. first, on a question of bias, inspector general horowitz found
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no evidence that political or antitrump bias was at play. according to the ig's report, the fbi complied with existing department and fbi policies in opening the investigation, and the ig, quote, did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced this decision, end quote, or any specific investigative steps taken by the fbi. that's the finding. and this is important. why? in public statements, beginning last spring, the attorney general expressed his belief that senior government officials may have, quote, put a thumb on the scale, end quote, because of political bias against trump. his comments echoed the
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president, who has repeatedly alleged that there is a deep state within the government against him. he has used this to dismiss the entire russia investigation as a witch hunt and a hoax. the ig's report conclusively refutes these games. -- these claims. this is not a politically motivated investigation. there is no deep state. simply put, the fbi investigation was motivated by facts, not bias. secondly, the inspector general confirmed that there was an adequate predicate, meaning a legitimate factual and legal basis to investigate. the basis was not as some have claimed the so-called steele dossier. in fact, reporting from mr. steele played no role in opening the investigation.
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instead, this report confirms that the fbi opened the investigation after being told by australia, a trusted foreign ally, that trump advisor george papadopoulos had learned in 2016 the month of april that russia had and was willing to release, quote, information during the campaign that would be damaging to candidate clinton, end quote. the ig report found that, quote, this information provided the fbi with the factual basis that if true, quote, indicated activity constituting either a federal crime or a threat to national security or both may have occurred or may be occurring. the ig also found that when the fbi learned that in late july
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2016, the bureau was aware of russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 elections, including russian hacking of democratic campaign computers, materials stolen by russia had been released on-line, included by wikileaks, and the u.s. intelligence community assessed in august of 2016 that, quote, russia was considering further intelligence operations to impact and disrupt elections, end quote. against this backdrop, the fbi was obligated to investigate possible ties to the trump campaign. according to bill -- the fbi assistant director who authorized opening the investigation, other officials
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conveyed a similar obligation a sense of urgency to investigate. a national security division chief said it would have been, and i quote, a dereliction of duty and responsibility of the highest order not to commit the appropriate resources as urgently as possible to run these facts to the ground and find out what was going on, end quote. the decision to open the investigation was unanimous. not a single official disagreed. as a result, america ultimately learned extensive details about russia's sweeping and systemic attack on the 2016 election, including that the trump campaign knew about, welcomed, and, quote, expected it would benefit electorally, end quote, from russia's efforts.
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the inspector general's report also identifies several errors made by fbi and justice department line personnel when seeking warrants for surveillance on carter page from the fisa court. fbi director wray submitted a written response accepting the ig's findings, including the key finding that the fbi had sufficient cause to investigate the trump's campaign ties to russia. director wray also said that the ig's findings of fisa errors are, and i quote, constructive criticism that will make us stronger as an organization. and that he has already taken action to address the ig's recommendations. by contrast, attorney general barr issued a press release that
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continues to criticize the fbi for investigating the trump campaign. it's really extraordinary that the attorney general continues to make unsupported attacks on the agency that he is responsible for leading. i believe strongly that it's time to move on from the false claims of political bias and those who showed great interest in the question of politically motivated investigations against president trump should show the same concern about politically-motivated investigations requested by the president or his attorney general. inspector general horowitz, i want to thank you on behalf of this side and your staff for the hard work. we look forward to hearing from you. >> thank you, mr. horowitz. >> chairman graham, senator, feinstein, members of the
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committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today. the report that my office released this week is the product of a comprehensive and exhaustive review conducted over the past 19 months by an oig team that examined more than 1 million documents in the departme department's and fbi's possession, including others that were provided to the fbi. our team conducted more than 170 interviews involving more than 100 witnesses and we documented all of our findings in the 434 page report that we issued this week. i would encourage everybody to read the report, although i understand 400 plus page reports can be hard to get through. we do have a 19-page executive summary with it, which i would encourage people to read at a minimum. i want to commend also the
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tireless efforts of our outstanding review team for conducting such rigorous and effective independent oversight. it is exactly what we are supposed to do as inspectors general. the fbi investigation that's the subject of this report was opened on july 31, 2016, days after the fbi received reporting from a friendly foreign government. the reporting stated that in a may 2016 meeting with the friendly foreign government, trump campaign foreign policy advisor george papadopoulos suggested, quote, suggested the trump team had received some kind of a suggestion closed quote from russia that it could assist in the election process with the anonymous release of information during the campaign that would be damaging to candidate clinton and then president obama. following receipt of that information, the fbi opened cross fire hurricane. given the nature and sensitivity of such an investigation, we
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would have expected fbi personnel to faithfully adhere to the fbi's detailed policies practices and norms. the fbi has developed and earned a reputation as one of the world's premier law enforcement agencies in significant part because of its adherence to those policies and its tradition of professionalism, impartiality and nonpolitical enforcement of the law. however, our review identified significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised, particularly the fbi's failure to adhere to its own standards of accuracy and completeness when filing applications with the foreign surveillance intelligence -- applications for foreign intelligence surveillance act authority known as fisa to surveil carter page, a u.s. person who was connected to the trump for president campaign. we determined that the decision to open cross fire hurricane was
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made by the then fbi counterintelligence division's assistant director and his decisions reflected a consensus reached after multiple days of discussions and meetings among senior fbi officials. we reviewed department of fbi policies and concluded that assistant director's exercise of discretion in opening the investigation was in compliance with those policies. we also reviewed as we detail in the report this e-mails, text messages and other documents of those involved in that decision and particularly those, and we did not find documentary or 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 department and fbi predication policy, which by the way is not
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a legal requirement, but rather a prudential one in the fbi and department policies, we found that cross fire hurricane was opened for an authorized investigative purpose and with sufficient factual predication. this decision to open cross fire hurricane, which involved the activities of individuals associated with a national major party campaign for president, was under department and fbi policy a discretionary judgment left to the fbi. as we point out in our report, there was no requirement that department officials be consulted or even notified of that decision prior to the fbi making that decision. consistent with this policy, the fbi advised supervisors in the department's 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
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investigative activity could substantially impact certain civil liberties, and that notice allows senior department officials to consider the potential constitutional and prudential implications in 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 cross fire hurricane investigation and conducted -- and the fbi conducted several monitored recorded meetings between fbi confidential human resources which are referred to as chs and individuals affiliated with the trump campaign, including a high level official who was not a subject of the fbi 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
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operation, even in circumstances where what was only required was first level supervisory agent approval, and that the operations were permitted under department and fbi policy because their use was not for the sole purpose of monitoring activities protected by the 1st 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 bias or improper motivation influenced the fbi's decision to conduct those chs operations. additionally, we found no evidence of the fbi attempted to place chss within or report on the trump campaign or recruit members of the trump campaign as chss. however, we were concerned that under applicable department and fbi policy, it would have been sufficient for a first level fbi and supervisor to operate the
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sensitive domestic chs operations undertaken in cross fire hurricane and that there is no applicable department or fbi policy requiring the fbi to notify the department of officials of a 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 in the mid year investigation, which was the clinton e-mail investigation, or in this investigation, the fbi could have at the supervisory agent level, so one level removed from a line agent, authorized an undercover or authorized a confidential human source to have a consensually monitored conversation with either of the presidential candidates, with no notice to the department of justice or any lawyer in the department of justice. in cross fire hurricane, where each of the operations had the potential to gather sensitive campaign information protected by the 1st amendment, we found
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no evidence that the fbi consulted with department officials before conducting those operations and no policies i just noted requiring them to do so. we concluded that current department and fbi policies are not sufficient to ensure appropriate oversight and accountability when such operations potentially implicates sensitive constitutionally protected activity and that requiring department consultation at a minimum would be appropriate. and we make a recommendation to that effect. one investigative tool which the department and the fbi policy does expressly require -- express advance approval by a senior department official is the seeking of a court order under fisa. when the cross fire hurricane team first proposed seeking a fisa order targeting carter page, in mid august 2016, fbi attorneys assisting the investigation considered it a, quote, close call, closed quote, and the fisa order was not
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requested at the time. however, in september 2016, immediately after the cross fire hurricane team received reporting from christopher steele, concerning page's alleged recent activities with russian officials, fbi attorneys advised the department that it was ready to move forward with a request to obtain fisa authority to surveil page. fbi and department officials told us the steele reporting quote pushed the fisa proposal over the line closed quote in terms of establishing probable cause, and we concluded that the steele reporting played a central and essential role in the decision to seek a fisa order. fbi leadership supported relying on steele's reporting to seek a fisa order after being advised of concerns expressed by a department attorney that steele may have been hired by someone associated with a rival candidate or campaign. surveillance authority under
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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 this authority unavoidably raises civil liberties concerns. fisa orders can be used to surveil u.s. persons and in some cases the surveillance will foresee bly collect information about the individual's constitutionally protected activities, such as carter page'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 ex parte, 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
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court-authorized search warrants and wiretap applications are potentially through the criminal process. in light of these concerns, the fisa statute and department and fbi policies and procedures have established important safeguards 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 accura accurate closed quote presentation of the facts. and 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
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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 and a total of 17 by the final renewal application. for example, the cross fire hurricane team obtained information from steele's primary sub source, in january 2017, that raised significant questions about the reliability of the steele reporting. this was particularly noteworthy because the fisa applications relied entirely on information from the steele -- i'm sorry, from the primary sub source's reporting to support the allegation that page was coordinating with the russian government on 2016 u.s. presidential election activities. however, the fbi did not share this information with department lawyers, and it was therefore omitted from the last two renewal applications.
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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 its prior relationship with page, with carter page, including the carter page had been approved as an operational contact for that other agency from 2008 to 2013 that page 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 page 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 of lawyers and the fisa court. and the fisa applications made it appear as though the evidence
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supporting probable cause was stronger than was actually the case. we also found basic fundamental and serious errors during the completion of the fbi's factual accuracy reviews, known as the woods procedures, which are designed to ensure that fisa applications contain a full and accurate presentation of the facts. department lawyers and the court should have been 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
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investigation progressed and more information tended to undermine or weaken the assertions in the fisa applications, investigators did not reassess the information 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 or 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 outline here are deeply concerned that so many basic 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
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for the use of fisa authority related so closely to an ongoing presidential campaign, and even though those involved with the investigation knew that their actions would likely be subjected to close scrutiny. the circumstances reflect the failure as we outline in the report not just by those who prepared the applications, but also by the managers and supervisors in the cross fire 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 is 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
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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 oig 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 chain 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 oig announced this week that we're initiating an audit that will further examine the fbi's compliance with woods procedures and fisa applications that target u.s. persons not only in
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counterintelligence investigations but also importantly in counterterrorism investigations. the oig report made a number of other recommendations to the department and the fbi. we believe that implementation of those recommendations including 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 rigorous oversight of these matters in the months and years ahead, including the recommendations that we made in this week's report. that concludes by statement, and i'd be pleased to answer any questions the committee may have. >> thank you very much. again, to your team thank you for the service you have done to the country here. the fbi -- the former fbi director james comey said this
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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 vindicate anybody who touched this. >> let's run a clip here. this is what comey said in 2018. it would be nice to have sound. do we have sound? okay. never mind. i will read it. director comey, the reporter is asking him, can i ask you a question on fisa abuse? it's a major issue for the republicans. do you have total confidence in the dossier when you used it to secure surveillance warrant and also in the subsequent renewals? 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
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responsible way by doj and the fbi. i think the nation -- i think the notion that fisa was abused here is nonsense. would it be fair to say that you take issue with that statement? >> certainly our findings were that there were significant -- >> when comey speaks about fisa, you shouldn't listen. you should listen to mr. h mr. horowitz -- horowitz. he's not vindicated and to be concerned about the fisa warrant process is not nonsense. christopher steele, was there a bias against donald trump? >> given who he was paid by there was a bias to the court. >> did it seem he had a personal bias, not just because he was on the payroll of the democratic party? >> from mr. ohr that 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
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the warrant against carter page. he's paid for by the democratic party and he personally believes it's bad for donald trump to win. he's marketing the dossier which is baunch a bunch of garbage to anybody and to 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 of lawyers. >> -- department lawyers. >> okay. so let's play this out. in january 2017, when they figured out the primary sub source and they talk to the russian guy that provided steele all the information, what should the fbi have done at that moment? >> two things, considered internally where things stood and most importantly told the lawyers at the justice department who they were asking to help them get a fisa. >> there are five people in that interview; right? >> correct. >> are you going to make sure
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those five people are known to the higher-ups. >> they are all part of the referral i mentioned earlier. >> okay. did they have a duty to report to their supervisors and eventually to the court exculpatory information? >> absolutely. >> 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. >> fair enough. we're talking about actions now and trying to figure out what would motivate people. do you think comey, mccabe should have known? >> that's a challenging question as we explain 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 information flows upstream. >> would you be surprised if it didn't make it up the system? something this earth shattering. >> i'm not going to speculate as
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to why it might or might not -- >> did strzok know? >> there were three iterations of the team. mr. strzok actually transitions off on this matter in january of 2017. so it's not -- i might have to go back and look precisely. >> in february, he mentions that steele can't verify >> correct. >> so it's pretty clear to me that it got up. 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 renewals, the last two applications, they told the court that they had interviewed steele's primary sub source, upon whom steele relied in writing the reporting, and that they found the primary sub source 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
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found the primary sub source credible, you couldn't have also found the steele reporting credible. >> did they mislead the court? >> that was misleading to the court and to the department to not know that information. >> they did two things in january of 2017. they failed to report obviously exculpatory information, and when they did report to the court about the interview, they lied about it. >> let me add also -- >> okay. >> -- that a year later, 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 sub source information, and so when the department in its letter said that it still stood behind the fisa application, they referenced the primary sub source again and the fact that the fbi found that -- >> interesting.
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are these the best and brightest we have? >> well, certainly the fbi -- the actions of the fbi agents on this were not up to the standards of the fbi. >> 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. clinesmith, who is he? >> i'm going to defer on speaking about people who we don't name specifically in the report. >> okay. who is the guy that -- tell me about the guy that altered the e-mail from the cia. >> so there was a lawyer in the office of general counsel at the fbi who was the line attorney working with the agents and counterparts at the national security division on the fisa.
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and that individual in june of 2017, as the last application was being prepared and immediately following mr. page, carter page going to news outlets after word of the fisa hit the news media and said to the news media, i was someone who worked with u.s. intelligence agencies, not someone who works against them. lawyers and agents went and said we've 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 in the e-mail referenced the august 2016 memorandum that that agency had
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provided to the fbi that i mentioned in my opening statement, the fbi did no follow-up on, and said what that liaison's general recollection was that mr. page was or is someone who still -- who had a relationship with the entity, with the other government agency, but that the lawyers should go look at the report for confirmation. the lawyer then had a conversation with the fbi agent who was going to be the person who swore out that final application, fisa application. the agent told us in his detail, he was concerned about what he had learned about what page said publicly and wanted a definitive answer as he put it as to
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weather page -- >> if carter page was actually telling the truth it changes one of the predicates to consider him before an agent? >> that was the concern of the agent. it was the agent who going to be swearing out -- >> certainly it would be helpful to mr. page. >> it certainly could have and may well have been very helpful to mr. page. >> okay. >> but at a minimum, without any doubt, it should have been known. it should have been followed up on and should have been told -- >> what did this lawyer do? >> 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 -- >> and made it look like the cia denied knowing mr. page. >> it flatly stated that he was not a source. >> just imagine, folks, you're
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representing somebody as a defense attorney and they do this to one of your clients. i hope somebody pays the price for this, whether you like trump or not. so why did mr. clinesmith, that's who we're talking about, you haven't said it but i will say it. what motivated him to do that? >> it is unknown as to precisely why he did it -- >> this is the resistance guy. >> i was going to mention but we reference in here the text messages you mention, and we have not made a determination, but rather as we note in here, when we learned this, we notified the attorney general and fbi director and referred -- >> you did a great job. the old adage is if you wake up and the lawn is wet, you are going to assume it rained. if you've got a guy who hates trump's guts from day one, thinks pence is stupid and everybody who voted for trump is an idiot and you give him power over trump, maybe you are making a mistake.
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or again, maybe all these people who had these -- did nothing about it. maybe, maybe not. it doesn't really matter. we know what they did. it is fair to say after january 2017, when the guy who gave steele all the information disavows the dossier, that not only they should have told the court, they should have slowed down. do you think the second and third warrant had a legal basis after that point? >> you know, we don't reach that conclusion, and i'm not going -- >> 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. no doubt about it. it had no business going in -- >> what i want you to know in january 2017, the whole foundation for surveilling carter page collapses, 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 --
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>> i'll -- they certainly misled -- it was misleading to the court. >> okay, fair enough. in january, about six months later, when they find more 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 end of -- >> 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 that they are obligated to tell the court on. i have seen what can occur -- >> 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 about. counterintelligence investigations, what's the purpose of a counterintelligence investigation? >> it's to identify potential
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threats to the nation. >> okay. this was opened up as a counterintelligence investigation; right? >> correct. >> we know the russians were screwing around with the democrats; right? that's one of the concerns. it was the russians who hacked into the dnc. >> correct. >> got their e-mails. >> correct. >> it is okay for everybody to be concerned. what are the uses up to? -- what are trussians up to? i get that. 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 here for predication. >> okay. so let's assume for a moment that relatively low threshold was met. would it be fair to say that if you stopped there in looking at your report, you're making a mistake? >> you would be making a mistake. there is 400 pages here for a reason. >> there's a mountain of misconduct. please don't ignore it. so my point is, if this is a
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counterintelligence investigation, who are they trying to protect? who should they be trying to protect? >> well, if it's a -- the threat outlined in the friendly foreign government information, you would be looking to protect the election process. >> right. >> which would include the campaign, the candidate, and the american people. >> okay. so did they ever brief hilary clinton about efforts to foreign influences involving her campaign, do you know? >> i've heard that, but i don't know for a fact. >> they did. good 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
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protective element? >> i'm not sure -- sorry, mr. chairman. >> without eventually trying to protect the entity being influenced, is it legitimate? >> it would depend on each fact and circumstance. >> here's what i'm trying to tell you, if you are opening up a counterintelligence investigation to protect somebody, you should do it. did they ever try to protect donald trump from foreign influence? >> that did not brief him -- >> as a matter of fact, when they went in and gave a briefing, the russians are out there, you better beware, didn't they have an fbi agent do a 302 on the defensive briefing itself? >> they sent one of the supervisory agents from the cross fire hurricane team to the briefing and that agent prepared a report to the file of the briefing. >> about what trump said? >> what about what mr. trump said and what mr. flynn said. >> okay.
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so when we get defensively briefed tomorrow, would it be okay for fbi agents to open up 302s on what we said? >> we have very significant concerns about that, and i would note that in director wray's response, he underlined that that would not occur going forward. >> if this doesn't bother you then you hate trump way too much.
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was that fbi agent spying on donald trump when he went in there quick. >> it was a pretext meeting that i will not, the process by which they have to do these meetings. >> if you don't have a foundation for a warrant, i'm sorry go ahead. >> the meeting the incident and the fbi considered and decided to send the agent there to do the briefing the agent was actually doing the briefing but also using it for the purpose of investigation. >> i hope that doesn't happen to us tomorrow i will be passed if it does. they never told trump about the concerns. is it fair to say there was a point when surveilling carter page became unlawful?
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>> i will let the court decide that the court has the report will make the decision. >> if you don't have a legal foundation to survey all somebody and keep doing that is a bad? >> absolutely. it is illegal surveillance it is not court authorized. >> that means they did it so all this stuff to illegally surveilled the trump campaign they did because they had no legal basis after the januar january 2017 data dump by the russian guy to believe the dossier was reliable. they altered scope of tory information that would have further proven that carter page is not a russian agent actually working with the cia. let me ask you directly do you believe carter page is or ever
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was an agent of the russian government trying to do harm to his country? >> i will refer to the evidence. >> the fbi told us that they had found no evidence of to corroborate the allegations. >> it is not that clean. they knew and they ignored it and they continue to surveilled him. why? why did they doctor the e-mails? the people continued getting warrants after they knew it wasn't legitimate had a bias how this was opened i don't know. but i can tell you he has a different view i respect your view it may have been a lawful predicate giving them every benefit of the doubt but peter struck was pushing this from day number one ladies and gentlemen we have a task at hand to make sure this never happens again to hold people accountable and change our
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laws and save the fisa court if we can i hope this chapter in american history is never repeated and finally if you report this 434 page report has a lawful investigation with a few irregularities you are doing a great disservice to the american people. thank you very much. >> thank you mister chairman. as we spoke inspector general your office spent 19 months and interviewed 100 witnesses and your report concluded the fbi had an adequate predicate or reason to open the investigation on the trump campaign ties with russia. could do quickly define that predicate? >> the predicate was the information to the fbi got at the end of july from the friendly foreign government that reflected a meeting the friendly foreign government
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had with mister papadopoulos in may. >> who was that? >> we don't mention that in the report my understanding that is still classified. >> go ahead. >> as i mentioned in my statement the comment was that mister papadopoulos had made a suggestion there had been a suggestion to the trump campaign that the russian government could provide information to be damaging to candidate clinton and president obama. >> your report states you did not find documentary or testimonial evidence of political bias or improper motivation.
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what about the conspiracy there is no bias. and with the decision-maker and did not find any evidence in his meme - - e-mails to be engaged in a bias or have a bias. and these are the key findings with that authorize purpose of actual factual predication for the investigation. by contrast, attorney general barr expressed his doubt of the legitimacy of the fbi investigation and press statements. did attorney general barr provide any evidence to cause you to alter the key finding
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the fbi investigation had out of a predicate? >> know. we stand by her finding. >> thank you. attorney general barr said that spying on the trump campaign did occur. but to have any confidential source within the trump campaign and further no evidence of political via bias or improper motivation influence the decision to use confidential sources. >> that's correct. did your office ask attorney general barr would that be relevant to the investigation? >> and what about the attorney
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general? >> including the attorney general. >> nothing they could provide alters your conclusion the fbi did not play spies in the trump campaign. >> nine of the discussions changed our findings. >> thank you. but also asking to investigate the origin of the russian investigation last month we advised the ig we do not agree with some of the report's conclusions what is your reaction to that? >> i was surprised by the statement. i didn't know that was going to be released on monday. we did meet with mister durham and provided him with a copy of the report as we did others
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as to factual accuracy review process we met with them in november we did discuss the opening issue. he said he did not agree with the conclusion of a full counterintelligence investigation which this was but also there was investigative means by which the fbi could move forward there were two types and he said during the meeting that the information from the government in his view was sufficient to support the preliminary investigation and as we note in the report investigative steps such as confidential sources were under full investigation.
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>> did bar or durham present anything that altered your findings? >> no. >> since we have the author of the whistleblower legislation proudly sitting here you previously told this committee that whistleblower rights and protections was one of your highest priority since becoming ig. there have been calls for the ukraine whistleblower to be identified publicly even though that person was not a direct witness to the event. what is your view? should ukraine whistleblower confidentiality be reached and identified publicly? >> i would appreciate working with all the members of the committee especially senator grassley we wrote a letter recently with the statement on
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the issues of the importance of whistleblowers and they have a right to expect complete confidentiality and all circumstances in the law in the ig act. is a very important provision. >> thank you. in a public hearing before the house intelligence committee deputy secretary of state testified politically associated investigations or prosecutions against opponents of those in power undermines the rule of law. do you agree with that? >> it does undermine the rule of law. do you find any evidence that president obama or anyone else in the white house asked the united states government to investigate candidate trump or his campaign?
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>> we didn't see any evidence that was part of our authorize jurisdiction. >> you have a policy with the use of confidential sources your investigation found the use of confidential human sources was consistent with existing rules. >> correct. >> correct that is the standard. >> you found no evidence the decision to use confidential human sources was motivated by political bias. >> correct. >> with regard to your polic policy, what do you believe should be changed and why? >> i think we were surprised and concerned to learn that in the investigation of any
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political national party campaign the confidential human source usage could be approved only by a first level supervisor in this instance summer the assistant director level but it just could be at the line supervisor level for the investigation of a major party presidential campaign on either side that was concerning to us particularly since there was not a requirement that any department lawyer whether the security division the attorney general's office that needed to be notified at any point. >> did you give interviews of your investigation while it was ongoing? >> myself? know. i do not do that. >> did anybody on the ig team? >> know that would be entirely inappropriate.
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>> so where are the dangers of discussing an investigation that is ongoing? >> we wrote a 500 page report about that we issued on the midyear investigation to criticize what occurred last year with regard to the investigation the ongoing investigation needs to be protected from outside influenc influence. you don't know as an investigator and tell you are done you should not be reaching your conclusions until that point so getting preliminary ideas and statements can be misleading and you should not be reaching final conclusions until the end of the investigation. >> there is an impression of stroke and page. i want to ask this question for the last two years
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president trump has relentlessly attacked former fbi officials as a way to undermine the investigation. for example the president tweeted "how can their wicked witch hunt proceed when it was started and influence and worked on by peter strachan lisa page who exchanged text messages critical of candidate trump your investigation found while lisa page attended some of the discussions regarding opening the investigation she did not play a role in the decision to open crossfire hurricane you also found that while struck was directly involved in the decision to open crossfire hurricane, he was not the sole or even the highest level decision-maker to any of those matters that decision was made by the assistant director as you have
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indicated in by consensus of discussions through meetings and most importantly you found the decision had a proper factual basis and there is no evidence political bias or improper motivation influenced it. based on your investigation personal political views expressed in text messages did not motivate the opening of the investigation between the trump campaign advisors and russia. is that correct. >> that is correct ultimately those text messages which we found last year which were entirely inappropriate did not play the role for the investigation. >> thank you so you also uncovered text messages between other fbi employees expressing support for
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candidate trump. >> that's correct. >> fbi employees holding personal political views that were favorable and unfavorable toward the candidate at that time. >> that's correct. and as we note here and in last year's report, we did not find the text messages were inappropriate so leave because they expressed a view which candidate they supported what concerned us from last year and reference again is the connection between their views and the work on investigation. >> to conclude my questioning what do you believe with your experience are the most important points this 400 page report brings forward?
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>> there are several. >> as be outline in the executive summary, first it was opened with the proper predicate who is not one of the text message persons and third the confidential human source operation while permitted by policy should cause everyone to give pause if it is sufficient to provide accountability and finally the fight is a process was not used appropriately and rules were not followed. >> that concludes my questioning thank you to your
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staff i'm grateful to the inspector general's office year in and year out. i yield the balance of my time to senator leahy. >> we will have a vote at 12:00 o'clock we will get to senator grassley may be a senator leahy then take a break for lunch and come back in 30 minutes. >> i know what you are saying about pfizer as senator graham pointed out earlier we have tried to put in some protection in the pfizer - - t19. the fbi accepted all of your findings. >> correct.
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>> and the use of t19. of those investigations that you reviewed the only application was respect to carter page. >> correct and with that fisa application was not through the russia investigation and the special counsel investigation. >> correct that occurred october and later not in august. >> so that came after so in the mueller report how many pages did the mueller report refer to carter page?
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>> i don't recall the exact number but it was not a large number. >> i do know because i have read it it was seven pages 448 pages. i'm not trying to minimize the fbi position but to keep it in context for this case to not undermine the unanimous assessment and not ukrainian interference. >> we describe in the report the information about the conclusion of russia's meddling in the 2016 election. >> one of the events it said russia if you're listening take a look at this. the trump campaign and if i'm
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wrong they minimize the legitimacy and with that investigation. >> let me be very clear concerning the carter page fisa in that chain of command we make no findings which was far broader investigation. >> because these efforts undermine the investigation is that correct. >> our view is as we outline here and the opening of the investigation and mister moore's activities and the confidential source use.
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>> and with your 19 month interview is that correct you found no evidence the investigation was motivated by any bias. >> we found no evidence of the initiation was by political bia bias. >> the question gets more challenging when you get to the fisa and the attorneys actions for example in connection with that. >> you conclude there was a legitimate basis to investigate the ties between the trump campaign advisors and russia. >> we concluded the fbi had the predication to open on july 31 and the subsequent subfiles that they opened about ten days late later. >> that came from naming the
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trusted foreign ally. >> correct the foreign government. >> did you find the fbi complied and exceeded department rules who could authorize the investigation or be notified? >> they followed all the rules with regard to that. >> could they refute that there was a deep stay involved? >> it finds it was predicated based on the rules of the fbi. >> did you find anything the fbi planted spies in mister trump's campaign? >> we found no use of confidential human sources in the campaign.
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>>. >> has anybody been prosecuted or charged with this investigation. >> no one that i am aware of. >> following up on a question that senator feinstein ask, did the obama administration or president obama himself know about the counterintelligence investigation? >> i don't know the answer definitively our body was over the fbi activities. >> january 2018 chairman graham and i referred christopher steele for investigation of potentially lying to the fbi and told the fbi what they told the court
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about steele's media context did not match previously did the fbi ever ask steele if he was a source for the september 2016 news article that cited western intelligence sources and if not why not? >> despite having the opportunity to do so we got a variety of explanations including they did not want to offend them or jeopardize the relationship with them but that pfizer application believing that steele was the source for the news article to be taken out why did the fbi
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originally say steele was a source and what factual basis did the fbi have two change that intel's deal that it was not a source? >> the initial application they assessed he was a director source and october 14 the draft change to the exact opposite the fbi had no basis for the first statement it turns out the first statement was accurate but they had no evidence to support that so when they flipped that they had no evidence to support it either that is the issue under the accuracy procedures somebody doing their job and
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following up they would have seen that if they would've asked him they may have found out which of the two versions were true. >> maybe they were not interested in doing their job. >> we sent our referral to the doj and according to your rapport although the fbi already knew the intelligence discussed the litigation with mister comey he never got christopher steele's statement in that litigation until we provided them. the fbi also never considered updating on the statements when did the court learn of those contradictory statements if he did or did not have contact with the media ended anyone in the fbi seem concerned it was not updating
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or knowingly providing a court with misleading information? >> the first was learned in a letter june 2018 after the last authorization when the justice department lawyers sent a letter informing them of new information they have learned including from the litigation that was acknowledged as a direct contact for yahoo! news in that story. that was the first time the court was told that. >> look at footnote 461. that states the former fbi confidential human source contacted an fbi agent in a field office late july 2016 to report information from "a colleague who runs and investigative firm hired by
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two entities the dnc as well is another individual who was not named to explore donald trump's long-standing ties to russian entities was that investigated firm fusion gps or did the dnc hire another firm to get that information to the obama fbi? >> i don't know definitively but i could follow up and get back to you that is a question you can answer? >> i have to double check. >> is that a case of privacy? >> ultimately i don't know if we figured out the answer to that question it was in a different field office. i'm not sure how far we went down that road. >> i have been asking questions since september 2017 about what type of briefings
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have been given to the trump campaign now they were similar and they were not aware of the action they took as a result chairman johnson and i wrote to the fbi two months ago that text messages could have used offensive briefings not to warn the trump campaign but to investigate that. would you agree with respect to those briefings the trump campaign briefings were treated differently than the clinton campaign? >> it wasn't an fbi briefing if it went to an office of the director of national intelligence it was a strategic briefing and i mentioned that because but
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they were treated differently to put the information in the file the briefings were identical and one was purely for the intelligence briefing. >> in this case the agency at the trump campaign briefing had interactions of michael flynn and candidate trump for the fbi investigating files is that normal for the counterintelligence prefers to document statements and interactions for investigated purposes? >> it was documented in one and not the other and based on we saw there is no policy that based on the reaction of the
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current leadership he said this would not happen going forward it's pretty clear that this should not have occurred. >> to the fbi make any investigative use of the defense briefing to inform the later interview with michael flynn? >> that was certainly the stated purpose. >> campaigns place us in the fbi with of an environment of those assessments of foreign threats how can they repair that trust after abusing the process? >> that's where we make the recommendation to clearly state the policy these kinds
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of strategic briefings for private citizens when they are attacked for transition purposes as is the case here there needs to be clear guidance. >> on another point according to your report told the fbi that t14 reporting had gone to the clinton campaign november 2016 by january 112017 key investigators knew the dossier was prepared in part for the dnc and by february 2017 it was broadly known and senior officials that simpson was
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working for the democratic party. how many knew that the steel dossier was funded by the democrats and who were they cracks did any approve or any of the renewals? >> on the fbi side a number of people knew. it is challenging to know precisely who knew at the very highest levels and when the deputy director levels because of the lack of any direct record of entire briefings but certainly there was much information. at the justice department much of that was not known in fact one of the concerns we knew in the information he was passing along this information from mister steele to the fbi that
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was not given back so the colleagues were proving they couldn't pass along that information to the fbi. >> it is good to see you again. i have a lot of ig reports with the justice department that disagrees or has comments on the ag report the general practice to provide a written response is that correct. >> that is correct and we would include that in our appendix to the reports.
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>> and with those with the component how many ig reports involve the justice department arguing that it had more misconduct in your investigation and it uncovered? >> i don't recall bad happening before. >> that's why thought it was very unusual instead of going to the report he just went to the television cameras to talk about it. there is a lot about personal text messages involved in your report.
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but also in your investigation you also found favorable trunk text messages from those who worked on the investigation including one that was excellently written to talk about the trump election and then the desire to investigate the clinton foundation. >> that's correct. >> what is problematic whether it is pro trump or pro- clinton i assume the fbi investigators could have strong views on politics but the question is the impact at work. >> it's important to keep in
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mind they should never use government devices to have discussions whether a sensitive campaign or not in our view we were not referring people for performance failure simply because they express support or lack of support it's connected. >> there was one occasion for the bias the fbi appropriately kept quiet about that investigation during the 2016 election the same cannot be said about the clinton administration. rudy giuliani and others had highly sensitive leaks from the field office that likely contributed to call me's public announcement he was
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reopening the clinton administration one - - investigation days before the election. he said he was investigating. we know a number of these leaks from mister giuliani that he bragged about so what can you tell us about four giuliani and others? >> as we noted publicly we were very concerned about that we put in the appendix the charts and subsequent to that we are investigating those contacts and have issued a couple of public summary so far those that have violated that policy we have other investigations ongoing we concluded to host summary one
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- - summaries to prove the actual substance and as to need authorization if you disclose information. >> your central findings the fbi investigation to russian ties was not influenced by political bias? >> that opening of the investigation is not connected to any bias identified. >> the attorney general has been combing syrup on - - europe to find support on the
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investigation but we're not clear if there is legitimate law enforcement purpose that it serves. had we know politics is not driving the investigation crack cracks. >> i'm not sure how anybody knows what you don't know unless you do an investigation to look through a million records in the exhausted effort. >> but you do agree those investigations have to be free of improper motivation? >> absolutely. 1000 percent the public corruption and to be straight down on the russian
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investigation? >> you have to ask the attorney general about those meetings and not to follow that procedure it with those disagreements and to be the politically motivated and with that department policy and
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then given to the press is that correct? >>. >>. >> and thank you for those comments. >> we will adjourn and recess until 1:00 o'clock. [inaudible conversations]
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