tv Representative Adam Schiff Says Intelligence Committee Has Reached No... CSPAN February 27, 2017 10:37pm-11:19pm EST
tuesday. following the speech, we will have the democratic response. our live coverage begins with a a.m.ew show at 8:00 eastern, followed by the presidential speech starting at 9:00 a.m. announcer: c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite providers. now, adam schiff speaks to reporters about the committee investigation of fresh ie and election. he says they have reached no conclusion. this is 35 minutes.
[indiscernible] >> thank you all for coming. first of all, let me say that it is my hope that in the view chair as the chairman i will be doing the press meetings together. the chairman and i spoke about that and he conferred that we need to do these together whenever possible. in the future when we provide status reports we will do it in a joint way. if this investigation is to be thorough and objective and to have value, it has to be done in a bipartisan fashion. we are endeavoring certainly to in a as i will get into minute. i think in addition to the work we do we would be well-serve to have an independent commission looking at this as well. we plan to give periodic updates
and do so in a joint manner. later today, we will reach final agreement on the scope of the issues we will be investigating and have already begun investigating. the scope or include any collusion between russia and u.s. persons, including ours and to me of an affiliated with the trump campaign. that is agreed to be part of our investigation. i want to make something clear. that is, the committee has reached no conclusion on whether colluded withaign russia, russian officials, or any russian contacts. nor could we. we have called no witnesses thus far, obtained no documents on any counterintelligence investigation, and we have yet to receive any testimony from you the eye on the investigation of potential links between the
chart campaign and russia. so we're not in any position to reach any conclusion and i think it's very important, having been a assistant u.s. attorney for sixers, you do not begin an investigation by stating what you believe to be the conclusion. we are looking at the report that the intelligence community put out which acknowledge not only the role of russian media but also the hacking and the dumping of documents. we are not accepting even that value.at face we are investigating the underlying rock intelligence to make sure the conclusions are substantiated by rock intelligence. -- and true should be the same should be true of every aspect whether it is on hacking, collusion, fbi response when it was learned the russians were in the computers of democratic institutions, the use of russian
media, all of these things that we are investigating we should not accept any summary conclusion or form any premature conclusion about where the investigation will lead. i also want to say that in my opinion for the white house to theeeking help from intelligence leadership either or elsewhere, to knock down stories it does not like is completely inappropriate and threatens those agencies. if indeed conversations were had with officials about whether or not accusations were accurate, that is not appropriate. if the cia director was tasked to knockdown stories, that is even more inappropriate and threatens the independence of that agency and any
investigation that agency may be undertaking in terms of counter intelligence. predominantthe challenges we will have in conducting a credible investigation are we have to make sure it remains bipartisan. it will lead little value if not. and we will need the cooperation of the fbi. we will need the fbi to share with us what they have found. what leads have not chased down. an investigation them done and not done. so we can evaluate whether they have done a comprehensive job. this is not unlike with the joint congressional inquiry did after 9/11. it did not simply assume the agencies have gotten it right but there was an independent investigation. that is what we need to do. i have yet to be convinced by the director of the fbi that we will have the kind of cooperation we need. we cannot become the fbi.
we cannot send out our own investigators all over the globe. we may have limited capacity to do some of them but we cannot re-create everything the bureau may or may not have done. we will need their cooperation and whether or not we get that in as fulsome a manner as we need is yet to be determined. finally, one of the other challenges we will have a doing a credible investigation is whether or not we have the staff to do it. we have an excellent staff, both majority and minority but it is a limited staff. of all of the national security agencies, we have a staff of about half of what they do. we have made an appeal to increase our staff and i'm hoping that will be approved by even so, we are very limited in resources. in my view, we out to be doing our investigation jointly with the senate intelligence committee. it makes little sense in my view
that we bring in the same innesses, do the same work parallel. i think we could multiply our resources and capabilities jointly as they did the joint inquiry and congress after 9/11. so those are a few thoughts on where we are. it again, just to summarize before i go to questions, we are agreeing on our terms of reference. we've largely agreed already, we just need to put them down on paper. hopefully we can declassify any portion of that and share with you. we have reached no conclusion nor could we on issues of collusion because we are not called in a single witness or reviewed a siegel document as of yet and it is very important i prejudge the not conclusions of our investigation conclusion that our
intelligence agencies may or may not reach without doing our own independent analysis. yes. nunez said earlier that based on the raving should've gotten with u.s. intelligence officials, he sees no evidence of collusion between campaign officials and the russians. you have gotten the same briefing he has. is he right? first of all, we have not obtained any evidence so we cannot say if we have reached any conclusion about collusion. we need the fbi to come in and testify about what they have looked at, with a m naik, what they found, what they did not. what leads have yet to be investigating. we have none of that. at this point, we do not even have any of the documents underlying the assessment of
russian hacking. we are having to send our people to review it and with limited staff resources that is more difficult. we are in the infancy of the investigation and it is premature to make any determination. on the basis of conversations that the chair and i are having with intelligence officials, we cannot draw any conclusions nor should we. we should not be rejecting were the facts lead. is goinge white house to reach out to either our committee or the intelligence agencies every time they see a story they do not like and ask us for the intelligence community to push back on it, then we are of necessity going to be revealing classified information we should not because when you confirm or deny report, you tell something about the evidence received. in my view, i would urge members to not be talking about what we are concluding part not
concluded. it is find to be talking about where we are generally in the investigation, steps taken, more to be done, but i do not think we should be drawing any conclusions as far. >> but you think intelligence officials mena more than they are telling you right now? rep. schiff: what i am saying is i do not think anybody should prejudge at this point whether there were contacts between the trump campaign and russia either directly or indirectly. as an intelligence committee doing an investigation do not know. we do not know the answer. the most we're fatter private conversations, the chair and i, with intelligence officials. that is not a substitute for an investigation so we should not be drawing conclusions. >> the report out last month in regards of an fbi official giving a statement with regard to the dnc's responsibility and
your own security and that when the fbi tried to get access to going toers -- is that be looked into are not? rep. schiff: yes. we are to look into what was the toelligence and fbi response the russian hacking. how soon did we know they were in the dnc, for example. what steps were taken? were they adequate? not adequate? what needs to be done in the future? conclusionseminal of the intelligence committee was that the russians would do this again. the questions i have i cannot share with you but the answers i've got board may get is, did the icy first perceive this as an intelligence gathering operation. does that account for the responsibility dusty response of ic or intelligence agency?
all of the session to be answered and many of it was not answered and the report that the ic put out. >> to follow your earlier point, it seems that congressman nunez interpretation and told there was no they are there with -- there was no there there. are you concerned that some of the intelligence committee are giving that message to the white congressman nunez? they are giving a read on intelligence that you have not seen yet? rep. schiff: my concern is that our committee not reach any conclusions on the basis of essentially conversations with some of the intelligence community members and response to a newspaper article. that is not how we should be conducting an investigation. look at thisu
story which has become such a central focus of things, and we are not in a position to discuss in detail more should we how the russians operate. how they seek to exert their info covertly. whether it is through third-party, business people, directly comment electronically, through encryption. there is a whole host of issues to be investigated so we understand the totality of what the russians at did. i do not think the fbi, cia, embers of our committee or others should be reaching any conclusions. we certainly should not, not if we are doing a real investigation of this. we have agreed that we need to investigate this issue of collusion. we are not prepared to draw any conclusions. to be a point where i do not feel i can do my work, i will certainly be very
public about it. but i still am going to do everything i can to conduct this investigation as long as it is confined to our committee on the house side hand our committee alone, i will do everything i can to make it thorough and objective. not so muchis cnnntion on just one story, reporting was between trump advisors. trying to get any russians known to the u.s. intelligence. i have the same question of commerce men nunez. has that possibility been -- of .ongressman nunez has that been investigated? rep. schiff: as part of our committee investigation, we have not investigated that yet. have not investigated yet. we should not prejudge it. that thersations
individuals or the gang of eight have is not the conclusion of our committee. not the endpoint of the investigation. they can't be. credibleny other investigation, when you are just at the giving stages you do not reach conclusions on one of the key issues. so all i can tell you is from the committees point of view, no documents, no witnesses and it has not given any testimony on what they investigated, there is no basis to draw a conclusion one way or the other. i do not think conversations with intelligence leaders are a substitution for doing their own investigation. there you concerned that chairman in any way may have compromised the investigation by downplaying any sort of contact
between the russian government and the trump campaign. are you concerned he may have compromised that issue. >> i am concerned that the fbi engaging in conversations about potentialhouse or ongoing investigation, if the cia was brought in and pushed down that report, that threatens the integrity of what they are doing. the white house can reach out anytime they want to members of the republican house and senate or our committee. either party. they have every right to do that but i would urge the members of the committee, if they are reached out on these subject of the investigation, they should politely declined because obviously, when of the key issues is whether people associated with the administrative committee may have colluded with the russians and on that subject there is a
template ofential interest so i don't think members of our committee should be discussing that with the administration. had anirman and i have important working relationship that we both want to keep intact. i have expressed concern about these issues. i will continue to do so whenever i feel it important to to dobut i still want everything in my power to make sure we do a thorough and objective investigation and if i get to the point where i conclude that is not possible i will be vocal about it that at this point i think the members of our committee want this to be credible and want this to be thorough and that is what we are going to try to achieve. >> you said you set the scope of
your investigation. will it include investigating the leak that led to these news stories or not? rep. schiff: it will include leaks. i think as a practical matter, it may be difficult to carry that investigation, that elements of the can -- investigation to completion to talk about what information they had at what they shared it was so i think there are limitations that the white house may put on our ability to bring people into the foreign intelligence committee but we will be looking at that. in the broader scheme of things and obviously there is a difference of opinion between the chairman and i as well as many members of the committee, while leaks are an issue and i don't approve of the leaks
during the clinton administration or during this investigation, would hate to lose sight of what is at stake here. a lot of what the president says on the subject is designed to distract attention from the serious issues. , we areew, it is this engaged in a desperate battle of ideas with russia right now and i do not think it is hyperbolic to say that the success of liberal democracy around the how thisl depend on turns out. they are not only interfering in alsoolitical trusses but elsewhere. they use methods including blackmail, extortion, fake news, hacking, dumping, forging of goingnts, and if we are to knock your leg ourselves against further russian interference in our elections, we need to know exactly what
they have done. that context is enormously important and should not get lost. conversations the with michael flynn are so significant is that they involve potentially an administration official or soon-to-be undermined a sanctions on the very forces. be viewed in to isolation. it went right to the heart of the russian interference and democrat interference. >> can i just say commies that you have to bring in white house people to testify and chairman nunez said it was compared to mccarthyism and said we are not going to do this to citizens. do you buy that? strongly disagree with those comments. we have a responsibility to get to the bottom of this.
>> would you want to call them to testify? the three americans listed in the new york times report? rep. schiff: i believe michael flynn needs to testify and i think we've seen bipartisan support for that. with respect to mr. flynn, he president ofvice the united states. the vice president of the united states then misled the country and that is a serious business. we know some of the history rt andng mr. flynn and being paid to attend this conference with vladimir putin. i think he is certainly a witness we're going to want to bring in before the committee. in terms of the others, i think we follow the evidence where it leads. i would like to know what the fbi has investigated on this if anything. what they have concluded and what with the bases before
or anyg these witnesses others before the committee. i do not think at this stage we ought to exclude anyone. or any issue. and, at this point in the investigation we are still in the face of gathering documents or trying to get personal custody of the documents. we are also in the process of developing some preliminary ofness lists on the baskets issues. we need to follow the evidence wherever it leads and if it leads to those persons we will want to subpoena them to come in. >> why hasn't the fbi given us the information you and have you they want toate if do an investigation? >> i have certainly raised the issue of joint investigations and at this point, while nobody has explicitly ruled it out,
there may be a few reasons for that i it was a formula that worked very well post 9/11 and given the tremendous mismatch in and the investigations vis-a-vis the size of the issues here, we still have a day job in the intelligence committee of overseeing these massive industries, it would help if we did this jointly. >> has the fbi been dragging their feet on giving you the investigation. you said you have not gotten anything, you have asked. rep. schiff: we are requesting the director brief our full committee. certainly, the chairman in die have had preliminary discussions with the director. get a that, we need to full debriefing on everything and what has been investigated.
at this point i am not clear we're going to get that. i do not have the assurances i would like to have from the bureau and i will give you a sense of why. events,dinary course of the bureau does not talk about pending investigations. or closed investigations. with respect to the clinton investigation, that policy was departed from and violated in closer toe as we got the election. i think it is unsupportable to take a position. we can talk about that we cannot not talk about other investigations. at the same time, there is a strong institutional reluctance to discuss ongoing investigations not only republican but -- not only publicly by within investigations. -- agreed toten
buy the house and senate, has the support of leadership in the house and senate and if we are going to take that responsibility, the fbi is going to have to be. in the investigation. i have not gotten my commitment yet from the director and we need that commitment to do our work. chairman nunez said if it turns out with this discussion with the russian ambassador, [indiscernible] -- i wonder what your take is on goingnd how that affects forward. schiff: my perspective is this. it goes back to the context of which michael flynn was talking to the russian ambassador.
ouria has just hacked into elections. they have dumped information that was helpful to the now-president of the united states and in the time prior to the new administration coming into office, the obama administration levied sanctions against the russians. then you have conversations between michael flynn and the russian ambassador. thoseas the subject of conversations. i have had a briefing. i have not seen any transcripts yet. i would like whichever exist to be given to the american public if the american public has been misled about the conversation. the significance is, if it was of a significance to a shore or reassure the russians that they did not need to respond because
the incoming administration what take care of it, then you had the incoming administration working over the current administration and that is business. when you add that national security adviser flynn was dishonest about the nature of those conversations, that shows i would say as a former prosecutor, some consciousness of wrongdoing. if there was nothing to be concerned about, then why not be open and honest about the course conversations? why did mike pence go out on tv and find the need to reassure the country they had not been engaged in undermining the sanctions imposed by president obama? the final point i would make that i would find deeply disturbing is that it is bad did nothen mike pence get truthful, it said it is then
even worse that the vice president unknowingly misled the american people. the worst part is that the president was aware of this and did not want me people but only cared later when it became public. they have also raised the concern that maybe it would be problematic because [indiscernible] -- rep. schiff: whatever they find out, that is one thing. but nothing in that should prevent he congress from finding out exactly what was said in that conversation and again, i cannot go into any of the specifics about how that conversation may or may not have been quoted but i would not leap conclusion that there was a legality involved on behalf of the intelligence agencies but
again whether it was leaked or not leaked should not inhibit us from doing the necessary investigation we have to do. >> earlier you said the commission could not do the work of the fbi. are you investigating the fbi and if that is the case why would you not wait until they finish the investigation. all, we cannot do everything the fbi is doing because we do not have the resources, and frankly we should not try to do everything the fbi is done. ofn we look at the analysis the russian hacking, we will not be starting from scratch. we will be looking at the conclusions they reached and the rock intelligence. eachg to decide if conclusion may received, were they supported by actual intelligence. why should we wait?
we have our own responsibility impact itlic and what had and who was involved. we ought to conduct our investigation if the fbi is still doing one contemporaneous one, i do not think we can afford to say, we will simply wait until you have concluded but i think we should, as a way making our own investigation, find out what has already been done. ongoing is an investigation that appears criminal, it could potentially influence the serious work a . not that you should do ongoing,, but if it is they thought they knew one thing
and it was something else, wouldn't that be the same problem that comey ran into with hillary clinton? rep. schiff: if i were in the bureau right now, the concern i would have from the perspective be is congress going to leaking information and saying things that will inhibit our investigation or bring in witnesses that contradict what witnesses have already told us. i understand that. congress can help by not talking about the facts as we are learning them. the fbi has a responsibility for criminal justice purposes. we have responsibility of determining how we protect our democracy and defend our country. those have to be done contemporaneously. i am sure that is part of the
concern driving the fbi and we need to be mindful of it. we had that same dilemma when the house is involved in ethics issues. thosen some cases, investigations give the fbi more time to finish work. here, the congress cannot afford to wait. committeed that the does not have as much national security committee to help. doesn't that handicap the investigation from the start given the complexity of the matter? why the are the reason committee will not help to do this thing? rep. schiff: those are handicaps
to us, the answer is yes. we're trying to remedy that in part and as mentioned, the chair and i have asked for more resources. we would need devs resources even in the absence of this investigation because when you consider the size of the agencies we oversee and the level of our stuff to begin with, it is very paltry by comparison to other national security committees. so even in the absence of investigation we would need more resources and with this investigation added on it is more challenging which is why i feel it would be much more efficient for us to be working jointly with the senate. in terms of the senate perspective, i would have to imagine one of the concerns and i am just speculating here, that the senate may have is that if they feel it is receding in a bipartisan ration and are concerned maybe the house is not, they may have concerns
about combining the two. i would hope the investigations can be done in a bipartisan way and getting back to your question earlier, we are going to be bringing in a lot of the same witnesses. for those who are in the ic doing foreign intelligence, it is not a 60 day job has gone away. so many resources to do counterintelligence and they are going to be spending a lot of resources coming in to brief us. it would make their job a bit easier if we didn't jointly rather than separately. >> you said u.n. chairman new and the officials have reached a conclusion there is nothing there but you want to
pursue. what is it that makes you want to pursue an investigation, especially on the issue of contacts. are you going on the news reports or something else? go intoiff: i cannot the contents of any discussions i've had with the icy -- with the ic. but the point is this, this is a committee investigation, not an investigation done by myself or the chair or senator burr. these are committee investigations and thus far the committee has heard no witnesses, received no documents and i don't not of it is the same on the senate side but we are still trying to get possession of documents even. so it is well immature to make any conclusions, and on the basis of my discussions i have not prepared to draw any conclusion on the veracity of
this. we need to do the investigation we were charged to do. it ought to be thorough and we ought to follow the evidence where it leads and make sure the words are more than rhetoric. i have never begun an investigation since i was u.s. attorney starting out by announcing the conclusion and this is one of those investigations. of information that have been made public. the agency has said little or nothing on any other issues of collusion. that is one of the most important issues. i do not think we should rush to conclusion. >> are you saying there is anything there? i'm saying we should not jump to any conclusions. in terms of russian collusion
with u.s. persons, we do not have any information as a committee to form any judgment at this point. if you look back at the 9/11 commission and the joint congressional inquiry, they did not simply accept a resolution. they did an investigation and that is what we to do. last question. i wanted to get a clarification. when was the invitation for the ] i director [indiscernible well, i have, along with leader pelosi, requested that the gang of eight be fully briefed and the wake of the flynn situation. the chair and i are in the
thatss of making a request he come and meet with the pepsi -- that he come and meet. been all along -- i think that ought to be done as a formal matter. not just in a runoff matter what the director. so the discussion with the director is just the opening of dialogue, prickly, on how the investigation is going to proceed. yes, think we will be getting some information but i do not view the meeting with the director as important as a first --, it should all just be an outline to get what we need. thank you very much.
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>> watch c-span as president donald trump delivers his first address to a joint session of congress. president trump: does congress is going to be the busiest congress we are fat in decades. [applause] thend your reactions to presidential speech along with members of congress. live tuesday at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span and c-span ordered. listen live on the free c-span radio app. announcer: democratic leaders nancy pelosi and chuck schumer called for a national investigation to investigate potential contact between russia and the trump campaign. they spoke at the national press club. this is one hour and 10 minutes. [applause]