tv FBI Director Defends Decision to Reveal Clinton Email Probe Before Election CSPAN May 10, 2017 2:58am-6:52am EDT
quit nationhood in front of his own personhood, in front of his own family, it and own. of his director james comey inspired by trump. the president made his announcement in a press release yesterday afternoon. mr. comey learned from news reports he at been fired while addressing employees in los angeles, according to the times. television screens in the began flashing the news while he spoke. then fbi issued a correction to james comey's testimony on the handling of emails. those comments were made by him last week at a senate hearing will stop the next, we show you that session in its entirety.
and we'll do the questioning according to the fall of the gavel, or the earlybirds, whichever rule applies. director comey, welcome. we thank the fbi or what it does to keep america safe. there's been a lot of controversy surrounding the fbi since the last time you were here in 2015. in march you publicly fbi isedged that the investigating allegations of coordination between the trump campaign and russia's efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. under president obama's order, clapper had been in charge of the intelligence community's review of that inference. he testified that president obama asked the intelligence community to compile all availa ble information.
after he left office, mr. clapper said there was no evidence of collusion. the "new york times" reported that there was no proof of collusion. where is all of this speculation about collusion coming from? in january, buzz feed published a dossier spinning wild conspiracy theories about the trump campaign. buzzfeed acknowledged that the claims were unverified and some of the details were clearly wrong. buzzfeed has since been sued for publishing them. since then, much of the dossier has been proven wrong, and many of its outlandish claims have failed to gain traction. for example, no one is looking for moles or russian agents embedded in the dnc, yet some continue to quote parts of this document as if it were gospel truth.
according to press reports, the fbi has relied on the document to justify its current investigation. there have been reports that the fbi agreed to pay the author of the dossier, who paid his sources, who also paid their subsources. where did the money come from, and what motivated the people writing the checks? the company that oversaw the dossier's creation, fusion gsp, won't speak to that point either . its founder glenn simpson is refusing to cooperate with this company's -- committee's investigation and inquiry. his company is also the subject of a complaint to the justice department. that complain alleges that fusion worked as an unregistered foreign agent for russian interests and with a former russian intelligence agency at the time it worked on the dossier. it was filed with the justice department in july, long before
the dossier came out. the man who wrote the dossier admitted in court that it has unverified claims. does that sound like a reliable basis for law enforcement or intelligence actions? unfortunately, the fbi has provided me materially inconsistent information about these issues. that is why we need to know more about it. how much the fbi relied on it . once you buy into the claim of collusion, then suddenly every interaction with a russian can be twisted to seem like confirmation of a conspiracy theory. now, i, obviously, don't know what the fbi will find. for the good of the country, i hope that the fbi gets to the truth soon, whatever that truth or that answer may be.
if there are wrongdoers, they should be punished, and the innocent should have their names cleared. and in the meantime, this committee is charged with the oversight of the fbi, and we can't wait until this is all over to ask the hard questions. otherwise, too many people will have no confidence in fbi's conclusions. the public needs to know what role the dossier has played and where it came from. and we need to know whether there was anything improper going on between the trump campaign and the russians, or are these mere allegations just a partisan smear campaign that manipulated our government into chasing a conspiracy theory? now before the election and before we knew about this notorious dossier, you, chairman comey, publicly released his
findings that secretary clinton was extremely careless in the handling of classified information and this recommendation -- and his recommendation that no one be prosecuted. according to a recent "new york times" article, he did it partly because he knew the russians had a hacked e-mail from a democrat operative that might be released before the election. that e-mail reportedly provided assurances that attorney general lynch would protect secretary clinton and make sure the fbi "didn't go too far." despite attorney general lynch's connection to the clintons and her now famous conversation with former president clinton during the investigation, she failed to recuse herself she was
effectively had it both ways. she would appear publicly uninvolved, but remain in control of the ultimate outcome. moreover, in the haste to end a tough politically charged investigation, the fbi failed to follow up on credible evidence of the intent to hide federal records from the congress and the public. it is a federal crime, as we know, to willfully and unlawfully conceal, remove or destroy a federal record. director comey said that, "the fbi also discovered several thousands work-related e-mails, " that secretary clinton did not turn over to the state department. he said the secretary clinton's lawyers, "cleaned their devices in such a way as to preclude complete forensic recovery" of additional emails. the justice department also entered into immunity agreements limiting the scope of the investigation.
some of the agreements prohibited the fbi from reviewing any e-mails on the laptops of the clinton aides that were created outside of secretary clinton's tenure at state. any emails related to alienating records would not have been created until after she left office during the congressional fbi reviews. even those these records were subject to congressional subpoena and preservation records, the justice department agreed to destroy the laptops. a cloud of doubt hangs over the fbi objectivity. the director said the people at the fbi do not give a rip about politics, but the director installed at as deputy director a man whose wife ran for elected office and accepted almost a million dollars from governor terry mcauliffe, a long time friend and fundraiser of the clintons and democratic party.
andrew mccabe also reportedly met a person about his wife's political plans. he did not recuse himself from the clinton investigations or the russian matter, despite the obvious appearance of conflict. the inspector general is reviewing these issues, but once again the people deserve answers and the fbi has not provided those answers. we need the fbi to be accountable because we need the fbi to be effective. its mission is to protect us from the most dangerous threats facing our nation, and since the director was last here the drumbeat of attacks on the united states from those directed or inspired by isis and other islamic terrorists has continued. for example, in june 2016, a terrorist killed 49 and wounded another 53 in orlando frequented
by gay and lesbian community . it was the most deadly attack in the united states soil since 9/11. but long afterwards, in september a terrorist stabbed 10 at a mall in minneapolis and another terrorist injured 31 after he detonated bombs in new jersey and new york city. and in november, a terrorist injured 13 after driving into students and teachers at ohio state university. power allies have not been -- our allies have not been immune either, as we read in the newspaper frequently. we recall the tragedy of july 16 when terrorists drove a truck through a crowd in france, killing over 80 people. so, we in the congress, need to make sure that the fbi has the tools it needs to prevent and investigate terrorism, as well as other serious violent crimes.
these tools must adapt to both evolving technology and threats, while preserving our civil liberties. i hope we can hear from the director about the fbi's use of some of these tools that may require congress' attention. most obviously, the fisa section 702 authority is up for reauthorization at the end of the year. this authority provides the government the ability to collect the electronic communications of foreigners outside the united states with a compelled assistance of american companies. and the bush and obama administrations were strongly supportive of 702, and now the trump administration is as well. from all accounts, the law has proven to be highly effective in helping to protect the united states and our allies. the privacy and civil liberties oversight board and many other federal courts have found section 702 constitutional and consistent with our fourth
amendment. yet, questions and concerns persist for many about its effects on our civil liberties, specifically in the way the fbi queries data collected under section 702. in addition, the director has spoken out often about how the use of encryption by terrorists and criminals is eroding the effectiveness of one of the fbi's core investigative tools, a warrant based on probable cause. i look forward to an update from you, director comey, on going dark problem. i'm also waiting for answers from the fbi's advanced knowledge of an attempted terrorist attack 2015 garland, texas. fortunately, the attack was interrupted by local police officers, but not before a guard was shot. after the attack, the director claimed that the fbi did not have advanced knowledge of it, but it was recently revealed
that an undercover fbi agent was in close communication with one of the attackers in the weeks leading up to the attack. the undercover agent was in a car directly behind the attacker when they started shooting and fled the scene. the committee needs clarity on what the fbi knew, whether there were plans to disrupt any of the attack, and whether it shared enough information with local law enforcement. and, obviously, you expect me to always remind you about whistleblowers. finally, as you know, the fbi whistleblower enhancement act became law december 2016. it clarified fbi employees are protected when they disclose wrongdoing to their supervisors. in april, we learned that the fbi still has not updated the policies and done much to educate employees on the new law. the inspector general gave the fbi updated training this past january. employees and we know they are
protected are more likely to come forward with evidence of waste, fraud, and abuse. they should not have to wait many months to be trained on such a significant change in their rights and their protections. and these are all important issues, and i look forward to discussing them with you, director comey. the public's faith in the fbi, congress, and our democratic process has been tested lately. oversight and transparency hopefully will restore that faith. you may take as long as you want, senator. >> thinks very much, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, as you stated, this is the committee's annual oversight hearing to conduct that oversight of the fbi. so, usually we review and ask questions about the fbi's work that ranges from major federal law enforcement priorities to the specific concerns of individual members of the committee. however, this hearing takes place at a unique time.
last year, for the first time, the fbi and its investigation of a candidate for president became the center of the closing days of a presidential election. before voters went to the polls last november, they had been inundated with stories about the fbi's investigation of senator clinton's e-mails. the press coverage was wall to wall. every day there was another story about secretary clinton's e-mails. every day, questions were released -- everyday questions were raised about whether classified information had been released or compromised. and over and over again there was commentary from the fbi about its actions and investigation. on july 5, 2016, two months before the election, director
comey publicly announced that the fbi had concluded its investigation and determined that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case against secretary clinton. that should have been the end of the story, but it wasn't. 11 days before the election on october 28, 2016, director, we then announced that the fbi was reopening the clinton investigation because of emails on anthony wiener's computer. announcement, and it was, came unprompted and without knowing whether a single e-mail warranted a new investigation. it was, in fact, a big october surprise. but, in fact, as it turned out, not one e-mail on the laptop changed the fbi's original conclusion that no prosecution
was warranted. and only two days before the election, the fbi sent another public letter to congress affirming its original conclusion. this was extraordinary, plain and simple. i join those who believe that the actions taken by the fbi did, in fact, have an impact on the election. what's worse, is that while all of this was going on in the public spotlight, while the fbi was discussing its investigation into senator clinton's e-mail server in detail, i cannot help but note that it was noticeably silent about the investigation into the trump campaign and russian interference into the election. in june 2016, the press reported that russian hackers had infiltrated the computer system
of the democratic national committee. in response, then candidate trump and his campaign began goading the russian government into hacking secretary clinton. two months later, in august on twitter, roger stone declared, "trust me, it will soon be podesta's time in the barrel." he then bragged that he was in communication with wikileaks, and this was during a campaign -- the campaign in florida, he told a group of florida founderans that founder julian assange and that there would be no telling what the october surprise might be. clearly, he knew what he was talking about. on october 7,er
thousands of emails from john podesta's account were published on wikileaks. we now know that through the fall election, the fbi was actively investigating russia's efforts to interfere with the presidential campaign and possible involvement of trump campaign officials in those efforts. yet, the fbi remained silent. in fact, the fbi summarily refused to acknowledge any investigation. it is still very unclear, and i hope, director that you will clear this up, why the fbi's treatment of these two investigations was so dramatically different. with the clinton e-mail investigation, it has been said that "exceptional circumstances" including a high interest in the matter and the need to reassure the public required public
comment from the fbi. however, i can't imagine how an unprecedented, big and bold hacking interference in our election by the russian government did not also present exceptional circumstances. as i said at the beginning, we're in a unique time. a foreign adversary actively interfered with a presidential election. the fbi was investigating not just that interference, but whether campaign officials associated with the president were connected to this interference. and the attorney general has recused himself from any involvement in this investigation. at the same time, the fbi must continue to work with its state and local law enforcement and --
the intelligence community as well to investigate crime of all types. violent crime, increased narcotic trafficking, fraud, human trafficking, terrorism, child exploitation, public corruption, and yesterday this committee had a very important hearing on hate and crimes against specific religions and races, which are off the charts. in order to do all of that, i firmly believe it's of the utmost importance that the american people have faith and trust in the nation's top law enforcement agency. we must be assured that all of the fbi's decisions are made in the interest of justice, not in the interest of any political agenda, or reputation of any one agency or individual. so, mr. director, today we need regain how the fbi will that faith and trust.
we need straightforward answers to our questions. and we want to hear how you're going to lead the fbi going forward. we never ever want anything like this to happen again. thank you, mr. chairman. >> director comey, i'd like to swear you in at this point. you affirm that the testimony you're about to give before the committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you god? thank you very much. as the old saying goes for somebody as famous as you, you don't need and the introductions. i'm going to just introduce you as director of the federal bureau of investigation. but to once again, thank you for being here today and we look forward to your testimony and answer to our questions. you may begin. james comey: thank you, mr. chairman, senator feinstein, members of the committee. thank you for having this annual oversight hearing about the fbi. i know that sound a little bit like someone saying they're
looking forward to going to the dentist, but i really do mean it. oversight of the fbi -- of all parts of the government, but especially the one i am lucky enough to lead -- is essential. i think it was john adams wrote to thomas jefferson that said, power always thinks it has a great soul. the way you guard against that is having people ask hard questions. ask good questions and demand straightforward answers. i promise you i'll do my absolute best to give you that kind of answer today. i also appreciate the conversation i know we're going to have today, and over the next few months about reauthorizing , section 702 of the foreign intelligence surveillance act that you mentioned, mr. chairman. this is a tool that is essential to the safety of this country. i do not say the same thing about the collection of telephone dialing information by the nsa. i think that's a useful tool. 702 is an essential tool and if it goes away, we'll be less safe as a country. and i mean that and would be happy to talk more about that. thank you for engaging on that so we can tell the american
people why this matters so much and why we cannot let it go away. as you know, the magic of the fbi that you oversee is its people. and we talk as we should a lot about our counterterrorism work, about our counterintelligence work and i'm sure we'll talk about that today. i thought i would give you some idea of the work that's being done by those people all over the country, all over the world, every day, every night, all the time. and i pulled three cases that happened and were finished in the last month just to illustrate it. the first was something i know that you followed closely, the plague of threats against jewish happened and were finished in the last month just to illustrate it. community centers this country experienced in the first few months of this year. children frightened, old people frightened, terrifying threat of bombs at jewish institutions, especially the jewish community centers. the entire fbi surged in response to that threat, working across all programs, all divisions, our technical wizards, using our vital international presence and using our partnerships, especially
with the israeli national police. we made that case and the israelis locked up the person behind those threats and stopped that terrifying plague against the jewish community centers. second case i wanted to mention , all of you know what a notnet is. -- what it botnet is. these are the zombie armies of computers that have been taken over by criminals lashed together in order to do tremendous harm to innocent people. last month, the fbi working with our partners with the spanish national police, took down a bot net and locked up the russian botnet behind that notne that made a mistake that russian criminals sometimes make of leaving russia and visiting barcelona. he is now in jail in spain. the good people's computers that had been lashed to that zombie army are now freed and no longer part of a criminal enterprise. the last one i will mention is, this last week for the first
time since congress passed a statute making it a crime in the united states to engage in female genital mutilation, to mutilate little girls, it has been a felony since 1996. last week we made the first case against doctors in michigan for doing this terrifying thing to young girls all across the country with our partners in the department of homeland security comin, we brought a case against two doctors for doing this to children. this is a among the most important work we do, protecting kids especially, and it was done by great work that you don't hear about a lot all across the country by the fbi. it is the honor of my life -- i know you look at me like i'm crazy for saying this about this job -- i love this work, i love this job. and i love it because of the mission and people i get to work with. some work i illustrated by pulling those three cases from last month, but it goes on all the time, all around the country , and we are safer for it. i love representing these people, speaking on their behalf and a look forward to your questions today. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you for your opening
statement. i will start out probably with a couple subjects you wish i did not bring up and a third one i think everybody needs to hear your opinion on, a policy issue. it is frustrating when the fbi refuses to answer this committee's questions. leaks relevant information to the media. in other words, they don't talk to us, but they talk to the media. director comey, have you ever been an anonymous source about news relating to the trump investigation or the clinton investigation? james comey: never. chairman: question two on relatively related. have you ever authorized someone else at the fbi to be an anonymous source in news reports about the trump investigation or clinton investigation? james comey: mr. riskeno.
chairman: has any classified information relating to president trump or his associates been declassified and shared with the media? james comey: not to my knowledge. you testified before the house intelligence committee that a lot of classified matters have ended up in the media recently. without getting into any particular article, i want to emphasize that, without getting into any reticular article, are there any leaks of classified information relating to mr. trump or his associates? james comey: i don't want to answer that question, senator , for reasons i think you know. there have been a variety of leaks -- leaks are always a
problem, but especially in the last three to six months. ofre there is a leak classified information, the fbi, if it is our information, we make a referral to the department of justice, or if it is another agency's information, they do the same and then doj authorizes the opening of an investigation. i don't want to confirm in an open setting whether there are any investigations open. chairman: i want to challenge you on that because the government regularly acknowledged when it's investigating classified leaks. you did that in the valerie plain case. what's the difference here? james comey: the most important difference is i don't have authorization from the department to confirm any of the investigations they have authorized. and it may be that we can get that at some point, but i'm not going to do it sitting here in an open setting without having talked to them. chairman: you can expect me follow up on that offer. james comey: sure. chairman: there are several senior fbi officials who would have had access to the classified information that was
leaked, including yourself and the deputy director, so how can the justice department guarantee the integrity of the investigations without designating an agency other than the fbi to gather the facts dir. comey: well, i'm not going to answer about any particular investigations, but i know of situations in the past where if you think the fbi or its leadership are suspects, you have another investigative agency support the investigation about federal prosecutors. it can be done and has been done in the past. mail sen. grassley: a ok. moving on to another subject, "the new york times" recently reported that the fbi had found a troubling e-mail among the ones the russians hacked from attorney general lynch ones the russians hacked from democrat and operatives. as you
sen. grassley: you will the you e-mail reportedly provided assurances that attorney general and you lynch would protect secretary clinton by making sure the fbi investigation "didn't go too far." how and when did you first learn of this document? also who sent it and who received it? dir. comey: anddir. comey: that your is not a question i can answer in this forum, mr. chairman because it would call , for a clarify classified response. i have briefed leadership of the intelligence committees on that particular issue, that i cannot talk about it here. sen. grassley: you can expect me to follow up with you on that issue. i you are dir. comey: sure. and sen. grassley: what steps
is a did the fbi take to determine whether attorney general lynch had actually given assurances that the political fix was in no matter what, did the fbi interview the person who wrote the email? if not, why not? dir. comey: i have to give you the same answer, i can't talk about that in an unclassified setting. sen. grassley: ok you can expect a me to follow up on that. i asked the fbi to provide this e-mail to the committee before today's hearing. why haven't you done so and will you provide it by the end of this week? dir. comey: again, to react to that i have to give a classified answer and i can't give it sitting here here. sen. grassley: so that means you cannot give me the email? dir. comey: a i'm not confirming there was an email, sir. the subject is classified and in , an appropriate forum i'd be happy to brief you on it, but i cannot do it in an open hearing. sen. grassley: yousen. grassley: i assume other members of the are committee could have access to data briefing if they want it? i want to talk about going dark, director comey. a few years ago, you testified before the committee about the going dark problem any inability of law enforcement to access encrypted data despite the existence of a lawfully issued court order. you continue to raise this issue in your public speeches most
recently at the boston college. you mentioned at the beginning of your testimony briefly, but can you provide the committee with a more detailed update on the status of the going dark problem and how it is affect the fbi's ability to access encrypted data my has there been any progress collaborating with the technology sector to overcome any problems? at our hearing in 2015 you said you did not think legislation was necessary at that time. is that still your view? dir. comey: thank you, mr. chairman. the shadow created by the problem we call going dark continues to fall across more and more of our work. take devices, for example. the ubiquitous default is affecting now about half of our work. he first six months of this fiscal year, fbi examiners were presented with over 6000 devices. for which we had lawful
authority to open, and 46% of those cases we could not open those devices with any technique. that means half of the devices we encounter in terrorism cases, in counterintelligence cases, inangered cases, in -- gained cases, -- gang case, child photography cases cannot be opened with any technique, that is a big problem. so the shadow continues to fall. i'm determined to make sure the american people and congress know about it. i know this is important to the president, to the new attorney general. i do not know how the new administration intends to approach it but it is something we have to talk about because like you, i care a lot about privacy, i also care enough a lot about the look safety and -- about public safety and there continues to be a huge collision between those two things we care about. i look forward to continuing that conversation. sen. grassley: you did not respond to the part do you still have the view that legislation is not needed? dir. comey: i do not know the answer yet. i hope i said last time we talked about this it may require a legislative solution at some point. the obama administration was not
in a position where they were seeking legislation. i do not know how president trump intends to approach this. he spoke about this during the campaign, he cares about it but it is premature for me to say. sen. grassley: senator feinstein. director, istein: have one question regarding my opening comment and i view it as a most important question, and i hope you will answer it. why was it necessary to announce 11 days before a presidential election that you were opening an investigation on a new computer without any knowledge of what was in that computer? why didn't you just do the investigation as you would normally, with no public announcement? dir. comey: a great question, senator, thank you.
october 27, the investigative team that had finished the investigation in july focused on secretary clinton's emails asked to meet with me so i'm at with -- i met with them that morning, late morning in my conference room and they laid out for me what they could see from the metadata on this fellow anthony weiner's laptop that had been seized in a unrelated case. what they could see from the metadata is that there were thousands of secretary clinton's emails on that device, including what they thought might be the missing emails from her first three months as secretary of state. we never found any mails from her first three months. she was using a verizon blackberry then and that is obviously very important. if there was evidence she was acting with bad intent, that is where -- >> but they weren't there. dir. comey: can i finish my nswer, senator? they came in and said we can see thousands of emails from the clinton emailed domain including many from the verizon clinton domain, blackberry domain. they said we think we have to get a search warrant to get this and the department of justice
agreed, we had to get a search warrant. i agreed. i also authorized a search warrant and i have lived my career by the tradition that if you can avoid it, you avoid any action in the run-up to election orther it is a dog catcher the president. i set there that morning and i could not see a door labeled no action here. i could see two doors and they were both actions, one was labeled speak, the other was labeled conceal. here is how i thought about it, i want you to know my thinking. have you repeatedly told this congress we are done and there's nothing there, there is no case there, there is no case there. to restart in a hugely significant way potentially finding emails that would reflect on her intent from the beginning and not speak about it would require an active -- act of concealment in my view. i stared at speak and conceal. speak would be really bad, there is an election in 11 days, that would be bad. conceal, in my view, would be
catastrophic, not just to the fbi but well beyond. as between really bad in -- and catastrophic, i said to my team, we have to walk into the world of really bad. i have to tell congress we are starting this, not in some frivolous way, and a hugely significant way and the team told the we cannot finish this work before the election and they worked night after night and they found thousands of new emails, they found classified information on anthony weiner. somehow, her emails are being weiner,d to anthony including classified information from her assistant huma abedin appeared they found thousands of new emails and they called me saturday night before the election and said thanks to the wisteria of our technology we had to read 6000. we think we can finish tomorrow evening. i met with them and they said we found a lot of new stuff, we did not find anything that changes our view of her intent. we are in the same place we were in july. it has not changed our view and i asked lots of questions and i said, ok, if that is where you
are, i also have to tell congress we are done. this is terrible, it makes meet mildly nauseous to think we had some impact on the election but honestly, it would not change the decision. everybody who disagrees with me has to come back to october 28 with me and steer this and tell -- and stare at this and tell me what you would do. would you speak or would you conceal? i could be wrong but we honestly made a decision between those two choices even in hindsight and this is one of the worlds most painful experiences, i would make the same decision. i would not conceal that on october 28 from the congress. i sent a letter. i did not make a public announcement, i sent a private letter to the chairs in the rankings of the oversight committees. it was important that i tell them, instead of concealing. disagreee people can but that is the reason i made that choice, and it was a hard choice. i still believe in retrospect the right choice as painful as this has been, and i am sorry
for the long answer. sen. feinstein: let me respond, on the letter, it was a matter of minutes before the world knew about it. secondly, my understanding and the staff has just said to me that you did not get a search warrant before making the announcement. dir. comey: i think that is right. i think i authorized and the department of justice agreed we were going to seek a search warrant. i do not see it as a meaningful distinction. sen. feinstein: well, it is very hard -- it would have been -- you took an enormous gamble. the gamble was that there was something there that would invalidate her candidacy. and there wasn't. so, one has to look at that action and say, did it affect the campaign? and i think most people who have looked at this say yes, it did affect the campaign. why would he do it? and was there any conflict among your staff, people saying do it,
people saying don't do it, as has been reported? dir. comey: no, it was a great debate. i have a fabulous staff and one of my junior lawyers said should you consider that what you are about to do may help elect donald trump president, and i said thank you for raising that. not for a moment. down that path lies the death of the fbi as an independent institution in america. i can't consider for a second whose political fortunes would be affected in what way. we have to ask ourselves, what is the right thing to do and then do that thing. i'm proud of the way we debated it and at the end of the day, everyone on my team agreed we have to tell congress that we are restarting this in a hugely significant way. sen. feinstein: well, there is a way to do that. i don't know whether it would work or not, but certainly in a classified way, carrying out your tradition of not announcing investigations. you know -- i look at this
exactly the opposite way you do. everybody knew it would influence the investigation before, that there was a very large percentage of chance that it would. and yet, that percentage of chance was taken and there was no information, and the election was lost. so, it seems to me that before your department does something like this, it really ought to -- because senator leahy began to talk about other investigations and i think this theory does not hold up when you look at other investigations. but let me go on to 702. because you began your comments saying how important it is and yes, it is important. we've got, i think, a problem,
and the issue that we are going to need to address is the fbi's practice of searching 702 data. using u.s. person identifiers as query terms and some have called this an unconstitutional backdoor search. while others say that such queries are essential to assuring potential terrorists do not slip through the cracks as they did before. could you give us your view of that and how it might be handled to avoid avoid the charge that might bring down 702? you, senator,ank it is a really important issue. the way 702 works is under that provision of the statute, the fisa court authorizes us to collect communications of those overseas if they are not using an american infrastructure.
the feedback we have gotten consistently since 9/11 is, you have to make sure you are in a position to connect the dots. you cannot have stovepipe information. we responded to that over the last 10 years, mostly to the great work of my predecessor bob mueller and we have confederated databases so if we collect information under 702, it is not sit in a separate stovepipe. it sits in a single cloud type environment so that if i am opening an investigation in the united states in a terrorist matter or a intelligence matter, or a criminal matter, and i have a name of the suspect and their telephone number and email addresses, i search the fbi's databases. that search necessarily will also touch the information that was collected under 702. so that we don't miss a dot. but nobody gets access to the information that sits in the 702 database unless they have been trained correctly. if there is, let's imagine that
terrorists overseas were talking about a suspect in the united states or someone's a mail address in the united states was in touch with that terrorist. that information sits in the 702 database and we open the case in the united states and put in that name and a mail address it will touch that data and tell us of there is information in the 702 database that is relevant. if the agent doing the query is properly trained on how to handle that, he or she would be trained and able to see that information. if they are not properly trained they will be alerted there is information and they have to get the appropriate training and oversight to see it. to do it otherwise is to risk us , where it matters most, in the united states, failing to connect the dots. my view is the information that in the 702 database has been lawfully collected, carefully overseen and check, and our use of it is also appropriate and carefully overseen and checked. sen. feinstein: so you are not masking the data? you are unmasking the data? dir. comey: i'm not sure what
that means in this context. we combine information collected from any lawful first in a single fbi database so we do not miss a. when we are conducting investigations in the united states. what we make sure is, no one gets to see fisa information of any kind unless they have the appropriate training and oversight. sen. feinstein: my time is up. thank you. senator hatch? senator: i introduced in january the rapid dna act. it is bipartisan cosponsors include feinstein, kunz and me on this committee and maybe more. mr. chairman, i want to thank you for putting this bill on the agenda for tomorrow's business meeting. this is the same bill that the senate unanimously passed last year. -- technologyand allows developing a dna profile and performing database comparisons in less than two hours. following standards and
procedures approved by the fbi it would allow law enforcement to solve crimes. mr. director, you can before this committee in december, 2015 and i asked you about this legislation and you said it would "help us change the world in a very, very exciting way." is that still your view of the value of this legislation, do you believe that congress should enact it on its own without getting tangled up in other criminal justice reform issues? dir. comey: i agree very much, senator hatch. the rapid dna will materially advance the safety of the safety of the american people so that if a police officer somewhere in the u.s. has in his or her custody someone who is a rapist, before letting them go on some lesser offense, they will be able to check the dna database and save lives and protect all kinds of people from pain and i think it is a great thing. sen. hatch: thank you. you're prepared statement
touches on what the fbi is doing, protecting children from predators. personnel and youth serving organizations such as coaches or volunteers often work with unsupervised -- with youth unsupervised. that magnifies the need for a thorough evaluating and vetting at the time they join such organizations. a love -- along with senators --nken and go which are giving you serving organizations greater access to the fbi fingerprint background check system. now do you believe that providing organizations like the ymca and the girl scouts greater access is an important step in keeping child predators and violent criminals away from our children? dir. comey: i do, senator. i don't know enough information about it to react, but i think the more information you can put in the hands of the people who are vetting people who will be
near children, the better. we have a feature that once you check someone's identification, check them to see if they have no record, if they later develop one you can be alerted to it if it happens thereafter. which i think makes a big difference. sen. hatch: well, thank you. you have spoken at length about the going dark program. whereby strong encryption capability allows the ability of law enforcement to access to medication and personal data on smartphones and similar devices. you're prepared testimony for today's hearing addresses this issue as well. i have expressed significant concern about proposals that would require a device or software manufacturers to build a backdoor into their programming to allow law enforcement to access encrypted data in the course of an investigation. i remain convinced that such backdoors can be created without seriously compromising the security of encrypted devices.
this is an issue where the law enforcement and stakeholders need to work together to find solutions rather than coming to congress with one-size-fits-all legislative fixes. what are you doing to engage with stakeholders on this issue and what kind of progress are you making, if you could tell us? dir. comey: thank you, senator. good news on that front. we have had very good open and productive conversations with the private sector over the last 18 months about this issue. everybody realize that we care about the same things, we care about public safety and we love privacy. none of us -- at least the people i hang around with, none of us want backdoors, we do not want access to devices built in in some way. what we want to work with manufacturers on is to figure out how can we accommodate both interests, optimize the privacy and security features of their devices and allow court orders to be complied with? we are having some good conversations.
i don't know where they are going to end up, frankly. i could imagine a world that -- with legislation that if you make these devices you comply with court orders. but maybe we don't go there. we are having productive conversations right now, i think. sen. hatch: section 702 is up for reauthorization this year. we have almost a decade of experience using this statute. so we have much more to go on than simply speculation or theory. the intelligence value is will -- well documented and it has never been intentionally misused or abused. every federal court including the fisa court concluded that section 702 is lawful and administrations in both parties strongly supported it. describe for us the targeting and minimization procedures of howion 702 requires and procedures with oversight within the executive branch.
dir. comey: thank you, senator. as i said in my opening, 702 is a critical tool to protect this country. the way it works is, we are allowed to conduct surveillance under the supervision of the foreign intelligence surveillance court on non-u.s. persons who are outside the united states if they are using american infrastructure, and email system in the u.s., a phone system, it does not involve u.s. persons and it does not involve activity in the u.s. and each agency has detailed procedures for how we will handle this information that are approved by the fisa court. and so become court orders that govern us. we are not only are we overseen by the fisa court, we are seen -- overseen by inspectors general. you are absolutely correct, there have been no abuses. every court that has looked at this has said this is appropriate under the fourth amendment, as is appropriate under the statute, it was an act passed democratically controlled congress and a republican president and renewed for a democratic president and upheld
by every court that has looked at it. i am telling you what the rest of the intelligence community has said. we need to protect the country. this should be an easy conversation to have but often people get confused about the details and mix it up with other things so it is our job to make sure we explain it clearly. thank you, my time is up. senator leahy. senator leahy: thank you. you have mentioned you like these annual meetings. we did not have an annual meeting last year, last year was the first time in 15 years that the fbi did not testify before this committee. a lot has happened in the last year and a half as noted. senator feinstein noted americans across the country have been confused and
disappointed by your judgment and handling the investigation into secretary clinton's emails. on a number of occasions, you told us there was a extensive comment. you even released internal fbi memos and interview notes. i may have missed this but i have come in my 42 years here, never seen anything like that. you have said nothing regarding the investigation into the trunk -- the trump campaign's connections to russia's illegal efforts to help elect donald trump. was it appropriate for you to comment on one investigation repeatedly, and not say anything --ut the other dir. comey: about the other? dir. comey: i think so. can i explain, senator? sen. leahy: i only have so much
time. dir. comey: we would not confirm the existence of the hillary clinton email investigation until three months after it began even though it began with a public referral and the candidate herself talked about it. in october of 2015 we confirmed it existed then said not another word, not a people about it until we were -- not a peep about it until it was finished. sen. leahy: there were other things involved in that election, i'll grant that. but there is no question that had a great effect. historians can debate what kind of effect it was. but you didn't do it. -- but you did do it. in october, the fbi was investigating the trump campaigns connection to russia. you sent a letter to the senate and house that you were reviewing additional emails that
could be relevant that both investigations, you only commented on one. dir. comey: i commented, as i explained earlier, on a tober 28 -- october 28 in a letter that i sent to the chair and rankings of the oversight committees that we were taking additional steps in the clinton email investigation because i had testified under oath repeatedly that we were done, we were finished there. with respect to the russian investigation, we treated it like we did with the clinton investigation, we did not say a word about it until months into it and the only thing we have confirmed about it, which is the same with the clinton investigation, is we are investigating. i don't -- i would expect, we are not going to see another word about it until we are done. that is the way we handled the clinton investigation as well. sen. leahy: let me ask you this. during your investigation into hillary clinton's emails, a number of surrogates like rudy giuliani claim to have a pipeline to the fbi. he boasted "numerous agents talk to him all the time regarding the investigation."
he even insinuated he had advance warning about the emails described in your october letter. former fbi agent jim calstrom made similar claims. now either they are lying or there is a serious problem within the bureau. anybody in the fbi during this 2016 campaign have contact with rudy giuliani about the clinton investigation? dir. comey: i do not know yet but if i find out that people were leaking information about our investigations whether to reporters or private parties, there will be severe consequences. dir. comey: -- sen. leahy: did you know anything from the agent? dir. comey: same answer. i do not know yet. sen. leahy: any other former agents? dir. comey: i do not know yet but it is a matter i am interested in. sen. leahy: you are looking into it. dir. comey: correct. sen. leahy: once you found that answer what you provided to us
question mark dir. comey: i will provided in some form, i will find some way to let you know. sen. leahy: now the reports of a number of senior officials are connected to the russian investigation. in fact, the attorney general was forced to recuse him self. many members of this committee have urged the deputy attorney general, he has the authority to appoint a special counsel to protect the independence of the investigation. i was here in december 2003 shortly after you were confirmed as deputy attorney general, then-attorney general ashcroft recused himself from the investigation into the valerie plame leak. i believe you appointed patrick fitzgerald. what led you to that decision? dir. comey: in that
investigation, my judgment was that the appearance of fairness and independents require that it be removed from the political chain of command within the department of justice. because as you recall, it seems like a lifetime ago, that involved the conduct of april who were senior-level people in the white house and my judgment , as ant even i independent-minded person, was a political appointee so i had to give it to a career person like pat fitzgerald. sen. leahy: what about the situation now, we have a deputy attorney general, i voted for his confirmation. should he be not the one to be investigating campaign contacts when his boss, the attorney general was a central figure in that campaign? dir. comey: that is a judgment he will have to make. he was, as i hope i was, a very independent minded, career-oriented person but it would be premature for me to comment on that. sen. leahy: the past weekend,
president trump said the hacking of the dnc and efforts to influence the election could have been china, it could have been a lot of different groups. contrary to what the intelligence community has said. the intelligence community with high confidence concluded it was russia. in many ways, it is hard to do activation of a hack but sometimes the intelligence is
>> the community concluded it was russia. it is hard to do activation of a hack but sometimes the intelligence is there, we have high confidence the north koreans hacked sony and the russians hacked to the dnc and other organizations. >> i have other questions i will submit. i want to praise the response of the fbi in south burlington, vermont. we had anonymous emails coming in threatening serious action against students in high school. including detailed death threats. multiple lockdowns, the fbi worked closer with the colleges and the investigation. it was a textbook example of collaboration between state, local, and federal authorities and i want to thank all of those, it turned out to be a very disturbed young man who is doing it. we were worried around the country. thank you for your efforts. >> we will go to senator warner. >> i am disappointed to see that former secretary of state hillary clinton was in the news yesterday essentially blaming you and blaming everything other than herself for her loss on november 8, i find it ironic because you're not the one who
made the decision to handle classified information on a private email server. you are not the one who decided to have a private meeting with secretary clinton's husband in the middle of the justice department's ongoing investigation into secretary clinton's server. i use the word investigation here because according to a recent piece in "the new york times" you were forbidden from using the word investigation and were told to refer to the investigation as a matter. it was the former attorney general, loretta lynch, who up until that meeting with president clinton was the person
responsible for making the decision whether to convene a grand jury involved in the allegations against secretary clinton trade it was former attorney general loretta lynch who forbade you from using the word investigation. if the story is true, it expressed confidence the former attorney general would keep that investigation from going very far. i think you are given an impossible choice to make, and you did the best you could, in light of the situation that you are presented with. it strikes me as somewhat sad for people here and elsewhere, to condemn you for notifying congress shortly before the election, even more emails related to the investigation, including classified emails. again, because secretary clinton made the decision to use a private in mill server. server.vate email is important to remind folks, you were not the one that decided to do business and keep them on a computer of someone suspected of child pornography. i believe you are placed in an incredibly difficult situation and did the best you could. i was one of those who felt like, given the nature of the investigation and the concerns,
that a special counsel should have been appointed to conduct the investigation. but of course, attorney general lynch and the obama administration opposed that effort. so i just want to express to you my disappointment that this continued seeking of a reason, any reason other than the flawed campaign and the candidate herself, for secretary clinton losing the presidential election. if i can turn to a couple of other substantive items here, you have mentioned 702, a fisa and the reauthorization. and i believe you referred to this as the crown jewels of the fbi and of counterterrorism investigations. could you explain why this provides such a unique tool, and
why you regard it as literally the crown jewels of the fbi? mr. comey: thank you, senator. every time i talk about this publicly, i wince a little bit because i don't want bad people around the world to focus on this too much. but really bad people around the world, because of the genius of american innovation, use our products and infrastructure for their emails, their communications. and what 702 allows us to do is quickly target terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, proliferators, spies, cyber hackers, non-americans that are using our infrastructure to communicate, target them quickly and collect information on them. and it is vital to all parts of the intelligence community because of its agility, its speed, and its effectiveness. and again, in an open setting, we cannot explain what you already know from classified briefings about what a difference this makes. but again, because america is the mother of all this innovation, they use a lot of our equipment, a lot of our networks to communicate with each other. if we were ever acquired to
required to establish the normal warrant process for these non-americans who aren't in our country, just because the photons they are using to plan attacks across our country lost lands, we would be tying ourselves in knots for reasons that make no sense at all and the courts say are unnecessary under the 4th amendment. this is a tool. we talked a lot last year about the telephony database. i think that's a useful tool. it does not compare in importance to 702. we can't lose 702. sen. cornyn: well, i agree. and it is a little bit difficult to talk about things that do involve classified matters in public. but i think the public needs to know there are multiple oversight layers including the fisa court, congressional oversight, internal oversight within the fbi and intelligence community that protects americans from and under their privacy rights while targeting terrorists and people who are trying to kill us.
i want to talk a minute about the electronic communication transaction records, something we have discussed as well. the fbi can use national security letters to get financial information and telephone numbers now in the terrorist a investigation. because of a typo in the law, the fbi has not been allowed access to metadata in the case of security cases, to the extent that it is necessary. can you talk to us about the importance of that particular electronic communications fix?
sec. comey: thank you so much, senator. this seems like a boring deal, this makes a big impact on our work, and here's why. in our counter terrorism cases and our counter-intelligence cases, we can issue with all kinds of layers of approval in the fbi, a national security letter to find out the subscriber to a particular telephone number and to find out what numbers that telephone number was in contact with, not content of those give indications, but the connection. because of what i believe is a typo in the law, and i fly him wrong, congress will tell me they intended this, companies will provide the same services, but on the internet, resist and say we do not have the statutory authority to provide a nsl or the subscriber email handle or what addresses were in contact. although, we can do the same with telephone communications. i do not think congress intended that. but in our most important investigations, if we want to find out the subscriber, the particular email handle, to go get an order from a federal judge in washington as part of the fisa court, and incredibly long and difficult process. and i'm worried about that slowing us down, but also worried about it becoming a disincentive for our investigators to do it at all. because if you're working a case in san antonio or seattle, you're moving very quickly. and if i have to go to get subscriber information for heavens sake on an gmail address
to a federal court in washington, i'm probably going to try to find some other way around it. if that's what congress wants, sure, we'll follow the law. i don't think that was ever intended. and so i would hope that congress will fix what i believe is a typo. sen. cornyn: thank you mr. director, i have other questions, for the record. thank you. >> we are going over to vote now. i would also like to have both democrats and republicans notify me if they want a second round, so i can get an inventory of that. senator klobuchar. senator klobuchar: thank you, and welcome back, director comey. as you are well aware, russia is actively working to undermine our democracy and hurt american businesses at the same time. now, more than ever, americans are looking to congress for leadership, and we must be a united front. i have appreciated some of the members of this committee on the
republican side who have spoken out about this. we must be united as we seek information from the administration. last month during a hearing at the house and diligence committee, you confirmed that the fbi is investigating the russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. including, any links between the trump campaign and the russian government. i know that you cannot discuss that ongoing investigation. but just one question to clarify, will you commit to ensuring that the relevant congressional committees receive a full and timely briefing on that investigation's findings? mr. comey: in general, i can, senator. i need department of justice
approval to brief on particular people we're investigating. we have briefed the chairs in the rankings including this committee on who we have cases open on and exactly what we're doing and how we're using various sources of information. i don't know whether the department will approve that for the entire intelligence committees, but i'll lean as far forward as i can. sen. klobuchar: and then because attorney general sessions is recused from that, and now rod rosenstein is approved, do you go to him then to get that approval? mr. comey: yes, i have already briefed him his first day in office, i briefed him of where we are. he would be the person to make that decision. sen. klobuchar: thank you. in your testimony, you note that the justice department brought charges against russian spies and criminal hackers in connection with a 2014 yahoo! cyber attack in february, an example of a cyber attack on our economy. in december of 2016, the fbi and department of homeland security released a 13-page report providing technical details about how federal investigators linked russia to the hacks against u.s. political organizations. does russia use the same military and civilian tools it used to hack our political organizations in order to do things like hack into u.s. companies, steal identities, and sell the credit card information of americans on the black market? and how is the fbi working to fight against hackers supported by foreign governments like russia?
mr. comey: the answer is yes, both their government organizations and then they have a relationship that is often difficult to define with criminals. the yahoo! hack is an example of that. you had some of russia's greatest criminal hackers and intelligence agency hackers working together. so the answer is yes. and what we're doing is trying to see if we can improse costs on that behavior in a lot of different ways, but including one i mentioned in my opening, which is locking up people. if we can get them outside of russia, russia is not too great about cooperating with us with -- with their criminals inside their borders. but all of them like to travel. so if they travel, grabbing them and locking and putting handcuffs on them to send the message that that is not a freebie.
sen. klobuchar: in your testimony you also discussed the threat of transnational organized crime to our security. russia has vast networks that the kremlin uses to sow insecurity around the world. i heard these concerns firsthand went senator graham, mccain, and i were in the baltics, ukraine, and georgia. there have been recent concerns that organized criminals including russians are using the luxury real estate market to launder money. the treasury department has noted a significant rise in the use of shell companies in real estate transactions because foreign buyers use them as a way to hide their identity and find a safehaven for their money in the u.s. in fact, nearly half of all homes in the u.s. worth at least $5 million are purchased using shell companies. does the anonymity associated with the use of shell companies to buy real estate hurt the fbi's ability to trace the flow of illicit money and fight organized crime? and do you support efforts by the treasury department to use its existing authority to
require more transparency in these transactions? mr. comey: yes and yes. sen. klobuchar: ok, very good. because i think this is a huge problem. when you hear that over $5 million homes, half of them purchased by shell companies, that's a major problem. in march this committee, subcommittee on crime and terrorism, held its first hearing. i thank senator graham and senator whitehouse or that. i raised the issue of protecting the infrastructure with the former bush department of justice official ken wanestein, and he agreed that this is an important issue. as the ranking member of rules committee, i am particularly committed to making sure our elections are safe from foreign interference. i recently led a group of 26 senators to call for a full account in the assistance efforts to address russian cyber security threats in the 2016 election. i'm also working on legislation in this area. can you discuss how the fbi has coordinated with the election assistance commission, department of homeland security, and state and local election officials to help protect the integrity of our election process?
mr. comey: thank you, senator. in short, what we have done with dhs is share the tools, tactics, and techniques we see hackers, especially from the 2016 election season, using to attack voter registration databases and try and engage in other hacks. we have pushed that out to all the states and election assistance commission so they can harden their networks. that is one of the most important things we can do, equip them with information to make their systems tighter. sen. klobuchar: very good. we have different equipment all over this country. there is some advantage to that, i think. i think it is good when we have paper ballot backups of course, but we have to be prepared for
this. and this certainly isn't about one political party or one candidate. the last time you came before the committee in december 2015, just one week after the san bernardino attacks, since then, as was noted by the chair, we have seen other attacks in our country. we had a tragedy in a shopping mall in st. cloud, minnesota. 10 wounded at a shopping mall. thankfully, a brave off-duty cop was there and able to stop further damage from being done. and i would also like to thank you and the fbi for your investigation. having talked to the chief up there, senator franken and i were briefed by him as well as congressman amer right after this attack. the local police department is a midsized department, and they had to do a lot with working with the community. they have a significant somalian community there that is a big part of their community they are proud to have there. so they are working with them and the community. they are helping, but the fbi really stood in and did the investigation. and i guess i want to thank you for that and end with one question. it is been reported that isis has encouraged lone wolf attacks like what we saw in orlando, murkier than back in st. cloud. what challenges do these types of attacks present a law enforcement and what is the fbi
doing to prevent these kind of tragedies? mr. comey: thank you, senator. the central challenge is not just finding needles in a nationwide haystack, but trying to figure out which pieces of hay might become a needle. and that is, which of the troubled young people or sometimes older people are consuming poisonous propaganda. some isis, some anwar ma lamaliki. some other sources. an actthoward thinking violence, a stabbing at a shopping mall, sometimes they think it is a way to achieve meaning in their lives. a huge part of it is building relationships with the communities you mentioned. because those folks do not want anyone committing violence, committing violence in the name of their faith. and so they have the same incentives we do and making sure
they see us that way. and we see them that way is at the heart of our response. because we are not going to see a troubled kid going sideways and thinking he should stab people, anywhere near as easily as people around that kid will see it. so getting them in a position where they feel comfortable telling us or telling local law enforcement is at the heart of our ability to find the needles, evaluate those pieces of hay, and stop this. sen. klobuchar: i appreciate it, thank you. sen. graham: director comey, could you pass onto your agents and support personnel how much we appreciate their efforts to defend the country? we will set off a record for questions asked in six minutes and 54 minutes, if i can. do you agree with me if sequestration goes back into effect next year it will be devastating to the fbi? mr. comey: yes. sen. graham: and it is due to happen unless congress changes it? mr. comey: i've been told that. sen. graham: do you agree with me that isil losing caliphate, these people go out throughout the world and become terrorist agents and the threat of terrorism to the homeland is going to get greater over time, not smaller? mr. comey: yes. it will diminish in that their power to put out their media to the troubled people in the
country will decrease, but the hardened killers flowing out of the caliphate will be a big problem. sen. graham: so from a funding point of view, terrorism is not going to get better, it's probably going to get worse. mr. comey: i think that's fair to say. sen. graham: did you ever talk to sally yates about her concerns with general flynn being compromised? mr. comey: i did. i don't know whether i can talk in this forum. but the answer is yes. sen. graham: she had concerns about general flynn and she expressed those concerns to you? mr. comey: correct. sen. graham: ok. we'll talk about that later. do you stand by your house testimony in march 20 that there was no surveillance of the trump campaign that you are aware of? mr. comey: correct. sen. graham: you would know about it if there was, correct? mr. comey: i would think so, yes. sen. graham: is there an issue regarding carter page's interactions with the russians? mr. comey: i cannot answer that
here. sen. graham: did you consider carter page an agent of the campaign? mr. comey: same answer. i can't answer that here. sen. graham: ok. do you stand by your testimony there is an active investigation, counterintelligence investigation, regarding trump campaign individuals and the russian government as to whether or not they collaborate? mr. comey: to see if there was any collaboration between the russian effort and the people -- sen. graham: that is still going on? mr. comey: yes. sen. graham: nothing has changed, you stand by the two statements. mr. comey: correct. sen. graham: but you won't tell me about carter page. mr. comey: correct. won't.e i sen. graham: are you familiar with fusion? mr. comey: i know the name. sen. graham: ok. are they part of the russian intelligence apparatus? mr. comey: i cannot say. sen. graham: ok. do you agree with me that a fusion was involved in preparing a dossier by donald trump in the elections? mr. comey: i do not want to say. sen. graham: do you agree with me that anthony weiner of 2016 should not have access to classified information?
[laughter] mr. comey: yes, that is a fair statement. sen. graham: would you agree with me that if that is not illegal, we have got really bad laws? he got it somehow. mr. comey: it would be illegal if he didn't have appropriate clearance. sen. graham: do agree with me he did not have appropriate clearance? that if he did have appropriate clearance, that would even be worse? mr. comey: worse at the time we found his laptop, we do not believe he had clearance. sen. graham: i agree. so for him to get it should be a crime. somebody should be prosecuting -- prosecuted for letting anthony weiner have access to classified information. does that make general sense? mr. comey: it could be a crime. sen. graham: would you agree it
should be that anybody that lets anthony weiner to have information should be prosecuted? if our laws don't cover that, they probably should. mr. comey: there's no anthony weiner statute. [laughter] sen. graham: maybe we need one. mr. comey: there is already a statute. sen. graham: i wonder how he got classified information and it's not a crime by somebody. unmasking, are you familiar with that? mr. comey: i'm familiar with that term. sen. graham: has the bureau required unmasking of an american citizen caught up in incidental collection? mr. comey: oh, yes. in fact, i did it this week in connection with an intelligence report. sen. graham: all right. before i authorize, reauthorize 702, and i'm a pretty hawkish guy, i want to know how unmasking works. are you aware of any requests by the white house? anybody in the obama administration, to unmask american citizens caught up in incidental surveillances in 2015 or 2016? mr. comey: i'm not. i'm not aware of any request to the fbi. sen. graham: would you know? who would they make the request to? mr. comey: they can make it to anyone in the fbi. sen. graham: what about the nsa? would he make it to the nsa? mr. comey: sure, if it was an nsa report.
i read in the media and heard about nsa reports. sen. graham: who do you ask, do you go to the nsa to ask somebody be unmasked? mr. comey: for example, i got a report this week that said u.s. company number one had been removed. i said, i believe i need to know the name of the company. sen. graham: who do you ask? mr. comey: i ask my intelligence staffer and say, i would like to know that. she asks the owner of the information. sen. graham: which would be the nsa? mr. comey: in this case it was cia information. sen. graham: does the owner of the information record, request for unmasking? mr. comey: i believe the nsa does. i don't know about csa. nsa definitely does. sen. graham: but there should be a record somewhere in our government for a request to unmask regardless of who made the request? mr. comey: i think that is right. sen. graham: is it fair to say that very few people can make requests for unmasking? i can't go and make that request as a senator, can i? mr. comey: sure. it's a fairly small group of consumers. of which i am a small set. sen. graham: it's a national security council within that group that can make this request or do you know? mr. comey: i think the national security adviser certainly can. sen. graham: when it comes to
russia, is it fair to say that the government of russia actively provides safehaven to cyber criminals? mr. comey: yes. sen. graham: is it fair to say that the russian government is still involved in american politics? mr. comey: yes. sen. graham: is it fair to say we need to stop them from doing this? mr. comey: yes, fair to say. sen. graham: do you agree with me the only way they are going to stop is for them to pay a price for interfering in our political process? mr. comey: i think that is a fair statement. sen. graham: yeah, ok. so what we're doing today is not working. they are still doing it. they are doing it all over the world, aren't they? mr. comey: yes. sen. graham: so what kind of threat do you believe russia presents to our democratic process given which you know, about russia's behavior of late? mr. comey: well, certainly, in my view, the greatest threat of any nation on earth, given their intention and their capability. sen. graham: do you agree that they did not change the vote tally, but one day they might?
mr. comey: i agree that very much we found no indication of any change in vote tallies. there was efforts aimed at voter registration systems, but i suppose in theory, part of the united states, the beauty of our system is it is a bit of a hairball. and all different kinds of systems. sen. graham: have they done this in other countries where they actually tampered with the vote? mr. comey: my understanding is they have attempted in other countries. sen. graham: and there's no reason they won't attempt here if we don't stop them over time. mr. comey: i think that is fair. sen. graham: thank you. >> thank you, chairman. welcome back, director comey. what is the policy of the department and the bureau regarding the release of derogatory investigative information about an uncharged subject? mr. comey: the general practice is, we don't talk about completed investigations that didn't result in charges. as a general matter. senator whitehouse: and what is the policy regarding the release of derogatory information about
charged subjects beyond the derogatory investigative information disclosed in the charging document or in further court proceedings? mr. comey: i think you summarize -- the gist of the policy, is you do not want to do anything outside the charging documents that might prejudice the trial proceedings. sen. whitehouse: and one of the reasons you do that, is if you had a police chief say, we have investigated the contract between the mayor and the contractor, and we have decided there were no misdeeds. but we found out that the mayor was sleeping with her driver, just wanted to let you know that. that would be kind of a blow to the integrity of the prosecutor function and would probably tend to diminish support for the prosecutor function if it were played by those rules, correct? mr. comey: i think that is fair. that's why the policy exists. sen. whitehouse: yep. with respect to oversight questions, let's hypothesize that an investigation exists and the public knows about it, which could happen for a great number of legitimate reasons.
what questions are appropriate for senators to ask about that investigation in their oversight capacity? mr. comey: they can ask anything they want. sen. whitehouse: but what questions are appropriate for you to answer? mr. comey: very few while a matter is pending. sen. whitehouse: while we know it is pending, is it appropriate for you to tell us whether it is adequately resourced and ask questions about, for instance, are there actually agents assigned to this or has it been put in somebody's bottom drawer? mr. comey: sure, potentially, right. how it is supervised who was working on it, that sort of thing. sen. whitehouse: are there benchmarks in certain cases where benchmark approvals are required, or certain officials have stepped in? mr. comey: i'm not sure i am following the question. sen. whitehouse: let's say you have a rico investigation. if none of those of ever been
invoked or implicated, that would send a signal that may be not much effort has been dedicated to it. would that be a legitimate question to ask? you would have to know that it was a rico investigation. it is soon knew that was the case. with those staging elements be appropriate to ask about and for you to answer about? mr. comey: that is a harder question, i'm not sure would be appropriate to answer. it could give away what we were looking at, potentially. sen. whitehouse: is it appropriate to ask if any witnesses have been interviewed or documents obtained pursuant to the investigation? mr. comey: that is also a harder one. i'm reluctant to answer questions like that because it is a slippery slope to giving away information about exactly what you are doing. sen. whitehouse: if we are concerned an investigation is put on the shelf and not taken seriously, no witnesses have
been called and that no documents have been thought, would be relevant and not reveal anything other than a lack of attention by the bureau, correct? mr. comey: it could come up but we are careful about how we use a grand jury, for example. sen. whitehouse: i understand that, but this is a separate thing. mr. comey: that is a harder call. sen. whitehouse: we will pursue it. what is the bureau's policy regarding witnesses who are cooperating in an investigation who have form of ongoing compliance problem? let's say they have not paid their taxes for the last year. is it the policy of the bureau that they should get those cooperating witnesses to clean up their act so that their noncompliance does not become an issue later in the case? mr. comey: yes, i do not know if it is a written -- i know i should know this. certainly it is a long-standing practice. sen. whitehouse: long-standing practice, exactly. mr. comey: when are tax returns useful in a criminal offense?
mr. comey: for unreported income, motive, they might know it is criminal activity. sen. whitehouse: it is not uncommon to seek and use tax returns in a criminal investigation? mr. comey: not uncommon. it is a difficult process, as it should be. especially in complex financial cases, it is a common tool. sen. whitehouse: the hearing that senator graham and i held in respect to russia's infiltration and influence in the last election, raised the issue of russia intervening with business leaders in a country engaging them in bribery or other highly favorable business deals with a view to either recruiting them as somebody who has been bribed or being able to threaten them by disclosing the illicit relationship. they are happy to blow up their
own cut-out but it also blows up the individual. have you seen any indication that those are russian strategies in their election influence tool box? mr. comey: in general, my understanding is, those are told -- tools the russians have used over many decades. sen. whitehouse: and lastly, the european union is moving towards requiring transparency of incorporations so that shell corporations are harder to create. that risks leaving the united states as the last big haven for shell corporations. is it true that shell corporations are often used as a device for criminal money laundering? mr. comey: yes. sen. whitehouse: is it true that
shell corporations are often used as a device for the concealment of criminally garnered funds? mr. comey: yes. sen. whitehouse: and to avoid legitimate taxation? mr. comey: yes. sen. whitehouse: what do you think the hazards are for the united states with respect to election interference of continuing to maintain a system in which shell corporations that you never know who is really behind them are common place? mr. comey: one risk is that it makes it easier for illicit money to make its way into a political environment. sen. whitehouse: and that is not a good thing? mr. comey: i don't think it is. sen. whitehouse: yeah, me neither. ok. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. given the fbi's extensive expertise and experience, how likely do you think it is that senate i.t. systems have been targeted by hackers and other foreign intelligence services? mr. comey: i would estimate it's a certainty. >> inside the ic, who would talk about that problem and who at the senate would they inform? mr. comey: often the fbi alerting a u.s. government institution or
private sector, dhs might come across it, or other parts of the intelligence community, especially nsa. >> when we talk about things like cyber investigations right now, so often on cable tv it becomes a shirts and skins exercise. so without asking you to comment on anything retrospective about 2016, do you think it is likely in 2018 and beyond you'll see more targeting of u.s. public discourse in elections? mr. comey: i do. i think one of the lessons that the russians may have drawn with this is, that it works. as i said a month ago, i expect to see them back in 2018, and especially 2020. sen. sasse: you regularly testify and correct me if i'm wrong but i think you have said that you have think we
appropriations. but do you look at large and say you don't think we are ready at all for the future? can you tell what the fbi is doing for that 2020 circumstance you and vision? comey: we have a large part focusing on that threat and making sure we do everything to bad guy and what they might do. we are responsible to harden our infrastructure with all of the information we have about how they're going to come out of it. >> and how would you spend another marginal dollar beyond what you expect to receive now? investingetween the to make sure where upgrading our system and hiring additional cyber agents and alan --
analysts. of requests would you make? >> i would not make any sitting here. concluded in january that wikileaks is a known outlet of propaganda. do you stand by that? >> yes. >> do believe any of wikileaks disclosures have an danger to american lives and/or put at risk american edges? take both have been the result of some of their -- >> both have been a result of some of theirs. >> can you come and why julian assange has not been charged? -- he is not been charged because he is inside the embassy in london. letter asking about the status of the investigation event seems pretty clear
though individuals were polite and kind, it seemed that across the ic there was not much collaboration about what he links and julian assange. -- are theyintent and interagency talks? thanks i don't know where you got the information but wikileaks is an important focus of our intention. bags i purposefully left time for you to >> broadly. there is room for reasonable people to disagree about at which time an allegedly ballistic organization crosses a line to become some sort of 12 for foreign intelligence. some think wikileaks might be a journalistic outfit. can you explain why that is not your view? >> i want to be careful i don't prejudice any future proceedings. it is an important question because all of us are deeply
about the first amendment and 83 press. it crosses a line when it moves about them being about educating the public and he comes intelligence born. pushing methods without regard to interest. without regard to first amendment values that normally underlie press reporting and becomes a conduit with russian adversaries to push out information to damage the united states. i realize reasonable people struggle to draw a line but surely there is conduct so far to the side of that line that there's something that does not even smell journalistic about the conduct. go a long mac continuum, there are clearly leaked of ic who have information in the past. that is a legal, correct?
>> correct. >> have journalists violated any law by asking people in the ec to leak information that is potentially caused by? >> that conduct is not treated as a milk under by the u.s. government. is it your the spn -- legitimate has -- newsgathering is not covered. will not be investigated or prosecuted as a criminal act. the salad is thought of. so an investigative journalist celebrating the liberties we have under the first amendment if they try to talk to people in the ic to get the maximum amount of information they possibly can to inform the public, it is not a burden of an american journalist whether or not a member is leaking information that might be classified, they
can legitimately seek information and not police said. at a member has broken a lot that leaks information -- but a member has broken the law if they link information? >> it is not the journalist's burning -- burden. the focus is on the leakers. moret me here this one time. the american journalist who is seeking this information differs from julian assange and wikileaks how? >> in that there is at least a people can argue that wikileaks is closer to newsgathering, but in my estimation wikileaks has nothing to do with legitimate news gathering or reporting but simply about releasing classified information to damage the united states of america. people sometimes get cynical about journalists but american
journalists do not do that. they will almost call us and say , is there anything that will jeopardize government people, but lives in danger, jeopardize innocent civilians anywhere in the world? then they will work with us to safeguard those interest. wikileaks involves no such considerations whatsoever. they just push it out in order to damage. >> thank you. >> senator franken. senator franken: thank you senator feinstein. good to see you, mr. director. i am going to pick up where i think the senator was going. are you familiar with a report ?"lled "the kremlin playbook
director coming: no. well, this isn: that inu acknowledge the report explains rush has cultivated an opaque network of patron bench across the region that it uses to influence and direct decision-making. in other words, russia has a strategy of creating conditions that give rise to corruption and then exploiting it for its own benefit. in the intelligence community's unclassified assessment of the russian campaign to influence the american elections, our nation's intelligence agencies vladimir putin had many positive experiences working with western political leaders whose business interests made them more disposed to deal with
russia." that seems to jibe with your understanding of what russia's done, correct? fbi,e same assessment, the cia, and others agreed russia he interfered with the election in 2016 in order to load help president trump's election chances when possible by discrediting secretary clinton. the agencies concluded they had a clear preference for president trump. what is your assessment of why the russian government had a clear preference for president trump? >> a couple parts. one is, he was not hillary clinton. putin hated and wanted to harm in any possible way. he was her opponents unnecessarily sit ported by them. and the intelligence community assessed that vladimir putin believed he would be more able to get deals and reach
agreements with someone with a business around and was someone who had grown up and more of a government environment. >> ok. well, i am curious about how closely russia follow the thelin playbook when question is specifically whether a preferencehad for president trump because he had already been snared in their web of patronage. is it possible that in the businessview, trumps interests would make him more amenable to cooperating with them "more disposed to deal with russia as the ic report says. was not the basis for the ic's as esme. >> i just said, is it possible? >> ic. gq no one is speculate?
>> hard to answer. >> in honor for us to know for certain whether president trump would be fundable to that tape up exploitation, we would have to understand his financial situation. would have to know if he has money tied up in russia or obligations to russian entities. the you agree? >> that you would need to understand to evaluate? i don't know. he gets it -- , for exampleo me the presidential son, donald trump junior told real estate developers in 2008 that quote russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets," "we see a lot of oney pouring in from russia." this was a report from the family business. in 2013, president trump held the ms. universe pageant in
moscow and it would's finance by billionaire close to vladimir putin and president trump sold a palm beach mansion to a russian oligarch for 95 main dollars for dollars whicht was just for man dollars more than it paid for it. director comey, the russians have a history of using financial investment to gain leverage over and then later calling in favors. we know that. you know the russians interfered they didn'tions and it to benefit president trump. intelligence agencies and from that. what i want to know is, why they favored president trump and if seems to me in order to answer question into any investigation into whether the
trump campaign are trump operation colluded with russian operatives would require a full appreciation of the president financial dealings. director call me, would president trump's tax returns be material to such an investigation? director comic: that is not something i'm going to answer. >> does the fbi have access to president trump stacks returns? director coming: i can't answer. i don't want anyone to misread, but i don't want -- jake we continue to hear about ties between russia and the members of trumps campaign and administration. jeff sessions, carter page, former campaign advisor paul metaphor. chief strategist. sequiturs state.
roger stone, political mentor campaign advisor. michael flynn, former national security advisor. jared kushner, white house senior adviser and son-in-law. we do not even of this list is you might but i think see where i'm going and these annections are against backdrop of proven russian interference and intelligence the intelligence community says was driven to favor president trump. let me ask one more question. roman investigative standpoint, is the sheer number of connections unusual or significant? what about each individual's proximity to the president? init unusual for individuals
these roles to have so many unexpected and often undisclosed ties to a foreign power? comey: i have to give the same answer, that is not something i can comment on. >> thank you mr. chairman and director comey. with regard to the the -- in 2014, the privacy and civil liberties oversight board recommended agencies develop mechanisms to limit the potential scope of incidental collection. under your leadership, what has he bureau done to comply with these recommendations? >> we have made sure we have tightened making sureing and nobody with unauthorized access gets to see the content of a 702 collection. that is a good way of summarizing it. there is more underneath it that is the just.
collected under 702 to make sure nobody gets access, need to know, thereafter been trained on how to collect faisal information. -- i sat information. information. is underl information 702, the intelligence communication can collect information outside the united states from someone who is not america. if an american context that terrorist, say they descended to his gmail account. it will be incidentally collected. he is not the target but he can see her she mitigated with the terrorist, it is collected as part of that. that is what incidental collection means. if the fbi is doing that, those
communications with that in our database. if we opened up an investigation on that person we would hand on that 702 collection and the investigating agent would know, holy cow, this is an american who was in touch with that terrorist in yemen. if they have access to that information they would be able to know it. that is how our system is design. thank you. the same investigation pointed out the value of the program. we see the incredible value of 702 and the need for reauthorization there. with regard to a different topic, polygraph testing as you are aware. any applicant for a law position is required to have a polygraph. it is worth noting that cvp experiences a significantly higher failure rates -- around
65% -- more than any other law enforcement agency. the fbi does pretty well with this. has he bureau ever conducted any benchmarking with other federal agencies as to the process where if you require a polygraph for employment it seems, given fbi success with this instrument, that you can inform some of the other agencies that are having difficulties? night don'tey: think we have. i don't know flip talk to cbp about our program. >> it would be helpful with regards to cvb if you could look into it. we would appreciate it. regarding data breaches, given the amount of sensitive data held by the fbi, what are you doing to protect your own systems? director comey: a whole lot i don't want to talk about too
much in an open forum but it is something called the insider a seniormpany with executive in charge. i want someone to wake up every morning worrying about how we lose data, who might be penetrating as, either our aspect.or as a human so a ton of work is going into protecting our systems but the weakest link is always the people. you can have the greatest firewall but if your people are engaging in negligent or intentional misconduct, all of that is defeated. so we want to make sure we have a rich picture of our people that is constant and is not regard on five-year polygraph tests but shows us real-time. that is hard to do a handbuilt technically. also as a medical law and policy but we're working hard on it. >> in your view, is congress doing enough to protect themselves and their systems from outside threats?
don't meanmey: i this as a wiseguy answer because surely not because not any of us can be doing enough. it is not about the perimeter we build, it is about the security culture inside our organization. look, i am part of the fbi and i'm sure i've still think ours is not good enough. do no freedom of information allows citizens to get information from the federal government benchmarking you talk about how the bureau promptly and fully response to foia requests while maintaining security oversensitive and because my data? coming: we have an enormous foia organization working 24 hours a day outside of washington d c. they know the security sensitivities and work as hard as we can to comply with foia deadlines. it is a huge pain but an
essential part of being a public institution. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you chairman grassley and thank you director comey. start by asking about a letter and mr. chairman i will submit just to the record. senator whitehouse sand iron early august last year sent a letter to our colleague senator crews who then served as the subcommittee chairman expressing our great concern about the potential for interference in our upcoming presidential election. we asked for an oversight committee to consider whether current was sufficient for foreign entities posing a threat . we did not have that hearing but i would like to ask you the same question now. our existing statutes enough to prosecute with foreign entities that seek to undermine our elections.
director coming: i think so is my answer but someone smarter than i may have spotted something with them different reaction. it is a question of evidence. >> in response to questions earlier, you stated that you fully expect russia to continue to be engaged and efforts to influence our elections and you expect them to be back in 2018 and 2020. what more should we be doing both to defend our election guard it ande to what is the agency doing to help our allies who have upcoming elections where there is every reason to believe the russians are interfering there as well? we have comey: i think
to tell people everything we know about how the russians and others try to attack systems. what ip address of they might use. their fishing techniques. and a quick the american people and our allies to understand this is going on because a big part of what the russians did was pushing out false information and echoing it with these troll farms they use. the most important thing we can do for the american voter is tell them they should know what is going on. thenderstand the nature of news. we extend that to our european colleagues and an interesting thing is happening. the marketplace of ideas is responding. people are using the power of social media to push back against this kind of thing and france, the netherlands, germany and hopefully here in the united states were citizens will see
and bogus stuff going on have good troll armies pushing back the other way said the marketplace of information is better educated, frankly. is an optimistic vision and i appreciated and the work the fbi does to continue to push back but i think there is more to do. as you testified before, you made a great deal of news just before our our election and i am struck you chose to make public statements about one investigation and not another. the investigation week now know was going on into the trap campaign and the ongoing investigation into secretary clinton. i am concerned about the future. how was the approach taken to clintonary investigation and a how is it been memorialized and have you regardingcedures disclosure of information concerning investigations, particularly close to an election.
we have not in the reason is everything we did in my view was consistent with existing department of justice policies. we don't concern existence of investigations except in unusual circumstances. we don't talk about investigations that don't result in criminal judges unless there is a compelling public interest sense of this principle should govern. we should also whenever human possibly avoid any action that might have an impact on an election. it is an important guiding principle. i labored under a dear. i did not do get a choice because i had only two doors. i could not find the door labeled "no action." with respect to russia, we have confirmed it. of justiceent authorized me to confirm it existed then we will month in other word until it is done. then i hope if it does not result in charges, we'll figure out what of anything we say about it and how will we be
guided by those principles. jake's i do think you had a third door late last year, to confirm the existence of an ongoing investigation about the trump campaign manager i think interest andling was an unusual circumstance and activity by a known adversary to interfere in our elections. had there been public notice there was renewed investigation into both campaigns, think the impact reutimann different. that you agree? director coming: no. i thought a lot and we have to separate two things. i thought it was important to co-opt what the russians were trying to do with our election. i offered in august to be a voice calling it out. the obama administration did not take advantage of that. i did it in august, they did it in october. that is different than a question, do you confirm the investigation that has just
started to answer if there is any connection between the activity and u.s. persons. remember, the hillary linton investigation, we did not confirm it existed until three months after it started and it started probably. we do not confirm the existence of any investigation involves a u.s. person but a close fight investigation in its early stages. we do not know what we have. my judgment was consistent. thing to do.right separately at that it was very important to call out and tell the american people that the russians were trying to mess with elections. jake i hope in the future that at attempt which you testified you expect to continue will be effective. let me has one last question if i might. there is a lot of ways the fbi help state and local law enforcement. one i have been a full four is the violence reduction network. they provided much-needed
assistance to my hometown. i would be interested to know how you intend the fbi will continue to help local law enforcement in a few of our communities such as wilmington. the violence reduction network was piloted in wilmington. we believe it works. it is primarily a state and local fight. it brings together our expertise and agents and we are trying to do what we did and wilmington in cities around the country, those cities seeing spikes in violence. about half of america's biggest cities saw another rise in violence the first quarter of this year so we are trying to lean forward and do what we did in wilmington and those cities
as well. >> good morning. assume for a second i am not a united states senator. something sends me classified and i know it's classified information and i read it, have i committed a crime? director coming: potentially. jake has the person who sent me the information committed a crime? >> it depends on if they knew. >> was there classified information on congressman weiner's computer? >> yes. iswho sent it to him #>> then-spouse had a regular printing out to information so she could deliver
it to the secretary of state. >> did he read the classified material? think so.t i do not think we have been able to interview him because he has pending criminal album's of other sorts but my understanding is his role was to put them out as a matter of convenience. >> if he did read them, would he have committed a crime? >> potentially. >> what his boss of committed a crime? inc. it would depend on a number of things. >> is there an investigation with regards to the two of them? >> there was. we concluded up. keep why did you conclude neither of them committed a crime? cake we did not have any indication she had a sense what she was doing was in violation of the law. we cannot prove any sort of criminal intent. the essential problem with head with the whole email investigation was living that people knew, the secretary and
others knew that they were communicating about classified information in a way they should not be and proving they had some sense they were doing something unlawful. that was our third in and we were unable to meet it. >> so she thought it was ok to send the has been the information? cake i don't want to get too much into what she thought but we could not prove the people sending me information either in that case or in the other case with the secretary were acting with any kind of criminal intent. a second, i am working for a presidential campaign. i am contacted by a russian agent. and, he just wants to talk about the campaign it general and strategy. am i committing a crime? comey: harder to answer and one
i probably don't want to answer even in the hypothetical given the work we are doing. this way.try it lets as a miami not a united states senator. i am working for a presidential campaign and i am contacted by a , i haveagent who says some hacked emails here and i want to visit with you about them. am i committing a crime? comey: i think i should resist answering that hypothetical. >> can you explain to me, not the law but in your personal opinion, when interrogation techniques become torture? not they log? mean is a statue -- you
not the law? there is a statute. as a lawyer, that is where i would start. i am not sure we mean beyond that. her personalasking opinion about what you think constitutes torture. where you would personally draw the line drawing on your substantial experience. comey: physical pain or discomfort in order to obtain information is in the colloquial sense torture. torture undere the statute which is defined at a fairly high level but as a human being and fbi director i consider the infliction of colloquially to be torture. >> suppose you just so someone bad food?
the fbi is very careful never to inflict physical pain to question somebody so i would say, yes, that is conduct you should stay weight clear of. ineffective, frankly. but that is a whole mother deal. do you think it is possible from a law enforcement perspective to properly vet a non-citizen iit should say, coming to the united states from a conflict area such as syria? dir. comey: i have difficulty
saying we should vet people who don't have relations with americans on the ground level there but there are risks associated with it. >> how do you do it? you cannot call the chamber of commerce for syria. how do you do it? queried thewe holdings of the entire american intelligence community to see if mails,ve any foreign emails, associate with that person showing up anywhere in the world and our holdings. getting into the person's social media. the way we rely on in most cases, the host government will have information about them. in iraq, we had the united states military present for a whole lot of years so we had biometric information. >> how about yemen? similarly difficult.
>> i yield back my three seconds. [laughter] >> you have been getting a lot of questions surrounding your decision to make certain statements about the investigation into secretary clinton's emails and too many of us, you treated the investigation of the clinton email investigation or matter or when everyone a calling, differently than how you treated the ongoing investigation of the and the russian -- the donald trump campaign and the russian attempts to it interfere with the election. you feel free to speak about the hillary clinton investigation because it had been completed because that was when you had your press conference in july of 2016 and you do confirm there is still an ongoing investigation
of the donald trump campaign and their conduct with regard to russian efforts to undermine our elections? conducting an are investigation to determine if there is coordination between the russians and anybody is as you did with the drop -- the donald trump campaign. cake since you've already confirmed it, can you tell us more about the investigation? dir. comey: no. announced you would not bring charges against secretary clinton because you need to show intent and there was no intent discovered, you spoke for 15 minutes. not only did you say you are not going to bring criminal charges against her -- by the way which he said at the end of your 15 minutes -- right you went on to chastise her saying that she had been extremely careless and you raised questions about her
judgment. you contradicted statements should make about her email practices. thatyou said that possibly hostile foreign agents or governments had gained access to her server hand had she still been an employed by the government she could have faced disciplinary action for which he did. i just wanted to know whether or when you made all of those public statements, chastising her, which amounts to editorializing on your decision not to bring about criminal charges -- it had to occur to you that this public chastising could put secretary clinton and eight negative light said did you consider whether this public chastisement might affect her campaign? dir. comey: i have to respectfully disagree with your characterizing as chastising. did wed we do, what
find, what did we think about it? i tried to be as complete and fair as i could be intelligent about what we found and will think about it and what we are recommending. >> so when usage is behaving in an extremely careless -- can you show me other examples where you made this kind of comments that elaborated on in fbi decision not to bring about criminal charges? dir. comey: i cannot bite i know the fbi wrote a report after they were done chastising lois lerner and a similar way. it is very unusual but it happens. very know you are concerned about what might happen if it came to light that you had possibly gone easy on mrs. clinton and therefore that you were concerned about the political ramifications of your decisions and yet --
dir. comey: i was not. >> so you do not consider that your statements about a person running for president would not have a negative effect on her? not comey: i try very hard to consider what effect it would have politically. i tried hard to notably complete an investigation that had gotten extraordinary public attention in my judgment -- people can disagree with this -- was that offering as much transparency as tosible was the best way credibly complete the investigation. i was not thinking about what effect it might have on a political campaign. >> i find that very hard to really -- you know -- i find it hard to believe they you did not contemplate that there would be local ramifications to your comments. i just wondering why -- would bey: i did there ramifications, i just tried not to think about them. i knew there would be a big storm that would come but i tried to think, what is the
right thing to do in this case? >> the right thing would be to say you didn't have enough evidence to bring about criminal charges. i don't why you chose to go forward with characterizations about her actions. that i find her to believe. it you would not have considered the political ramifications are that it did not -- you may not have considered up at the thought should've occurred to you but -- i would think you would have bent over backwards not to say anything that would have an impact on the campaign or the election because you seem to do that. that that was a concern for you. the trumpn to administration bedding and security process. there have been numerous reports failing administration to disclose contacts. what is the role of the fbi in vetting the security clearance of white house personnel if any?
dir. comey: sometimes the fbi is assigned to do background checks. other times not. sometimes there are people with clearances that already exist. trumpthe case of the officials, there have been a number of them. was the fbi asked to participate in the rss westmark dir. comey: may have done back on checks for some people in the trump administration. them? dir.disclose comey: i can't in an open forum without thinking about it better. consequenced be the for someone who failed to include their security contact on their security clearance form? dir. comey: he could subject someone to criminal liability. >> is that something the department of justice would pursue?
dir. comey: it could be. it would depend on who owned the clearance. >> since there have been these concerns raised about the clearances not being appropriately that said, is there an ongoing investigation about what happened with the vetting process and whether any crimes were committed. dir. comey: it is not something i can comment on. director coming, welcome. thank you for your service and testimony. i have to say i found your kennedyo senator puzzling and that you describe the reason why the case was closed against ms. aberdeen as -- that you could not determine she was aware her conduct was unlawful. reason that answer is
puzzling is you are an accomplished lawyer and as you are well aware, every first-year law student learns in class that ignorance is no excuse and it does not require that knowledge of conduct is not lawful and in fact there is no requirement on the knowledge of the unlawful's. it provides whoever willingly makes available to an unauthorized person classified information shall be fined under the title or imprisoned not more than 10 years or above. under the terms of that statute, it seems to fit that statute if itly in that, understand you correctly you said ms. aberdeen forwarded hundreds or thousands of husbanded emails to her on a nongovernment nonclassified
computer. how does i conduct not directly violate that statute. ir. comey: if i said that misspoke. some of them contain classified information. thehe generations, department has understood that statute to require a general criminal -- sense of intent. a sensor knowledge that what you are doing is unlawful. not violating a particular statute but something general. i cannot find a case in the last 50 years based on negligence without some showing of intent. : you and i have
both worked in a lot of jobs that required handling of classified information and on his face anyone dealing with classified information should know that conduct is impermissible. how would you handle an fbi agency who -- agent who forwarded thousands of emails to his or her spouse? dir. comey: it would be significant administrative discipline. i'm highly confident they would not the dismissed but i am also confident they would be discipline. cruz: there was a hearing chaired on the willful lightness of the obama administration to islamic terrorism. when a whistleblower describes a purge, a purge d.h. had undergone of editing word deleting over 800 records of dhs to remove references to radical
islam and the muslim brotherhood and the purge was indeed the word used by the white house. we obviously have a new administration, a new white house, a new attorney general. has the approach of the fbi to radical islamic terrorism changed in any respect with the new administration? dir. comey: not that i'm aware of, no. sen. cruz: let me ask you about one specific terrorist attack on may 15. garland, texas. two terrorists opened fire on a peaceful gathering. they fully, no innocent people were killed thanks to the baroque action of garland police officer greg stevens who fatally shot the two terrorists. it is security officer was shot
in the leg and it could've been much worse. incident, you the stated publicly that if the fbi did not know the terrorists were on the way to the event and that they were planning on attacking the event. recently there have been media otherwise.gesting specifically, media reports of stated an undercover fbi agent was enclosed communication with the two terrorists in the weeks leading up to the two attacks and dispute -- explicitly discussed plans for the attack and was in a car directly behind the two terrorists outside the event and took photos of the terrorists moments before the attack but then left the scene when the shooting began and that that agent was detained by the garland police. are those media reports correct? ; no. i stand by what i said originally, cannot go into the
details because they are classified but the thing is the media reports are highly misleading and in a private meeting i could share with you how. cake i would appreciate that so i can learn more about what occurred. i would appreciate that so i can learn more about what occurred. this committee has had substantial focus on the practice of the previous irs about targeting citizen groups based on their political speech, political views, and perceived political opposition to president obama. and the previous department of justice, both attorneys general holder and lynch, in my view, stonewalled that investigation. is the fbi currently pauseigating the irs unlawful targeting of citizens for exercising political speech?
dir. comey: i think you are referring to the investigation focusing on groups allegedly associated with the tea party. we completed the investigation and the department declined prosecution. we worked very hard on it. to my knowledge the case has not been reopened. we could not prove anybody was targeting these folks because they were conservative or associated with the tea party. we worked hard to make that case but we could not get there. >> senator blumenthal. senator blumenthal: thank you mr. chairman and thank you mr. comey for being here. thank you to you and the men in women who work with you at the fbi for their extraordinary service to our country. as you it unappreciated
remarked so powerfully and your opening statement. you have confirmed, i believe, that the fbi is investigating potential ties between trump associates and the russian interference in the 2016 campaign. correct? dir. comey: yes. >> and you have not to my knowledge ruled out anyone in the trump campaign as potentially a target of that criminal investigation, correct? dir. comey: i have not said anything publicly about who we have open investigations on. i briefed the chair and drinking on who those people are so i cannot go beyond that and this setting. out cruz: have you rolled anyone you can disclose? feelcomey: i don't comfortable talking about that because it puts me on a slope to who we are investigating.
sen. cruz: have you rolled out the president of the united states? to. comey: i'm not going comment on anyone in particular because if i say no to that i have to answer seceding questions. >> as a former prosecutor, you know that when there is an investigation into several potentially culpable individuals , the evidence from those individuals and the investigation can lead to others, correct? are always we open-minded and we followed the evidence wherever it takes us. so potentially the president of the united states could be a target of your investigation as to the russian involvement with interference during the election?
dir. comey: i don't want to answer because that seems to be unfair speculation. we will follow the evidence in will find as much as we can in follow the evidence wherever it leads. >> one of the situation be ideal for the appointment of a special prosecutor, in independent counsel and light of the fact the attorney general has recused himself and so far as your answers indicate today, no one has been rolled out publicly in your ongoing investigation. i understand the reasons that you want to avoid rolling out anyone publicly but for exactly of theason, because appearance of a potential conflict of interest. isn't this situation absolutely crying out for a special prosecutor? dir. comey: that is a question
for the acting attorney general on this matter and not something i should comment on. >> you had some experience in this kind of decision. in 2003, you appointed a special prosecutor when the attorney john ashcroft, which used himself from an involved men in the investigation concerning whether administration officials illegally disclose the identity of an undercover cia official. are there any differences materially between that one so far asthis the reasons to a point a special counsel? comey: i think both situations, as with all investigations which touch on people of been actors in a lyrical world, involve considerations of actual
conflict of interest and appearance of conflict of interest. i'm not going to talk about the current situation. in that situation, might view situation would be best served by not having it overseen by myself because i was a political appointee and giving him the authority to run it separate from the political leadership of the department of justice. i don't know what judgment the acting attorney general will make. i am sure he will consider many of the same things. >> has he asked for your advice? not going to am say. i did a one others to talk about their conversations with me so i will do the same for him. >> as far as the ongoing investigation into trump associates and trump, will you be providing any updates to the dir.can people are smart
comey: certainly not before the matter is concluded and then depending upon how the matter is concluded. some are concluded with criminal charges and others, as with the case of the male investigation, and with no charges but a statement. others and with no statement. i do not know yet. >> what you make recommendations to, presumably it would be to the deputy attorney general or a special prosecutor as to whether criminal charges will be right? we almost always do, especially in highest profile matters. >> but you yourself cannot pursue criminal charges is that correct? >> correct. >> i think that is important for the american people to understand because it bears on the question as to whether it --
a special prosecutor should be assigned. brings the fbi can't charges, neither ken independent party, only designated by him, correct? >> correct. because i amse running out of time. you, been questioned about the inspector general in connection with the inquiry i understand is ongoing into a number of topics we have been discussing her? >>
do you have any regrets are there any things you would do differently in connection with either the comments you made as you closed the investigation or when you indicated that you were reopening the? >> i have asked myself a million times, it has been painful. the only thing i regret is answering the phone with a call to recruit to me to the fbi director and i was living happily in connecticut. >> we would welcome you back and i have all kinds of rocks run at me and it has been hard. i think i have done the right thing to each term. i'm not a anybody side in his heart for anybody to see. should you have done this, should you have done that? wouldnest answer is, i not have done anything differently. i cannot wish or prayed it away a wish i was on the connecticut
sound but i do not have any regrets. >> one last question on related to this topic on the issue of gun violence, would you agree that universal background checks would help with law enforcement in prevention of gun violence? >> the more able we are to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the better from the law enforcement perspective. >> i will take that as a yes, thank you. >> sen. tillis: i think we have member is, if that going to come back for the first round them and somewhat a second round so i hope people get back here so we know how many people we have out of courtesy to director comey. >> director comey, thank you for being here. i am almost impressed with your
composure in preparation and i want to get to a couple of other things may be first and if i have time, come back to what they hear and has been predominantly about. when you briefed us last year, i think that you said that there were some -- that there were ongoing investigations on homeland security potential terrorists either home grown or foreign inspired investigations in every state. is that still the case? >> yes. >> do you have roughly -- can you give me roughly an idea of the number of investigations that is? >> just north of a thousand. >> just north of a thousand. >> yeah. that case load has stayed about the same since we last talked about it. some have closed. some have opened. but about a thousand home grown violence extremist investigations in the united states.
>> and at the time i also asked the question about to what extent that you can discuss in this setting were people who are the target of this investigation, persons who came in through various programs where questions about vetting have been raised about whether or not they were accurate. at the time i think there were about a dozen and a half. do you have any rough numbers about that? >> i do. home grown violent extremist -- we have no indication they're in touch with terrorists. then another group of people who we see contact request foreign terrorists. so you take that 2,000 plus people, about 300 of them came to the states as refugees. >> okay. and to what extent in those investigations you mentioned earlier that there are probably about half of the various computing devices that you've accessed that you can't get into with any technology that the fbi has which i assume is some of the most advanced available.
to what extent is the access to that information relevant in these investigations, potential homeland threats? >> i would say it's a feature of all our work but especially concerning here because we're trying through lawful process to figure out are they consuming this poison on the internet and are they in touch with anybody so it's true in terrorism cases, about half the devices we can't open. about 90-some percent of our subjects are using at least one encrypted app. because of physical and technological constraints half , of the base of information you can't get to. without 702, how much more of the remaining half would be harm -- harmed? >> well, the 702 addresses a different challenge. 702 would be disastrous because it will lose -- >> it is relevant in these investigations. >> it is. >> so half of the physical
assets you can't already get access to. there's the metadata and all the information that would be instructive to this investigation. so by going dark, is that 100%? >> we're headed towards 100%. 702 is the window of the bad guys overseas. if we close of that window -- i don't know why we would close that window. >> we have thousands of investigations of potential homeland security threats evenly split by people who have been self-radicalized, some influenced, some in the refugee program. we will basically pull the rug out from under you. i should say expeditiously. andignificantly impair folks often say, why don't you get metadata. convict on metadata. >> you have to drilled down. >> i want to go to the investigation. i want to give you another opportunity to finish by explaining the context you are operating in i want to create
the context going back to when the investigation first began. it was already a part of media attention. i think on june 27th, the then-attorney general met with the spouse of someone who's subject to an active investigation which is at the very least an unusual encounter which also spun up the media and i think it was july 5th that you made the statement that i think a few of the things you've said that i guess based on the evidence you were gathering, one component was like removing a frame from a huge vintage jigsaw puzzle and dumping the pieces on the floor. something the media ties into. then you said there's evidence of potential violations of statutes regarding the handling of classified information and you went on to say under similar circumstances a person engaged in these activities would likely be subject to security or administrative sanctions. that was the tough part of the statement that he made.
but you went on to say that you didn't believe a reasonable-minded prosecutor would bring a case even though there was evidence of potential violations, and that you were expressing your view that the justice department should not proceed. is that typical for you to go to a point and say i've gathered this information, there may be evidence of violations, but we don't think any reasonable prosecutor in the doj would pursue it, therefore so we're , going to recommend not pursuing it. is that common? >> for an fbi director to do that? >> yeah. >> i have never heard of it. never imagined it ever until this circumstance. >> but was there some logic in the time that you were making that decision based on the information you were provided, was there the same sort of thought process you're going through there to have it rise to that level that then led to your october 28th notification of congress that you had to look at other evidence that had been identified on anthony weiner's pc? what i'm trying to do is say it
looks like you were trying to provide as much transparency and as much realtime information as you had and then on november 6th, the fbi apparently moved heaven and earth and got something done in a matter of days that they thought was going to take beyond the election. but you were in that pressure cooker. i just wanted to give you an opportunity to glue together, i think, the decision for your actions on july 5th and how i think there's parallels between that and what you ultimately did on october 28th and then november 6th and i'll yield back my time for the answer. >> i've lived my whole life caring about the credibility and the integrity of the criminal justice process. that the american people believe it to be and that it be in fact fair, independent, and honest. so what i struggled with in the spring of last year was how do we credibly complete the investigation of hillary clinton's e-mails if we conclude there's no case there.
the normal way to do it would be have the department of justice announce it and i struggled as we got closer to the end of it with a number of things had gone on, some of which i can't talk about yet that made me worry that the department leadership could not credibly complete the investigation and decline prosecution without grievous damage to the american people's confidence in the justice system. and the capper was -- and not picking on the attorney general, loretta lynch, who i like very much -- but her meeting with president clinton on that airplane was the capper for me. i said, you know what, the department cannot by itself credibly end this. the best chance we have is to step away and tell the american america people, here's what the fbi did. and that offered us the best chance of the american people believing in the system that it was done in a credible way. that was a hard call for me to make to call the attorney general that morning and say i'm about to do a press conference and i'm not telling you what i'm
going to say. i said to her i hope you understand one day why i feel i have to do this. i was not loving this. i knew it would be disastrous for me personally but i felt this is the best way to protect the institutions we care about so much. and having done that and having testified under oath, this was done in a credible way. when the anthony weiner thing landed on me on october 27th, there was a huge -- this what people forget -- a new step to be taken, we may be finding the golden missing e-mails that would change this case if i were not to speak about that it would be a disasterous, catastrophic concealment. it was incredibly painful choice but actually not all that hard between very bad and catastrophic. i had to tell congress that we were taking these decisional steps. i'm pretty to find a third door, i could not find it. to find a third door, i could not find it. two actions, speak or conceal. i don't think many reasonable people would do it different
than what i did no matter what they say today. would you really conceal that? so i spoke. again, the design was to act credibly, independently, and honestly, so the american people know the system is not rigged in any way and that's why i felt transparency was the best path in july and i wasn't seeking transparency in october. i sent that letter only to the chairs and rankings. did i know they were going to licet? yes, i know how congress works. ?- leak it -- yes, i know how congress works. i did not make announcement at that point. and my amazing people moved heaven and earth to do what was impossible to get through those e-mails by working 24 hours a day and said we found tons of new stuff. doesn't change our view. i said do not do it just because you think you are under pressure. they said we don't believe there's a case against hillary clinton. what i can promise you, you may think we are idiots, we are honest people. we make judgments trying to do the right thing.
hindsight, we did the right thing. i'm sorry for the long answer. we havetor call me, seven times six is 42 minutes. i hope you will not want to take a break. >> i am made of stone. >> thank you. on march 6 i wrote about the fbi's relationship to the author of the trump dossier, christopher still and most of these questions have not been answered. i'm going to ask now. prior to the bureau launching the investigation between the true campaign and worship, did anyone from the fbi have interaction with mr. seal regarding the issue? >> it is not a question i can answer in this forum. i have briefed you privately. if there is more, i will be happy to brief you privately.
>> have you ever represented to a judge that the fbi had interaction with mr. steele whether by name or not regarding alleged ties between the trump campaign and russia prior to the bureau launching its investigation of the matter? >> i have to give you the same answer, mr. chairman. >> this one i'm going to expect an answer on, do fbi policies -- just of the policies it -- allow it to pay an outside investigator for work another source is also paying him for as well? do you want me to repeat it? do fbi policies allow it to pay an outside investigator for work that another source is also paying that investigator for? >> i don't know for sure as i sit here. possibly is my answer but i'll get you a precise answer. >> in writing? >> sure. >> okay. did the fbi provide any payments
whatsoever to mr. still -- sr teale related to the investigation of trump associates. >> i'm back to my first -- i can't answer in this forum. >> was the fbi aware -- was the fbi aware that mr. steele reportedly paid his sources who in turn paid their sub sources to make the claim in the dossier? >> same answer, sir. >> here's one you should be able to answer. is it vital to know -- is it vital to know whether or not sources have been paid in order to evaluate their credibility and if they have been paid, doesn't that information need to be disclosed if you're relying on that information in seeking approval for investigative authority. >> i think in general, yes, it is vital to know. >> the fbi and the justice department have provided me
material inconsistent with the answers enclosed settings about the reporting relationship with mr. steele, will you commit to fully answering the questions from my march 6th and april 28th letter in providing all requested documents so that we can resolve those inconsistencies even if in a closed session being necessary? >> because as i sit here i don't know all the questions in the letters, i don't want to answer that specifically but i commit to you to give you all the information you need to resolve -- address and that challenge because i do not believe there's inconsistency but a misunderstanding. but in a classified setting, i'll give you what you need. >> okay. well, i hope to show you those inconsistencies. >> i think i know what you're -- where the confusion is but i think in a classified setting, we can straighten it out. >> next question, according to a complaint filed with the justice department, the company that
oversaw dossier's creation was also working with a former russian intelligence operative on a pro-russian lobbying project at the same time. they allegedly failed to register as a foreign agent for its work to undermine -- which is a law that lets the president punish russian officials who violate human rights. before i sent you a letter about this, were you aware of the complaint against fusion was acting as an unregistered agent for russian interests? >> it's not a question i can answer in this forum. >> you can't answer that? >> no. no, i can't. >> go on to something else. last week, the fbi filed a declaration in court pursuant to freedom of information act
litigations. the fbi said that a grand jury issued subpoenas for secretary clinton's e-mails. yet, you refused to tell this committee whether the fbi saw it or had been denied access to the grand jury process from the justice department. so i think a very simple question so why does the fbi , give more information to someone who files a lawsuit than to an oversight committee in the congress? and that has happened to me several times. >> i'm not sure, senator, whether that's what happened here. you're right. i refused to confirm in our hearings as to whether we used a grand jury and how. i think that's the right position. i do not think i can distinguish the statements as i sit here. >> just as a matter of
proposition then, if i, chuck grassley, as a private citizen files a freedom of information , act and you give them more information than you give a senator how do you justify that? , >> it's a good question. >> what do you mean? how do you justify it? >> i can't as i sit here justify it. >> was the clinton investigation named operation mid-year because it needed to be finished before the democratic national convention? if so, why the artificial deadline and if not, why was that the name? >> certainly not because it had to be finished by a particular date. there's an art and a science to how we come up with code names for cases. they assure me it's done randomly. sometimes i see once that make me smile so i'm not sure. but it was called mid year exam. i can assure you the name was not selected for any nefarious
reason or timing. >> last question. when was the grand jury convened? >> i'm still not in a position where i am comfortable confirming whether and how we used a grand jury in an open setting. i don't know enough about what was said in the foia case. so careful to be about talking by grand jury matters. i will not answer that, sir. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. director, thank you for your fortitude going through this. appreciated. theour testimony, you noted first half of the fiscal year, was unable to access the contents of more than 3000 thele devices even though fbi had the legal authority to do so. i am familiar with what of those and that is the southern california terrorist attack
which 14 people were killed in san bernardino. of those 3000 devices that you were not able to access, can you say how many of these were related to a counterterrorism event? >> i don't know as i sit here but we can get you that information. >> yeah. i really very much appreciate that. we looked at legislation that would take into consideration events of national security and devices -- it must be some way of even going before a judge and getting a court order to be able to open a device. do you think that would work? to my mind that would be a
better place to be but we're not there now. >> in terms, this week, the british parliament select committee released a report finding that social media platforms such as facebook, twitter and youtube failed to remove extremist materials posted by band jihadists and neo-nazi groups even with the material was reported. the committee urged tech companies to pay for and publicize online content monitoring activities and called on the british government to strengthen laws related to the publication of such material. last year, i worked with senators burr, rubio, and nelson to introduce a bill to require tech companies to reported terrorist activity on their platforms.
-- the you advise provision we model it after, and existing law which requires tech companies to notify authorities about cases of child pornography but does not require companies to monitor any user subscriber or customer. i plan to reintroduce the provision in separate legislation so here are two questions. would the fbi benefit from knowing when technology companies see terrorists plotting and other illegal activity online? >> yes. >> would the fbi be willing to work with the judiciary committee going forward on this provision? >> yes, senator. i do not know it well enough to offer a view but we would be happy to work with you. >> i was so struck with san
bernardino happened and you made overtures to allow the device to be opened and the fbi had to spend to hack it open. $900,000as i subsequently learned of some of the reasons for it, there were good reasons to get into that device. thathe concern i have is once people have been killed in a terrorist attack and there may be other dna, there may be other andages that lead investigative agency to believe that there are others out there. for the protection of the people that one would want to big to see if a device could be opened? i have had a very hard time i have tried to talk to tech
companies in my state. good andbook, was very understood the problem. most do not. has the fbi ever talked with the tech companies about this need in particular? >> yes, senator, we've had a lot of conversations and as i said earlier, in my sense they've been getting more productive because, i think the tech companies have come to see the darkness a little bit more. my concern was privacy is important but they did not see safety cost. i think they are starting to see it better. what somebody does not want to have happen is somebody terrible happen in the u.s. we ought to have the conversations before that happens and the companies more and more get that. i think over the last year and a half, it is vital. we were not picking on apple.
there were real reasons we needed to get into that device. and if that is true's in case after case after case which is why we have to figure out a way to optimize those two things. privacy and public safety. >> to be candid, my understanding of some of this is that the european community had special concerns about privacy and that some of the companies in our country were concerned well, they would lose business. , that european concern is changing. i think what i read about the u.k., what i understand is happening in france and germany increased sharing of intelligence. the realization i think that they have very dangerous people in large numbers, possibly plotting at any given time to carry out an attack. has had some palliative effect and there may be a change of
viewpoint so it would be very helpful if our law enforcement community could help us. this is not to monitor. this is something that's very basic if there is a piece of , evidence that says, hey, there may be a cell, another individual out there, you have a chance of getting into that piece of evidence to see if that's true. >> with a judge's permission. >> with a judge's permission. that is correct. so i thank you for that. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator lee has not had first round so i got to go to senator lee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you mr. comey for being here today. i want to talk to you about electronic communications transaction records. would it be fair to say that electronic communications transaction records include such things as browsing hisstory?
once history of website one might have visited? >> yes. >> would it be fair to say also that what one views, what pages one has visited might in some ways be indicative of what one is reading? >> potentially. even if we do not see where they want on a page but they went to , espn and gives you some indication of their interest. >> you can find a a fair amount of a person if you're able to review what it is they have been reading for certain period of time. >> right. the only reason i am hesitating as i understand we cannot -- all we can get the websites visited or not where they went on the page or where they clicked. just like we called it gives an indication of interest. >> it will be indicative of what they did on the website? information,t that
not that they just went to lesbian boat went to espn and read this or that article. christmas understand is we cannot get the sub contents. we cannot get where they navigated the website. i may be wrong. >> within the confines of the law? >> right. >> to allow you to use a national security letter to go further as was suggested by what if colleagues earlier today, that would allow you to get more granular information? >> i may have screwed this up. the way it was understood to be ,sed, that our in sl authority and we hope it will be change is limited to the top level website address. even in his change, we do not get any deeper into what to look at on a page. we were able to see what sporting goods store you called
but we cannot tell from the call records what you asked about. we can see what sporting page you went. >> based on the legislation that i've reviewed, it's not my recollection that, that is the the case. whatever been told is that would not necessarily be the policy of the government to use it to go to that level of granularity but that language itself would allow it. is that consistent with your understanding? dir. comey: it is. and that is my understanding. we would like to functional equivalent of the dialing information. the address you dialed or went, not the address you went to
within it. >> even if you look at it with the broad level of abstraction, someone went to espn.com if you call someone's rubbing history of right along. with time you would also find out a far amount about that person would you not? dir. comey: as you could from their telephone dialing history. >> let's talk about section 702, the foreign intelligence surveillance amendment act authorizing the surveillance of u.s. signals surveillance equipment to obtain foreign intelligence information. the definition includes information directly related to national security but it also includes information relevant to the foreign affairs of the united states. regardless of whether that foreign affairs information is relevant to a national security threat. to your knowledge has the attorney general or has the dni ever used section 7022 target
-- 702 to target an individuals abroad in a situation unrelated to national security threat? dir. comey: not that i am aware. i think it is confined to counterterrorism, espionage, proliferation. cyber. >> to your knowledge, it they do not currently use 7022 target people abroad in instances unrelated to national security threats? dir. comey: i do not think so. like a diplomat. one feelsut how someho about a policy issue or something, i don't think so. >> so if section 702 were narrowed, would that mean that the government would be able to obtain the information it needs in order to protect national security? dir. comey: it would seem so logically. to me the value of 702 is where the rubber hit the road in the national security context. especially counterterrorism and
counterproliferation. >> typically what we are talking about here is not metadata. not, this call was made from this number to this number. this is content. if we are talking about two american citizens, if i were calling you, typically it is not something that 702 would be used to collect. but if it is me calling someone else and that person is not a u.s. person, that person is an agent of a foreign government and someone has determined communications involving the person might be connected to a national security investigation, there is a chance that that communication can be intercepted. not just the fact the call was made, but the content of the call. dir. comey: that is incidental collection. >> that is then aggregated. there are a lot of u.s. persons who have had conversations that have been recorded that are out there in a database.
can you search that database for communications involving specific u.s. persons without getting a warrant? dir. comey: yes. >> the fact these communications were intercepted without necessarily any indication of wrongdoing on the part of the u.s. person, without showing the u.s. person had anything to do with the foreign national security investigation that issue, does that cause you concern because that can involve almost a backdoor way of going after communications by u.s. persons in which they have a reasonable expectation of privacy? dir. comey: it does not cause me concern because that might be because where i conceive it from where i am. i understand the question that. it is true whether it is 702 or other court authorize domestic surveillance in the united states. if we are covering an embassy americansgn power and
are in and record them, we that,ized to record because we are authorized to collect communications in and out of that embassy and we store all of those in a database and we have lawfully collected those. the same happens with 702 if you contact or call a terrorist or someone we are targeting overseas, you are an american and even if you are not a target it will be collected and sorted into the database. what matters is that we protect it. that is true whether it is 702 or domestically. i do not know how we would operate otherwise and i do not
know how we would operate otherwise -- i think the way the american people would want us to do is make sure we hold it in case we need to connect dots but treated like the personal information it is. make sure it is handled in a careful way. >> let me tell you a story about 100 years ago literally, my italian grandparents and my irish grandparents faced discrimination because of their religion. that discrimination was not violence, it was economic. it is not unusual for this country at that time. i would like to think that is gone. i would like to think that my italian grandparents, irish grandparents, discrimination they faced because i've their race and their religion is not here. but now we see an alarming rise in hate crimes among minority communities. yesterday this committee heard some important testimony from the department of justice, from the international association
of chiefs of police, our nation's largest civil rights organization, that law enforcement in political leaders are sending a message that is toxic. painful rhetoric would not be allowed. they must face bigotry wherever it is encountered. even as a child i was taught that. we are never to discriminate against anybody because of their race or religion. me show bothers me, let you this. on the campaign trail, president trump promised his supporters a muslim ban. here is this, donald j. trump's statement on banning muslim immigration. it calls for a total and complete shutdown on muslims entering the united states. i can understand dumb things said during a campaign. that is on his website today. that goes beyond being stupid.
do you agree with me that messages like that can cast suspicion on our muslim neighbors and can perpetuate division and hatred? if it does, does that make america less safe? dir. comey: senator, thank you. i will not comment on the particular statement but i do agree that perception or reality of hostility toward any community, in this instance muslim community, excel or jobs harder. those people do not want people engaging in a set of violence in the name of their faith or in their neighborhood so our interests are aligned. if anything gets in the way of that and chills their openness to talk to us and tell us what they see, it makes it harder to find threats. a on ofve been spending
time, you are right about an increase in hate crimes. those numbers start to go up in 2014 and have been climbing since then. to redouble our efforts to get in those communities and show them our hearts and what we're like and encourage them not to fear contact with us. >> i don't ask this to make a political point, i asked this as united states senator. i believe the united states senate can be and sometimes has been the conscience of the nation. we are a nation in adherence with our first amendment. we trust it.
we believe in all religions. all or none if you want. i worry whether it is a muslim religion or any other, if you have religions and people believe in it, they should not be condemned. for the actions of a few. i worry very much that the rhetoric and the hatred can bring about things that neither you nor i ever want to see in this country. i think we would agree on that. hate crimes, i don't care who it is against. somebody because of their race or religion, u.s. the head of the fbi, any of us who have been prosecutors, we abhor all hate crimes. i believe you do, too. is that not true? dir. comey: i do.
sen. leahy: i believe we give the impression that citizenship alone might be a reliable indicator of terrorist threat posed by an individual to the united states. i think of the oklahoma city bombing. one of the greatest acts of terrorism in our country. done by an american citizen who served i believe honorably in our military. so, would you agree that citizenship alone is not a reliable indicator of a terrorist threat posed to the united states? dir. comey: i agree. >> they have an assessment from the office of intelligence and analysis which said it was unlikely citizenship would be an indicator of terrorism. do you agree? dir. comey: yes.
>> another matter chairman grassley and i have worked on to address related to the fbi private analysis testimony. the investigation began i believe in 2012 after four men were exonerated here in washington, d.c., the fbi had inaccurate testimony. in order to review more than 3000 cases the fbi has reached out to offices who originally prosecuted these cases and i appreciate that. my main concern is that cases remain closed if you don't find the transcript right away. i've asked you this question and writing. -- in writing. there is a where youing transcript, will
visit to an in-person see if there is andrmation use possibly faulty analysis by the fbi that might've brought a conviction? dir. comey: i'm sorry. in person visit? >> to the prosecutor's office or whoever else might be involved if you don't have a transcript. in in-person to say, ok what do your records show? did you use analyses that may have been faulty from the fbi to bring about the conviction? dir. comey: the ic. i do not know enough to commit to that now. can i follow up?
>> ok. thank you. >> senator whitehouse? >> for starters, did you give hillary clinton "a free pass" for any bad deeds is marked there was a tweet to that effect. dir. comey: that was not my intention. we conducted an honest, independent investigation and close it while offering transparency to the american people. i believe what i said, there was not a prosecutable case there. >> is the question of the prosecutor ability of the disclosure or the secrecy of the material considered a prosecutive decision? experience it my is. yes. because there is a great deal of information that is widely known to the public and overclassification is a very
significant problem in the branch, correct? dir. comey: correct. and that would've been evaluated looking at secretary clinton's emails? dir. comey: yes. >> so they were classified but may not of caused harm? there were emails that could been classified but caused no harm if they were disclosed? dir. comey: yes, that is the case. >> it has been disclosed in publicly reported that michael flynn and the deputy attorney general's report about those calls? did you participate in conversations related to this matter during that interval and
what can you tell us about why the interval took two days? was there some standard operating procedure that needed to be vindicated? do you think that could have flipped over to a conversation of the white house a good deal quicker than that once the report came back from the interview? dir. comey: i do not know whether two days is right. it might've been a day and might've been two days. i did report conversations about the matter. i think i will stop there. i do not know the department's position on speaking about those commit occasions. >> but as you sit here you do not have any indication that that represented mr. for misconduct? dir. comey: the agent goes, writes up a 302, shows it to their partner to get it right, sometimes it is the next day before this finish. >> so, the deputy, miss yates, would've seen the 302 and the process would've taken based by the time she went up to see white house counsel?
dir. comey: yes. >> on to the anthony weiner laptop. as i understand it, you were informed by agents in the fbi office that there was potentially related or relevant information and mr. weiner's laptop. on the basis of that information you then sent a letter to the members of congress before home - whom you had committed to answer if there were any changes in the status of things. you also than authorized the agents to pursue a search warrant which then gave them access to the content which allowed them to do the search that you then said came up with nothing so that you could then undo the letter and say actually, we took a look and there is nothing there.
do i have the order correctly there? dir. comey: right. they briefed me on what they can see from the metadata and while was significant. they wanted my approval to do a search warrant. i authorized and and so did the department of justice and then they reviewed. during the following week, they reviewed 40,000 emails. i understated how many they reviewed. they found 3000 were work-related. and came from blackberry backups and a bunch of other things. 12 of them were classified. we had seen them all before. they finished that work. they briefed me. they said it did not change their view. then i sent the second letter. >> did any of those letters great national security damage? -- create national security damage. dir. comey: that is hard to
answer. by definition, because of vocation is based on the potential for damage. sen. whitehouse: the kind of things on the front page of the new york times. >> i am not aware that any of investigation got into the hands of people who were able to exploit them to damage national security. >> let me offer you this hypothetical. they come to an safety metadata shows we have potential information that could be relevant or causes to reopen the information. it would seem to me it would be as sensible at that moment to say how quickly can you get the search warrant and how quickly can we get an answer to that question because i made a promise to people in congress. >> i pressed him very hard on that and they said there was no way they could have done that in the time allotted. they did because our wizards came up with a way to do it electronically which involved
>> ok. with respect to your response to senator tillis, my time is expired, but i have a different view of what took place. i do not doubt your honesty for a minute but i think there were significant mistakes made through this process. dir. comey: in the email case? >> yes. franken: thank you. i admire you hanging in there. i just want to clarify some of the answers you gave in relation to president trump's tax returns being relevant to the russian investigation into does the investigation have access to
president trump's tax returns and some other questions, you answered "i cannot say." clarificationt on that. is that that you cannot say or you cannot say in this setting? dir. comey: i won't answer questions about the contours of the investigation. i do not know if i would do it in a closed setting either but for sure i do not want to begin answering questions about what we're looking at and how. sen. franken: i will take that as you cannot do that in this setting and maybe you can elsewhere. we're talking about the i usual number of individuals in important roles in the trump campaign or in his life and there are sort of unexpected and often undisclosed ties to russia. i would like to focus on one of
those individuals, roger stone and his relationship with gucifer 2.0, a persona used by officials toary leak documents stolen from the democratic national committee to wikileaks. the national intelligence community, including the fbi, has recently concluded that russia directed the breach and military intelligence officers used gucifer 2.0 to make sure the documents were publicly release. while gucifer has maintained that he or she is not russian, the intelligence community has
stronged the hacker has and leakedsia information about the clinton campaign and the democrats that were stolen by russia. is that a fair characterization? dir. comey: yes. our information is that gucifer 2.0 was an agent of the russian intelligence. sen. franken: there was an exchange of private messages with gucifer 2.0 and mr. stone, who has said the relationship was totally innocuous. in this series of messages, they exchanged bizarre pleasantries. gucifer thanked mr. stone for writing about him. mr. stone expressed delight
handlecifer's twitter was restored. gucifer said he would be pleased to help mr. stone. it sounds like a clear offer from a russian intelligence operative to collaborate with a senior official on the trump campaign. is that a throwaway line or an offer to help stone and some respect? do we know if any further communication between stone and gucifer took place? if you cannot say here but could say in another setting -- [no audio] --
>> i definitely could say not here. i may be good in a closet might environment. it suggesteden: once again met at least trump campaign officials were cooperating with russian operatives. it was less clear if they ever provided actions to russian officials. for example, it was suggested that last year the russians at trolls,usands of paid human trolls, we know this and bots aimed at influencing the election and putting in president trump. is there any evidence that the trump campaign assistant or direct and those efforts?
dir. comey: that is something i cannot answer here but let's refer to act. it was the purpose of the investigation to understand whether there was coordination or collusion between elements of the campaign and the russians. senator franken: of course. i would point out, too, that right before the podesta emails came out that roger stone said it would soon be time for thesta's "time in barel." -- "the barrel."
so, i think there may be a little bit of a "there" there. i know senator cornyn is not here. i think it is a shame that he says that hillary yesterday in this forum blamed everyone but herself. she took a lot of blame on herself. i think she -- when she referenced what you did was 11 days before the election which has been a subject here, that and also the russian interference, i think she was only saying stuff that other people have said. i mean, i do not think she was saying anything that a lot, a lot of people also think had an effect on the election. so i just think it was a shame that the senator from texas -- i do not know if he meant to leave that out deliberately -- but she did not blame everyone but herself.
thank you mr. chairman. >> before i call in the next senator there are two things i would like to say. what you promised senator cruz about a briefing on the garland situation, that you would include any stuff on the committee and on that as well so we can have a committee briefing on that as well at least that the staff level? would you do that? director dir. comey: assuming they have the clearances for that, yes. >> i think that is obvious. is, afterecond thing we have two more people, a second round, i have to go. i want to thank you for being here. >> i am happy to follow senator
corona. >> thank you. as mentioned earlier, in march president trump issued a revised suspendedorder that entry into the u.s. from six majority muslim countries. the suspension was largely reminisced on the claim that more than 300 persons who entered the united states are currently there subject of counterterrorism investigations by the federal bureau of investigation. can you provide any additional information on whether the persons under the investigation are from the six countries subject to the suspension and are these persons exclusively from the six countries subject to the suspension and if not, what other countries are represented among the population currently under investigation?
me: i am sure we can provide you. what i'm saying here is i think we can.ure -- dir. comey: i am sure we can provide you that. i will make sure my staff get you the precise numbers, senator. >> so iraq was the only country not among the six targeted countries? dir. comey: i think so. i will get you the precise numbers. i think it was refugees, about 300. about one third from six countries. about two thirds from iraq. >> you can provide that later. can you provide information on
the percentage of these individuals who came to the uss children? dir. comey: i cannot as i said here but i am sure we can get you that. >> and can you provide additional information on the percentage of these individuals radicalized after being in our country for a long time? dir. comey: that is hard. it is hard to figure out when someone is radicalized. i will ask my folks to think about what kind of information we can get you on that. we will do our best. >> possibly during the course of the investigation you can get information on when they became radicalized. we had in our administration a challenge to federal judges who disagree with president trump views. we saw this in the campaign and during the presidency. following judge derek watson's ruling blocking the revised travel a uncommon judge what's in begin receiving death threats. i understand the u.s. marshals have primary responsibility for protecting federal judges but
the fbi is poised to step in as necessary. if the fbi investigating the threats made against judge of watson?judge dir. comey: we visited and got briefed on work to assist the marshals and trying to understand the threats and protect the judge so i believe we are. >> in february, the three the ninth circuit court judges also begin receiving threats. is the fbi investigating those threats? dir. comey: i do not know for sure. i bet we are but i cannot answer with confidence. the marshals have the responsibility and in my expense they very often ask us for assistance on what information we may have. technical resources. they are pretty darn good but in most cases i think we offer assistance.
>> are the presidential continued attacks emboldening individuals to continue to make these sorts of threats? we are an environment where some people might be thinking it is ok to issue these kinds of threats against judges who disagree with the president. dir. comey: that is something i cannot comment on. it is concerning any time people are direct the threats. it is at the core of the justice system for judges to be independent and that is why we take it so seriously. sen. hirono: speaking of independence of the judiciary, would like you to clarify the fbi independence from the doj apparatus.
can the fbi conduct an investigation independent of the department of justice or does the fbi have to disclose all of its investigations to the doj? does it have to get all of the attorney general's consent? dir. comey: we work with the department of justice on all of our investigation. and so, we work with them. in a legal sense, we are not independent. we are spiritually and culturally pretty independent and that is the way you would want to it. we work with the department of justice in all of our investigations. >> so if the department of justice opposes a certain investigation, can they hope that investigation? to me: and very, yes. >> has it happened? dir. comey: not in my experience, it would be a big deal to tell the fbi to stop doing something but they give us opinions and say we should stop
caseting resources in a have an't think we investigation for. i cannot think of an investigation where we were told to stop something for a political reason. it is not happened in my experience. >> a number of people of called for a special investigation to investigate the russian attempt to undermine our election and donald trump's relationship with these russian efforts. should the department of justice decide if there should be such an independent investigation or special prosecutors when you already have an ongoing fbi investigation into these matters? the attorney general has already recused himself. how would this proceed when you have the department of justice conducting or assigning and independent or special prosecutor and you are already doing an investigation? how would that work? dir. comey: it would move from one office to another in we
would start working with another set of attorneys. you don't miss a beat. >> so the two investigations would proceed but you would talk to each other? dir. comey: yes. it is one investigation and the prosecutors and agents worked together on their investigations so investigators would disengage from one prosecutor and hook up to another and continue going. >> in the investigation you are currently doing are you coordinating with any u.s. attorney offices? dir. comey: yes. >> so should the ag decide to go with a special prosecutor, you would end your engagement with the other two entities and work with the doj special prosecutor? dir. comey: it could be.
or the attorney general could appoint someone else to oversee it and you keep career-level prosecutive team so there is no change except the boss is different. >> has this happened before where you are doing an investigation at the attorney general appoints a special prosecutor to conduct the same investigation? dir. comey: and happened to me when i thought i was in the last job ever as attorney general and i appointed patrick fitzgerald to oversee eight very sensitive and investigation overseeing allegations in the bush administration. what happened it is the team of agents that had been working up the chain that came to me were just moved over and worked under patrick fitzgerald.
>> thank you. so it happens. >> to take the analogy, i think we're at the end of the visit. a dentist visit. board toward the end, anyway. unfortunately there is no unlimited time the last question are can take. dir. comey: my dentist sometimes asks questions, too. [laughter] >> there is abundant precedent, it is there not, for the assignment of a special prosecutor? there are regulations and guidelines. that has happened frequently in the department of justice. you mentioned one in your experience. also, then designee attorney general richardson appointed a special prosecutor, archibald cox, who then pursued the watergate investigation, correct?
dir. comey: yes. there has been many examples. >> so this would not be an earthshaking happening. for a special prosecutor to be appointed, in fact taking your dedication ofs 12 the credibility and integrity of our criminal justice process to your family. i would think at one point you might recommend there would be a special prosecutor. would that be appropriate at one point? dir. comey: it might be. it is possible. i know when of my pretty sessoms did it with respect to chinese interference in an election. will --
your not wanting to discuss conversations with the deputy attorney general but my hope is that you will in fact argue forcefully and vigorously for the appointment of a special prosecutor. i think the circumstances here are exactly parallel to the situation where you appointed fitzpatrick and others where routinely special prosecutors have been appointed and i know that your recommendation may never be disclosed but i would urge that you do so. going back to the questions you asked about your announcement initially that you were terminating the investigation of hillary clinton, you said that the matter was one of intense public interest and therefore you were making additional comments about it.
believe was the word that you used which was then extraordinary comment. would you agree that the investigation of the trump campaign potential involvement in the russian interference is also in investigation of intense public interest? dir. comey: yes, i agree. >> in fact there are probably very few investigation stunned while you are fbi director that will be of more intense public interest and my question is, will you commit to explaining the results of the investigation at the time when it is concluded? dir. comey: i will not commit to it but i will commit to apply the same principles and reasoning. i do not know where we will end up so i cannot commit sitting here. >> but you will agree to saying there is or is not a prosecutable case? dir. comey: potentially. rep. blumenhauer: when i was u.s. general there was a rule that there could be no report on
any grand jury matter for any investigation without permission of the attorney general or main justice. i do not know whether that rule is still applied been speaking more generally do you think it is a good idea for prosecutors or yourself to be able to comment in some way to explain the results of an investigation? dir. comey: not in general, i don't. i think it is important to have it a recognized exception. the alleged targeting investigation which had intense public interest, the department has done it infrequently. a dozen or more times in the last 5-10 years. it should be reserved for those extraordinary cases but there are times when the public interest warrants it. rep. blumenhauer: with respect to the ongoing investigation
am not going to comment on it. rep. blumenhauer: with respect to the ongoing investigation into the trump administration's relationship with the russians, can you comment? have you had any requests for immunity from anyone potentially a target of that investigation? dir. comey: i have to give the same answer. >> would you tell the committee if there is a lack of cooperation on the part of the white house? dir. comey: i will not commit to that. >> isn't there a reason for there to be a special prosecutor because who would you complain to? the deputy attorney general? if there were a lack of cooperation on the part of the white house? dir. comey: i would elevate it to the deputy attorney general or whoever was in charge. >> but the deputy attorney general is appointed by the
president, isn't that in inherent conflict of interest? dir. comey: it is but the nature of the person in the world was important. i think we're lucky to have somebody who thinks of the justice system in the way i do and i think you do. sen. blumenthal: let me ask again to just clarify a question that another senator had. the career prosecutors's so far involved are in the national security division in the eastern district of virginia united states attorney's office. the decision about prosecuting would be made by their boss i think is the word you used, correct? dir. comey: correct. sen. blumenthal: and right now that would probably be the deputy attorney general, correct?
dir. comey: the ultimate decision is almost always made at the highest level in the department which would be rod rosenstein. >> let me ask you one question related. you are asked about targets of investigation. i think your, was there were more citizens currently under investigation for potentially terrorist violence or extremist violence than noncitizens. is that correct? dir. comey: correct. >> in terms of sources, are there many noncitizens have provided such information? dir. comey: yes. >> are a large number of them undocumented? dir. comey: i think so. >> so is the fear of apprehension, roundup, mass detention a significant deterrent for them? would it not? dir. comey: in theory. i do not know if we've seen an
impact in practice though. i don't know. >> you inquire or do some internal research and report back? dir. comey: sure. >> thank you, madam chairman. >> thank you. and let me thank you for your ability to last for many it hours. it is impressive. and ladies and gentlemen in the audience, many of you been him from the beginning. thank you for your attention and for being respectable. -- respectful. it is appreciated. the hearing is adjourned. [gavel pound]
can hear the whole thing online. overnight, president trump weighed in on his decision to remove mr. comey is director i, -- as director of the fbi with a tweet. here is a look at capitol hill. senator schumer: it evening everybody. this afternoon, president trump called me and and formed me he was firing director comey. i told the president, mr. president with all do respect you are making a