tv Outnumbered FOX News December 13, 2017 9:00am-10:00am PST
terrorist, knowing with whom that person is communicating is important to your investigation. >> that's not my question. my question was we are getting ready to maybe reauthorize 702. i don't think we should reauthorize it until we find out from the intelligence community no indictments issued against the intelligence community based upon the staples that you have made to see whether or not they are violating the law and they refuse to give this committee the information about how many people have been caught up in that and stonewalled by the intelligence community saying well, we just can't do it. why can't the intelligence community get some geek at best buy to have them come in and answer that question with a little few taps into the computer system. we just want the number. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. you may answer the question. >> i have heard director coats explain this and he is better position than i. >> so we don't know. still don't know.
thank you, mr. chairman. >> the chair thanks the gentleman. the gentleman from illinois, mr. gutierrez recognized for five years. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to ask but shawlt bsexual assault by the president of the united states of america. over the past few days, echoing previous allegations made against the president in the past several years, at least 16 women have come forward to say that the president of the united states felt them up, kissed them without permission, put his hands under their clothing without permission. groped them, touched their general tailia, walked into dressing rooms unannounced to see them naked and made other unwanted sexual advances that everyone are clear violations of the law. now, i believe the women and i generally give the women and their word a lot of weight. and when the him in question is donald trump, there really shouldable no further
discussion because as everybody, regardless of their political affiliations or partisanship can clearly see, we have a man in the presidency who has a very difficult relationship with the truth. in this case, we have women who were made to feel powerless and insignificant, who had great personal cost and risks have come forward. i believe them. i do. al franken is resigning from the senate. and it goes to further than this committee where two senior members resigned because women came forward and made credible claims. that just happened last week. and others on this dais right now are among the additional members of the body who are accused credibly accused of misconduct. right now, with the number 2 person in the justice department before a committee and sworn to tell the truth, i think it's important to get your opinion on whether there are grounds for a criminal investigation or an ethics investigation against the president of the united
states of america? for example, rachel corroboration is one of the 16 women that we know of who have come forward. she said that president trump, before he was a president, quote, kissed me directly on the mouth. it was so inappropriate he thought i was so insignificant that he could do that end quote. jo hardt another one of the 16 women said he groped me, he absolutely groped me. he slipped his hand there touching my private parts, end quote. these are just two examples of unwanted sexual advances. i think were he on the subway or in a restaurant, with not either or both of these incidents be enough to get him arrested? in your experience as the number two most important law enforcement officer in the united states? but, before you answer that how about these cases? christian anderson in an interview said, quote, the person on my right, who unbeknownst to me at the
time was donald trump put their hands up my skirt. he did touch my vagina through my underwear, end quote. and cassandra saylor said he continually groped my ass and invited me to his hotel room, end quote. these are very serious allegations of crimes committed by the president. are they not? but, before you answer the question, i think it's important to point out that these stories are corroborated by one of the most important witnesses of all, the president himself corroborates. this he told billy -- he told tv host billie bush when he was miked up for interview with entertainment tonight, quote, i just start kissing them like a magnet. just kills. i don't even wait. when you are a star they let you do it. you can do anything. grab them by and you know what he said. you can do anything, end quote. samantha hogly said on national intelligence that when she was a contestant in a beauty contest, trump would come back unannounced
to the dressing room. and she tells her story and once again, we have audiotape of the president corroborating this account when he told howard stern, well, quote, i will tell you the funniest is before a show i will go back stage and everyone is getting dressed and everything else and you know, no men are anywhere but i'm allowed to go in because i'm owner. and he went on to say the chicks will be almost naked. end quote. mr. rosenstein, i see you as a law enforcement officer and i value your opinion on these matters. would it be appropriate for you to investigate these and other allegations of assault and unwanted sexual advances by the president of the united states? >> congressman, i am happy to take any questions regarding oversight of the department of justice. with regard to that matter or any other allegation that you think warrants investigation, i would invite you to submit the evidence and the department will review it. if you believe there is a federal crime, that applies to any alleged violation by
any person and that's all i have to say about that. >> but, mr. rosenstein, you, you are the number two top law enforcement officer in the nation. let me ask you, if a person on a train went and kissed a woman, is that a crime? >> if it's a federal train, it might be a federal crime, congressman. >> it's amtrak. >> it wouldn't be appropriate for me to answer. >> wouldn't be appropriate? you think -- as the number two law enforcement officer, you don't think it's a crime for a woman to be on a train, to be in a restaurant sitting and a stranger unwanted, a stranger would come up to her and grope her and kiss her? that's not a crime? >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the witness may answer the question. >> i would have to know the facts and i would have to evaluate the law. i never prosecuted a case like that in federal court, congressman. if you have an allegation by any person at any time, you should feel free to submit it. >> the women have made the
allegation. >> >> the time of the gentleman has expished. the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania mr. moreno for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman. deputy attorney general, it's good to see you again. >> thank you. >> we did a lot of good work together over the years. >> yes, sir. >> i'm proud of it and still proud to tell people that i was part of the justice department. actually, i have a strong bias for the justice department. i know your character. i know what kind of manual you are. and i have the most confidence in you that you will direct that agency rule of law and to see that everything is above board. 99% of the point 99 of the people that i worked with there are good, honest law enforcement. ultimate respect for them. they helped me in many cases, even when i was a d.a. i do -- would like to ask you to clarify a procedure
and, first of all, would you tell me if i'm right here? special counsel is appointed by the attorney general or under the circumstances, by you. and that special counsel reports to you. >> correct. >> am i correct in saying that an independent counsel is, again, appointed by the attorney general or you but that counsel is independent and not report to anyone in the interest of can i do a, b, or c; is that correct? >> under the independent counsel statute that lapsed in 1999, the aappointment would be made by a federal judge there would be no role for the department in the selection or oversight. >> doj would not be involved at all? >> correct. >> let's talk a moment about i have been in many interviews with fbi agents, dea agents. concerning potential cases. and what i have seen handled
was above board. but wouldn't you explain to the community what a 302 is? >> yes. a 302 is simply the form number for an fbi interview report. so after conducting a witness interview, fbi agent would write a summary of the interview. and we refer to that as a form 302. >> and during that -- during an interview, whether it's done by attorneys or investigators at the department of justice, or it's done back in my district in the middle of pennsylvania, at some point, is there usually an assistant u.s. attorney present in those interviews. >> there is no rule against it, congressman, but typically not. i would say the majority of interviews would be conducted by two agents without a prosecutor. >> who makes the final determination on whether immunity is granted?
it's not by the u.s. attorney or by the attorney at justice department who could, perhaps, be handling that case? >> that's correct. it would be a prosecutor who would need to make that determination. and depending on what type of immunity, it might require a higher level of review. >> before any immunity is given to anyone, whether it's absolute or not, we, in law enforcement, look for a proffer; is that correct, from that individual or their attorney? what are you going to tell us why should we give you immunity? >> >> we have a strong preference for obtaining a proffer prior to any grant of immunity. we don't always do it but we have a strong preference for it. >> i have never been in a situation and perhaps it's not unique, where immunity has been given where there has not been a proffer. is that -- would that be an
extreme unusual situation where someone would say immunity but we have no idea what they are going to say. >> i wouldn't want to characterize it, congressman as a u.s. attorney i had to approve formal immunity and the majority of the cases there had been a proffer. if there wasn't a ever pro, i would typically ask why. i can't characterize what percentage of cases might fall in that category. >> also, any evidence that would be collected such as laptops, computers, things of that nature, pursuant to the investigation, again, there would be a thorough investigation of that equipment before immunity would be given to someone? >> it would depend upon the circumstances, congressman. we would have to make a determination whether or not we believed what was the data that might be relevant to the decision. >> there is -- we just don't give blanket immunity because someone asks for it or just to get them in to talk? >> we should not give immunity just because somebody asks for it, you are correct. >> that's all i have. thank you very much for being here and i know you
will keep an eye on things and keep everything above board. it's a pleasure to see you again. i yield back. >> likewise, thank you. >> thank you, the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida mr. deutsche. >> thank you, mr. chairman. there has been a lot of talk about dates and time lines. i would like to walk through for the benefit of my colleagues just a short time line from this year. in january, the fbi, cia, and snsa concluded the following we assess russian president vladimir putin campaign 2016 aimed at u.s. undermine faith in the democratic process. deb great secretary clinton and harm her electability and potential presidency. we further assess putin and the preference for trump closed quote. mr. rosenstein, do you have any reason to dispute that? >> no. >> in january, also in january, january 24th, michael flynn denied to the fbi agents that he discussed u.s. sanctions with russia before he took office.
on january 26th, acting attorney general sally yates told the white house counsel that flynn lied about the nature of his calls with kislyak and vulnerable to blackmail. on february 13th of this year, flynn resigned over his conversations with the vice president. on february 15th, public reports of telephone records that show that members of the trump campaign and other trump associates had repeated contacts with senior russian intelligence officials in the year before the election. on march 16th, documents released by representative cummings show that flynn received $33,750 from russia state owned tv for a speech he made in moscow. on march 20th, the fbi directors acknowledged an investigation into possible collusion between the trump campaign and russia. on may 9th the president fired the fbi director. on may 10th trump met with russian diplomats in the white house and revealed classified information and told them that he fired the head of the fbi. called him a nut job and said quote i face great pressure because of russia. that's taken off, closed
quote. on may 11th the president told nbc news that the russia thing with trump and russia is a made up story. on june 7th, we learned that president trump urged comey to drop the flynn investigation. on july 8th we learned of undisclosed trump tower meeting between donald trump jr., jared kushner, paul manafort and a russian lawyer. the next day five sources stated that donald trump jr. agreed to the meeting on the premise that damaging information on hillary clinton would be provided and five days after that, a verb of the russian military we learned l.s.u. attend that trump meeting. on october the 5th, george papadopoulos, one of five people the president identified as a policy advisor pleaded guilty to one counts of making a false statement to the fbi on january 27th about the time and extent and relationship certain foreign nationals. in the statement of offense we learned he reached out regarding his connections he
could help arrange a meeting between trump and putin. on october 27th, former trump campaign chairman paul manafort and campaign advisor rick gates were indicted on multiple counts including conspiracy against the united states. in november, the president of the united states met with vladimir putin and said, and i quote: he said he did mettle. he said he didn't mettle. i asked him again, you can only ask so many times. every time he sees me says i didn't do that and i really believe that when he tells me that he means it the president went on to say i mean give me a break, talking about the national security folks who put together that report that i photoed earlier. give me a break. they are political hacks. on december 1st,former national security advisor mike flynn pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the fbi about conversations he had with a russian ambassador regarding sanctions. this is a little walk through what happened over the past year. i would like to ask you, mr. rosenstein, i would like to quote some of of my colleagues from this
committee. one of them said that the special counsel's investigation into whether the trump campaign assisted in its effort to interfere with the election is actually an attempt to overthrow the government of the united states. do you believe that mr. rosenstein? >> no. >> he said we're at risk of a cudahy that in this country if we allow an unaccountable person, special counsel unaccountable here? >> no. he is not unaccountable. >> he went on to say with no oversight is there no oversight at all of the special counselor. >> there is oversight. >> he went on to say if we allow unaccountable person with no oversight to undermine the duly elected president of the united states, is pursuing the rule of laugh undermining the elected president of the united states? >> no, it is not. >> up with of my other colleagues said we have got to clean this town up. he talked about firing mueller. one of my former colleagues on this committee accused mueller of having ventricle detective can a against donald trump because he fired mr. comey. mr. rosenstein, do you believe that he has a vendetta against the president? >> no. i do not. >> i would just conclude
that this little walk-through this one year in american history makes it impossible to understand how it is that my colleagues on the other side continue to want to tax not only against reporters, against the fbi, against the special counsel but they do so to throw dirt on this story, to make it try to go away. they may want to bury their heads nit sand but, mr. chairman, i want to make clear that they will not bury the rule of laugh in the united states of america and i will yield back. >> gentleman's time has expired. the chairman recognize mrs. gowdy for five minutes. >> thank you, judge poe there are a lot of issues i would like to ask you about deputy attorney general. we had a terrorist incident in new york this week. we have 702 reauthorization that is pending in congress. gun violence, the opioid epidemic, criminal justice reform. but when i go home to south carolina this weekend, trust me when i tell you no bun is going to ask me about any of those issues. they are going to ask me what in the hell is going on
with the department of justice and the fbi? the reason we have special counsel, this is a very important point. and you know it the reason we have special counsel is because of a conflict of interest. the regulation itself specifically makes reference to a conflict of interest. and we don't like conflicts of interest because it undercuts people's confidence in both the process and the result. so, let's be really clear why we have special counsel. it was either a real or purr receiveperceived conflict of interest that we were fearful would either impact the result or people's confidence in the process. that's why we have something called special counsel. that's why we have special counsel in this fact pattern. and then lo and behold, those who are supposed to make sure there are no conflicts of interest seem to have a few of their own. there is a senior prosecutor
who sent emails to a fact witness. she could be described as nothing other than a fact witness. she is a really important fact witness, if you pursue the line of inquiry that my democrat friends want to pursue. they got off of collusion and now they are on obstruction of justice. she may be the most important fact witness. in an obstruction of justice case. and the senior prosecutor for this conflict of interest-free special counsel sent a fawning of seemail to a fact witness. then weep have prosecutors assigned to you conduct this investigation who donated almost exclusively to one candidate over another and then we have a prosecutor assigned to this conflict of interest-free team that attended what was supposed to be, what he had hoped to be a victory party for secretary clinton. and we have a senior doj official, mr. deputy attorney general with an
office that used to be two doors down from yours. meeting with fusion gps and fusion gps, of course, was paying for russian dirt on the i have person that they are supposed to be on tialy investigating. and then that same senior doj official's wife, the one that met with fusion gps, his wife was on the payroll of fusion gps. and then we have a senior agent assigned to investigate secretary clinton's email? help draft the exoneration letter. would change the language from grossly negligent to extremely careless. interviewed secretary clinton in an interview i have never seen and i doubt you have either in your career as a prosecutor. interviewed michael flynn, was actively involved in the investigation into the trump campaign before the inspector general found his text. so, this agent in the middle of almost everything,
related to secretary clinton and president trump, sent pro-clinton texts, anti-trump texts to his paramour in response to being told maybe he is where he is to protect the country from that menace, donald trump. he said i can protect our country at many levels. and then he said hillary clinton should win 100 million to nothing. think about that, mr. deputy attorney general. that's a pretty overwhelming victory. 100 million to zero. and when i read that last night, what i thought was this conflict of interest-free senior agent of the fbi. canned think of a single solitary american who would vote for donald trump. that's where this brother comes. in not a single solitary american he can imagine would vote for donald trump. this is the conflict of interest prespecial agent assigned.
then he went on if that were not enough we bittle trump to supporters bying sea could smem tell at wal-mart in virginia. this is the person beneeded to awho i have a conflict of interest. absolute big gotted nonsense of trump. he wasn't content just to disparage donald trump. he had to disparage donald trump's family. this is what he said deputy attorney general. he said the douchebags are about to come out. he is talking about our first lady and children. this conflict of interest-free special agent of the fbi. this is who we were told we needed to have an objective, impartial, farrakhan flick of interest free investigation. so he is openly pulling for the candidate he had clearing and he is openly investigating a candidate that he has bias against. and then if that's not enough, he says trump is an f'ing idiot. what the f. just happened to
our country. this is the same man that said he would save our country. what happens when people who are supposed to cure the conflict of interest have even greater conflict of interests than those they replace? that's not a rhetorical question. you nor i nor anyone else would ever sit peter strzok on a jury. we wouldn't have him objectively dispassionately investigate anything knowing what we know now. why didn't we know what it ahead of time and my last question, my final question to you and i appreciate the chairman's papers. how would you help me answer that question when i go back to south carolina this week? >> congressman, first of all, with regard to the special counsel, mr. strzok was already working on the investigation when the special counsel appointed. the appointment i my was robert mueller. what i would recommend you tell your constituents is robert miller and rod
rosenstein and chris wray are accountable and that we will ensure that no bias is inflicting any any of the objections deab by the special counsel with the department of justin. when we have evidence of any inappropriate product. we will take axon it. that's what mr. mueller did here as soon as he learned about this issue, he took action. that's what i anticipate that the rest of our prosecutors our new group of u.s. attorneys, our justice department appointees, they understand the rules and they understand the responsibility to defend the integrity of the department. if they find evidence of improper conduct. they are going to take action. congressman, that's the best assurance i can give you. actually, there is one other point which is that you should tell your constituents that we exposed this issue because we're ensure thars the expect jenner conducts a thorough and effective. if there is he is going to
>> i will try. >> miss cicillini for five miles per hour. >> thank you. change positioning in abbot. the texas photo i.d. case. did you have any involvement in its decision to reverse the justice department long standing position in this case of the texas voter i.d. law was intentional and discriminatory? >> no, i did not. >> in august the department of justice changed its litigation position in the case columbus ton vs. randolph institute. the justice department is now defending ohio's voter purging law. were you involved in the decision to change this litigation position and now side with the voter purging law? >> i was at the department at that time. but i don't believe i had any involvement in the decision. >> were you involved in the justice department's decision to file an amicus brief in masterpiece cake shop vs. colorado civil rights commission on behalf of the baker who seeks to deny wedding cakes to same sex couples? >> that decision was made by our solicitor general. >> you described the special
counsel as a heroic figure who served his country, a career prosecutor. someone who was confirmed unanimously as fbi director. someone of patriotism. i. will stake it your judgment on mr. conner last not changed today. >> correct? you would not have employed mr. muller if you thought i would be engaged. you agree with the president's labeling of the special counsel's investigation as a witch-hunt i assume. >> i don't know exactly what the president meant by that, congressman. the special counsel's investigation is not a witch-hunt. >> it's not a witch-hunt. the president said it you disagree. you are supposed to be independent. you can answer a question contrasting with the president. >> i do not mean wha i don't knw what the president meant. >> do you believe the repeated attacks on special counsel robert mueller by pundits on tv or colleagues in congress threatens to undermine the credibility of
the independent investigation? >> the independence and integrity of the investigation is not going to be affected by anything that anybody says. >> you delivered remarks on october 25th before the u.s. chamber of commerce and i quote, you said: if we permit the rule of law to erode when it does not directly harm our interest the erosion may consume us as well. the rule of law is not self-executing. if it collapses, if of the people lose faith nut rule of law, then everyone will suffer, end quote in the con dex of the president's attacks. the marine people are really witnessing unprecedented attack on carkin institutions by this about the president. first seriousness of the investigation underway become vladimir putin's intreerns on our elections. attacks on the jewishary. attacks on the free press. one institution support and key to the rule of law federal bureau of investigation and the department of justice. america is counting on your
integrity and your commitment to protecting the independence of the special counsel to reaffirm our commitment to the rule of law. so when you said just a moment ago that you don't have an opinion about a loyalty oath from the president, being asked of people, it might be useful to remind you, sir, that members of the department of justice take an oath to the constitution. and so a loyalty oath to the president of the united states is inappropriate for any president to ask for and for anyone to swear it. do you agree? >> congressman, nobody has asked me for a loyalty oath. >> that's not my question, sir. my question is, you are here to demonstrate the independence of your office. and you are unwilling to say that an oath to the president of the united states rather than to the constitution is not inappropriate? does that not incite a lot of the confidence. >> an oath to the president of the united states rather than the constitution would be inappropriate. >> an oath to the president of the united states is not appropriate. >> you are talking about a hypothetical. it's not clear what was asked and what was said. >> you also. >> as long as you are following your oath of offers, you can also be faithful to the
administration. >> that's not faithful is not the question. i will move to a i couldn't question. you also said you you would not respond to the question to say whether or not the president of the united states had asked to you initiate criminal prosecutions against political adversaries. that you would not disclose whether or not those conversations took place. >> i said i would disclose if i was told to do something improper. >> what about if you were encouraged to do something improper? what if you were encojed to initiate a criminal investigation? that's not appropriate to do, is it? >> several of your colleagues on both sides have encouraged me today, congressman. and as i have explained, i'm going to base my decisions on the facts and the law. >> i understand that. but the action of a president to encourage to you issue in yaft a, separate what you will do with that that very action is not appropriate. >> you are free to make that judgment. >> i'm asking new your scwument judgment. >> my judgment is it would be inappropriate for someone to order me to do something. >> it wouldn't be inappropriate for your supervisor, the person you
serve to tell you or suggest you or criminal prosecution against a criminal adversary? >> congressman, i think i have been very clear about this. nobody has given me any. >> i will end with, this mr. deputy attorney general, you know, we have heard you very proudly here talk about the integrity of the department of justin and the work of the fbi. we heard director wray say the same thing. these two agencies, the fbi and the department of justice are in the midst of an unprecedented attack by individuals who are trying to undermine the credibility of this independent counsel's investigation. these are the same group of individuals who praised robert mueller when he was appointed. spectacular. was praise you had universally fail to do that
so i urge you to do so and with that i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from idaho, mr. labrador for five minutes. mr. rosenstein for being here today. said he was the president's wing man. i never heard a single democrat object to that. it's kind of ridiculous to sit here and try to question your integrity or try to question whether somebody is going to be loyal to their president or not. as you clearly indicated, you can be both loyal to the constitution and to the
president of the united states. as long as there is not a conflict of interest. as long as you are not doing anything that is inappropriate. it's okay to be the president's wing man. it's also okay to say that you are going to be loyal to the president. as long as they are not asking you to do anything that is illegal; isn't that correct? >> yes. >> so, what was the goal of the russians when they tried to interfere with the elections in the united states? >> the assessment of the intelligence community as reflected in their public report is that the goal of the russians was to undermine american confidence in democracy. >> so to undermine the american. >> i'm paraphrasing, congressman. i don't have it in front of me. >> to try to undermine the public faith in the u.s. democratic process; is that correct? >> i believe theank that's correct. >> i believe that no one in the united states has done more to undermine the belief in the united states democratic process than the democrats and the press in some cases when they continue to report on false allegation after allegation
after allegation. in fact, what you see from the democrats is that they move from one allegation. that allegation is proven to be false and they move to the next one and they move to the next one and they move to the next one because they're unhappy with the result of the election. can you tell me why the independent counsel was actually appointed? >> special counsel, congressman, i have explained publicly that i appointed the special counsel based upon the unique circumstances in order to promote public confidence. and i have nothing to add to that. >> so why, when mr. muriel muelr was charged with investigating. he was charged with investigating, quote: any links and/or coordination between the russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of donald trump? and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation, end quote. that charge is overly broad but there has been two prosecutions or at least two charges so far brought by
the independent counsel; is that correct? >> four individuals charged. two pleaded guilty and two will stand trial. >> have any of them been charged with any links or coordination russian government and individuals associated with that campaign for president? >> congressman, the charges speak for themselves. i'm not going to comment beyond what's in the charging documents. >> is there anything in those charging documents that there was a coordination between the trump administration and the russians? >> congressman, i'm not going to comment beyond what's in the charging documents. i think you can draw your own conclusion. >> something i agree with my friends on the other side is we should get to the bottom -- we should know the truth. we should know whether there was collusion between russia and the president of the united states. we should also know whether there was collusion between any department who tried to interfere with our elections. so, can you tell me was there collusion between the doj and fusion gps to use a
democratic-funded document for political and legal purposes? >> i don't know the answer to that, congressman. i would simply point out that the language actually used in the appointing order was coordination. and i believe that was the language used by director comey when he publicly testified about an ongoing investigation. i did not use the word collusion. >> okay. so that coordination, as -- was there any coordination between the doj and fusion gps to try to undermine an election of the united states? >> if there were, congressman, i would be very concerned about it. as you know, there are ongoing reviews and i'm not in a position to comment about that. >> there are ongoing reviews so there could potentially be an investigation whether the doj and members of the doj actually colluded with an enemy of a political party and a political candidate to underpalestine the election for the united states? >> if there is any evidence that warrants it, congressman, we will do what's appropriate. >> all right. so, i think if you want
restore the trust of the american people. the department of justice has the duty to give us the information we have been asking for. we need to find out who started this investigation. we need to find out what the purpose was. if you have an individual who actually had desire to have an outcome in a political race and they decided to use the department of justice to investigate their political opponent, i think that is one of the worst crimes that has occurred in the history of the united states when it comes to politics. do you agree with that? >> it would. if that were what happened, congressman, it would certainly be of grave concern. >> all right. well, i hope that you are truly investigating this and that we get to the bottom of this. thank you very much. and i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. swallow well for five minutes. >> please express my thanks to your employees who serve at our national interest
every day and do very important work at the department. mr. rosenstein, have you spoken with the president since you were appointed? >> of course. >> and is that in a one-on-one setting? >> i have never spoken with the president on a one-on-one setting. >> has he called you since have you been appointed, by telephone? >> yes. >> okay. and what was discussed? >> as i said, congressman, as i said, congressman, if i were told to be asked to do anything inappropriate. i would comment on it i'm not going to comment on my communications with the president. >> how many times has he called you? >> congressman, i do not -- i am not going to comment about my communications with the president. there is nothing wrong with the president consulting his deputy attorney general about matters within the jurisdiction of the justice department as long as it's not inappropriate. >> mr. rosenstein, i agree, except that this president has demonstrated and that's
been expressed -- that testimony from james comey that has not been contradicted under oath multiple times that he is willing to talk to individuals at the department about ongoing investigations. that's where the concern arises. with respect to attorney general sessions' recusal, was he involved at all in the decision by the department to allow reporters to review the text messages that you discussed earlier? >> not to my knowledge. >> will you tell us if he was? >> if i learn about it, if it matters, congressman, as i said, i'm not aware of any impropriety in what the department has done in making text messages available. >> recused from bob mueller's investigation, right? >> attorney general sessions is recused from attorney general mueller's investigation, correct. >> i don't want to argue with the congressman. i'm aware of the recusal and i'm not aware of any evidence that the attorney general has violated his
recusal. >> mr. rosenstein, if you are overseeing an investigation and lead a team of investigators, and you learn that one of the investigators has demonstrated a perceived bias against an individual in the investigation, should you, a, keep the person on the team or, b, remove the person from the investigation? >> b. >> and knowing that fact pattern, what did bob mueller do with a similar fact pattern? >> he chose the correct option. >> mr. rosenstein, the president has said a number of things about you, the attorney general, the fbi being in tatters, he even compared our intelligence community, which your employ imrees are a part of to nazi germany, and i want to ask considering his continued disparagement of the department and your employees, are your employees proud to work for a person who holds their high integrity in such low regard. >> congressman, my employees are, i believe, proud to work for the department of justice. some of them support a particular president, some of them don't.
as long as they do their job appropriately, that's my concern. >> i agree and i hope so and i hope that's the case. mr. rosenstein, your testimony today is that you believe bob mueller is the person of high integrity, right? >> yes. >> you believe his investigation is being conducted fairly, correct? >> yes. >> you also believe that and you understand that he is publicly indicted two individuals with respect to the investigation? >> correct. >> he has also obtained two guilty pleas with respect to his investigation? >> correct. >> is there good cause to fire bobble mueller as we sit here today? >> not to my knowledge. >> now, i am concerned that my house judiciary committee colleagues, particularly in the majority have signaled quite indiscreetly today that they would probe give the president a pass if he were to fire or to order you to fire bob mueller. there have been a number of statements attempting to undermine the good character of bob mueller. that concerns me because that would certainly fly in
the face of the rule of law in this country. it would not be okay, i believer, with the american people or the spirit that our country was founded upon. mr. deputy attorney general, your investigation is a very narrow bridge. the important part, i believe for our country, is for you to not be afraid. during these trying times, we need you to be fearless. we have a president who has demonstrated a willingness to involve himself in ongoing investigations that involve he and his family and for the sake of our country. for the sake of rule of law, i hope that you continue to demonstrate the character that got you into this position and that has given us as a committee, i think, faith in your ability to carry out that mission. i yield back. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. farenthold for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i know we have talked a lot about this today. but i feel obliged on the
account of the folks that i represent are always asking me about this to say there is a real concern out there in texas, certainly, and i think around the nation, we have got a special counsel who is working 24/7 investigating the trump administration, yet, the department of justice, who various witnesses we have had up here is basically not been able to confirm or deny what investigations, if any, are going on with respect to the potential misdeeds of the clinton campaign and their dealings with russia, be it through uranium one, various speaking engagements for former president clinton, and the like. and, again, i'm not asking you to break that confidentiality, but i am suggesting that there are a lot of people out there who will be sadly disappointed if there isn't an investigation. and who may actually -- who
do actually think that there might ought to be a special prosecutor or a special counsel appointed to look at the other side. so, instead of beating that dead horse, i'm going to beat another one. that i have been talking a lot about, that is specifically the doj's opposition to the u.s.a. liberty act. why is it so hard. why is a warrant requirement so difficult to deal with on your part when we understand the need to have exigent circumstances where things get looked at quickly. it's like the fisa court and this pro-process of obtaining things for foreign intelligence purposes stop terrorists are being rolled into more normal mainstream criminal investigations where traditionally there has been a need for a warrant. why is it so difficult to get a warrant?
in many cases you can create the necessary probable cause and paperwork in a matter of hours if not minutes. there are judges on call 24/7 to look at these things. why is it such a problem and why are you all opposed to it? >> i believe -- i don't want to duplicate dr. wray's comments about this congressman, i wish, actually, you could join us in the department and see how we go about your work that would actually enhance public confidence. people see when things go wrong they don't see 99.9% of the keim as congressman marino pointed out when things go right. it would be bourbon some. burdensome.those are serious cos and we'll do everything we can to reassure people about it i can simply tell you it would take me long than the time you have to explain the full process. i believe director wray is correct about this. and national security community i know many fechuchs whfolksinvolved pre-9/t
9/11 have spoken out how important it is to have this tool because we do not want to be in a position again as we were on 9/11 when people said why didn't the fbi put these facts all together and figure out about this threat before the terrorists attacked? that that's the basis, congressman. and i can assure you that if it were easy to do with a warrant, i would be in favor of it but it's not. i believe we have appropriate safeguards in place and that we have people who are responsible who are conducting that's investigations and are going to avoid infringing americans' rights. that's our primary considerable. attorney general sessions has made that one of his priorities to make sure that there are no violations of americans' rights and i do not believe the program as it exists represents a violation of anyone's rights. >> well, you and i may respectfully disagree on whether it violates folks' rights or not. i believe we have got to fight terrorism. but there is a reason the fourth amendment was
included in the constitution. finally, i just want to touch for a second on cyber security. i used to run a computer consulting company. and have you heard about breaches all throughout the public and private sector. can you just give me an overview quickly about what y'all are doing with respect to that and what, if anything, congress needs to do to help you? >> it would be hard for me to do it quickly, congressman, because we do have a lot of resources, both the fbi and other agencies that are protecting against the cyber threat. it's a significant threat. we have faced both intelligence threat from hostile foreign governments and also a criminal threat from people who try to break into our systems to commit crimes and to defraud americans. so, it's a very challenging issue, as you know from your experience, technology continues to evolve and we need to stay a step ahead of the capabilities of our adversaries and of criminals. the fbi does have a lot of
resources dedicated to that i testified about our budget a couple of months ago, i think that's going to be an area where we will need increasing support from the conditioning to make sure that we keep up with our adversaries. >> i see my time has expired. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. >> the chair recognizes the gentleman from california mr. lou for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you deputy attorney general rosenstein for being here today. i note for the american people not only appointed by republican president donald trump also previously appointed by george bush to serve as attorney for maryland. in a profile view in the "the washington post" when you were u.s. attorney, a former prosecutor says rod rosenstein is a poster child for the professional. competent, ethical and fair minded prosecutor. so thank you for your service to the american people and for your exemplary service. >> thank you. >> last week, fbi director christopher wray told us that no one is above the law. you would agree with that
statement, correct? >> absolutely. >> no one is above the law? >> yes, i would. >> now important to our democracy is not only that concept but also that people have to have trust in our law enforcement investigations. there are some of my colleagues and some in the media who have suggested that if you make political contributions somehow you cannot be fair and impartial. so, as you know, these political contributions are a matter of public record. you previously said that when it comes to special counsel investigation you, special counsel mueller and fbi director wray will be the ones held accountable. so we looked up the political contributions of fbi director wray. he has made over $39,000 in contributions exclusively to republicans. including $2,500 twice to romney for president. $2,600 twice to purdue for president. thousands of dollars in national republican senatorial committee. $1,000 to congress and on and on.
do you believe fbi director christopher wray can remain fair and impartial? >> yes, i do. if there your colleague rachel brant has made over $37,000 of political contributions exclusively to republicans. do you believe thee can remain fair and imacial despite her political contribution. >> yes. >> important to shut down the silly argument from my colleagues across the aisle somehow the department of justice employee exercises first amendment right to make political contributions that somehow they cannot do their job and shows a desperation that some people have about the mueller investigation which i now want to turn to. you supervised that investigation so you are aware, of course, of their guilty pleas and indictments. and in reviewing the guilty plea of george papadopoulos you, you would agree that there is a solid legal and factual basis for that guilty plea, correct? >> i believe he was represented by competent defense counsel who assisted him in making his decision. >> and, he pled guilty to
lying to fbi agents about interactions with russia, russian officials, correct? >> i believe that's correct. i don't want to comment congressman beyond what's in the charging documents. they speak for themselves. >> thank you. the guilty plea of michael flynn, you looked at those as you supervised this investigation. you would agree there is a legal and factual basis for that guilty plea as well, correct? >> yes. >> he lied to fbi agents about his interactions with russian ambassador kislyak, correct. >> again, congressman, the documents speak for themselves. >> you raid the indictments against paul manafort and mr. gates. you believe there is a solid factual basis for indictments. >> when we return an indictment we are also always careful to say the defendants are presumed be in the. i'm comfortable with the process that was followed with regard to that indictment. >> you are aware of the various people interviewed by special counsel mueller's team. you would agree that there was a factual and legal basis to interview those witnesses, correct? >> i'm not aware of any
impropriety. >> you previously had testified about robert mueller's exemplary record and dedication of service. did you mention he was a vietnam veteran. i just want to note for the record and i'm sure you know as well. he also did receive a bronze star for his service in vietnam, correct? >> i believe two, correct. >> he also received a purple heart for his service in vietnam, correct? >> yes. >> okay. so, what do we have here? we have a special counsel investigation that is being supervised by mr. rosenstein who has been described as a fair minded prosecutor, appointed twice by republican presidents. being run by special counsel mueller, a massive extraordinary dedication that is a vietnam veteran, bronze star winner, purple heart. and in coordination with fbi director christopher wray who has been appointed by republican president who has made over $39,000 of contributions exclusively to republicans. that is leadership of this
special counsel investigation. and i am okay with that. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back and the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida mr. desantis for five minutes. >> mr. attorney general when sally yates defied president trump's travel order in the end of january 2017 was that appropriate what she did. >> i disagreed with her decision. >> so, if you're in a position where you get an order, your job is to follow the order. if you think it's unconstitutional, then your response would be to resign your office, correct? >> my response would be i think first to talk with the person who gave the order. >> of course. >> but ultimately, if i concluded it were unconstitutional, i would not implement it. >> obviously, you can't from a department operating where each one is a law unto themselves or they newt gingrich think something is bad they don't follow the orders, right? >> that's exactly right. >> it bothered me then one of the recent regulations have you andrew weissmann yeah is he a big democrat
donor which i agree doesn't disqualify you being fair. he will went to hillary's victory party. but, when she took that action, he sends her an email with his doj email account saying how he? in awe and so proud of her basically standing up to trump. i mean, it was seen as a very direct rebuke to the president. your tests are are the political opinions affecting how one conducts himself in office? i think that's a fair test. isn't that example, that email an example of his strongly held anti-trump opinions affecting how he is conducting himself on his official email? >> as i mentioned congressman, i have discussed this general issue with director mueller on several occasions. he understands the importance of ensuring there is no bias in the investigation. >> it looks bad to the public. i'm telling you right now. on the part actual bias is there an appear and of that? this appears to be. clearly what she did was not something that experienced
prosecutors would think was good and obviously the supreme court. the russia investigation, who started it? who was the agent? was it strzok who started it? who opened the case? >> congressman, that matter is under review by the intelligence committee. there is nothing i can talk about about the initiation of the investigation. i can assure you we will provide appropriate access to the intelligence committee. >> did the fbi pay for the dossier? >> i'm not in a position to answer the question. >> do you know the answer to the question? >> i believe i know the answer but the intelligence committee is the appropriate committee to make 245. >> that is not true. we have oversight over your department and the fbi. and whether public funds were spent on a dossier, that ♪ something that's classified. we have every right to that information. you should provide it. if you are not, then there will probably be -- was that info used to get surveillance over anybody associated with trump? >> i appreciate that
question, congressman. and i know it's been a concern for several members of the committee. i set aside a half an hour every day to review fisa applications, and it is not legal for me to talk about those applications. so i'm not able to answer one way or the other. >> i would like that authority. i think that you can say -- you may not be able to talk about the sources and methods of the substance, if this was used we need to know that do you agree that -- what was the role of bruce ohr? he met with christopher steele before the election. was that an authorized meeting? >> congressman, i do not know all the details. this information is still developing. so i don't know the full story. but we have agreed to make mr. ohr available for congressional interviews and they will be free to ask him those questions. >> you need to pursue it it's your department. you demoted him. he is working with christopher steele. have you anti-trump dossier funded by the democratic party. his wife works for fusion gps. this doesn't look good. so we need answers to those questions. >> i'm not suggesting that i'm disinterested.
need to get those answers. >> let me ask you this, the role of mr. strzok, how much of this russia investigation was due to him because, yes, mueller saw the text, obviously there is nothing to do to get rid of him. how familiar of this whole investigation has been infected by his bias? have you made a determination on that? >> i have not but i do want you to know and again without talking specifically about this investigation that the fbi does have procedures for all investigations to ensure that the appropriate vetted so there is no case for any one individual would be able to make decisions. >> i would hope that but, if you look at that damning text on 15 august 2016, this is bad. he said "i want to believe the path you through out for consideration in andy's office." i'm going to go out on a limb and say that's andrew mccabe's office. that there is no way he, meaning donald trump, gets elected. but i'm afraid we can't take that risk. we, in the fbi. >> we're going to go straight to the president at the white house talking to
republicans about finalizing tax
reform. let's listen. >> bringing down taxes, the largest tax cut ever. but i appreciate you being here today. i want to thank the incredible members of the house and senate who have within working so hard. we are very, very close to a historic legislative victory, the likes of which rarely has this country seen. i think i can say, kevin, and orrin we are getting very close. i know a lot of the folks we would like to have here we said if you have your choice stay back and get it done, right? they are all working and negotiating some final points but we are very, very close. this bill is vital to the american people for many reasons. first of all, it's going to have a tax cut, the likes of which we haven't seen for not only business but for the working families of our country. it's really a tax cut based on jobs and based and also very good for companies, which also means jobs.
the typical family of four earning $75,000 will see an income tax cut of $2,000. so that's $2,000 in their pocket additional to spend on whatever they want to spend or, they could save the money, also. you do have a lot of families in the old days they saved money. but, they will be saving it in many cases. second, the bill is going to cut taxes for american businesses, both big ones and small ones. so that they can grow higher and compete all around the world. right now they are paying 35%. and that's the highest in the industrialized world. and many cases by far. and we'll be bringing that down to a number that will be extremely impressive to a lot of people. i don't think i will give them the surprise yet, kevin, right? you may be able to hold the surprise. i think you will be very happy with it i think the businesses will be very happy and be able to compete all over the world. third, we are simplifying our broken system.
so complicated that nobody can figure it out. tax returns that are very, very big and large a and they have to go out and hire companies to do them. so we're fixing the system. finally the plan is going to bring trillions of dollars back into the united states. money that's offshore and oven hearing me say $2.5 trillion for years. well, 2.5 has grown. and it's going to be a lot more than that probably $4 trillion. it could even be higher than that we don't even know. it's so much money we don't even know how much it is. you look at the great companies, apple and so many others, they have billions of dollars overseas that they want to bring back. now they will be able to bring it back and we'll be spending that money and they will be spending that money right here and it will be jobs and lots of other good things. while the media has focused on the differences between the house and the senate bills, i can only tell you that we have very, very talented representatives right here and i think i can say, orrin, that we're very close. right? we are very, very close.
>> we will get it done. >> i want to thanks senator orrin hatch. he has been incredible and kevin brady incredible. you guys have been just really, really amazing. although i should say that ii shouldn't saythat before we . we have been there too many times. get the vote first, right? [laughter] i want to thank my whole team, gary and >> i want to thank my whole team, gary and steve and everybody. appreciate it. we are very close to getting it done, very close to voting and our economy as you know has surged from where it is. we were having an economy that was going in the wrong directio direction, the last administration were administrations in this country were going in the wrong direction from an economic standpoint and you saw where it was, one of the early times, 1%,