B1 Intermediate US 346 Folder Collection
After playing the video, you can click or select the word to look it up in the dictionary.
Loading...
Report Subtitle Errors
>>> THIS IS AN NBC NEWS SPECIAL
REPORT.
THE SESSIONS HEARING.
HERE'S LESTER HOLT.
>> GOOD DAY, EVERYONE.
WE'RE ABOUT TO WITNESS THE
LATEST TURN IN THE INVESTIGATION
INTO WHETHER THERE ARE TIES
BETWEEN PRESIDENT TRUMP'S
CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIAN OFFICIALS.
IN JUST A FEW MOMENTS ATTORNEY
GENERAL JEFF SESSIONS WILL
TESTIFY BEFORE THE SENATE
INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE IN AN
OPEN SESSION.
MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE ARE
EXPECTED TO QUESTION SESSIONS
ABOUT THE FIRING OF FBI DIRECTOR
JAMES COMEY, ABOUT HIS RUSSIAN
CONTACTS DURING THE CAMPAIGN AND
HIS DECISION BY SESSIONS TO
RECUSE HIMSELF FROM THE RUSSIA
INVESTIGATION.
OUR TEAM IS STANDING BY WITH
FULL COVERAGE OF THIS DAY.
NBC'S PETER ALEXANDER IS IN THE
HEARING ROOM.
PETER, SET THE STAGE.
A WEEK AFTER THE COMEY HEARING.
>> YEAH, LESTER.
THIS IS GOING TO BE ANOTHER
HIGH-TENSION DAY OF TESTIMONY
EXPECTED FROM THE ATTORNEY
GENERAL, JEFF SESSIONS.
TO GIVE YOU A SENSE, THIS IS THE
FIRST TIME THAT HE IS GOING TO
BE TESTIFYING IN AN OPEN HEARING
SINCE HE WAS CONFIRMED.
THAT'S ABOUT FIVE MONTHS AGO.
WE'LL DRILL DOWN ON SOME OF THE
LIKELY QUESTIONS HE'LL FACE.
AMONG THEM, IF HE RECUSED
HIMSELF FROM THE RUSSIA
INVESTIGATION, WHY DID HE STILL
TAKE PART IN RECOMMENDING THE
FIRING OF THE FBI DIRECTOR,
JAMES COMEY.
BEYOND THAT, HIS MEETINGS, HIS
CONTACTS WITH THE RUSSIAN
AMBASSADOR, SERGEY KISLYAK.
HE INITIALLY WAS NOT FORTHCOMING
ABOUT TWO OF THEM.
THERE IS SOME SUSPICION THERE
MAY HAVE BEEN A THIRD MEETING AS
WELL TO HAVE TAKEN PLACE DURING
THE CAMPAIGN.
WHAT WILL HE SAY ABOUT THAT.
BEYOND THAT, HOW DID HE TAKE
JAMES COMEY'S COMMENTS TO HIM
SUGGESTING THAT COMEY DIDN'T
WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE WITH
PRESIDENT TRUMP.
DID HE ACT ON THAT, WHAT ACTIONS
DID HE TAKE.
THOSE WILL BE AMONG THE
QUESTIONS THAT SESSIONS IS
PRESSED ON DURING THE COURSE OF
THIS HEARING TODAY.
>> ALL RIGHT, PETER, AS WE WATCH
MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE SLOWLY
FILE IN AND TAKE THEIR SEATS AND
CONFERRING WITH STAFF THERE,
LET'S CONTINUE AROUND THE HORN.
OUR POLITICAL DIRECTOR AND
MODERATOR OF "MEET THE PRESS"
CHUCK TODD IS IN OUR WASHINGTON
BUREAU.
CHUCK, WILL WE LARGELY BE
LOOKING FOR A REBUTTAL TO WHAT
COMEY SAID HERE?
>> WE'LL SEE IF IT'S A
FULL-FLEDGED REBUTTAL.
I THINK JEFF SESSIONS HAS A
COUPLE OF DIFFERENT CHALLENGES
AND THEY MAY BE IN COMPETITION
WITH EACH OTHER.
ON ONE HAND HE HAS TO
RE-ESTABLISH HIS OWN CREDIBILITY
TO LEAD A JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
THAT FEELS LIKE IT'S BEEN BADLY
DAMAGED POLITICALLY, BADLY
DAMAGED BY THE TESTIMONY FROM
JAMES COMEY, BADLY DAMAGED BY
SOME OF THE ACTIONS THAT PERHAPS
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL DID
INADVERTENTLY OR NOT WHEN IT
COMES TO THOSE LACK OF REPORTING
THOSE MEETINGS ON RUSSIA.
BUT HE'S ALSO GOT A CREDIBILITY
PROBLEM WITH HIS BOSS, THE
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
WHO IS ANGRY AT HIM FOR RECUING
HIMSELF IN THE FIRST PLACE SO
HE'S GOT DIFFERENT MASTERS HE'S
TRYING TO FEED.
HE'S GOT A JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
UNDER SIEGE AND HE'S GOT TO
REPRESENT THE CAREER FOLKS
THERE, AND AT THE SAME TIME
SOMEHOW RE-ESTABLISH CREDIBILITY
WITH HIS BOSS.
I DON'T KNOW IF YOU CAN DO BOTH
AT THE SAME TIME.
>> ALL RIGHT, CHUCK.
OUR CHIEF WHITE HOUSE
CORRESPONDENT, HALLIE JACKSON,
IS WATCHING ALL THIS.
HALLIE, AFTER THE COMEY HEARING,
THE PRESIDENT ESSENTIALLY
DROPPED THE MIKE, SAID THAT HE
GOT A CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH,
THERE WAS NO INVESTIGATION AND
ALL BUT DECLARED IT OVER.
HOW CLOSELY WILL THE WHITE HOUSE
BE WATCHING THIS PARTICULAR
SESSION?
>> WELL, THE PRESIDENT WON'T BE
WATCHING IT, WE KNOW, LESTER,
FROM HERE AT THE WHITE HOUSE AND
THAT IS BECAUSE HE IS ON AIR
FORCE ONE RIGHT NOW HEADED TO
WISCONSIN.
THAT PLANE DOES HAVE A
TELEVISION, SO IT IS LIKELY THE
PRESIDENT COULD SEE THE
BEGINNING OF THE TESTIMONY
BEFORE HE HEADS TO MILWAUKEE TO
TALK WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT.
I THINK THAT'S SYMBOLIC HERE.
THE PRESIDENT, THIS WHITE HOUSE,
WANTS TO BE TALKING ABOUT
ANYTHING ELSE OTHER THAN WHAT WE
ARE DISCUSSING.
THEY WANT TO TALK ABOUT HEALTH
CARE, AS THE PRESIDENT HOSTED
REPUBLICAN MEMBERS OF CONGRESS,
REPUBLICAN SENATORS HERE FOR
LUNCH EARLIER TODAY.
THEY WANT TO TALK TAX REFORM.
THEY WANT TO TALK VETERANS
ISSUES AS WELL.
BUT THIS, WHAT WE ARE WATCHING
NOW ON CAPITOL HILL, CONTINUES
TO BE THE DOMINANT FORCE AND THE
DOMINANT THEME DRIVING A LOT OF
IT.
THAT IS FRUSTRATING TO THE
PRESIDENT.
YOU HEAR ABOUT IT BOTH PRIVATELY
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND HEAR
ABOUT IT PUBLICLY AS THE
PRESIDENT TWEETS LIKE HE DID
TODAY ABOUT WHAT HE DESCRIBES AS
AN AGENDA OF HATE COMING FROM
MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA.
AS FAR AS THE STRATEGY HERE, A
LOT OF THIS LOOKS SIMILAR TO
WHAT WE SAW JUST LAST THURSDAY.
THERE IS NOT NECESSARILY A
COUNTER STRATEGY IN THE SENSE
THAT WE SAW WITH JAMES COMEY, AN
EXPLICIT SORT OF OPPOSITION TO
WHAT YOU WERE HEARING IN THAT
SEAT.
INSTEAD IT'S GOING TO BE A LOT
OF BACKING UP WHAT SESSIONS HAD
TO SAY FROM ALLIES OF THE
PRESIDENT, POINTING TO HIS
EAGERNESS TO TESTIFY AS AN
INDICATION THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP
HAS NOTHING TO HIDE, LESTER.
>> ALL RIGHT, HALLIE JACKSON.
AGAIN, WE'RE WAITING FOR THE
GAVEL TO FALL, STILL WAITING FOR
MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE ITSELF
TO FILL THOSE SEATS.
PHOTOGRAPHERS AT THE READY TO
GET A PICTURE OF ATTORNEY
GENERAL SESSIONS AS HE TAKES HIS
SEAT THERE AND PREPARES TO TAKE
THE OATH BEFORE TESTIFYING.
I WANT TO CHECK IN WITH OUR
JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, PETE
WILLIAMS.
PETE, WHAT ARE THE KEY QUESTIONS
THAT THIS COMMITTEE WILL NEED
AND LIKELY WANT TO HONE IN ON?
>> WELL, YOU'VE HEARD ABOUT SOME
OF THEM FROM PETER, ABOUT THE
MEETINGS WITH THE RUSSIANS, WHY
HE -- IF HE WAS RECUSED HE TOOK
PART IN THE COMEY FIRING, WHAT
HE DID ABOUT MR. COMEY'S PLEA
NOT TO LEAVE HIM ALONE WITH THE
PRESIDENT, AND OF COURSE THEN
THERE'S THE QUESTION OF THE
SECURITY OF THE JOB FOR ROBERT
MUELLER.
NOW, MR. SESSIONS IS COMPLETELY
RECUSED FROM THAT.
BUT EARLIER TODAY ON THE OTHER
SIDE OF CAPITOL HILL, HIS
DEPUTY, ROD ROSENSTEIN, WAS
ANSWERING QUESTIONS ABOUT THAT
GIVEN THE FACT THAT SOME OF MR.
TRUMP'S FRIENDS HAVE SAID THEY
THINK HE'S THINKING ABOUT FIRING
COMEY.
ROD ROSENSTEIN SAID AS FAR AS HE
KNOWS THAT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT THE
CASE.
I'M ASSUMING FROM THE SOUND OF
THE SHUTTERS THAT THERE COMES
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.
>> YEAH, HE'S ENTERING THE ROOM
RIGHT NOW, GREETING A FEW FOLKS,
THE CAMERAS CLICKING AWAY AS HE
PREPARES TO TAKE HIS SEAT THERE.
WE PRESUME WILL BE SWORN IN,
ASSUMING HE WASN'T SWORN IN OUT
OF CAMERA RANGE HERE.
BUT HE'LL BE TAKING QUESTIONS
FOR WHAT WILL PROBABLY -- THE
WHOLE HEARING WILL PROBABLY LAST
AROUND TWO HOURS OR SO FROM THE
GUIDANCE THAT WE HAVE RECEIVED.
I WANT TO BRING IN ONE MORE TIME
CHUCK TODD.
CHUCK, WHAT ARE THE TRAPS THAT
HE HAS TO CONSIDER AS HE TAKES
THIS OATH?
>> I THINK THE BIGGEST ONE IS
HIS ROLE IN THE FIRING OF COMEY.
AND THE -- THE LETTER, WHY DID
HE PLAY A ROLE.
I THINK THAT IS THE MOST
DIFFICULT QUESTION HE'S GOING TO
FACE.
AND IT'S NOT WHAT IS HIS ANSWER,
WHAT DOES HE BELIEVE THE LINE IS
BETWEEN RECUSAL ON THE RUSSIA
INVESTIGATION AND OVERALL
OVERSIGHT OF THE FBI.
I THINK THAT'S GOING TO BE THE
HARDEST QUESTION FOR HIM TO
ANSWER, AND THE ONE I HAVE NO
IDEA WHAT HE'S GOING TO SAY.
>> WE SAW CHAIRMAN BURR A MOMENT
AGO MAKING HIS WAY UP TO THE
PANEL.
HE WILL TAKE HIS SEAT HERE
SHORTLY AND WE WILL BE UNDER
WAY.
TWO WEEKS IN A LOW NOW MARQUEE
PLAYERS IN FRONT OF THIS
COMMITTEE AS CONGRESS TRIES TO
MAP OUT WHAT COORDINATION OR
WHAT RELATIONSHIP THE TRUMP
CAMPAIGN MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE HAD
WITH RUSSIAN OFFICIALS AND SOME
OF THOSE KEY QUESTIONS, THE
MEETINGS THAT JEFF SESSIONS HAD
WITH RUSSIAN OFFICIALS THAT WERE
NOT INITIALLY DISCLOSED DURING
HIS CONFIRMATION.
LET'S GO TO PETER ALEXANDER ONE
MORE TIME.
PETER, WHAT'S THE MOOD IN THE
ROOM THERE?
>> LESTER, RIGHT NOW YOU CAN SEE
THE INDIVIDUALS BEHIND US.
THEY HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO
GREET JEFF SESSIONS HERE.
ONE THING THAT STRIKES ME THAT
I'LL BE FOCUSED ON --
>> I'LL CALL THIS TO ORDER,
PLEASE.
>> THE GAVEL HAS FALLEN.
LET'S TAKE YOU INSIDE THE
HEARING.
ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS,
APPRECIATE YOUR WILLINGNESS TO
APPEAR BEFORE THE COMMITTEE
TODAY.
I THANK YOU FOR YOUR YEARS OF
DEDICATED SERVICE AS A MEMBER OF
THIS BODY AND YOUR RECENT
LEADERSHIP AT THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE.
AS I MENTIONED WHEN DIRECTOR
COMEY APPEARED BEFORE US LAST
WEEK, THIS COMMITTEE'S ROLE IS
TO BE THE EYES AND EARS FOR THE
OTHER 85 MEMBERS OF THE UNITED
STATES SENATE AND FOR THE
AMERICAN PEOPLE, ENSURING THAT
THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY IS
OPERATING LAWFULLY AND HAS THE
NECESSARY TOOLS TO KEEP AMERICA
SAFE.
THE COMMUNITY IS A LARGE AND
DIVERSE PLACE.
WE RECOGNIZE THE GRAVITY OF OUR
INVESTIGATION INTO RUSSIA'S
INTERFERENCE IN THE 2016 U.S.
ELECTIONS.
BUT I REMIND OUR CONSTITUENTS
THAT WHILE WE INVESTIGATE
RUSSIA, WE ARE SCRUTINIZING
CIA'S BUDGET -- WHILE WE'RE
INVESTIGATING RUSSIA, WE ARE
STILL SCRUTINIZING CIA'S BUDGET,
NSA'S 702 PROGRAM, OUR NATION'S
SATELLITE PROGRAM, AND THE
ENTIRE IC EFFORT TO RECRUIT AND
RETAIN THE BEST TALENT WE CAN
FIND IN THE WORLD.
MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, THE
COMMITTEE CONDUCTS ITS WORK
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, A NECESSARY
STEP TO ENSURE THAT OUR MOST
SENSITIVE FORCES AND METHODS ARE
PROTECTED.
THE SANCTITY OF THESE SOURCES
AND METHODS ARE AT THE HEART OF
THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY'S
ABILITY TO KEEP US SAFE AND TO
KEEP OUR ALLIES SAFE FROM THOSE
WHO SEEK TO HARM US.
I'VE SAID REPEATEDLY THAT I DO
NOT BELIEVE ANY COMMITTEE --
THAT THE COMMITTEE DOES SHOULD
BE DONE IN PUBLIC, BUT I ALSO
RECOGNIZE THE GRAVITY OF THE
COMMITTEE'S CURRENT
INVESTIGATION AND THE NEED FOR
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO BE
PRESENTED THE FACTS SO THAT THEY
MIGHT MAKE THEIR OWN JUDGMENTS.
IT IS FOR THAT REASON THAT THIS
COMMITTEE HAS NOW HELD ITS TENTH
OPEN HEARING OF 2017, MORE THAN
DOUBLE THAT OF THE COMMITTEE IN
RECENT YEARS AND THE FIFTH ON
THE TOPIC OF RUSSIAN
INTERFERENCE.
ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS, THIS
VENUE IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO
SEPARATE FACT FROM FICTION AND
TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON A
NUMBER OF ALLEGATIONS REPORTED
IN THE PRESS.
FOR EXAMPLE, THERE ARE SEVERAL
ISSUES THAT I'M HOPEFUL WE WILL
ADDRESS TODAY.
ONE, DID YOU HAVE ANY MEETINGS
WITH RUSSIAN OFFICIALS OR THEIR
PROXIES ON BEHALF OF THE TRUMP
CAMPAIGN OR DURING YOUR TIME AS
ATTORNEY GENERAL.
TWO, WHAT WAS YOUR INVOLVEMENT
WITH CANDIDATE TRUMP'S FOREIGN
POLICY TEAM AND WHAT WERE THEIR
POSSIBLE INTERACTIONS WITH
RUSSIANS.
THREE, WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO
RECUSE YOURSELF FROM THE
GOVERNMENT'S RUSSIA
INVESTIGATION.
AND FOURTH, WHAT ROLE, IF ANY,
DID YOU PLAY IN THE REMOVAL OF
THEN FBI DIRECTOR COMEY.
I LOOK FORWARD TO A CANDID AND
HONEST DISCUSSION AS WE CONTINUE
TO PURSUE THE TRUTH BEHIND
RUSSIA'S INTERFERENCE IN THE
2016 ELECTIONS.
THE COMMITTEE'S EXPERIENCED
STAFF IS INTERVIEWING THE
RELEVANT PARTIES.
HAVING SPOKEN TO MORE THAN 35
INDIVIDUALS TO DATE, TO INCLUDE
JUST YESTERDAY AN INTERVIEW OF
FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY
SECRETARY JEH JOHNSON.
WE ALSO CONTINUE TO REVIEW SOME
OF THE MOST SENSITIVE
INTELLIGENCE IN OUR COUNTRY'S
POSSESSION.
AS I'VE SAID PREVIOUSLY, WE WILL
ESTABLISH THE FACTS, SEPARATE
FROM RAMPANT SPECULATION AND LAY
THEM OUT FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
TO MAKE THEIR OWN JUDGMENT.
ONLY THEN WILL WE AS A NATION BE
ABLE TO PUT THIS EPISODE TO REST
AND LOOK TO THE FUTURE.
I'M HOPEFUL THAT MEMBERS WILL
FOCUS THEIR QUESTIONS TODAY ON
THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION AND NOT
SQUANDER THE OPPORTUNITY BY
TAKING POLITICAL OR PARTISAN
SHOTS.
THE VICE CHAIRMAN AND I CONTINUE
TO LEAD THIS INVESTIGATION
TOGETHER ON WHAT IS A HIGHLY
CHARGED POLITICAL ISSUE.
WE MAY DISAGREE AT TIMES, BUT WE
REMAIN A UNIFIED TEAM WITH A
DEDICATED, FOCUSED AND
PROFESSIONAL STAFF WORKING
TIRELESSLY ON BEHALF OF THE
AMERICAN PEOPLE TO FIND THE
TRUTH.
THE COMMITTEE HAS MADE MUCH
PROGRESS AS THE POLITICAL WINDS
BLOW FORCEFULLY AROUND US, AND I
THINK ALL MEMBERS WOULD AGREE
THAT DESPITE A TORRENT OF PUBLIC
DEBATE ON WHO AND WHAT COMMITTEE
MIGHT BE BEST SUITED TO LEAD ON
THIS ISSUE, THE INTELLIGENCE
COMMITTEE HAS LIVED UP TO ITS
OBLIGATION TO MOVE FORWARD WITH
PURPOSE AND ABOVE POLITICS.
MR. ATTORNEY GENERAL, IT'S GOOD
TO HAVE YOU BACK.
I WOULD NOW TURN TO THE VICE
CHAIRMAN FOR ANY REMARKS HE
MIGHT HAVE.
>> THANK YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN.
AND I WANT TO ALSO THANK THE WAY
THAT WE ARE PROCEEDING ON THIS
INVESTIGATION.
MR. ATTORNEY GENERAL, IT'S GOOD
TO SEE YOU AGAIN AND WE
APPRECIATE YOUR APPEARANCE ON
THE HEELS OF MR. COMEY'S REVEAL
TESTIMONY LAST WEEK.
I DO, THOUGH, WANT TO TAKE A
MOMENT AT THE OUTSET AND FIRST
EXPRESS SOME CONCERN WITH THE
PROCESS BY WHICH WE ARE SEEING
YOU, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL,
TODAY.
IT'S MY UNDERSTANDING THAT YOU
WERE ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED TO
TESTIFY IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE
AND SENATE APPROPRIATIONS
COMMITTEES TODAY.
I KNOW THOSE APPEARANCES HAVE
BEEN CANCELLED TO COME HERE
INSTEAD.
WHILE WE APPRECIATE HIS
TESTIMONY BEFORE OUR COMMITTEE,
I BELIEVE AND I SPEAK -- I
BELIEVE I SPEAK FOR MANY OF MY
COLLEAGUES THAT I BELIEVE HE
SHOULD ALSO ANSWER QUESTIONS
FROM MEMBERS OF THOSE COMMITTEES
AND THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE AS
WELL.
MR. ATTORNEY GENERAL, IT'S MY
HOPE THAT YOU WILL RESCHEDULE
THOSE APPEARANCES AS SOON AS
POSSIBLE.
IN ADDITION, I WANT TO SAY AT
THE OUTSET THAT WHILE WE
CONSIDER YOUR APPEARANCE TODAY
AS JUST THE BEGINNING OF OUR
INTERACTION WITH YOU AND YOUR
DEPARTMENT, MR. ATTORNEY
GENERAL, WE HAD ALWAYS EXPECTED
TO TALK TO YOU AS PART OF OUR
INVESTIGATION.
WE BELIEVED IT WOULD BE ACTUALLY
LATER IN THE PROCESS.
WE'RE GLAD TO ACCOMMODATE YOUR
REQUEST TO SPEAK TO US TODAY.
BUT WE ALSO EXPECT TO HAVE YOUR
COMMITMENT TO COOPERATE WITH ALL
FUTURE REQUESTS AND TO MAKE
YOURSELF AVAILABLE AS NECESSARY
TO THIS COMMITTEE FOR, AS THE
CHAIRMAN HAS INDICATED, THIS
VERY IMPORTANT INVESTIGATION.
NOW LET'S MOVE TO THE SUBJECT OF
TODAY'S DISCUSSION.
LET'S START WITH THE CAMPAIGN.
YOU WERE AN EARLY AND ARDENT
SUPPORTER OF MR. TRUMP.
IN MARCH YOU WERE NAMED AS
CHAIRMAN OF THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN'S
NATIONAL SECURITY ADVIORY
COMMITTEE.
YOU WERE MUCH MORE THAN A
SURROGATE, YOU WERE A STRATEGIC
ADVISOR WHO HELPED SHAPE MUCH OF
THE CAMPAIGN'S NATIONAL SECURITY
STRATEGY.
NO DOUBT YOU WILL HAVE KEY
INSIGHTS ABOUT SOME OF THE KEY
TRUMP ASSOCIATES THAT WE'RE
SEEKING TO HEAR FROM IN THE
WEEKS AHEAD.
QUESTIONS HAVE ALSO BEEN RAISED
ABOUT SOME OF YOUR OWN
INTERACTIONS WITH RUSSIAN
OFFICIALS DURING THE CAMPAIGN.
DURING YOUR CONFIRMATION HEARING
IN JANUARY, YOU SAID, QUOTE, YOU
DID NOT HAVE COMMUNICATIONS WITH
RUSSIANS.
SENATOR LEAHY LATER ASKED YOU IN
WRITING WHETHER YOU HAD BEEN IN
CONTACT WITH ANYONE CONNECTED TO
ANY PART OF THE RUSSIAN
GOVERNMENT ABOUT THE 2016
ELECTION.
YOU ANSWERED, I BELIEVE WITH A
DEFINITIVE NO.
DESPITE THAT FACT -- DESPITE
THAT, THE FACT IS, AS WE
DISCOVERED LATER, THAT YOU DID
HAVE INTERACTIONS WITH RUSSIAN
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS DURING THE
COURSE OF THE CAMPAIGN.
IN MARCH, YOU ACKNOWLEDGED TWO
MEETINGS WITH THE RUSSIAN
AMBASSADOR.
YET THERE'S ALSO BEEN SOME
PUBLIC REPORTS OF A POSSIBLE
THIRD MEETING AT THE MAYFLOWER
HOTEL ON APRIL 27th.
I HOPE THAT TODAY YOU WILL HELP
CLEAR UP THOSE DISCREPANCIES.
WE ALSO EXPECT AND HOPE THIS IS
VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU'LL BE
WILLING TO PROVIDE THE COMMITTEE
WITH ANY DOCUMENTS THAT WE WOULD
NEED TO SHED LIGHT ON THIS
ISSUE, SUCH AS E-MAILS OR
CALENDARS.
THEN THERE'S THE TOPIC OF THE
FIRING OF FORMER FBI DIRECTOR
COMEY.
LAST THURSDAY WE RECEIVED
TESTIMONY FROM MR. COMEY UNDER
OATH.
HE OUTLINED HIS VERY TROUBLING
INTERACTIONS WITH THE PRESIDENT
AS WELL AS THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF
HIS FIRING.
A FEW DISTURBING POINTS STOOD
OUT.
FIRST, MR. COMEY, WHO HAS
DECADES OF EXPERIENCE AT THE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND AT THE
FBI, SERVING UNDER PRESIDENTS OF
BOTH PARTIES, WAS SO UNNERVED BY
THE ACTIONS OF THE PRESIDENT
THAT HE FELT, QUOTE, COMPELLED
TO FULLY DOCUMENT EVERY
INTERACTION THEY HAD.
MR. COMEY SAT WHERE YOU'RE
SITTING TODAY AND TESTIFIED THAT
HE WAS CONCERNED THAT THE
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
MIGHT LIE ABOUT THE NATURE OF
THEIR MEETINGS.
THAT'S A SHOCKING STATEMENT FROM
ONE OF OUR NATION'S TOP LAW
ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS.
WE ALSO HEARD THAT DIRECTOR
COMEY TOOK IT AS A DIRECTION
FROM THE PRESIDENT THAT HE WAS
TO DROP THE FBI'S INVESTIGATION
INTO FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY
ADVISOR GENERAL MIKE FLYNN.
FINALLY WE HEARD FROM MR. COMEY
THAT HE BELIEVES HE WAS FIRED
OVER HIS HANDLING OF THE RUSSIA
INVESTIGATION.
THE PRESIDENT HIMSELF CONFIRMED
THIS IN STATEMENTS TO THE MEDIA.
THIS IS DEEPLY TROUBLING FOR ALL
OF US WHO BELIEVE ON BOTH SIDES
OF THE AISLE IN PRESERVING THE
INDEPENDENCE OF THE FBI.
WE HAVE A LOT OF WORK IN ORDER
TO FOLLOW UP ON THESE ALARMING
DISCLOSURES.
MR. ATTORNEY GENERAL, YOUR
TESTIMONY TODAY IS AN
OPPORTUNITY TO BEGIN THE PROCESS
OF ASKING THOSE QUESTIONS.
FOR INSTANCE, AGAIN, AND I KNOW
OTHERS WILL ASK YOU ABOUT THIS,
YOU RECUSED YOURSELF FROM THE
RUSSIA INVESTIGATION, YET YOU
PARTICIPATED IN THE FIRING OF
MR. COMEY OVER THE HANDLING OF
THAT SAME INVESTIGATION.
WE'LL WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT HOW
YOU VIEWED YOUR RECUSAL AND
WHETHER YOU BELIEVE YOU COMPLIED
WITH IT FULLY.
IN ADDITION, WE HEARD FROM MR.
COMEY LAST WEEK THAT THE
PRESIDENT ASKED YOU TO LEAVE THE
OVAL OFFICE SO HE COULD SPEAK
ONE ON ONE WITH MR. COMEY.
AGAIN, A VERY CONCERNING ACTION.
WE WILL NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU
ABOUT HOW YOU REVIEWED -- HOW
YOU VIEWED THE PRESIDENT'S
REQUEST AND WHETHER YOU THOUGHT
IT WAS APPROPRIATE.
WE'LL ALSO WANT TO KNOW IF YOU
ARE AWARE OF ANY ATTEMPTS BY THE
PRESIDENT TO ENLIST LEADERS IN
THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY TO
UNDERMINE THIS VERY SAME RUSSIA
INVESTIGATION.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, OUR COMMITTEE
WILL WANT TO HEAR WHAT YOU ARE
DOING TO ENSURE THAT THE
RUSSIANS OR ANY OTHER FOREIGN
ADVERSARIES CANNOT ATTACK OUR
DEMOCRATIC PROCESS LIKE THIS
EVER AGAIN.
I'M CONCERNED THAT THE PRESIDENT
STILL DOES NOT RECOGNIZE THE
SEVERITY OF THE THREAT.
HE, TO DATE, I BELIEVE, HAS NOT
ACKNOWLEDGED THE CONCLUSIONS OF
THE U.S. INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY
THAT RUSSIA MASSIVELY INTERVENED
IN OUR ELECTIONS.
THE THREAT WE FACE IS REAL, AND
IT'S NOT LIMITED TO US.
THE RECENT EVENTS IN FRANCE ARE
AGAIN A STARK REMINDER THAT ALL
WESTERN DEMOCRACIES MUST TAKE
STEPS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.
I BELIEVE THE UNITED STATES CAN
AND MUST BE A LEADER IN THIS
EFFORT, BUT IT WILL REQUIRE OUR
ADMINISTRATION TO GET SERIOUS
ABOUT THIS MATTER.
FINALLY, IN THE PAST SEVERAL
WEEKS WE'VE SEEN A CONCERNING
PATTERN OF ADMINISTRATION
OFFICIALS REFUSING TO ANSWER
PUBLIC UNCLASSIFIED QUESTIONS
ABOUT ALLEGATIONS ABOUT THE
PRESIDENT AND THIS
INVESTIGATION.
WE HAD A HEARING WITH THIS
SUBJECT LAST WEEK.
I WANT TO COMMEND THE CHAIRMAN
WHO AT THE END OF THAT HEARING
MADE VERY CLEAR THAT OUR
WITNESSES -- IT WAS NOT
ACCEPTABLE FOR OUR WITNESSES TO
COME BEFORE CONGRESS WITHOUT
ANSWERS.
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE TO
KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON HERE.
THANK YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN.
I LOOK FORWARD TO THE WITNESS'S
TESTIMONY.
>> THANK YOU, VICE CHAIRMAN.
ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS, IF
YOU WOULD STAND, I WILL
ADMINISTER THE OATH TO YOU.
RAISE YOUR RIGHT HAND, IF YOU
WOULD, PLEASE.
DO YOU SOLEMNLY SWEAR TO TELL
THE TRUTH AND THE WHOLE TRUTH
AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH SO
HELP YOU GOD?
>> I DO.
>> PLEASE BE SEATED.
THANK YOU, ATTORNEY GENERAL
SESSIONS.
THE FLOOR IS YOURS.
>> THANK YOU MUCH -- THANK YOU
VERY MUCH, CHAIRMAN BURR, AND
RANKING MEMBER WARNER, FOR
ALLOWING ME TO PUBLICLY APPEAR
BEFORE YOUR COMMITTEE TODAY.
I APPRECIATE THE COMMITTEE'S
CRITICALLY IMPORTANT EFFORTS TO
INVESTIGATE RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE
WITH OUR DEMOCRATIC PROCESSES.
SUCH INTERFERENCE CAN NEVER BE
TOLERATED AND I ENCOURAGE EVERY
EFFORT TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF
ANY SUCH ALLEGATIONS.
AS YOU KNOW, THE DEPUTY ATTORNEY
GENERAL HAS APPOINTED A SPECIAL
COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE THE
MATTERS RELATED TO THE RUSSIAN
INTERFERENCE IN THE 2016
ELECTION.
I'M HERE TODAY TO ADDRESS
SEVERAL ISSUES THAT HAVE BEEN
SPECIFICALLY RAISED BEFORE THIS
COMMITTEE.
AND I APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY
TO RESPOND TO QUESTIONS AS FULLY
AS THE LORD ENABLES ME TO DO SO.
BUT AS I ADVISE YOU, MR.
CHAIRMAN, AND CONSISTENT WITH
LONG STANDING DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE PRACTICE, I CANNOT AND
WILL NOT VIOLATE BY DUTY TO
PROTECT THE CONFIDENTIAL
COMMUNICATIONS I HAVE WITH THE
PRESIDENT.
NOW LET ME ADDRESS SOME ISSUES
DIRECTLY.
I DO NOT HAVE ANY PRIVATE
MEETINGS NOR DO I RECALL ANY
CONVERSATIONS WITH ANY RUSSIAN
OFFICIALS AT THE MAYFLOWER
HOTEL.
I DID NOT ATTEND ANY MEETINGS AT
THAT EVENT SEPARATE.
PRIOR TO THE SPEECH I ATTENDED
BY THE PRESIDENT TODAY, I
ATTENDED A RECEPTION WITH MY
STAFF THAT INCLUDED AT LEAST TWO
DOZEN PEOPLE AND PRESIDENT
TRUMP.
THOUGH I DO RECALL SEVERAL
CONVERSATIONS THAT I HAD DURING
THAT PRESPEECH RECEPTION, I DO
NOT HAVE ANY RECOLLECTION OF
MEETING OR TALKING TO THE
RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR OR ANY OTHER
RUSSIAN OFFICIALS.
IF ANY BRIEF INTERACTION
OCCURRED IN PASSING WITH THE
RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR DURING THAT
RECEPTION, I DO NOT REMEMBER IT.
AFTER THE SPEECH, I WAS
INTERVIEWED BY THE NEWS MEDIA.
THERE WAS AN AREA FOR THAT IN A
DIFFERENT ROOM AND THEN I LEFT
THE HOTEL.
BUT WHETHER I EVER ATTENDED A
RECEPTION WHERE THE RUSSIAN
AMBASSADOR WAS ALSO PRESENT IS
ENTIRELY BESIDE THE POINT OF
THIS INVESTIGATION INTO RUSSIAN
INTERFERENCE IN THE 2016
CAMPAIGN.
LET ME STATE THIS CLEARLY,
COLLEAGUES.
I HAVE NEVER MET OR HAD ANY
CONVERSATION WITH ANY RUSSIANS
OR ANY FOREIGN OFFICIALS
CONCERNING ANY TYPE OF
INTERFERENCE WITH ANY CAMPAIGN
OR ELECTION IN THE UNITED
STATES.
FURTHER, I HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE OF
ANY SUCH CONVERSATIONS BY ANYONE
CONNECTED TO THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN.
I WAS YOUR COLLEAGUE IN THIS
BODY FOR 20 YEARS, AT LEAST SOME
OF YOU, AND I PARTICIPATE -- AND
THE SUGGESTION THAT I
PARTICIPATED IN ANY COLLUSION,
THAT I WAS AWARE OF ANY
COLLUSION WITH THE RUSSIAN
GOVERNMENT TO HURT THIS COUNTRY,
WHICH I HAVE SERVED WITH HONOR
FOR 35 YEARS OR TO UNDERMINE THE
INTEGRITY OF OUR DEMOCRATIC
PROCESS IS AN APPALLING AND
DETESTABLE LIE.
RELATEDLY, THERE IS THE
ASSERTION THAT I DID NOT ANSWER
SENATOR FRANKEN'S QUESTION
HONESTLY AT MY CONFIRMATION
HEARING.
COLLEAGUES, THAT IS FALSE.
I CAN'T SAY COLLEAGUES NOW, I'M
NO LONGER A PART OF THIS BODY,
BUT FORMER COLLEAGUES, THAT IS
FALSE.
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED.
SENATOR FRANKEN ASKED ME A
RAMBLING QUESTION AFTER SOME SIX
HOURS OF TESTIMONY THAT INCLUDED
DRAMATIC NEW ALLEGATIONS THAT
THE UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE
COMMUNITY, THE U.S. INTELLIGENCE
COMMUNITY HAD ADVISED
PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP, QUOTE,
THAT THERE WAS A CONTINUING
EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION DURING
THE CAMPAIGN BETWEEN TRUMP'S
SURROGATES AND INTERMEDIARIES
FOR THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT,
CLOSE QUOTE.
I WAS TAKEN ABACK BY THAT
EXPLOSIVE ALLEGATION, WHICH HE
SAID WAS BEING REPORTED AS
BREAKING NEWS THAT VERY DAY AND
WHICH I HAD NOT HEARD.
I WANTED TO REFUTE THAT
IMMEDIATELY.
ANY SUGGESTION THAT I WAS PART
OF SUCH AN ACTIVITY.
I REPLIED, QUOTE, I REPLIED TO
SENATOR FRANKEN THIS WAY, QUOTE,
SENATOR FRANKEN, I'M NOT AWARE
OF ANY OF THOSE ACTIVITIES.
I HAVE BEEN CALLED A SURROGATE A
TIME OR TWO IN THAT CAMPAIGN AND
I DID NOT -- DIDN'T HAVE, DID
NOT HAVE COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE
RUSSIANS AND I'M UNABLE TO
COMMENT ON IT, CLOSE QUOTE.
THAT WAS THE CONTEXT IN WHICH I
WAS ASKED THE QUESTION, AND IN
THAT CONTEXT MY ANSWER WAS A
FAIR AND CORRECT RESPONSE TO THE
CHARGE AS I UNDERSTOOD IT.
I WAS RESPONDING TO THIS
ALLEGATION THAT SURROGATES HAD
BEEN MEETING WITH THE RUSSIANS
ON A REGULAR BASIS.
IT SIMPLY DID NOT OCCUR TO ME TO
GO FURTHER THAN THE CONTEXT OF
THE QUESTION AND TO LIST ANY
CONVERSATIONS THAT I MAY HAVE
HAD WITH RUSSIANS IN ROUTINE
SITUATIONS, AS I HAD MANY
ROUTINE SITUATIONS -- MEETINGS
WITH OTHER FOREIGN OFFICIALS.
SO PLEASE HEAR ME NOW.
AND IT WAS ONLY IN MARCH AFTER
MY CONFIRMATION HEARING THAT A
REPORTER ASKED MY SPOKESPERSON
WHETHER I HAD EVER MET WITH ANY
RUSSIAN OFFICIALS.
THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME THAT
QUESTION HAD SQUARELY BEEN POSED
TO ME.
ON THE SAME DAY, WE PROVIDED
THAT REPORTER WITH THE
INFORMATION RELATED TO THE
MEETING THAT I AND MY STAFF HELD
IN MY SENATE OFFICE WITH
AMBASSADOR KISLYAK AS WELL AS
THE BRIEF ENCOUNTER IN JULY
AFTER A SPEECH THAT I HAD GIVEN
DURING THE CONVENTION IN
CLEVELAND, OHIO.
I ALSO PROVIDED THE REPORTER
WITH A LIST OF 25 FOREIGN
AMBASSADOR MEETINGS THAT I'D HAD
DURING 2016.
IN ADDITION, I PROVIDED
SUPPLEMENTAL TESTIMONY TO THE
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE TO
EXPLAIN THIS EVENT.
SO I READILY ACKNOWLEDGE THESE
TWO MEETINGS AND CERTAINLY NOT
ONE THING HAPPENED THAT WAS
IMPROPER IN ANY ONE OF THOSE
MEETINGS.
LET ME ALSO EXPLAIN CLEARLY THE
CIRCUMSTANCES OF MY RECUSAL FROM
THE INVESTIGATION INTO THE
RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE WITH THE
2016 ELECTION.
PLEASE, COLLEAGUES, HEAR ME ON
THIS.
I WAS SWORN IN AS ATTORNEY
GENERAL ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY
9th.
THE VERY NEXT DAY AS I HAD
PROMISED TO THE JUDICIARY
COMMITTEE I WOULD DO, AT LEAST
AT AN EARLY DATE, I MET WITH
CAREER DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS,
INCLUDING SENIOR -- A SENIOR
ETHICS OFFICIAL TO DISCUSS SOME
THINGS PUBLICLY REPORTED IN THE
PRESS THAT MIGHT HAVE SOME
BEARING ON WHETHER OR NOT I
SHOULD RECUSE MYSELF IN THIS
CASE.
FROM THAT POINT, FEBRUARY 10th,
UNTIL I ANNOUNCED MY FORMAL
RECUSAL ON MARCH 2nd, I WAS
NEVER BRIEFED ON ANY
INVESTIGATIVE DETAILS, DID NOT
ACCESS ANY INFORMATION ABOUT THE
INVESTIGATION.
I RECEIVED ONLY THE LIMITED
INFORMATION THAT THE
DEPARTMENT'S CAREER OFFICIALS
DETERMINED WAS NECESSARY FOR ME
TO FORM AND MAKE A RECUSAL
DECISION.
AS SUCH, I HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE
ABOUT THIS INVESTIGATION AS IT
IS ONGOING TODAY BEYOND WHAT HAS
BEEN PUBLICLY REPORTED.
I DON'T EVEN READ THAT
CAREFULLY, AND I HAVE TAKEN NO
ACTION WHATSOEVER WITH REGARD TO
ANY SUCH INVESTIGATION.
ON THE DATE OF MY FORMAL
RECUSAL, MY CHIEF OF STAFF SENT
AN E-MAIL TO THE HEADS OF
RELEVANT DEPARTMENTS, INCLUDING
BY NAME TO DIRECTOR COMEY OF THE
FBI, TO INSTRUCT THEM, TO INFORM
THEIR STAFFS OF THIS RECUSAL AND
TO ADVISE THEM NOT TO BRIEF ME
OR INVOLVE ME IN ANY WAY IN ANY
SUCH MATTERS, AND IN FACT THEY
HAVE NOT.
IMPORTANTLY, I RECUSED MYSELF
NOT BECAUSE OF ANY ASSERTED
WRONGDOING OR ANY BELIEF THAT I
MAY HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN ANY
WRONGDOING IN THE CAMPAIGN, BUT
BECAUSE A DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
REGULATION 28 CFR 45.2 I FELT
REQUIRED IT.
THAT REGULATION STATES IN EFFECT
THAT DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES SHOULD
NOT PARTICIPATE IN
INVESTIGATIONS OF A CAMPAIGN IF
THEY SERVED AS A CAMPAIGN
ADVISOR.
SO THE SCOPE OF MY RECUSAL,
HOWEVER, DOES NOT AND CANNOT
INTERFERE WITH MY ABILITY TO
OVERSEE THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE, INCLUDING THE FBI WHICH
HAS AN $8 BILLION BUDGET AND
35,000 EMPLOYEES.
I PRESENTED TO THE PRESIDENT MY
CONCERNS AND THOSE OF DEPUTY
ATTORNEY GENERAL ROD ROSENSTEIN
ABOUT THE ONGOING LEADERSHIP
ISSUES AT THE FBI AS STATED IN
MY LETTER RECOMMENDING THE
REMOVAL OF MR. COMEY ALONG WITH
THE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL'S
MEMORANDUM ON THAT ISSUE, WHICH
HAD BEEN RELEASED PUBLICLY BY
THE WHITE HOUSE.
THOSE REPRESENT A CLEAR
STATEMENT OF MY VIEWS.
I ADOPTED DEPUTY ATTORNEY
GENERAL ROSENSTEIN'S POINTS THAT
HE MADE IN HIS MEMORANDUM AND
MADE MY RECOMMENDATION.
IT IS ABSURD, FRANKLY, TO
SUGGEST THAT A RECUSAL FROM A
SINGLE SPECIFIC INVESTIGATION
WOULD RENDER THE ATTORNEY
GENERAL UNABLE TO MANAGE THE
LEADERSHIP OF THE VARIOUS
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE LAW
ENFORCEMENT COMPONENTS THAT
CONDUCT THOUSANDS OF
INVESTIGATIONS.
FINALLY, DURING HIS TESTIMONY,
MR. COMEY DISCUSSED A
CONVERSATION THAT HE AND I HAD
ABOUT THE MEETING MR. COMEY HAD
WITH THE PRESIDENT.
I'M HAPPY TO SHARE WITH THE
COMMITTEE MY RECOLLECTION OF
THAT CONVERSATION THAT I HAD
WITH MR. COMEY.
FOLLOWING A ROUTINE MORNING
THREAT BRIEFING, MR. COMEY SPOKE
TO ME AND MY CHIEF OF STAFF.
WHILE HE DID NOT PROVIDE ME WITH
ANY OF THE SUBSTANCE OF HIS
CONVERSATION WITH THE PRESIDENT,
APPARENTLY THE DAY BEFORE, MR.
COMEY EXPRESSED CONCERN ABOUT
PROPER COMMUNICATIONS PROTOCOL
WITH THE WHITE HOUSE AND WITH
THE PRESIDENT.
I RESPONDED -- HE DIDN'T RECALL
THIS, BUT I RESPONDED TO HIS
COMMENT BY AGREEING THAT THE FBI
AND THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
NEEDED TO BE CAREFUL TO FOLLOW
DEPARTMENT POLICIES REGARDING
APPROPRIATE CONTACTS WITH THE
WHITE HOUSE.
MR. COMEY HAD SERVED IN THE
DEPARTMENT FOR BETTER THAN TWO
DECADES AND I WAS CONFIDENT THAT
HE UNDERSTOOD AND WOULD ABIDE BY
THE WELL ESTABLISHED RULES
LIMITING COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE
WHITE HOUSE, ESPECIALLY ABOUT
ONGOING INVESTIGATIONS.
THAT'S WHAT'S SO IMPORTANT TO
CONTROL.
MY COMMENTS ENCOURAGED HIM TO DO
JUST THAT AND INDEED AS I
UNDERSTAND IT HE DID THAT.
OUR DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE RULES
ON PROPER COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN
THE DEPARTMENT AND THE WHITE
HOUSE HAVE BEEN IN PLACE FOR
YEARS.
MR. COMEY WELL KNEW THEM.
I THOUGHT AND ASSUMED CORRECTLY
THAT HE COMPLIED WITH THEM.
SO I'LL FINISH WITH THIS.
I RECUSED MYSELF FROM ANY
INVESTIGATION INTO THE CAMPAIGN
FOR PRESIDENT, BUT I DID NOT
RECUSE MYSELF FROM DEFENDING MY
HONOR AGAINST SCURRILOUS AND
FALSE ALLEGATIONS.
AT ALL TIMES THROUGHOUT THE
COURSE OF THE CAMPAIGN, THE
CONFIRMATION PROCESS AND SINCE
BECOMING ATTORNEY GENERAL, I
HAVE DEDICATED MYSELF TO DO
HIGHEST STANDARDS.
I HAVE EARNED A REPUTATION FOR
THAT AT HOME AND IN THIS BODY, I
BELIEVE, OVER DECADES OF
PERFORMANCE.
THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY
EXPECT AN HONEST AND TRANSPARENT
GOVERNMENT AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE
GIVING THEM.
THIS PRESIDENT WANTS TO FOCUS ON
THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY TO
ENSURE THEY ARE TREATED FAIRLY
AND KEPT SAFE.
THE TRUMP AGENDA IS TO IMPROVE
THE LIVES OF THE AMERICAN
PEOPLE.
I KNOW SOME HAVE DIFFERENT WAYS
OF ACHIEVING THIS AND DIFFERENT
AGENDA, BUT THAT IS HIS AGENDA
AND IT'S ONE I SHARE.
IMPORTANTLY AS ATTORNEY GENERAL,
I HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO
ENFORCE THE LAWS OF THIS NATION,
TO PROTECT THIS COUNTRY FROM ITS
ENEMIES, AND TO ENSURE THE FAIR
ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, AND I
INTEND TO WORK EVERY DAY WITH
OUR FINE TEAM AND THE SUPERB
PROFESSIONALS IN THE DEPARTMENT
OF JUSTICE TO ADVANCE THE
IMPORTANT WORK WE HAVE TO DO.
THESE FALSE ATTACKS, THE
INNUENDOS, THE LEAKS, YOU CAN BE
SURE WILL NOT INTIMIDATE ME.
IN FACT THESE EVENTS HAVE ONLY
STRENGTHENED MY RESOLVE TO
FULFILL MY DUTY.
MY DUTY TO REDUCE CRIME, TO
SUPPORT OUR FEDERAL, STATE AND
LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS
WHO WORK ON OUR STREETS EVERY
DAY.
JUST LAST WEEK IT WAS REPORTED
THAT OVERDOSE DEATHS IN THIS
COUNTRY ARE RISING FASTER THAN
EVER RECORDED.
LAST YEAR WAS 52,000.
"THE NEW YORK TIMES" JUST
ESTIMATED NEXT YEAR WILL BE
62,000 OVERDOSE DEATHS.
THE MURDER RATE IS UP OVER 10%.
THE LARGEST INCREASE SINCE 1968.
TOGETHER WE ARE TELLING THE
GANGS, THE CARTELS, THE
FRAUDSTERS AND THE TERRORISTS WE
ARE COMING AFTER YOU.
EVERY ONE OF OUR CITIZENS, NO
MATTER WHO THEY ARE OR WHERE
THEY LIVE HAS THE RIGHT TO BE
SAFE IN THEIR HOMES AND
COMMUNITIES.
I WILL NOT BE DETERRED, I WILL
NOT ALLOW THIS GREAT DEPARTMENT
TO BE DETERRED FROM ITS VITAL
MISSION.
THANK YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN, RANKING
MEMBER WARNER.
I HAVE A GREAT HONOR TO APPEAR
BEFORE YOU TODAY AND I WILL DO
MY BEST TO ANSWER YOUR
QUESTIONS.
>> GENERAL SESSIONS, THANK YOU.
THANK YOU FOR THAT TESTIMONY.
I'D LIKE TO NOTE FOR MEMBERS THE
CHAIR AND THE VICE CHAIRMAN WILL
BE RECOGNIZED FOR TEN MINUTES.
MEMBERS WILL BE RECOGNIZED FOR
FIVE MINUTES, AND I'D LIKE TO
REMIND OUR MEMBERS THAT WE ARE
IN OPEN SESSION.
NO REFERENCES TO CLASSIFIED OR
COMMITTEE SENSITIVE MATERIALS
SHOULD BE USED RELATIVE TO YOUR
QUESTIONS.
WITH THAT, I RECOGNIZE MYSELF AT
THIS TIME FOR TEN MINUTES.
GENERAL SESSIONS, YOU TALKED
ABOUT THE MAYFLOWER HOTEL WHERE
THE PRESIDENT GAVE HIS FIRST
FOREIGN POLICY SPEECH.
IT'S BEEN COVERED IN THE PRESS
THAT THE PRESIDENT WAS THERE,
YOU WERE THERE, OTHERS WERE
THERE.
FROM YOUR TESTIMONY YOU SAID YOU
DON'T REMEMBER WHETHER
AMBASSADOR KISLYAK WAS THERE,
THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR, IS THAT
CORRECT?
>> I DID NOT REMEMBER THAT, BUT
I UNDERSTAND HE WAS THERE.
SO I DON'T DOUBT THAT HE WAS.
I BELIEVE THAT REPRESENTATIONS
ARE CORRECT.
IN FACT I RECENTLY SAW A VIDEO
OF HIM COMING INTO THE ROOM.
>> BUT YOU NEVER REMEMBER HAVING
A CONVERSATION OR A MEETING WITH
AMBASSADOR KISLYAK?
>> I DO NOT.
>> AND IN THAT EVENT WAS THERE
EVER A PRIVATE ROOM SETTING THAT
YOU WERE INVOLVED IN?
>> NO.
>> WITH ANY --
>> OTHER THAN THE RECEPTION AREA
THAT WAS SHUT OFF FROM I GUESS
THE MAIN CROWD.
TWO TO THREE DOZEN PEOPLE.
>> I WOULD TAKE FOR GRANTED AT
AN EVENT LIKE THIS THE PRESIDENT
SHOOK SOME HANDS.
>> YES, HE CAME IN AND SHOOK
HANDS IN THE GROUP.
>> YOU MENTIONED THERE WERE SOME
STAFF THAT WERE WITH YOU AT THAT
EVENT.
>> MY LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR AT
THE TIME.
>> YOUR SENATE STAFF?
>> SENATE LEGISLATIVE DIRECTOR,
WHO WAS A RETIRED U.S. ARMY
COLONEL WHO HAD SERVED ON THE
ARMED SERVES STAFF WITH SENATOR
JOHN WARNER BEFORE SHE JOINED MY
STAFF WAS WITH ME IN THE
RECEPTION AREA AND THROUGHOUT
THE REST OF THE EVENTS.
>> WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU WERE
THERE AS A UNITED STATES SENATOR
OR AS A SURROGATE OF THE
CAMPAIGN FOR THIS EVENT?
>> I CAME THERE AS AN INTERESTED
PERSON, VERY ANXIOUS TO SEE HOW
PRESIDENT TRUMP WOULD DO IN HIS
FIRST MAJOR FOREIGN POLICY
ADDRESS.
I BELIEVE HE'D ONLY GIVEN ONE
MAJOR SPEECH BEFORE.
THAT WAS MAYBE AT THE JEWISH
APAC EVENT.
AND SO IT WAS AN INTERESTING
TIME FOR ME TO OBSERVE HIS
DELIVERY AND THE MESSAGE HE
WOULD MAKE.
THAT WAS MY MAIN PURPOSE OF
BEING THERE.
>> NOW, YOU REPORTED TWO OTHER
MEETINGS WITH AMBASSADOR
KISLYAK, ONE IN JULY ON THE
SIDELINES OF THE REPUBLICAN
CONVENTION, I BELIEVE, AND ONE
IN SEPTEMBER IN YOUR SENATE
OFFICE.
HAVE YOU HAD ANY OTHER
INTERACTIONS WITH GOVERNMENT
OFFICIALS OVER THE YEAR IN A
CAMPAIGN CAPACITY?
I'M NOT ASKING YOU FROM A
STANDPOINT OF YOUR SENATE LIFE
BUT IN THE CAMPAIGN CAPACITY?
>> NO, MR. CHAIRMAN.
I'VE STRETCHED MY -- RACKED MY
BRAIN TO MAKE SURE I COULD
ANSWER ANY OF THOSE QUESTIONS
CORRECTLY, AND I DID NOT.
I WOULD JUST OFFER FOR YOU THAT
WHEN ASKED ABOUT WHETHER I HAD
HAD ANY MEETINGS WITH RUSSIANS
BY THE REPORTER IN MARCH, WE
IMMEDIATELY RECALLED THE
CONVERSATION, THE ENCOUNTER I
HAD AT THE CONVENTION AND THE
MEETING IN MY OFFICE AND MADE
THAT PUBLIC.
I NEVER INTENDED NOT TO INCLUDE
THAT.
I WOULD HAVE GLADLY HAVE
REPORTED THE MEETING, THE
ENCOUNTER THAT MAY HAVE OCCURRED
THAT SOME SAY OCCURRED IN THE
MAYFLOWER IF I HAD REMEMBERED IT
OR IF IT ACTUALLY OCCURRED,
WHICH I DON'T REMEMBER THAT IT
DID.
>> GENERAL SESSIONS, ON MARCH
2nd, 2017, YOU FORMALLY RECUSED
YOURSELF FROM ANY INVOLVEMENT IN
THE RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION BEING
CONDUCTED BY THE FBI AND THE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.
WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC REASONS
THAT YOU CHOSE TO RECUSE
YOURSELF?
>> WELL, THE SPECIFIC REASON,
MR. CHAIRMAN, IS A CFR, CODE OF
FEDERAL REGULATIONS, PUT OUT BY
THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, PART
OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
RULES.
AND IT SAYS THIS.
I'LL READ FROM IT.
28 CFR 45.2.
UNLESS AUTHORIZED, NO EMPLOYEE
SHALL PARTICIPATE IN A CRIMINAL
INVESTIGATION OR PROSECUTION IF
HE HAS A PERSONAL OR POLITICAL
RELATIONSHIP WITH ANY PERSON
INVOLVED IN THE CONDUCT OF AN
INVESTIGATION.
IT GOES ON TO SAY FOR
POLITICAL -- IN A POLITICAL
CAMPAIGN.
AND IT SAYS IF YOU HAVE A CLOSE
IDENTIFICATION WITH AN ELECTED
OFFICIAL OR CANDIDATE ARISING
FROM SERVICE AS A PRINCIPAL
ADVISOR, YOU SHOULD NOT
PARTICIPATE IN AN INVESTIGATION
OF THAT CAMPAIGN.
SO MANY HAVE SUGGESTED THAT MY
RECUSAL IS BECAUSE I FELT I WAS
A SUBJECT OF THE INVESTIGATION
MYSELF, THAT I MAY HAVE DONE
SOMETHING WRONG, BUT THIS IS THE
REASON I RECUSED MYSELF.
I FELT I WAS REQUIRED TO UNDER
THE RULES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE AND AS THE LEADER OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, I SHOULD
COMPLY WITH THE RULES OBVIOUSLY.
>> SO DID YOUR LEGAL COUNSEL
BASICALLY KNOW FROM DAY ONE YOU
WOULD HAVE TO RECUSE YOURSELF OF
THIS INVESTIGATION BECAUSE OF
THE CURRENT STATUTE?
>> WELL, I DO HAVE A TIMELINE OF
WHAT OCCURRED.
I WAS SWORN IN ON THE 9th, I
BELIEVE, OF FEBRUARY.
I THEN ON THE 10th HAD MY FIRST
MEETING TO GENERALLY DISCUSS
THIS ISSUE WHERE THE CFR WAS NOT
DISCUSSED.
WE HAD SEVERAL OTHER MEETINGS
AND IT BECAME CLEAR TO ME OVER
TIME THAT I QUALIFIED AS A
SIGNIFICANT -- A PRINCIPAL
ADVISOR TYPE PERSON TO THE
CAMPAIGN AND IT WAS THE
APPROPRIATE AND RIGHT THING FOR
ME TO RECUSE MYSELF.
>> SO THIS COULD EXPLAIN
DIRECTOR COMEY'S COMMENTS THAT
HE KNEW THAT THERE WAS A
LIKELIHOOD YOU WERE GOING TO
RECUSE YOURSELF BECAUSE HE WAS
PROBABLY FAMILIAR WITH THE SAME
STATUTE?
>> I THINK PROBABLY SO.
I'M SURE THAT THE ATTORNEYS IN
THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
PROBABLY COMMUNICATED WITH HIM,
BECAUSE, MR. CHAIRMAN, LET ME
SAY THIS TO YOU CLEARLY.
IN EFFECT, AS A MATTER OF FACT,
I RECUSED MYSELF THAT DAY.
I NEVER RECEIVED ANY INFORMATION
ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN.
I THOUGHT THERE WAS A PROBLEM
WITH ME BEING ABLE TO SERVE AS
ATTORNEY GENERAL OVER THIS
ISSUE, AND I FELT I WOULD
POSSIBLY HAVE TO RECUSE MYSELF.
I TOOK THE POSITION CORRECTLY, I
BELIEVE, NOT TO INVOLVE MYSELF
IN THE CAMPAIGN IN ANY WAY AND I
DID NOT.
>> YOU MADE A REFERENCE TO YOUR
CHIEF OF STAFF SENDING OUT AN
E-MAIL IMMEDIATELY NOTIFYING
INTERNALLY OF YOUR DECISION TO
RECUSE.
WOULD YOU ASK YOUR CHIEF OF
STAFF TO MAKE THAT E-MAIL
AVAILABLE.
>> WE WOULD BE PLEASED TO DO SO,
AND I THINK I HAVE IT WITH ME
NOW.
>> THANK YOU, GENERAL SESSIONS.
HAVE YOU HAD ANY INTERACTIONS
WITH THE SPECIAL COUNSEL, ROBERT
MUELLER, SINCE HIS APPOINTMENT?
>> I HAVE NOT.
WITH REGARD TO THE E-MAIL WE
SENT OUT, MR. COMEY, DIRECTOR
COMEY INDICATED THAT HE DID NOT
KNOW WHEN I RECUSED MYSELF OR
DID NOT RECEIVE NOTICE.
ONE OF THOSE E-MAILS WENT TO HIM
BY NAME, SO A LOT HAPPENS IN OUR
OFFICES.
I'M NOT ACCUSING HIM OF ANY
WRONGDOING, BUT IN FACT IT WAS
SENT TO HIM AND TO HIS NAME.
>> OKAY.
GENERAL SESSIONS, AS YOU SAID,
MR. COMEY TESTIFIED AT LENGTH
BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ABOUT HIS
INTERACTIONS WITH THE PRESIDENT,
IN SOME CASES HIGHLIGHTING YOUR
PRESENCE AT THOSE MEETINGS.
YOU ADDRESSED THE MEETING WHERE
ALL WERE ASKED TO LEAVE EXCEPT
FOR DIRECTOR COMEY AND HE HAD A
PRIVATE MEETING WITH THE
PRESIDENT.
AND YOU SAID THAT HE DID INFORM
YOU OF HOW UNCOMFORTABLE THAT
WAS AND YOUR RECOMMENDATION WAS
THAT THE FBI AND DOJ NEEDED TO
FOLLOW THE RULES LIMITING
FURTHER CORRESPONDENCE.
DID DIRECTOR COMEY EVER EXPRESS
ADDITIONAL DISCOMFORT WITH
CONVERSATIONS THAT THE PRESIDENT
MIGHT HAVE HAD WITH HIM, BECAUSE
HE HAD TWO ADDITIONAL MEETINGS
AND I THINK A TOTAL OF SIX PHONE
CALLS.
>> THAT IS CORRECT.
THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THE
PRESIDENT HAVING A COMMUNICATION
WITH THE FBI DIRECTOR.
WHAT IS PROBLEMATIC FOR ANY
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE EMPLOYEE
IS TO TALK TO ANY CABINET
PERSONS OR WHITE HOUSE
OFFICIALS, HIGH OFFICIALS ABOUT
ONGOING INVESTIGATIONS THAT ARE
NOT PROPERLY CLEARED THROUGH THE
TOP LEVELS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE.
AND SO IT WAS A REGULATION I
THINK IS HEALTHY.
I THOUGHT WE NEEDED AND STRONGLY
BELIEVE WE NEEDED TO RESTORE
DISCIPLINE WITHIN OUR
DEPARTMENT, TO ADHERE TO JUST
THOSE KIND OF RULES, PLUS
LEAKING RULES AND SOME OF THE
OTHER THINGS THAT I THINK ARE A
BIT LAX AND NEED TO BE RESTORED.
>> YOU COULDN'T HAVE HAD A
CONVERSATION WITH THE PRESIDENT
ABOUT THE INVESTIGATION BECAUSE
YOU WERE NEVER BRIEFED ON THE
INVESTIGATION?
>> THAT IS CORRECT.
I DO -- WOULD NOTE THAT WITH
REGARD TO THE PRIVATE MEETING
THAT DIRECTOR COMEY HAD BY HIS
OWN ADMISSION, I BELIEVE, THERE
ARE AS MANY AS SIX SUCH
MEETINGS.
SEVERAL OF THEM HE HAD WITH
PRESIDENT TRUMP.
I THINK HE HAD TWO WITH
PRESIDENT OBAMA.
SO IT'S NOT IMPROPER PER SE.
BUT IT WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED
FOR A DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL TO
SHARE INFORMATION ABOUT AN
ONGOING INVESTIGATION WITHOUT
PRIOR REVIEW AND CLEARANCE FROM
ABOVE.
>> GENERAL SESSIONS, JUST ONE
LAST QUESTION.
YOU WERE THE CHAIR OF THIS
FOREIGN POLICY TEAM FOR THE
TRUMP CAMPAIGN.
TO THE BEST OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE,
DID THAT TEAM EVER MEET?
>> WE MET A COUPLE OF TIMES
MAYBE.
SOME OF THE PEOPLE DID.
BUT WE NEVER FUNCTIONED FRANKLY,
MR. CHAIRMAN, AS A COHERENT
TEAM.
>> WERE THERE ANY MEMBERS OF
THAT TEAM YOU NEVER MET?
>> YES.
>> OKAY.
VICE CHAIRMAN.
>> THANK YOU, GENERAL SESSIONS.
AS I MENTIONED IN MY OPENING
STATEMENT, WE APPRECIATE YOUR
APPEARANCE HERE, BUT WE DO SEE
THIS AS THE FIRST STEP.
I WOULD JUST LIKE TO GET YOUR
COMMITMENT THAT YOU WILL AGREE
TO MAKE YOURSELF AVAILABLE AS
THE COMMITTEE NEEDS IN THE WEEKS
AND MONTHS AHEAD?
>> SENATOR WARNER, I WILL COMMIT
TO APPEAR BEFORE THIS COMMITTEE
AND OTHER COMMITTEES AS
APPROPRIATE.
I DON'T THINK IT'S GOOD POLICY
TO CONTINUALLY BRING CABINET
MEMBERS OR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
FOR MULTIPLE COMMITTEES GOING
OVER THE SAME THINGS OVER AND
OVER.
>> I KNOW OTHER MEMBERS OF THE
JUDICIARY COMMITTEE AND
APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE MAY
WANT TO RAISE THOSE ISSUES BUT
LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THIS
COMMITTEE.
>> I JUST GAVE YOU MY ANSWER.
>> CAN WE GET YOUR COMMITMENT
SINCE THERE ARE QUESTIONS ABOUT
SOME OF THESE MEETINGS THAT TOOK
PLACE OR NOT THAT WE COULD GET
ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS OR MEMORANDA
OR YOUR DAY BOOK --
>> MR. CHAIRMAN, WE WILL BE GLAD
TO PROVIDE APPROPRIATE RESPONSES
TO YOUR QUESTIONS.
>> YESTERDAY A FRIEND OF THE
PRESIDENT WAS REPORTED TO
SUGGESTING THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP
WAS CONSIDERING REMOVING
DIRECTOR MUELLER AS SPECIAL
COUNSEL.
DO YOU HAVE CONFIDENCE IN
DIRECTOR MUELLER'S ABILITY TO
CONDUCT HIS INVESTIGATION FAIRLY
AND IMPARTIALLY?
>> FIRST, I DON'T KNOW ABOUT
THESE REPORTS AND HAVE NO
BASIS --
>> BUT I'M ASKING YOU, SIR --
>> THEIR VALIDITY.
I HAVE KNOWN MR. MUELLER OVER
THE YEARS.
HE SERVED 12 YEARS AS FBI
DIRECTOR.
I KNEW HIM BEFORE THAT.
I HAVE CONFIDENCE IN MR.
MUELLER.
>> SO YOU HAVE CONFIDENCE HE CAN
DO HIS JOB?
>> BUT I'M NOT GOING TO DISCUSS
ANY HYPOTHETICALS OR WHAT MIGHT
BE A FACTUAL SITUATION IN THE
FUTURE THAT I'M NOT AWARE OF
TODAY BECAUSE I KNOW NOTHING
ABOUT THE INVESTIGATION AND
FULLY RECUSED MYSELF.
>> I'VE GOT A SERIES OF
QUESTIONS, SIR.
DO YOU BELIEVE THE PRESIDENT HAS
CONFIDENCE IN DIRECTOR MUELLER?
>> I HAVE NO IDEA.
I'VE NOT TALKED TO HIM ABOUT IT.
>> NOW, IF THE -- WILL YOU
COMMIT TO THIS COMMITTEE NOT TO
TAKE ANY PERSONAL ACTIONS THAT
MIGHT RESULT IN DIRECTOR
MUELLER'S FIRING OR DISMISSAL?
>> WELL, I THINK I PROBABLY
COULD SAY THAT WITH CONFIDENCE
BECAUSE I'M RECUSED FROM THE
INVESTIGATION.
IN FACT THE WAY IT WORKS,
SENATOR WARNER, IS THAT THE
ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL --
>> I'M AWARE OF THE -- I JUST
WANTED TO GET YOU ON THE
RECORD --
>> DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL ROD
ROSENSTEIN --
>> WITH YOU ARE RECUSAL, YOU
WOULD NOT TAKE ANY ACTIONS TO
TRY TO HAVE SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR
MUELLER REMOVED?
>> I WOULDN'T THINK THAT WOULD
BE APPROPRIATE FOR ME TO DO.
>> YES, SIR, I AGREE.
TO YOUR KNOWLEDGE HAVE ANY
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OFFICIALS
BEEN INVOLVED WITH CONVERSATIONS
ABOUT ANY POSSIBILITY OF
PRESIDENTIAL PARDONS ABOUT ANY
OF THE INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED WITH
THE RUSSIA INVESTIGATION?
>> MR. CHAIRMAN, I'M NOT ABLE TO
COMMENT ON CONVERSATIONS WITH
HIGH OFFICIALS WITHIN THE WHITE
HOUSE.
THAT WOULD BE A VIOLATION OF THE
COMMUNICATIONS RULE THAT I HAVE
TO --
>> JUST SO I CAN UNDERSTAND.
IS THE BASIS OF THAT
UNWILLINGNESS TO ANSWER BASED ON
EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE?
>> IT'S A LONG STANDING POLICY,
THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE NOT TO
COMMENT ON CONVERSATIONS THAT
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS HAD
WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES FOR CONFIDENTIAL REASONS
THAT REALLY ARE FOUNDED IN THE
CO-EQUAL BRANCH POWERS AND THE
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED
STATES.
>> BUT THAT -- SO JUST SO I'M
UNDERSTANDING, DOES THAT MEAN --
ARE YOU CLAIMING EXECUTIVE
PRIVILEGE HERE TODAY, SIR?
>> I'M NOT CLAIMING EXECUTIVE
PRIVILEGE BECAUSE THAT'S THE
PRESIDENT'S POWER AND I HAVE NO
POWER TO CLAIM EXECUTIVE
PRIVILEGE.
>> WHAT ABOUT CONVERSATIONS WITH
OTHER DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OR
OTHER WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS
ABOUT POTENTIAL PARDONS?
NOT THE PRESIDENT, SIR.
>> MR. CHAIRMAN, WITHOUT IN ANY
WAY SUGGESTING THAT I HAVE HAD
ANY CONVERSATIONS CONCERNING
PARDONS, TOTALLY APART FROM
THAT, THERE ARE PRIVILEGES OF
COMMUNICATIONS WITHIN THE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE THAT WE
SHARE, ALL OF US DO.
WE HAVE A RIGHT TO HAVE FULL AND
ROBUST DEBATE WITHIN THE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.
WE ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO SPEAK UP
AND ARGUE CASES ON DIFFERENT
SIDES.
THOSE ARGUMENTS ARE NOT
REVEALED.
HISTORICALLY WE'VE SEEN THEY
SHOULDN'T BE REVEALED.
>> I WOULD HOPE THAT YOU WOULD
AGREE SINCE YOU'VE RECUSED
YOURSELF FROM THIS INVESTIGATION
THAT IF THE PRESIDENT OR OTHERS
WOULD PARDON SOMEONE DURING THE
MIDST OF THIS INVESTIGATION
WHILE OUR INVESTIGATION OR
DIRECTOR MUELLER'S
INVESTIGATION, THAT WOULD BE I
WOULD THINK PROBLEMATIC.
LET ME -- ONE OF THE COMMENTS
YOU MADE IN YOUR TESTIMONY WAS
THAT YOU'D REACHED THIS
CONCLUSION ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE
OF THEN DIRECTOR COMEY'S ABILITY
TO LEAD THE FBI, THAT YOU AGREED
WITH DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
ROSENSTEIN'S MEMO.
THE FACT THAT YOU HAD WORKED
WITH DIRECTOR COMEY FOR SOME
TIME, DID YOU EVER HAVE A
CONVERSATION AS A SUPERIOR OF
DIRECTOR COMEY WITH HIS FAILURE
TO PERFORM OR SOME OF THESE
ACCUSATIONS THAT HE WASN'T
RUNNING THE FBI IN A GOOD WAY
AND THAT SOMEHOW THE FBI IS IN
TURMOIL?
DID YOU HAVE ANY CONVERSATIONS
WITH DIRECTOR COMEY ABOUT THOSE
SUBJECTS?
>> I DID NOT.
>> SO YOU WERE HIS SUPERIOR AND
THERE WERE SOME FAIRLY HARSH
THINGS SAID ABOUT DIRECTOR
COMEY.
YOU NEVER THOUGHT IT WAS
APPROPRIATE TO RAISE THOSE
CONCERNS BEFORE HE WAS ACTUALLY
TERMINATED BY THE PRESIDENT?
>> I DID NOT DO SO.
A MEMORANDA WAS PREPARED BY THE
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL WHO
EVALUATED HIS PERFORMANCE, NOTED
SOME SERIOUS PROBLEMS WITH IT.
>> AND YOU AGREED WITH THOSE?
>> I AGREED WITH THOSE.
IN FACT, SENATOR WARNER, WE HAD
TALKED ABOUT IT EVEN BEFORE I
WAS CONFIRMED AND BEFORE HE WAS
CONFIRMED.
IT'S SOMETHING THAT WE BOTH
AGREED TO, THAT A FRESH START AT
THE FBI WAS PROBABLY THE BEST
THING.
>> IT JUST AGAIN SEEMS A
LITTLE -- I CAN UNDERSTAND IF
YOU TALKED ABOUT THAT BEFORE YOU
CAME ON.
YOU HAD A CHANCE FOR A FRESH
START.
THERE WAS NO FRESH START.
SUDDENLY WE'RE IN THE MIDST OF
THE INVESTIGATION AND WITH
TIMING THAT SEEMS A LITTLE
PECULIAR, WHAT KIND OF AT LEAST
TO ME WAS OUT OF THE BLUE, THE
PRESIDENT FIRES THE FBI
DIRECTOR.
IF THERE ARE ALL THESE PROBLEMS
OF DISARRAY AND LACK OF ACCORD
AT THE FBI, ALL THINGS THAT THE
ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE FBI
DENIED WAS THE CASE, I WOULD
HAVE THOUGHT SOMEBODY WOULD HAVE
HAD THAT CONVERSATION WITH
DIRECTOR COMEY.
HE AT LEAST WAS OWED THAT.
LET'S GO TO THE APRIL 27th
MEETING HAS BEEN BROUGHT UP, I
THINK THE CHAIRMAN HAS BROUGHT
IT UP.
BY THE TIME APRIL 27th CAME
AROUND, YOU HAD ALREADY BEEN
NAMED OF THE CHAIR OF CANDIDATE
TRUMP'S NATIONAL SECURITY
ADVISORY SO SHOWING UP AT THAT
MEETING WOULD BE APPROPRIATE --
>> THAT WAS THE MAYFLOWER HOTEL?
>> YES, SIR, YES, SIR.
AND MY UNDERSTANDING WAS THAT
THE PRESIDENT'S SON-IN-LAW,
JARED KUSHNER, WAS AT THAT
MEETING AS WELL?
>> I BELIEVE HE WAS, YES.
>> YOU DON'T RECOLLECT WHETHER
MR. KUSHNER HAD ANY
CONVERSATIONS WITH AMBASSADOR
KISLYAK AT THAT SESSION?
>> I DO NOT.
>> AND TO THE BEST OF YOUR
MEMORY, YOU HAD NO CONVERSATION
WITH AMBASSADOR KISLYAK AT THAT
MEETING?
>> I DON'T RECALL THAT, SENATOR
WARNER.
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN -- CERTAINLY
I CAN ASSURE YOU NOTHING
IMPROPER IF I'D HAD A
CONVERSATION WITH HIM.
AND IT'S CONCEIVABLE THAT THAT
OCCURRED, I JUST DON'T REMEMBER
IT.
>> BUT THERE WAS NOTHING IN YOUR
NOTES OR MEMORY SO THAT WHEN YOU
HAD A CHANCE, AND YOU DID, I
APPRECIATE, CORRECT THE RECORD
ABOUT THE OTHER TWO SESSIONS IN
RESPONSE TO SENATOR FRANKEN AND
SENATOR LEAHY, THIS ONE DIDN'T
POP INTO YOUR MEMORY THAT MAYBE
IN THE OVERABUNDANCE OF CAUTION
THAT YOU OUGHT TO REPORT THAT --
THIS SESSION AS WELL?
>> WELL, I GUESS I COULD SAY
THAT I POSSIBLY HAD A MEETING,
BUT I STILL DO NOT RECALL IT.
I DID NOT IN ANY WAY FAIL TO
RECORD SOMETHING IN MY TESTIMONY
OR IN MY SUBSEQUENT LETTER
INTENTIONALLY FALSE.
>> I UNDERSTAND THAT, SIR.
I'M JUST TRYING TO UNDERSTAND
WHEN YOU CORRECTED THE RECORD
AND CLEARLY BY THE TIME YOU HAD
A CHANCE TO CORRECT THE RECORD,
I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT YOU
WOULD HAVE KNOWN AMBASSADOR
KISLYAK WAS AT THAT APRIL 27th
SESSION AND RECEIVED QUITE A BIT
OF PRESS NOTORIETY.
AND AGAIN, ECHOING WHAT THE
CHAIRMAN HAS SAID, JUST AGAIN
FOR THE RECORD, THERE WAS NO
OTHER MEETING WITH ANY OTHER
OFFICIALS OF THE RUSSIAN
GOVERNMENT DURING THE CAMPAIGN
SEASON?
>> NOT TO MY RECOLLECTION.
I WILL JUST SAY WITH REGARD TO
THE TWO ENCOUNTERS, ONE AT THE
MAYFLOWER HOTEL THAT YOU
REFERRED TO, I CAME THERE NOT
KNOWING HE WAS GOING TO BE
THERE.
I DON'T HAVE ANY RECOLLECTION OF
EVEN KNOWING HE WOULD BE THERE.
I DIDN'T HAVE ANY COMMUNICATIONS
WITH HIM BEFORE OR AFTER THAT
EVENT.
AND LIKEWISE, AT THE EVENT AT
THE CONVENTION, I WENT OFF THE
CONVENTION GROUNDS COLLEGE
CAMPUS FOR AN EVENT --
>> BUT AT THE MAYFLOWER EVENT --
>> LET ME JUST FOLLOW UP ON THAT
ONE.
I DIDN'T KNOW HE WOULD BE IN THE
AUDIENCE AND HAD NO --
>> SO AT THE MAYFLOWER.
>> OKAY.
>> THERE WAS THIS VIP RECEPTION
FIRST AND THEN PEOPLE WENT INTO
THE SPEECH.
IS THAT -- JUST SO I GET A --
>> THAT'S MY IMPRESSION.
THAT'S MY RECOLLECTION.
>> AND YOU WERE PART OF THE VIP
RECEPTION?
>> YES.
>> GENERAL SESSIONS, ONE OF THE
TROUBLING THINGS THAT I NEED TO
SORT THROUGH IS MR. COMEY'S
TESTIMONY LAST WEEK WAS THAT HE
FELT UNCOMFORTABLE WHEN THE
PRESIDENT ASKED EVERYONE ELSE TO
LEAVE THE ROOM.
HE LEFT THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU
LINGERED PERHAPS THE SENSE THAT
YOU FELT UNCOMFORTABLE ABOUT IT
AS WELL.
I'M GOING TO ALLOW YOU TO
OBVIOUSLY ANSWER AND CORRECT IF
THAT'S NOT THE RIGHT IMPRESSION.
AFTER THIS MEETING TOOK PLACE,
WHICH CLEARLY MR. COMEY FELT HAD
SOME LEVEL OF UNCOMFORTABLENESS,
YOU NEVER ASKED DIRECTOR COMEY
WHO TOOK PLACE IN THAT MEETING?
>> WELL, I WOULD JUST SAY IT
THIS WAY.
WE WERE THERE.
I WAS STANDING THERE.
AND WITHOUT REVEALING ANY
CONVERSATION THAT TOOK PLACE,
WHAT I DO RECALL IS THAT I DID
DEPART.
I BELIEVE EVERYONE ELSE DID
DEPART AND DIRECTOR COMEY WAS
SITTING IN FRONT OF THE
PRESIDENT'S DESK AND THEY WERE
TALKING.
SO THAT'S WHAT I DO REMEMBER.
I BELIEVE IT WAS THE NEXT DAY
THAT HE SAID SOMETHING,
EXPRESSED CONCERN ABOUT BEING
LEFT ALONE WITH THE PRESIDENT.
BUT THAT IN ITSELF IS NOT
PROBLEMATIC.
HE DID NOT TELL ME AT THAT TIME
ANY DETAILS ABOUT ANYTHING THAT
WAS SAID THAT WAS IMPROPER.
I AFFIRMED HIS CONCERN THAT WE
SHOULD BE FOLLOWING THE PROPER
GUIDELINES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE AND BASICALLY BACKED HIM
UP IN HIS CONCERNS AND THAT HE
SHOULD NOT CARRY ON ANY
CONVERSATION WITH THE PRESIDENT
OR ANYONE ELSE ABOUT AN
INVESTIGATION IN A WAY THAT WAS
NOT PROPER.
I FELT HE SO LONG IN THE
DEPARTMENT, FORMER DEPUTY
ATTORNEY GENERAL AS I RECALL,
KNEW THOSE POLICIES PROBABLY A
GOOD DEAL BETTER THAN I DID.
>> THANK YOU, SIR.
I THANK YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN.
BUT IT DID APPEAR THAT MR. COMEY
FELT THAT THE CONVERSATION WAS
IMPROPER?
>> HE WAS CONCERNED ABOUT IT.
HIS RECOLLECTION OF WHAT HE SAID
TO ME ABOUT HIS CONCERN I
DON'T -- IS CONSISTENT WITH MY
RECOLLECTION.
>> SENATOR RISCH.
>> ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS,
GOOD TO HEAR YOU TALK ABOUT HOW
IMPORTANT THIS RUSSIAN
INTERFERENCE AND ACTIVE MEASURES
IN OUR CAMPAIGN IS.
I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY
AMERICAN WHO WOULD DISAGREE WITH
THE FACT THAT WE NEED TO DRILL
DOWN TO THIS, KNOW WHAT
HAPPENED, GET IT OUT IN FRONT OF
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND DO WHAT
WE CAN TO STOP IT.
AND THAT'S WHAT THIS COMMITTEE
WAS CHARGED TO DO AND THAT'S
WHAT THIS COMMITTEE STARTED TO
KNOW.
AS YOU PROBABLY KNOW ON FEBRUARY
14th, "THE NEW YORK TIMES"
PUBLISHED AN ARTICLE ALLEGING
THAT THERE WERE -- THERE WAS
CONSTANT COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN
THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND THE
RUSSIANS AND COLLUSION REGARDING
THE ELECTION.
DO YOU RECALL THAT ARTICLE WHEN
IT CAME OUT?
>> NOT EXACTLY.
>> GENERALLY?
>> THAT WAS GENERALLY, I
REMEMBER THOSE CHARGES.
>> MR. COMEY TOLD US WHEN HE WAS
HERE LAST WEEK THAT HE HAD A
VERY SPECIFIC RECOLLECTION.
IN FACT HE CHASED IT DOWN
THROUGH THE INTELLIGENCE
COMMUNITY AND WAS NOT ABLE TO
FIND A SCINTILLA OF EVIDENCE TO
THAT EFFECT.
THEN HE SOUGHT OUT REPUBLICANS
AND DEMOCRATS TO TELL THEM THAT
THIS WAS FALSE.
THERE WAS NO -- NO SUCH FACTS
ANYWHERE THAT CORROBORATED WHAT
"THE NEW YORK TIMES" REPORTED.
NONETHELESS, AFTER THAT, THIS
COMMITTEE TOOK THAT ON AS ONE OF
THE THINGS THAT WE'VE SPENT
REALLY SUBSTANTIALLY MORE TIME
ON THAT THAN WE HAVE ON THE
RUSSIAN ACTIVE MEASURES.
WE'VE BEEN THROUGH THOUSANDS OF
PAGES OF INFORMATION,
INTERVIEWED WITNESSES AND
ANYWHERE ELSE AND WE'RE REALLY
NO DIFFERENT THAN WE WERE WHEN
THIS WHOLE THING STARTED.
BUT -- AND THERE'S BEEN NO
REPORTS THAT I KNOW OF, OF ANY
FACTUAL INFORMATION.
ARE YOU AWARE OF ANY SUCH
INFORMATION OF COLLUSION?
>> IS THAT AROSE FROM THE
DOSSIER, SO-CALLED DOSSIER,
SENATOR RISCH?
>> WELL, ANYWHERE.
>> I BELIEVE THAT'S THE REPORT
THAT SENATOR FRANKEN HIT ME WITH
WHEN I WAS TESTIFYING.
IT, I THINK, HAS BEEN PRETTY
SUBSTANTIALLY DISCREDITED, BUT
YOU WOULD KNOW MORE THAN I.
BUT WHAT WAS SAID THAT WOULD
SUGGEST I PARTICIPATED IN
CONTINUING COMMUNICATIONS WITH
RUSSIANS AS A SURROGATE IS
ABSOLUTELY FALSE.
>> MR. SESSIONS, THERE'S BEEN
ALL THIS TALK ABOUT
CONVERSATIONS AND THAT YOU HAD
SOME CONVERSATIONS WITH THE
RUSSIANS.
SENATORS UP HERE WHO ARE ON
EITHER FOREIGN RELATIONS,
INTELLIGENCE, ARMED SERVICES,
CONVERSATIONS WITH OFFICERS OF
OTHER GOVERNMENTS OR AMBASSADORS
OR WHAT HAVE YOU ARE EVERYDAY
OCCURRENCES HERE, MULTIPLE TIME
OCCURRENCES FOR MOST OF US, IS
THAT A FAIR STATEMENT?
>> I THINK IT IS, YES.
>> INDEED, IF YOU RUN INTO ONE
IN THE GROCERY STORE, YOU'RE
GOING TO HAVE A CONVERSATION
WITH THEM, IS THAT FAIR?
>> COULD VERY WELL HAPPEN AND BE
NOTHING IMPROPER.
>> ON THE OTHER HAND, COLLUSION
WITH THE RUSSIANS OR ANY OTHER
GOVERNMENT FOR THAT MATTER WHEN
IT COMES TO OUR ELECTIONS
CERTAINLY WOULD BE IMPROPER AND
ILLEGAL.
WOULD THAT BE A FAIR STATEMENT?
>> ABSOLUTELY.
>> ARE YOU WILLING TO SIT HERE
AND TELL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
UNFILTERED BY WHAT THE MEDIA
WILL PUT OUT THAT YOU
PARTICIPATED IN NO CONVERSATIONS
OF ANY KIND WHERE THERE WAS
COLLUSION BETWEEN THE TRUMP
CAMPAIGN AND ANY OTHER FOREIGN
GOVERNMENT?
>> I CAN SAY THAT ABSOLUTELY AND
I HAVE NO HESITATION TO DO SO.
>> MR. SESSIONS, YOU'RE A FORMER
U.S. ATTORNEY, FORMER UNITED
STATES SENATOR AND ATTORNEY
GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES.
YOU'VE PARTICIPATED IN THE TRUMP
CAMPAIGN.
AS SUCH YOU TRAVELED WITH THE
CAMPAIGN, I GATHER?
>> I DID.
>> YOU SPOKE FOR THE CAMPAIGN AT
TIMES?
>> ON A NUMBER OF OCCASIONS.
I WAS NOT CONTINUALLY ON THE --
>> BASED UPON YOUR EXPERIENCE
AND BASED UPON YOUR
PARTICIPATION IN THE CAMPAIGN,
DID YOU HEAR EVEN A WHISPER OR A
SUGGESTION OR ANYONE MAKING
REFERENCE WITHIN THAT CAMPAIGN
THAT SOMEHOW THE RUSSIANS WERE
INVOLVED IN THAT CAMPAIGN?
>> I DID NOT.
>> WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE IF
YOU'D HAVE HEARD THAT?
>> WELL, I WOULD HAVE BEEN
SHOCKED AND KNOWN THAT IT WAS
IMPROPER.
>> AND HEADED FOR THE EXIT, I
SUPPOSE?
>> MAYBE.
THIS WAS SERIOUS -- THIS IS A
SERIOUS MATTER BECAUSE WHAT
YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, HACKING
INTO A PRIVATE PERSON OR DNC
COMPUTER AND OBTAINING
INFORMATION AND SPREADING THAT
OUT, THAT'S JUST NOT RIGHT AND I
BELIEVE IT'S LIKELY THAT LAWS
WERE VIOLATED IF THAT ACTUALLY
OCCURRED.
SO IT'S AN IMPROPER THING.
>> MR. SESSIONS, HAS ANY PERSON
FROM THE WHITE HOUSE OR THE
ADMINISTRATION, INCLUDING THE
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
EITHER DIRECTED YOU OR ASKED YOU
TO DO ANY UNLAWFUL OR ILLEGAL
ACT SINCE YOU'VE BEEN ATTORNEY
GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES?
>> NO, SENATOR RISCH, THEY HAVE
NOT.
>> THANK YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN.
>> SENATOR FEINSTEIN.
>> THANKS VERY MUCH, MR.
CHAIRMAN.
WELCOME, ATTORNEY GENERAL.
>> THANK YOU.
>> ON MAY 19th, MR. ROSENSTEIN
IN A STATEMENT TO THE HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES ESSENTIALLY TOLD
THEM THAT HE LEARNED ON MAY 8th
THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP INTENDED TO
REMOVE DIRECTOR COMEY.
WHEN YOU WROTE YOUR LETTER ON
MAY 9, DID YOU KNOW THAT THE
PRESIDENT HAD ALREADY DECIDED TO
FIRE DIRECTOR COMEY?
>> SENATOR FEINSTEIN, I WOULD
SAY THAT I BELIEVE IT'S BEEN
MADE PUBLIC THAT THE PRESIDENT
ASKED US OUR OPINION, IT WAS
GIVEN, AND HE ASKED US TO PUT
THAT IN WRITING.
I DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH MORE HE
SAID ABOUT IT THAN THAT, BUT I
BELIEVE HE HAS TALKED ABOUT IT.
I WOULD LET HIS WORDS SPEAK FOR
THEMSELVES.
>> WELL, ON MAY 11th ON NBC
NIGHTLY NEWS, TWO DAYS LATER,
THE PRESIDENT STATED HE WAS
GOING TO FIRE COMEY REGARDLESS
OF THE RECOMMENDATION.
SO I'M PUZZLED ABOUT THE
RECOMMENDATION BECAUSE THE
DECISION HAD BEEN MADE.
SO WHAT WAS THE NEED FOR YOU TO
WRITE A RECOMMENDATION?
>> WELL, WE WERE ASKED OUR
OPINION.
AND WHEN WE EXPRESSED IT, WHICH
WAS CONSISTENT WITH THE
MEMORANDUM AND LETTER WE WROTE,
I FELT COMFORTABLE IN I GUESS
THE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL DID
TOO IN PROVIDING THAT
INFORMATION IN WRITING.
>> SO DO YOU CONCUR WITH THE
PRESIDENT THAT HE WAS GOING TO
FIRE COMEY REGARDLESS OF
RECOMMENDATION BECAUSE THE
PROBLEM WAS THE RUSSIAN
INVESTIGATION?
>> SENATOR FEINSTEIN, I GUESS
I'LL JUST HAVE TO LET HIS WORDS
SPEAK FOR HIMSELF.
I'M NOT SURE WHAT WAS IN HIS
MIND EXPLICITLY WHEN WE TALKED
WITH HIM.
>> DID YOU EVER DISCUSS DIRECTOR
COMEY'S FBI HANDLING OF THE
RUSSIA INVESTIGATIONS WITH THE
PRESIDENT OR ANYONE ELSE?
>> SENATOR FEINSTEIN, THAT WOULD
CALL FOR A COMMUNICATION BETWEEN
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND THE
PRESIDENT AND I'M NOT ABLE TO
COMMENT ON THAT.
>> YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO ANSWER
THE QUESTION HERE WHETHER YOU
EVER DISCUSSED THAT WITH HIM?
>> THAT'S CORRECT.
>> AND HOW DO YOU VIEW THAT,
SINCE YOU DISCUSSED HIS
TERMINATION, WHY WOULDN'T YOU
DISCUSS THE REASONS?
>> WELL, I -- THOSE WERE PUT IN
WRITING AND SENT TO THE
PRESIDENT.
HE MADE THOSE PUBLIC, SO HE MADE
THAT PUBLIC, NOT --
>> SO YOU HAD NO VERBAL
CONVERSATION WITH HIM ABOUT THE
FIRING OF MR. COMEY?
>> WELL, I'M NOT ABLE TO DISCUSS
WITH YOU OR CONFIRM OR DENY THE
NATURE OF PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS
THAT I MAY HAVE HAD WITH THE
PRESIDENT ON THIS SUBJECT OR
OTHERS.
I KNOW HOW THIS WILL BE
DISCUSSED, BUT THAT'S THE RULE
THAT HAS BEEN LONG ADHERED TO BY
THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, AS
YOU KNOW, SENATOR FEINSTEIN.
>> YOU'RE A LONG-TIME COLLEAGUE.
BUT WE HEARD MR. COATS AND WE
HEARD ADMIRAL ROGERS SAY
ESSENTIALLY THE SAME THING, WHEN
IT WAS EASY JUST TO SAY IF THE
ANSWER WAS NO, NO.
>> WELL, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN EASY
TO SAY IF IT WAS YES, YES, BUT
BOTH WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPROPER.
>> OKAY.
SO HOW EXACTLY WERE YOU INVOLVED
IN THE TERMINATION OF DIRECTOR
COMEY, BECAUSE I AM LOOKING AT
YOUR LETTER DATED MAY 9 AND YOU
SAY THE DIRECTOR OF THE FBI MUST
BE SOMEONE WHO FOLLOWS
FAITHFULLY THE RULES AND
PRINCIPLES, WHO SETS THE RIGHT
EXAMPLE FOR OUR LAW ENFORCEMENT
OFFICIALS, THEREFORE, I MUST
RECOMMEND THAT YOU REMOVE
DIRECTOR COMEY AND IDENTIFY AN
EXPERIENCED AND QUALIFIED
INDIVIDUAL TO LEAD THE GREAT MEN
AND WOMEN OF THE FBI.
DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT THIS
HAD TO DO WITH DIRECTOR COMEY'S
PERFORMANCE WITH THE MEN AND
WOMEN OF THE FBI?
>> THERE WAS A CLEAR VIEW OF
MINE AND OF DEPUTY ATTORNEY
GENERAL ROSENSTEIN AS HE SET OUT
AT SOME LENGTH IN HIS MEMORANDA
WHICH I ADOPTED AND SENT FORWARD
TO THE PRESIDENT THAT WE HAD
PROBLEMS THERE, AND IT WAS MY
BEST JUDGMENT THAT A FRESH START
AT THE FBI WAS THE APPROPRIATE
THING TO DO.
AND WHEN ASKED, SAID THAT TO THE
PRESIDENT IS SOMETHING I WOULD
ADHERE TO.
DEPUTY ROSENSTEIN'S LETTER DEALT
WITH A NUMBER OF THINGS.
WHEN MR. COMEY DECLINED THE
CLINTON PROSECUTION, THAT WAS
REALLY A USURPATION OF THE
AUTHORITY OF THE FEDERAL
PROSECUTORS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE.
IT WAS A STUNNING DEVELOPMENT.
THE FBI IS THE INVESTIGATIVE
TEAM.
THEY DON'T DECIDE PROSECUTION
POLICIES.
AND SO THAT WAS A THUNDEROUS
THING.
HE ALSO COMMENTED AT SOME LENGTH
ON THE DECLINATION OF THE
CLINTON PROSECUTION, WHICH YOU
SHOULD NOT -- YOU SHOULDN'T DO.
POLICIES HAVE BEEN HISTORIC, IF
YOU DECLINE, YOU DECLINE AND YOU
DON'T TALK ABOUT IT.
THERE WERE OTHER THINGS THAT HAD
HAPPENED THAT INDICATED TO ME A
LACK OF DISCIPLINE AND IT CAUSED
CONTROVERSY ON BOTH SIDES OF THE
AISLE.
I HAD COME TO THE CONCLUSION
THAT A FRESH START WAS
APPROPRIATE AND DID NOT MIND
PUTTING THAT IN WRITING.
>> MY TIME IS UP.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
>> SENATOR RUBIO.
>> THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE,
ATTORNEY GENERAL.
I WANT TO GO BACK TO FEBRUARY
14th AND CLOSE THE LOOP ON THE
DETAILS.
DIRECTOR COMEY WAS HERE AND
PROVIDED GREAT DETAIL ABOUT THAT
DAY.
WHAT I'VE HEARD SO FAR IS THERE
WAS A MEETING IN THE OVAL OFFICE
ON THE 14th.
YOU RECALL BEING THERE ALONG
WITH HIM.
AT SOME POINT THE MEETING
CONCLUDED.
THE PRESIDENT, EVERYONE GOT UP
TO LEAVE.
THE PRESIDENT ASKED DIRECTOR
COMEY TO STAY BEHIND.
CORRECT?
>> WELL, THAT'S A COMMUNICATION
IN THE WHITE HOUSE THAT I WOULD
NOT COMMENT ON.
I DO --
>> YOU REMEMBER SEEING HIM STAY
BEHIND?
>> YES.
>> AND HIS TESTIMONY WAS THAT
YOU LINGERED, AND HIS VIEW OF IT
WAS YOU LINGERED BECAUSE YOU
KNEW THAT NEEDED TO STAY.
THAT WAS HIS CHARACTERIZATION.
DO YOU REMEMBER LINGERING?
DO YOU REMEMBER FEELING LIKE YOU
NEEDED TO STAY?
>> I DO RECALL BEING ONE OF THE
LAST ONES TO LEAVE.
>> DID YOU DECIDE TO BE ONE OF
THE LAST ONES TO LEAVE?
>> I DON'T KNOW HOW THAT
OCCURRED.
WE HAD FINISHED A -- I THINK A
TERRORISM, COUNTERTERRORISM
BRIEFING, A NUMBER OF PEOPLE
WERE THERE AND PEOPLE WERE
FILTERING OUT.
AND I EVENTUALLY LEFT.
I DO RECALL THAT I THINK I WAS
THE LAST OR ONE OF THE LAST TWO
OR THREE TO LEAVE.
>> WOULD IT BE FAIR TO SAY THAT
YOU FELT LIKE PERHAPS YOU NEEDED
TO STAY BECAUSE IT INVOLVED THE
FBI DIRECTOR?
>> WELL, I DON'T KNOW HOW I
WOULD CHARACTERIZE THAT, SENATOR
RUBIO.
I LEFT.
IT DIDN'T SEEM TO ME TO BE A
MAJOR PROBLEM.
I KNEW THAT DIRECTOR COMEY, LONG
TIME EXPERIENCED IN THE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE --
>> HE CHARACTERIZED IT THAT HE
WENT UP AND SAID NEVER LEAVE ME
ALONE WITH THE PRESIDENT AGAIN,
IT'S NOT APPROPRIATE.
AND HE SAID, THIS IS HIS
CHARACTERIZATION, YOU JUST KIND
OF SHRUGGED AS IF TO SAY WHAT AM
I SUPPOSED TO DO ABOUT IT.
>> I THINK I DESCRIBED IT MORE
COMPLETELY, CORRECTLY.
HE RAISED THAT ISSUE WITH ME I
BELIEVE THE NEXT DAY, I THINK
THAT WAS CORRECT.
AND HE EXPRESSED CONCERN TO ME
ABOUT THAT PRIVATE CONVERSATION.
AND I AGREED WITH HIM
ESSENTIALLY THAT THERE ARE RULES
ON PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS WITH
THE PRESIDENT.
BUT THERE IS NOT A PROHIBITION
ON A PRIVATE DISCUSSION WITH THE
PRESIDENT, AS I BELIEVE HE'S
ACKNOWLEDGED SIX OR MORE HIMSELF
WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA AND
PRESIDENT TRUMP.
SO I DIDN'T FEEL LIKE THAT'S --
HE GAVE ME NO DETAIL ABOUT WHAT
IT WAS THAT HE WAS CONCERNED
ABOUT.
>> SO DID HE --
>> SO I DIDN'T SAY I WOULDN'T BE
ABLE TO RESPOND IF HE CALLED ME.
HE CERTAINLY KNEW THAT WITH
REGARD -- THAT HE COULD CALL HIS
DIRECT SUPERVISOR, WHICH IN THE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE
DIRECT SUPERVISOR TO THE FBI IS
THE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL.
HE COULD HAVE COMPLAINED TO THE
DEPUTY OR TO ME AT ANY TIME IF
HE FELT PRESSURED, BUT I HAD NO
DOUBT THAT HE WOULD NOT YIELD TO
ANY PRESSURE.
>> DO YOU KNOW IF THE PRESIDENT
RECORDS CONVERSATIONS IN THE
OVAL OFFICE OR ANYWHERE IN THE
WHITE HOUSE?
>> I DO NOT.
>> LET ME ASK YOU THIS.
IF IN FACT ANY PRESIDENT WAS TO
RECORD CONVERSATIONS IN THEIR
OFFICIAL DUTIES IN THE WHITE
HOUSE OR THE LIKE, WOULD THERE
BE AN OBLIGATION TO PRESERVE
THOSE RECORDS?
>> I DON'T KNOW, SENATOR RUBIO.
PROBABLY SO.
>> I WANT TO GO TO THE CAMPAIGN
FOR A MOMENT.
AS I'M SURE YOU'RE AWARE, IT'S
BEEN WIDELY REPORTED RUSSIAN
INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES OFTEN POSE
NOT SIMPLY AS AN OFFICIAL BUT IN
COVERS AS BUSINESSMEN, A
JOURNALIST AND THE LIKE.
AT ANY POINT DURING THE CAMPAIGN
DID YOU HAVE AN INTERACTION WITH
ANYONE WHO IN HINDSIGHT YOU LOOK
BACK AND SAY THEY WERE TRYING TO
INFLUENCE ME OR GAIN INSIGHT,
THAT IN HINDSIGHT YOU LOOK AT
AND WONDER?
>> I DON'T BELIEVE IN MY
CONVERSATIONS WITH THE THREE
TIMES --
>> NOT THE AMBASSADOR, JUST IN
GENERAL.
>> WELL, I MET A LOT OF PEOPLE,
A LOT OF FOREIGN OFFICIALS WHO
WANTED TO ARGUE THEIR CASE FOR
THEIR COUNTRY AND TO POINT OUT
THINGS THAT THEY THOUGHT WERE
IMPORTANT FOR THEIR COUNTRIES.
THAT'S A NORMAL THING I GUESS WE
TALK ABOUT.
>> RIGHT.
BUT AS FAR AS SOMEONE WHO IS NOT
AN OFFICIAL FROM ANOTHER
COUNTRY, JUST A BUSINESSMAN OR
ANYONE WALKING DOWN THE STREET
WHO STRUCK YOU AS SOMEONE WHO
WAS TRYING TO FIND OUT WHAT YOU
WERE UP TO OR THE CAMPAIGN WAS
UP TO, YOU NEVER REMEMBER THAT
IN HINDSIGHT APPEARS SUSPICIOUS?
>> WELL, I'D HAVE TO RACK MY
BRAIN, BUT I DON'T RECALL IT
NOW.
>> MY LAST QUESTION.
YOU WERE ON THE FOREIGN POLICY
TEAM.
THE REPUBLICAN PLATFORM WAS
CHANGED TO NOT PROVIDE DEFENSIVE
WEAPONS TO UKRAINE.
WERE YOU INVOLVED IN THAT
DECISION?
DO YOU KNOW HOW THAT CHANGE WAS
MADE OR WHO WAS INVOLVED IN
MAKING THAT CHANGE?
>> I HAVE NOT ACTIVE IN THE
PLATFORM COMMITTEE, DID NOT
PARTICIPATE IN THAT AND DON'T
THINK I HAD ANY DIRECT
INVOLVEMENT.
>> DO YOU KNOW WHO DID?
OR YOU HAVE NO RECOLLECTION OF A
DEBATE ABOUT THAT ISSUE
INTERNALLY IN THE CAMPAIGN?
>> I NEVER WATCHED THE DEBATE.
IF IT OCCURRED ON THE PLATFORM
COMMITTEE.
I THINK IT DID.
SO I DON'T RECALL THAT, SENATOR
RUBIO.
I'D HAVE TO THINK ABOUT THAT.
>> THANK YOU.
>> SENATOR WYDEN.
>> THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR.
CHAIRMAN.
MR. CHAIRMAN, I WANT TO THANK
YOU FOR HOLDING THIS HEARING IN
THE OPEN IN FULL VIEW OF THE
AMERICAN PEOPLE WHERE IT
BELONGS.
I BELIEVE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
HAVE HAD IT WITH STONEWALLING.
AMERICANS DON'T WANT TO HEAR
THAT ANSWERS TO RELEVANT
QUESTIONS ARE PRIVILEGED AND OFF
LIMITS OR THAT THEY CAN'T BE
PROVIDED IN PUBLIC OR THAT IT
WOULD BE, QUOTE, INAPPROPRIATE
FOR WITNESSES TO TELL US WHAT
THEY KNOW.
WE ARE TALKING ABOUT AN ATTACK
ON OUR DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS
AND STONEWALLING OF ANY KIND IS
UNACCEPTABLE.
GENERAL SESSIONS HAS
ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THERE IS NO
LEGAL BASIS FOR THIS
STONEWALLING.
SO NOW TO QUESTIONS.
LAST THURSDAY I ASKED FORMER
DIRECTOR COMEY ABOUT THE FBI'S
INTERACTIONS WITH YOU, GENERAL
SESSIONS, PRIOR TO YOUR STEPPING
ASIDE FROM THE RUSSIAN
INVESTIGATION.
MR. COMEY SAID THAT YOUR
CONTINUED ENGAGEMENT WITH THE
RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION WAS,
QUOTE, PROBLEMATIC AND HE, MR.
COMEY, COULD NOT DISCUSS IT IN
PUBLIC.
MR. COMEY ALSO SAID THAT FBI
PERSONNEL HAD BEEN CALLING FOR
YOU TO STEP ASIDE FROM THE
INVESTIGATION AT LEAST TWO WEEKS
BEFORE YOU FINALLY DID SO.
NOW, IN YOUR PREPARED STATEMENT
YOU STATED YOU RECEIVED ONLY,
QUOTE, LIMITED INFORMATION
NECESSARY TO INFORM YOUR RECUSAL
DECISION.
BUT GIVEN DIRECTOR COMEY'S
STATEMENT, WE NEED TO KNOW WHAT
THAT WAS.
WERE YOU AWARE OF ANY CONCERNS
THAT THE FBI OR ELSEWHERE IN
GOVERNMENT ABOUT YOUR CONTACTS
WITH THE RUSSIANS OR ANY OTHER
MATTERS RELEVANT TO WHETHER YOU
SHOULD STEP ASIDE FROM THE
RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION?
>> SENATOR WYDEN, I AM NOT
STONEWALLING.
I AM FOLLOWING THE HISTORIC
POLICIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE.
YOU DON'T WALK INTO ANY HEARING
OR COMMITTEE MEETING AND REVEAL
CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS WITH
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED
STATES WHO'S ENTITLED TO RECEIVE
CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS IN
YOUR BEST JUDGMENT ABOUT A HOST
OF ISSUES.
AND HAVE TO BE ACCUSED OF
STONEWALLING FOR NOT ANSWERING
THEM.
SO I WOULD PUSH BACK ON THAT.
SECONDLY, MR. COMEY, PERHAPS HE
DIDN'T KNOW, BUT I BASICALLY
RECUSED MYSELF THE DAY -- THE
FIRST DAY I GOT INTO THE OFFICE
BECAUSE I NEVER ACCESSED FILES,
I NEVER LEARNED THE NAMES OF
INVESTIGATORS, I NEVER MET WITH
THEM, I NEVER ASKED FOR
DOCUMENTATION.
THE DOCUMENTATION, WHAT LITTLE I
RECEIVED, WAS MOSTLY ALREADY IN
THE MEDIA AND WAS PRESENTED BY
THE SENIOR ETHICS PUBLIC
RESPONSIBILITY -- PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY ATTORNEY IN THE
DEPARTMENT AND I MADE AN HONEST
AND PROPER DECISION TO RECUSE
MYSELF AS I TOLD SENATOR
FEINSTEIN AND THE MEMBERS OF THE
COMMITTEE I WOULD DO WHEN THEY
CONFIRMED ME.
>> GENERAL SESSIONS,
RESPECTFULLY YOU'RE NOT
ANSWERING THE QUESTION.
>> WELL, WHAT IS THE QUESTION?
>> THE QUESTION IS, MR. COMEY
SAID THAT THERE WERE MATTERS
WITH RESPECT TO THE RECUSAL THAT
WERE PROBLEMATIC AND HE COULDN'T
TALK ABOUT THEM.
WHAT ARE THEY?
>> WHY DON'T YOU TELL ME?
THERE ARE NONE, SENATOR WYDEN.
THERE ARE NONE.
I CAN TELL YOU THAT FOR AOLUTE
CERTAINTY.
>> WE CAN --
>> YOU TELL -- THIS IS A SECRET
INNUENDO BEING LEAKED OUT THERE
ABOUT ME AND I DON'T APPRECIATE
IT AND I HAVE TRIED TO GIVE MY
BEST AND TRUTHFUL ANSWERS TO ANY
COMMITTEE I'VE APPEARED BEFORE
AND IT'S REALLY -- PEOPLE ARE
SUGGESTING THROUGH INNUENDO THAT
I HAVE BEEN NOT HONEST ABOUT
MATTERS AND I'VE TRIED TO BE
HONEST.
>> MY TIME IS SHORT, YOU'VE MADE
YOUR POINT THAT YOU THINK MR.
COMEY IS ENGAGING IN INNUENDO.
WE'RE GOING TO DEEP DIGGING ON
THIS.
>> SENATOR WYDEN --
>> HE SAID IT WAS PROBLEMATIC.
I ASKED YOU WHAT WAS PROBLEMATIC
ABOUT IT?
>> SOME OF THAT LEAKED OUT OF
THE COMMITTEE THAT HE SAID IN
CLOSED SESSIONS.
>> OKAY.
ONE MORE QUESTION.
I ASKED FORMER FBI DIRECTOR
WHETHER YOUR ROLE IN FIRING HIM
VIOLATED YOUR RECUSAL GIVEN THAT
PRESIDENT TRUMP SAID HE FIRED
COMEY BECAUSE OF THE RUSSIAN
INVESTIGATION.
DIRECTOR COMEY SAID THIS WAS A
REASONABLE QUESTION.
SO I WANT TO ASK YOU JUST POINT
BLANK, WHY DID YOU SIGN THE
LETTER RECOMMENDING THE FIRING
OF DIRECTOR COMEY WHEN IT
VIOLATED YOUR RECUSAL?
>> IT DID NOT VIOLATE MY
RECUSAL.
IT DID NOT VIOLATE MY RECUSAL.
THAT WOULD BE THE ANSWER TO
THAT.
AND THE LETTER THAT I SIGNED
REPRESENTED MY VIEWS THAT HAD
BEEN FORMULATED FOR SOME TIME.
>> MR. CHAIRMAN, JUST SO I CAN
FINISH, THAT ANSWER IN MY VIEW
DOESN'T PASS THE SMELL TEST.
THE PRESIDENT TWEETED REPEATEDLY
ABOUT HIS ANGER AT
INVESTIGATIONS INTO HIS
ASSOCIATES AND RUSSIA.
THE DAY BEFORE YOU WROTE YOUR
LETTER HE TWEETED THAT THE
COLLUSION STORY WAS A TOTAL HOAX
AND ASKED WHEN WILL THIS
TAXPAYER FUNDED CHARADE END.
I DON'T THINK YOUR ANSWER PASSES
THE SMELL TEST.
>> SENATOR WYDEN, I THINK I
SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BRIEFLY
RESPOND AT LEAST AND WOULD SAY
THE LETTER, THE MEMORANDUM THAT
SENATOR -- THAT DEPUTY
ROSENSTEIN WROTE AND MY LETTER
THAT ACCOMPANIED IT REPRESENTED
MY VIEWS OF THE SITUATION.
>> I'LL ASK THAT ON THE SECOND
ROUND.
THANK YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN.
>> SENATOR COLLINS.
>> THANK YOU, MR. CHAIRMAN.
ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS, I
WANT TO CLARIFY WHO DID WHAT
WITH REGARD THE FIRING OF MR.
COMEY.
FIRST OF ALL, LET ME ASK YOU,
WHEN DID YOU HAVE YOUR FIRST
CONVERSATION WITH ROD ROSENSTEIN
ABOUT MR. COMEY?
>> WE TALKED ABOUT IT BEFORE
EITHER ONE OF US WERE CONFIRMED.
IT WAS A TOPIC OF, YOU KNOW,
CONVERSATION AMONG PEOPLE WHO
HAD SERVED IN THE DEPARTMENT A
LONG TIME.
THEY KNEW THAT WHAT HAD HAPPENED
THAT FALL WAS PRETTY
DRAMATICALLY UNUSUAL.
MANY PEOPLE FELT IT WAS VERY
WRONG.
SO IT WAS IN THAT CONTEXT THAT
WE DISCUSSED IT AND WE BOTH
FOUND THAT WE SHARED A COMMON
VIEW THAT A FRESH START WOULD BE
APPROPRIATE.
>> AND THIS WAS BASED ON MR.
COMEY'S HANDLING OF THE
INVESTIGATION INVOLVING HILLARY
CLINTON IN WHICH YOU SAID THAT
HE USURPED THE AUTHORITY OF
PROSECUTORS AT THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE?
>> YES, THAT WAS PART OF IT.
AND THE COMMENTING ON THE
INVESTIGATION IN WAYS THAT GO
BEYOND THE PROPER POLICIES.
WE NEED TO RESTORE, SENATOR
COLLINS, I THINK THE CLASSIC
DISCIPLINE IN THE DEPARTMENT.
MY TEAM, WE'VE DISCUSSED THIS,
THERE'S BEEN TOO MUCH LEAKING
AND TOO MUCH TALKING PUBLICLY
ABOUT INVESTIGATIONS.
IN THE LONG RUN, THE DEPARTMENT
HISTORIC RULE THAT YOU REMAIN
MUM ABOUT ONGOING INVESTIGATIONS
IS THE BETTER POLICY.
>> NOW, SUBSEQUENTLY THE
PRESIDENT ASKED FOR YOU TO PUT
YOUR VIEWS IN WRITING.
YOU'VE TESTIFIED TODAY.
I BELIEVE THAT YOU WERE RIGHT TO
RECUSE YOURSELF FROM THE ONGOING
RUSSIAN INVESTIGATION.
BUT THEN ON MAY 9th YOU WROTE TO
THE PRESIDENT RECOMMENDING THAT
MR. COMEY BE DISMISSED.
OBVIOUSLY THIS WENT BACK MANY
MONTHS TO THE EARLIER
CONVERSATIONS YOU HAD HAD WITH
MR. ROSENSTEIN.
BUT MY QUESTION IS WHY DO YOU
BELIEVE THAT YOUR RECOMMENDATION
TO FIRE DIRECTOR COMEY WAS NOT
INCONSISTENT WITH YOUR MARCH 2nd
RECUSAL?
>> THANK YOU.
THE RECUSAL INVOLVED ONE CASE
INVOLVED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE AND IN THE FBI.
THEY CONDUCT THOUSANDS OF
INVESTIGATIONS.
I'M THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE
UNITED STATES.
IT'S MY RESPONSIBILITY TO OUR
JUDICIARY COMMITTEE AND OTHER
COMMITTEES TO ENSURE THAT THAT
DEPARTMENT IS RUN PROPERLY.
I HAVE TO MAKE DIFFICULT
DECISIONS.
AND I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT IT IS
A SOUND POSITION TO SAY THAT IF
YOU'RE RECUSED FOR A SINGLE CASE
INVOLVING ANY ONE OF THE GREAT
AGENCIES LIKE DEA OR U.S.
MARSHALS OR ATF THAT ARE A PART
OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
YOU CAN'T MAKE A DECISION ABOUT
THE LEADERSHIP IN THAT AGENCY.
>> NOW, IF YOU HAD KNOWN THAT
THE PRESIDENT SUBSEQUENTLY WAS
GOING TO GO ON TV AND IN AN
INTERVIEW WITH LESTER HOLT OF
NBC WOULD SAY THAT THIS RUSSIAN
THING WAS THE REASON FOR HIS
DECISION TO DISMISS THE FBI
DIRECTOR, WOULD YOU HAVE FELT
UNCOMFORTABLE ABOUT THE TIMING
OF THE DECISION?
>> WELL, I WOULD JUST SAY THIS,
SENATOR COLLINS.
I DON'T THINK IT'S APPROPRIATE
TO DEAL WITH THOSE KIND OF
HYPOTHETICALS.
I HAVE TO DEAL IN ACTUAL ISSUES.
I WOULD RESPECTFULLY NOT COMMENT
ON THAT.
>> WELL, LET ME ASK YOU THIS.
IN RETROSPECT DO YOU BELIEVE
THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER
FOR YOU TO HAVE STAYED OUT OF
THE DECISION TO FIRE DIRECTOR
COMEY?
>> I THINK IT'S MY
RESPONSIBILITY.
I MEAN I WAS APPOINTED TO BE
ATTORNEY GENERAL SUPERVISING ALL
THE FEDERAL AGENCIES IS MY
RESPONSIBILITY.
TRYING TO GET THE VERY BEST
PEOPLE IN THOSE AGENCIES AT THE
TOP OF THEM IS MY
RESPONSIBILITY.
AND I THINK I HAD A DUTY TO DO
SO.
>> NOW, DIRECTOR COMEY TESTIFIED
THAT HE WAS NOT COMFORTABLE
TELLING YOU ABOUT HIS ONE-ON-ONE
CONVERSATION WITH THE PRESIDENT
ON FEBRUARY 14th BECAUSE HE
BELIEVED THAT YOU WOULD SHORTLY
RECUSE YOURSELF FROM THE RUSSIAN
INVESTIGATION, WHICH YOU DID.
YET DIRECTOR COMEY TESTIFIED
THAT HE TOLD NO ONE ELSE AT THE
DEPARTMENT OUTSIDE OF THE SENIOR
LEADERSHIP TEAM AT THE FBI.
DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THE DIRECTOR
HAD AN OBLIGATION TO BRING THE
INFORMATION ABOUT THE PRESIDENT
SAYING THAT HE HOPED HE COULD
LET MICHAEL FLYNN GO TO SOMEONE
ELSE AT THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE?
THERE ARE AN AWFUL LOT OF
LAWYERS AT THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE, SOME 10,000 BY LAST
COUNT.
>> I THINK THE APPROPRIATE THING
WOULD HAVE BEEN FOR DIRECTOR
COMEY TO TALK WITH THE ACTING
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL, WHO IS
HIS DIRECT SUPERVISOR.
THAT WAS DANA BOENTE, WHO HAD 33
YEARS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE, AND WAS EVEN THEN STILL
SERVING FOR SIX YEARS AND
CONTINUES TO SERVE AS ATTORNEY
GENERAL APPOINTED BY PRESIDENT
OBAMA.
SO HE'S A MAN OF GREAT INTEGRITY
AND EVERYBODY KNOWS IT.
A MAN OF DECENCY AND JUDGMENT.
IF HE HAD CONCERNS, I THINK HE
SHOULD HAVE RAISED IT TO DUT
ATTORNEY GENERAL BOENTE WHO
WOULD BE THE APPROPRIATE PERSON
IN ANY CASE, REALLY, BUT IF HE
HAD ANY CONCERN THAT I MIGHT BE
RECUING MYSELF, THAT WOULD BE
ANOTHER REASONABLE TO --
>> YOU'RE WATCHING NBC LIVE
COVERAGE OF THE TESTIMONY OF
JEFF SESSIONS TESTIMONY BEFORE
CONGRESS.
WE WILL PAUSE FOR JUST A MOMENT
TO ALLOW SOME STATIONS TO RETURN
TO REGULAR PROGRAMMING.
>> I'M NOT ABLE TO SHARE WITH
THIS COMMITTEE --
>> BECAUSE YOU'RE INVOKING
EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE?
>> I'M NOT ABLE TO INVOKE
EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE.
THAT'S THE PRESIDENT'S
PREROGATIVE.
>> MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT YOU
TOOK AN OATH, YOU RAISED YOUR
RIGHT HAND HERE TODAY AND SAID
THAT YOU WOULD SOLEMNLY SWEAR TO
TELL THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH
AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH.
AND NOW YOU'RE NOT ANSWERING
QUESTIONS.
YOU'RE IMPEDING THIS
INVESTIGATION.
SO MY UNDERSTANDING OF THE LEGAL
STANDARD IS THAT YOU EITHER
ANSWER THE QUESTION, THAT'S THE
BEST OUTCOME.
YOU SAY THIS IS CLASSIFIED,
CAN'T ANSWER IT HERE.
I'LL ANSWER IT IN CLOSED
SESSION.
THAT'S BUCKET NUMBER TWO.
BUCKET NUMBER THREE IS TO SAY
I'M INVOKING EXECUTIVE
PRIVILEGE.
THERE IS NO APPROPRIATENESS
BUCKET.
IT IS NOT A LEGAL STANDARD.
CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT ARE THESE
LONG STANDING DOJ RULES THAT
PROTECT CONVERSATIONS MADE IN
THE EXECUTIVE WITHOUT INVOKING
EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE.
>> SENATOR, I'M PROTECTING THE
PRESIDENT'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT
BY NOT GIVING IT AWAY BEFORE HE
HAS A CHANCE TO VIEW IT AND,
SECONDLY, I AM TELLING THE TRUTH
IN ANSWERING YOUR QUESTION IN
SAYING IT'S A LONG STANDING
POLICY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE --
>> ARE THOSE POLICIES WRITTEN?
>> AND TO MAKE SURE THAT THE
PRESIDENT HAS FULL OPPORTUNITY
TO DECIDE THESE ISSUES.
>> CAN YOU SHARE THOSE POLICIES
WITH US?
ARE THEY WRITTEN DOWN AT THE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE?
>> I BELIEVE THEY ARE.
CERTAINLY --
>> THIS IS AN APPROPRIATENESS
LEGAL STANDARD FOR NOT ANSWERING
CONGRESSIONAL INQUIRIES.
>> IT'S MY JUDGMENT THAT IT
WOULD BE INAPPROPRIATE FOR ME TO
ANSWER AND REVEAL PRIVATE
CONVERSATIONS WITH THE PRESIDENT
WHEN HE HAS NOT HAD A FULL
OPPORTUNITY TO REVIEW THE
QUESTIONS AND TO MAKE A DECISION
ON WHETHER OR NOT TO APPROVE
SUCH AN ANSWER, ONE.
THERE ARE ALSO OTHER PRIVILEGES
THAT COULD BE INVOKED.
ONE OF THE THINGS DEALS WITH THE
INVESTIGATION OF THE SPECIAL
COUNSEL --
>> WE'RE NOT ASKING QUESTIONS
ABOUT THAT INVESTIGATION.
IF I WANTED TO ASK QUESTIONS
ABOUT THAT INVESTIGATION, I'D
ASK THOSE OF ROD ROSENSTEIN.
I'M ASKING ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL
KNOWLEDGE FROM THIS COMMITTEE,
WHICH HAS A CONSTITUTIONAL
OBLIGATION TO GET TO THE BOTTOM
OF THIS.
THERE ARE TWO INVESTIGATIONS
HERE.
THERE IS A SPECIAL COUNSEL
INVESTIGATION.
THERE IS ALSO A CONGRESSIONAL
INVESTIGATION.
AND YOU ARE OBSTRUCTING THAT
CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION --
INVESTIGATION BY NOT ANSWERING
THESE QUESTIONS.
AND I THINK YOUR SILENCE, LIKE
THE SILENCE OF DIRECTOR COATS,
LIKE THE SILENCE OF ADMIRAL
ROGERS, SPEAKS VOLUMES.
>> I WOULD SAY THAT I HAVE
CONSULTED WITH SENIOR CAREER
ATTORNEYS IN THE DEPARTMENT --
>> I SUSPECT YOU HAVE.
>> AND THIS IS CONSISTENT WITH
MY DUTIES.
>> SENATOR RISCH ASKED YOU A
QUESTION ABOUT APPROPRIATENESS.
IF YOU HAD KNOWN THAT THERE HAD
BEEN ANYTHING UNTOWARD WITH
REGARD TO RUSSIA AND THE
CAMPAIGN, WOULD YOU HAVE HEADED
FOR THE EXITS?
YOUR RESPONSE WAS MAYBE.
WHY WASN'T IT A SIMPLE YES?
>> WELL, THERE WAS AN IMPROPER,
ILLEGAL RELATIONSHIP IN AN
EFFORT TO IMPEDE OR INFLUENCE
THIS CAMPAIGN, I ABSOLUTELY
WOULD HAVE DEPARTED.
>> I THINK THAT'S A GOOD ANSWER.
I'M NOT SURE WHY IT WASN'T THE
ANSWER IN THE FIRST PLACE.
>> I THOUGHT I DID ANSWER IT.
>> I FOUND IT STRANGE THAT
NEITHER YOU NOR DEPUTY ATTORNEY
GENERAL ROSENSTEIN BROUGHT UP
PERFORMANCE ISSUES WITH DIRECTOR
COMEY.
IN FACT DEPUTY FBI DIRECTOR
McCABE HAS DIRECTLY REFUTED ANY
ASSERTION THAT THERE WERE
PERFORMANCE ISSUES.
THIS IS TROUBLING BECAUSE IT
APPEARS THAT THE PRESIDENT
DECIDED TO FIRE DIRECTOR COMEY
BECAUSE HE WAS PURSUING THE
RUSSIA INVESTIGATION AND HAD
ASKED YOU TO COME UP WITH AN
EXCUSE.
WHEN YOUR ASSESSMENT OF DIRECTOR
COMEY DIDN'T HOLD UP TO PUBLIC
SCRUTINY, THE PRESIDENT FINALLY
ADMITTED THAT HE HAD FIRED
DIRECTOR COMEY BECAUSE HE WAS
PURSUING THE RUSSIA
INVESTIGATION.
I.E. THE LESTER HOLT INTERVIEW.
YOU'VE CLAIMED THAT YOU DID NOT
BREAK RECUSAL WHEN PARTICIPATING
IN DIRECTOR COMEY'S FIRING, BUT
IT APPEARS THAT HIS FIRING WAS
DIRECTLY RELATED TO RUSSIA, NOT
DEPARTMENTAL MISMANAGEMENT.
HOW DO YOU SQUARE THOSE TWO
THINGS?
>> WELL, YOU HAD A LOT IN THAT
QUESTION.
LET ME SAY FIRST, WITHIN A WEEK
OR SO, I BELIEVE MAY 3rd,
DIRECTOR COMEY TESTIFIED THAT HE
BELIEVED THE HANDLING OF THE
CLINTON DECLINATION WAS A PROPER
AND APPROPRIATE AND HE WOULD DO
IT AGAIN.
I KNOW THAT WAS A GREAT CONCERN
TO BOTH OF US BECAUSE IT DID
NOT -- THAT REPRESENTED
SOMETHING THAT I THINK MOST
PROFESSIONALS IN THE DEPARTMENT
OF JUSTICE WOULD TOTALLY AGREE
THAT THE FBI INVESTIGATIVE
AGENCY DOES NOT DECIDE WHETHER
TO PROSECUTE OR DECLINE CRIMINAL
CASES.
PRETTY BREATH TAKING USURPATION
OF THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE
ATTORNEY GENERAL.
SO THAT'S HOW WE FELT.
THAT WAS SORT OF ADDITIONAL
CONCERN THAT WE HAD HEADING THE
FBI SOMEONE WHO BOLDLY ASSERTED
THE RIGHT TO CONTINUE TO MAKE
SUCH DECISIONS.
THAT WAS ONE OF THE THINGS WE
DISCUSSED.
THAT WAS IN THE MEMORANDUM, I
BELIEVE, AND IT WAS ALSO AN
IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR US.
>> BEFORE I RECOGNIZE SENATOR
BLUNT, I WOULD LIKE THE RECORD
TO SHOW THAT LAST NIGHT ADMIRAL
ROGERS SPENT ALMOST TWO HOURS IN
CLOSED SESSION WITH ALMOST THE
FULL COMMITTEE FULFILLING HIS
COMMITMENT TO US IN THE HEARING
THAT IN CLOSED SESSION HE WOULD
ANSWER THE QUESTION, AND I THINK
IT WAS THOROUGHLY ANSWERED AND
ALL MEMBERS WERE GIVEN AN
OPPORTUNITY TO ASK QUESTIONS.
I JUST WANT THE RECORD TO SHOW
THAT WITH WHAT SENATOR HEINRICH
STATED.
SENATOR BLUNT.
>> THANK YOU, CHAIRMAN.
ATTORNEY GENERAL, IT'S GOOD TO
SEE YOU HERE.
IT'S GOOD TO SEE MARY.
I KNOW THAT THERE ARE PROBABLY
OTHER PLACES YOU'D BOTH RATHER
BE TODAY BUT YOU'VE ALWAYS
LOOKED AT PUBLIC SERVICE AS
SOMETHING YOU DID TOGETHER, AND
IT'S GOOD TO SEE YOU HERE
TOGETHER AND KNOW THAT YOUR
FAMILY CONTINUES TO BE PROUD AND
SUPPORTIVE OF WHAT YOU DO.
>> THANK YOU.
I'VE BEEN BLESSED INDEED.
>> I AGREE WITH THAT.
I AGREE WITH THAT.
LET ME JUST GET A COUPLE OF
THINGS CLEAR IN MY MIND HERE OF
NOTES THAT I'VE TAKEN WHILE
PEOPLE WERE ASKING QUESTIONS AND
YOU WERE TALKING.
ON THE APRIL 27th, 2016, EVENT,
I THINK THAT'S THE MAYFLOWER
HOTEL SPEECH THAT THE
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE GAVE ON
FOREIGN POLICY, YOU DIDN'T HAVE
A ROOM AT THAT EVENT WHERE YOU
HAD PRIVATE MEETINGS, DID YOU?
>> NO, I DID NOT.
>> AS I UNDERSTAND IT, YOU WENT
TO A RECEPTION THAT WAS ATTENDED
BY HOW MANY PEOPLE?
>> I THINK TWO TO THREE DOZEN.
>> TWO TO THREE DOZEN PEOPLE.
YOU WENT AND HEARD A SPEECH, AND
THEN MAY HAVE SEEN PEOPLE ON
YOUR WAY OUT?
>> CORRECT.
>> SO WHEN YOU SAID YOU POSSIBLY
HAD A MEETING WITH MR. KISLYAK,
DID YOU MEAN YOU POSSIBLY MET
HIM?
>> I DIDN'T HAVE ANY FORMAL
MEETINGS, I'M CONFIDENT OF THAT.
BUT I MAY HAVE HAD AN ENCOUNTER
DURING THE RECEPTION.
THAT'S THE ONLY THING I CANNOT
SAY WITH CERTAINTY I DID NOT.
>> THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT YOU
WERE SAYING BUT SOMETIMES WHEN I
HEAR I HAD A MEETING THAT WOULD
MEAN MORE THAN I MET SOMEBODY.
YOU MIGHT HAVE MET HIM AT THE
RECEPTION.
COULD YOU HAVE MET OTHER
AMBASSADORS AT THAT RECEPTION AS
WELL?
>> I COULD.
I REMEMBER ONE IN PARTICULAR
THAT WE HAD A CONVERSATION WITH,
WHOSE COUNTRY HAD BEEN
INVESTMENT IN ALABAMA AND WE
TALKED AT A LITTLE LENGTH ABOUT
THAT.
I REMEMBER THAT.
BUT OTHERWISE I HAVE NO
RECOLLECTION OF A DISCUSSION
WITH THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR.
>> ALL RIGHT.
SO YOU WERE THERE.
YOU'VE READ SINCE HE WAS THERE,
YOU MAY HAVE SEEN HIM, BUT YOU
HAD NO ROOM WHERE YOU WERE
HAVING MEETINGS WITH INDIVIDUALS
TO HAVE DISCUSSIONS AT THE
MAYFLOWER HOTEL THAT DAY?
>> NO, THAT IS CORRECT.
>> WHENEVER YOU TALKED TO MR.
COMEY AFTER HE HAD HAD HIS
MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT, YOU
THINK THAT WAS PROBABLY THE NEXT
DAY, YOU DIDN'T STAY AFTERWARDS
AND SEE HIM AFTER HE LEFT THE
OVAL OFFICE THAT NIGHT?
>> NO.
I UNDERSTAND HIS TESTIMONY MAY
HAVE SUGGESTED THAT IT HAPPENED
RIGHT AFTERWARDS, BUT IT WAS
EITHER THE NEXT MORNING, WHICH I
THINK IT WAS, OR MAYBE THE
MORNING AFTER THAT.
WE HAD THREE TIMES A WEEK A
NATIONAL SECURITY BRIEFING WITH
FBI THAT I UNDERTAKE.
SO IT WAS AFTER THAT, THAT WE
HAD THAT CONVERSATION.
>> WHERE YOU HAD THAT
CONVERSATION.
NOW, WHAT I'M NOT QUITE CLEAR ON
IS DID YOU RESPOND WHEN HE
EXPRESSED HIS CONCERN OR NOT?
>> YES, I DID RESPOND.
I THINK HE WAS INCORRECT.
HE INDICATED, I BELIEVE, THAT HE
WAS NOT TOTALLY SURE OF THE
EXACT WORDING OF THE MEETING,
BUT I DO RECALL MY CHIEF OF
STAFF WAS WITH ME AND WE RECALL
THAT I DID AFFIRM THE LONG
STANDING WRITTEN POLICIES OF THE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE CONCERNING
COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE WHITE
HOUSE.
WE HAVE TO FOLLOW THOSE RULES
AND IN THE LONG RUN YOU'RE MUCH
BETTER OFF IF YOU DO.
THEY DO NOT PROHIBIT
COMMUNICATIONS ONE ON ONE BY THE
FBI DIRECTOR WITH THE PRESIDENT,
BUT IF THAT CONVERSATION MOVES
INTO CERTAIN AREAS, IT'S THE
DUTY -- THE RULES APPLY TO THE
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE.
SO IT'S A DUTY OF THE FBI AGENT
TO SAY, MR. PRESIDENT, I CAN'T
TALK ABOUT THAT.
THAT'S THE WAY THAT SHOULD WORK.
APPARENTLY IT DID BECAUSE HE
SAYS HE DID NOT IMPROPERLY
DISCUSS MATTERS WITH THE
PRESIDENT.
>> WHEN MR. COMEY TALKED TO YOU
ABOUT THAT MEETING, DID HE
MENTION MR. FLYNN?
>> NO.
HE MENTIONED NO FACTS OF ANY
KIND.
HE DID NOT MENTION TO ME THAT HE
HAD BEEN ASKED TO DO SOMETHING
HE THOUGHT IT WAS IMPROPER.
HE JUST SAID HE WAS
UNCOMFORTABLE, I BELIEVE, WITH
IT.
>> AFTER THAT DISCUSSION WITH
MR. COMEY --
>> ACTUALLY I DON'T KNOW THAT HE
SAID HE WAS UNCOMFORTABLE.
I THINK HE SAID MAYBE -- MAYBE
IT WAS WHAT HE TESTIFIED TO WAS
PERHAPS THE CORRECT WORDING.
I'M NOT SURE EXACTLY WHAT HE
SAID, BUT I DON'T DISPUTE IT.
>> WELL, EXACTLY WHAT I THINK --
WHAT I REMEMBER HIM SAYING WAS
THAT YOU DIDN'T REACT AT ALL AND
KIND OF SHRUGGED, BUT YOU'RE
SAYING YOU REFERRED HIM TO THE
NORMAL WAY THESE MEETINGS ARE
SUPPOSED TO BE CONDUCTED.
>> I TOOK IT AS A CONCERN THAT
HE MIGHT BE ASKED SOMETHING THAT
WAS IMPROPER, AND I AFFIRMED TO
HIM HIS WILLINGNESS TO SAY NO OR
NOT GO IN AN IMPROPER WAY --
IMPROPER DIRECTION.
>> FINALLY, I'M ASSUMING YOU
WOULDN'T TALK ABOUT THIS BECAUSE
IT WOULD RELATE TO THE MAY 8th
MEETING, BUT MY SENSE IS THAT NO
DECISION IS FINAL UNTIL IT'S
CARRIED OUT.
MY GUESS IS THAT THERE ARE
PEOPLE AT THIS DAIS WHO HAVE
SAID THEY WERE GOING TO LET
SOMEBODY GO OR FIRE SOMEBODY
THAT NEVER DID THAT, SO THE FACT
THAT THE PRESIDENT SAID THAT ON
MAY 8th DOESN'T MEAN THAT THE
INFORMATION HE GOT FROM YOU ON
MAY 9th WAS NOT NECESSARY OR
IMPACTFUL AND I'M SURE YOU'RE
NOT GOING TO SAY HOW MANY TIMES
THE PRESIDENT SAID WE OUGHT TO
GET RID OF THAT PERSON.
BUT I'M SURE THAT'S HAPPENED.
MR. CHAIRMAN --
>> SENATOR KING.
>> MR. ATTORNEY GENERAL, THANK
YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY.
I RESPECT YOUR WILLINGNESS TO BE
HERE.
>> THANK YOU.
>> YOU TESTIFIED A FEW MINUTES
AGO I'M NOT ABLE TO INVOKE
EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE, THAT'S UP
TO THE PRESIDENT.
HAS THE PRESIDENT INVOKED
EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE IN THE CASE
OF YOUR TESTIMONY HERE TODAY?
>> HE HAS NOT.
>> THEN WHAT IS THE BASIS OF
YOUR REFUSAL TO ANSWER THESE
QUESTIONS?
>> SENATOR KING, THE PRESIDENT
HAS A CONSTITUTIONAL --
>> I UNDERSTAND THAT, BUT THE
PRESIDENT HASN'T ASSERTED IT.
>> WELL, I --
>> YOU SAID YOU DON'T HAVE THE
POWER TO ASSERT THE POWER OF
EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE.
SO WHAT IS THE LEGAL BASIS FOR
YOUR REFUSAL TO ANSWER THESE
QUESTIONS?
>> I AM PROTECTING THE RIGHT OF
THE PRESIDENT TO ASSERT IT IF HE
CHOOSES AND THERE MAY BE OTHER
PRIVILEGES THAT COULD APPLY IN
THIS CIRCUMSTANCE.
>> WELL, I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW
YOU CAN HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.
THE PRESIDENT CAN'T NOT ASSERT
IT AND YOU'VE TESTIFIED THAT
ONLY THE PRESIDENT CAN ASSERT
IT.
AND YET I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND
THE LEGAL BASIS FOR YOUR REFUSAL
TO ANSWER.
>> WHAT WE TRY TO DO, I THINK
MOST CABINET OFFICIALS, OTHERS
THAT YOU QUESTIONED RECENTLY,
OFFICIALS BEFORE THE COMMITTEE
PROTECT THE PRESIDENT'S RIGHT TO
DO SO.
IF IT COMES TO A POINT WHERE AN
ISSUE IS CLEAR AND THERE'S A
DISPUTE ABOUT IT, AT SOME POINT
THE PRESIDENT WILL EITHER ASSERT
THE PRIVILEGE OR NOT OR SOME
OTHER PRIVILEGE CAN BE -- WOULD
BE ASSERTED.
BUT AT THIS POINT I BELIEVE IT'S
PREMATURE FOR ME --
>> YOU'RE ASSERTING THE
PRIVILEGE THAT THE PRESIDENT --
>> IT WOULD BE PREMATURE FOR ME
TO DENY THE PRESIDENT A FULL AND
INTELLIGENT CHOICE ABOUT
EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE.
THAT'S NOT NECESSARY AT THIS
POINT.
>> YOU TESTIFIED A FEW MINUTES
AGO THAT, QUOTE, WE WERE ASKED
FOR OUR OPINION.
WHO ASKED FOR YOUR OPINION?
>> YOU MEAN --
>> YOU TESTIFIED WE WERE ASKED
FOR OUR OPINION.
>> MY UNDERSTANDING IS I BELIEVE
I'M CORRECT IN SAYING THE
PRESIDENT HAS SAID SO --
>> HE DIDN'T ASK YOU DIRECTLY?
>> I THOUGHT YOU WERE ASKING
ABOUT THE PRIVILEGE.
>> NO, NO.
>> IF YOU WANT TO GO BACK.
>> I'M SAYING YOU SAID, QUOTE,
WE WERE ASKED FOR OUR OPINION.
YOU AND MR. ROSENSTEIN.
>> I BELIEVE THAT WAS
APPROPRIATE FOR ME TO SAY THAT
BECAUSE I THINK THE PRESIDENT --
>> NO, I'M JUST ASKING YOU WHO
ASKED YOU FOR YOUR OPINION?
WHO ASKED YOU FOR AN OPINION?
>> YES, RIGHT.
THE PRESIDENT ASKED FOR OUR
OPINION.
>> ALL RIGHT.
SO YOU JUST TESTIFIED AS TO THE
CONTENT OF A COMMUNICATION TO
THE PRESIDENT.
>> THAT IS CORRECT, BUT I
BELIEVE HE'S ALREADY REVEALED
THAT.
I BELIEVE I'M CORRECT IN SAYING
THAT.
THAT'S WHY I INDICATED THAT WHEN
I ANSWERED THAT QUESTION.
BUT IF HE HASN'T AND I'M IN
ERROR, I WOULD HAVE CONSTRICTED
HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF
PRIVILEGE.
YOU'RE CORRECT.
>> SO YOU'RE BEING SELECTIVE
ABOUT THE USE --
>> NO, I'M NOT INTENTIONALLY.
I'M DOING SO ONLY BECAUSE I
BELIEVE HE MADE THAT --
>> IN ANY OF YOUR DISCUSSIONS
ABOUT THE FIRING OF JAMES COMEY,
DID THE QUESTION OF THE RUSSIAN
INVESTIGATION EVER COME UP?
>> I CANNOT ANSWER THAT BECAUSE
IT WAS A COMMUNICATION BY THE
PRESIDENT OR IF ANY SUCH
OCCURRED, IT WOULD BE A
COMMUNICATION THAT HE HAS NOT
WAIVED.
>> BUT HE HAS NOT ASSERTED
EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE.
>> HE HAS NOT ASSERTED EXECUTIVE
PRIVILEGE.
>> DO YOU BELIEVE THE RUSSIANS
INTERFERED WITH THE 2016
ELECTIONS?
>> IT APPEARS SO.
THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY SEEMS
TO BE UNITED IN THAT.
BUT I HAVE TO TELL YOU, SENATOR
KING, I KNOW NOTHING BUT WHAT
I'VE READ IN THE PAPER.
I'VE NEVER RECEIVED ANY DETAILED
BRIEFING ON HOW HACKING OCCURRED
OR HOW INFORMATION WAS ALLEGED
TO HAVE INFLUENCED THE CAMPAIGN.
>> BETWEEN THE ELECTION THERE
WAS A MEMORANDUM FROM THE
INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY ON
OCTOBER 9th THAT DETAILED WHAT
THE RUSSIANS WERE DOING.
AFTER THE ELECTION BEFORE THE
INAUGURATION, YOU NEVER SOUGHT
ANY INFORMATION ABOUT THIS
RATHER DRAMATIC ATTACK ON OUR
COUNTRY?
>> NO.
>> YOU NEVER ASKED FOR A
BRIEFING OR ATTENDED A BRIEFING
OR READ THE INTELLIGENCE
REPORTS?
>> YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN VERY
CRITICAL OF ME IF I AS AN ACTIVE
PART OF THE CAMPAIGN WAS SEEKING
INTELLIGENCE RELATING TO
SOMETHING THAT MIGHT BE RELEVANT
TO THE CAMPAIGN.
I'M NOT SURE --
>> I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE
CAMPAIGN.
I'M TALKING ABOUT WHAT THE
RUSSIANS DID.
YOU RECEIVED NO BRIEFING ON THE
RUSSIAN ACTIVE MEASURES IN
CONNECTION WITH THE 2016
ELECTION?
>> NO, I DON'T BELIEVE I EVER
DID.
>> LET'S GO TO YOUR LETTER OF
MAY 9th.
YOU SAID BASED UPON MY
EVALUATION AND FOR THE REASONS
EXPRESSED BY THE DEPUTY, WAS
THAT A WRITTEN EVALUATION?
>> MY EVALUATION WAS AN
EVALUATION THAT HAD BEEN GOING
ON FOR SOME MONTHS.
>> IS THERE A WRITTEN
EVALUATION?
>> I DID NOT MAKE ONE.
I THINK YOU COULD CLASSIFY
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
ROSENSTEIN'S MEMORANDUM AS AN
EVALUATION, ONE THAT -- AND HE
WAS THE DIRECT SUPERVISOR OF THE
FBI DIRECTOR.
>> AND HIS EVALUATION WAS BASED
100% ON THE HANDLING OF THE
HILLARY CLINTON E-MAILS, IS THAT
CORRECT?
>> WELL, AND A NUMBER OF OTHER
MATTERS AS I RECALL.
BUT HE DID EXPLICITLY LAY OUT
THE ERRORS THAT HE THOUGHT HAD
BEEN MADE IN THAT PROCESS BY THE
DIRECTOR OF THE FBI.
I THOUGHT THEY WERE COGENT AND
ACCURATE AND FAR MORE