would like to welcome our witnesses,
director of the FBI, Jim Comey and
director of the National Security
Agency, Admiral Rogers. Thank you both
for being here today.
Before we begin, I would like to remind
our members and witnesses that this is
an open hearing. I recognize the
challenge of discussing sensitive
national security issues in public.
However, as part of this committee's
investigation into Russian active
measures during the 2016 election, it is
critical to ensure that the public has
access to credible unclassified facts
and to clear the air regarding
unsubstantiated media reports.
our guests in the audience, welcome. We
appreciate you being here. I also expect
that the proper decorum will be observed
at all times today and that disruptions
during today's proceedings will not be
tolerated. I now recognize myself for
five minutes for the purpose of an
The Putin regime has a long history of
aggressive actions against other
countries, including the outright
invasion of two of its neighbors in
recent years, as well as its brutal
military action in Syria to defend the
Assad regime. But it's hostile acts take
many forms, aside from direct military
For example, the Kremlin is waging an
international disinformation campaign
through the RT propaganda network which
traffics in anti-American conspiracy
theories that rivaled the extravagant
untruths of Soviet era Pravda (ph).
Russia also has a long history of
meddling in other countries, election
systems and launching cyber attacks on a
wide range of countries and industries.
The Baltic's and other Russian neighbors
have long decried these attacks. But
their warnings went unheeded in far too
many nations' capitals, including our
own. The fact that the Russia — that
Russia hacked U.S. election-related
databases comes as no shock to this
committee. We have been closely
monitoring Russia's aggression for
year ago, I publicly stated that our
inability to predict Putin's regime
plans and intentions has been the
biggest intelligence failure that we
have seen since 9/11 and that remains my
view today. However, while the
indications of Russian measures
targeting the U.S. presidential election
are deeply troubling, one benefit is
already clear. It has focused wide
attention on the — on the pressing
threats posed by the Russian autocrat.
recent years, committee members have
issued repeated and forceful pleas for
stronger action against Russian
belligerents. But the Obama
administration was committed to the
notion against all evidence that we
could reset relations with Putin. And it
routinely ignored our warnings. I hope
today's hearing will shed light on three
important focus points of the
committee's investigation on Russia
First, what actions did Russia undertake
against the United States during the
2016 election campaign and did anyone
from political campaign — a political
campaign conspire in these activities?
Number two, were the communications of
officials or associates of any campaign
subject to any kind of improper
surveillance? The intelligence community
has — has extremely strict procedures
for handling information pertaining to
any U.S. citizens who are subject even
to incidental surveillance. And this
committee wants to ensure all
surveillance activities have followed
all relevant laws, rules and
Let me be clear, I've been saying this
for several weeks. We know there was not
a physical wiretap of Trump Tower.
However, it's still possible that other
surveillance activities were used
against President's Trump and his
associates. Number three, who has leak
classified information? Numerous current
and former officials have leak
purportedly classified information in
connection to these questions. We aim to
determine who has leaked or facilitated
leaks of classified information so that
these individuals can be brought to
hope that this committee's bipartisan
investigation will result in a
definitive report on the Russian actions
taken during the election campaign. To
that end, we encourage anyone who has
information about these topics to come
forward and speak to the House
Intelligence Committee. I again think
the witnesses for helping shed light on
And I will let recognize Ranking Member
Schiff. He's asked for 15 minutes for
his opening statement, so I will go
ahead and give him 15 minutes for his
SCHIFF: Mr. Chairman, I thank you. And I
also want to thank Director Comey and
Admiral Rogers for appearing before us
today as the committee holds its first
open hearing into the interference
campaign waged against our 2016
Last summer at the height of a bitterly
contested and hugely consequential
presidential campaign, a foreign
adversarial power intervened in an
effort to weaken our democracy and to
influence the outcome for one candidate
and against the other. That foreign
adversary was of course Russia and it
activated through its intelligence
agencies and upon the direct
instructions of its autocratic ruler
Vladimir Putin, in order to help Donald
J. Trump become the 45th president of
the United States.
The Russian active measures campaign may
have begun as early as 2015, when
Russian intelligence services launched a
series of spear fishing attacks designed
to penetrate the computers of a broad
array of Washington based Democratic and
Republican party organizations, think
tanks and other entities. This continued
at least through the winter of 2016.
While at first the hacking may have been
intended solely for the collection of
foreign intelligence. In mid-2016 the
Russians weapon eyes the stolen data and
used platforms established by the Intel
services, such as D.C. leaks in existing
third-party channels like WikiLeaks to
dump the documents. The stolen documents
were almost uniformly damaging to the
candidate Putin despised, Hillary
Clinton. And by forcing her campaign to
constantly respond to the daily drip of
disclosures, the releases greatly
benefited Donald Trump's campaign.
None of these facts is seriously in
question. And they're reflected in the
consensus conclusion of our intelligence
agencies. We will never know whether the
Russian intervention was determinative
in such a close election. Indeed, it is
unknowable in a campaign to which so
many small changes could have dictated a
different result. More importantly, and
for the purposes of our investigation,
it simply does not matter.
What does matter is this, the Russians
successfully meddled in our democracy
and our intelligence agencies have
concluded they will do so again. Ours is
not the first democracy to be attacked
by the Russians in this way. Russian
intelligence has been simile interfering
in the internal and political affairs of
our European and other allies for
SCHIFF: What is striking here is the
degree to which the Russians were
willing to undertake such an audacious
and risky action against the most
powerful nation on Earth. That ought to
be a warning to us that if we thought
that the Russians would not dare to so
blatantly interfere in our affairs, we
And if we do not do our very best to
understand how the Russians accomplished
this unprecedented attack on our
democracy and what we need to do to
protect ourselves in the future, we will
only have ourselves to blame. We know a
lot about the Russian operation, about
the way they amplified the damage their
hacking and dumping of stolen documents
was causing through the use of slick
propaganda like R.T., the Kremlin's
media arm. But there is a lot we don't
Most important, we do not yet know
whether the Russians have the help of
U.S. citizens including people
associated with the Trump campaign. Many
of the Trump's campaign personnel,
including the president himself, have
ties to Russia and Russian interests.
This is of course no crime. On the other
hand, if the Trump campaign or anyone
associated with it aided or abetted the
Russians, it would not only be a serious
crime, it would also represent one of
the most shocking betrayals of democracy
Europe, where the Russians have a much
longer history of political
interference, they've used a variety of
techniques to undermine democracy. They
employed the hacking and dumping of
documents and slick propaganda as they
clearly did here. But they've also used
bribery, blackmail, compromising
material, and financial entanglement to
secure needed cooperation from
individual citizens of targeted
The issue of U.S. person involvement is
only one of the important matters that
the chairman and I have agreed to
investigate and which is memorialized in
the detailed and bipartisan scope of
investigation that we have signed. We'll
also examine whether the intelligence
community's assessment of the Russian
operation is supported by the raw
intelligence, whether the U.S.
government responded properly or missed
the opportunity to stop this Russian
attack much earlier and whether the leak
of information about Michael Flynn or
others is indicative of a systemic
have also reviewed whether there is any
evidence to support President Trump's
claim that he was wiretapped by
President Obama in Trump Tower and found
no evidence whatsoever to support that
slanderous accusation. And we hope that
Director Comey can now put that matter
permanently to rest. Today, most of my
Democratic colleagues will be exploring
with the witnesses the potential
involvement of U.S. persons in the
Russian attack on our democracy. It is
not that we feel the other issues are
less important; they are very important,
but rather because this issue is least
understood by the public. We realize of
course that the witnesses may not be
able to answer many of the questions in
They may or may not be willing to
disclose even whether there is an
investigation. But we hope to present to
you directors and the public why we
believe this is a matter of such gravity
that it demands a thorough investigation
not only by us as we intend to do but by
the FBI as well.
Let me give you a short preview of what
I expect you'll be asked by our members.
Whether the Russian active measures
campaign began as nothing more than an
attempt to gather intelligence or was
always intended to be more than that, we
do not know and is one of the questions
we hope to answer. But we do know this;
the months of July and August 2016
appear to have been pivotal.
was at this time the Russians began
using the information they had stolen to
help Donald Trump and harm Hillary
Clinton. And so the question is, why?
What was happening in July, August of
last year and were U.S. persons
involved? Here are some of the matters
drawn from public sources alone since
that is all we can discuss in this
setting that concern us and we believe
should concern all Americans.
early July, Carter Page, someone
candidate Trump identified as one of his
national security advisors, travels to
Moscow on a trip approved by the Trump
campaign. While in Moscow, he gives a
speech critical of the United States and
other western countries for what he
believes is a hypocritical focus on
democratization and efforts to fight
According to Christopher Steele, a
British — a former British intelligence
officer, who is reportedly held in high
regard by U.S. intelligence, Russian
sources tell him that Page has also had
a secret meeting with Igor Sechin, CEO
of the Russian gas giant, Rosneft.
Sechin is reported to be a former KGB
agent and close friend of Putin's.
According to Steele's Russian sources,
Page is offered brokerage fees by such
an on a deal involving a 19 percent
share of the company. According to
Reuters, the sale of a 19.5 percent
share of Rosneft later takes place with
unknown purchasers and unknown brokerage
fees. Also, according to Steele's
Russian sources, the campaign has
offered documents damaging to Hillary
Clinton which the Russians would publish
through an outlet that gives them
deniability like WikiLeaks.
The hacked documents would be in
exchange for a Trump administration
policy that de-emphasizes Russia's
invasion of Ukraine and instead focuses
on criticizing NATO countries for not
paying their fair share. Policies which
even as recently as the President's
meeting last week with Angela Merkel
have now presently come to pass. In the
middle of July, Paul Manafort, the — the
Trump campaign manager and someone who
was a long on the payroll of Pro
Russian- Ukrainian interests attends the
Russian — the Republican Party
Convention. Carter Page, back from
Moscow, also attends the convention.
According to Steele, it was Manafort who
chose Page to serve as a go-between for
the Trump campaign and Russian
Ambassador Kislyak, who presides over a
Russian Embassy in which diplomatic
personnel would later be expelled as
likely spies, also attends the
Republican Party Convention and meets
with Carter Page, and additional Trump
advisors J.D. Gordon and Walid Phares.
It was J.D. Gordon who approved Page's
trip to Moscow.
Ambassador Kislyac also meets with Trump
national campaign chair, National
Security Campaign Chair and now attorney
general, Jeff Sessions. Sessions would
later deny meeting with Russian
officials during his Senate confirmation
hearing. Just prior to the convention,
the Republican Party platform is
changed, removing a section that
supports the provision of lethal
defensive weapons to Ukraine, an action
that would be contrary to Russian
Manafort categorically denies
involvement by the Trump campaign and
altering the platform, but the
Republican Party delegate who offered
the language in support of providing
defensive weapons to Ukraine states it
was removed at the insistence of the
Trump campaign. Later, J.D. Gordon
admits opposing the inclusion of the
provision of the time it was being
debated and prior to its being removed.
Later in July and after the convention,
the first stolen emails detrimental to
Hillary Clinton appear on WikiLeaks. A
hacker who goes by the moniker, Guccifer
2.0, claims responsibility for hacking
the DNC and giving the documents to
WikiLeaks. A leading private cyber
security firms including Crowdstrike,
Mandiant and ThreatConnect review the
evidence of the hack and conclude with
high certainty that it was the work of
APT 28 and APT 29 who are known to be
Russian intelligence services.
The U.S. intelligence committee also
later confirms that the documents were
in fact stolen by Russian intelligence
and Guccifer 2.0 acted as a front. Also
in late July, candidate Trump praises
WikiLeaks, says he loves them and openly
appeals to the Russians to hack his
opponents emails telling them that they
will be richly rewarded by the press.
August 8th, Roger Stone, a long time
Trump political advisor and
self-proclaimed political dirty
trickster, boasts in his speech that he
has communicated with Assange and that
more documents would be coming,
including an October surprise. In the
middle of August, he also communicates
with the Russian cut out Guccifer 2.0
and authors a Breitbart piece denying
Guccifer's links to Russian
Then later, in August, Stone does
something truly remarkable. When he
predicts that John Podesta's personal
emails will soon be published, trust me
he says, it will soon be Podesta's time
in the barrel, #crookedHillary. In the
weeks that follow, Stone shows
remarkable prescience. I have total
confidence that WikiLeaks and my hero,
Julian Assange will educate the American
people soon, he says, #LockHerUp.
Payload coming, he predicts and two days
later it does.
WikiLeaks releases its first batch of
Podesta emails. The release of John
Podesta's emails would then continue on
a daily basis, up until the election. On
Election Day in November, Donald Trump
wins. Donald Trump appoints one of his
high-profile surrogates, Michael Flynn,
to be his national security advisor.
Michael Flynn has been paid by the
Kremlin's propaganda outfit RT in the
past, as well as another Russian entity.
December, Michael Flynn has a secret
conversation with Ambassador Kislyak,
about sanctions imposed by President
Obama on Russia over attacking designed
to help the Trump campaign. Michael
Flynn lies about the secret
conversation. The vice president
unknowingly then assures the country
that no — no such conversation ever
happened. The president is informed that
Flynn has lied and Pence has misled the
country. The president does nothing.
Two weeks later, the press reveals that
Flynn has lied and the president is
forced to fire Mr. Flynn. The president
then praises the man who lied, Mr.
Flynn, and castigates the press for
exposing the lie.
Now, is it possible that the removal of
the Ukraine provision from the GOP
platform was a coincidence? Is it a
coincidence that Jeff Sessions failed to
tell the Senate about his meetings with
a Russian ambassador, not only at the
convention, but a more private meeting
in his office and at a time when the
U.S. election was under attack by the
it a coincidence that Michael Flynn
would lie about a conversation he had
with the same Russian Ambassador
Kislyak, about the most pressing issue
facing both countries at the time they
spoke, the U.S. imposition of sanctions
over Russian hacking of our election
designed to help Donald Trump? Is it a
coincidence that the Russian gas
company, Rosneft, sold a 19 percent
share after former British intelligence
officer Steele was told by Russian
sources that Carter Page was offered
fees on a deal of just that size?
it a coincidence that Steele's Russian
sources also affirmed that Russian had
stolen documents hurtful to Secretary
Clinton that it would utilize in
exchange for Pro Russian policies that
would later come to pass? Is it a
coincidence that Roger Stone predicted
that John Podesta would be a victim of a
Russian hack and have his private emails
published and did so even before Mr.
Podesta himself, was fully aware that
his private emails would be exposed?
it possible that all of these events and
reports are completely unrelated and
nothing more than an entirely unhappy
coincidence? Yes, it is possible. But it
is also possible, maybe more than
possible, that they are not
coincidental, not disconnected and not
unrelated and that the Russians use the
same techniques to corrupt U.S. persons
that they employed in Europe and
elsewhere. We simply don't know, not
yet. And we owe it to the country to
Director Comey, what you see on the dais
in front of you in the form of this
small number of members and staff is all
we have to commit to this investigation.
This is it. We are not supported by
hundreds or thousands of agents and
investigators with offices around the
world. It is just us and our Senate
addition to this investigation we still
have our day job which involves
overseeing some of the largest and most
important agencies in the country.
Agencies which by the way are trained to
keep secrets. I point this out for two
reasons and I'm — I'm wrapping up
Chairman. First because we cannot do
this work alone and nor should we. We
believe these issues are so important
that the FBI must devote its resources
to investigating each of them
thoroughly, to do any less would be
negligent in the protection of our
also need your full cooperation with our
investigation so that we may have the
benefit of what you know and so that we
may coordinate our efforts in the
discharge of both our responsibilities.
And second, I raise this because I
believe that we would benefit from the
work of an independent commission that
can devote the staff resources to this
investigation that we do not have. And
it can be completely removed from any
This should not be a substitute for the
work that we, in the intelligence
committee, should and must do. But as an
important complement to our efforts,
just as was the case after 9/11. The
stakes are nothing less than the future
of our democracy and liberal democracy.
Because we're engaged in a new war of
ideas, not communism versus capitalism,
but authoritarianism versus democracy
and representative government. And in
the struggle, our adversary sees our
political process as a legitimate field
Only by understanding what the Russians
did can we inoculate ourselves from
further Russian interference that we
know is coming. Only then can we protect
our European allies, who are as we
speak, enduring similar Russian
interference in their own elections.
And finally, I want to say a word about
our own committee investigation. You
will undoubtedly observe in the
questions and comments that our members
make during today's hearing that the
members of both parties share a common
concern over the Russian attack on our
democracy. But bring a different
perspective on the significance of
certain issues or the quantum of
evidence we have seen in the early —
earliest stages of this investigation.
This is to be expected.
The question most people have is whether
we can really conduct this investigation
in the kind of thorough and nonpartisan
manner that the seriousness of the
issues merit or whether the enormous
political consequences of our work will
make that impossible.
The truth is, I don't know the answer,
but I do know this, if this committee
can do its work properly, if we can
pursue the facts wherever they lead,
unafraid to compel witnesses to testify,
to hear what they have to say, to learn
what we will. And after exhaustive work
reach a common conclusion, it would be a
tremendous public service and one that
is very much in the national interest.
So let us try.
thank you, Mr. Chairman and I yield
back. NUNES: Thank you. Gentleman yields
With that that, Admiral Rogers, you're
recognized for five minutes.
ROGERS: Thank you sir.
Chairman Nunes, Ranking Member Schiff
and members of the committee. Thank you
for the opportunity to appear before you
today on behalf of the men and women of
the National Security Agency.
I'm honored to appear besides my
teammate Director Comey to discuss
Russia's activities and intentions
regarding the 2016 U.S. election. And
want to assure the committee that my
team is doing its best to fulfill the
various requests of this committee to
support your ongoing investigations into
ROGERS: Over the past weeks, NSA has
been working closely with the committee
to provide you the information that you
require for your investigation and I can
assure you we will continue to do so.
When we last met in January, we
discussed the classified version of the
January intelligence committee —
community's assessment on assessing
Russian activities and intentions in the
recent U.S. elections.
Today, more than two months after we
issued this assessment, we stand by it
as issued. There is no change in our
confidence level on the assessment. Of
course, the specifics of this assessment
need to remain classified to protect
sensitive sources and methods so today I
will limit my discussion to information
in the public domain, that of the
publicly released intelligence community
hope you will understand that there are
some issues I cannot discuss in an open
session, nor will I be able to provide
specifics in some areas. As the
committee fully knows, the intelligence
community has a long-standing policy of
not discussing surveillance targeting
information, in particular cases, as to
do so would invariably open the door to
compel further disclosures and
litigation or the release of classified
information, all of which would be
harmful to our national security.
Like the committee, we are also greatly
concerned about leaks of classified
information as they can reveal the
sources and methods we employ to provide
intelligence to American policymakers
and warfighters and generate advantage
for our nation while protecting its
citizens and interest and their privacy.
I also want to assure the committee that
we take very seriously that obligation
to protect U.S. persons' privacy. This
applies to all stages of the production
of foreign intelligence, but I'd like to
emphasize one area in particular; the
dissemination of U.S. person
at NSA have strict procedures in place
to make sure that our reporting and the
contents of our reporting are
disseminated only to those that have
strict need-to- know for valid purposes
which primarily means support of the
development of foreign policy and to
protect national security. I do want to
specifically mention that among the
collection and authorities that we have
to target foreign actors in foreign
spaces, FISA Section 702 and Executive
Order 12333 have been instrumental in
our ability to produce the intelligence
made available to the committee and
others in gathering the SIGINT facts of
foreign activity in this election cycle.
would be difficult to overstate the
breadth and scale of malicious cyber
activity occurring today. Our
adversaries including nation states have
not rested in trying to penetrate
government systems, steal our private
industries' intellectual property, and
make even greater strides towards the
development and achievement of cyber
attack capabilities. We have a
hard-working and dedicated team at NSA
that works every day to generate
insights on this activity and to thwart
its effectiveness. But cyber defense is
a team sport and one of NFA — NSA's
strongest partners in this effort is
Director Comey's team at the FBI.
And I'm glad to be able to describe here
today how we are working together to
help protect the nation and our allies
to include providing a better
understanding of Russian intentions and
capabilities. In light of the I.C.
assessment and findings, I welcome your
investigation into overall Russian
activities targeting the previous U.S.
elections. NSA continues to employ
rigorous analytic standards, applying
them in every aspect of our intelligence
Our analysts have consistently proven to
be reliable and thorough in their
technical and analytic efforts and
providing our policymakers and
warfighters with SIGINT ammunition to
make informed decisions to protect our
nation's freedom and ensure the safety
of its citizens. They are diligently
continuing to monitor for additional
reflections of Russian targeting of U.S.
systems and those of our friends and
allies around the world to share that
information with our I.C. colleagues and
foreign counterparts and to share that
information with our I.C. colleagues and
foreign counterparts and to produce
unbiased, unprejudiced and timely
reporting of SIGINT facts in their
look forward your questions. Thank you,
NUNES: Thank you, Admiral Rogers.
Director Comey, you're recognized for
COMEY: Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member
Schiff, members of the committee, thank
you for including me in today's hearing.
I'm honored to be here representing the
people of the FBI.
hope we have shown you through our
actions and our words how much we at the
FBI value your oversight of our work and
how much we respect your responsibility
to investigate those things are
important to the American people. Thank
you for showing that both are being
taken very seriously.
you know, our practice is not to confirm
the existence of ongoing investigations,
especially those investigations that
involve classified matters, but in
unusual circumstances where it is in the
public interest, it may be appropriate
to do so as Justice Department policies
recognize. This is one of those
have been authorized by the Department
of Justice to confirm that the FBI, as
part of our counterintelligence mission,
is investigating the Russian
government's efforts to interfere in the
2016 presidential election and that
includes investigating the nature of any
links between individuals associated
with the Trump campaign and the Russian
government and whether there was any
coordination between the campaign and
Russia's efforts. As with any
counterintelligence investigation, this
will also include an assessment of
whether any crimes were committed.
Because it is an open ongoing
investigation and is classified, I
cannot say more about what we are doing
and whose conduct we are examining. At
the request of congressional leaders, we
have taken the extraordinary step in
coordination with the Department of
Justice of briefing this Congress'
leaders, including the leaders of this
committee, in a classified setting in
detail about the investigation but I
can't go into those details here. I know
that is extremely frustrating to some
folks. I hope you and the American
people can understand. The FBI is very
careful in how we handle information
about our cases and about the people we
are also very careful about the way we
handle information that may be of
interest to our foreign adversaries.
Both of those interests are at issue in
a counterintelligence investigation.
Please don't draw any conclusions from
the fact that I may not be able to
comment on certain topics. I know
speculating is part of human nature, but
it really isn't fair to draw conclusions
simply because I say that I can't
Some folks may want to make comparisons
to past instances where the Department
of Justice and the FBI have spoken about
the details of some investigations, but
please keep in mind that those involved
the details of completed investigations.
Our ability to share details with the
Congress and the American people is
limited when those investigations are
still open, which I hope makes sense.
need to protect people's privacy. We
need to make sure we don't give other
people clues as to where we're going. We
need to make sure that we don't give
information to our foreign adversaries
about what we know or don't know. We
just cannot do our work well or fairly
if we start talking about it while we're
doing it. So we will try very, very hard
to avoid that, as we always do.
This work is very complex and there is
no way for me to give you a timetable as
to when it will be done. We approach
this work in an open-minded, independent
way and our expert investigators will
conclude that work as quickly as they
can but they will always do it well no
matter how long that takes. I can
promise you, we will follow the facts
wherever they lead. And I wanna
underscore something my friend Mike
Rogers said, leaks of classified
information are serious, serious federal
crimes for a reason...
COMEY: ... they should be investigated
and where possible prosecuted in a way
that reflects that seriousness so that
people understand it simply cannot be
And I look forward to taking your
NUNES: Thank you, Director Comey.
Admiral Rogers, first I wanna go to you.
On January 6th, 2017, the intelligence
community assessment assessing Russian
activities and intentions in recent U.S.
elections, stated that the types of
systems Russian actors targeted or
compromised were not involved in vote
my question as of today, Admiral Rogers,
do you have any evidence that Russia
cyber actors changed vote tallies in the
state of Michigan?
ROGERS: No I do not, but I would
highlight we are a foreign intelligence
organization, not a domestic
intelligence organization. So it would
be fair to say, we are probably not the
best organization to provide a more
NUNES: How about the state of
ROGERS: No, sir.
NUNES: The state of Wisconsin?
ROGERS: No, sir.
NUNES: State of Florida?
ROGERS: No, sir.
NUNES: The state of North Carolina?
ROGERS: No, sir.
NUNES: The state of Ohio?
ROGERS: No, sir.
NUNES: So — so you have no intelligence
that suggests, or evidence that
suggests, any votes were changed?
ROGERS: I have nothing generated by the
national security industry, sir.
NUNES: Director Comey, do you have any
evidence at the FBI that any votes were
changed in the states that I mentioned
to Admiral Rogers?
NUNES: Thank you. Admiral Rogers, I know
that there was a leak of information
regarding Director Clapper and Former
Secretary of Defense Carter, were
looking at relieving you of your — of
Are you aware of those stories?
ROGERS: I'm aware of media reporting to
NUNES: And those stories were leaked as
soon as you had visited with
President-elect Trump. Is that correct?
ROGERS: Yes sir, I was asked if I would
be prepared to interview with the Trump
administration for a position, which I
NUNES: Did the leak of that information
at all — at all impact your ability and
your assessment that you did for the
intelligence community's assessment on
ROGERS: No sir, if I spent time in this
job worrying about un- sourced media
reporting, I'd never get any work done.
NUNES: Thank you, Admiral.
Director Comey, I remain extremely
concerned about the widespread illegal
leaks that you just referenced in your —
in your testimony. Just for the record
though, I wanna get this on the record.
Does the unauthorized disclosure of
classified information to the press
violate 18 USC 793, a section of the
Espionage Act that criminalizes
improperly accessing handling or
transmitting national defense
NUNES: Would an unauthorized disclosure
of FISA-derived information to the press
violate 18 USC 798, a section of the
Espionage Act that criminalizes the
disclosure of information concerning the
communication and intelligence
activities of the United States?
COMEY: Yes, in addition to being a
breach of our trust with the FISA Court
that oversees our use of those
NUNES: Thank you, Director.
this time, I'm gonna yield to Mr.
Rooney, who chairs our NSA cyber
committee, for questions.
ROONEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I'd like to direct my questions, first
and foremost, to Admiral Rogers to
convey my thanks to the many men and
women for their dedication at the NSA
for keeping our country safe. As well as
I want to talk about the recent media
stories, it may have led to confusion in
the public about what the NSA is and is
not legally collecting in. And the
safeguards the NSA has put into place to
protect personal data.
I'd like to clarify is the chairman of
the subcommittee on the NSA, I recently
got to meet your deputy admiral last
week out at the NSA and we visited and
spoke of some of these things. And what
— what we can talk about your today
publicly, if you could go into, if you
can't, you can't. But I think that this
is important for the people in the room
and — and listening outside understand.
it true that the NSA would need a court
order based on probable cause to conduct
electronic surveillance on a U.S. person
inside the United States?
ROGERS: Yes sir.
ROONEY: And just to be clear, the
section of the FISA that is expiring
later this year, that's 702, which will
be talking about a little bit, cannot be
used to target U.S. persons or persons
in the United States, is that correct?
ROGERS: Yes sir.
ROONEY: Section 702 focuses on non-U.S.
persons outside the United States,
ROGERS: Yes sir.
ROONEY: Do you believe that the section
702 is important and valuable for U.S.
ROGERS: Yes sir.
ROONEY: So it's safe to say that without
having this tool, it would be a threat
to our national security?
ROGERS: It would significantly impact my
ability to generate the insights that I
believe this nation needs.
ROONEY: In the media, there's a lot of
reporting about something called
incidental collection. Can you talk
about what incidental collection is?
ROGERS: Yes sir. Incidental collection
is when we are targeting a valid foreign
target, for example, in the course of
that targeting we either get a reference
to a U.S. person or suddenly a U.S.
person appears as part of the
conversation. That's what we call
ROONEY: And — and what you do when it
went something like that happens, if
there's a U.S. person part of an
incidental collection, what kind of
safeguards are put in place to make sure
ROGERS: So it depends specifically on
the legal authority that we're using to
execute the collection in the first
place. But in broad terms, realizing
again, it varies little bit by the
specific authority that we're using to
conduct the collection. We step back and
we ask ourselves first, are we dealing
with a U.S. person here? Is there
something that we didn't expect to
encounter that we've now encountered?
We'll ask ourselves what leads us to
believe that it is a U.S. person. If we
come to the conclusion that it is a U.S.
person and we ask ourselves are we — are
we listening to criminal activity, are
we seeing something of imminent threat
or danger, for example, or are we just
receiving something that has nothing to
do with any of our valid collection
authority? Based on that, we'll then
take a series of actions.
some case, we will just purge the
collect, make no reporting on it, not
retain the data. It's incidental
collection, it has no intelligence value
and it wasn't the purpose of what we
were doing. In some cases then if we
believe that there is intelligence
value, for example, whether it's a
reference to a U.S. person, as an
example in a scenario.
our reporting then we will mask the
identity of the individual. We use a
phrase like U.S. person one or U.S.
person two. And I would remind everyone
that for our purposes, U.S. person is
defined very broadly. That is not just a
U.S. citizen, that is a U.S.
corporation, that is a ship or aircraft
that is registered in the United States,
that is an Internet protocol address,
it's not just a particular individual,
if that makes sense. The term for us is
much broader because designed to ensure
our protections of U.S. persons.
ROONEY: And this -- the procedures and
protections you talked about are
required and approved by the FISA court,
is that correct?
ROGERS: Yes sir, and the attorney
ROONEY: And you mentioned in your
opening statement that for that kind of
information to be disseminated outside
of your agency and the NSA that that
dissemination would be strictly on a
need-to-know basis, is that -- is that
ROGERS: We use two criteria; is there a
need to know in the course of the person
or group that is asking for the
identification, is there a valid need to
know in the course of the execution of
their official duties?
ROONEY: So like, who would that be?
ROGERS: It could be another element with
the intelligence community, it could be
another element within NSA, it could be
a military customer, for example, who's
reading some of our reporting. It could
be a policymaker.
apologize, there was one other point I
wanted to make, but I've lost the thread
in my mind. I apologize if I jump in at
ROONEY: I'm sorry, I cut you off.
ROGERS: I'll try to make...
ROONEY: Let's get back to masking
You spoke about masking and trying to
keep a U.S. person's identity concealed.
And when it is disseminated, you -- we
often talk about in the intelligence
community about the exceptions to how --
if somebody's masks, how you unmask
them. What would the exceptions to that
masking be before it's disseminated?
ROGERS: So again, we use two criteria;
the need to know on the person
requesting us in the execution of their
official duties and the second part was,
is the identification necessary to truly
understand the context of the
intelligence value that the report is
designed to generate? Those are the two
criteria we use.
ROONEY: Is that identity of a U.S.
person communicating with a foreign
target? Is that ordinarily disseminated
in a masked or unmasked form? ROGERS:
No. It is normally disseminated, if we
-- if we make the decision that there's
intelligence value and we're going to
report on it, it is normally
disseminated in a masked form. I would
-- again, as I said, we use a reference,
U.S. person one, U.S. person two...
ROGERS: I would highlight, if you look
at the total breadth of our reporting,
reporting involving U.S. persons at all
is an incredibly small subset in my
experience of our total reporting.
ROONEY: Who normally in the NSA would
make the decision to unmask?
ROGERS: There are 20 individuals
including myself who I have delegated
this authority to approve unmask
ROONEY: And does the level of approval
change depending on the reason for
unmasking? If it was something or
somebody, say, really important would
that matter or could it be...
ROGERS: Not -- it's not necessarily
designated in writing that way, but
certainly by custom and tradition, at
times requests will be pushed up to my
-- I'm the senior-most of the 20
individuals. Requests will be pushed to
my level, say "hey, sir, we just want to
make sure that you're comfortable with
ROONEY: Right. So 20 people, that -- you
know, what procedures or safeguards are
put in place to make sure that those 20
people are not unmasking wrongly?
ROGERS: So they retrieve specific
training, there are specific controls
put in place in terms of our ability to
disseminate information out of the
databases associated with U.S. persons.
ROONEY: OK. Let's run through the
exceptions quickly through a following
hypothetical. If the NSA collects a
communication where a target under
surveillance is talking to a U.S.
person, how would the NSA determine
whether disseminating the U.S. person
information is necessary to
understanding the foreign intelligence
or assess its importance?
ROGERS: So first of all, try to
understand the nature of the
conversation. Is this truly something
that involves intelligence or a national
security implication for the United
States or is this just very normal,
reasonable conversations, in which case
we have no desire to have any awareness
of it, it's not applicable to our
that case, normally we'll purge the
data. We'll ask ourselves, is there
criminal activity involved, is there a
threat, potential threat or harm to U.S.
individuals being discussed in a
conversation for example.
ROONEY: If there was criminal activity
involved, what would you do then?
ROGERS: If when we disseminate -- if we
decide we need -- if it's criminal
activity, we'll disseminate the
information and if the FBI or other
criminal activities are on the reporting
stream, in some cases I also will
generate a signed letter under my
signature in specific cases to
Department of Justice highlighting that
what we think we have is potential
criminal activity, but because we are
not a law enforcement or justice
organization we're not in a place to
make that determination.
ROONEY: OK. Based on that, again,
hypothetically, if the NSA obtained the
communication of General Flynn while he
was communicating with the surveillance
target legally, would you please explain
how General Flynn's identity could be
unmasked based on the exceptions that we
ROGERS: Sir, I'm not going to discuss
even hypotheticals about individuals,
ROONEY: If I could make reference to a
Washington Post article that I have here
from February 9 which states -- do you
-- let me say what it is and I'll ask if
you've read it or -- or -- or if you've
seen it. Which states national security
under Michael Flynn privately discussed
U.S. sanctions against Russia with the
country's ambassador to the United
States during the month before President
Trump took office.
Contrary to public assertions by Trump
officials current and -- and former U.S.
officials said. The article goes on to
say that nine current or former --
former officials who were in senior
positions at multiple agencies at the
time of the call spoke under the
condition of anonymity to discuss
intelligence matters. Did you read this
ROGERS: I apologize, sir. It's not -- an
article that references nine particular
individual -- it doesn't necessarily
ring a bell. I've certainly seen plenty
of media reporting that but again, I'm
not going to comment on specifics.
ROONEY: Just basically under the breath
of that article, when we when we hear
that nine former, current -- or current
officials had spoken to the press under
the condition of anonymity, and we heard
our director Comey and the Chairman
speak of this is a potential crime -- a
serious crime -- under the Espionage
Act, assuming if this article is
accurate, who would have the -- who
would be in a position to request the
unmasking of General Flynn's identity?
Would that be you?
ROGERS: I would have the authority to do
ROONEY: Who else would?
ROGERS: The 19 other individuals.
ROONEY: Would that include director
ROGERS: I'm talking about...
ROONEY: In the NSA... ROGERS: ... within
the National Security Agency and we're
talking about NSA reporting.
ROONEY: But -- but would people like
Director Comey also be able to request
ROONEY: And the attorney general and
Director Clapper, are those type of
people also on this list?
ROGERS: Again, I'm not going to -- in
general, yes, they would be...
ROONEY: Generally speaking, not with
ROGERS: I'm not going to talk about...
ROGERS: ... of an individual or
ROONEY: Well, here's what I'm trying to
get at. If -- if -- if what we're
talking about is a serious crime as has
-- as has been alleged, in your opinion,
would leaking of an -- a U.S. person who
has been unmasked and disseminated by
intelligence community officials, would
that leaking to the press hurt or help
our ability to conduct national security
ROONEY: OK. If -- if it hurts -- so this
leak, which through the 702 tool, which
we all agree is vital -- or you and I at
least agree to that -- do you think that
that leak actually threatens our
national security? If it's a crime and
if it's unveiling a masked person, and
this tool is so important that it can
potentially jeopardize this tool when we
have to try to reauthorize it in a few
this is used against the ability of us
to reauthorize this tool and we can't
get it done because whoever did this
leak, or these nine people that did this
leak, create such a stir, whether it be,
you know, in our legislative process or
whatever, that they don't feel confident
that a U.S. person under the 702 program
can be masked successfully and not
leaked to the press, doesn't that hurt,
that leak hurt our national security?
ROGERS: Yes, sir.
ROONEY: Can you think of any reason why
somebody would -- would want to leak the
identity of a mass person?
ROGERS: No sir, I -- I mean I have
raised this directly with my own
workforce over the -- over the course of
the last few months to remind everyone,
part of the ethics of our profession,
not just the legal requirement but the
ethics of our profession as intelligence
professionals is we do not engage in
And I've also reminded the men and women
of the National Security Agency, if I
become aware of any such conduct, there
is no place for you on this team. It's
unacceptable to the citizens of the
nation that one would engage in this.
ROONEY: Well, I think that, you know, as
we move forward, obviously, you know, I
think that what you're speaking of is
this sacred trust that the intelligence
community has with the American people
and with the people that are
representing them here on this dais.
And if we -- I think that it's vital
that for those who break that sacred
trust, if they are not held accountable
whether it by the NSA internally or by
the FBI through conviction or
conviction through the attorney
general's office of that crime, it is
very difficult for us to be able to keep
that sacred trust to know that what
we're doing is -- is -- is valid and
what we're doing has no nefarious
motivations. And -- and -- and to us to
be able to keep America safe without
violating the constitutional protections
that we all enjoy.
Mr. Chairman, I'm not sure how much more
time I have left. I just wanted to...
ROGERS: Congressman, can I make one
comment if I could, I apologize.
ROONEY: Yes, sir.
ROGERS: It comes to my mind based on
your question, I just wanna remind
everyone and in general. FISA collection
on targets in the United States has
nothing to do with 702, I just wanna
make sure we're not confusing the two
things, here, 702 is collection overseas
against non-U.S. persons.
ROONEY: Right and -- and what -- and
what we're talking about here, is
incidentally, if a U.S. person is
talking to a foreign person that we're
listening to, whether or not that person
ROGERS: I just wanna make sure we all
understand the context, that's all.
ROONEY: Right, right, and -- and whether
or not somebody in the intelligence
community that we put the trust in, is
going to leak that information to the
press, for whatever reason. And I'm not
even gonna get into the gratuitous, you
know, what that reason may be.
But it's really gonna hurt the people on
this committee and you all on the
intelligence community, when we try to
retain this tool this year. And try to
convince some of our colleagues that
this is really important for national
security, when somebody in the
intelligence community says you know
what? The hell with it, I'm gonna
release this person's name because I'm
gonna get something out of it.
We're all gonna be hurt by that if we
can't reauthorize this tool, do you
agree with that?
ROGERS: Yes, sir.
ROONEY: Mr. Chairman, do I -- do I have
enough time to talk about the letter the
ROONEY: The committee sent to you on
March 15th, a letter -- yeah, to Admiral
Rogers and to Director Comey. Have you
had a chance to look at this letter? I
think that you've actually...
ROGERS: Yes sir, I in fact have given
you a reply on the 17th.
ROONEY: Just real -- real quickly
because I don't want to take up any more
time. Can you give us a sense of how
many unmasked U.S. persons identities
were disseminated by the NSA from June
2016 to June 2017?
ROGERS: No sir. As I have indicated
where the process of compiling that
information. I will provide it to the
committee. But until that work is done,
I am not gonna comment.
ROONEY: Can you tell us whether any of
those disseminations broadly were
involved U.S. people relating to
presidential candidates Donald J. Trump
or Hillary Clinton, and their associates
ROGERS: I won't answer until I complete
the research sir.
ROONEY: Assuming that the NSA
disseminated unmasked U.S. persons
information relating to the Trump or
Clinton campaigns, would that have been
a reason for such unmasking?
ROGERS: I apologize. I don't truly
understand the question.
ROONEY: Let me just move on to the next
Along those lines, if the NSA had wanted
disseminate unmasked U.S persons
information related to either the
presidential campaign, who in the NSA
would have approved such
ROGERS: Again, it would've been one of
the 20 and I provided that in my initial
response to the committee. I have
outlined the procedures, I've outlined
the specific 20 individuals.
ROONEY: Thank you, Admiral. I appreciate
your -- your answers. I look forward to
working with you on the subcommittee
And Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
NUNES: Gentleman yields back.
Mr. Gowdy is recognized.
GOWDY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Director Comey, we will begin on this
line of questioning, then we'll finish
it the next round. FISA and other
similar related counterterrorism
programs have been described, even this
morning, as vital, critical and
indispensable to our national security.
And many of us on both sides of the
aisle believe FISA and similar
counterterrorism programs prevent
terrorist attacks and save American
But FISA and other surveillance programs
are intentionally designed to preserve
the privacy of U.S. citizens. They are
intentionally designed to ensure the
information is collected and used only
for legitimate national security and
criminal investigative purposes.
There are statutory safeguards, there
are warrants based on probable calls,
there is a FISA court that is involved,
there are audits on the backend and we
think so highly of this material. It is
a felony, punishable by up to 10 years
in federal prison to unlawfully
disseminate it. All of this was done to
make sure this information gathered
remains protected as it relates to U.S.
The way I view it, Director Comey, the
American people have an agreement with
their government. We are going to give
you the tools to keep us safe, even if
it infringes on our privacy Psalm (ph).
We're going to give you the tools. And
government in return promises to
safeguard the privacy of U.S. citizens.
And when that deal is broken, it
jeopardizes American trust in the
let me ask you, do you agree FISA is
critical to our national security?
COMEY: I do.
GOWDY: Do you agree programs like FISA
were intentionally designed to safeguard
the identity of U.S. persons?
COMEY: Yes, there are other -- other
important elements of it but that's a
primary goal, I believe.
GOWDY: It wasn't an afterthought, it
wasn't an accident. These are
intentional safeguards that we put in
place to protect U.S. citizens, is that
GOWDY: Do you agree much of what is
learned from these programs is
classified or otherwise legally
COMEY: All FISA applications review by
the court collection by us pursuant to
our FISA authority is classified.
GOWDY: The dissemination of which is a
felony punishable by up to 10 years in
COMEY: Sure, dissemination --
unauthorized dissemination. GOWDY:
Unauthorized dissemination of classified
or otherwise legally protected material
punishable by a felony up to 10 years in
COMEY: Yes. Yes, as it should be.
GOWDY: All right.
January of this year, the Washington
Post reported, according to a senior
U.S. government official, a named U.S.
citizen -- and I will not use the name
-- a named U.S. citizen phoned the
Russian ambassador several times on
February of this year, the Washington
Post reported nine, nine current and
former officials who were in senior
positions at multiple agencies at the
time of the call, spoke on the condition
of anonymity to discuss intelligence
matters and that officials began pouring
over intelligence reports, intercepted
communications, and diplomatic cables.
February of this year, the New York
Times reported a U.S. citizen, whose
name I will not use, discusses sanctions
with the Russian ambassador in a phone
call according to officials who have
seen a transcript of the wiretapped
conversation. And again in February of
this year, the New York Times reported
on a phone call involving a U.S. citizen
including significant discussions of
phone records, intercepted calls,
intercepted communications, and reported
the NSA captured calls and then asked
the FBI to collect as much information
time is up so I will say this for this
round. I thought it was against the law
to disseminate classified information.
COMEY: Yes, sir. It's a serious crime.
I'm not going to comment on those
particular articles because I don't want
to, in any circumstance, compound a
criminal act by confirming that it was
classified information but in general,
yes, it's a serious crime and it should
be for the reasons you said.
GOWDY: We'll take it back up next round,
NUNES: Gentleman yields back.
I'll now yield 15 minutes to Mr. Schiff.
SCHIFF: Director Comey, I want to begin
by attempting to put to rest several
claims made by the president about his
predecessor, namely that President Obama
wiretapped his phones. So that we can be
precise, I want to refer you to exactly
what the president said and ask you
whether there is any truth to it.
First, the president claimed, quote,
"Terrible. Just found out that Obama had
my wires tapped in Trump Tower just
before the victory. Nothing found. This
is McCarthyism," unquote.
Director Comey, was the president's
statement that Obama had his wires
tapped in Trump Tower a true statement?
COMEY: With respect to the president's
tweets about alleged wiretapping
directed at him by the prior
administration, I have no information
that supports those tweets and we have
looked carefully inside the FBI. The
Department of Justice has asked me to
share with you that the answer is the
same for the Department of Justice and
all its components. The department has
no information that supports those
SCHIFF: The president accused Mr. Obama
and presumably the FBI of engaging in
McCarthyism. As you understand the term
McCarthyism, do you think President
Obama or the FBI was engaged in such
COMEY: I'm not to try and characterize
the tweets themselves. All I can tell
you is we have no information that
SCHIFF: Were you engaged in McCarthyism,
COMEY: I try very hard not to engage in
any isms of any kind, including --
SCHIFF: The president second stated
quote "Is it legal for a sitting
president to be wiretapping a race for
president prior to an election? Turned
down by a court earlier, a new low,"
Director Comey, can you answer the
president's question? Would it be legal
for present Obama to have ordered a
wiretap of Donald Trump?
COMEY: I'm not going to characterize or
respond to the tweets themselves.
can tell you in general, as -- as
Admiral Rogers and I were just saying,
there is a statutory framework in the
United States under which courts grant
permission for electronic surveillance
either in a criminal case or a national
security case based on a showing of
probable cause, carefully overseen. It's
a rigorous, rigorous process that
involves all three branches of
government, and it's one we've lived
with since the late 1970s. That's how it
no individual in the United States can
direct electronic surveillance of
anyone, it has to go through an
application process, ask a judge, the
judge can I make the order.
SCHIFF: So President Obama could not
unilaterally order a wiretap of anyone?
COMEY: No president could.
SCHIFF: Mr. Trump also asserted in that
tweet that he was -- that the
application -- or the president's order
was turned down by a court. Was there
any request made by the FBI or Justice
Department to wiretap Donald Trump
turned down by a court?
COMEY: That's one of those subjects I
can't comment on one way or another.
Please don't interpret that in any way
other than I just can't talk about
anything that relates to the Pfizer
process in an open setting.
SCHIFF: Third, the president stated, I
bet a good lawyer could make a great
case out of the fact that President
Obama was tapping my phones in October
just prior to the election.
Director Comey, you're a good lawyer.
Can you make out a great case that
president Obama wiretapped Mr. Trump's
phones just prior to the election in
light of the fact you've said there is
no evidence of that?
COMEY: All I can say is what I said
before, that we don't have any
information that supports those tweets.
SCHIFF: Well, in my view then, you would
not be a great, but very unethical
lawyer to make up such a case. And
finally, the president made the
following accusation. How low has
president Obama gone to tap my phones
during the very sacred election process?
This is Nixon-Watergate. Bad or sick
Director Comey, the president has
compared Mr. Obama to Nixon and
purported wiretap of Trump phones as
another Watergate. What was the gravamen
of the offense by Nixon and his
operatives during Watergate? A lot of
people who may be watching may be too
SCHIFF: To understand what Watergate was
about, what was the gravament of that
COMEY: Well, as I recall it then, I was
a kid, but I've studied it quite a bit
in school. The gravament of it was an
abuse of power including break-ins,
unlawful wire taps, obstruction of
justice, sort of the cycle of criminal
SCHIFF: There was a break-in of the
democratic headquarters by operatives of
the president, was it not?
COMEY: That's my understanding is that's
how it began -- the investigation began.
SCHIFF: It also involve the cover up by
COMEY: Yes, as I said.
SCHIFF: Now here, I think you've said
there's been no evidence of an illegal
wiretap by president Obama, is that
COMEY: I've said the FBI and the
Department of Justice have no
information to support those tweets.
SCHIFF: But there is evidence, is there
not, of a break in of the democratic
headquarters by a foreign power using
COMEY: Yes there was, as the -- as the
intelligence community report, the
un-class report, said in January, the
Russian intelligence services hacked
into a number of enterprises in the
United States, including the Democratic
SCHIFF: And there was an effort by the
Russians to cover up their break-in of
the Democratic Party headquarters, by
using cutouts like WikiLeaks to publish
the stolen material, isn't that right?
COMEY: Certainly to cover up their --
that they were the ones releasing it.
SCHIFF: Director Rogers, in an effort to
explain why there was no evidence
supporting the president's claim that
Obama had wiretapped him, the president
and his spokesman, Sean Spicer, have
suggested that British intelligence
through its NSA or GCHQ wiretapped Mr.
Trump on President Obama's behalf.
Did you ever request that your
counterparts in GCHQ should wiretap Mr.
Trump on behalf of President Obama?
ROGERS: No sir, nor would I, that would
be expressly against the construct of
the Five Eyes agreement that's been in
place for decades.
SCHIFF: And the Five Eyes are some of
our closest intelligence partners and
Britain -- Britain is one of them?
ROGERS: Yes, sir.
SCHIFF: Have you seen any evidence that
anyone else in the Obama administration
made such a request?
ROGERS: No sir, and again, my view is
the same as Director Comey, I've seen
nothing on the NSA side that we engaged
in any such activity, nor that anyone
ever asked us to engage in such
SCHIFF: And if you were to ask the
British to spy on America, that would be
a violation of U.S. law, would it not?
ROGERS: Yes, sir.
SCHIFF: Our relationship with British
intelligence is one of the closest we
have with any foreign services, isn't
ROGERS: Yes, sir.
SCHIFF: Now, the British allies -- our
British allies have called the
president's suggestion that they
wiretapped him for Obama nonsense and
utterly ridiculous. Would you agree?
ROGERS: Yes, sir.
SCHIFF: Does it do damage to our
relationship with one of our closest
intelligence partners for the president
to make a baseless claim that the
British participated in a conspiracy
ROGERS: I think it clearly frustrates a
key ally of ours.
SCHIFF: Certainly wouldn't endear the
British intelligence services to
continue working with us, would it?
ROGERS: I believe that the relationship
is strong enough, this is something
we'll be able to deal with.
SCHIFF: But it's not helpful...
ROGERS: Yes, sir...
SCHIFF: ... you would agree?
ROGERS: ... that -- that...
SCHIFF: Director Rogers, President Trump
recently met with German Chancellor
Angela Merkel during a joint press
conference, the president suggested that
they both had something in common, that
they had both been wiretapped by
Director Comey has just demonstrated why
the claims by the president about his
being wiretapped by Obama were
unsupported by any evidence. But the
claim he made about wiretapping directed
at Merkel referred to something that
came up in the context of the Snowden
I'm not going to ask you to comment on
whether the Chancellor was the subject
of any eavesdropping. But I would like
to ask you whether the Snowden
disclosures did damage to our
relationship with our German ally and
whether the Chancellor herself expressed
her concern at the time.
ROGERS: Yes, sir.
SCHIFF: In light of this, is it helpful
to our relationship with the Chancellor
or our relationship with German
intelligence, to bring this up again in
a public forum?
ROGERS: It certainly complicates things.
But again, I'd like to think that our
relationship is such we're gonna be able
to deal and keep moving forward.
SCHIFF: So our relationships with the
British and the Germans, you hope, are
strong enough to withstand any damage
done by these comments?
ROGERS: By anything in general, sir. We
have foundational interest with each
other, we need to keep working together.
SCHIFF: This time, Director Comey, let
me ask you a few questions you may or
may not be able to answer. Do you know
who Roger Stone is?
COMEY: Generally, yes.
SCHIFF: Are you aware that he was a
partner of Paul Manafort?
COMEY: Mr. Schiff, I'm worried we're
going to a place I don't want to go,
which is commenting on any particular
person. And so I -- I don't think I
should comment. I'm aware of public
accounts but I don't want to talk more
SCHIFF: Are you aware that he has
publicly acknowledged having directly
communicated with (inaudible), someone
that the intelligence community has
assessed was a person of Russian
COMEY: I've read media accounts to that
effect. I don't wanna hurt anybody's
feeling in the media. I don't know
whether that's accurate or not.
SCHIFF: If Mr. Stone acknowledged Mr.
Podesta's time in the barrel was coming
in August 2016, would that have been
prior to the public release of stolen
e-mails of Mr. Podesta's?
COMEY: I believe that's the correct
SCHIFF: Do you know how Mr. Stone
would've known that Mr. Podesta's
e-mails were going to be released?
COMEY: That's not something I can
SCHIFF: Do you know that Mr. Podesta has
said that at the time he was not even
aware whether his e-mails had been
stolen would be published?
COMEY: That's nothing something I
SCHIFF: At this point Mr. Chairman, I'm
going to yield to Mr. Himes.
HIMES: Thank you to the ranking member.
And gentlemen, thank you for being with
Let me -- when I get my own time I'll --
I'll -- I'll have some follow-up
questions. But let me start with a point
that the chairman brought out I think
very specifically which is that there's
no evidence that votes were technically
changed in any of the jurisdictions that
Admiral Rogers, thanks for confirming
that, but am I correct, that the -- when
we say Russian hacking what we are
referring to is the fact that the
intelligence community believes that the
Russians penetrated the networks of the
DNC, of John Podesta, and other
individuals, stole information and then
disseminated that information. Is that a
fair characterization of the -- of the
conclusions of the intelligence
ROGERS: Yes sir.
HIMES: And did the intelligence
community ever do an analysis as to
whether the dissemination of that
adverse information in a closely fought
election had any effect on the American
ROGERS: No sir. The U.S. intelligence
community does not do assessments ...
HIMES: Of course not. (CROSSTALK)
ROGERS: ... U.S. opinion.
HIMES: That's -- that's -- that's not
ROGERS: No sir.
HIMES: The fact is, those of us who go
through campaigns know that's actually
something we probably have a little bit
more understanding of. Let me just ask
this question then. Was there any
equivalent dissemination of adverse
information stolen from the RNC or
individuals associated with the Trump
HIMES: Thank you.
Director Comey, in -- in the remaining
minutes here. I appreciate your
frankness on the topic of an ongoing
investigation and appreciate your
inability to go too much further than
you went. But I do want to ask you a
question to try to clear up some
This committee, of course, is engaged in
investigation about links, as you said,
between the Trump campaign and the
Russians, should there be any possible
collusion. We've had a number of
statements very early in the
investigation that there was no evidence
of collusion. This is still very early
in our investigation, is it fair to say
that you're still relatively early in
COMEY: It's hard to say because I don't
how much longer it will take. But we've
been doing this -- this investigation
began in late July, so for
counterintelligence investigation that's
a fairly short period of time.
HIMES: So, you used the word
coordination which to me suggests that
you are in fact investigating whether
there was coordination between U.S.
persons and the Russians. Is it fair for
me to assume that we shouldn't simply
dismiss the possibility that there was
coordination or collusion between the
Russian efforts and U.S. persons as an
COMEY: Well all I can tell you is what
we're investigating which includes
whether there was any coordination
between people associated with the Trump
campaign and the Russians.
HIMES: OK. Thank you, I'll yield the
remaining time to the ranking member.
SCHIFF: I will yield the remaining time
this period to Representative Sewell.
SEWELL: Thank you.
So, with respect to the coordination,
Director Comey, I just wanted to
continue this line of questioning, can
you say with any specificity what kinds
of coordination or contacts you're
looking at in your investigation
generally when confronted with something
COMEY: I can't.
SEWELL: Can you discuss whether or not
there was any knowledge by any Trump-
related person and the Russians?
COMEY: I can't.
SEWELL: So with respect to any ongoing
investigation, whether the specificity
of the person, U.S. person or otherwise,
you can't comment on any of that.
SEWELL: OK. Can you characterize what
the nature of your investigation
generally, wouldn't -- when you do an
investigation of this sort, can you talk
a little bit about the process,
COMEY: Not a whole lot. I can tell you
we use our great, great people, we
coordinate with our brothers and sisters
in other parts of the intelligence
community to see what they may know from
around the world that might be useful to
us and we use all the different tools
and techniques that we use in all of our
investigations. That's probably the most
-- I'm not sure that's useful to you,
but that's the most I can say.
SEWELL: How long does a
counterintelligence investigation like
this usually take? You said that it
started in July.
COMEY: There is no usually. It's hard --
it's impossible to say, frankly.
SEWELL: I yield back my time.
NUNES: Thank you, Ms. Sewell. We'll go
back to -- I'll yield myself 15 minutes
and we'll go back to Mr. Gowdy.
GOWDY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Director Comey, you and I were
discussing the felonious dissemination
of classified material during the last
round. Is there an exception in the law
for current or former U.S. officials who
COMEY: To release classified
GOWDY: Yes sir.
GOWDY: Is there an exception in the law
for reporters who want to break a story?
COMEY: Well that's a harder question as
to whether a reporter incurs criminal
liability by publishing classified
information and one probably beyond my
ken. I'm not as good a lawyer as Mr.
Schiff said I used to be.
GOWDY: Well, I don't know about that but
the statute does use the word published,
COMEY: It does, but that's a question I
know the Department of Justice has
struggled with through administration
GOWDY: I know the department struggled
with it, the 4th Circuit struggled with
it, lots of people have struggled with
it but you're not aware of an exception
in the current dissemination of
classified information statute that
carves out an exception for reporters.
COMEY: No, I'm not aware of anything
carved out in the statute. I don't think
a reporter's been prosecuted certainly
in my lifetime though.
GOWDY: Well, there've been a lot of
statutes that bore on this investigation
for which no one's ever been prosecuted
or convicted and that does not keep
people from discussing those statutes,
namely the Logan Act. In theory, how
would reporters know a U.S. citizen made
a telephone call to an agent of a
COMEY: How would they know legally?
COMEY: If it was declassified and then
discussed in a judicial proceeding or
congressional hearing. Something like
GOWDY: And assume none of those facts
are at play, how would they know?
COMEY: Someone told them who shouldn't
have told them.
GOWDY: How would a reporter know about
the existence of intercepted phone
COMEY: Same thing. In a -- in a
legitimate way, through a appropriate
proceeding where there's been
declassification. In any other way, in
an illegitimate way.
GOWDY: How would reporters know if a
transcript existed of an intercepted
COMEY: Same answer. It -- it -- the only
legitimate way would be through a
proceeding -- appropriate proceeding,
the illegitimate way would be somebody
told him who shouldn't have told them.
GOWDY: What does the term mask mean in
the concept of FISA and other
COMEY: As Director Rogers explained,
it's our practice, approved by the FISA
court, of removing the names of U.S.
persons to protect their privacy and
their identity unless it hits certain
exceptions. So masking means, as Mike
Rogers said -- I'll often see a
intelligence report from NSA that will
say U.S. person number one, U.S. person
number two, U.S. person number three and
there's no further identification on the
GOWDY: Admiral Rogers said there are 20
people within the NSA that are part of
the unmasking process. How many people
within the FBI are part of the unmasking
COMEY: I don't know for sure. As I sit
here, surely more, given the nature the
FBI's work. We come into contact with
U.S. persons a whole lot more than the
NSA does because we may be conducting --
we only conduct our operations in the
United States to collect electronic
surveillance -- to conduct electronic
surveillance, so I don't -- I can find
out the exact number, I don't know it as
I sit here.
GOWDY: Well, I think, Director Comey,
given the fact that you and I agree this
is critical, vital, indispensable, a
similar program is coming up for
reauthorization this fall with a pretty
strong head wind right now. It would be
nice to know the universe of people who
have the power to unmask a U.S.
citizen's name. Because that might
provide something of a roadmap to
investigate who might've actually
disseminated a masked U.S. citizen's
COMEY: Sure. The number is relevant but
what I hope the U.S. -- the American
people realize is the number's
important, but the culture behind it is
in fact even more important. The
training, the rigor, the discipline. We
are obsessive about FISA in the FBI for
reasons I hope make sense to this
committee but we are -- everything
that's FISA has to be labeled in such a
way to warn people this is FISA, we
treat this in a special way.
we can get you the number, but I want to
assure you the culture of the FBI and
the NSA around how we treat U.S. person
information is obsessive and I mean that
in a good way.
GOWDY: Director Comey, I am not arguing
with you and I do agree that culture is
important, but if there are 100 people
who have the ability to unmask and the
knowledge of a previously masked name,
then that's 100 different potential
sources of investigation and the smaller
the number is, the easier your
the number is relevant. I can see the
culture is relevant. NSA, FBI, what
other U.S. government agencies have the
authority to unmask a U.S. citizen's
COMEY: I think all agencies that collect
information pursuant to FISA have what
are called standard minimization
procedures, which are approved by the
FISA court that govern how they will
treat U.S. person information. So I know
the NSA does, I know the CIA does,
obviously the FBI does. I don't know for
sure beyond that.
GOWDY: How about the department of --
how about Main Justice?
COMEY: Main Justice, I think does have
standard minimization procedures.
GOWDY: All right, so that's four. The
NSA, FBI, CIA, Main Justice. Does the
White House have the authority to unmask
a U.S. citizen's name?
COMEY: I think other elements of the
government that are consumers of our
products can ask the collectors to
unmask. The unmasking resides with those
who collected the information.
And so if Mike Rogers's folks collected
something and they sent it to me in a
report and it says U.S. person number
one and it's important for the FBI to
know who that is, our request will go
back to them. The White House can make
similar requests of the FBI or of NSA
but they can't on their -- they don't
own their own collect and so they can't
on their own unmask. I got that about
right? ROGERS: No, that's correct.
GOWDY: I guess what I'm getting at,
Director Comey, is you say it's vital,
you say it's critical, you say it's
indispensable. We both know it's a
threat to the reauthorization of 702
later on this fall. And by the way, it's
also a felony punishable by up to 10
how would you begin your investigation,
assuming for the sake of argument that a
U.S. citizen's name appeared in the
Washington Post and the New York Times
unlawfully. Where would you begin that
COMEY: Well, I'm not gonna talk about
any particular investigation...
GOWDY: That's why I said in theory.
COMEY: You would start by figuring out,
so who are the suspects? Who touched the
information that you've concluded ended
up unlawfully in the newspaper and start
with that universe and then use
investigative tools and techniques to
see if you can eliminate people, or
include people as more serious suspects.
GOWDY: Do you know whether Director
Clapper knew the name of the U.S.
citizen that appeared in the New York
Times and Washington Post?
COMEY: I can't say in this forum because
again, I don't wanna confirm that there
was classified information in the
GOWDY: Would he have access to an
COMEY: In -- in some circumstances,
sure, he was the director of national
intelligence. But I'm not talking about
GOWDY: Would Director Brennan have
access to an unmasked U.S. citizen's
COMEY: In some circumstances, yes.
GOWDY: Would National Security Adviser
Susan Rice have access to an unmasked
U.S. citizen's name?
COMEY: I think any -- yes, in general,
and any other national security adviser
would, I think, as a matter of their
ordinary course of their business.
GOWDY: Would former White House Advisor
Ben Rhodes have access to an unmasked
U.S. citizen's name?
COMEY: I don't know the answer to that.
GOWDY: Would former Attorney General
Loretta Lynch have access to an unmasked
U.S. citizen's name? COMEY: In general,
yes, as would any attorney general.
GOWDY: So that would also include Acting
AG Sally Yates?
COMEY: Same answer.
GOWDY: Did you brief President Obama on
-- well, I'll just ask you. Did you
brief President Obama on any calls
involving Michael Flynn?
COMEY: I'm not gonna get into either
that particular case that matter, or any
conversations I had with the president.
So I can't answer that.
GOWDY: Well, Director Comey, there's
been some speculation this morning on
motive. I'm not all that interested in
motive -- first of all, its really hard
Secondarily, you never have to prove it.
But I get that people wanna know, I get
the jury all wants -- always wants to
know why. I think you and I can agree
there are a couple of reasons that you
would not have to unlawfully,
feloniously, disseminate classified
material. It certainly wasn't done to
help an ongoing criminal investigation,
because you already had the information,
COMEY: Again, I can't answer in the
context of this particular matter.
GOWDY: How about in theory? Is -- is --
is there something a reporter would have
access to that the head of the FBI would
COMEY: It's hard for me to answer, I
would hope not when it relates to the
GOWDY: I would hope not too, since its
part of our surveillance programs. I
would hope that you had access to
everything as the head of the world's
premier law-enforcement agency. I would
hope that you had it all. So if you had
it all, the motive couldn't have been to
help you, because you already had it.
And Admiral Rogers, the motive couldn't
have been to help you, because you
already had it.
in the universe of possible motives for
the felonious dissemination of
classified material, we could rule out
wanting to help the intelligence and the
law enforcement communities. Those are
two motives are gone now. That leaves
some more nefarious motives. Is the
investigation into the leak of
classified information -- has it begun
COMEY: I can't say because I don't want
to confirm that that was classified
GOWDY: Well, I'm -- I don't want to
quarrel with you Director Comey and I --
I do understand that you cannot
ordinarily confirm or deny the existence
of an investigation. But you did it this
morning, citing DOJ policy given the
gravity of the fact pattern. Would you
not agree that surveillance programs
that are critical, indispensable, vital
to our national security, some of which
are awful reauthorization this fall,
that save American lives and prevent
terrorist attacks also rises to the
level of important?
COMEY: I think those programs are vital
and leaks of information collected
pursuant to court order under those
programs are terrible. And as I said in
my opening statement should be taken
very, very seriously.
What I don't ever want to do is compound
what bad people have done and confirm
something that's in the newspaper.
Because sometimes newspaper get it
right, there's a whole lotta wrong
information about --allegedly about
classified activities that's in the
newspaper. We don't call them and
correct them either. That's another big
challenge but we just don't go anywhere
near it because we don't want to help
and compound the offense that was
GOWDY: I understand that Director Comey.
And I'm trying really hard not to get
you to discuss the facts at bar (ph).
But some of the words that appeared in
this public reporting, include the word
transcript which has a very unique use
in the matters that you and I are
discussing this morning. That is a very
unique use of that word, wiretap has a
very specific meaning. The name of a
U.S. citizen that was supposed to
statutorily be protected, is no longer
some of this reporting -- let's assume
90 percent of it is inaccurate, that
other 10 percent is still really, really
important. And to the extent that you
can rely on the dates in either the
Washington Post or the New York Times,
we are talking about February of this
year is when the reporting first took
place. So we are -- we're a month and a
half or two months into something that
you and I agree, is incredibly important
and also happens the felony.
I'm just simply asking you to assure the
American people, you've already assured
them you take it really seriously. Can
you assure them that it is going to be
COMEY: I can't but I hope -- I hope
people watching know how seriously we
take leaks of classified information.
But I don't want to confirm it by saying
that were investigating it. And I'm
sorry I have to draw the line, I just
think that's the right way to be.
GOWDY: Well I'm not argue with you
Director Comey but it is -- we're going
to discuss a lot of important things
today. Whether Russia attempted to
influence our democratic process is
incredibly important. Whether they
sought to influence it as a separate
analysis, incredibly important.
The motive behind that interference and
influence, incredibly important. Our
U.S. response, incredibly important.
Some of that may rise to the level of
the crime, some of it does not rise to
level of a crime. One thing you and I
agree on is the felonious dissemination
of class -- classified material most
definitely is a crime.
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I would ask you and I understand some of
the procedures that you are up against.
I would -- I would humbly ask you to --
to seek authority from whomever you need
to seek authority from. Because I'm
going to finish the same way I started.
This is an agreement between the
American people and its government. We
are going to -- we the American people
give certain powers to government to
keep us safe.
And when those powers are misused and
the motive is not criminal
investigations or national security,
then I'll bet you my fellow citizens are
rethinking their side of the equation.
Because that U.S. citizen could be them
next time. It could be you. It could be
me. It could be anyone until we start
seriously investigating and prosecuting
what Congress thought was serious enough
to attach a 10- year felony to.
With that, I would yield back, Mr.
COMEY: Can I -- can I just add a
response to what you said? I agree with
you, Mr. Gowdy. Two things folks at home
should know; first, an unauthorized
disclosure of FISA is an extraordinarily
unusual event so be assured we're going
to take it very seriously because our
trust, the American people, and the
federal judges that oversee our work, is
And second, that this conversation has
nothing to do with 702. Folks often mix
them together. 702 is about targeting
non-U.S. persons overseas. Pursuant to
the FISA statute, the FBI can apply to
collect electronic surveillance in the
United States but it's a different thing
from 702. The conversation you and I are
just having is about this which is vital
and important, but I just didn't want to
leave folks confused.
GOWDY: Director Comey, you are 100
percent correct and I am 100 percent
correct in saying that that is a
distinction that doesn't make a
difference to most of the people
watching television. You are exactly
correct. What we are reauthorizing this
fall has nothing to do with what we are
discussing other than it is another
government program where the people
consent to allow government to pursue
certain things with the explicit promise
it will be protected.
you're right, they're different but in
the eyes of people watching, it is the
U.S. government officials' leaking the
name of a U.S. citizen and if it can
happen here, it may happen there. Trust
me, you and I both want to see it
reauthorized. It is in jeopardy if we
don't get this resolved.
NUNES: Our time is expired, I'll yield
15 minutes to Mr. Schiff.
SCHIFF: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
just want to follow up with a few
questions about Roger Stone that I had
started with earlier before I passed it
to my colleagues. Director Comey, are
you aware that Roger Stone played a role
in the Trump campaign?
COMEY: I'm not going to talk about any
particular person here today, Mr.
Schiff. SCHIFF: I'm going to continue to
ask these questions because among other
things, I want to make sure you are
aware of these facts whether you're able
to comment on them political dirty
COMEY: I'll give you the same answer,
SCHIFF: I mentioned before that Mr.
Stone was in direct communication with a
creature of Russian GRU, Guccifer 2.0
and that's something the intelligence
assessment talked about, the role of
Mr. Stone on August 17, are you aware,
received communication from Guccifer 2.0
that said, quote "I'm pleased to say
that you are great. Please tell me if I
can help you any how. It would be a
great pleasure to me." Are you aware of
that communication from essentially
Russian GRU through Guccifer to Mr.
COMEY: I have to give you the same
SCHIFF: Are you aware that Mr. Stone
also stated publicly that he was in
direct communication with Julian Assange
COMEY: Same answer.
SCHIFF: Are you aware that Mr. Stone
also claimed that he was in touch with
an intermediary of Mr. Assange?
COMEY: Same answer.
SCHIFF: This is a question I think you
can answer. Do you know whether the
Russian intelligence service has dealt
directly with WikiLeaks or whether they
too used an intermediary?
COMEY: We assessed they used some kind
of cutout. They didn't deal directly
with WikiLeaks. In contrast to D.C.
Leaks and Guccifer 2.0.
SCHIFF: In early October, are you aware
that Mr. Stone tweeted I have total
confidence that my hero, Julian Assange
will educate the American people soon.
Are you aware of that tweet?
COMEY: I'm back to my original same
SCHIFF: And are you aware that it was
only days later that WikiLeaks released
the Podesta e-mails?
COMEY: Same answer.
SCHIFF: I'm going to yield now to Mr.
HIMES: Thank you, Mr. Schiff.
know that we're going through the 90
minute mark in this hearing so let me
step back a second and just review the
topics because there's a lot on the
table and I think my friends on the
Republican side will get no argument
from this side on the importance of
investigating, prosecuting leaks.
Leaks are a threat to our national
security whether they're perpetrated by
Edward Snowden, whether they're
perpetrated by people outside the White
House or perhaps as we have seen in the
last 60 days, maybe from people inside
the White House.
But Mr. Comey, if I can use your phrase,
intense public interest. There is
intense public interest in the fact that
our new president will attack anyone and
everyone. He will attack the cast of
Hamilton, he will attack Chuck Schumer,
he will attack our allies, Mexico,
Australia, Germany, he will attack the
intelligence community, which you lead.
Associating you with McCarthyism and
But there's one person in one country
which is immune, which is inoculated
from any form of presidential attack no
matter what the behavior. No matter if
there's a violation of the INF nuclear
treaty, no matter if Vladimir Putin
kills political opponents, the new
president defends, obfuscates, does not
attack. And the people around the
president, Michael Flynn, Jeff Sessions,
Carter Page, Paul Manafort, have an odd
connection to Russia. A series of odd
connections. We all campaigned.
don't think any of our campaign people
have connections with a foreign power,
much less one that is an adversary of
the United States. And further, apart
from these weird links, without
exception, the individuals I've quoted
have dissembled or misled, maybe even
lied about the nature of those -- those
connections until the political pressure
has gotten to a point where they have
been fired or recused, in the case of
the Attorney General.
I want to look briefly at one of these
individuals -- and Director Comey, I
understand your constraints but -- but
let me ask a couple of questions
regardless. Paul Manafort, who is Roger
Stone's business partner and former --
and Trump's former campaign manager, I
want to ask you a few questions about
First, Director Comey, can you tell me
what the Foreign Agents Registration Act
COMEY: Sure. Not in an expert way, but
it's a statute that requires people who
are acting as agents of a non-U.S.
government to register with the United
HIMES: Right. So the National Security
Division of the Department of Justice
writes -- this is their manual. The
purpose of FARA, as it is known, is to
ensure that the U.S. government and the
people of the United States are informed
of the source of information and the
identity of persons attempting to
influence U.S. public opinion, policy,
and laws. Unquote.
Would you agree that guarding against
foreign espionage or foreign influence
measures falls under this heading?
HIMES: In general, is willful violation
or failure to register pursuant to this
law in some circumstances a crime?
COMEY: I believe it is. I'm not an
expert on FARA, but I believe it is.
HIMES: And it could lead, certainly, to
counterintelligence concerns, right?
HIMES: Now, Paul Manafort, as reported
in the New York Times and other outlets
and his deputy, Rick Gates ran a
campaign in Washington to lobby
government officials and push positive
press coverage of pro Russian-Ukrainian
officials. Paul Manafort began
officially working for former Ukrainian
President Yanukovych at least as far
back as 2007, according to the
The lobbying was only discovered by
Ukraine's new National Anti- Corruption
Bureau, which found secret ledgers in
Kiev, indicating almost $13 million in
undisclosed cash payments from Ukrainian
government coffers (ph), to Paul
Manafort for lobbying done between 2007
and 2012, for Mr. Yanukovych --
Director Comey, did Paul Manafort ever
register as a foreign agent under FARA?
COMEY: That's not something I can
HIMES: Whether he registered or not is
not something that you can comment on?
HIMES: OK. Paul Manafort was, however,
Donald Trump's campaign manager in July
of 2016, correct?
COMEY: Mr. Himes, I really don't wanna
get into answering questions about any
individual U.S. person.
COMEY: Look, I'm -- it's obvious from
the public record. But I don't wanna
start down the road of answering
questions about somebody.
HIMES: OK. Well, I think the facts would
show that he never did register. But as
the ranking member pointed out, it
perhaps should come as no surprise that
the Republican platform, which was
drafted at the Republican Convention in
July of 2016, underwent a pretty
significant change with respect to the
American response to Russia's illegal
invasion of Ukraine and their aggression
in that country.
appears, from our standpoint, that we
had -- we had perhaps somebody who
should've registered under FARA pulling
the strings, there. There's more though
and I don't know how much you'll be able
to comment on this. But I wanna just
explore for a second, the nature of the
Russian government, because oftentimes
the question becomes, was there contact
with Russian officials. And I want to
read you a brief quote from a book on
Putin's government. This is by Professor
Karen Dawisha who wrote, "Instead of
seeing Russian politics as an inchoate
democratic system being pulled down by
history, accidental autocrats, popular
inertia, bureaucratic incompetence, or
poor Western advice, I conclude that
from the beginning Putin and his circle
sought to create an authoritarian regime
ruled by a close-knit cabal -- who used
democracy for decoration rather than
Mr. Comey, is it fair to say that the
line that exists in the United States
between government officers and
government officials, is blurred in
Russia? That there may be oligarchs or
other individuals who on the surface
appear to be private citizens, but who
have connections to this close-knit
cabal who might be agents of influence
or might be doing the Kremlin's bidding
in contact with others?
COMEY: That's fair to say and one of our
counterintelligence missions is to try
to understand who are those people and
are they acting on behalf of the Russian
government, those Russian citizens.
HIMES: Is it generally true that there
is a category of Russian oligarchs that
are likely part of this close-knit
COMEY: In a general sense.
HIMES: And if they go way back with
Vladimir Putin, do the chances increase
that they might be connected with the
KGB, as is asserted by Professor
COMEY: The longevity of the association
can be a consideration.
HIMES: And the KGB was the Russian
intelligence service under the Soviet
COMEY: Correct, former...
HIMES: And the Ukraine was part of the
HIMES: Right. I'll just observe, Renault
Akhmetov, a steel and iron (ph) or a
magnate or oligarch, is the richest man
in Ukraine and a strong Putin ally. He
was the one who reportedly recommended
Paul Manafort to Yanukovych.
Mr. Comey, last set of questions from
me, I have a report that appeared in CNN
yesterday. The headline is, "Former
Trump Campaign Chief Paul Manafort
Wanted for Questioning in Ukraine
Corruption Case." And I -- I raise this
with you because the story is told of
Paul Manafort acting on behalf of
Ukraine's former justice miniature --
minister Oleksandr Lavrynovych, which
who was the justice minister under the
previous pro-Russian regime who -- and
I'll just read a segment from the story
Who was involved in jailing the former
Prime Minister Tymoshenko who was the
main political rival of the Kremlin
backed President Viktor Yanukovych who
Manafort advised until he was deposed in
2014. Tymoshenko was released from jail
at the same time that Yanukovych was
ousted. Many saw her sentencing as
politically motivated by the pro-
response to the deterioration
international climate, Ukrainian
prosecutors say Manafort drafted a
public relations strategy that included
hiring Skadden Arps, an American law
firm, to review the Tymoshenko case. And
show the conviction had a sound legal
basis. The story goes on to talk about
the transfer of over $1 million,
potentially, illegally from Ukrainian
coffers (ph) to Skadden Arps.
And the reason I bring all this up with
you is because the story also says and
it appears to have been confirmed by the
Department of Justice that the current
Ukraine regime, hardly a friend of the
Russians. And very much targeted by the
Russians has made seven requests to the
United States government's -- the United
States government for assistance under
the MLA treaty in securing the
assistance of Paul Manafort as part of
this on anti-corruption case. And in
fact, the story says that you were
presented personally with a letter
asking for that assistance.
my question Director Comey is, is that
all true? Have you been asked to provide
assistance to the current Ukrainian
government with respect to Paul
Manafort? And how do you intend to
respond to that request?
COMEY: It's not something I can comment
on. I can say generally, we have a very
strong relationship and cooperation in
the criminal and national security areas
with our Ukrainian partners, but I can't
talk about the particular matter.
HIMES: The story says that the DOJ
confirmed that there have been requests
for assistance on this matter. You can't
go as far as -- as confirming that in
fact there have been these requests
COMEY: If they've done that, I would
need them to do it again. I -- I can't
comment on it.
HIMES: OK. Well, I appreciate that and
with that I will yield back the
remainder of my time to the ranking
SCHIFF: And I yield to Terri Sewell.
SEWELL: Thank you Mr. Ranking Member.
questions this morning really revolve
around the resignation of the former
national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Director Comey, much as been made about
Russia's historical interference with
political elections around the world
meant to cause discord and -- and -- and
disunity especially in Western
alliance's. Does the FBI generally
assume that Russian ambassadors to the
United States like Ambassador Kislyak,
are at least overtly, collecting
intelligence on influential Americans,
especially political leaders.
COMEY: Ms. Sewell, that's not something
I can answer in an open setting.
SEWELL: Am I right that in the -- that
in the Russian playbook -- that it's in
the Russian playbook to use diplomats
and business people and Russian
intelligence officers, whether declared
or not to, collect intelligence on
influential Americans for the purpose of
affecting U.S. policy?
COMEY: I can answer as a general matter.
Nation states that are adversaries of
United States use traditional
intelligence officers, sometimes used
intelligence officers operating under
diplomatic cover, use people we call
co-opties (ph), maybe a private
citizens, students, academics, business
people, all manner of human beings can
be used in a -- in an intelligence
collection operation. But I'm not gonna
talk about the particular.
SEWELL: Would someone like Ambassador
Kislyak Play that type of role for
COMEY: I can't say here.
SEWELL: The declassified January
intelligence community assessment report
that your agency helped to draft, the
report that's entitled assessing Russian
activities and intentions in the recent
U.S. elections specifically states that,
quote, "Since the Cold War, Russian
intelligence efforts related to the
United States elections have primarily
focused on foreign intelligence
collections that could help Russian
leaders understand a new U.S.
administration's plans and priorities,"
knowing what we know about Russia's
efforts and the role of the Russian
ambassador, Director Comey, would you be
concerned if any one of your agents had
a private meeting with the Russian
COMEY: If an FBI agent had a private
meeting with a Russian government
employee of any kind, it would be
concerning and I assume by private, one
that's not disclosed or part of their
operational activity, yes.
SEWELL: That's right. And would you
expect that agent to report that
SEWELL: Admiral Rogers, similar
question. If -- would you be concerned
if one of your intelligence officers had
a private meeting with the Russian
ambassador? And would you expect that
intelligence officer to report that
ROGERS: Disclosures of interactions with
foreign governments is a requirement for
all our employees to include myself, for
SEWELL: I ask these questions because on
at least four occasions that I can
count, Mr. Flynn, a three-star general
and a former intelligence officer,
someone with influence over the U.S.
policy and someone with knowledge of
state secrets and the incoming national
security advisor, communicated with and
met with the Russian ambassador and
failed to disclose it.
I ask you directors, if you wouldn't
stand for your own staff to do this, why
should we, the American people accept
Michael Flynn doing it?
COMEY: Ms. Sewell, I'll let Mike Rogers
take it next but I -- I don't -- I can't
speak to what the disclosure obligations
are for other people in the government
so it's hard for me to answer that. I
can answer and I answered, I hope
accurately with respect to one of the
FBI special agents.
ROGERS: And I likewise would answer the
same way in terms of the NSA.
SEWELL: I yield back...
NUNES: ... gentleman's time --
gentleman's time has expired. I'll yield
myself 15 minutes.
Director Comey, you announced this
morning that there'll be an
investigation into Trump associates
possible and President Trump and anyone
around the campaign and any association
with the Russian government.
this committee or anyone else for that
matter, someone from the public, comes
with information to you about the
Hillary Clinton campaign or their
associates or someone from the Clinton
Foundation, will you add that to your
investigation? They have ties to Russian
intelligence services, Russian agents,
would that be something of interest to
COMEY: People bring us information about
what they think is improper unlawful
activity of any kind, we will evaluate
it. Not just in -- not just in this
context. Folks send us stuff all the
time. They should keep going that.
NUNES: Do you think it's possible that
the Russians would not be trying to
infiltrate Hillary Clinton's campaign,
get information on Hillary Clinton and
try to get to people that are around
that campaign or the Clinton Foundation?
COMEY: I'm not prepared to comment about
the particular campaigns but the
Russians in general are always trying to
understand who the future leaders might
be and what levers of influence there
might be on them.
NUNES: I just hope that if -- if
information does surface about the other
campaigns, not even just Hillary
Clinton's but any other campaigns, that
you would take that serious also if the
Russians were trying to infiltrate those
campaigns around them.
COMEY: Of course we would.
NUNES: OK. I yield to Mr. Conaway.
CONAWAY: Thanks, Chairman. Gentlemen,
thanks for being here.
Admiral Rogers, you'd mentioned analytic
standards earlier in the conversation.
Are those standards the same for all
intelligence analysts across the various
ROGERS: There's a broad set of
intelligence community promulgated
standards for all of us and then there
are specific issues associated, for
example, with a particular authority
that you're using to collect the
information in the first place.
CONAWAY: So, gentleman, same thing your
-- your agency -- your analysts would
have I think similar type standards?
COMEY: Correct. That's one of the really
good things that's happened since 9/11,
especially since 2004 is the adoption of
a common set of tradecraft provisions.
CONAWAY: So, on a CPA and we have
generally astounded -- generally
accepted accounting standards which are
promulgated across a variety of things.
Are those same standards publicly
promulgated as -- but generally
disseminated through all of your
analysts, I would assume would have some
sort of a test that they know those
ROGERS: I think the specifics of the IC
promulgated standards are classified but
I could take that one for the record.
CONAWAY: When the IC attributes a
hacking to a particular actor, you do
that through generally forensic
evidence. But when it comes to try to
determine intent foreign leaders, can
you walk us through how the NSA does
that or the FBI does that?
ROGERS: We assess the range of
information that we've collect --
collected in an attempt to generate
understanding as to not only what has
occurred, but part of the intelligence
professional -- profession is also
trying to understand why, what was the
intent. We'll use the range of
information we have available to us,
while we're primarily a single source
It's one reason why organizations like
CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency,
which take multiple sources try to put
together a complete picture. So we're
just one component of a broader effort.
CONAWAY: Director Comey, anything
different than that?
COMEY: No, it's about putting together a
puzzle. Sometimes from forensics alone,
you can get a pretty good indication as
to what they must be intending to
accomplish, other times requires human
sources and additional a signals
intelligence to give you that sense.
CONAWAY: So both you agree, though, it's
rarely a precise art -- or a precise
science of determining intent of any
ROGERS: That's correct.
COMEY: All of intelligence work requires
judgment. That's at the at the center of
ROGERS: But I will say in some cases,
it's a much clearer case than in others.
There are some...
CONAWAY: It depends on the sources you
have inside a particular foreign
ROGERS: I'm not going to get into
CONAWAY: Just in general. If you have
somebody whose next door neighbor --
never mind. Pivoting to the January 7 --
January 6 intelligence community
assessment, both your agencies agree
with the assessment that the Russian's
goal was to undermine the public faith
in U.S. democratic process. Is that
still your assessments?
CONAWAY: Same assessment said that the
Russian's goal was to -- wanted to
denigrate Secretary Clinton and harm her
electability and potential presidency
and that Putin wanted to discredit
Secretary Clinton because he publicly
blamed her since 2011 for insighting
mass protests against his regime in late
2011, early 2012. You both still agree
with that assessment?
CONAWAY: And then finally, Admiral
Rogers, that assessment went on to say
that president Putin and the Russian
government aspired to help president --
I guess he would have been candidate
Trump at the time -- but president-elect
Trump's election chances when possible
by discrediting Secretary Clinton. You
had a lower...
ROGERS: Confidence level.
CONAWAY: ... confidence level. Is that
still the case?
ROGERS: Yes, sir.
CONAWAY: Can you tell the group why you
were... ROGERS: I'm not going to get
into specifics in an unclassified forum
but for me, it boiled down to the level
and nature of the sourcing on that one
particular judgment was slightly
different to me than the others.
COMEY: To be clear, Mr. Conaway, we all
agreed with that judgment.
ROGERS: We all agreed with the judgment.
CONAWAY: Right, right, right. But you
really agreed and he almost really
COMEY: Not term out folks use, but I...
CONAWAY: Director Comey, in terms of
laying out those three assessment and
whether or not the IC was consistent in
its view of those three assessments
across the entire campaign. And we
walked through kind of the FBI's walk
down that path.
Did -- as of early December of '16, did
the FBI assess that the active measures
were to undermine -- by the Russians
were to undermine the faith in U.S.
Democratic process as you come to that
conclusion by early December?
COMEY: I think that's right, December of
CONAWAY: Sixteen, yes sir.
COMEY: I think we're at that point, yes.
CONAWAY: And then active measures
conducted against Secretary Clinton, to
denigrate her, hurt her campaign and
also undermined her presidency?
CONAWAY: All right. And then, the
conclusion that active measures were
taken specifically to help President
Trump's campaign, you had that -- by
early December, you already had that
COMEY: Correct, that they wanted to hurt
our democracy, hurt her, help him. I
think all three we were confident in, at
least as early as December.
CONAWAY: OK. The -- the paragraph that
gives me a little concern there, in
terms of just the timing of when all of
that occurred because I'm not sure if we
went back and got that exact same
January assessment six months earlier,
it would've looked the same. Because,
you say, when we further assessed Putin
and the Russian government developed a
clear preference for President-elect
Any idea when that clear preference in
the analysis, when did that get into the
lexicon of whether you talk back and
forth among yourselves on a -- on a
COMEY: I don't know for sure, but I
think that was a fairly easy judgment
for the community. He -- Putin hated
Secretary Clinton so much, that the
flipside of that coin was he had a clear
preference for the person running
against the person he hated so much.
CONAWAY: Yeah and that and that my work
on Saturday afternoon when the -- my
wife's Red Raiders are playing the Texas
Longhorns. She really likes the Red
Raiders. But all the rest of the time, I
mean the logic is that because he really
didn't like president -- the Candidate
Clinton, that he automatically liked
Trump. That assessment's based on what?
COMEY: Well, it's based on more than
that. But part of it is and we're not
getting into the details of it here, but
part of it is the logic. Whoever the Red
Raiders are playing, you want the Red
Raiders to win, by definition, you want
their opponent to lose.
CONAWAY: I know, but this says that --
that you wanted both of them -- you
wanted her to lose and wanted him to
win. Is that what you were saying?
COMEY: Right, they're inseparable --
right, it's a two -- it's a two
CONAWAY: Right, right.
COMEY: ... event.
CONAWAY: I got you. So I'm just
wondering when you decided you wanted
him to win?
COMEY: Well, logically when he wanted
her to lose, wanted...
CONAWAY: No, no, no, I'm not talking
about him, Putin, I got that. I got
that. But the question is, we're on this
clear -- well let me finish up then.
we go through that sentence about the
clear preference for Donald Trump. And
we don't know exactly when you guys
decided that was the case. Then it says,
when it appeared to Moscow that
Secretary Clinton was likely to win the
election, the Russian influence campaign
then focused on undermining her expected
-- and then election then says, the
government -- the Russian government
aspired to help President-elect Trump
election chances. So when did they not
think she was going to win?
COMEY: Well, the assessment of the
Intelligence Committee was, as the
summer went on and the polls appeared to
show that Secretary Clinton was gonna
win, the Russians sort of gave up and
simply focused on trying to undermine
her, it's your Red Raiders, you know
they're not going to win.
you kind of hope key people on the other
team get hurt so they're not such a
tough opponent down the road. And so
there was at some point...
CONAWAY: Sir, do you believe that the
FBI was consistent through early
December and on that that was the case.
That they -- they assessed that they
really wanted Trump to win it and were
working to help him win and her lose.
COMEY: Yes, our analysts had a view that
I don't believe changed, from late fall
through to the report on January 6 that
it had those three elements.
CONAWAY: All right. So then on December
the 9th, well in advance of the January
6th deal, the -- the Washington Post,
put out an article. Their least sentence
was that this -- and again, CIA, they're
not here today but we'll hopefully have
them next week, concluded in a secret
assessment that Russia intervened in the
'16 election to help Donald Trump win
the presidency rather than to undermine
the confidence in the electoral system.
Rather than just undermine it, they
don't mention Mrs. Clinton at all.
And then it says to help Trump elected,
the U.S. senior briefed on the
intelligence position -- that the U.S.
-- that U.S. official briefed by --
briefed on intelligence presentation to
U.S. Senators said that's the consensus
view. How much did it -- this is written
by name Adam Intas Elaine (ph) something
and Greg Miller. Do they have drafted
you last -- the January 6th document for
the Intel Committee.
COMEY: I'm sorry.
CONAWAY: Did those writers from the
Washington Post help you write the
January 6 assessment?
COMEY: No, they did not.
CONAWAY: I wonder how they got almost
the exact language on December the 9th.
COMEY: It hadn't been written yet. I
don't know. This is the peril of trying
to comment on newspaper articles that
report to report classified information.
I can't say much about them, they're
often wrong. CONAWAY: You mentioned
earlier in one of our hearings that when
anybody uses -- the I can't talk because
I'm bound by position anonymity or
whatever, that really is code for
breaking the law generally, right?
When somebody says I'm talking to a
reporter, I'm declassifying secret
information, you can't tell -- the
reporter can't tell who it is because,
as Mr. Gowdy was saying earlier,
speaking on condition of anonymity. That
really should be interpreted because I'm
breaking the law and I don't want to be
ousted. It that a fair statement?
COMEY: Sometimes. I think there are
other motives behind people requesting
anonymity but that can be one of them.
CONAWAY: So it's you're statement to us
then that the FBI was consistent in it's
assessment that they integrate the U.S.
electoral process, hurt Hillary and her
potential and current across all of that
across all of that, that they intended
to help Trump, that's your testimony
CONAWAY: Thank you. I yield back.
NUNES: Mr. King?
KING: Thank you Mr. Chairman.
you could yield me a few minutes into
the next round -- I'll just start with
this -- make the comment.
First of all, let me thank Director
Comey and Admiral Rogers for being here
today. And for what I believe it's been
the cooperative you've always given this
committee. So thank you very much for
that, for your service.
Director Comey, I think we're in a
predicament here today. I understand
your situation where you can't comment
on the investigation. And yet we've can
have various scenarios laid out which
can go on for months and months and
months without anyone be able to
disprove them until the investigation is
just like to use the example, for
instance we could've said that in 2012
President Obama was overheard on
microphone telling Medvedev that I'm
reelected, tell Vladimir we can work out
better arrangements. We know that he
ridiculed candidate Romney in the 2012
election when Romney said that he
thought Russia still a threat.
And then in 2013 we saw that basically
President Obama invited the Russians
into Syria when they've been pretty much
removed from the Middle East 40 years
before. And also as far as aid to
Ukraine, far as I recall, the Obama
administration always refuse to give the
lethal aid to Ukraine and it can be
argued that the Republican platform in
2016 was actually stronger than the
Democratic platform on that.
again if we -- if there was
investigation going on with the Obama
administration, we can lay out all these
scenarios and say well that proves
something or it might prove something.
Until the investigation was completed,
that type of almost possibly slanderous
comments could be made.
I would just, again, if -- I'm not
asking you to hurry the investigation
along, you have to do what you have to
do. But I guess I could ask you just in
the remaining moments I have in this
round, I know that -- I guess it was
just two weeks ago that Director Clapper
said that as far as he knows, all the
evidence he's seen, there's no evidence
of any collusion at all between the
Trump campaign and the Russians.
Now obviously a detailed, exhaustive
report was put out talking about Russian
influence in the campaign along with the
intelligence apparatus had input into
that. Do either you or Admiral Rogers
have any reason to disagree with the
conclusion of General Clapper that
there's no evidence of collusion between
the Russians and the Trump campaign.
COMEY: Mr. King, it's not something I
can comment on.
ROGERS: Likewise, I'm not going to
comment on an ongoing investigation's
KING: But again, you're not going to
disagree with General Clapper, you're
just not going to comment. And the
reason I'm pointing that out is, that's
sort of the situation, you know, the
other way around that you can't comment
on something, often there's inference
out there that because a person's name
is brought up, because he may have
worked with somebody at a certain time,
that there's a guilt implied in that so
that's one problem.
I'm not in any way being critical of
either of you, I'm just saying this is a
situation I think can be damaging to the
country and does advance the Russian
interest of trying to destabilize
democracy and cause a lack of confidence
in our system.
And with that, I yield back, Mr.
NUNES: Gentleman yields back.
recognize Mr. Schiff for 15 minutes.
SCHIFF: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
just have a couple of follow-up
questions before I pass to
Representative Sewell. It wasn't simply
that the Russians had a negative
preference against Secretary Clinton,
they also had a positive preference for
Donald Trump, isn't that correct?
SCHIFF: And I won't ask you to say
whether this is an accurate
characterization of Mr. Trump, I won't
put you in that spot, but would it be
logical for the Kremlin to prefer a
candidate that disparaged NATO to be
president of the United States? COMEY:
You're not going to put me in that spot,
COMEY: I'm happy with that. I'm happy
SCHIFF: I'm not going to put you in the
spot of answering whether this is an
accurate characterization of Mr. Trump's
views, but it would be logical for the
Kremlin to want someone who had a dim
view of NATO. Is that right?
COMEY: All kidding aside, I don't think
that's something I should be answering.
That's beyond my responsibilities.
SCHIFF: Well, what is the Russian view
of NATO. Do they like NATO? Do they want
to see NATO strong?
COMEY: Again, I'm sure you have already
spoken to people who are greater experts
than I but yes, they don't like NATO.
They think NATO encircles them and
SCHIFF: And would they have a preference
for a candidate that expressed an
openness to repealing the sanctions over
COMEY: Again, I don't want to get into
business of commenting on that. I
SCHIFF: Then let me ask you this way,
Director. Would they like to see the
sanctions on Ukraine go away?
SCHIFF: Would they have a preference for
a candidate who expressed open
admiration for Putin?
COMEY: Can I help you reformulate the
question? Mr. Putin would like people
who like him.
SCHIFF: Would they have a preference for
a candidate who encouraged Brexit and
other departures from Europe? Would they
like to see more Brexits?
SCHIFF: And have the Russians in Europe
demonstrated a preference for business
people as political leaders with the
hope that they can entangle them in
financial interests or that they may
allow their financial interests to take
precedence over the interests of the
countries in Europe they represent?
COMEY: In our joint report, we recount
that the Russians -- that President
Putin has expressed a preference for
business leaders in leading other
governments and mentions Gerhard
Schroder and -- I'm going to forget one.
Berlusconi because he believes they're
people that are more open to
negotiation, easier to deal with.
SCHIFF: At this point, let me yield to
SEWELL: I'd like to continue my
questioning -- the line of questioning
on Michael Flynn.
I'm sure you can understand my concern
that Mr. Flynn not only failed to
disclose the contacts with the Russian
ambassador, but he said he did not
remember whether he discussed sanctions
against Russia with that ambassador and
I find that really hard to believe. And
wouldn't you think that at the height of
our concern about Russian hacking, that
Mr. Flynn would have remembered meeting
with the Russian ambassador and would
have been --and would have told him to
stop meddling in our affairs, but that
didn't happen, did it?
COMEY: Mrs. Sewell, that's not something
I can answer.
SEWELL: Not only did Mr. Flynn not
remember talking to the Russian
ambassador and not only did he not
remember what they talked about, he also
appeared to have lied to Vice
President-elect Mike Pence all about it.
Now, Mr. Comey, do you think that Mr.
Flynn's failure to disclose the
communication and contact he had with
the Russian ambassador and their topic
of conversation along with a blatant lie
to Vice President Pence meet the
standard for an investigation by the
COMEY: I have to give you the same
answer, I'm not going to comment.
SEWELL: Now, I know, Director Comey,
that you probably can't comment on this
as well but I think it's really
important that we review a short
timeline and -- that's based on press
reportings because we need to get this
for the public record, I think.
on December 25, 2016, Mr. Flynn
reportedly exchanged text messages with
the Russian ambassador. On December 28,
2016, Mr. Flynn reportedly spoke on the
phone with the Russian ambassador. By
then, it was pretty clear that the Obama
administration was going to take actions
against Russia. On December 29, 2016,
Mr. Flynn reportedly spoke on the phone
with the Russian ambassador again.
That day, the Obama administration
expelled 35 Russian operatives from the
United States and announced new
sanctions. We also know from press
reportings that sometime in December,
Mr. Flynn met in person with the Russian
ambassador at Trump Tower and that Mr.
Trump's son- in-law, Jared Kushner was
also there. The purpose of the meeting
was to quote "Establish a line of
communication" end quote, with the
should add that the White House and Mr.
Flynn didn't disclose this December
face-to-face meeting until this month.
On January 20 -- January 12, sorry --
2017, press reported that Mr. Flynn
contacted the Russian ambassador again.
And on January 15, 2015 vice
President-elect, Mike Pence stated on
several Sunday morning shows regarding
Mr. Flynn's conversation with ambassador
quote, "What I can confirm, having
spoken to him about it, is that those
conversations that happened to occur
around the time that the United States
took action to expel diplomats had
nothing whatsoever to do with those
sanctions," end quote.
January 26, the -- the acting Attorney
General, Sally Yates reportedly told
president Trump's White House counsel,
who immediately told President Trump
that Mr. Flynn was vulnerable to Russian
blackmail because of discrepancies
between Vice President-elect Pence's
public statement and Mr. Flynn's actual
February 10, President Trump denied
knowledge of this, telling reporters on
Air Force One, quote, "I don't know
about that," end quote, in response to
questions about Mr. Flynn's conduct. The
White House also publicly denied that
Mr. Flynn and the Russian ambassador
discussed sanctions. And of course on
February 13, 2017, Mr. Flynn resigned as
national security advisor.
Now, Director Comey, all of these
accounts are open source press
reportings. Given Russian's
long-standing desire to cultivate
relations with influential U.S. persons,
isn't the American public right to be
concerned about Mr. -- Mr. Flynn's
conduct, his failure to disclose that
contact with the Russian ambassador, his
attempts to cover it up and what looks
like the White House's attempts to sweep
this under the rug.
Don't we, as the American people,
deserve the right to know and shouldn't
our FBI investigate such claims?
COMEY: I can't comment. I -- I
understand people's curiosity about our
work and intense interest in it, and as
Mr. King said, oftentimes, speculation
about it. But we can't do it well or
fairly to the people we investigate if
we talk about it. So I can't comment.
SEWELL: I'd like to turn to another
topic about Mr. Flynn, his failure to
disclose until pressured last week, by
my colleagues on the House Oversight and
Government Relations Committee,
Government Reforms Committee, payments
he received from Russia for his 2015
trip to the 10th anniversary Gala of RT,
the Russian owned propaganda media
According to the January 2017
declassified IC assessment report, RT's
criticism of the United States was
quote, "The last facet of its broader
and long-standing anti-U.S. messaging
likely aimed at undermining viewer's
trust in the U.S. Democratic
procedures," end quote. This January
assessment points out that this was a
strategy that Russia employed, going
back to before, the 2012 elections,
according to the IC assessment.
Admiral Rogers, am I right that the RT
is essentially owned by the Russian
government? And how long has the
intelligence community been looking at
RT as an arm of the Russian government?
ROGERS: So we're certainly aware and
have been for some period of time of the
direct connections between Russian
government and RT individuals, we're
aware of monetary flow and other things.
We have been...
SEWELL: And how long have you known
about that, a few months, a few years, I
mean how long has the United States...
ROGERS: Some number of years, I
apologize ma'am, I just don't know off
the top of my head.
SEWELL: Aren't I right to assume then,
that the former Director of DIA, the
Defense Intelligence Agency Mr. Flynn,
would have been aware that RT's role as
an anti-U.S. Russian propaganda outlet
when he agreed to speak at their
anniversary Gala in 2015. Isn't it
reasonable to assume that he would know?
ROGERS: I'm not in a position to comment
on the knowledge of something else from
another person, ma'am.
SEWELL: Director Comey, would be unusual
for a foreign government official to be
-- to get paid by a foreign adversary to
attend such an event? And would it be
unusual and raise some questions at the
FBI, if that person failed to disclose
the payments received for that trip?
COMEY: I don't know in general and as to
the specific, I'm -- I'm just not gonna
SEWELL: Yes, sir. I understand that you
can't comment. But I'd like to read an
exchange between Mr. Flynn and a Yahoo
news correspondent from July 2016
regarding his trip to Russia, during the
RT event. The correspondent asked, "Were
you paid for that event?" Then, there
was back and forth for a bit. And then
Mr. Flynn said, quote, "Yeah. I didn't
take any money from Russia if that's
what you're asking me," end quote.
Director Comey, isn't it true that the
House Oversight Committee last week,
received information and released
publicly that Mr. Flynn accepted nearly
$35,000 in speaking fees and traveling
fees from RT, this government -- Russian
government owned media outlet.
COMEY: I believe I've seen news accounts
to that effect.
SEWELL: Moreover, isn't it also true
that according to the emoluments clause
of the United States Constitution, a
person holding any office of profit or
trust cannot accept gifts or payments
from a foreign -- from a foreign
And doesn't the DOD, the Department of
Defense prohibit retired military
officers from taking any consulting
fees, gifts, traveling expenses,
honorariums, a salary from a foreign
government, including commercial
enterprises owned by or controlled by a
foreign government like RT?
COMEY: That's not something I can
comment on. SEWELL: Can you -- can you
speak to whether or not the emoluments
clause would apply to someone like Mr.
Flynn, a retired three-star general?
COMEY: I can't.
SEWELL: So isn't is -- I just find be
really hard to believe that given the
emoluments clause does apply to retired
officers like Mr. Flynn. I can't believe
that Mr. Flynn, a retired military
officer would take money from the
Russian government in violation of the
United State Constitution. And I believe
that such violations worthy of a
criminal investigation by the FBI.
What level of proof do we need in order
for us to have a criminal investigation
by the FBI of Mr. Flynn?
COMEY: I can't comment on that.
SEWELL: Shouldn't the American people be
concerned what -- I think that it's
really hard for us to fathom that he
wouldn't know that he should've
disclosed that he received $30,000 as a
part of -- of a speaking engagement to
RT, the Russian U.S. anti-propaganda
COMEY: I can't comment on that Ms.
SEWELL: My final line of questioning is
in regard to Mr. Flynn working as an
agent of a foreign power.
Now Director Comey, following on Mr.
Himes's line of questioning, am I
correct that the Foreign Agents
Registration Act requires that
individuals who lobby on behalf of a
foreign government must register with
the United States government?
COMEY: I believe that's correct. I know
keep saying I'm not an expert. The
reason I'm saying that is, I don't know
exactly how they define things like
lobbying in the statute. But as a
general matter, if you're going to
represent a foreign government here in
the United States, touching our
government, you should be registered.
SEWELL: And isn't it true that just last
November 2016, Mr. Flynn was working as
a foreign agent doing work that
principally benefited the government of
Turkey and yet reported until just last
COMEY: I can't comment on that.
SEWELL: Isn't it true that Mr. Flynn was
reportedly paid over half $1 million for
COMEY: Same answer.
SEWELL: And isn't it true that the Trump
White House, on at least two occasions,
was asked by Mr. Flynn's lawyers whether
he should report that work, the work
that he was doing on behalf of the
Turkish government. And yet the
administration didn't give him any
advice to the contrary.
you know anything about that?
COMEY: I have to give you the same
SEWELL: So Director Comey, I know you I
cannot discuss whether any
investigations are ongoing with U.S.
persons, and I respect that. I think
it's important though that the American
people understand the scope and breath
of what, in public open source press
reportings of Mr. Flynn's actions that
led to his resignation.
And while we can't talk about whether
there are an investigation, I believe
that we here at HPSCI, at the House
Permanent Select Committee on
Intelligence must put those facts into
the public domain. And they are one,
that Mr. Flynn lied about his
communication with the -- with the
Secondly, That Mr. Flynn lied about
taking money from the Russian government
and thirdly, that Mr. Flynn at a minimum
did not disclose work as an agent of a
foreign -- of a foreign power and that
the White House did not help in this
gentlemen, it's clear to me that Mr.
Flynn should be under criminal
investigation. And I know you cannot
comment but I believe it is my duty as a
member of this committee to comment to
the American people that this -- that
his engagement of lying and failure to
disclose really important information
and contacts with a foreign ambassador
do rise to the level of -- of disclosure
and to me, criminal intent.
I say this to say that the American
people deserve to know the full extent
of Mr. Flynn's involvement with the
Russians and the extent to which it
influenced the 2016 election. I believe
our democracy requires it.
Thank you, I yield back to my ranking
NUNES: Time's expired. Recognize myself
for 15 minutes.
Mr. Comey and Mr. Rogers, you both said
that the Russians had -- they favored
Donald Trump, the selection. And you
made that change, from the beginning of
December it was not that they were
trying to help Donald Trump, but that
changed by early January. Mr. Conaway
talked about that. Do -- do Russians...
COMEY: I don't -- I don't agree with
that. I want to make sure I didn't
misspeak earlier. We didn't change our
view from December to early January. We,
the FBI -- and I don't know that anybody
else did on the I.C. team.
ROGERS: Me, from my perspective, we
didn't have a fully formed view until
the end of December...
NUNES: At some point -- at some point,
the assessment -- at some point, the
assessment changed from -- from going
from just trying to hurt Hillary Clinton
to no, that they were actually trying to
help Donald Trump get elected. That was
early December as far as I know and then
by January, you had all changed your
mind on that.
COMEY: Well that's not my recollection.
ROGERS: That's not my recollection
NUNES: OK. So is it -- do Russians
historically prefer Republicans to win
COMEY: I don't know the answer to that.
I don't know the answer to that.
NUNES: Did the Russians prefer Mitt
Romney over Barack Obama in 2012?
ROGERS: I don't know that we ever did --
drew a formal analytic conclusion.
NUNES: Did the Russians prefer John
McCain in 2008 over Barack Obama?
ROGERS: I never saw a U.S. intelligence
community analytic position on that
NUNES: Don't you think it's ridiculous
to say that -- for anyone to say that
the Russians prefer Republicans over
ROGERS: I didn't think that that's what
you just heard us say, I apologize, sir.
COMEY: I hope you didn't hear us to say
that. We don't know in those particular
races and I'm not qualified enough...
NUNES: I'm just asking a general
question. Wouldn't it be a little
preposterous to say that historically,
going back to Ronald Reagan and all that
we know about maybe who the Russians
would prefer, that somehow the Russians
prefer Republicans over Democrats?
COMEY: There is -- I'm not going to
discuss in an unclassed forum, in the
classified segment of the reporting
version that we did, there is some
analysis that discusses this because
remember this did come up in our
assessment on the Russian piece. I'm not
going to discuss this unclassified
NUNES: Mr. -- Mr. King.
KING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And I would just say on that because
again, we're not going into the
classified sections, that indicating
that historically Russians have
supported Republicans, and I know that
language is there, to me puts somewhat
of a cloud over the entire report. It
seems to indicate the direction it was
going in, but anyway, let me just say
this for the record, and I know what
your answer's going to be, but I have to
get this statement on the record.
March 15, former acting director of CIA,
Mike Morell, who was the acting director
under President Obama and put on the
record I've had differences with Mike
Morell in the past but he was asked
about the question of the Trump campaign
conspiring with the Russians and his
answer was there's smoke but there is
not fire at all. There's no little camp
fire, there's no little candle, there's
COMEY: I can't comment, Mr. King.
KING: Admiral Rogers.
ROGERS: I'm not going to comment on an
KING: I understand that. That was my way
of getting on the record, so I
appreciate that. You were talking about
the significance of leaks and how
important it is we stop them. And to me
-- and I've been here a while -- I've
never seen such a sustained period of
Going back to December where, not the
Intelligence Committee, but the
Washington Post was told the conclusion
of the report -- a similar one -- what
it was going to be. We have situations
in the New York Times where they talk of
meetings, they talk about transcripts,
they talk about conversations.
There was one in particular that spoke
about Trump campaign individuals meeting
with Russian intelligence agents and
again, Director Comey, I don't know if
you can comment on this, but the White
House chief of staff, said against that
day, on the next day that Mr. McCabe
from your office you went to him at the
White House and told him that that story
there any way you can comment on whether
or not Mr. McCabe told that to Mr.
COMEY: I can't, Mr. King, but I can
agree with your general premise. Leaks
have always been a problem. I read over
the weekend something from George
Washington and Abraham Lincoln
complaining about them. But I do think
in the last six weeks, couple of months,
there's been at least -- apparently a
lot of conversation about classified
matters that's ending up in the media.
Now, a lot of it is just dead wrong,
which is one of the challenges because
we don't correct it, but it does strike
me there's been a lot of people talking
or at least reporters saying people are
talking to them in ways that have struck
me as unusually active.
KING: I fully understand the media's
fascination with palace intrigue, with
which faction of the White House is
trying to outdo the other, that's all --
to me, that's all legitimate, that goes
with the game. But if you're talking
about leaking classified information, if
you're talking about leaking
investigations, I mean -- you've stated
today that there is an FBI investigation
going on. So if the New York Times can
be believed, I would think there would
have to be somebody from the FBI who is
telling them about these purported
meetings, which Mr. McCabe said was BS,
with the Russian intelligence agencies.
Somebody who's familiar with that
investigation spoke to the New York
Times. And so I'll use that as an
example and also, one where there's a
think it was on January 6, when
yourself, Admiral Rogers, Director
Brennan, and General Clapper went to
Trump tower to meet with President
Trump. The media reports are that at the
end of that meeting, Director Comey, you
presented president-elect Trump with a
copy of the now infamous or famous
dossier. And I don't know how many
people were in the room, but within
hours, that was leaked to the media and
that gave the media the excuse or the
rationale to publish almost the entire
you -- does that violate any law? I mean
you were at a classified briefing with
the president-elect of the United States
and it had to be a very, very small
universe of people who knew that you
handed them that dossier and it was
leaked out within hours. Are you making
any effort to find out who leaked it and
do you believe that constitute a
COMEY: I can't say, Mr. King except I
can answer in general.
COMEY: Any unauthorized disclosure of
classified conversations or documents is
potentially a violation of law and a
serious, serious problem. I've spent
most of my career trying to figure out
unauthorized disclosures and where they
came from. It's very, very hard.
Often times, it doesn't come from the
people who actually know the secrets. It
comes from one hop out, people who heard
about it or were told about it. And
that's the reason so much information
that reports to be accurate classified
information is actually wrong in the
media. Because the people who heard
about it didn't hear about it right.
But, it is an enormous problem whenever
you find information that is actually
classified in the media.
don't talk about it because we don't
wanna confirm it, but I do think it
should be investigated aggressively and
if possible, prosecuted so people take
as a lesson, this is not OK. This
behavior can be deterred and its
deterred by locking some people up who
have engaged in criminal activity.
KING: Well, could you say it was --
obviously, Admiral Rogers was in the
room, you were in the room, General
Clapper was in the room and Director
Brennan was in the room. Were there any
other people in the room that could've
leaked that out?
mean this isn't a report that was
circulated among 20 people. This is an
unmasking of names where you may have 20
people in the NSA and a hundred people
in the FBI, its not putting together a
report or the intelligence agency. This
is four people in a room with the
president-elect of the United States.
And I don't know who else was in that
room and that was leaked out, it seemed
within minutes or hours, of you handing
him that dossier and it was so
confidential, if you read the media
reports that you actually handed it to
believe me, I'm not saying it was you.
I'm just saying, it's a small universe
of people that would've known about
that. And if it is a disclosure of
classified information, if you're going
to start with investigating the leaks,
to me that would be one place where you
could really start to narrow it down.
COMEY: And again, Mr. King, I can't
comment because I do not ever wanna
confirm a classified conversation with a
president or president-elect. I can tell
you my general experience. It often
turns out, there are more people who
know about something you expected.
first, both because there may be more
people involved in the thing than you
realized, not -- not this particular,
but in general. And more people have
been told about it or heard about it or
staff have been briefed on it. And those
echoes are in my experience, what most
often ends up being shared with
KING: Well, could you tell us who else
was in the room that day?
COMEY: I'm sorry?
KING: Could you tell us who else was in
the room with you that day?
COMEY: No, because I'm not going to
confirm that there was such a
conversation because then, I might
accidentally confirm something that was
in the newspaper.
KING: But could you tell us who was in
the room, whether or not there was a
COMEY: No, I'm not confirming there was
a conversation. In a classified setting,
I might be able to share more with you,
but I'm not going to confirm any
conversations with either President
Obama or President Trump or when
President Trump was the President-elect.
KING: Well, not the conversation or even
the fact that you gave it to him, but
can you -- can you tell us who was in
the room for that briefing that you
COMEY: That you're saying later ended up
in the newspaper?
COMEY: So my talking about who was in
the room would be a confirmation that
was in the newspaper was classified
information, I'm not going to do that.
I'm not going to help people who did
something that -- that is unauthorized.
KING: Yeah, but we all know that the
four of you went to Trump Tower for the
briefing, I mean that's not classified,
COMEY: How do we all know that, though?
KING: You know, you can -- you see the
predicament we're in, here.
COMEY: I get it. I get it. But we are
duty-bound to protect classified
information, both in the first when we
get it, and then to make sure we don't
accidentally jeopardize classified
information by what we say about
something that appears in the media.
KING: Well, if they're listening, I
would just advise that Director Clapper
and Director Brennan, we'll be asking
them the same questions last week --
next week and perhaps, they can give us
Mr. Chairman, I -- I yield back.
NUNES: Gentleman yields back...
KING: Thank you. Thank you for
NUNES: Mr. Lobiondo is recognized.
LOBIONDO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Director Comey, Admiral Rogers, thank
you for your service and thank you for
being here. Understanding that what both
of you have been saying about the
classified nature of the investigation,
the classified nature of the topics
we're talking about, can you give us any
indication of when we, the committee,
may in a classified setting know
something from you. Would we have
COMEY: Mr. LoBiondo, I don't know how
long the work will take. I can't commit
to updates, as you know. I have briefed
the committee as a whole on some aspects
of our work and I've briefed in great
detail the chair and the ranking.
don't know -- I can't -- I can't predict
or commit to updates. But as your work
goes on, we're in constant touch with
you and we'll do the best we can, but I
can't commit to that as I sit here.
LOBIONDO: So as the House Intelligence
Committee and the Senate Intelligence
Committee are conducting our bipartisan
investigations and looking wherever it
may lead with individuals or
you, through the FBI investigation, come
across a circumstance with an individual
or a situation would we be made aware of
that under normal course of business?
COMEY: Not necessarily, but it's
LOBIONDO: OK. So can you, either
Director Comey or Admiral Rogers, tell
us what we are doing or what we should
be doing to protect against Russian
interference in future elections or any
meddling with our government or for that
matter any state sponsor Iranians, North
Koreans, Chinese, with any -- any
meddling they may be doing?
ROGERS: So first, I think a public
discussion and acknowledgment of the
activity is a good positive first step
because it shines us a flashlight on
this, if you will. It illuminates a
significant issue that I think we all
have to -- have to deal with. There's a
variety ongoing efforts both within the
government, as well, in the private
terms of how we harden our defenses, I
think we also need to have a discussion
about just what for example, does
critical infrastructure meeting in the
21st-century. I don't think we
traditionally would have thought of an
election infrastructure as critical. We
traditionally viewed critical
infrastructure as something that
generated an industrial output,
aviation, electricity, finance, I don't
think we've traditionally thought about
it and informational kind of dynamic.
think that's a challenge for us coming
ahead and then continued partnership
between the elements within the
government, as well is in the private
sector, that's the key to the future to
LOBIONDO: So just for the record, I also
had a whole list of specific questions
about individuals and/or circumstances
that don't want to be repetitive and
have you say, I can't comment on them.
But I would anticipate when we move to
classified session that this committee
will be able to explore some of those --
some of the situations in a little more
have a couple of other questions about
the -- about the -- the Russian
intervention. But I don't have enough
time to get into it right now.
Mr. Chairman, if you could give me a
couple minutes when we get to the next
LOBIONDO: OK. So very briefly the -- if
you can describe the elements of the
Russia's active measures in the campaign
in the 2016 election. We've only got 35
seconds, but that's the first thing I
want to get into about exactly what they
were doing if you can tell us anything
ROGERS: So we saw cyber used, we saw the
use of external media, we saw the use of
disinformation, we saw the use of
leaking of information, much of which
was not altered.
mean, we saw several, if you will,
common traits that we have both seen
over time as well as I would argue that
the difference this time was that the --
the cyber dimension and the fact that
the release of so much information that
they had extracted via cyber is a
primary tool to try to drive an outcome.
LOBIONDO: So in this setting, can you
talk to us at all about what tools they
ROGERS: I'm not going to go into the
specifics of how they executed the
hacks. I apologize, no sir.
LOBIONDO: We'll try to get into that in
classified. I'll hold off for now, thank
NUNES: Gentleman yields back.
Mr. Schiff's recognized for 15 minutes.
SCHIFF: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just
had a couple follow-up questions.
Director Comey, can you tell me what an
COMEY: It's the standard background
clearance form that all of us who are
hired by the federal government and want
to have access to classified information
SCHIFF: Would someone who is an incoming
national security advisor have to fill
out an SF86?
COMEY: Yes, I think so.
SCHIFF: Would that SF86 require that the
applicant disclose any payments received
from a foreign power?
COMEY: I think so. I mean, the form is
the form. I think so and foreign travel
SCHIFF: I'd make a request through you
to the Justice Department or whatever IC
component would have custody of Mr.
Flynn's SF86, I'd make a request that
that be provided to the committee.
And I yield now to Mr. Carson.
CARSON: Thank you, Ranking Member.
I'd like to focus my line of questioning
on Russia's views toward Ukraine. In
March 2014, Russia illegally annexed the
Ukrainian territory of Crimea beginning
a conflict which has effectively yet to
Admiral Rogers, can you please briefly
describe, as you understand it, sir, how
Russia took Crimea?
ROGERS: I would argue the insertion of
military force. They occupied it and
physically removed it from Ukrainian
CARSON: Sir, we've heard terms like
little green men and hybrid warfare. Can
you please explain how these relate to
Russia and Ukraine?
ROGERS: So on the Ukraine side, what we
saw was over time, rather than the kind
of overt kind of activity we saw to such
a degree on the Crimea side, what we saw
was a much bigger effort on the
influence and attempts to distance
Russian actions from any potential
blowback to the Russian state, if you
will, and hence the use of the little
green men surrogates in military --
unmarked military uniforms, the flow of
information, the provision of resources
to support forcible separation of the
CARSON: Admiral, has Russia returned
Crimea back to Ukraine, sir?
ROGERS: No. CARSON: Do they have
ROGERS: They publicly indicated that
they will not.
CARSON: Admiral, why does Russia even
care about Ukraine?
ROGERS: I'm sure in their view they view
this is a primary national interest for
them. It's on the immediate periphery of
the Russian state.
CARSON: Am I right, sir, that they see
it as a part of their broader objective
to influence and impact Russia's --
Ukraine's desire for self-determination?
ROGERS: Yes. I think that's part of it.
CARSON: Sir, as Russia tried to claim
stolen territory in Ukraine, the U.S.
and the rest of the world saw the
annexation for what it was; a crime.
Shortly after Russia invaded, the United
Nations essentially declared it a crime
in a nonbinding resolution. In our own
government, recognizing the seriousness
of the event instituted new sanctions
against Russia, is that right sir?
ROGERS: Yes sir.
CARSON: Now this was a time where much
of the world was united but Russia
invaded another country and illegally
annexed it's territory as we all stood
shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukraine. Now
one person who didn't see it that way,
however, was president Donald Trump.
July 30, in an interview with ABC News,
Mr. Trump said of Putin, and I quote,
"He's not going into Ukraine, OK? Just
so you understand, he's not going into
Ukraine, all right?" end quote.
Now, Admiral, hadn't Putin already gone
into Ukraine two years before and hadn't
ROGERS: We're talking about the Crimea
and influence on the Ukraine generally,
CARSON: And he still hasn't left,
ROGERS: Now we're starting to get into
some very technical questions about are
the Russians physically in the Ukraine,
is it surrogates that the Crimea is a
very example of to me. They outright
invaded with armed military force and
have annexed it.
CARSON: But are they effectively still
ROGERS: They're certainly supporting the
ongoing effort in the Ukraine to split
CARSON: We'll get back to Mr. Trump in a
minute. First, tell me sir, what would
it mean to Russia and to Putin to have
sanctions lifted? ROGERS: Clearly, even
easing of economic impact, greater
flexibility, more resources.
CARSON: Now according to NATO analysis,
the Russian economy shrunk by as much as
3.5 percent in 2015 and had no growth in
2016 in big part because of western
sanctions, especially those against the
oil and gas industry.
Now, we're talking about a loss of over
$135 billion just in the first year of
sanctions. That's a huge sum of money
and sanctions aren't meant to push their
economy over a cliff, but to put
long-term pressure on Putin to change
his behavior. Putin, himself, said in
2016 that sanctions are severely harming
Russia. So we know they've had success
in putting pressure on the Kremlin.
Admiral, what would it mean
geopolitically? Would it help legitimate
Russia's illegal land grab?
ROGERS: Sir, I'm not -- I'm not in a
position to talk broadly about the
geopolitical implications. I mean we
have stated previously, from an
intelligence perspective, we tried to --
we have tried to outline to policy
makers the specifics of the Russian
invasion on Crimea, the specifics of the
continued Russian support to separatists
in the Ukraine that Russians continue to
-- to pressure and the keep the Ukraine
CARSON: Would it help cleave the United
States from her allies?
ROGERS: If we remove the sanctions?
CARSON: There's a lot of steak --
there's a lot at stake here for Russia.
This is big money, big strategic
implications. If they can legitimate
their annexation of Crimea, what's next?
Are we looking at a new iron curtain
descending across Eastern Europe? You
know, most in our country recognize what
is at stake in how the United States, as
the leader of the free world, is the
only check on Russian expansion.
back to Mr. Trump and his cohort. At the
republican convention in July, Paul
Manafort, Carter Page, and Trump himself
changed the republican party platform to
no longer arm Ukraine. So the same month
that Trump denied Putin's role in
Ukraine, his team weakened the party
platform on Ukraine and as we have and
will continue to hear, this was the same
month that several individuals in the
Trump orbit held secret meetings with
Russian officials, some of which may
have been on the topic of sanctions
against Russia or their intervention in
Now this is no coincidence in my
opinion. In fact, the dossier written by
former MI6 agent, Christopher Steele
alleges that Trump agreed to sideline
Russian intervention in Ukraine as a
campaign issue, which is effectively a
priority for Vladimir Putin. There's a
lot in the dossier that is yet to be
proven, but increasingly as we'll hear
throughout the day, allegations are
checking out. And this one seems to be
as accurate as they come. In fact, there
is also one pattern I wanna point out
before yielding back, Manafort, fired,
Page, fired, Flynn, fired. Why? They
were hired because of their Russian
connections, they were fired. However,
because their connections became public,
they were effectively culpable. But they
were also the fall guys. So I think
after we hear Mr. Quigley's line of
questioning, we might guess who could be
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Ranking Member, I
SCHIFF: I yield the balance to
SPEIER: Thank you, Ranking Member. Thank
you gentlemen for your service to our
You know, I think it's really important
as we sit here that we explain this to
the American people in a way that they
can understand it. Why are we talking
about all of this? So my first question
to each of you is, is Russia our
adversary? Mr. Comey?
SPEIER: Mr. Rogers?
SPEIER: Is -- do they intend to do us
ROGERS: They intend to ensure, I
believe, that they gain advantage at our
SPEIER: Director Comey?
COMEY: Yes, I wanna be -- harm can have
many meetings. They're an adversary and
so they wanna resist us, oppose us,
undermine us, in lots of different ways.
SPEIER: So one of the terms that we hear
often is hybrid warfare. And I'd like to
just stand give a short definition of
what it is. It blends conventional
warfare, irregular warfare and cyber
warfare. The aggressor intends to avoid
attribution or retribution.
would you say that Russia engaged in
hybrid warfare in its effort to
undermine our Democratic process and
engage in our electoral process?
COMEY: I don't think I would use the
term warfare. I think you'd -- you'd
wanna ask experts in the definition of
war. They engaged in a multifaceted
campaign of active measures to undermine
our democracy and hurt one of the
candidates and -- and hope to help one
of the other candidates.
ROGERS: I'd agree with the director.
SPEIER: All right, well, thank you both.
I actually think that their engagement
was an act of war, an act of hybrid
warfare and I think that's why the
American people should be concerned
Now, in -- in terms of trying to
understand this, I -- I think of a
spider web, with a tarantula in the
middle. And the tarantula, in my view,
is Vladimir Putin, who is entrapping
many people to do his bidding and to
engage with him. And I would include
those like Roger Stone and Carter Page
and Michael Caputo and Wilbur Ross and
Paul Manafort and Rex Tillerson.
I'd like to focus first on Rex Tillerson
in the three minutes I have, here. He
was the CEO of Exxon Mobil. In 2008, he
said that the likelihood of U.S./Russia
businesses was, in fact, a poor
investment, that Russia was a poor
investment climate, that was in 2008. In
2011 he closed the $500 billion deal
with Rosneft Oil. The CEO of Rosneft is
Igor Sechin, who is a confident of
President Putin, second most powerful
man in Russia and probably a former KGB
The deal gives Exxon access to the Black
Sea and the Kara Seas and Siberia for
oil development. Rosneft gets minority
interest in Exxon in Texas and the Gulf.
Rex Tillerson calls Sechin a good
friend. In 2012, Mr. Tillerson and Mr.
Sechin go on a road show here in the
United States to talk about this great
deal that they had just consummated.
Also in 2012 there's a video of
President Putin and Mr. Tillerson
toasting champagne at the deal. And in
2013, Mr. Tillerson receives the Russian
Order of Friendship and he sits right
next to President Putin at the event.
my question to you Director Comey is, is
it of value to President Putin knowing
what you know of him and that his
interest in doing harm to us, is it of
benefit to Mr. Putin to have Rex
Tillerson as the Secretary of State?
COMEY: I can't answer that question.
SPEIER: Admiral Rogers?
ROGERS: Ma'am I'm not -- I'm not in the
position answer that question.
SPEIER: All right. So in 2014 at Igor
Sechin is sanctioned and he laments that
he no longer will be able to come to the
United States to motorcycle ride with
Mr. Tillerson. Could you give me an
understanding of what are some of the
reasons that we impose sanctions, Direct
COMEY: On Sechin?
SPEIER: Well, just in general.
COMEY: Again, you'd have to ask an
expert, but from my general knowledge
it's to punish activities that are
criminal in nature, that involve war
crimes, that involve violations of U.N.
resolutions or United States law in some
other way, it's to communicate and
enforce foreign policy interests and
values of United States of America.
That's my general sense, but an expert
might describe it much better.
SPEIER: Admiral Rogers?
ROGERS: I would echo the Director's
comments. It's also a tool that we use
to attempt to drive and shake the
choices and actions of others.
SPEIER: So in the case of Igor's
session, who was sanctioned by the
United States, in part to draw attention
to the fact that Russia had invaded
Crimea. It's an effort to try and send a
very strong message to Russia, is that
COMEY: I think that's right.
ROGERS: Yes ma'am.
SPEIER: With that, Mr. Chairman, I'll
yield back for now.
NUNES: Gentleman yields back.
I'm going to yield myself 15 minutes and
now yield to the general lady from
Florida Ms. Ros-Lehtinen.
ROS-LEHTINEN: Thank you so much Mr.
It's never acceptable, we can all agree,
for any foreign power to interfere with
our electoral process and this committee
has long been focused on Russia's
reprehensible conduct. And we will
remain focused on the threat emanating
from Moscow. And I agree with you
Director Comey, when you say this
investigation that is ongoing, we will
follow the facts wherever they lead on a
bipartisan level and there will be no
There are many important issues at
stake, as you gentlemen have heard.
There is bipartisan agreement on the
danger of illegal leaks and our ability
to reauthorize important programs upon
which our intelligence community relies.
But I want to assure the American people
that there's also bipartisan agreement
on getting to the bottom of Russian
meddling in our election which must
remain the focus of this investigation
Admiral Rogers, I agree in what you said
that a public acknowledgement of this
foreign meddling to be a problem is
important as we move forward. And
following on Congressman LoBiondo's
questions and based on this theme, I'd
like to ask you gentlemen if you could
describe what, if anything, Russia did
in this election that to your knowledge
they did or they didn't do in previous
elections, how -- how it was -- were
their actions different in this election
than -- than in previous ones.
ROGERS: I'd say the biggest difference
from my perspective was both the use of
cyber, the hacking as a vehicle to
physically gain access to information to
extract that information and then to
make it widely, publicly available
without any alteration or change. COMEY:
The only thing I'd add is they were
unusually loud in their intervention.
It's almost as if they didn't care that
we knew what they were doing or that
they wanted us to see what they were
doing. It was very noisy, their
intrusions in different institutions.
ROS-LEHTINEN: And what specifically
based on this loudness did the FBI or
the NSA do to prevent or counter this
Russian active measure that we read
about in the intelligence community
assessment? As loud as they were, what
did we do to counter that?
COMEY: Well, among other things, we
alerted people who had been victims of
intrusions to permit them to tighten
their systems to see if they couldn't
kick the Russian actors out. We also, as
a government, supplied information to
all the states so they could equip
themselves to make sure there was no
successful effort to affect the vote and
there was none, as we said earlier.
And then the government as a whole in
October called it out. And I believe it
was Director Clapper and then-secretary
Jeh Johnson issued a statement saying
this is what the Russians are doing,
sort of an inoculation.
ROS-LEHTINEN: And the loudness to which
you refer, perhaps they were doing these
kinds of actions previously in other
elections but they were not doing it as
loudly. What -- why do you think that
they did not mind being loud and being
COMEY: I don't know the answer for sure.
I think part -- their number one mission
is to undermine the credibility of our
entire democracy enterprise of this
nation and so it might be that they
wanted us to help them by telling people
what they were doing.
Their loudness, in a way, would be
counting on us to amplify it by telling
the American people what we saw and
freaking people out about how the
Russians might be undermining our
elections successfully. And so that
might have been part of their plan, I
don't know for sure.
ROGERS: I've -- I agree with Director
Comey. I mean, a big difference to me in
the past was while there was cyber
activity, we never saw in previous
presidential elections information being
published on such a massive scale that
had been illegally removed both from
private individuals as well as
organizations associated with the
democratic process both inside the
government and outside the government.
ROS-LEHTINEN: And this massive amount
and this loudness, now that it's become
public knowledge, now that we have
perhaps satisfied their -- their --
their thirst that it has become such a
huge deal, do you expect their
interference to be amplified in future
you see any evidence of that in European
elections or do you think that this
public acknowledgment would -- would
tamper down the volatility?
COMEY: I'll let my -- maybe I'll just
say as initial matter they'll be back.
And they'll be in 2020, they may be back
in 2018 and one of the lessons they may
draw from this is that they were
successful because they introduced chaos
and division and discord and sewed doubt
about the nature of this amazing country
of ours and our democratic process.
It's possible they're misreading that as
it worked and so we'll come back and hit
them again in 2020. I don't know but we
have to assume they're coming back.
ROGERS: I fully expect them to continue
this -- this level of activity because I
-- our sense is that they have come to
the conclusion that it generated a
positive outcome for them in the sense
that calling into question the
democratic process for example is one
element of the strategy.
We're working closely, we -- our FBI
teammates, others working closely with
our European teammates to provide the
insights that we have seen to try to
assist them as they, themselves, France
and Germany for example, about to
undergo significant national leadership
elections over the course of the next
ROS-LEHTINEN: And in terms of the
European elections, what -- what have
you seen or any information that you can
share with us about the Russian
interference in that process?
ROGERS: So you see some of the same
things that we saw in the U.S. in terms
of disinformation, fake news, attempts
to release of information to embarrass
individuals, you're seeing that play out
to some extent in European elections
ROS-LEHTINEN: I look forward to
continuing with you.
Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman.
NUNES: Gentlelady yields back.
Mr. Turner is recognized.
TURNER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Comey, Admiral Rogers, thank you for
being here today and for your -- what
appears to be attempts at being
forthcoming with the committee. I also
want to thank the Chairman and the
Ranking Member Schiff. This is a
think as you've looked to what this
committee is undertaking, everyone wants
answers and everyone want answers to all
of the questions that are being asked
because this does go to such an
important issue concerning our
Admiral Rogers, I'm going to begin with
a question to you concerning the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act. Now
Admiral, as you know that the foreign
service -- Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act provides the
circumstances or the authority under
which the intelligence community may
collect or intercept the communication
of a foreign person located outside of
the United States, or as Mr. Comey's
indicated a person who is covered under
a FISA court order.
Now, with Mr. Rooney and Mr. Gowdy you
discussed the minimization procedures
under the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act and those minimization
procedures are supposed to protect the
privacy rights of U.S. citizens.
Specifically, it's geared toward the
communications of those who maybe
inadvertently or incidentally collected
as a result of the intelligence
community's lawful collection of
communications of others.
Mr. Rogers, is the intelligence
community required to cease collection
or the interception of communications if
the result of the collection or
interception includes the communications
of an incoming U.S. administration
official, the president-elect or the
president- elect's transition team.
ROGERS: It depends under what authority
work, as I said early on, there's a
series of questions we go through, was
there criminal associated activity, does
the conversation deal about threats to
U.S. persons, breaking of the law. So
there's no simple yes or no, there's a
series of processes we have in place.
TURNER: Mr. Rogers, is there any
provision of minimization that requires
you to cease collection? Because that is
my question, are you under any
circumstances required to cease
collection if the collection results in
the either inadvertent or incidental
collection of an incoming U.S.
administration official, the
president-elect or the president-elect's
ROGERS: Purely on the basis of exposure,
I wanna make sure I understand the
question, is -- is...
TURNER: Are you required to cease, if
you are -- are undertaking lawful
collection under the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act of a
person or individual, either because
they're a foreign person located outside
the United States or the person that
you're collecting against, is the
subject of a FISA Court order.
incidental to that collection or
inadvertently, the collection results in
the collection of communications of an
incoming U.S. administration official,
the president-elect or the
president-elect's transition team, are
you required under the minimization
procedures, to cease collection?
ROGERS: Not automatically.
TURNER: Thank you. So the answer's no,
Well, the reason why this is important
is because intuitively, we would all
know that incoming administration would
have conversations with those that the
intelligence community may be collecting
against, either by making phone calls to
them or receiving phone calls to them.
And so it's important for us to
understand that the minimization
procedures that are intended to collect
the privacy rights of Americans, do not
inherently include the -- a prohibition
of the intelligence community
incidentally or inadvertently,
collecting the communications of an
ROGERS: Yes, sir.
Mr. Comey, are you aware whether or not
the Director of National Intelligence
Director Clapper, ever briefed the
President of the United States, then
President Obama, concerning the possible
inadvertent or incidental collection or
interception by the U.S. intelligence
community of any communication of
members of the incoming Trump
COMEY: That's not something I can
TURNER: And then why not, Mr. Comey.
COMEY: A couple of reasons, it might
involve classified information, it might
involve communications with the
president of the United States. On both
of those grounds, I can't talk about it
TURNER: Mr. Comey, have you previously
discussed your conversations with
President Obama with this committee?
COMEY: I don't remember. I may have with
the chair and ranking, I don't remember
with the full committee.
TURNER: Well, we'll have to refresh your
memory on those conversations, then.
Mr. Comey, did and am used to combing. I
did President Obama ever acknowledge to
you of having been briefed, concerning
possibly inadvertent or incidental
collection or interception by the
intelligence community of any
communications of members of the
incoming Trump administration?
COMEY: I have to give you the same
answer, Mr. Turner.
TURNER: Well, Mr. Comey, the first
question related to whether or not Mr.
Clapper had briefed the president of the
United States and we'll certainly be
following up with him. He is going to be
appearing before us next week and we'll
certainly be directing the question to
Mr. Comey, are you aware of any evidence
that General Flynn prior to the
inauguration, ever communicated to the
Russian government or a Russian
government official that the Trump
administration in the future would
release, resend, or reverse U.S.
sanctions against Russia or ever made
any offer of a quid pro quo for
releasing resending or reversing U.S.
sanctions against Russia. Are you aware
of any evidence?
COMEY: That's not something I can
comment on, Mr. Turner.
TUNER: And why's that?
COMEY: I'm trying very hard not to talk
about anything that relates to a U.S.
person, or that might rule in or rule
out things, might be investigating. I'm
trying to be studiously vague here to
protect the integrity of the
please don't -- as I said in the
beginning please don't interpret my no
comment as meaning this or meaning that.
I just can't comment.
TURNER: Well, Mr. Comey, there are
statutes, guidelines and procedures
concerning the what does it take for the
FBI to open up a counterintelligence
investigation into a U.S. citizen.
is not just subject to discretion. You
can't just say well let's go look at
somebody, you have to have a basis.
You've now informed us that you've
opened a counterintelligence
investigation into the Trump campaign,
members the Trump campaign, concerning
Russia in July of 2006 (sic). Now we're
trying to get a picture of what does it
take to tip over for investigation?
Now previously people have said that
there been individuals who attended a
meeting with Russian officials,
individuals who -- a member who was paid
to attend a conference, a picture that
was taken, traveled to a foreign place.
There many people both in -- in all of
our administrations and sometimes, you
know, certainly members who have left
Congress who would all qualify for that.
What -- what is the tipping point? I
mean it can't just be that. Don't you
need some action or some information
besides just attending a meeting, having
been paid to attend a conference, that a
picture was taken, or that you traveled
to a country before your open to
investigation for counterintelligence by
COMEY: The standard is, I think there's
a couple different at play. A credible
allegation of wrongdoing or reasonable
basis to believe that an American may be
acting as an agent of a foreign power.
TURNER: Well the reason why we're with
this, Mr. Comey, is that we obviously
have the statements of Mr. Clapper that
there is no evidence of collusion with
Russia and he just left the intelligence
community. And as you are aware, we now
sit because this is you said, Admiral
Rogers, you know, the Russians wanted to
put a cloud over our system.
And Mr. Comey, by your announcement
today, I mean, there is now a cloud that
undermines our system. There is a cloud
that where we're sitting with Mr.
Clapper who was obviously in a very
important position to know, who stated
to us that there is no evidence of
conclusion, and you will not give us
evidence or -- or -- or give us any --
any substantive evaluation of it.
now sit with this cloud and it's
important that -- Mr. Chairman I have a
few additional questions if I might when
we regain time.
NUNES: We'll get back to Mr. Turner.
Mr. Schiff's recognized for 15 minutes.
SCHIFF: Thank you Mr. Chairman.
recognize representative Jackie Speier.
SPEIER: Thank you Mr. Schiff.
Again, let's go back to this tarantula
web. So Mr. Tillerson, in 2014, started
to lobby the United States government
asking them to shifter or lift the
sanctions. Now in his -- his
confirmation hearing he says he's -- as
he said, I have never lobbied against
sanctions, personally, to my knowledge,
Exxon Mobil never directly lobbied
And yet there is lobbying reporting that
shows that Exxon Mobil actually paid
over $300,000 to lobbyists in 2014. And
that Mr. Tillerson visited the White
House five times in 2014 and treasury
with Secretary Lew, seven times.
-- is there something disconcerting
about a U.S. CEO attempting to undermine
The sanctions imposed by our government
against another country for acts that we
find to be disadvantageous to the world
order. Director Comey?
COMEY: That's not a question I can
answer. For a variety of reasons, I'm
not qualified to answer and I shouldn't
be answering questions like that.
SPEIER: All right. OK. How about this
then? Is it disconcerting to you as the
director of the FBI that a U.S. CEO
would say publicly that he is very close
friends with President Putin and has had
a 17-year relationship with him?
COMEY: That's not a question I can
SPEIER: Would it raise any red flags?
COMEY: That's not a question I can
SPEIER: Admiral Rogers?
ROGERS: Ma'am, lots of American
corporations do business in Russia. I
have no knowledge of the specifics
you're talking about, I am in no way
qualified or knowledgeable enough to
comment on this.
SPEIER: All right, let's move on to
someone else in that web. His name is
Michael Caputo. He's a PR professional,
conservative radio talk show host. In
1994, he moved to Russia and there he
was working for the agency for
international development. He was fired
from that job because he refused to
follow a State Department position.
then opened a PR firm in Moscow and
married a Russian woman. He subsequently
divorced her and in 1999 his business
failed. Roger Stone, a mentor to him,
urged him to move to Florida and open
his PR firm in Miami which is exactly
what Mr. Caputo did. And then in 2000 he
worked with Gazprom-Media to improve
Putin's image in the United States.
Now, do we know who Gazprom-Media is? Do
you know anything about Gazprom,
COMEY: I don't.
SPEIER: Well, it's a -- it's an oil
company. In 2007, he began consulting
the Ukrainian parliamentary campaign.
There he met his second wife.
I guess my question is, what possible
reason is there for the Trump campaign
to hire Putin's image consultant? Any
thoughts on that Director Comey?
COMEY: No thoughts.
SPEIER: Admiral Rogers?
ROGERS: Likewise, ma'am.
SPEIER: All right. Do either of you know
what Michael Caputo is doing for the
Trump effort today?
ROGERS: I have no idea.
COMEY: And I'm not going to talk about
The big stories and
commentary shaping the
SPEIER: All right, let's move on now to
Carter Page was the founder of Global
Energy, it's an investment fund. He has
only one partner and that partner is
Sergei Yatsenko who's the former
executive of a Russian state-owned
Gazprom oil company. Before that, from
2004 to 2007, he worked for Merrill
Lynch in Moscow.
March of 2016, Then-Candidate Trump
referred to Carter Page as his foreign
policy advisor to the Washington Post.
The next day, Page asserts that he's an
advisor on Russia and energy. But then
subsequently, Candidate Trump says he
doesn't know him.
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